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For other uses, see Sky (disambiguation).

Rays of light shining through
clouds near the Washington
Monument in Washington D.C.

When seen from altitude, as here
from an airplane, the sky's color
varies from pale to dark at elevations
approaching the zenith

Turbulent skies

The sky's zenith appears centered in this
daytime photograph taken looking up
though trees

Clouds made orange by a sunset

The sky is the part of the atmosphere or of outer space visible from
the surface of any astronomical object. It is difficult to define
precisely for several reasons. During daylight, the sky of Earth has the
appearance of a deep blue surface because of the air's scattering of
sunlight. The sky is sometimes defined as the denser gaseous
zone of a planet's atmosphere. At night the sky has the appearance of a black surface or region scattered
with stars.

During the day the Sun can be seen in the sky, unless covered by clouds. In the night sky (and to some
extent during the day) the moon, planets and stars are visible in the sky. Some of the natural phenomena
seen in the sky are clouds, rainbows, and aurorae. Lightning and precipitation can also be seen in the sky
during storms. On Earth, birds, insects, aircraft, and kites are often considered to fly in the sky. As a result
of human activities, smog during the day and light radiance during the night are often seen above large
cities (see also light pollution).

In the field of astronomy, the sky is also called the celestial sphere. This is an imaginary dome where the
sun, stars, planets, and the moon are seen to be travelling. The celestial sphere is divided into regions
called constellations.

See skies of other planets for descriptions of the skies of various
Contents planets and moons in the solar system.
• 1 Sky luminance and colors
• 2 See also [edit] Sky luminance and colors
• 3 References

• 4 External links
The light from the sky is a result of the scattering of sunlight, which results in a blue color perceived by
the human eye. On a sunny day Rayleigh Scattering gives the sky a blue gradient — dark in the zenith,
light near the horizon. Light that comes in from overhead encounters 1/38th of the air mass that light
coming along a horizon path encounters. So, fewer particles scatter the zenith sunbeam, and therefore the
light remains a darker blue.[5]

The sky can turn a multitude of colors such as red, orange and yellow (especially near sunset or sunrise)
and black at night. Scattering effects also partially polarize light from the sky.

Sky luminance distribution models have been recommended by the International Commission on
Illumination (CIE) for the design of daylighting schemes. Recent developments relate to “all sky models”
for modelling sky luminance under weather conditions ranging from clear sky to overcast.[6]

[edit] See also
• Air
• Diffuse sky radiation
• Sky brightness
• skygazing

Earth's atmosphere
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Air)
Jump to: navigation, search
"Air" redirects here. For other

Atmospheric gases scatter blue light Earth's atmosphere
more than other wavelengths, giving
the Earth a blue halo when seen from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Air)
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Components of (volume) "Air" redirects here. For other uses, see Air (disambiguation).
dry air

Layers of the atmosphere (not to scale)
Nitrogen 78.0842%
The Earth's atmosphere is a layer of gases surrounding the planet
Earth that is retained by the Earth's gravity. Dry air contains roughly
Oxygen 20.9463% (by molar content – equivalent to volume, for gases) 78.08% nitrogen,
20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.038% carbon dioxide, and trace
amounts of other gases; but air also contains a variable amount of
Argon 0.9342% water vapor, on average around 1%. This mixture of gases is
commonly known as air. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by
absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat
Carbon dioxide 0.0384% retention (greenhouse effect), and reducing temperature extremes
between day and night.

Other 0.0020%
There is no definite boundary between the atmosphere and outer space. It slowly becomes thinner and
fades into space. Three quarters of the atmosphere's mass is within 11 km of the planetary surface. An
altitude of 120 km (~75 miles or 400,000 ft) marks the boundary where atmospheric effects become
noticeable during re-entry. The Kármán line, at 100 km (62 miles or 328,000 ft), is also frequently
regarded as the boundary between atmosphere and outer space.

Contents [edit] Temperature and layers
[hide] The temperature of the Earth's atmosphere varies with
altitude; the mathematical relationship between temperature
• 1 Temperature and layers and altitude varies among five different atmospheric layers
• 2 Pressure and thickness (ordered highest to lowest, the ionosphere is part of the
• 3 Composition thermosphere):
o 3.1 Heterosphere
• 4 Density and mass • Exosphere: from 500 – 1000 km (300 – 600 mi) up to
• 5 Opacity 10,000 km (6,000 mi), free-moving particles that may
• 6 Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere migrate into and out of the magnetosphere or the solar
o 6.1 Air pollution wind.
o 6.2 Kyoto Protocol
• 7 See also exobase boundary
• 8 References
• Ionosphere: the part of the atmosphere that is ionized
• 9 External links by solar radiation. It plays an important part in
atmospheric electricity and forms the inner edge of
the magnetosphere. It has practical importance because, among other functions, it influences radio
propagation to distant places on the Earth. It is located in the thermosphere and is responsible for

thermopause boundary

• Thermosphere: from 80 – 85 km (265,000 – 285,000 ft) to 640+ km (400+ mi), temperature
increasing with height.

mesopause boundary

• Mesosphere: From the Greek word "μέσος" meaning middle. The mesosphere extends from about
50 km (160,000 ft) to the range of 80 to 85 km (265,000 – 285,000 ft), temperature decreasing
with height. This is also where most meteors burn up when entering the atmosphere.

stratopause boundary

• Stratosphere: From the Latin word "stratus" meaning a spreading out. The stratosphere extends
from the troposphere's 7 to 17 km (23,000 – 60,000 ft) range to about 50 km (160,000 ft).
Temperature increases with height. The stratosphere contains the ozone layer, the part of the
Earth's atmosphere which contains relatively high concentrations of ozone. "Relatively high"
means a few parts per million—much higher than the concentrations in the lower atmosphere but
still small compared to the main components of the atmosphere. It is mainly located in the lower
portion of the stratosphere from approximately 15 to 35 km (50,000 – 115,000 ft) above Earth's
surface, though the thickness varies seasonally and geographically.

tropopause boundary
• Troposphere: From the Greek word "τρέπω" meaning to turn or change. The troposphere is the
lowest layer of the atmosphere; it begins at the surface and extends to between 7 km (23,000 ft) at
the poles and 17 km (60,000 ft) at the equator, with some variation due to weather factors. The
troposphere has a great deal of vertical mixing because of solar heating at the surface. This heating
warms air masses, which makes them less dense so they rise. When an air mass rises, the pressure
upon it decreases so it expands, doing work against the opposing pressure of the surrounding air.
To do work is to expend energy, so the temperature of the air mass decreases. As the temperature
decreases, water vapor in the air mass may condense or solidify, releasing latent heat that further
uplifts the air mass. This process determines the maximum rate of decline of temperature with
height, called the adiabatic lapse rate. The troposphere contains roughly 80% of the total mass of
the atmosphere. Fifty percent of the total mass of the atmosphere is located in the lower 5.6 km of
the troposphere.

The average temperature of the atmosphere at the surface of Earth is 15 °C (59 °F).[1][2]

[edit] Pressure and thickness
Main article: Atmospheric pressure
Barometric Formula: (used for airplane flight) barometric formula
One mathematical model: NRLMSISE-00

The average atmospheric pressure, at sea level, is about 101.3 kilopascals (about 14.7 psi); total
atmospheric mass is 5.1480×1018 kg [3].

Atmospheric pressure is a direct result of the total weight of the air above the point at which the pressure
is measured. This means that air pressure varies with location and time, because the amount (and weight)
of air above the earth varies with location and time. However the average mass of the air above a square
meter of the earth's surface is known to the same high accuracy as the total air mass of 5148.0 teratonnes
and area of the earth of 51007.2 megahectares, namely 5148.0/510.072 = 10.093 metric tonnes per square
meter or 14.356 lbs (mass) per square inch. This is about 2.5% below the officially standardized unit
atmosphere (1 atm) of 101.325 kPa or 14.696 psi, and corresponds to the mean pressure not at sea level
but at the mean base of the atmosphere as contoured by the earth's terrain.

Were atmospheric density to remain constant with height the atmosphere would terminate abruptly at
7.81 km (25,600 ft). Instead it decreases with height, dropping by 50% at an altitude of about 5.6 km
(18,000 ft). For comparison: the highest mountain, Mount Everest, is higher, at 8.8 km, which is why it is
so difficult to climb without supplemental oxygen. This pressure drop is approximately exponential, so
that pressure decreases by approximately half every 5.6 km (whence about 50% of the total atmospheric
mass is within the lowest 5.6 km) and by 63.2 % (1 − 1 / e = 1 − 0.368 = 0.632) every 7.64 km, the
average scale height of Earth's atmosphere below 70 km. However, because of changes in temperature,
average molecular weight, and gravity throughout the atmospheric column, the dependence of
atmospheric pressure on altitude is modeled by separate equations for each of the layers listed above.

Even in the exosphere, the atmosphere is still present (as can be seen for example by the effects of
atmospheric drag on satellites).

The equations of pressure by altitude in the above references can be used directly to estimate atmospheric
thickness. However, the following published data are given for reference: [4]

• 50% of the atmosphere by mass is below an altitude of 5.6 km.
• 90% of the atmosphere by mass is below an altitude of 16 km. The common altitude of
commercial airliners is about 10 km.
• 99.99997% of the atmosphere by mass is below 100 km. The highest X-15 plane flight in 1963
reached an altitude of 354,300 ft (108.0 km).

Therefore, most of the atmosphere (99.9997%) is below 100 km, although in the rarefied region above
this there are auroras and other atmospheric effects.

[edit] Composition
Filtered air includes at least trace amounts of ten (or more) of the chemical elements. Substantial amounts
of argon, nitrogen, and oxygen are present as elementary gases, as well as hydrogen (and additional
oxygen) in water vapor (H2O). Much smaller or trace amounts of elementary helium, hydrogen, iodine,
krypton, neon, and xenon are also present, as well as carbon in carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and
carbon monoxide (CO). Many additional elements from natural sources may be present in tiny amounts in
an unfiltered air sample, including contributions from dust, pollen and spores, sea spray, vulcanism, and
meteoroids. Various industrial pollutants are also now present in the air, such as chlorine (elementary or
in compounds), fluorine (in compounds), elementary mercury, and sulfur (in compounds such as sulfur
dioxide [SO2]).

Composition of Earth's atmosphere as of Dec. 1987. The lower pie represents the least common gases that
compose 0.038% of the atmosphere. Values normalized for illustration.

Mean atmospheric water vapor

Composition of
dry atmosphere, by volume[5]

ppmv: parts per million by volume

Gas Volume

780,840 ppmv (78.084%)

209,460 ppmv (20.946%)

9,340 ppmv (0.9340%)
dioxide 383 ppmv (0.0383%)

18.18 ppmv (0.001818%)

5.24 ppmv (0.000524%)

1.745 ppmv (0.0001745%)

1.14 ppmv (0.000114%)

0.55 ppmv (0.000055%)

Not included in above dry atmosphere:

~0.40% over full atmosphere,
typically 1% to 4% near surface

Minor components of air not listed above
include[citation needed]

Gas Volume

0.3 ppmv (0.00003%)

xenon 0.09 ppmv (9x10-6%)

ozone 0.0 to 0.07 ppmv (0%-7x10-6%)
nitrogen 0.02 ppmv (2x10-6%)

iodine 0.01 ppmv (1x10-6%)

carbon trace

ammonia trace


The composition figures above are by volume-fraction (V%), which for
ideal gases is equal to mole-fraction (that is, the fraction of total molecules). Although the atmosphere is
not an ideal gas, nonetheless the atmosphere behaves enough like an ideal gas that the volume-fraction is
the same as the mole-fraction for the precision given.

By contrast, mass-fraction abundances of gases will differ from the volume values. The mean molar mass
of air is 28.97 g/mol, while the molar mass of helium is 4.00, and krypton is 83.80. Thus helium is 5.2
ppm by volume-fraction, but 0.72 ppm by mass-fraction ([4/29] × 5.2 = 0.72), and krypton is 1.1 ppm by
volume-fraction, but 3.2 ppm by mass-fraction ([84/29] × 1.1 = 3.2).

[edit] Heterosphere

Below the turbopause at an altitude of about 100 km (not far from the mesopause), the Earth's atmosphere
has a more-or-less uniform composition (apart from water vapor) as described above; this constitutes the
homosphere.[6] However, above about 100 km, the Earth's atmosphere begins to have a composition
which varies with altitude. This is essentially because, in the absence of mixing, the density of a gas falls
off exponentially with increasing altitude but at a rate which depends on the molar mass. Thus higher
mass constituents, such as oxygen and nitrogen, fall off more quickly than lighter constituents such as
helium, molecular hydrogen, and atomic hydrogen. Thus there is a layer, called the heterosphere, in
which the earth's atmosphere has varying composition. As the altitude increases, the atmosphere is
dominated successively by helium, molecular hydrogen, and atomic hydrogen. The precise altitude of the
heterosphere and the layers it contains varies significantly with temperature.

In pre-history, the Sun's radiation caused a loss of the hydrogen, helium and other hydrogen-containing
gases from early Earth, and Earth was devoid of an atmosphere. The first atmosphere was formed by
outgassing of gases trapped in the interior of the early Earth, which still goes on today in volcanoes.[7]

[edit] Density and mass

Earth's atmosphere from space
Temperature and mass density against altitude from the NRLMSISE-00 standard atmosphere model

The density of air at sea level is about 1.2 kg/m3 (1.2 g/L). Natural variations of the barometric pressure
occur at any one altitude as a consequence of weather. This variation is relatively small for inhabited
altitudes but much more pronounced in the outer atmosphere and space because of variable solar

The atmospheric density decreases as the altitude increases. This variation can be approximately modeled
using the barometric formula. More sophisticated models are used by meteorologists and space agencies
to predict weather and orbital decay of satellites.

The average mass of the atmosphere is about 5 quadrillion metric tons or 1/1,200,000 the mass of Earth.
According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, "The total mean mass of the atmosphere is
5.1480×1018 kg with an annual range due to water vapor of 1.2 or 1.5×1015 kg depending on whether
surface pressure or water vapor data are used; somewhat smaller than the previous estimate. The mean
mass of water vapor is estimated as 1.27×1016 kg and the dry air mass as 5.1352 ±0.0003×1018 kg."

[edit] Opacity

Rough plot of Earth's atmospheric transmittance (or
opacity) to various wavelengths of electromagnetic
radiation, including visible light

The atmosphere has "windows" of low opacity, allowing
the transmission of electromagnetic radiation. The optical
window runs from around 300 nanometers (ultraviolet-C)
at the short end up into the range the eye can use, the
visible spectrum at roughly 400–700 nm, and continues
up through the visual infrared to around 1100 nm, which is thermal infrared. There are also infrared and
radio windows that transmit some infrared and radio waves. The radio window runs from about one
centimeter to about eleven-meter waves.

[edit] Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere
See also: History of Earth and Gaia hypothesis

The history of the Earth's atmosphere prior to one billion years ago is poorly understood and an active
area of scientific research. The following discussion presents a plausible scenario.

The modern atmosphere is sometimes referred to as Earth's "third atmosphere", in order to distinguish the
current chemical composition from two notably different previous compositions. The original atmosphere
was primarily helium and hydrogen. Heat from the still-molten crust, and the sun, plus a probably
enhanced solar wind, dissipated this atmosphere.

About 4.4 billion years ago, the surface had cooled enough to form a crust, still heavily populated with
volcanoes which released steam, carbon dioxide, and ammonia. This led to the early "second
atmosphere", which was primarily carbon dioxide and water vapor, with some nitrogen but virtually no
oxygen. This second atmosphere had approximately 100 times as much gas as the current atmosphere, but
as it cooled much of the carbon dioxide was dissolved in the seas and precipitated out as carbonates. The
later "second atmosphere" contained largely nitrogen and carbon dioxide. However, simulations run at the
University of Waterloo and University of Colorado in 2005 suggest that it may have had up to 40%
hydrogen.[8] It is generally believed that the greenhouse effect, caused by high levels of carbon dioxide
and methane, kept the Earth from freezing.

One of the earliest types of bacteria was the cyanobacteria. Fossil evidence indicates that bacteria shaped
like these existed approximately 3.3 billion years ago and were the first oxygen-producing evolving
phototropic organisms. They were responsible for the initial conversion of the earth's atmosphere from an
anoxic state to an oxic state (that is, from a state without oxygen to a state with oxygen) during the period
2.7 to 2.2 billion years ago. Being the first to carry out oxygenic photosynthesis, they were able to
produce oxygen while sequestering carbon dioxide in organic molecules, playing a major role in
oxygenating the atmosphere.

Photosynthesising plants later evolved and continued releasing oxygen and sequestering carbon dioxide.
Over time, excess carbon became locked in fossil fuels, sedimentary rocks (notably limestone), and
animal shells. As oxygen was released, it reacted with ammonia to release nitrogen; in addition, bacteria
would also convert ammonia into nitrogen. But most of the nitrogen currently present in the atmosphere
results from sunlight-powered photolysis of ammonia released steadily over the aeons from volcanoes.

As more plants appeared, the levels of oxygen increased significantly, while carbon dioxide levels
dropped. At first the oxygen combined with various elements (such as iron), but eventually oxygen
accumulated in the atmosphere, contributing to Cambrian explosion and further evolution. With the
appearance of an ozone layer (ozone is an allotrope of oxygen) lifeforms were better protected from
ultraviolet radiation. This oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere is the "third atmosphere". Between 200 and 250
million years ago, up to 35% of the atmosphere was oxygen (as found in bubbles of ancient atmosphere
preserved in amber).

This modern atmosphere has a composition which is enforced by oceanic blue-green algae as well as
geological processes. O2 does not remain naturally free in an atmosphere but tends to be consumed (by
inorganic chemical reactions, and by animals, bacteria, and even land plants at night), and CO 2 tends to be
produced by respiration and decomposition and oxidation of organic matter. Oxygen would vanish within
a few million years by chemical reactions, and CO2 dissolves easily in water and would be gone in
millennia if not replaced. Both are maintained by biological productivity and geological forces seemingly
working hand-in-hand to maintain reasonably steady levels over millions of years.

Currently, anthropogenic greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere and this is a causative factor
in global warming.[9]

[edit] Air pollution

Before desulfurization filters were installed, the emissions from this power
plant in New Mexico contained excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide.
Main article: Air pollution

Air pollution is the human introduction into the atmosphere of chemicals,
particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living
organisms, or damages the environment.[10] Stratospheric ozone depletion is believed to be caused by air
pollution (chiefly from chlorofluorocarbons)
Worldwide air pollution is responsible for large numbers of deaths and cases of respiratory disease.
Enforced air quality standards, like the Clean Air Act in the United States, have reduced the presence of
some pollutants. While major stationary sources are often identified with air pollution, the greatest source
of emissions is actually mobile sources, principally the automobile[citation needed]. Gases such as carbon
dioxide, methane, and fluorocarbons contribute to global warming, and these gases, or excess amounts of
some emitted from fossil fuel burning, have recently been identified by the United States and many other
countries as pollutants.[citation needed]

[edit] Kyoto Protocol

Participation in the Kyoto Protocol, where dark green indicates countries that have signed and ratified the
treaty, yellow is signed, but not yet ratified, grey is not yet decided and red is no intention of ratifying.

As of April 2008, 178 states have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change, aimed at combating global warming.

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the international Framework Convention on Climate Change with the
objective of reducing greenhouse gases in an effort to prevent anthropogenic climate change.

It was adopted for use on 11 December 1997 by the 3rd Conference of the Parties, which was meeting in
Kyoto, and it entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of May 2008, 182 parties have ratified the
protocol.[11] Of these, 36 developed C.G. countries (plus the EU as a party in its own right) are required to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the levels specified for each of them in the treaty (representing over
61.6% of emissions from Annex I countries),[11][12] with three more countries intending to participate.[13]
One hundred thirty-seven (137) developing countries have ratified the protocol, including Brazil, China
and India, but have no obligation beyond monitoring and reporting emissions. The United States is the
only developed and industrialized western country that has not ratified the treaty but it is one of the
significant greenhouse gas emitters.

[edit] See also
Atmosphere portal

• Aerial perspective
• Air glow
• Airshed
• Atmosphere (for information on atmospheres in general)
• Atmospheric chemistry
• Atmospheric dispersion modeling
• Atmospheric electricity
• Atmospheric models
• Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) (in the U.S.)
• Atmospheric stratification
• Aviation
• Biosphere
• Compressed air
• Global dimming
• Historical temperature record
• Hydrosphere
• Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
• Lithosphere
• US Standard Atmosphere

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

This article is about the astronomical object. For other uses, see Star (disambiguation).

The Pleiades, an open cluster of stars in the constellation
of Taurus. NASA photo

A star is a massive, luminous ball of plasma that is held
together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is
the Sun, which is the source of most of the energy on
Earth. Other stars are visible in the night sky, when they
are not outshone by the Sun. For most of its life, a star
shines due to thermonuclear fusion in its core releasing
energy that traverses the star's interior and then radiates
into outer space. Almost all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were created by fusion processes
in stars.
Astronomers can determine the mass, age, chemical composition and many other properties of a star by
observing its spectrum, luminosity and motion through space. The total mass of a star is the principal
determinant in its evolution and eventual fate. Other characteristics of a star are determined by its
evolutionary history, including the diameter, rotation, movement and temperature. A plot of the
temperature of many stars against their luminosities, known as a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (H–R
diagram), allows the age and evolutionary state of a star to be determined.

A star begins as a collapsing cloud of material composed primarily of hydrogen, along with helium and
trace amounts of heavier elements. Once the stellar core is sufficiently dense, some of the hydrogen is
steadily converted into helium through the process of nuclear fusion.[1] The remainder of the star's interior
carries energy away from the core through a combination of radiative and convective processes. The star's
internal pressure prevents it from collapsing further under its own gravity. Once the hydrogen fuel at the
core is exhausted, those stars having at least 0.4 times the mass of the Sun[2] expand to become a red giant,
in some cases fusing heavier elements at the core or in shells around the core. The star then evolves into a
degenerate form, recycling a portion of the matter into the interstellar environment, where it will form a
new generation of stars with a higher proportion of heavy elements.[3]

Binary and multi-star systems consist of two or more stars that are gravitationally bound, and generally
move around each other in stable orbits. When two such stars have a relatively close orbit, their
gravitational interaction can have a significant impact on their evolution.[4] Stars can form part of a much
larger gravitationally bound structure, such as a cluster or a galaxy.

Contents Observation history
[hide] Historically, stars have been important to civilizations
throughout the world. They have been used in religious
• 1 Observation history practices and for celestial navigation and orientation. Many
• 2 Star designations ancient astronomers believed that stars were permanently
• 3 Units of measurement affixed to a heavenly sphere, and that they were immutable.
• 4 Formation and evolution By convention, astronomers grouped stars into
• 5 Distribution constellations and used them to track the motions of the
• 6 Characteristics planets and the inferred position of the Sun.[5] The motion
• 7 Radiation of the Sun against the background stars (and the horizon)
• 8 Classification was used to create calendars, which could be used to
• 9 Variable stars regulate agricultural practices.[6] The Gregorian calendar,
• 10 Structure currently used nearly everywhere in the world, is a solar
• 11 Nuclear fusion reaction pathways calendar based on the angle of the Earth's rotational axis
• 12 See also relative to the nearest star, the Sun.
• 13 References
• 14 Further reading The oldest accurately dated star chart appeared in Ancient
Egypt in 1,534 BCE.[7] Islamic astronomers gave to many
• 15 External links stars Arabic names which are still used today, and they
invented numerous astronomical instruments which could
compute the positions of the stars. In the 11th century, Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī described the Milky Way
galaxy as multitude of fragments having the properties of nebulous stars, and also gave the latitudes of
various stars during a lunar eclipse in 1019.[8]

In spite of the apparent immutability of the heavens, Chinese astronomers were aware that new stars could
appear.[9] Early European astronomers such as Tycho Brahe identified new stars in the night sky (later
termed novae), suggesting that the heavens were not immutable. In 1584 Giordano Bruno suggested that
the stars were actually other suns, and may have other planets, possibly even Earth-like, in orbit around
them,[10] an idea that had been suggested earlier by such ancient Greek philosophers as Democritus and
Epicurus.[11] By the following century the idea of the stars as distant suns was reaching a consensus among
astronomers. To explain why these stars exerted no net gravitational pull on the solar system, Isaac
Newton suggested that the stars were equally distributed in every direction, an idea prompted by the
theologian Richard Bentley.[12]

The Italian astronomer Geminiano Montanari recorded observing variations in luminosity of the star
Algol in 1667. Edmond Halley published the first measurements of the proper motion of a pair of nearby
"fixed" stars, demonstrating that they had changed positions from the time of the ancient Greek
astronomers Ptolemy and Hipparchus. The first direct measurement of the distance to a star (61 Cygni at
11.4 light-years) was made in 1838 by Friedrich Bessel using the parallax technique. Parallax
measurements demonstrated the vast separation of the stars in the heavens.[10]

William Herschel was the first astronomer to attempt to determine the distribution of stars in the sky.
During the 1780s, he performed a series of gauges in 600 directions, and counted the stars observed along
each line of sight. From this he deduced that the number of stars steadily increased toward one side of the
sky, in the direction of the Milky Way core. His son John Herschel repeated this study in the southern
hemisphere and found a corresponding increase in the same direction.[13] In addition to his other
accomplishments, William Herschel is also noted for his discovery that some stars do not merely lie along
the same line of sight, but are also physical companions that form binary star systems.

The science of stellar spectroscopy was pioneered by Joseph von Fraunhofer and Angelo Secchi. By
comparing the spectra of stars such as Sirius to the Sun, they found differences in the strength and number
of their absorption lines—the dark lines in a stellar spectra due to the absorption of specific frequencies
by the atmosphere. In 1865 Secchi began classifying stars into spectral types.[14] However, the modern
version of the stellar classification scheme was developed by Annie J. Cannon during the 1900s.

Observation of double stars gained increasing importance during the 19th century. In 1834, Friedrich
Bessel observed changes in the proper motion of the star Sirius, and inferred a hidden companion. Edward
Pickering discovered the first spectroscopic binary in 1899 when he observed the periodic splitting of the
spectral lines of the star Mizar in a 104 day period. Detailed observations of many binary star systems
were collected by astronomers such as William Struve and S. W. Burnham, allowing the masses of stars
to be determined from computation of the orbital elements. The first solution to the problem of deriving
an orbit of binary stars from telescope observations was made by Felix Savary in 1827.[15]

The twentieth century saw increasingly rapid advances in the scientific study of stars. The photograph
became a valuable astronomical tool. Karl Schwarzschild discovered that the color of a star, and hence its
temperature, could be determined by comparing the visual magnitude against the photographic magnitude.
The development of the photoelectric photometer allowed very precise measurements of magnitude at
multiple wavelength intervals. In 1921 Albert A. Michelson made the first measurements of a stellar
diameter using an interferometer on the Hooker telescope.[16]

Important conceptual work on the physical basis of stars occurred during the first decades of the twentieth
century. In 1913, the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram was developed, propelling the astrophysical study of
stars. Successful models were developed to explain the interiors of stars and stellar evolution. The spectra
of stars were also successfully explained through advances in quantum physics. This allowed the chemical
composition of the stellar atmosphere to be determined.[17]

With the exception of supernovae, individual stars have primarily been observed in our Local Group of
galaxies,[18] and especially in the visible part of the Milky Way (as demonstrated by the detailed star
catalogues available for our galaxy[19]). But some stars have been observed in the M100 galaxy of the
Virgo Cluster, about 100 million light years from the Earth.[20] In the Local Supercluster it is possible to
see star clusters, and current telescopes could in principle observe faint individual stars in the Local
Cluster—the most distant stars resolved have up to hundred million light years away[21] (see Cepheids).
However, outside the Local Supercluster of galaxies, neither individual stars nor clusters of stars have
been observed. The only exception is a faint image of a large star cluster containing hundreds of
thousands of stars located one billion light years away[22]—ten times the distance of the most distant star
cluster previously observed.

Star designations
Main articles: Star designation, Astronomical naming conventions, and Star catalogue

The concept of the constellation was known to exist during the Babylonian period. Ancient sky watchers
imagined that prominent arrangements of stars formed patterns, and they associated these with particular
aspects of nature or their myths. Twelve of these formations lay along the band of the ecliptic and these
became the basis of astrology. Many of the more prominent individual stars were also given names,
particularly with Arabic or Latin designations.

As well as certain constellations and the Sun itself, stars as a whole have their own myths.[23] They were
thought to be the souls of the dead or gods. An example is the star Algol, which was thought to represent
the eye of the Gorgon Medusa.

To the Ancient Greeks, some "stars," known as planets (Greek πλανήτης (planētēs), meaning "wanderer"),
represented various important deities, from which the names of the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter
and Saturn were taken.[23] (Uranus and Neptune were also Greek and Roman gods, but neither planet was
known in Antiquity because of their low brightness. Their names were assigned by later astronomers).

Circa 1600, the names of the constellations were used to name the stars in the corresponding regions of
the sky. The German astronomer Johann Bayer created a series of star maps and applied Greek letters as
designations to the stars in each constellation. Later the English astronomer John Flamsteed came up with
a system using numbers, which would later be known as the Flamsteed designation. Numerous additional
systems have since been created as star catalogues have appeared.

The only body which has been recognized by the scientific community as having the authority to name
stars or other celestial bodies is the International Astronomical Union (IAU).[24] A number of private
companies (for instance, the "International Star Registry") purport to sell names to stars; however, these
names are neither recognized by the scientific community nor used by them, [24] and many in the
astronomy community view these organizations as frauds preying on people ignorant of star naming

Units of measurement
Most stellar parameters are expressed in SI units by convention, but CGS units are also used (e.g.,
expressing luminosity in ergs per second). Mass, luminosity, and radii are usually given in solar units,
based on the characteristics of the Sun:

solar mass: kg[26] Large lengths, such as the radius of a giant star or the semi-major axis
solar luminosity: watts[26] of a binary star system, are often expressed in terms of the
solar radius: m[27] astronomical unit (AU)—approximately the mean distance between
the Earth and the Sun (150 million km or 93 million miles).
Formation and evolution
Main article: Stellar evolution

Stars are formed within extended regions of higher density in the interstellar medium, although the
density is still lower than the inside of an earthly vacuum chamber. These regions are called molecular
clouds and consist mostly of hydrogen, with about 23–28% helium and a few percent heavier elements.
One example of such a star-forming region is the Orion Nebula.[28] As massive stars are formed from
molecular clouds, they powerfully illuminate those clouds. They also ionize the hydrogen, creating an H
II region.

Protostar formation

Main article: Star formation

The formation of a star begins with a gravitational instability inside a molecular cloud, often triggered by
shockwaves from supernovae (massive stellar explosions) or the collision of two galaxies (as in a
starburst galaxy). Once a region reaches a sufficient density of matter to satisfy the criteria for Jeans
Instability it begins to collapse under its own gravitational force.

Artist's conception of the birth of a star within a dense
molecular cloud. NASA image

As the cloud collapses, individual conglomerations of
dense dust and gas form what are known as Bok
globules. These can contain up to 50 solar masses of
material. As a globule collapses and the density
increases, the gravitational energy is converted into heat
and the temperature rises. When the protostellar cloud
has approximately reached the stable condition of
hydrostatic equilibrium, a protostar forms at the core.[29]
These pre-main sequence stars are often surrounded by a protoplanetary disk. The period of gravitational
contraction lasts for about 10–15 million years.

Early stars of less than 2 solar masses are called T Tauri stars, while those with greater mass are Herbig
Ae/Be stars. These newly born stars emit jets of gas along
their axis of rotation, producing small patches of
nebulosity known as Herbig-Haro objects.[30]

Main sequence

Main article: Main sequence

Stars spend about 90% of their lifetime fusing hydrogen to
produce helium in high-temperature and high-pressure
reactions near the core. Such stars are said to be on the
main sequence and are called dwarf stars. Starting at zero-
age main sequence, the proportion of helium in a star's
core will steadily increase. As a consequence, in order to
maintain the required rate of nuclear fusion at the core, the star will slowly increase in temperature and
luminosity.[31] The Sun, for example, is estimated to have increased in luminosity by about 40% since it
reached the main sequence 4.6 billion years ago.[32]

Every star generates a stellar wind of particles that causes a continual outflow of gas into space. For most
stars, the amount of mass lost is negligible. The Sun loses 10−14 solar masses every year,[33] or about 0.01%
of its total mass over its entire lifespan. However very massive stars can lose 10 −7 to 10−5 solar masses
each year, significantly affecting their evolution.[34] Stars that begin with more than 50 solar masses can
lose over half their total mass while they remain on the main sequence.[35]

An example of a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram for a set of stars that includes the Sun (center). (See
"Classification" below.)

The duration that a star spends on the main sequence depends primarily on the amount of fuel it has to
fuse and the rate at which it fuses that fuel. In other words, its initial mass and its luminosity. For the Sun,
this is estimated to be about 1010 years. Large stars consume their fuel very rapidly and are short-lived.
Small stars (called red dwarfs) consume their fuel very slowly and last tens to hundreds of billions of
years. At the end of their lives, they simply become dimmer and dimmer. [2] However, since the lifespan of
such stars is greater than the current age of the universe (13.7 billion years), no such stars are expected to
exist yet.

Besides mass, the portion of elements heavier than helium can play a significant role in the evolution of
stars. In astronomy all elements heavier than helium are considered a "metal", and the chemical
concentration of these elements is called the metallicity. The metallicity can influence the duration that a
star will burn its fuel, control the formation of magnetic fields[36] and modify the strength of the stellar
wind.[37] Older, population II stars have substantially less metallicity than the younger, population I stars
due to the composition of the molecular clouds from which they formed. (Over time these clouds become
increasingly enriched in heavier elements as older stars die and shed portions of their atmospheres.)

Post-main sequence

As stars of at least 0.4 solar masses[2] exhaust their supply of hydrogen at their core, their outer layers
expand greatly and cool to form a red giant. For example, in about 5 billion years, when the Sun is a red
giant, it will expand out to a maximum radius of roughly 1 AU (150,000,000 km), 250 times its present
size. As a giant, the Sun will lose roughly 30% of its current mass.[32][38]

In a red giant of up to 2.25 solar masses, hydrogen fusion proceeds in a shell-layer surrounding the core.
Eventually the core is compressed enough to start helium fusion, and the star now gradually shrinks in
radius and increases its surface temperature. For larger stars, the core region transitions directly from
fusing hydrogen to fusing helium.[40]

After the star has consumed the helium at the core, fusion continues in a shell around a hot core of carbon
and oxygen. The star then follows an evolutionary path that parallels the
original red giant phase, but at a higher surface temperature.

Massive stars
Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star approaching the end of its life cycle

During their helium-burning phase, very high mass stars with more than nine solar masses expand to form
red supergiants. Once this fuel is exhausted at the core, they can continue to fuse elements heavier than

The core contracts until the temperature and pressure are sufficient to fuse carbon (see carbon burning
process). This process continues, with the successive stages being fueled by neon (see neon burning
process), oxygen (see oxygen burning process), and silicon (see silicon burning process). Near the end of
the star's life, fusion can occur along a series of onion-layer shells within the star. Each shell fuses a
different element, with the outermost shell fusing hydrogen; the next shell fusing helium, and so forth.[41]

The final stage is reached when the star begins producing iron. Since iron nuclei are more tightly bound
than any heavier nuclei, if they are fused they do not release energy—the process would, on the contrary,
consume energy. Likewise, since they are more tightly bound than all lighter nuclei, energy cannot be
released by fission.[39] In relatively old, very massive stars, a large core of inert iron will accumulate in the
center of the star. The heavier elements in these stars can work their way up to the surface, forming
evolved objects known as Wolf-Rayet stars that have a dense stellar wind which sheds the outer


An evolved, average-size star will now shed its outer layers as a planetary nebula. If what remains after
the outer atmosphere has been shed is less than 1.4 solar masses, it shrinks to a relatively tiny object
(about the size of Earth) that is not massive enough for further compression to take place, known as a
white dwarf.[42] The electron-degenerate matter inside a white dwarf is no longer a plasma, even though
stars are generally referred to as being spheres of plasma. White dwarfs will eventually fade into black
dwarfs over a very long stretch of time.

The Crab Nebula, remnants of a supernova that was first observed
around 1050 AD

In larger stars, fusion continues until the iron core has grown so large
(more than 1.4 solar masses) that it can no longer support its own mass.
This core will suddenly collapse as its electrons are driven into its
protons, forming neutrons and neutrinos in a burst of inverse beta decay,
or electron capture. The shockwave formed by this sudden collapse
causes the rest of the star to explode in a supernova. Supernovae are so
bright that they may briefly outshine the star's entire home galaxy. When they occur within the Milky
Way, supernovae have historically been observed by naked-eye observers as "new stars" where none
existed before.[43]

Most of the matter in the star is blown away by the supernovae explosion (forming nebulae such as the
Crab Nebula[43]) and what remains will be a neutron star (which sometimes manifests itself as a pulsar or
X-ray burster) or, in the case of the largest stars (large enough to leave a stellar remnant greater than
roughly 4 solar masses), a black hole.[44] In a neutron star the matter is in a state known as neutron-
degenerate matter, with a more exotic form of degenerate matter, QCD matter, possibly present in the
core. Within a black hole the matter is in a state that is not currently understood.
The blown-off outer layers of dying stars include heavy elements which may be recycled during new star
formation. These heavy elements allow the formation of rocky planets. The outflow from supernovae and
the stellar wind of large stars play an important part in shaping
the interstellar medium.[43]


A white dwarf star in orbit around Sirius (artist's impression).
NASA image

In addition to isolated stars, a multi-star system can consist of two or more gravitationally bound stars that
orbit around each other. The most common multi-star system is a binary star, but systems of three or more
stars are also found. For reasons of orbital stability, such multi-star systems are often organized into
hierarchical sets of co-orbiting binary stars.[45] Larger groups called star clusters also exist. These range
from loose stellar associations with only a few stars, up to enormous globular clusters with hundreds of
thousands of stars.

It has been a long-held assumption that the majority of stars occur in gravitationally bound, multiple-star
systems. This is particularly true for very massive O and B class stars, where 80% of the systems are
believed to be multiple. However the portion of single star systems increases for smaller stars, so that only
25% of red dwarfs are known to have stellar companions. As 85% of all stars are red dwarfs, most stars in
the Milky Way are likely single from birth.[46]

Stars are not spread uniformly across the universe, but are normally grouped into galaxies along with
interstellar gas and dust. A typical galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars, and there are more than
100 billion (1011) galaxies in the observable universe.[47] While it is often believed that stars only exist
within galaxies, intergalactic stars have been discovered.[48] Astronomers estimate that there are at least 70
sextillion (7×1022) stars in the observable universe.[49]

The nearest star to the Earth, apart from the Sun, is Proxima Centauri, which is 39.9 trillion (1012)
kilometres, or 4.2 light-years away. Light from Proxima Centauri takes 4.2 years to reach Earth.
Travelling at the orbital speed of the Space Shuttle (5 miles per second—almost 30,000 kilometres per
hour), it would take about 150,000 years to get there.[50] Distances like this are typical inside galactic
discs, including in the vicinity of the solar system.[51] Stars can be much closer to each other in the centres
of galaxies and in globular clusters, or much farther apart in galactic halos.

Due to the relatively vast distances between stars outside the galactic nucleus, collisions between stars are
thought to be rare. In denser regions such as the core of globular clusters or the galactic center, collisions
can be more common.[52] Such collisions can produce what are known as blue stragglers. These abnormal
stars have a higher surface temperature than the other main sequence stars with the same luminosity in the
cluster .[53]


The Sun is the nearest star to Earth
Almost everything about a star is determined by its initial mass, including essential characteristics such as
luminosity and size, as well as the star's evolution, lifespan, and eventual fate.


Most stars are between 1 billion and 10 billion years old. Some stars may even be close to 13.7 billion
years old—the observed age of the universe. The oldest star yet discovered, HE 1523-0901, is an
estimated 13.2 billion years old.[54]

The more massive the star, the shorter its lifespan, primarily because massive stars have greater pressure
on their cores, causing them to burn hydrogen more rapidly. The most massive stars last an average of
about one million years, while stars of minimum mass (red dwarfs) burn their fuel very slowly and last
tens to hundreds of billions of years.[55][56]

Chemical composition

See also: Metallicity

When stars form they are composed of about 70% hydrogen and 28% helium, as measured by mass, with
a small fraction of heavier elements. Typically the portion of heavy elements is measured in terms of the
iron content of the stellar atmosphere, as iron is a common element and its absorption lines are relatively
easy to measure. Because the molecular clouds where stars form are steadily enriched by heavier elements
from supernovae explosions, a measurement of the chemical composition of a star can be used to infer its
age.[57] The portion of heavier elements may also be an indicator of the likelihood that the star has a
planetary system.[58]

The star with the lowest iron content ever measured is the dwarf HE1327-2326, with only 1/200,000th the
iron content of the Sun.[59] By contrast, the super-metal-rich star μ Leonis has nearly double the abundance
of iron as the Sun, while the planet-bearing star 14 Herculis has nearly triple the iron.[60] There also exist
chemically peculiar stars that show unusual abundances of certain elements in their spectrum; especially
chromium and rare earth elements.[61]


Due to their great distance from the Earth, all stars except the Sun appear to the human eye as shining
points in the night sky that twinkle because of the effect of the Earth's atmosphere. The Sun is also a star,
but it is close enough to the Earth to appear as a disk instead, and to provide daylight. Other than the Sun,
the star with the largest apparent size is R Doradus, with an angular diameter of only 0.057 arcseconds.[62]

The disks of most stars are much too small in angular size to be observed with current ground-based
optical telescopes, and so interferometer telescopes are required in order to produce images of these
objects. Another technique for measuring the angular size of stars is through occultation. By precisely
measuring the drop in brightness of a star as it is occulted by the Moon (or the rise in brightness when it
reappears), the star's angular diameter can be computed.[63]

Stars range in size from neutron stars, which vary anywhere from 20 to 40 km in diameter, to supergiants
like Betelgeuse in the Orion constellation, which has a diameter approximately 650 times larger than the
Sun—about 0.9 billion kilometres. However, Betelgeuse has a much lower density than the Sun.[64]

Main article: Stellar kinematics

The motion of a star relative to the Sun can provide useful information about the origin and age of a star,
as well as the structure and evolution of the surrounding galaxy. The components of motion of a star
consist of the radial velocity toward or away from the Sun, and the traverse angular movement, which is
called its proper motion.

Radial velocity is measured by the doppler shift of the star's spectral lines, and is given in units of km/s.
The proper motion of a star is determined by precise astrometric measurements in units of milli-arc
seconds (mas) per year. By determining the parallax of a star, the proper motion can then be converted
into units of velocity. Stars with high rates of proper motion are likely to be relatively close to the Sun,
making them good candidates for parallax measurements.[65]

Once both rates of movement are known, the space velocity of the star relative to the Sun or the galaxy
can be computed. Among nearby stars, it has been found that population I stars have generally lower
velocities than older, population II stars. The latter have elliptical orbits that are inclined to the plane of
the galaxy.[66] Comparison of the kinematics of nearby stars has also led to the identification of stellar
associations. These are most likely groups of stars that share a common point of origin in giant molecular
clouds. [67]

Magnetic field

Main article: Stellar magnetic field

Surface magnetic field of SU Aur (a young star of T Tauri type),
reconstructed by means of Zeeman-Doppler imaging

The magnetic field of a star is generated within regions of the interior
where convective circulation occurs. This movement of conductive
plasma functions like a dynamo, generating magnetic fields that
extend throughout the star. The strength of the magnetic field varies
with the mass and composition of the star, and the amount of
magnetic surface activity depends upon the star's rate of rotation. This
surface activity produces starspots, which are regions of strong
magnetic fields and lower than normal surface temperatures. Coronal
loops are arching magnetic fields that reach out into the corona from active regions. Stellar flares are
bursts of high-energy particles that are emitted due to the same magnetic activity.[68]

Young, rapidly rotating stars tend to have high levels of surface activity because of their magnetic field.
The magnetic field can act upon a star's stellar wind, however, functioning as a brake to gradually slow
the rate of rotation as the star grows older. Thus, older stars such as the Sun have a much slower rate of
rotation and a lower level of surface activity. The activity levels of slowly rotating stars tend to vary in a
cyclical manner and can shut down altogether for periods.[69] During the Maunder minimum, for example,
the Sun underwent a 70-year period with almost no sunspot activity.

One of the most massive stars known is Eta Carinae,[70] with 100–150 times as much mass as the Sun; its
lifespan is very short—only several million years at most. A recent study of the Arches cluster suggests
that 150 solar masses is the upper limit for stars in the current era of the universe.[71] The reason for this
limit is not precisely known, but it is partially due to the
Eddington luminosity which defines the maximum amount of
luminosity that can pass through the atmosphere of a star
without ejecting the gases into space.

The reflection nebula NGC 1999 is brilliantly illuminated by
V380 Orionis (center), a variable star with about 3.5 times the
mass of the Sun. NASA image

The first stars to form after the Big Bang may have been larger,
up to 300 solar masses or more,[72] due to the complete absence
of elements heavier than lithium in their composition. This
generation of supermassive, population III stars is long extinct,
however, and currently only theoretical.

With a mass only 93 times that of Jupiter, AB Doradus C, a companion to AB Doradus A, is the smallest
known star undergoing nuclear fusion in its core.[73] For stars with similar metallicity to the Sun, the
theoretical minimum mass the star can have, and still undergo fusion at the core, is estimated to be about
75 times the mass of Jupiter.[74][75] When the metallicity is very low, however, a recent study of the faintest
stars found that the minimum star size seems to be about 8.3% of the solar mass, or about 87 times the
mass of Jupiter.[76][75] Smaller bodies are called brown dwarfs, which occupy a poorly defined grey area
between stars and gas giants.

The combination of the radius and the mass of a star determines the surface gravity. Giant stars have a
much lower surface gravity than main sequence stars, while the opposite is the case for degenerate,
compact stars such as white dwarfs. The surface gravity can influence the appearance of a star's spectrum,
with higher gravity causing a broadening of the absorption lines.[17]


Main article: Stellar rotation

The rotation rate of stars can be approximated through spectroscopic measurement, or more exactly
determined by tracking the rotation rate of starspots. Young stars can have a rapid rate of rotation greater
than 100 km/s at the equator. The B-class star Achernar, for example, has an equatorial rotation velocity
of about 225 km/s or greater, giving it an equatorial diameter that is more than 50% larger than the
distance between the poles. This rate of rotation is just below the critical velocity of 300 km/s where the
star would break apart.[77] By contrast, the Sun only rotates once every 25 – 35 days, with an equatorial
velocity of 1.994 km/s. The star's magnetic field and the stellar wind serve to slow down a main sequence
star's rate of rotation by a significant amount as it evolves on the main sequence.[78]

Degenerate stars have contracted into a compact mass, resulting in a rapid rate of rotation. However they
have relatively low rates of rotation compared to what would be expected by conservation of angular
momentum—the tendency of a rotating body to compensate for a contraction in size by increasing its rate
of spin. A large portion of the star's angular momentum is dissipated as a result of mass loss through the
stellar wind.[79] In spite of this, the rate of rotation for a pulsar can be very rapid. The pulsar at the heart of
the Crab nebula, for example, rotates 30 times per second.[80] The rotation rate of the pulsar will gradually
slow due to the emission of radiation.


The surface temperature of a main sequence star is determined by the rate of energy production at the core
and the radius of the star and is often estimated from the star's color index.[81] It is normally given as the
effective temperature, which is the temperature of an idealized black body that radiates its energy at the
same luminosity per surface area as the star. Note that the effective temperature is only a representative
value, however, as stars actually have a temperature gradient that decreases with increasing distance from
the core.[82] The temperature in the core region of a star is several million kelvins.[83]

The stellar temperature will determine the rate of energization or ionization of different elements,
resulting in characteristic absorption lines in the spectrum. The surface temperature of a star, along with
its visual absolute magnitude and absorption features, is used to classify a star (see classification below).

Massive main sequence stars can have surface temperatures of 50,000 K. Smaller stars such as the Sun
have surface temperatures of a few thousand degrees. Red giants have relatively low surface temperatures
of about 3,600 K, but they also have a high luminosity due to their large exterior surface area.[84]

The energy produced by stars, as a by-product of nuclear fusion, radiates into space as both
electromagnetic radiation and particle radiation. The particle radiation emitted by a star is manifested as
the stellar wind[85] (which exists as a steady stream of electrically charged particles, such as free protons,
alpha particles, and beta particles, emanating from the star’s outer layers) and as a steady stream of
neutrinos emanating from the star’s core.

The production of energy at the core is the reason why stars shine so brightly: every time two or more
atomic nuclei of one element fuse together to form an atomic nucleus of a new heavier element, gamma
ray photons are released from the nuclear fusion reaction. This energy is converted to other forms of
electromagnetic energy, including visible light, by the time it reaches the star’s outer layers.

The color of a star, as determined by the peak frequency of the visible light, depends on the temperature
of the star’s outer layers, including its photosphere.[86] Besides visible light, stars also emit forms of
electromagnetic radiation that are invisible to the human eye. In fact, stellar electromagnetic radiation
spans the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from the longest wavelengths of radio waves and infrared to
the shortest wavelengths of ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays. All components of stellar
electromagnetic radiation, both visible and invisible, are typically significant.

Using the stellar spectrum, astronomers can also determine the surface temperature, surface gravity,
metallicity and rotational velocity of a star. If the distance of the star is known, such as by measuring the
parallax, then the luminosity of the star can be derived. The mass, radius, surface gravity, and rotation
period can then be estimated based on stellar models. (Mass can be measured directly for stars in binary
systems. The technique of gravitational microlensing will also yield the mass of a star.[87]) With these
parameters, astronomers can also estimate the age of the star.[88]

In astronomy, luminosity is the amount of light, and other forms of radiant energy, a star radiates per unit
of time. The luminosity of a star is determined by the radius and the surface temperature. However, many
stars do not radiate a uniform flux—the amount of energy radiated per unit area—across their entire
surface. The rapidly rotating star Vega, for example, has a higher energy flux at its poles than along its

Surface patches with a lower temperature and luminosity than average are known as starspots. Small,
dwarf stars such as the Sun generally have essentially featureless disks with only small starspots. Larger,
giant stars have much bigger, much more obvious starspots,[90] and they also exhibit strong stellar limb
darkening. That is, the brightness decreases towards the edge of the stellar disk.[91] Red dwarf flare stars
such as UV Ceti may also possess prominent starspot features.[92]


Main articles: Apparent magnitude and Absolute magnitude

The apparent brightness of a star is measured by its apparent magnitude, which is the brightness of a star
with respect to the star’s luminosity, distance from Earth, and the altering of the star’s light as it passes
through Earth’s atmosphere. Intrinsic or absolute magnitude is what the apparent magnitude a star would
be if the distance between the Earth and the star were 10 parsecs (32.6 light-years), and it is directly
related to a star’s luminosity.

Number of stars brighter than Both the apparent and absolute magnitude scales are
magnitude logarithmic units: one whole number difference in
magnitude is equal to a brightness variation of about 2.5
times[94] (the 5th root of 100 or approximately 2.512). This
means that a first magnitude (+1.00) star is about 2.5 times
Apparent Number
brighter than a second magnitude (+2.00) star, and
magnitude of Stars[93]
approximately 100 times brighter than a sixth magnitude
(+6.00) star. The faintest stars visible to the naked eye
under good seeing conditions are about magnitude +6.
0 4
On both apparent and absolute magnitude scales, the
smaller the magnitude number, the brighter the star; the
1 15 larger the magnitude number, the fainter. The brightest
stars, on either scale, have negative magnitude numbers.
The variation in brightness between two stars is calculated
2 48 by subtracting the magnitude number of the brighter star
(mb) from the magnitude number of the fainter star (mf),
then using the difference as an exponent for the base
3 171 number 2.512; that is to say:

Δm = mf − mb
4 513 2.512Δm = variation in brightness

Relative to both luminosity and distance from Earth,
5 1,602 absolute magnitude (M) and apparent magnitude (m) are
not equivalent for an individual star;[94] for example, the
bright star Sirius has an apparent magnitude of −1.44, but
6 4,800 it has an absolute magnitude of +1.41.

7 14,000
The Sun has an apparent magnitude of −26.7, but its absolute magnitude is only +4.83. Sirius, the
brightest star in the night sky as seen from Earth, is approximately 23 times more luminous than the Sun,
while Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky with an absolute magnitude of −5.53, is
approximately 14,000 times more luminous than the Sun. Despite Canopus being vastly more luminous
than Sirius, however, Sirius appears brighter than Canopus. This is because Sirius is merely 8.6 light-
years from the Earth, while Canopus is much farther away at a distance of 310 light-years.

As of 2006, the star with the highest known absolute magnitude is LBV 1806-20, with a magnitude of
−14.2. This star is at least 5,000,000 times more luminous than the Sun.[95] The least luminous stars that
are currently known are located in the NGC 6397 cluster. The faintest red dwarfs in the cluster were
magnitude 26, while a 28th magnitude white dwarf was also discovered. These faint stars are so dim that
their light is as bright as a birthday candle on the Moon when viewed from the Earth.[96]

Main article: Stellar classification
Surface Temperature Ranges for
Different Stellar Classes[97] The current stellar classification system originated in the
early 20th century, when stars were classified from A to
Q based on the strength of the hydrogen line.[98] It was not
Class Temperature Sample star known at the time that the major influence on the line
strength was temperature; the hydrogen line strength
reaches a peak at around 9000 K, and is weaker at both
O 33,000 K or more Zeta Ophiuchi hotter and cooler temperatures. When the classifications
were reordered by temperature, it more closely resembled
the modern scheme.[99]
B 10,500–30,000 K Rigel
There are different single-letter classifications of stars
according to their spectra, ranging from type O, which are
very hot, to M, which are so cool that molecules may
A 7,500–10,000 K Altair
form in their atmospheres. The main classifications in
order of decreasing surface temperature are: O, B, A, F,
G, K, and M. A variety of rare spectral types have special
F 6,000–7,200 K Procyon A classifications. The most common of these are types L
and T, which classify the coldest low-mass stars and
brown dwarfs. Each letter has 10 sub-divisions, numbered
G 5,500–6,000 K Sun from 0 to 9, in order of decreasing temperature. However,
this system breaks down at extreme high temperatures:
class O0 and O1 stars may not exist.[100]
K 4,000–5,250 K Epsilon Indi
In addition, stars may be classified by the luminosity
effects found in their spectral lines, which correspond to
M 2,600–3,850 K Proxima Centauri their spatial size and is determined by the surface gravity.
These range from 0 (hypergiants) through III (giants) to V
(main sequence dwarfs) and VII (white dwarfs). Most
stars belong to the main sequence, which consists of ordinary hydrogen-burning stars. These fall along a
narrow, diagonal band when graphed according to their absolute magnitude and spectral type.[100] Our Sun
is a main sequence G2V yellow dwarf, being of intermediate temperature and ordinary size.
Additional nomenclature, in the form of lower-case letters, can follow the spectral type to indicate
peculiar features of the spectrum. For example, an "e" can indicate the presence of emission lines; "m"
represents unusually strong levels of metals, and "var" can mean variations in the spectral type.[100]

White dwarf stars have their own class that begins with the letter D. This
is further sub-divided into the classes DA, DB, DC, DO, DZ, and DQ,
depending on the types of prominent lines found in the spectrum. This is
followed by a numerical value that indicates the temperature index.[101]

Variable stars
Main article: Variable star

The asymmetrical appearance of Mira, an oscillating variable star. NASA HST image

Variable stars have periodic or random changes in luminosity because of intrinsic or extrinsic properties.
Of the intrinsically variable stars, the primary types can be subdivided into three principal groups.

During their stellar evolution, some stars pass through phases where they can become pulsating variables.
Pulsating variable stars vary in radius and luminosity over time, expanding and contracting with periods
ranging from minutes to years, depending on the size of the star. This category includes Cepheid and
cepheid-like stars, and long-period variables such as Mira.[102]

Eruptive variables are stars that experience sudden increases in luminosity because of flares or mass
ejection events.[102] This group includes protostars, Wolf-Rayet stars, and Flare stars, as well as giant and
supergiant stars.

Cataclysmic or explosive variables undergo a dramatic change in their properties. This group includes
novae and supernovae. A binary star system that includes a nearby white dwarf can produce certain types
of these spectacular stellar explosions, including the nova and a Type 1a supernova.[4] The explosion is
created when the white dwarf accretes hydrogen from the companion star, building up mass until the
hydrogen undergoes fusion.[103] Some novae are also recurrent, having periodic outbursts of moderate

Stars can also vary in luminosity because of extrinsic factors, such as eclipsing binaries, as well as
rotating stars that produce extreme starspots.[102] A notable example of an eclipsing binary is Algol, which
regularly varies in magnitude from 2.3 to 3.5 over a period of 2.87 days.

Main article: Stellar structure

The interior of a stable star is in a state of hydrostatic equilibrium: the forces on any small volume almost
exactly counterbalance each other. The balanced forces are inward gravitational force and an outward
force due to the pressure gradient within the star. The pressure gradient is established by the temperature
gradient of the plasma; the outer part of the star is cooler than the core. The temperature at the core of a
main sequence or giant star is at least on the order of 107 K. The resulting temperature and pressure at the
hydrogen-burning core of a main sequence star are sufficient for nuclear fusion to occur and for sufficient
energy to be produced to prevent further collapse of the star.[104][105]
As atomic nuclei are fused in the core, they emit
energy in the form of gamma rays. These photons
interact with the surrounding plasma, adding to the
thermal energy at the core. Stars on the main sequence
convert hydrogen into helium, creating a slowly but
steadily increasing proportion of helium in the core.
Eventually the helium content becomes predominant
and energy production ceases at the core. Instead, for
stars of more than 0.4 solar masses, fusion occurs in a
slowly expanding shell around the degenerate helium

In addition to hydrostatic equilibrium, the interior of a stable star will also maintain an energy balance of
thermal equilibrium. There is a radial temperature gradient throughout the interior that results in a flux of
energy flowing toward the exterior. The outgoing flux of energy leaving any layer within the star will
exactly match the incoming flux from below.

This diagram shows a cross-section of a solar-type star. NASA image

The radiation zone is the region within the stellar interior where radiative transfer is sufficiently efficient
to maintain the flux of energy. In this region the plasma will not be perturbed and any mass motions will
die out. If this is not the case, however, then the plasma becomes unstable and convection will occur,
forming a convection zone. This can occur, for example, in regions where very high energy fluxes occur,
such as near the core or in areas with high opacity as in the outer envelope.[105]

The occurrence of convection in the outer envelope of a main sequence star depends on the mass. Stars
with several times the mass of the Sun have a convection zone deep within the interior and a radiative
zone in the outer layers. Smaller stars such as the Sun are just the opposite, with the convective zone
located in the outer layers.[107] Red dwarf stars with less than 0.4 solar masses are convective throughout,
which prevents the accumulation of a helium core.[2] For most stars the convective zones will also vary
over time as the star ages and the constitution of the interior is modified.[105]

The portion of a star that is visible to an observer is called the photosphere. This is the layer at which the
plasma of the star becomes transparent to photons of light. From here, the energy generated at the core
becomes free to propagate out into space. It is within the photosphere that sun spots, or regions of lower
than average temperature, appear.

Above the level of the photosphere is the stellar atmosphere. In a main sequence star such as the Sun, the
lowest level of the atmosphere is the thin chromosphere region, where spicules appear and stellar flares
begin. This is surrounded by a transition region, where the temperature rapidly increases within a distance
of only 100 km. Beyond this is the corona, a volume of super-heated plasma that can extend outward to
several million kilometres.[108] The existence of a corona appears to be dependent on a convective zone in
the outer layers of the star.[107] Despite its high temperature, the corona emits very little light. The corona
region of the Sun is normally only visible during a solar eclipse.

From the corona, a stellar wind of plasma particles expands outward from the star, propagating until it
interacts with the interstellar medium. For the Sun, the influence of its solar wind extends throughout the
bubble-shaped region of the heliosphere.[109]
Nuclear fusion reaction pathways
Main article: Stellar nucleosynthesis

Overview of the proton-proton chain

The carbon-nitrogen-oxygen cycle

A variety of different nuclear fusion reactions take place inside the cores of stars, depending upon their
mass and composition, as part of stellar nucleosynthesis. The net mass of the fused atomic nuclei is
smaller than the sum of the constituents. This lost mass is converted into energy, according to the mass-
energy equivalence relationship E = mc².[1]

The hydrogen fusion process is temperature-sensitive, so a moderate increase in the core temperature will
result in a significant increase in the fusion rate. As a result the core temperature of main sequence stars
only varies from 4 million K for a small M-class star to 40 million K for a massive O-class star.[83]

In the Sun, with a 10 million K core, hydrogen fuses to form helium in the proton-proton chain reaction:

41H → 22H + 2e+ + 2νe (4.0 MeV + 1.0 MeV)
21H + 22H → 23He + 2γ (5.5 MeV)
23He → 4He + 21H (12.9 MeV)

These reactions result in the overall reaction:

41H → 4He + 2e+ + 2γ + 2νe (26.7 MeV)

where e+ is a positron, γ is a gamma ray photon, νe is a neutrino, and H and He are isotopes of hydrogen
and helium, respectively. The energy released by this reaction is in millions of electron volts, which is
actually only a tiny amount of energy. However enormous numbers of these reactions occur constantly,
producing all the energy necessary to sustain the star's
Minimum stellar mass required for fusion radiation output.
In more massive stars, helium is produced in a cycle of
reactions catalyzed by carbon—the carbon-nitrogen-
Element oxygen cycle.[110]
In evolved stars with cores at 100 million K and masses
between 0.5 and 10 solar masses, helium can be
Hydrogen 0.01 transformed into carbon in the triple-alpha process that
uses the intermediate element beryllium:[110]
Helium 0.4 4
He + 4He + 92 keV → 8*Be
He + 8*Be + 67 keV → 12*C
C → 12C + γ + 7.4 MeV
Carbon 5[111]
For an overall reaction of:

Neon 8
34He → 12C + γ + 7.2 MeV

In massive stars, heavier elements can also be burned in a contracting core through the neon burning
process and oxygen burning process. The final stage in the stellar nucleosynthesis process is the silicon
burning process that results in the production of the stable isotope iron-56. Fusion can not proceed any
further except through an endothermic process, and so further energy can only be produced through
gravitational collapse.[110]

The example below shows the amount of time required for a star of 20 solar masses to consume all of its
nuclear fuel. As an O-class main sequence star, it would be 8 times the solar radius and 62,000 times the
Sun's luminosity.[112]

See also
Fuel Temperature Density Burn duration
material (million kelvins) (kg/cm³) (τ in years) General topics
• Constellations • Stellar astronomy
• Lists of stars
H 37 0.0045 8.1 million • Timeline of stellar astronomy
• Star count
Types of stars
He • Blue188straggler 0.97 1.2 million • Main sequence star
• Bright giant • Neutron star
• Carbon star • Red dwarf
C • Giant870 star 170 976 • Red giant
• High-velocity star • Runaway star
• Hypergiant • Supergiant
Ne 1,570 3,100 0.6
• Hypervelocity star • Wolf-Rayet star
Types of former stars
O • Black Hole
1,980 5,550 1.25 • Magnetar
• Brown dwarf • Neutron star

S/Si• Hypernova
3,340 33,400 0.0315[113] • White dwarf
Types of hypothetical stars
• Black dwarf

Time and navigation

• Sidereal clock
• Star clocks
• Stellar navigation

• Nursery rhyme Twinkle twinkle little star • Stars in astrology

• Stars and planetary systems in fiction

History of the Earth
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from History of Earth)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the history of modern humans, see History of
the world.

Geological time put in a diagram called a geological
clock, showing the relative lengths of the eons of
the Earth's history.

The history of the Earth covers approximately 4.5
billion years (4,540,000,000 years),[1] from Earth’s
formation out of the solar nebula to the present.
This article presents a broad overview, summarizing
the leading, most current scientific theories.

[edit] Origin

• 1 Origin
• 2 Moon An
• 3 The Hadean eon artist's
• 4 Life
• 5 Cells
• 6 Photosynthesis and oxygen
• 7 Endosymbiosis and the three domains of life
• 8 Multicellularity impression of protoplanetary disk.
• 9 Colonization of land Main article: Formation and evolution of
• 10 Humanity the Solar System
• 11 Civilization
• 12 Recent events
The Earth formed as part of the birth of the Solar
• 13 See also
System: what eventually became the solar system
• 14 References

• 15 External links
initially existed as a large, rotating cloud of dust, rocks, and gas. It was composed of hydrogen and helium
produced in the Big Bang, as well as heavier elements ejected by supernovas. Then, as one theory
suggests, about 4.6 billion years ago a nearby star was destroyed in a supernova and the explosion sent a
shock wave through the solar nebula, causing it to gain angular momentum. As the cloud began to
accelerate its rotation, gravity and inertia flattened it into a protoplanetary disk oriented perpendicularly to
its axis of rotation. Most of the mass concentrated in the middle and began to heat up, but small
perturbations due to collisions and the angular momentum of other large debris created the means by
which protoplanets began to form.

The infall of material, increase in rotational speed and the crush of gravity created an enormous amount of
kinetic heat at the center. Its inability to transfer that energy away through any other process at a rate
capable of relieving the build-up resulted in the disk's center heating up. Ultimately, nuclear fusion of
hydrogen into helium began, and eventually, after contraction, a T Tauri star ignited to create the Sun.
Meanwhile, as gravity caused matter to condense around the previously perturbed objects outside of the
new sun's gravity grasp, dust particles and the rest of the protoplanetary disk began separating into rings.
Successively larger fragments collided with one another and became larger objects, ultimately destined to
become protoplanets.[2] These included one collection approximately 150 million kilometers from the
center: Earth. The planet formed about 4.54 billion years ago (within an uncertainty of 1%),[3][4][5][6] and
the planet was largely completed within 10–20 million years.[7] The solar wind of the newly formed T
Tauri star cleared out most of the material in the disk that had not already condensed into larger bodies.

[edit] Moon

Animation (not to scale) of Theia forming in Earth’s L5 point and then,
perturbed by gravity, colliding to help form the moon. The animation
progresses in one-year steps making Earth appear not to move. The view
is of the south pole.
Main articles: Origin and geologic evolution and Giant impact

The origin of the Moon is still uncertain, although much evidence exists
for the giant impact hypothesis. Earth may not have been the only planet
forming 150 million kilometers from the Sun. It is hypothesized that another collection occurred 150
million kilometers from both the Sun and the Earth, at their fourth or fifth Lagrangian point. This planet,
named Theia, is thought to have been smaller than the current Earth, probably about the size and mass of
Mars. Its orbit may at first have been stable, but destabilized as Earth increased its mass by the accretion
of more and more material. Theia swung back and forth relative to Earth until, finally, an estimated 4.533
billion years ago,[8] it collided at a low, oblique angle. The low speed and angle were not enough to
destroy Earth, but a large portion of its crust was ejected into space. Heavier elements from Theia sank to
Earth’s core, while the remaining material and ejecta condensed into a single body within a couple of
weeks. Under the influence of its own gravity, this became a more spherical body: the Moon. [9] The
impact is also thought to have changed Earth’s axis to produce the large 23.5° axial tilt that is responsible
for Earth’s seasons. (A simple, ideal model of the planets’ origins would have axial tilts of 0° with no
recognizable seasons.) It may also have sped up Earth’s rotation and initiated the planet’s plate tectonics.

[edit] The Hadean eon
Main article: Hadean
Volcanic eruptions would have been common in Earth's early days.

The early Earth, during the very early Hadean eon, was very different from the world known today. There
were no oceans and no oxygen in the atmosphere. It was bombarded by planetoids and other material left
over from the formation of the solar system. This bombardment, combined with heat from radioactive
breakdown, residual heat, and heat from the pressure of contraction, caused the planet at this stage to be
fully molten. During the iron catastrophe heavier elements sank to the center while lighter ones rose to the
surface producing the layered structure of the Earth and also setting up the formation of Earth's magnetic
field. Earth's early atmosphere would have comprised surrounding material from the solar nebula,
especially light gases such as hydrogen and helium, but the solar wind and Earth's own heat would have
driven off this atmosphere.

This changed when Earth was about 40% its present radius, and gravitational attraction allowed the
retention of an atmosphere which included water. Temperatures plummeted and the crust of the planet
was accumulated on a solid surface, with areas melted by large impacts on the scale of decades to
hundreds of years between impacts. Large impacts would have caused localized melting and partial
differentiation, with some lighter elements on the surface or released to the moist atmosphere.[10]

The surface cooled quickly, forming the solid crust within 150 million years;[11] although new research[12]
suggests that the actual number is 100 million years based on the level of hafnium found in the geology at
Jack Hills in Western Australia. From 4 to 3.8 billion years ago, Earth underwent a period of heavy
asteroidal bombardment.[13] Steam escaped from the crust while more gases were released by volcanoes,
completing the second atmosphere. Additional water was imported by bolide collisions, probably from
asteroids ejected from the outer asteroid belt under the influence of Jupiter's gravity. The planet cooled.
Clouds formed. Rain gave rise to the oceans within 750 million years (3.8 billion years ago), but probably
earlier. Recent evidence suggests the oceans may have begun forming by 4.2 billion years ago[14].[15] The
new atmosphere probably contained ammonia, methane, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen, as
well as smaller amounts of other gases. Any free oxygen would have been bound by hydrogen or minerals
on the surface. Volcanic activity was intense and, without an ozone layer to hinder its entry, ultraviolet
radiation flooded the surface.

[edit] Life

The replicator in virtually all known life is deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is far more complex than the
original replicator and its replication systems are highly elaborate.
Main article: Origin of life

The details of the origin of life are unknown though the broad principles have been established. Two
schools of thought regarding the origin of life have been proposed. The first suggests that organic
components may have arrived on Earth from space (see “Panspermia”), while the other argues for
terrestrial origins. The mechanisms by which life would initially arise are nevertheless held to be similar.
If life arose on Earth, the timing of this event is highly speculative—perhaps it arose around 4 billion
years ago.[17] In the energetic chemistry of early Earth, a molecule (or even something else) gained the
ability to make copies of itself–the replicator. The nature of this molecule is unknown, its function having
long since been superseded by life’s current replicator, DNA. In making copies of itself, the replicator did
not always perform accurately: some copies contained an “error.” If the change destroyed the copying
ability of the molecule, there could be no more copies, and the line would “die out.” On the other hand, a
few rare changes might make the molecule replicate faster or better: those “strains” would become more
numerous and “successful.” As choice raw materials (“food”) became depleted, strains which could
exploit different materials, or perhaps halt the progress of other strains and steal their resources, became
more numerous.[18]

Several different models have been proposed explaining how a replicator might have developed. Different
replicators have been posited, including organic chemicals such as modern proteins, nucleic acids,
phospholipids, crystals,[19] or even quantum systems.[20] There is currently no method of determining
which of these models, if any, closely fits the origin of life on Earth. One of the older theories, and one
which has been worked out in some detail, will serve as an example of how this might occur. The high
energy from volcanoes, lightning, and ultraviolet radiation could help drive chemical reactions producing
more complex molecules from simple compounds such as methane and ammonia.[21] Among these were
many of the relatively simple organic compounds that are the building blocks of life. As the amount of
this “organic soup” increased, different molecules reacted with one another. Sometimes more complex
molecules would result—perhaps clay provided a framework to collect and concentrate organic material.
The presence of certain molecules could speed up a chemical reaction. All this continued for a very
long time, with reactions occurring more or less at random, until by chance there arose a new molecule:
the replicator. This had the bizarre property of promoting the chemical reactions which produced a copy
of itself, and evolution began properly. Other theories posit a different replicator. In any case, DNA took
over the function of the replicator at some point; all known life (with the exception of some viruses and
prions) use DNA as their replicator, in an almost identical manner (see genetic code).

[edit] Cells

A small section of a cell membrane. This modern cell membrane is far
more sophisticated than the original simple phospholipid bilayer (the
small blue spheres with two tails). Proteins and carbohydrates serve
various functions in regulating the passage of material through the
membrane and in reacting to the environment.

Modern life has its replicating material packaged neatly inside a cellular membrane. It is easier to
understand the origin of the cell membrane than the origin of the replicator, since the phospholipid
molecules that make up a cell membrane will often form a bilayer spontaneously when placed in water.
Under certain conditions, many such spheres can be formed (see “The bubble theory”).[23] It is not known
whether this process preceded or succeeded the origin of the replicator (or perhaps it was the replicator).
The prevailing theory is that the replicator, perhaps RNA by this point (the RNA world hypothesis), along
with its replicating apparatus and maybe other biomolecules, had already evolved. Initial protocells may
have simply burst when they grew too large; the scattered contents may then have recolonized other
“bubbles.” Proteins that stabilized the membrane, or that later assisted in an orderly division, would have
promoted the proliferation of those cell lines. RNA is a likely candidate for an early replicator since it can
both store genetic information and catalyze reactions. At some point DNA took over the genetic storage
role from RNA, and proteins known as enzymes took over the catalysis role, leaving RNA to transfer
information and modulate the process. There is increasing belief that these early cells may have evolved
in association with underwater volcanic vents known as “black smokers”.[24] or even hot, deep rocks.[25]
However, it is believed that out of this multiplicity of cells, or protocells, only one survived. Current
evidence suggests that the last universal common ancestor lived during the early Archean eon, perhaps
roughly 3.5 billion years ago or earlier.[26],[27] This “LUCA” cell is the ancestor of all cells and hence all
life on Earth. It was probably a prokaryote, possessing a cell membrane and probably ribosomes, but
lacking a nucleus or membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria or chloroplasts. Like all modern
cells, it used DNA as its genetic code, RNA for information transfer and protein synthesis, and enzymes
to catalyze reactions. Some scientists believe that instead of a single organism being the last universal
common ancestor, there were populations of organisms exchanging genes in lateral gene transfer.[26]

[edit] Photosynthesis and oxygen

The harnessing of the sun’s energy led to several major changes in life
on Earth.

It is likely that the initial cells were all heterotrophs, using surrounding
organic molecules (including those from other cells) as raw material and
an energy source.[28] As the food supply diminished, a new strategy
evolved in some cells. Instead of relying on the diminishing amounts of
free-existing organic molecules, these cells adopted sunlight as an energy source. Estimates vary, but by
about 3 billion years ago[29], something similar to modern photosynthesis had probably developed. This
made the sun’s energy available not only to autotrophs but also to the heterotrophs that consumed them.
Photosynthesis used the plentiful carbon dioxide and water as raw materials and, with the energy of
sunlight, produced energy-rich organic molecules (carbohydrates).

Moreover, oxygen was produced as a waste product of photosynthesis. At first it became bound up with
limestone, iron, and other minerals. There is substantial proof of this in iron-oxide rich layers in
geological strata that correspond with this time period. The oceans would have turned to a green color
while oxygen was reacting with minerals. When the reactions stopped, oxygen could finally enter the
atmosphere. Though each cell only produced a minute amount of oxygen, the combined metabolism of
many cells over a vast period of time transformed Earth’s atmosphere to its current state.[30] Among the
oldest examples of oxygen-producing lifeforms are fossil Stromatolites.

This, then, is Earth’s third atmosphere. Some of the oxygen was stimulated by incoming ultraviolet
radiation to form ozone, which collected in a layer near the upper part of the atmosphere. The ozone layer
absorbed, and still absorbs, a significant amount of the ultraviolet radiation that once had passed through
the atmosphere. It allowed cells to colonize the surface of the ocean and ultimately the land: [31] without the
ozone layer, ultraviolet radiation bombarding the surface would have caused unsustainable levels of
mutation in exposed cells. Besides making large amounts of energy available to life-forms and blocking
ultraviolet radiation, the effects of photosynthesis had a third, major, and world-changing impact. Oxygen
was toxic; probably much life on Earth died out as its levels rose (the “Oxygen Catastrophe”).[31] Resistant
forms survived and thrived, and some developed the ability to use oxygen to enhance their metabolism
and derive more energy from the same food.

[edit] Endosymbiosis and the three domains of life
Main article: Endosymbiotic theory

Some of the pathways by which the various endosymbionts might have arisen.

Modern taxonomy classifies life into three domains. The time of the origin of these domains are
speculative. The Bacteria domain probably first split off from the other forms of life (sometimes called
Neomura), but this supposition is controversial. Soon after this, by 2 billion years ago, [32] the Neomura
split into the Archaea and the Eukarya. Eukaryotic cells (Eukarya) are larger and more complex than
prokaryotic cells (Bacteria and Archaea), and the origin of that complexity is only now coming to light.
Around this time period a bacterial cell related to today’s Rickettsia[33] entered a larger prokaryotic cell.
Perhaps the large cell attempted to ingest the smaller one but failed (maybe due to the evolution of prey
defenses). Perhaps the smaller cell attempted to parasitize the larger one. In any case, the smaller cell
survived inside the larger cell. Using oxygen, it was able to metabolize the larger cell’s waste products
and derive more energy. Some of this surplus energy was returned to the host. The smaller cell replicated
inside the larger one, and soon a stable symbiotic relationship developed. Over time the host cell acquired
some of the genes of the smaller cells, and the two kinds became dependent on each other: the larger cell
could not survive without the energy produced by the smaller ones, and these in turn could not survive
without the raw materials provided by the larger cell. Symbiosis developed between the larger cell and the
population of smaller cells inside it to the extent that they are considered to have become a single
organism, the smaller cells being classified as organelles called mitochondria. A similar event took place
with photosynthetic cyanobacteria[34] entering larger heterotrophic cells and becoming chloroplasts.[35],[36]
Probably as a result of these changes, a line of cells capable of photosynthesis split off from the other
eukaryotes some time before one billion years ago. There were probably several such inclusion events, as
the figure at right suggests. Besides the well-established endosymbiotic theory of the cellular origin of
mitochondria and chloroplasts, it has been suggested that cells gave rise to peroxisomes, spirochetes gave
rise to cilia and flagella, and that perhaps a DNA virus gave rise to the cell nucleus,[37],[38] though none of
these theories are generally accepted.[39] During this period, the supercontinent Columbia is believed to
have existed, probably from around 1.8 to 1.5 billion years ago; it is the oldest hypothesized

[edit] Multicellularity

Volvox aureus is believed to be similar to the first multicellular plants.

Archaeans, bacteria, and eukaryotes continued to diversify and to
become more sophisticated and better adapted to their environments.
Each domain repeatedly split into multiple lineages, although little is
known about the history of the archaea and bacteria. Around 1.1 billion
years ago, the supercontinent Rodinia was assembling.[41] The plant,
animal, and fungi lines had all split, though they still existed as solitary
cells. Some of these lived in colonies, and gradually some division of
labor began to take place; for instance, cells on the periphery might have
started to assume different roles from those in the interior. Although the division between a colony with
specialized cells and a multicellular organism is not always clear, around 1 billion years ago,[42] the first
multicellular plants emerged, probably green algae.[43] Possibly by around 900 million years ago,[44] true
multicellularity had also evolved in animals. At first it probably somewhat resembled that of today’s
sponges, where all cells were totipotent and a disrupted organism could reassemble itself.[45] As the
division of labor became more complete in all lines of multicellular organisms, cells became more
specialized and more dependent on each other; isolated cells would die. Many scientists believe that a
very severe ice age began around 770 million years ago, so severe that the surface of all the oceans
completely froze (Snowball Earth). Eventually, after 20 million years, enough carbon dioxide escaped
through volcanic outgassing that the resulting greenhouse effect raised global temperatures.[46] By around
the same time, 750 million years ago,[47] Rodinia began to break up.

[edit] Colonization of land
For most of Earth’s history, there were no multicellular organisms on land. Parts of the surface may have
vaguely resembled this view of Mars, one of Earth’s neighboring planets.[citation needed]

Oxygen accumulation from photosynthesis resulted in the formation of an ozone layer that absorbed much
of Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, meaning unicellular organisms that reached land were less likely to die, and
prokaryotes began to multiply and become better adapted to survival out of the water. Prokaryotes had
likely colonized the land as early as 2.6 billion years ago[48] even before the origin of the eukaryotes. For a
long time, the land remained barren of multicellular organisms. The supercontinent Pannotia formed
around 600 million years ago and then broke apart a short 50 million years later. [49] Fish, the earliest
vertebrates, evolved in the oceans around 530 million years ago.[50] A major extinction event occurred
near the end of the Cambrian period,[51] which ended 488 million years ago[52].

Several hundred million years ago, plants (probably resembling algae) and fungi started growing at the
edges of the water, and then out of it.[53] The oldest fossils of land fungi and plants date to 480–460
million years ago, though molecular evidence suggests the fungi may have colonized the land as early as
1000 million years ago and the plants 700 million years ago.[54] Initially remaining close to the water’s
edge, mutations and variations resulted in further colonization of this new environment. The timing of the
first animals to leave the oceans is not precisely known: the oldest clear evidence is of arthropods on land
around 450 million years ago[55], perhaps thriving and becoming better adapted due to the vast food source
provided by the terrestrial plants. There is also some unconfirmed evidence that arthropods may have
appeared on land as early as 530 million years ago[56]. At the end of the Ordovician period, 440 million
years ago, additional extinction events occurred, perhaps due to a concurrent ice age.[57] Around 380 to
375 million years ago, the first tetrapods evolved from fish.[58] It is thought that perhaps fins evolved to
become limbs which allowed the first tetrapods to lift their heads out of the water to breathe air. This
would let them survive in oxygen-poor water or pursue small prey in shallow water.[58] They may have
later ventured on land for brief periods. Eventually, some of them became so well adapted to terrestrial
life that they spent their adult lives on land, although they hatched in the water and returned to lay their
eggs. This was the origin of the amphibians. About 365 million years ago, another period of extinction
occurred, perhaps as a result of global cooling.[59] Plants evolved seeds, which dramatically accelerated
their spread on land, around this time (by approximately 360 million years ago).[60],[61]

Pangaea, the most recent supercontinent, existed from 300 to 180 million years ago. The outlines of the
modern continents and other land masses are indicated on this map.

Some 20 million years later (340 million years ago[62]), the amniotic egg evolved, which could be laid on
land, giving a survival advantage to tetrapod embryos. This resulted in the divergence of amniotes from
amphibians. Another 30 million years (310 million years ago[63]) saw the divergence of the synapsids
(including mammals) from the sauropsids (including birds and non-avian, non-mammalian reptiles).
Other groups of organisms continued to evolve and lines diverged—in fish, insects, bacteria, and so on—
but less is known of the details. 300 million years ago, the most recent hypothesized supercontinent
formed, called Pangaea. The most severe extinction event to date took place 250 million years ago, at the
boundary of the Permian and Triassic periods; 95% of life on Earth died out,[64] possibly due to the
Siberian Traps volcanic event. The discovery of the Wilkes Land crater in Antarctica may suggest a
connection with the Permian-Triassic extinction, but the age of that crater is not known. [65] But life
persevered, and around 230 million years ago [66], dinosaurs split off from their reptilian ancestors. An
extinction event between the Triassic and Jurassic periods 200 million years ago spared many of the
dinosaurs,[67] and they soon became dominant among the vertebrates. Though some of the mammalian
lines began to separate during this period, existing mammals were probably all small animals resembling
shrews.[68] By 180 million years ago, Pangaea broke up into Laurasia and Gondwana. The boundary
between avian and non-avian dinosaurs is not clear, but Archaeopteryx, traditionally considered one of the
first birds, lived around 150 million years ago.[69] The earliest evidence for the angiosperms evolving
flowers is during the Cretaceous period, some 20 million years later (132 million years ago) [70]
Competition with birds drove many pterosaurs to extinction, and the dinosaurs were probably already in
decline for various reasons[71] when, 65 million years ago, a 10-kilometer meteorite likely struck Earth just
off the Yucatán Peninsula, ejecting vast quantities of particulate matter and vapor into the air that
occluded sunlight, inhibiting photosynthesis. Most large animals, including the non-avian dinosaurs,
became extinct.[72] marking the end of the Cretaceous period and Mesozoic era. Thereafter, in the
Paleocene epoch, mammals rapidly diversified, grew larger, and became the dominant vertebrates.
Perhaps a couple of million years later (around 63 million years ago), the last common ancestor of
primates lived.[73] By the late Eocene epoch, 34 million years ago, some terrestrial mammals had returned
to the oceans to become animals such as Basilosaurus which later gave rise to dolphins and whales.[74]

[edit] Humanity

Australopithecus africanus, an early hominid.
Main article: Human evolution

A small African ape living around six million years ago was the last
animal whose descendants would include both modern humans and their
closest relatives, the bonobos, and chimpanzees.[75] Only two branches of
its family tree have surviving descendants. Very soon after the split, for
reasons that are still debated, apes in one branch developed the ability to
walk upright.[76] Brain size increased rapidly, and by 2 million years ago,
the very first animals classified in the genus Homo had appeared.[77] Of course, the line between different
species or even genera is rather arbitrary as organisms continuously change over generations. Around the
same time, the other branch split into the ancestors of the common chimpanzee and the ancestors of the
bonobo as evolution continued simultaneously in all life forms.[75] The ability to control fire likely began
in Homo erectus (or Homo ergaster), probably at least 790,000 years ago[78] but perhaps as early as 1.5
million years ago.[79] In addition it has sometimes suggested that the use and discovery of controlled fire
may even predate Homo erectus. Fire was possibly used by the early Lower Paleolithic (Oldowan)
hominid Homo habilis and/or by robust australopithecines such as Paranthropus.[80] However it is more
difficult to establish the origin of language; it is unclear whether Homo erectus could speak or if that
capability had not begun until Homo sapiens.[81] As brain size increased, babies were born sooner, before
their heads grew too large to pass through the pelvis. As a result, they exhibited more plasticity, and thus
possessed an increased capacity to learn and required a longer period of dependence. Social skills became
more complex, language became more advanced, and tools became more elaborate. This contributed to
further cooperation and brain development.[82] Anatomically modern humans — Homo sapiens — are
believed to have originated somewhere around 200,000 years ago or earlier in Africa; the oldest fossils
date back to around 160,000 years ago.[83] The first humans to show evidence of spirituality are the
Neanderthals (usually classified as a separate species with no surviving descendants); they buried their
dead, often apparently with food or tools.[84] However, evidence of more sophisticated beliefs, such as the
early Cro-Magnon cave paintings (probably with magical or religious significance)[85] did not appear until
some 32,000 years ago.[86] Cro-Magnons also left behind stone figurines such as Venus of Willendorf,
probably also signifying religious belief.[85] By 11,000 years ago, Homo sapiens had reached the southern
tip of South America, the last of the uninhabited continents (except for Antartica, which remained
undiscovered until 1820 AD) .[87] Tool use and language continued to improve; interpersonal relationships
became more complex.

[edit] Civilization
Main article: History of the world

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci epitomizes the advances in art and
science seen during the Renaissance.

Throughout more than 90% of its history, Homo sapiens lived in small
bands as nomadic hunter-gatherers.[88] As language became more
complex, the ability to remember and transmit information resulted in a
new sort of replicator: the meme.[89] Ideas could be rapidly exchanged
and passed down the generations. Cultural evolution quickly outpaced
biological evolution, and history proper began. Somewhere between
8500 and 7000 BC, humans in the Fertile Crescent in Middle East began
the systematic husbandry of plants and animals: agriculture.[90] This
spread to neighboring regions, and also developed independently
elsewhere, until most Homo sapiens lived sedentary lives in permanent
settlements as farmers. Not all societies abandoned nomadism, especially those in isolated areas of the
globe poor in domesticable plant species, such as Australia.[91] However, among those civilizations that
did adopt agriculture, the relative security and increased productivity provided by farming allowed the
population to expand. Agriculture had a major impact; humans began to affect the environment as never
before. Surplus food allowed a priestly or governing class to arise, followed by increasing division of
labor. This led to Earth’s first civilization at Sumer in the Middle East, between 4000 and 3000 BC.[92]
Additional civilizations quickly arose in ancient Egypt, at the Indus River valley and in China.

Starting around 3000 BC, Hinduism, one of the oldest religions still practiced today, began to take form.
Others soon followed. The invention of writing enabled complex societies to arise: record-keeping and
libraries served as a storehouse of knowledge and increased the cultural transmission of information.
Humans no longer had to spend all their time working for survival—curiosity and education drove the
pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. Various disciplines, including science (in a primitive form), arose.
New civilizations sprang up, traded with one another, and engaged in war for territory and resources:
empires began to form. By around 500 BC, there were empires in the Middle East, Iran, India, China, and
Greece, approximately on equal footing; at times one empire expanded, only to decline or be driven back

In the fourteenth century, the Renaissance began in Italy with advances in religion, art, and science.[95]
Starting around 1500, European civilization began to undergo changes leading to the scientific and
industrial revolutions: that continent began to exert political and cultural dominance over human societies
around the planet.[96] From 1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945, nations around the world were embroiled in
world wars. Established following World War I, the League of Nations was a first step in establishing
international institutions to resolve disputes peacefully; after its failure to prevent World War II and the
subsequent end of the conflict it was replaced by the United Nations. In 1992, several European nations
joined together in the European Union. As transportation and communication improved, the economies
and political affairs of nations around the world have become increasingly intertwined. This globalization
has often produced discord, although increased collaboration has resulted as well.

Further information: History of Africa, History of the Americas, History of
Antarctica, and History of Eurasia

[edit] Recent events
Main article: Modern era
Four and a half billion years after the planet's formation, one of Earth’s
life forms broke free of the biosphere. For the first time in history, Earth
was viewed first hand from the vantage of space.

Change has continued at a rapid pace from the mid-1940s to today.
Technological developments include nuclear weapons, computers,
genetic engineering, and nanotechnology. Economic globalization
spurred by advances in communication and transportation technology
has influenced everyday life in many parts of the world. Cultural and
institutional forms such as democracy, capitalism, and environmentalism have increased influence. Major
concerns and problems such as disease, war, poverty, violent radicalism, and more recently, global
warming have risen as the world population increases.

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite into orbit and, soon afterward, Yuri Gagarin
became the first human in space. Neil Armstrong, an American, was the first to set foot on another
astronomical object, the Earth's Moon. Unmanned probes have been sent to all the major planets in the
solar system, with some (such as Voyager) having left the solar system. The Soviet Union and the United
States of America were the primary early leaders in space exploration in the 20th Century. Five space
agencies, representing over fifteen countries,[97] have worked together to build the International Space
Station. Aboard it, there has been a continuous human presence in space since 2000.[98]

See also: Modernity and Future

[edit] See also
• Timeline of the Big Bang
• Geologic time scale
• Timeline of evolution
• Detailed logarithmic timeline
• Natural history
• History of the world
• End of civilization
• Timetable of the Precambrian
• Geological history of Earth

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
"Life on Earth" redirects here. For other uses, see Life on Earth (TV series).
See also: Organism (philosophy)
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2007)
Life on Earth
Fossil range: Late Hadean - Recent

These Escherichia
coli cells provide
an example of a

Scientific classification
(unranked): Life on Earth (Gaeabionta)
Domains and Kingdoms
• Cellular life
o Bacteria
o Neomura
 Archaea
 Eukarya
 Bikonta
 Rhizaria
 Excavata
 Chromalveolata
 Plantae
 Unikonta
 Amoebozoa
 Fungi
 Animalia

• Non-cellular life (viruses) **

In biology, an organism is a living thing (such as animal, plant, fungus, or micro-organism). In at least
some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and
maintenance of homeostasis as a stable whole. An organism may either be unicellular (single-celled) or be
composed of, as in humans, many billions of cells grouped into specialized tissues and organs. The term
multicellular (many-celled) describes any organism made up of more than one cell.

The term "organism" (Greek ὀργανισμός - organismos, from Ancient Greek ὄργανον - organon "organ,
instrument, tool") first appeared in the English language in 1701 and took on its current definition by
1834 (Oxford English Dictionary).
Organisms may be divided into the prokaryotic and eukaryotic groups. The prokaryotes represent two
separate domains, the Bacteria and Archaea.[1] All fungi, animals and plants are eukaryotes.

The word "organism" may broadly be defined as an assembly of molecules that function as a more or less
stable whole and has the properties of life. However, many sources propose definitions that exclude
viruses and theoretically-possible man-made non-organic life forms.[2] Viruses are dependent on the
biochemical machinery of a host cell for reproduction.

Chambers Online Reference provides a broad definition: "any living structure, such as a plant, animal,
fungus or bacterium, capable of growth and reproduction"[3].

In multicellular life the word "organism" usually describes the whole hierarchical assemblage of systems
(for example circulatory, digestive, or reproductive) themselves collections of organs; these are, in turn,
collections of tissues, which are themselves made of cells. In some plants and the nematode
Caenorhabditis elegans, individual cells are totipotent.

A polypore mushroom has parasitic
relationship with its host

An ericoid mycorrhizal fungus

Herpes simplex virus
[hide] Viruses

• 1 Viruses Viruses are not
• 2 Superorganism typically considered to be organisms
• 3 Organizational terminology because they are incapable of
• 4 Chemistry "independent" reproduction or
o 4.1 Macromolecules metabolism. This controversy is
• 5 Structure problematic, though, since some
o 5.1 The cell parasites and endosymbionts are also
• 6 Life span incapable of independent life.
• 7 Evolution Although viruses have a few enzymes
o 7.1 History of life and molecules characteristic of living
organisms, they are incapable of
o 7.2 Horizontal gene transfer, and the history of life
• 8 References reproducing outside a host cell and
most of their metabolic processes
require a host and its 'genetic
• 9 External links
machinery' such as organelles in
eukaryotic hosts and the assemblage of ready-made enzymes (which the virus cannot make by itself) in
prokaryotic hosts. While viruses sustain no independent metabolism, and thus are usually not accounted
organisms, they do have their own genes and they do evolve by the same mechanisms by which
organisms evolve.

[edit] Superorganism
Main article: Superorganism

A superorganism is an organism consisting of many organisms. This is usually meant to be a social unit of
eusocial animals, where division of labor is highly specialized and where individuals are not able to
survive by themselves for extended periods of time. Ants are the most well known example of such a
superorganism. Thermoregulation, a feature usually exhibited by individual organisms, does not occur in
individuals or small groups of honeybees of the species Apis mellifera. When these bees pack together in
clusters of between 5000 and 40000, the colony can thermoregulate. [4] James Lovelock, with his "Gaia
Theory" has paralleled the work of Vladimir Vernadsky, who suggested the whole of the biosphere in
some respects can be considered as a superorganism.

A sea sponge is a very simple type of multicellular organism

The concept of superorganism is under dispute, as many biologists maintain
that in order for a social unit to be considered an organism by itself, the
individuals should be in permanent physical connection to each other, and
its evolution should be governed by selection to the whole society instead of
individuals. While it's generally accepted that the society of eusocial
animals is a unit of natural selection to at least some extent, most
evolutionists claim that the individuals are still the primary units of

The question remains "What is to be considered the individual?".
Darwinians like Richard Dawkins suggest that the individual selected is the
"Selfish Gene". Others believe it is the whole genome of an organism. E.O. Wilson has shown that with
ant-colonies and other social insects it is the breeding entity of the colony that is selected, and not its
individual members. This could apply to the bacterial members of a stromatolite, which, because of
genetic sharing, in some way comprise a single gene pool. Gaian theorists like Lynn Margulis would
argue this applies equally to the symbiogenesis of the bacterial underpinnings of the whole of the Earth.

It would appear, from computer simulations like Daisyworld that biological selection occurs at multiple
levels simultaneously.

It is also argued that humans are actually a superorganism that includes microorganisms such as bacteria.
It is estimated that "the human intestinal microbiota is composed of 1013 to 1014 microorganisms whose
collective genome ("microbiome") contains at least 100 times as many genes as our own[...] Our
microbiome has significantly enriched metabolism of glycans, amino acids, and xenobiotics;
methanogenesis; and 2-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate pathway–mediated biosynthesis of vitamins and
isoprenoids. Thus, humans are superorganisms whose metabolism represents an amalgamation of
microbial and human attributes." [5]. An NIH-coordinated and -funded effort is currently in progress to
characterize the human microbiome.

[edit] Organizational terminology
All organisms are classified by the science of alpha taxonomy into either taxa or clades.

Taxa are ranked groups of organisms which run from the general (domain) to the specific (species). A
broad scheme of ranks in hierarchical order is:
• Domain
• Kingdom
• Phylum
• Class
• Order
• Family
• Genus
• Species

To give an example, Homo sapiens is the Latin binomial equating to modern humans. All members of the
species sapiens are, at least in theory, genetically able to interbreed. Several species may belong to a
genus, but the members of different species within a genus are unable to interbreed to produce fertile
offspring. Homo, however, only has one surviving species (sapiens); Homo erectus, Homo
neanderthalensis, &c. having become extinct thousands of years ago. Several genera belong to the same
family and so on up the hierarchy. Eventually, the relevant kingdom (Animalia, in the case of humans) is
placed into one of the three domains depending upon certain genetic and structural characteristics.

All living organisms known to science are given classification by this
system such that the species within a particular family are more closely
related and genetically similar than the species within a particular

A crab is an example of an organism.

[edit] Chemistry
Organisms are complex chemical systems, organized in ways that promote reproduction and some
measure of sustainability or survival. The molecular phenomena of chemistry are fundamental in
understanding organisms, but it is a philosophical error (reductionism) to reduce organismal biology to
mere chemistry. It is generally the phenomena of entire organisms that determine their fitness to an
environment and therefore the survivability of their DNA based genes.

Organisms clearly owe their origin, metabolism, and many other internal functions to chemical
phenomena, especially the chemistry of large organic molecules. Organisms are complex systems of
chemical compounds which, through interaction with each other and the environment, play a wide variety
of roles.

Organisms are semi-closed chemical systems. Although they are individual units of life (as the definition
requires) they are not closed to the environment around them. To operate they constantly take in and
release energy. Autotrophs produce usable energy (in the form of organic compounds) using light from
the sun or inorganic compounds while heterotrophs take in organic compounds from the environment.

The primary chemical element in these compounds is carbon. The physical properties of this element such
as its great affinity for bonding with other small atoms, including other carbon atoms, and its small size
makes it capable of forming multiple bonds, make it ideal as the basis of organic life. It is able to form
small compounds containing three atoms (such as carbon dioxide) as well as large chains of many
thousands of atoms which are able to store data (nucleic acids), hold cells together and transmit
information (protein).
[edit] Macromolecules

The compounds which make up organisms may be divided into macromolecules and other, smaller
molecules. The four groups of macromolecule are nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.
Nucleic acids (specifically deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA) store genetic data as a sequence of
nucleotides. The particular sequence of the four different types of nucleotides (adenine, cytosine, guanine,
and thymine) dictate the many characteristics which constitute the organism. The sequence is divided up
into codons, each of which is a particular sequence of three nucleotides and corresponds to a particular
amino acid. Thus a sequence of DNA codes for a particular protein which, due to the chemical properties
of the amino acids of which it is made, folds in a particular manner and so performs a particular function.

The following functions of protein have been recognized:

1. Enzymes, which catalyze all of the reactions of metabolism;
2. Structural proteins, such as tubulin, or collagen;
3. Regulatory proteins, such as transcription factors or cyclins that regulate the cell cycle;
4. Signaling molecules or their receptors such as some hormones and their receptors;
5. Defensive proteins, which can include everything from antibodies of the immune system, to toxins
(e.g., dendrotoxins of snakes), to proteins that include unusual amino acids like canavanine.

Lipids make up the membrane of cells which constitutes a barrier, containing everything within the cell
and preventing compounds from freely passing into, and out of, the cell. In some multi-cellular organisms
they serve to store energy and mediate communication between cells. Carbohydrates also store and
transport energy in some organisms, but are more easily broken down than lipids.

[edit] Structure
All organisms consist of monomeric units called cells; some contain a single cell (unicellular) and others
contain many units (multicellular). Multicellular organisms are able to specialize cells to perform specific
functions, a group of such cells is tissue the four basic types of which are epithelium, nervous tissue,
muscle tissue and connective tissue. Several types of tissue work together in the form of an organ to
produce a particular function (such as the pumping of the blood by the heart, or as a barrier to the
environment as the skin). This pattern continues to a higher level with several organs functioning as an
organ system to allow for reproduction, digestion, &c. Many multicelled organisms comprise of several
organ systems which coordinate to allow for life.

[edit] The cell

The cell theory, first developed in 1839 by Schleiden and Schwann, states that all organisms are
composed of one or more cells; all cells come from preexisting cells; all vital functions of an organism
occur within cells, and cells contain the hereditary information necessary for regulating cell functions and
for transmitting information to the next generation of cells.

There are two types of cells, eukaryotic and prokaryotic. Prokaryotic cells are usually singletons, while
eukaryotic cells are usually found in multi-cellular organisms. Prokaryotic cells lack a nuclear membrane
so DNA is unbound within the cell, eukaryotic cells have nuclear membranes.

All cells, whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, have a membrane, which envelopes the cell, separates its
interior from its environment, regulates what moves in and out, and maintains the electric potential of the
cell. Inside the membrane, a salty cytoplasm takes up most of the cell volume. All cells possess DNA, the
hereditary material of genes, and RNA, containing the information necessary to build various proteins
such as enzymes, the cell's primary machinery. There are also other kinds of biomolecules in cells.

All cells share several abilities[6]:

• Reproduction by cell division (binary fission, mitosis or meiosis).
• Use of enzymes and other proteins coded for by DNA genes and made via messenger RNA
intermediates and ribosomes.
• Metabolism, including taking in raw materials, building cell components, converting energy,
molecules and releasing by-products. The functioning of a cell depends upon its ability to extract
and use chemical energy stored in organic molecules. This energy is derived from metabolic
• Response to external and internal stimuli such as changes in temperature, pH or nutrient levels.
• Cell contents are contained within a cell surface membrane that contains proteins and a lipid

[edit] Life span
One of the basic parameters of organism is its life span. Some organisms live as short as one day, while
some plants can live thousands of years. Aging is important when determining life span of most
organisms, bacterium, a virus or even a prion.[citation needed]

[edit] Evolution
See also: Common descent and Origin of life

A hypothetical phylogenetic tree of all extant organisms, based on 16S rRNA gene sequence data,
showing the evolutionary history of the three domains of life, bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. Originally
proposed by Carl Woese.

In biology, the theory of universal common descent proposes that all organisms on Earth are descended
from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool.

Modern eukaryotic taxonomy.

Evidence for common descent may be found in traits shared between all living organisms. In Darwin's
day, the evidence of shared traits was based solely on visible observation of morphologic similarities,
such as the fact that all birds have wings, even those which do not fly. Today, there is strong evidence
from genetics that all organisms have a common ancestor. For example, every living cell makes use of
nucleic acids as its genetic material, and uses the same twenty amino acids as the building blocks for
proteins. The universality of these traits strongly suggests common ancestry.

The "Last Universal Ancestor" is the name given to the hypothetical single cellular organism or single cell
that gave rise to all life on Earth 3.9 to 4.1 billion years ago; however, this hypothesis has since been
refuted on many grounds.[citation needed] For example, it was once thought that the genetic code was universal
(see: universal genetic code), but differences in the genetic code and differences in how each organism
translates nucleic acid sequences into proteins, provide support that there never was any "last universal
common ancestor."[citation needed] Back in the early 1970s, evolutionary biologists thought that a given piece
of DNA specified the same protein subunit in every living thing, and that the genetic code was thus
universal. Since this is something unlikely to happen by chance, it was interpreted as evidence that every
organism had inherited its genetic code from a single common ancestor, aka., the "Last Universal
Ancestor." In 1979, however, exceptions to the code were found in mitochondria, [citation needed] the tiny
energy factories inside cells. Biologists subsequently found exceptions in bacteria and in the nuclei of
algae and single-celled animals.[citation needed] It is now clear that the genetic code is not the same in all living
things, and that it does not provide powerful evidence that all living things evolved on a single tree of life.
Further support that there is no "Last Universal Ancestor" has been provided over the years by Lateral
gene transfer in both prokaryote and eukaryote single cell organisms. This is why phylogenetic trees
cannot be rooted, why almost all phylogenetic trees have different branching structures, particularly near
the base of the tree, and why many organisms have been found with codons and sections of their DNA
sequence that are unrelated to any other species.[citation needed]

Information about the early development of life includes input from the fields of geology and planetary
science. These sciences provide information about the history of the Earth and the changes produced by
life. However, a great deal of information about the early Earth has been destroyed by geological
processes over the course of time.

[edit] History of life

Main article: Timeline of evolution

The chemical evolution from self-catalytic chemical reactions to life (see Origin of life) is not a part of
biological evolution, but it is unclear at which point such increasingly complex sets of reactions became
what we would consider, today, to be living organisms.

Precambrian stromatolites in the Siyeh Formation, Glacier
National Park. In 2002, William Schopf of UCLA published
a controversial paper in the journal Nature arguing that
formations such as this possess 3.5 billion year old
fossilized algae microbes. If true, they would be the earliest
known life on earth.

Not much is known about the earliest developments in life.
However, all existing organisms share certain traits,
including cellular structure and genetic code. Most scientists interpret this to mean all existing organisms
share a common ancestor, which had already developed the most fundamental cellular processes, but there
is no scientific consensus on the relationship of the three domains of life (Archaea, Bacteria, Eukaryota)
or the origin of life. Attempts to shed light on the earliest history of life generally focus on the behavior of
macromolecules, particularly RNA, and the behavior of complex systems.

The emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis (around 3 billion years ago) and the subsequent emergence of
an oxygen-rich, non-reducing atmosphere can be traced through the formation of banded iron deposits,
and later red beds of iron oxides. This was a necessary prerequisite for the development of aerobic cellular
respiration, believed to have emerged around 2 billion years ago.
In the last billion years, simple multicellular plants and animals began to appear in the oceans. Soon after
the emergence of the first animals, the Cambrian explosion (a period of unrivaled and remarkable, but
brief, organismal diversity documented in the fossils found at the Burgess Shale) saw the creation of all
the major body plans, or phyla, of modern animals. This event is now believed to have been triggered by
the development of the Hox genes. About 500 million years ago, plants and fungi colonized the land, and
were soon followed by arthropods and other animals, leading to the development of land ecosystems with
which we are familiar.

The evolutionary process may be exceedingly slow. Fossil evidence indicates that the diversity and
complexity of modern life has developed over much of the history of the earth. Geological evidence
indicates that the Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old. Studies on guppies by David Reznick at the
University of California, Riverside, however, have shown that the rate of evolution through natural
selection can proceed 10 thousand to 10 million times faster than what is indicated in the fossil record. [8].
Such comparative studies however are invariably biased by disparities in the time scales over which
evolutionary change is measured in the laboratory, field experiments, and the fossil record.

[edit] Horizontal gene transfer, and the history of life

The ancestry of living organisms has traditionally been reconstructed from morphology, but is
increasingly supplemented with phylogenetics - the reconstruction of phylogenies by the comparison of
genetic (DNA) sequence.

"Sequence comparisons suggest recent horizontal transfer of many genes among diverse species including
across the boundaries of phylogenetic 'domains'. Thus determining the phylogenetic history of a species
can not be done conclusively by determining evolutionary trees for single genes." [9]

Biologist Gogarten suggests "the original metaphor of a tree no longer fits the data from recent genome
research", therefore "biologists [should] use the metaphor of a mosaic to describe the different histories
combined in individual genomes and use [the] metaphor of a net to visualize the rich exchange and
cooperative effects of HGT among microbes." [10]

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
"Animalia" redirects here. For other uses, see Animalia (disambiguation).
For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation).

Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa.
Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of
metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and
independently. Animals are also heterotrophs, meaning they must ingest other organisms for sustenance.

Most known animal phyla appeared in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion,
about 542 million years ago.


• 1 Etymology
• 2 Characteristics
o 2.1 Structure
o 2.2 Reproduction and development
• 3 Origin and fossil record
• 4 Groups of animals
o 4.1 Deuterostomes
o 4.2 Ecdysozoa
o 4.3 Platyzoa
o 4.4 Lophotrochozoa
• 5 Model organisms
• 6 History of classification
• 7 See also
• 8 References
o 8.1 Notes
o 8.2 Bibliography

• 9 External links

The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter
of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or
soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to
non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers
to all members of the Kingdom Animalia, including humans.[1]

Animals have several characteristics that set them apart from
other living things. Animals are eukaryotic and usually
multicellular[2] (although see Myxozoa), which separates them
from bacteria and most protists. They are heterotrophic,[3]
generally digesting food in an internal chamber, which separates
them from plants and algae (some sponges are capable of photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation though).[4]
They are also distinguished from plants, algae, and fungi by lacking cell walls.[5] All animals are motile,[6]
if only at certain life stages. In most animals, embryos pass through a blastula stage, which is a
characteristic exclu to animals.


With a few exceptions, most notably the sponges (Phylum Porifera) and Placozoa, animals have bodies
differentiated into separate tissues. These include muscles, which are able to contract and control
locomotion, and nerve tissue, which sends and processes signals. There is also typically an internal
digestive chamber, with one or two openings. Animals with this sort of organization are called metazoans,
or eumetazoans when the former is used for animals in general.

All animals have eukaryotic cells, surrounded by a
characteristic extracellular matrix composed of collagen and
elastic glycoproteins. This may be calcified to form structures
like shells, bones,
and spicules. During
development it forms
a relatively flexible
framework upon
which cells can move
about and be
reorganized, making
complex structures
possible. In contrast,
other multicellular
organisms like plants
and fungi have cells held in place by cell walls, and so
develop by progressive growth. Also, unique to animal
cells are the following intercellular junctions: tight
junctions, gap junctions, and desmosomes.

Reproduction and development

Nearly all animals undergo some form of sexual
reproduction. Adults are diploid or polyploid. They have
a few specialized reproductive cells, which undergo
meiosis to produce smaller motile spermatozoa or larger
non-motile ova. These fuse to form zygotes, which
develop into new individuals.
A newt lung cell stained with fluorescent dyes undergoing mitosis, specifically early anaphase.

Many animals are also capable of asexual reproduction. This may take place through parthenogenesis,
where fertile eggs are produced without mating, or in some cases through fragmentation.

A zygote initially develops into a hollow sphere, called a blastula,
which undergoes rearrangement and differentiation. In sponges, blastula
larvae swim to a new location and develop into a new sponge. In most
other groups, the blastula undergoes more complicated rearrangement.
It first invaginates to form a gastrula with a digestive chamber, and two
separate germ layers - an external ectoderm and an internal endoderm.
In most cases, a mesoderm also develops between them. These germ
layers then differentiate to form tissues and organs.

Most animals grow by indirectly using the energy of sunlight. Plants use
this energy to convert sunlight into simple sugars using a process known
as photosynthesis. Starting with the molecules carbon dioxide (CO2) and
water (H2O), photosynthesis converts the energy of
sunlight into chemical energy stored in the bonds of
glucose (C6H12O6) and releases oxygen (O2). These
sugars are then used as the building blocks which
allow the plant to grow. When animals eat these
plants (or eat other animals which have eaten plants),
the sugars produced by the plant are used by the
animal. They are either used directly to help the
animal grow, or broken down, releasing stored solar
energy, and giving the animal the energy required for
motion. This process is known as glycolysis.

Animals who live close to hydrothermal vents and
cold seeps on the ocean floor are not dependent on
the energy of sunlight. Instead, chemosynthetic
archaea and bacteria form the base of the food chain.

Origin and fossil record
Animals are generally considered to have evolved from a flagellated
eukaryote. Their closest known living relatives are the
choanoflagellates, collared flagellates that have a morphology similar to the choanocytes of certain
sponges. Molecular studies place animals in a supergroup called the opisthokonts, which also include the
choanoflagellates, fungi and a few small parasitic protists. The name comes from the posterior location of
the flagellum in motile cells, such as most animal spermatozoa, whereas other eukaryotes tend to have
anterior flagella.

Dunkleosteus was a gigantic, 10 meter (33 ft) long prehistoric fish.[7]

The first fossils that might represent animals appear towards the end
of the Precambrian, around 610 million years ago, and are known as
the Ediacaran or Vendian biota. These are difficult to relate to later
fossils, however. Some may represent precursors of modern phyla,
but they may be separate groups, and it is possible they are not really
animals at all. Aside from them, most known animal phyla make a more or less simultaneous appearance
during the Cambrian period, about 542 million years ago. It is still disputed whether this event, called the
Cambrian explosion, represents a rapid divergence between different groups or a change in conditions that
made fossilization possible. However some paleontologists and geologists would suggest that animals
appeared much earlier than previously thought, possibly even as early as 1 billion years ago. Trace fossils
such as tracks and burrows found in Tonian era strata in India indicate the presence of triploblastic worm
like metazoans roughly as large (about 5 mm wide) and complex as earthworms.[8] In addition during the
beginning of the Tonian period around 1 billion years ago (roughly the same time that the trace fossils
previously discussed in this article date back to) there was a decrease in Stromatolite diversity which may
indicate the appearance of grazing animals during this time as Stromatolites also increased in diversity
shortly after the end-Ordovician and end-Permian rendered large amounts of grazing marine animals
extinct and decreased shortly after their populations recovered. However some other scientists doubt that
these fossils are authentic and have suggested these trace fossils are just the result of natural processes
such as erosion.[citation needed] The discovery that tracks very similar to these early trace fossils are produced
today by the giant single-celled protist Gromia sphaerica casts further doubt on their interpretation as
evidence of early animal evolution.[9][10]

Groups of animals

Orange elephant ear sponge, Agelas clathrodes, in foreground. Two corals
in the background: a sea fan, Iciligorgia schrammi, and a sea rod,
Plexaurella nutans.

The sponges (Porifera) were long thought to have diverged from other
animals early. As mentioned above, they lack the complex organization
found in most other phyla. Their cells are differentiated, but in most cases
not organized into distinct tissues. Sponges are sessile and typically feed by
drawing in water through pores. Archaeocyatha, which have fused
skeletons, may represent sponges or a separate phylum. However, a
phylogenomic study in 2008 of 150 genes in 21 genera[11] revealed that it is
the Ctenophora or comb jellies which are the basal lineage of animals, at
least among those 21 phyla. The authors speculate that sponges—or at least
those lines of sponges they investigated—are not so primitive, but may instead be secondarily simplified.

Among the other phyla, the Ctenophora and the Cnidaria, which includes sea anemones, corals, and
jellyfish, are radially symmetric and have digestive chambers with a single opening, which serves as both
the mouth and the anus. Both have distinct tissues, but they are not organized into organs. There are only
two main germ layers, the ectoderm and endoderm, with only scattered cells between them. As such, these
animals are sometimes called diploblastic. The tiny Placozoans are similar, but they do not have a
permanent digestive chamber.

The remaining animals form a monophyletic group called the Bilateria. For the most part, they are
bilaterally symmetric, and often have a specialized head with feeding and sensory organs. The body is
triploblastic, i.e. all three germ layers are well-developed, and tissues form distinct organs. The digestive
chamber has two openings, a mouth and an anus, and there is also an internal body cavity called a coelom
or pseudocoelom. There are exceptions to each of these characteristics, however - for instance adult
echinoderms are radially symmetric, and certain parasitic worms have extremely simplified body

Genetic studies have considerably changed our understanding of the relationships within the Bilateria.
Most appear to belong to two major lineages: the Deuterostomes and Protostomes, which includes the
Ecdysozoa, Platyzoa, and Lophotrochozoa. In addition, there are a few small groups of bilaterians with
relatively similar structure that appear to have diverged before these major groups. These include the
Acoelomorpha, Rhombozoa, and Orthonectida. The Myxozoa, single-celled parasites that were originally
considered Protozoa, are now believed to have developed from the Bilateria as well.


Superb Fairy-wren, Malurus cyaneus

Deuterostomes differ from the other Bilateria, called protostomes, in several
ways. In both cases there is a complete digestive tract. However, in
protostomes the initial opening (the archenteron) develops into the mouth,
and an anus forms separately. In deuterostomes this is reversed. In most
protostomes, cells simply fill in the interior of the gastrula to form the mesoderm, called schizocoelous
development, but in deuterostomes it forms through invagination of the endoderm, called enterocoelic
pouching. Deuterostomes also have a dorsal, rather than a ventral, nerve chord and their embryos undergo
different cleavage.

All this suggests the deuterostomes and protostomes are separate, monophyletic lineages. The main phyla
of deuterostomes are the Echinodermata and Chordata. The former are radially symmetric and exclusively
marine, such as starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers. The latter are dominated by the vertebrates,
animals with backbones. These include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

In addition to these, the deuterostomes also include the Hemichordata or acorn worms. Although they are
not especially prominent today, the important fossil graptolites may belong to this group.

The Chaetognatha or arrow worms may also be deuterostomes, but more recent studies suggest
protostome affinities.


Yellow-winged Darter, Sympetrum flaveolum
The Ecdysozoa are protostomes, named after the common trait of growth by moulting or ecdysis. The
largest animal phylum belongs here, the Arthropoda, including insects, spiders, crabs, and their kin. All
these organisms have a body divided into repeating segments, typically with paired appendages. Two
smaller phyla, the Onychophora and Tardigrada, are close relatives of the arthropods and share these

The ecdysozoans also include the Nematoda or roundworms, the second largest animal phylum.
Roundworms are typically microscopic, and occur in nearly every environment where there is water. A
number are important parasites. Smaller phyla related to them are the Nematomorpha or horsehair worms,
and the Kinorhyncha, Priapulida, and Loricifera. These groups have a reduced coelom, called a

The remaining two groups of protostomes are sometimes grouped together as the Spiralia, since in both
embryos develop with spiral cleavage.


Bedford's flatworm, Pseudobiceros bedfordi

The Platyzoa include the phylum Platyhelminthes, the flatworms. These
were originally considered some of the most primitive Bilateria, but it now
appears they developed from more complex ancestors.[12]

A number of parasites are included in this group, such as the flukes and tapeworms. Flatworms are
acoelomates, lacking a body cavity, as are their closest relatives, the microscopic Gastrotricha.[13]

The other platyzoan phyla are mostly microscopic and pseudocoelomate. The most prominent are the
Rotifera or rotifers, which are common in aqueous environments. They also include the Acanthocephala
or spiny-headed worms, the Gnathostomulida, Micrognathozoa, and possibly the Cycliophora.[14] These
groups share the presence of complex jaws, from which they are called the Gnathifera.


Roman snail, Helix pomatia

The Lophotrochozoa include two of the most successful animal phyla, the Mollusca and Annelida.[15][16]
The former, which is the second-largest animal phylum, includes animals such as snails, clams, and
squids, and the latter comprises the segmented worms, such as earthworms and leeches. These two groups
have long been considered close relatives because of the common presence of trochophore larvae, but the
annelids were considered closer to the arthropods,[17] because they are both segmented. Now this is
generally considered convergent evolution, owing to many morphological and genetic differences
between the two phyla.[18]
The Lophotrochozoa also include the Nemertea or ribbon worms, the Sipuncula, and several phyla that
have a fan of cilia around the mouth, called a lophophore.[19] These were traditionally grouped together as
the lophophorates.[20] but it now appears they are paraphyletic,[21] some closer to the Nemertea and some to
the Mollusca and Annelida.[22][23] They include the Brachiopoda or lamp shells, which are prominent in the
fossil record, the Entoprocta, the Phoronida, and possibly the Bryozoa or moss animals.[24]

Model organisms
Main articles: Model organism and Animal testing

Because of the great diversity found in animals, it is more economical for scientists to study a small
number of chosen species so that connections can be drawn from their work and conclusions extrapolated
about how animals function in general. Because they are easy to keep and breed, the fruit fly Drosophila
melanogaster and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans have long been the most intensively studied
metazoan model organisms, and were among the first lifeforms to be genetically sequenced. This was
facilitated by the severely reduced state of their genomes, but the double-edged sword here is that with
many genes, introns and linkages lost, these ecdysozoans can teach us little about the origins of animals in
general. The extent of this type of evolution within the superphylum will be revealed by the crustacean,
annelid, and molluscan genome projects currently in progress. Analysis of the starlet sea anemone
genome has emphasised the importance of sponges, placozoans, and choanoflagellates, also being
sequenced, in explaining the arrival of 1500 ancestral genes unique to the Eumetazoa.[25]

An analysis of the homoscleromorph sponge Oscarella carmela also suggests that the last common
ancestor of sponges and the eumetazoan animals was more complex than previously assumed.[26]

Other model organisms belonging to the animal kingdom include the mouse (Mus musculus) and
zebrafish (Danio rerio}.

History of classification

Carolus Linnaeus known as the father of modern taxonomy

Aristotle divided the living world between animals and plants, and this was followed by Carolus Linnaeus
(Carl von Linné), in the first hierarchical classification. Since then biologists have begun emphasizing
evolutionary relationships, and so these groups have been restricted somewhat. For instance, microscopic
protozoa were originally considered animals because they move, but are now treated separately.

In Linnaeus's original scheme, the animals were one of three kingdoms, divided into the classes of
Vermes, Insecta, Pisces, Amphibia, Aves, and Mammalia. Since then the last four have all been subsumed
into a single phylum, the Chordata, whereas the various other forms have been separated out. The above
lists represent our current understanding of the group, though there is some variation from source to

See also
• Plant
• Fauna
• List of animal names
• Animal behavior
• Animal rights
• List of animals by number of neurons


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Society (disambiguation).

Young people interacting within an ethnically diverse society.
Society portal

A society is a population of humans characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals that
share a distinctive culture and/or institutions. More broadly, a society is an economic, social and industrial
infrastructure, in which a varied multitude of people are a part of. Members of a society may be from
different ethnic groups. A society may be a particular people, such as the Saxons, a nation state, such as
Bhutan, or a broader cultural group, such as a Western society.

The word society may also refer to an organized voluntary association of people for religious, benevolent,
cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purpose. Sociology is the scientific, or academic, study of
society and human behavior.

• 1 Origin and usage
• 2 Evolution of societies
• 3 Characteristics of society
• 4 Social networks
• 5 Organization of society
o 5.1 Shared belief or common goal
• 6 Ontology
• 7 Notes
• 8 References

• 9 External links

[edit] Origin and usage
The English word "society" emerged in the 15th century and is derived from the French société. The
French word, in turn, had its origin in the Latin societas, a "friendly association with others," from socius
meaning "companion, associate, comrade or business partner." The Latin word is probably related to the
verb sequi, "to follow", and thus originally may have meant "follower".

In political science, the term is often used to mean the totality of human relationships, generally in
contrast to the State, i.e., the apparatus of rule or government within a territory:

I mean by it [the State] that summation of privileges and dominating positions which are brought into being by
extra-economic power... I mean by Society, the totality of concepts of all purely natural relations and institutions
between man and man...[1]

In the social sciences such as sociology, society has been used[citation needed]to mean a group of people that
form a semi-closed social system, in which most interactions are with other individuals belonging to the
group. Society is sometimes contrasted with culture. For example, Clifford Geertz has suggested that
society is the actual arrangement of social relations while culture is made up of beliefs and symbolic

According to sociologist Richard Jenkins, the term addresses a number of important existential issues
facing people:

1. How humans think and exchange information – the sensory world makes up only a fraction of
human experience. In order to understand the world, we have to conceive of human interaction in
the abstract (i.e., society).
2. Many phenomena cannot be reduced to individual behavior.
3. Collectives often endure beyond the lifespan of individual members.
4. The human condition has always meant going beyond the evidence of our senses; every aspect of
our lives is tied to the collective.[2]

[edit] Evolution of societies
A half-section of the 12th century Song Dynasty version of Night Revels of Han Xizai, original by Gu Hongzhong; the painting,
which is a masterpiece of the era's artwork, portrays servants, musicians, monks, children, guests, hosts all in a single societal
environment, serves as an in-depth look into 10th-century Chinese social structure.

According to anthropologist Maurice Godelier, one critical novelty in human society, in contrast to
humanity's closest biological relatives (chimpanzees and bonobo), is the parental role assumed by the
males, which were unaware of their "father" connection[clarification needed].[3][4]

Gerhard Lenski, a sociologist, differentiates societies based on their level of technology, communication
and economy: (1) hunters and gatherers, (2) simple agricultural, (3) advanced agricultural, (4) industrial.[5]
and now (5) virtual. This is somewhat similar to the system earlier developed by anthropologists Morton
H. Fried, a conflict theorist, and Elman Service, an integration theorist, who have produced a system of
classification for societies in all human cultures based on the evolution of social inequality and the role of
the state. This system of classification contains four categories:

• Hunter-gatherer bands, which are generally egalitarian.
• Tribal societies in which there are some limited instances of social rank and prestige.
• Stratified structures led by chieftains.
• Civilizations, with complex social hierarchies and organized, institutional governments.

In addition to this there are:

• Humanity, mankind, that upon which rest all the elements of society, including society's beliefs.
• Virtual-society is a society based on online identity, which is evolving in the information age.

Over time, some cultures have progressed toward more-complex forms of organization and control. This
cultural evolution has a profound effect on patterns of community. Hunter-gatherer tribes settled around
seasonal foodstocks to become agrarian villages. Villages grew to become towns and cities. Cities turned
into city-states and nation-states.[6]

Today, anthropologists and many social scientists vigorously oppose the notion of cultural evolution and
rigid "stages" such as these. In fact, much anthropological data has suggested that complexity
(civilization, population growth and density, specialization, etc.) does not always take the form of
hierarchical social organization or stratification.

Also, cultural relativism as a widespread approach/ethic has largely replaced notions of "primitive,"
better/worse, or "progress" in relation to cultures (including their material culture/technology and social

[edit] Characteristics of society
The following three components are common to all definitions of society:

• Social networks
• Criteria for membership, and
• Characteristic patterns of organization

Each of these will be explored further in the following sections.

[edit] Social networks
Main article: Social network

Social networks are maps of the relationships between people. Structural features such as proximity,
frequency of contact and type of relationship (e.g., relative, friend, colleague) define various social

[edit] Organization of society
Main article: Social organization

Human societies are often organized according to their primary means of subsistence. As noted in the
section on "Evolution of societies", above, social scientists identify hunter-gatherer societies, nomadic
pastoral societies, horticulturalist or simple farming societies, and intensive agricultural societies, also
called civilizations. Some consider industrial and post-industrial societies to be qualitatively different
from traditional agricultural societies.

One common theme for societies in general is that they serve to aid individuals in a time of crisis.
Traditionally, when an individual requires aid, for example at birth, death, sickness, or disaster, members
of that society will rally others to render aid, in some form—symbolic, linguistic, physical, mental,
emotional, financial, medical, or religious. Many societies will distribute largess, at the behest of some
individual or some larger group of people. This type of generosity can be seen in all known cultures;
typically, prestige accrues to the generous individual or group. Conversely, members of a society may
also shun or scapegoat members of the society who violate its norms. Mechanisms such as gift-giving and
scapegoating, which may be seen in various types of human groupings, tend to be institutionalized within
a society. Social evolution as a phenomenon carries with itself certain elements that could be detrimental
to the population it serves.

Some societies will bestow status on an individual or group of people, when that individual or group
performs an admired or desired action. This type of recognition is bestowed by members of that society
on the individual or group in the form of a name, title, manner of dress, or monetary reward. Males, in
many societies, are particularly susceptible to this type of action and subsequent reward, even at the risk
of their lives. Action by an individual or larger group in behalf of some cultural ideal is seen in all
societies. The phenomena of community action, shunning, scapegoating, generosity, and shared risk and
reward occur in subsistence-based societies and in more technology-based civilizations.

Societies may also be organized according to their political structure. In order of increasing size and
complexity, there are bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and state societies. These structures may have varying
degrees of political power, depending on the cultural geographical, and historical environments that these
societies must contend with. Thus, a more isolated society with the same level of technology and culture
as other societies is more likely to survive than one in closer proximity to others that may encroach on
their resources (see history for examples}. A society that is unable to offer an effective response to other
societies it competes with will usually be subsumed into the culture of the competing society (see
technology for examples).
[edit] Shared belief or common goal

People of many nations united by common political and cultural traditions, beliefs, or values are
sometimes also said to be a society (such as Judeo-Christian, Eastern, and Western). When used in this
context, the term is employed as a means of contrasting two or more "societies" whose members represent
alternative conflicting and competing worldviews (see Secret Societies).

Some academic, learned and scholarly associations describe themselves as societies (for example, the
American Mathematical Society). More commonly, professional organizations often refer to themselves
as societies (e.g., the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Chemical Society). In the United
Kingdom and the United States, learned societies are normally nonprofit and have charitable status. In
science, they range in size to include national scientific societies (i.e., the Royal Society) to regional
natural history societies. Academic societies may have interest in a wide range of subjects, including the
arts, humanities and science.

In some countries (for example the United States and France), the term "society" is used in commerce to
denote a partnership between investors or the start of a business. In the United Kingdom, partnerships are
not called societies, but cooperatives or mutuals are often known as societies (such as friendly societies
and building societies). In Latin America, the term society may be used in commerce denoting a
partnership between investors, or anonymous investors; for example: "Proveedor Industrial Anahuac
S.A." where S.A. stands for Anonymous Society (Sociedad Anónima); however in Mexico in other type
of partnership it would be declared as S.A. de C.V. or S.A. de R.L., indicating the level of commitment of
capital and the responsibilities from each member towards their own association and towards the society
in general and supervised by the corresponding jurisdictional civil and judicial authorities.

[edit] Ontology
As a related note, there is still an ongoing debate in sociological and anthropological circles as to whether
there exists an entity we could call society. Some Marxist theorists, like Louis Althusser, Ernesto Laclau
and Slavoj Zizek, have argued that society is nothing more than an effect of the ruling ideology of a
certain class system, and shouldn't be used as a sociological notion. Marx's concept of society as the sum
total of social relations among members of a community contrasts with interpretations from the
perspective of methodological individualism where society is simply the sum total of individuals in a

In 1987 Margaret Thatcher famously said "There is no such thing as society".[7]

[edit] Notes
1. ^ "The State by Franz Oppenheimer". Retrieved on 15 August, 2008.
2. ^ Jenkins, R. 2002. Foundations of Sociology.
3. ^ Maurice Godelier, Métamorphoses de la parenté, 2004
4. ^ "New Left Review - Jack Goody: The Labyrinth of Kinship". Retrieved on 2007-07-24.
5. ^ Lenski, G. 1974. Human Societies: An Introduction to Macrosociology.
6. ^ Effland, R. 1998. The Cultural Evolution of Civilizations.
7. ^ There is no such thing as society - Margaret Thatcher

[edit] References
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
It has been suggested that human behavior be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)
This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding
citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. (May 2007)
For other uses, see Behavior (disambiguation).

Behavior or behaviour (see spelling differences) refers to the actions or reactions of an object or
organism, usually in relation to the environment. Behavior can be conscious or unconscious, overt or
covert, and voluntary or involuntary.


• 1 In animals
• 2 In psychology
• 3 Outside psychology

• 4 See also

[edit] In animals
In animals, behavior is controlled by the endocrine system and the nervous system. The complexity of the
behavior of an organism is related to the complexity of its nervous system. Generally, organisms with
complex nervous systems have a greater capacity to learn new responses and thus adjust their behavior.
Behaviors can be either innate or learned.

[edit] In psychology
Human behavior (and that of other organisms and mechanisms) can be common, unusual, acceptable, or
unacceptable. Humans evaluate the acceptability of behavior using social norms and regulate behavior by
means of social control. In sociology, behavior is considered as having no meaning, being not directed at
other people and thus is the most basic human action. Animal behavior is studied in comparative
psychology, ethology, behavioral ecology and sociobiology.

Behavior became an important construct in early 20th century Psychology with the advent of the
paradigm known subsequently as "behaviorism." Behaviorism was a reaction against so-called "faculty"
psychology which purported to see into or understand the mind without the benefit of scientific testing.
Behaviorism insisted on working only with what can be seen or manipulated and in the early views of
John B. Watson, a founder of the field, nothing was inferred as to the nature of the entity that produced
the behavior. Subsequent modifications of Watson's perspective and that of so-called "classical
conditioning" (see under Ivan Pavlov) led to the rise of Operant Conditioning, a theory advocated by B.F.
Skinner, which took over the academic establishment up through the 1950s and was synonymous with
"behaviorism" for many.

For studies on behavior ethograms are used.

[edit] Outside psychology
Behavior as used in computer science is an anthropomorphic construct that assigns “life” to the activities
carried out by a computer, computer application, or computer code in response to stimuli, such as user
input. Also, "a behavior" is a reusable block of computer code or script that, when applied to an object
(computer science), especially a graphical one, causes it to respond to user input in meaningful patterns or
to operate independently, as if alive.

In environmental modeling and especially in hydrology, a behavioral model means a model that is
acceptably consistent with observed natural processes, i.e. that simulates well, for example, observed river
discharge. It is a key concept of the so-called Generalized Likelihood Uncertainty Estimation (GLUE)
methodology to quantify how uncertain environmental predictions are.

[edit] See also
• Animal behavior
• Applied behavior analysis
• Behavioral bias
• Behavioral economics
• Behaviorism
• Experimental analysis of behavior
• Forms of activity and interpersonal relations
• Human behavior
• Human sexual behavior
• Instinct
• Motive
• Normal (behavior)
• Psychology
• Radical behaviorism
• Reasoning
• Rebellion
• Taboo
• Theories of political behavior
• Work behavior

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Natural)
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the physical universe. For other uses, see Nature (disambiguation).
"Natural" redirects here. For other uses, see Natural (disambiguation).

Lightning strikes during the eruption of the Galunggung volcano in 1982

Much attention has been given to preserving the natural characteristics of Hopetoun Falls, Australia, while
allowing ample access for visitors.

Bachalpsee in the Swiss Alps; generally mountainous areas are less affected by human activity.

Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical universe, material world or
material universe. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general.
Manufactured objects and human interaction generally are not considered part of nature unless qualified
in ways such as "human nature" or "the whole of nature". Nature is generally distinguished from the
supernatural. It ranges in scale from the subatomic to the galactic.

The word nature is derived from the Latin word natura, or "the course of things, natural character."[1]
Natura was a Latin translation of the Greek word physis (φύσις), which originally related to the intrinsic
characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord.[2] This is
shown in the first written use of the word φύσις, in connection with a plant.[3] The concept of nature as a
whole, the physical universe, is one of several expansions of the original notion; it began with certain core
applications of the word φύσις by pre-Socratic philosophers, and has steadily gained currency ever since.
This usage was confirmed during the advent of modern scientific method in the last several centuries.[4][5]
Within the various uses of the word today, "nature" may refer to the general realm of various types of
living plants and animals, and in some cases to the processes associated with inanimate objects – the way
that particular types of things exist and change of their own accord, such as the weather and geology of
the Earth, and the matter and energy of which all these things are composed. It is often taken to mean the
"natural environment" or wilderness – wild animals, rocks, forest, beaches, and in general those things
that have not been substantially altered by human intervention, or which persist despite human
intervention. This more traditional concept of natural things which can still be found today implies a
distinction between the natural and the artificial, with the latter being understood as that which has been
brought into being by a human consciousness or a human mind.


• 1 Etymology
• 2 Earth
o 2.1 Historical perspective
o 2.2 Atmosphere, climate and weather
• 3 Life
o 3.1 Evolution
o 3.2 Microbes
o 3.3 Plants and animals
o 3.4 Ecosystems
• 4 Human interrelationship
o 4.1 Wilderness
o 4.2 Beauty in nature
• 5 Matter and energy
• 6 Nature beyond Earth
• 7 See also

• 8 Notes and references

[edit] Etymology

Newton's Principia Mathematica (1687) used "nature" as a synonym for the physical universe.

The word nature means the universe, with all its phenomena.[6] Natura was a Latin translation of the
Greek word physis (φύσις), which originally related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals,
and other features of the world develop of their own accord.[7] The word φύσις occurs very early in Greek
philosophy, generally in similar senses to those of the modern English word nature.[8] This is shown in the
first written use of the word φύσις, in connection with a plant by Homer.[9] The concept of nature as a
whole, the physical universe, is one of several expansions of the original notion. This usage was
confirmed during the advent of modern scientific method. Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis
Principia Mathematica (1687), for example, is translated "Mathematical Principles of Natural
Philosophy". The etymology of the word "physical" shows its use as a synonym for "natural" in about the
mid-15th century.[10]

[edit] Earth
View of the home planet, taken in 1972 by the Apollo 17 crew. This image is the only photograph of its
kind to date, showing a fully sunlit hemisphere of the Earth.
Main articles: Earth, Earth science, structure of the Earth, plate tectonics, and geology

Earth (or, "the earth") is the only planet known to support life, and as such, its natural features are the
subject of many fields of scientific research. Within the solar system, it is third nearest to the sun; it is the
largest terrestrial planet and the fifth largest overall. Its most prominent climatic features are its two large
polar regions, two relatively narrow temperate zones, and a wide equatorial tropical to subtropical region.
Precipitation varies widely with location, from several metres of water per year to less than a
millimetre. About 70 percent of the surface is covered by salt-water oceans. The remainder consists of
continents and islands, with most of the inhabited land in the Northern Hemisphere.

Earth has evolved through geological and biological processes that have left traces of the original
conditions. The outer surface is divided into several gradually migrating tectonic plates, which have
changed relatively quickly several times. The interior remains active, with a thick layer of molten mantle
and an iron-filled core that generates a magnetic field.

The atmospheric conditions have been significantly altered from the original conditions by the presence of
lifeforms,[12] which create an ecological balance that stabilizes the surface conditions. Despite the wide
regional variations in climate by latitude and other geographic factors, the long-term average global
climate is quite stable during interglacial periods,[13] and variations of a degree or two of average global
temperature have historically had major effects on the ecological balance, and on the actual geography of
the Earth.[14][15]

[edit] Historical perspective

Main article: History of Earth

Phylum Pediastrumboryanum. Plankton have existed on Earth for at least 2 billion years.[16]

Earth is estimated to have formed 4.55 billion years ago from the solar nebula, along with the Sun and
other planets.[17] The moon formed roughly 20 million years later. Initially molten, the outer layer of the
planet cooled, resulting in the solid crust. Outgassing and volcanic activity produced the primordial
atmosphere. Condensing water vapor, most or all of which came from ice delivered by comets, produced
the oceans and other water sources.[18] The highly energetic chemistry is believed to have produced a self-
replicating molecule around 4 billion years ago.[19]

Continents formed, then broke up and reformed as the surface of Earth reshaped over hundreds of
millions of years, occasionally combining to make a supercontinent. Roughly 750 million years ago, the
earliest known supercontinent Rodinia, began to break apart. The continents later recombined to form
Pannotia which broke apart about 540 million years ago, then finally Pangaea, which broke apart about
180 million years ago.[20]

Land-based plants and fungi have been part of nature on Earth for about the past 400 million years. These
have needed to adapt and move many times as the continents and climates changed.[21][22]

There is significant evidence, still being discussed among scientists, that a severe glacial action during the
Neoproterozoic era covered much of the planet in a sheet of ice. This hypothesis has been termed the
"Snowball Earth", and it is of particular interest as it precedes the Cambrian explosion in which
multicellular life forms began to proliferate about 530–540 million years ago.[23]

Since the Cambrian explosion there have been five distinctly identifiable mass extinctions.[24] The last
mass extinction occurred some 65 million years ago, when a meteorite collision probably triggered the
extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs and other large reptiles, but spared small animals such as mammals,
which then resembled shrews. Over the past 65 million years, mammalian life diversified.[25]

Several million years ago, a species of small African ape gained the ability to stand upright.[26] The
subsequent advent of human life, and the development of agriculture and further civilization allowed
humans to affect the Earth more rapidly than any previous life form, affecting both the nature and quantity
of other organisms as well as global climate. By comparison, the Oxygen Catastrophe, produced by the
proliferation of algae during the Siderian period, required about 300 million years to culminate.)

The present era is classified as part of a mass extinction event, the Holocene extinction event, the fastest
ever to have occurred.[27][28] Some, such as E. O. Wilson of Harvard University, predict that human
destruction of the biosphere could cause the extinction of one-half of all species in the next 100 years.[29]
The extent of the current extinction event is still being researched, debated and calculated by biologists.[30]

[edit] Atmosphere, climate and weather

Main articles: Earth's atmosphere, climate, and weather

The atmosphere of the Earth serves as a key factor in sustaining the planetary ecosystem. The thin layer of
gases that envelops the Earth is held in place by the planet's gravity. Dry air consists of 78% nitrogen,
21% oxygen, 1% argon and other inert gases, carbon dioxide, etc.; but air also contains a variable amount
of water vapor. The atmospheric pressure declines steadily with altitude, and has a scale height of about 8
kilometres at the Earth's surface: the height at which the atmospheric pressure has declined by a factor of
e (a mathematical constant equal to 2.71...).[31][32] The ozone layer of the Earth's atmosphere plays an
important role in depleting the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches the surface. As DNA is
readily damaged by UV light, this serves to protect life at the surface. The atmosphere also retains heat
during the night, thereby reducing the daily temperature extremes.

A supercell thunderstorm

Terrestrial weather occurs almost exclusively in the lower part of the atmosphere, and serves as a
convective system for redistributing heat. Ocean currents are another important factor in determining
climate, particularly the major underwater thermohaline circulation which distributes heat energy from the
equatorial oceans to the polar regions. These currents help to moderate the differences in temperature
between winter and summer in the temperate zones. Also, without the redistributions of heat energy by
the ocean currents and atmosphere, the tropics would be much hotter, and the polar regions much colder.

A tornado in central Oklahoma.

Weather can have both beneficial and harmful effects. Extremes in weather, such as tornadoes or
hurricanes and cyclones, can expend large amounts of energy along their paths, and produce devastation.
Surface vegetation has evolved a dependence on the seasonal variation of the weather, and sudden
changes lasting only a few years can have a dramatic effect, both on the vegetation and on the animals
dependent on its growth for their food.

The planetary climate is a measure of the long-term trends in the weather. Various factors are known to
influence the climate, including ocean currents, surface albedo, greenhouse gases, variations in the solar
luminosity, and changes to the planet's orbit. Based on historical records, the Earth is known to have
undergone drastic climate changes in the past, including ice ages.

The climate of a region depends on a number of factors, especially latitude. A latitudinal band of the
surface with similar climatic attributes forms a climate region. There are a number of such regions,
ranging from the tropical climate at the equator to the polar climate in the northern and southern extremes.
Weather is also influenced by the seasons, which result from the Earth's axis being tilted relative to its
orbital plane. Thus, at any given time during the summer or winter, one part of the planet is more directly
exposed to the rays of the sun. This exposure alternates as the Earth revolves in its orbit. At any given
time, regardless of season, the northern and southern hemispheres experience opposite seasons.
Weather is a chaotic system that is readily modified by small changes to the environment, so accurate
weather forecasting is currently limited to only a few days. Overall, two things are currently happening
worldwide: (1) temperature is increasing on the average; and (2) regional climates have been undergoing
noticeable changes.[33]

[edit] Life

Female mallard and ducklings - reproduction is essential for continuing life
Main articles: Life and Biosphere

Although there is no universal agreement on the definition of life, scientists generally accept that the
biological manifestation of life is characterized by organization, metabolism, growth, adaptation, response
to stimuli and reproduction.[34] Life may also be said to be simply the characteristic state of organisms.

Properties common to terrestrial organisms (plants, animals, fungi, protists, archaea and bacteria) are that
they are cellular, carbon-and-water-based with complex organization, having a metabolism, a capacity to
grow, respond to stimuli, and reproduce. An entity with these properties is generally considered life.
However, not every definition of life considers all of these properties to be essential. Human-made
analogs of life may also be considered to be life.

The biosphere is the part of Earth's outer shell – including air, land, surface rocks and water – within
which life occurs, and which biotic processes in turn alter or transform. From the broadest
geophysiological point of view, the biosphere is the global ecological system integrating all living beings
and their relationships, including their interaction with the elements of the lithosphere (rocks),
hydrosphere (water), and atmosphere (air). Currently the entire Earth contains over 75 billion tons (150
trillion pounds or about 6.8 x 1013 kilograms) of biomass (life), which lives within various environments
within the biosphere.[35]

Over nine-tenths of the total biomass on Earth is plant life, on which animal life depends very heavily for
its existence.[36] More than 2 million species of plant and animal life have been identified to date,[37] and
estimates of the actual number of existing species range from several million to well over 50 million.[38][39]
The number of individual species of life is constantly in some degree of flux, with new species
appearing and others ceasing to exist on a continual basis.[41][42] The total number of species is presently in
rapid decline.[43][44][45]

[edit] Evolution

Main article: Evolution

Life, as it is currently understood, is only known to exist on the planet Earth. The origin of life is still a
poorly understood process, but it is thought to have occurred about 3.9 to 3.5 billion years ago during the
hadean or archean eons on a primordial earth that had a substantially different environment than is found
at present.[46] These life forms possessed the basic traits of self-replication and inheritable traits. Once life
had appeared, the process of evolution by natural selection resulted in the formation of ever-more diverse
life forms.

Species that were unable to adapt to the changing environment and competition from other life forms
became extinct. However, the fossil record retains evidence of many of these older species. Current fossil
and DNA evidence shows that all existing species can trace a continual ancestry back to the first primitive
life forms.[46]

The advent of photosynthesis in very basic forms of plant life worldwide allowed the sun's energy to be
harvested to create conditions allowing for more complex life. The resultant oxygen accumulated in the
atmosphere and gave rise to the ozone layer. The incorporation of smaller cells within larger ones resulted
in the development of yet more complex cells called eukaryotes.[47] Cells within colonies became
increasingly specialized, resulting in true multicellular organisms. With the ozone layer absorbing harmful
ultraviolet radiation, life colonized the surface of Earth.

[edit] Microbes

Main article: Microbe

The first form of life to develop on the Earth were microbes, and they remained the only form of life on
the planet until about a billion years ago when multi-cellular organisms began to appear.[48]
Microorganisms are single-celled organisms that are generally smaller than the human eye can see. They
include Bacteria, Fungi, Archaea and Protista.

These life forms are found in almost every location on the Earth where there is liquid water, including the
interior of rocks within the planet.[49] Their reproduction is both rapid and profuse. The combination of a
high mutation rate and a horizontal gene transfer[50] ability makes them highly adaptable, and able to
survive in new environments, including outer space.[51] They form an essential part of the planetary
ecosystem. However some microorganisms are pathogenic and can post health risk to other organisms.

[edit] Plants and animals

A confluence of "natural" and a "made" environment.

The distinction between plant and animal life is not sharply drawn, with some categories of life that stand
between or across the two. Originally Aristotle divided all living things between plants, which generally
do not move, and animals. In Linnaeus' system, these became the kingdoms Vegetabilia (later Plantae)
and Animalia. Since then, it has become clear that the Plantae as originally defined included several
unrelated groups, and the fungi and several groups of algae were removed to new kingdoms. However,
these are still often considered plants in many contexts. Bacterial life is sometimes included in flora,[52][53]
and some classifications use the term bacterial flora separately from plant flora.

Among the many ways of classifying plants are by regional floras, which, depending on the purpose of
study, can also include fossil flora, remnants of plant life from a previous era. People in many regions and
countries take great pride in their individual arrays of characteristic flora, which can vary widely across
the globe due to differences in climate and terrain.

Regional floras commonly are divided into categories such as native flora and agricultural and garden
flora, the latter of which are intentionally grown and cultivated. Some types of "native flora" actually
have been introduced centuries ago by people migrating from one region or continent to another, and
become an integral part of the native, or natural flora of the place to which they were introduced. This is
an example of how human interaction with nature can blur the boundary of what is considered nature.

Another category of plant has historically been carved out for weeds. Though the term has fallen into
disfavor among botanists as a formal way to categorize "useless" plants, the informal use of the word
"weeds" to describe those plants that are deemed worthy of elimination is illustrative of the general
tendency of people and societies to seek to alter or shape the course of nature. Similarly, animals are often
categorized in ways such as domestic, farm animals, wild animals, pests, etc. according to their
relationship to human life.

Wildebeest in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Note the tendency to congregate, one of nature's
displays of what is sometimes called the herding instinct or herd behavior.

Animals as a category have several characteristics that generally set them apart from other living things,
though not traced by scientists to having legs or wings instead of roots and leaves. Animals are eukaryotic
and usually multicellular (although see Myxozoa), which separates them from bacteria, archaea and most
protists. They are heterotrophic, generally digesting food in an internal chamber, which separates them
from plants and algae. They are also distinguished from plants, algae, and fungi by lacking cell walls.

With a few exceptions, most notably the sponges (Phylum Porifera), animals have bodies differentiated
into separate tissues. These include muscles, which are able to contract and control locomotion, and a
nervous system, which sends and processes signals. There is also typically an internal digestive chamber.
The eukaryotic cells possessed by all animals are surrounded by a characteristic extracellular matrix
composed of collagen and elastic glycoproteins. This may be calcified to form structures like shells,
bones, and spicules, a framework upon which cells can move about and be reorganized during
development and maturation, and which supports the complex anatomy required for mobility.

See also: plants, botany, fauna, animal, and biology

[edit] Ecosystems
Loch Lomond in Scotland forms a relatively isolated ecosystem. The fish community of this lake has
remained unchanged over a very long period.[54]
Main articles: Ecology and Ecosystem

All forms of life interact with the environment in which they exist, and also with other life forms. In the
20th century this premise gave rise to the concept of ecosystems, which can be defined as any situation
where there is interaction between organisms and their environment.

Ecosystems are composed of a variety of abiotic and biotic components that function in an interrelated
way.[55] The structure and composition is determined by various environmental factors that are
interrelated. Variations of these factors will initiate dynamic modifications to the ecosystem. Some of the
more important components are: soil, atmosphere, radiation from the sun, water, and living organisms.

Each living organism has a continual relationship with every other element that makes up its environment.
Within the ecosystem, species are connected and dependent upon one another in the food chain, and
exchange energy and matter between themselves as well as with their environment.[56]

An aerial view of a human ecosystem. Pictured is the city of Chicago

Every species has limits of tolerance to factors that affect its survival, reproductive success and ability to
continue to thrive and interact sustainably with the rest of its environment, which in turn may have effects
on these factors for many other species or even on the whole of life.[57] The concept of an ecosystem is
thus an important subject of study, as such study provides information needed to make decisions about
how human life may interact in a way that allows the various ecosystems to be sustained for future use
rather than used up or otherwise rendered ineffective. For the purpose of such study, a unit of smaller size
is called a microecosystem. For example, an ecosystem can be a stone and all the life under it. A
macroecosystem might involve a whole ecoregion, with its drainage basin.[58]

The following ecosystems are examples of the kinds currently under intensive study:

• "continental ecosystems", such as "forest ecosystems", "meadow ecosystems" such as steppes or savannas),
or agro-ecosystems,
• systems in inland waters, such as lentic ecosystem"s such as lakes or ponds; or lotic ecosystems such as
• oceanic ecosystems.

Another classification can be made by reference to its communities, such as in the case of a human
ecosystem. Regional groupings of distinctive plant and animals best adapted to the region's physical
natural environment, latitude, altitude, and terrain are known as biomes. The broadest classification, today
under wide study and analysis, and also subject to widespread arguments about its nature and validity, is
that of the entire sum of life seen as analogous to a self-sustaining organism; a theory studied as earth
system science (less formally known as Gaia theory).[59][60]
[edit] Human interrelationship

Despite their apparent natural beauty, the secluded valleys along the Na Pali Coast in Hawaii are heavily
modified by introduced invasive species such as She-oak.

Although humans currently comprise only about one-half of one percent of the total living biomass on
Earth,[61] the human effect on nature is disproportionately large. Because of the extent of human influence,
the boundaries between what we regard as nature and "made environments" is not clear cut except at the
extremes. Even at the extremes, the amount of natural environment that is free of discernible human
influence is presently diminishing at an increasingly rapid pace, or, according to some, has already

The development of technology by the human race has allowed the greater exploitation of natural
resources and has helped to alleviate some of the risk from natural hazards. In spite of this progress,
however, the fate of human civilization remains closely linked to changes in the environment. There
exists a highly complex feedback-loop between the use of advanced technology and changes to the
environment that are only slowly becoming understood.[62] Manmade threats to the Earth's natural
environment include pollution, deforestation, and disasters such as oil spills. Humans have contributed to
the extinction of many plants and animals.

Humans employ nature for both leisure and economic activities. The acquisition of natural resources for
industrial use remains the primary component of the world's economic system. Some activities, such as
hunting and fishing, are used for both sustenance and leisure, often by different people. Agriculture was
first adopted around the 9th millennium BCE. Ranging from food production to energy, nature influences
economic wealth.

Although early humans gathered uncultivated plant materials for food and employed the medicinal
properties of vegetation for healing,[63] most modern human use of plants is through agriculture. The
clearance of large tracts of land for crop growth has led to a significant reduction in the amount available
of forestation and wetlands, resulting in the loss of habitat for many plant and animal species as well as
increased erosion.[64]

[edit] Wilderness
The Daintree Rainforest, a wilderness area in Queensland, Australia
Main articles: Wilderness and Natural environment

Wilderness is generally defined as a natural environment on Earth that has not been directly modified by
human activity. Ecologists consider wilderness areas to be an integral part of the planet's self-sustaining
natural ecosystem (the biosphere).

The word, "wilderness", derives from the notion of wildness; in other words that which is not controllable
by humans. The word's etymology is from the Old English wildeornes, which in turn derives from
wildeor meaning wild beast (wild + deor = beast, deer).[65] From this point of view, it is the wildness of a
place that makes it a wilderness. The mere presence or activity of people does not disqualify an area from
being "wilderness." Many ecosystems that are, or have been, inhabited or influenced by activities of
people may still be considered "wild." This way of looking at wilderness includes areas within which
natural processes operate without very noticeable human interference.

[edit] Beauty in nature

Salmon fry hatching. The root of the Latin "natura" {"nature") is "natus," from "nasci" ("to be born").[66]

Painting by Song Dynasty artist Fan Kuan (c. 970–1020)

Beauty in nature has long been a common theme in life and in art, and books emphasizing beauty in
nature fill large sections of libraries and bookstores. That nature has been depicted and celebrated by so
much art, photography, poetry and other literature shows the strength with which many people associate
nature and beauty. Why this association exists, and what the association consists of, is studied by the
branch of philosophy called aesthetics. Beyond certain basic characteristics that many philosophers agree
about to explain what is seen as beautiful, the opinions are virtually endless.[67]

Looked at through the lens of the visual arts, nature and wildness have been important subjects in various
epochs of world history. An early tradition of landscape art began in China during the Tang Dynasty
(618-907). The tradition of representing nature as it is became one of the aims of Chinese painting and
was a significant influence in Asian art. Artists learned to depict mountains and rivers "from the
perspective of nature as a whole and on the basis of their understanding of the laws of nature ... as if seen
through the eyes of a bird." In the 13th century, the Song Dynasty artist Shi Erji listed "scenes lacking any
places made inaccessible by nature," as one of the 12 things to avoid in painting.[68]

In the Western world the idea of wilderness having intrinsic value emerged in the 1800s, especially in the
works of the Romantic movement. British artists John Constable and JMW Turner turned their attention
to capturing the beauty of the natural world in their paintings. Before that, paintings had been primarily of
religious scenes or of human beings. William Wordsworth’s poetry described the wonder of the natural
world, which had formerly been viewed as a threatening place. Increasingly the valuing of nature became
an aspect of Western culture.[69] This artistic movement also coincided with the Transcendentalist
movement in the Western world.

Many scientists, who study nature in more specific and organized ways, also share the conviction that
nature is beautiful; the French mathematician, Jules Henri Poincaré (1854–1912) said:

The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it
because it is beautiful.
If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not
be worth living. Of course I do not here speak of that beauty which strikes the senses, the beauty of qualities and of
appearance; not that I undervalue such beauty, far from it, but it has nothing to do with science; I mean that
profounder beauty which comes from the harmonious order of the parts and which a pure intelligence can grasp.[70]

A common classical idea of beautiful art involves the word mimesis, the imitation of nature. Also in the
realm of ideas about beauty in nature is that the perfect is implied through symmetry, equal division, and
other perfect mathematical forms and notions.

[edit] Matter and energy
Main articles: Matter and Energy

The first few hydrogen atom electron orbitals shown as cross-sections with color-coded probability

Some fields of science see nature as matter in motion, obeying certain laws of nature which science seeks
to understand. For this reason the most fundamental science is generally understood to be "physics" – the
name for which is still recognizable as meaning that it is the study of nature.

Matter is commonly defined as the substance of which physical objects are composed. It constitutes the
observable universe. The visible components of the universe are now believed to compose only 4 percent
of the total mass. The remainder is believed to consist of 23 percent cold dark matter and 73 percent dark
energy.[71] The exact nature of these components is still unknown and is currently under intensive
investigation by physicists.
The behavior of matter and energy throughout the observable universe appears to follow well-defined
physical laws. These laws have been employed to produce cosmological models that successfully explain
the structure and the evolution of the universe we can observe. The mathematical expressions of the laws
of physics employ a set of twenty physical constants[72] that appear to be static across the observable
universe.[73] The values of these constants have been carefully measured, but the reason for their specific
values remains a mystery.

See also: Chemistry and Physics

[edit] Nature beyond Earth

NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 56,000 light years in
diameter and approximately 60 million light years distant.

The deepest visible-light image of the universe, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, contains an estimated
10,000 galaxies in a patch of sky just one-tenth the diameter of the full moon. Image Credit: NASA, ESA,
S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF team.
Main articles: Outer space and Universe

Outer space, also simply called space, refers to the relatively empty regions of the universe outside the
atmospheres of celestial bodies. Outer space is used to distinguish it from airspace (and terrestrial
locations). There is no discrete boundary between the Earth's atmosphere and space, as the atmosphere
gradually attenuates with increasing altitude. Outer space within the solar system is called interplanetary
space, which passes over into interstellar space at what is known as the heliopause.

Outer space is certainly spacious, but it is far from empty. Outer space is sparsely filled with several
dozen types of organic molecules discovered to date by microwave spectroscopy, blackbody radiation left
over from the big bang and the origin of the universe, and cosmic rays, which include ionized atomic
nuclei and various subatomic particles. There is also some gas, plasma and dust, and small meteors.
Additionally, there are signs of human life in outer space today, such as material left over from previous
manned and unmanned launches which are a potential hazard to spacecraft. Some of this debris re-enters
the atmosphere periodically.
Although the planet Earth is currently the only known body within the solar system to support life, current
evidence suggests that in the distant past the planet Mars possessed bodies of liquid water on the surface.
For a brief period in Mars' history, it may have also been capable of forming life. At present though,
most of the water remaining on Mars is frozen. If life exists at all on Mars, it is most likely to be located
underground where liquid water can still exist.[75]

Conditions on the other terrestrial planets, Mercury and Venus, appear to be too harsh to support life as
we know it. But it has been conjectured that Europa, the fourth-largest moon of Jupiter, may possess a
sub-surface ocean of liquid water and could potentially host life.[76]

Recently, the team of Stéphane Udry have discovered a new planet named Gliese 581 c, which is an
extrasolar planet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581. Gliese 581 c appears to lie in the habitable zone
of space surrounding the star, and therefore could possibly host life as we know it.

See also: Extraterrestrial life

[edit] See also

• Natural history
• Natural philosophy
• Natural science


• Nature (philosophy)
• Mother Nature
• Naturalism (philosophy): any of several philosophical stances, typically those descended from
Materialism and Pragmatism that do not distinguish the supernatural from nature. This includes
the methodological naturalism of natural science, which makes the methodological assumption
that observable events in nature are explained only by natural causes, without assuming either the
existence or non-existence of the supernatural.
• Balance of nature: A discredited concept of natural equilibrium in predator:prey dynamics.


• Nature, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
• Nature, a prominent scientific journal
• Natural History, by Pliny the Elder
• Nature (TV series)


• The Nature Conservancy
• Nature Detectives

[edit] Notes and references
This article is part of the
Politics series From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Political)
Politics Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation).
• List of politics topics "Politic" redirects here. For the political magazine, see The
• Consent of the governed Politic.
• Politics by country
Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions.
• Politics by subdivision The term is generally applied to behavior within civil
• Political economy governments, but politics has been observed in all human group
• Political history interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious
• Political philosophy
institutions. It consists of "social relations involving authority or
power"[1] and refers to the regulation of a political unit,[2] and to
• Political science the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.[3]
• International relations (theory)
• Political scientists Political science (also political studies) is the study of political
• Comparative politics behavior, and examines the acquisition and application of power.
Related areas of study include political philosophy, which seeks a
• Public administration
rationale for politics and an ethic of public behavior, and public
administration, which examines the practices of governance.
Bureaucracy (street-level)

• Separation of powers

• 1 Source of Power
o 1.1 Pragmatic view of power
o 1.2 Authority and legitimacy
• Sovereignty
 1.2.1 Traditional authority
 1.2.2 Charismatic authority
1.2.3 Legal-rational
• Theoriesof political behavior authority
o 1.3 Sovereignty
• 2 Political philosophies
o 2.1 Confucius
• Elections
o 2.2 Plato
o 2.3 Aristotle
Electoral systems Machiavelli
o 2.4 Niccolò
o 2.5 More Extreme Forms
o 2.6 Thomas Hobbes
o 2.7 John Locke
• Federalism
o 2.8ofJean-Jacques
• Forms government Rousseau
o 2.9 John Stuart Mill
• Ideology
o 2.10 Karl Marx
• Political campaigning
o 2.11 Ayn Rand
o 2.12 Austrian school
• •3 Political
o 3.1 Left-Right politics
Politics portal

o 3.2 Authoritarian-Libertarian
• 4 Philosophical Constructs
o 4.1 Normative faces of power debate
o 4.2 Postmodern challenge of normative views of power
• 5 See also
o 5.1 Lists
o 5.2 Related topics

• 6 References

[edit] Source of Power
[edit] Pragmatic view of power

Samuel Gompers' maxim, often paraphrased as,"Reward your friends and punish your enemies,"[4] hints at
two of the five types of power recognized by social psychologists: incentive power (the power to reward)
and coercive power (the power to punish). Arguably the other three grow out of these two:

Legitimate power, the power of the policeman or the referee, is the power given to an individual by a
recognized authority to enforce standards of behavior. Legitimate power is similar to coercive power in
that unacceptable behavior is punished by fine or penalty.

Referent power is bestowed upon individuals by virtue of accomplishment or attitude. Fulfillment of the
desire to feel similar to a celebrity or a hero is the reward for obedience. This is an example of incentive
power as one rewards oneself.

Expert power springs from education or experience. Following the lead of an expert is often rewarded
with success. Note that expert power is conditional to circumstances (for example, if leaky pipes need to
be repaired, a brain surgeon's advice probably would not carry as much weight as a plumber's).

[edit] Authority and legitimacy

Main article: Tripartite classification of authority

Authority, in a political sense, is different from political power in that it implies legitimacy and
acceptance; it implies that the person or state exercising power has a perceived right to do so (ex: Mr.
Hentze).[5] Legitimacy is an attribute of government gained through the acquisition and application of
power in accordance with recognized or accepted standards or principles.

Max Weber identified three sources of legitimacy for authority, known as the tripartite classification of
authority.[6] He proposed three reasons why people follow the orders of those who give them:

[edit] Traditional authority

Traditional authorities receive loyalty because they continue and support the preservation of existing
values, the status quo. Weber called this "the authority of the eternal yesterday".[6]Patriarchal (and more
rarely matriarchal) societies gave rise to hereditary monarchies where authority was given to descendants
of previous leaders. Followers submit to this authority because "we've always done it that way." Examples
of traditional authoritarians include absolute monarchs.
[edit] Charismatic authority

Charismatic authority grows out of the personal charm or the strength of an individual personality (see
cult of personality for the most extreme version). Charismatic regimes are often short-lived, seldom
outliving the charismatic figure that leads them. For a charismatic regime to survive the rule of the
individual personality, it must transform its legitimacy into a different form of authority. An example of
this would be Augustus' efforts to create the position of the Roman principate and establish a ruling
dynasty, which could be viewed as a shift to a traditional form of authority, in the form of the principate
that would exist in Rome for more than 400 years after his death.

[edit] Legal-rational authority

Legal-rational authorities receive their ability to compel behavior by virtue of the office that they hold. It
is the authority that demands obedience to the office rather than the office holder; Weber identified
"rationally-created rules"[6] as the central feature of this form of authority. Modern democracies are
examples of legal-rational regimes. People also abide by legal-rational authority because it makes sense to
do so for their own good, as well as for the greater good of society.[citation needed]

[edit] Sovereignty

Main article: Sovereignty

Sovereignty is the ability of a government to exert control over its sphere of influence free from outside

[edit] Political philosophies
Main article: Political philosophy

[edit] Confucius

The Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-471 BCE) was one of the first thinkers to adopt a distinct
approach to political philosophy. His philosophy was "rooted in his belief that a ruler should learn self-
discipline, should govern his subjects by his own example, and should treat them with love and
concern."[7] His political beliefs were strongly linked to personal ethics and morality, believing that only a
morally upright ruler who possessed "de", or virtue, should be able to exercise power, and that the
behavior of an individual ought to be consistent with their rank in society. He stated that "Good
government consists in the ruler being a ruler, the minister being a minister, the father being a father, and
the son being a son."[8]

[edit] Plato

The Greek philosopher Plato(428-348 BC), in his book The Republic, argued that all conventional
political systems (democracy, monarchy, oligarchy and timarchy) were inherently corrupt, and that the
state ought to be governed by an elite class of educated philosopher-rulers, who would be trained from
birth and selected on the basis of aptitude: "those who have the greatest skill in watching over the
community."[9] This has been characterised as authoritarian and elitist by some later scholars, notably Karl
Popper in his book The Open Society and its Enemies, who described Plato's schemes as essentially
totalitarian and criticised his apparent advocacy of censorship.[10] The Republic has also been labeled as
communist, due to its advocacy of abolishing private property and the family among the ruling classes;
however, this view has been discounted by many scholars, as there are implications in the text that this
will extend only to the ruling classes, and that ordinary citizens "will have enough private property to
make the regulation of wealth and poverty a concern.."[11]

[edit] Aristotle


In his book Politics, the Greek philosopher Aristotle(384–322BC) asserted that man is, by nature, a
political animal. He argued that ethics and politics are closely linked, and that a truly ethical life can only
be lived by someone who participates in politics.[12]

Like Plato, Aristotle identified a number of different forms of government, and argued that each "correct"
form of government may devolve into a "deviant" form of government, in which its institutions were
corrupted. According to Aristotle, kingship, with one ruler, devolves into tyranny; aristocracy, with a
small group of rulers, devolves into oligarchy; and polity, with collective rule by many citizens, devolves
into democracy.[13] In this sense, Aristotle does not use the word "democracy" in its modern sense,
carrying positive connotations, but in its literal sense of rule by the demos, or common people.[13] A more
accurate view of Aristotle denouncing democracy was that it was described as mob rule, or ochlocracy.

[edit] Niccolò Machiavelli

From the name of the Renaissance thinker Niccolò Machiavelli has been derived the term
"Machiavellian," referring to an amoral person who employs subterfuge, along with brutal and
manipulative methods to attain and retain power.

[edit] More Extreme Forms

Machiavelli's works have been studied and his theories practiced in categorically more extreme forms by
totalitarians such as Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, many of whom used chaos and brutality for purposes
of state security.[14]

However, many scholars have questioned this view of Machiavelli's theory, arguing that "Machiavelli did
not invent 'Machiavellianism' and may not even have been a 'Machiavellian' in the sense often ascribed to
him."[15] Instead, Machiavelli considered the stability of the state to be the most important goal, and
argued that qualities traditionally considered morally desirable, such as generosity, were undesirable in a
ruler and would lead to the loss of power.

[edit] Thomas Hobbes
In 1651, Thomas Hobbes published his most famous work, Leviathan, in which he proposed a model of
early human development to justify the creation of polities, i.e. governed bodies. Hobbes described an
ideal state of nature wherein every person had equal right to every resource in nature and was free to use
any means to acquire those resources. He claimed that such an arrangement created a “war of all against
all” (bellum omnium contra omnes). The book has been interpreted by scholars as posing two "stark
alternatives"; total obedience to an absolute ruler, or "a state of nature, which closely resembles civil
war...where all have reason to fear a violent death".[16] Hobbes' view can therefore be interpreted as a
defense of absolutism, arguing that human beings enter into a social contract for their protection and agree
to obey the dictates of the sovereign; in Hobbes' worldview, "the sovereign is nothing more than the
personal embodiment of orderly government."[17] Hobbes himself argued "The final cause, end, or design
of men (who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others) in the introduction of that restraint upon
themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths, is the foresight of their own preservation, and
of a more contented life thereby."[18]

[edit] John Locke

Main article: John Locke

In the Two Treatise of Government, Locke refutes the theory of the Divine Right of Kings as put forward
by Robert Filmer; he "minutely examines key Biblical passages"[19] and concludes that absolute monarchy
is not supported by Christian theology. "Locke singles out Filmer's contention that men are not 'naturally
free' as the key issue, for that is the 'ground'...on which Filmer erects his argument for the claim that all
'legitimate' government is 'absolute monarchy'."[19]

In the Second Treatise of Government, Locke examines the concept of the social contract put forward by
other theorists such as Thomas Hobbes, but reaches a different conclusion. Although he agreed with
Hobbes on the concept of a state of nature before existing forms of government arose, he challenged
Hobbes' view that the state of nature was equivalent to a state of war, instead arguing that there were
certain natural rights belonging to all human beings, which continued even after a political authority was
established. "The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges everyone...being all equal
and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, liberty, health or possessions".[20] According to
one scholar, the basis of Locke's thought in the Second Treatise is that "contract or consent is the ground
of government and fixes its limits...behind [this] doctrine lies the idea of the independence of the
individual person."[21] In other words, Locke's view was different from Hobbes' in that he interpreted the
idea of the "state of nature" differently, and he argued that people's natural rights were not necessarily
eliminated by their consent to be governed by a political authority.

[edit] Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The 18th century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his book The Social Contract, put
forward a system of political thought which was closely related to those of Hobbes and Locke, but
different in important respects. In the opening sentence of the book, Rousseau argued that " was
born free, but he is everywhere in chains"[22] He defined political authority and legitimacy as stemming
from the "general will", or volonté generale; for Rousseau, "true Sovereignty is directed always at the
public good".[23] This concept of the general will implicitly "allows for individual diversity and freedom...
[but] also encourages the well-being of the whole, and therefore can conflict with the particular interests
of individuals."[23] As such, Rousseau also argues that the people may need a "lawgiver" to draw up a
constitution and system of laws, because the general will, "while always morally sound, is sometimes
Rousseau's thought has been seen by some scholars as contradictory and inconsistent, and as not
addressing the fundamental contradiction between individual freedom and subordination to the needs of
society, "the tension that seems to exist between liberalism and communitarianism".[23] As one Catholic
scholar argues, "that it [The Social Contract] contains serious contradictions is undeniable...its
fundamental principles--the origin of society, absolute freedom and absolute equality of all--are false and
unnatural."[24] The Catholic Encyclopedia further argues that Rousseau's concept of the general will would
inevitably lead to "the suppression of personality, the reign of force and caprice, the tyranny of the
multitude, the despotism of the crowd", i.e. the subordination of the individual to society as a whole.[24]

John Stuart Mill

[edit] John Stuart Mill

In the 19th century, John Stuart Mill pioneered the liberal conception of politics. He saw democracy as
the major political development of his era[25] and, in his book On Liberty, advocated stronger protection
for individual rights against government and the rule of the majority. He argued that liberty was the most
important right of human beings, and that the only just cause for interfering with the liberty of another
person was self-protection.[26] One commentator refers to On Liberty as "the strongest and most eloquent
defense of liberalism that we have."[26] Mill also emphasised the importance of freedom of speech,
claiming that "we can never be sure that the opinion we are attempting to stifle is a false opinion, and if
we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still."[27]

[edit] Karl Marx

Marx's theories, collectively termed Marxism, were critical of capitalism and argued that in the due course
of history, there would be an "inevitable breakdown of capitalism for economic reasons, to be replaced by
communism."[28] He defined history in terms of the class struggle between the bourgeoisie, or property-
owning classes, and the proletariat, or workers, a struggle intensified by industrialization: "The
development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the
bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are
its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.[29] Utopia for Marx
was the classless society in which the state and the church would be very weak or nonexistent. The
workers ultimately would own the means of production, state ownership would be a mere transition
period, therefore the people would be free. Because the state as Marx knew it would practically disappear
over time, there would be no need for borders so individuals would be free to move from nation to nation
without prosecution. This latter idea of internationalism is the direct opposition to the Nazi utopia of the
Master race and national socialism. Although Marxism is mostly associated with the Soviet Union for
obvious reasons, one may also see in the European Union many but not all of Marx's ideas such as
universal health care, open border and the free movement of people, and less economic inequality.
Many subsequent political movements have based themselves on Marx's thought, offering widely
differing interpretations of communism; these include Marxism-Leninism and libertarian Marxism.
Possibly the most influential interpreter of Marxist theory was Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, who
created a revolutionary theory founded on Marxist thinking. However, libertarian Marxist thinkers have
challenged Lenin's interpretation of Marx; Cornelius Castoriadis, for instance, described the Soviet
Union's system as a form of "bureaucratic capitalism" rather than true communism.[30]

The multiple notions of political power that are put forth range from conventional views that simply
revolve around the actions of politicians to those who view political power as an insidious form of
institutionalized social control - most notably "anarchists" and "radical capitalists". The main views of
political power revolve around normative, post-modern, and pragmatic perspectives.

[edit] Ayn Rand

Objectivism is a philosophy[31][32] developed by Ayn Rand in the 20th century. It's associated with right-
wing politics. Objectivism holds that reality exists independent from consciousness; that individual
persons are in contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings can gain objective
knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation; that the proper moral purpose of
one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness through acting in one's "rational self-interest"; that the only
social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure,
consensual laissez-faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest
metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that one can
comprehend and respond to.

[edit] Austrian school

The Austrian School, also known as the “Vienna School” or the “Psychological School”, is a heterodox[33]
school of economics that advocates adherence to strict methodological individualism. Proponents of the
Austrian School hold that the only valid economic theory is logically derived from basic principles of
human action. Alongside the formal approach to theory, often called praxeology, the school has
traditionally advocated an interpretive approach to history. Proponents of praxeological method hold that
it allows for the discovery of economic laws valid for all human action, while the interpretive approach
addresses specific historical events. Critics of the Austrian school contend that its methods consist of
post-hoc analysis, do not generate testable implications and, so, fail falsifiability.[34][35]

[edit] Political spectra
[edit] Left-Right politics

Main article: Left-Right politics

Most political analysts and politicians divide politics into left wing and right wing politics, often also
using the idea of center politics as a middle path of policy between the right and left. This classification is
comparatively recent (it was not used by Aristotle or Hobbes, for instance), and dates from the French
Revolution era, when those members of the National Assembly who opposed the monarchy sat on the left,
while those who supported it sat on the right.[36] The original meaning disappeared quickly. A particularly
influential event was the publication of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in
1848. The Manifesto suggested a course of action for a proletarian revolution to overthrow the bourgeois
society and abolish private property, in the belief that this would lead to a classless and stateless society.
The left would refer to people seeking socialist state or communist state.
The meaning of left-wing and right-wing varies considerably between different countries and at different
times, but generally speaking, it can be said that the right wing often values tradition and free markets
while the left wing often values equalitarianism.

According to Norberto Bobbio, one of the major exponents of this distinction, the Left believes in
attempting to eradicate social inequality, while the Right regards most social inequality as the result of
ineradicable natural inequalities, and sees attempts to enforce social equality as utopian or authoritarian.[37]

Some ideologies, notably Christian Democracy, claim to combine left and right wing politics; according
to Geoffrey K. Roberts and Patricia Hogwood, "In terms of ideology, Christian Democracy has
incorporated many of the views held by liberals, conservatives and socialists within a wider framework of
moral and Christian principles."[38] Movements which claim or formerly claimed to be above the left-right
divide include Gaullism in France, Peronism in Argentina, and National Action Politics in Mexico.

[edit] Authoritarian-Libertarian

Authoritarianism and libertarianism refer to the amount of individual freedom each person possesses in
that society relative to the state. One author describes authoritarian political systems as those where
"individual rights and goals are subjugated to group goals, expectations and conformities",[39] while a
libertarian political system is one in which individual rights and civil liberties are paramount. More
extreme than libertarians are anarchists, who argue for the total abolition of government, while the most
extreme authoritarians are totalitarians who support state control over all aspects of society.

For instance, classical liberalism (also known as laissez-faire liberalism[40], or, in much of the world,
simply liberalism) is a doctrine stressing individual freedom and limited government. This includes the
importance of human rationality, individual property rights, free markets, natural rights, the protection of
civil liberties, constitutional limitation of government, and individual freedom from restraint as
exemplified in the writings of John Locke, Adam Smith, David Hume, David Ricardo, Voltaire,
Montesquieu and others. According to the libertarian Institute for Humane Studies, "the libertarian, or
'classical liberal,' perspective is that individual well-being, prosperity, and social harmony are fostered by
'as much liberty as possible' and 'as little government as necessary.'"[41]

[edit] Philosophical Constructs
[edit] Normative faces of power debate

The faces of power debate has coalesced into a viable conception of three dimensions of power including
decision-making, agenda-setting, and preference-shaping. The decision-making dimension was first put
forth by Robert Dahl, who advocated the notion that political power is based in the formal political arena
and is measured through voting patterns and the decisions made by politicians.[42] This view has been
criticised by many as simplistic, notably by the sociologist G. William Domhoff,[43] who argues that
political and economic power is monopolised by the "elite classes".

A second dimension to the notion of political power was added by academics Peter Bachrach and Morton
Baratz involving "agenda-setting". Bachrach and Baratz viewed power as involving both the formal
political arena and behind the scenes agenda-setting by elite groups who could be either politicians and/or
others (such as industrialists, campaign contributors, special interest groups and so on), often with a
hidden agenda that most of the public may not be aware of. The third dimension of power was added by
British academic Steven Lukes who felt that even with this second dimension, some other traits of
political power needed to be addressed through the concept of 'preference-shaping'. Lukes developed the
concept of the "Three faces of power" - decision-making power, non-decision-making power, and
ideological power.[44]

This third dimension is inspired by many Neo-Gramscian views such as cultural hegemony and deals with
how civil society and the general public have their preferences shaped for them by those in power through
the use of propaganda or the media. Ultimately, this third dimension holds that the general public may not
be aware of what decisions are actually in their interest due to the invisible power of elites who work to
distort their perceptions. Critics of this view claim that such notions are themselves elitist, which Lukes
then clearly admits as one problem of this view and yet clarifies that as long as those who make claims
that preferences are being shaped explain their own interests etc., there is room for more transparency.

[edit] Postmodern challenge of normative views of power

Some within the postmodern and post-structuralist field claim that power is something that is not in the
hands of the few and is rather dispersed throughout society in various ways. As one academic writes,
"...postmodernists have argued that due to a variety of inherent biases in the standards by which ”valid“
knowledge has been evaluated...modernist science has tended to reproduce ideological justifications for
the perpetuation of long-standing forms of inequality. Thus, it is the strategy of postmodern
identify and, thereby, attack the ”deceiving“ power of universalizing scientific epistemologies."[45]

[edit] See also
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[edit] Lists

• List of basic political topics
• List of politics by country articles
• List of years in politics

[edit] Related topics

• Food politics
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• Music and politics
• Official statistics
• Political activism
• Political compass
• Political corruption
• Political criticism
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• Political parties of the world
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• Political psychology
• Political science
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• Political sociology
• Political spectrum
• Politics in fiction
• Strategic planning

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the phase of human development known as childhood. For the Michael Jackson
song, see Childhood (song). For the episode of Robin Hood, see Childhood (Robin Hood episode).
It has been suggested that Childhood and migration be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)
It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Child development. (Discuss)
The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the
Please improve this article or discuss the issue on the talk page.

Childhood (being a child) is a broad term usually applied to the phase of development in humans
between infancy and adulthood.


• 1 Age definition of a child
• 2 Research in social sciences
• 3 Background and History
• 4 See also
• 5 Footnotes
• 6 Further reading

• 7 External links

[edit] Age definition of a child
In many countries there is an age of majority when childhood ends and a person legally becomes an adult.
The age can range anywhere from 12 to 21, with 18 being the most common.

[edit] Research in social sciences
In recent years there has been a rapid growth of interest in the sociological study of childhood. Reaching
on a large body of contemporary sociological and anthropological research, people have developed key
links between the study of childhood and social theory, exploring its historical, political, and cultural
dimensions. in ethiopia

[edit] Background and History
Playing Children, by Song Dynasty Chinese artist Su Hanchen, c. 1150 AD.

Philippe Ariès, an important French medievalist and historian, published a study in 1961 of paintings,
gravestones, furniture, and school records. He found that before the seventeenth century, children were
represented as mini-adults. Since then historians have increasingly researched childhood in past times.

Before Ariès, George Boas had published The Cult of Childhood.

Several historical events and periods are discussed as relevant to the history of childhood in the West. One
such event is the life of Jesus Christ[1] Christ taught that children were to be loved and revered, a departure
from the ancients' attitude to children which was to be propagated in the Roman Empire during the next
400 years with the introduction of Christianity.[citation needed]

During the Renaissance, artistic depictions of children increased dramatically in Europe. This did not
impact the social attitude to children much, however -- see the article on child labour.

The Victorian Era has been described as a source of the modern institution of childhood. Ironically, the
Industrial Revolution during this era led to an increase in child labour, but due to the campaigning of the
Evangelicals, and efforts of author Charles Dickens and others, child labour was gradually reduced and
halted in England via the Factory Acts of 1802-1878. The Victorians concomitantly emphasized the role
of the family and the sanctity of the child, and broadly speaking, this attitude has remained dominant in
Western societies since then.

In the contemporary era Joe L. Kincheloe and Shirley R. Steinberg have constructed a critical theory of
childhood and childhood education that they have labeled kinderculture. Here Kincheloe and Steinberg
make use of multiple research and theoretical discourses (the bricolage) to study childhood from diverse
perspectives—historiography, ethnography, cognitive research, media studies, cultural studies, political
economic analysis, hermeneutics, semiotics, content analysis, etc. Based on this multiperspectival inquiry,
Kincheloe and Steinberg contend that new times have ushered in a new era of childhood. Evidence of this
dramatic cultural change is omnipresent, but many individuals in the late twentieth and early twenty-first
centuries have not yet noticed it. When Steinberg and Kincheloe wrote the first edition of Kinderculture:
The Corporate Construction of Childhood in 1997 (second edition, 2004) many people who made their
living studying, teaching, or caring for children were not yet aware of the nature of the changes in
childhood that they encountered daily.

In the domains of psychology, education, and to a lesser degree sociology and cultural studies few
observers before kinderculture had studied the ways that the information explosion so characteristic of our
contemporary era (hyperreality) had operated to undermine traditional notions of childhood and change
the terrain of childhood education. Those who have shaped, directed and employed contemporary
information technology have played an exaggerated role in the reformulation of childhood. Of course,
information technology alone, Kincheloe and Steinberg maintain, has not produced a new era of
childhood. Obviously, numerous social, cultural, and political economic factors have operated to produce
such changes. The central purpose of kinderculture is to socially, culturally, politically, and economically
situate the changing historical status of childhood and to specifically interroge the ways diverse media
have helped construct what Kincheloe and Steinberg call "the new childhood." Kinderculture understands
that childhood is an ever-changing social and historical artifact—not simply a biological entity. Because
many psychologists have argued that childhood is a natural phase of growing up, of becoming an adult,
Kincheloe and Steinberg coming from an educational context saw kinderculture as a corrective to such a
"psychologization" of childhood.

[edit] See also
• List of child related articles
• Childhood and migration
• Early childhood

[edit] Footnotes
1. ^ Wilde, Oscar. De profundis. Dover Publications New York, 1996.

[edit] Further reading

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the human developmental stage. For the adult insect stage, see Imago. For the band,
see ADULT..
For the 2008 British film by Noel Clarke see Adulthood (film).

The term adult has three distinct meanings. It indicates a grown person. It may also mean a plant or
animal that has reached full growth, or one who is legally of age; as opposed to a minor.

Adulthood can be defined in biology, psychological adult development, law, personal character, or social
status. These different aspects of adulthood are often inconsistent and contradictory. A person may be
biologically an adult, and have adult behavioral but still be treated as a child if they are under the legal
age of majority. Conversely one may legally be an adult but possess none of the maturity and
responsibility that define adult character.

Coming of age is the event; passing a series of tests to demonstrate the child is prepared for adulthood; or
reaching a specified age, sometimes in conjunction with demonstrating preparation. Most modern
societies determine legal adulthood based on reaching a legally-specified age without requiring a
demonstration of physical maturity or preparation for adulthood.

Adult, especially in the sense of entertainment or other diversion, frequently appears as a euphemism for
being related to sexual behaviour. Adult toys and adult games—which terms refer to games and toys that
are closely related to sex, do not generally refer only to games or toys with which children are simply
incompatible—are in this category, for example. This usage does indicate unsuitability for children, but
the more immediate meaning is closer to "not legal for children." Adult education, however, does simply
mean education for adults, especially for those past the usual age for either high school or university.

Some propose that moving into adulthood involves an emotional structuring of denial. This process
becomes necessary to cope with one's own behavior, especially in uncomfortable situations, and also the
behavior of others.


• 1 Biological adulthood
• 2 Legal adulthood
• 3 Personal characteristics
• 4 See also
• 5 References

• 6 External links

[edit] Biological adulthood
Adulthood is generally understood as the time when physical maturation is complete. This usually occurs
anywhere between 19 and 21. They reach their maximum height and secondary sex characteristics in the
form of body hair and maturing of the larynx, as well as ovulating monthly for women. Natural sleep
patterns change in adulthood, as adults typically require less sleep than during adolescence and childhood.
At this point, such individuals usually become independent and therefore able to care for others as well as
themselves. There are exceptions to this rule however.

[edit] Legal adulthood
Main article: Age of majority

Legally it means that one can engage in a contract. The same or a different minimum age may be
applicable to, for example, parents losing parenting rights and duties regarding the person concerned,
parents losing financial responsibility, marriage, voting, having a job, being a soldier, buying/possessing
firearms (if legal at all), driving, traveling abroad, involvement with alcoholic beverages (if legal at all),
smoking, sex, gambling (both lottery and casino) being a prostitute or a client of a prostitute (if legal at
all), being a model or actor in pornography, etc. Admission of a young person to a place may be restricted
because of danger for that person, and/or because of the risk that the young person causes damage (for
example, at an exhibition of fragile items).

One can distinguish the legality of acts of a young person, and of enabling a young person to carry out
that act, by selling, renting out, showing, permitting entrance, participating, etc. There may be distinction
between commercially and socially enabling. Sometimes there is the requirement of supervision by a legal
guardian, or just by an adult. Sometimes there is no requirement, but just a recommendation.

With regard to pornography one can distinguish:

• being allowed inside an adult establishment
• being allowed to purchase pornography
• being allowed to possess pornography
• another person being allowed to sell, rent out, or show the young person pornography, see
disseminating pornography to a minor
• being a model or actor in pornography: rules for the young person, and for other people, regarding
production, possession, etc. (see child pornography)

With regard to films with violence, etc.:

• another person being allowed to sell, rent out, or show the young person the film, a cinema being
allowed to let the young person (under 17) enter

The legal definition of entering adulthood usually varies between ages 15–21, depending on the region in
question. Some cultures in Africa define adult at age 13.

According to Jewish tradition, adulthood is reached at age 13 (the age of the Bar Mitzvah), for Jewish
boys, for example, were expected to demonstrate preparation for adulthood by learning the Torah and
other Jewish practices. The Christian Bible and Jewish scripture has no age requirement for adulthood or
marrying, which includes engaging in sexual activity. According to The Disappearance of Childhood by
Neil Postman, the Christian Church of the Middle Ages considered the age of accountability, when a
person could be tried and even executed as an adult, to be age 7 .

In most of the world, including the United States, parts of the United Kingdom (England, Northern
Ireland, Wales), India and China, the legal adult age is 18, with some exceptions:

1. Iran and Singapore (21)
2. Indonesia and Japan (20)
3. South Korea & British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest
Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Yukon Territory in Canada (19)
4. the United Kingdom: Scotland (16)

[edit] Personal characteristics
There are some qualities that symbolize adultness in most cultures. There is not always a correlation
between the qualities and the physical age of the person.

The adult character comprises:

• Self-control - restraint, emotional control.
• Stability - stable personality, strength.
• Independence - ability to self-regulate.
• Seriousness - ability to deal with life in a serious manner.
• Responsibility - accountability, commitment and reliability.
• Method/Tact - ability to think ahead and plan for the future, patience.
• Endurance - ability and willingness to cope with difficulties that present themselves.
• Experience - breadth of mind, understanding.
• Objectivity - perspective and realism.
• Decision making capability - as all of the above correspond to making proper decisions.
• Priorities - Ability to determine what is necessary at that place and time.

[edit] See also
• Adolescence
• Adult development
• Child
• Watershed (television)
• Age of consent
• Manhood
• Womanhood
• Motion picture rating system
• Adultism

[edit] References
[edit] External links
• Table 8. Age of Independence US and UK legal age guide.

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Strategy[show] For other uses, see Weapon (disambiguation). See military
Economic technology and equipment for a comprehensive list of weapons and
Grand doctrines.
Organization[show] A weapon is a tool used to apply or threaten to apply force for the
Formations purpose of hunting, attack or defense in combat, subduing enemy
Ranks personnel, or to destroy enemy weapons, equipment and defensive
Units structures. A weapon is therefore a device that changes the direction
Logistics[show] or magnitude of a force.[1] In general, they can be defined as the
Equipment simplest mechanisms that use mechanical advantage (also called
Material leverage) to multiply force.[2]
Supply line
In attack, weapons may be used to threaten by direct contact or by
use of projectiles. Weapons can be as simple as a club, or as
complex as an intercontinental ballistic missile. Metaphorically
speaking, anything capable of causing damage, even
psychologically, can be referred to as a weapon. More recently,
non-lethal weapons have been developed for para-military, security and even combat use, designed to
incapacitate personnel and reduce collateral damage to property and environment.[3]


• 1 History
o 1.1 Prehistoric weapons
o 1.2 Ancient world weapons
o 1.3 Weapons of the Middle Ages
o 1.4 Early modern period weapons
o 1.5 Modern weapons
o 1.6 Weapon development since the Second World War
• 2 Classification of weapons
• 3 See also
• 4 Citations and notes
• 5 References

• 6 External links

[edit] History
[edit] Prehistoric weapons

An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools.

Very simple weapon use has been seen in some communities of chimpanzees.[4] Craig Stanford, a
primatologist and professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California, has suggested that
the discovery of spear use by chimpanzees probably means that early humans used wooden spears as well,
perhaps five million years ago.[5]

The earliest and most primitive weapons were the by-products of early human hunting – claws, teeth and
horns of hunted animals, shaped or adapted for use as weapons. Stone axes were used as weapons very
early in human history as personal weapons of direct attack, and as a particular type of simple tool that
made up for comparative lack of natural weapons, such as claws, horns and teeth, in the human

The first human use of weapons is not easy to date, as these would probably have been wooden clubs,
spears and unshaped stones thrown at prey or enemy—and none of these would leave an unambiguous
The earliest examples found are a cache of eight wooden throwing spears, the Schöninger Speere, which
have been dated as 400,000 years ago.[6]

By 250,000 years ago wooden spears were made with fire-hardened points. From 80,000 years ago
humans began to make complex stone blades, which were used as spear points.

Bows and arrows may have been used by 60,000 years ago[7]

[edit] Ancient world weapons

A four-wheeled ballista drawn by armored horses, c. 400.

Ancient weapons were in many ways qualitative improvements of the late prehistoric versions, with
significant improvement in materials and techniques used, that created the first revolutions in military
technology. Light, horse-drawn chariots for use in battle appeared with the invention of the spoked wheel.
The earliest spoke-wheeled chariots date to ca. 2000 BC and their usage peaked around 1300 BC (see
Battle of Kadesh). Chariots ceased to have military importance in the 4th century BC, as horses were bred
to support the weight of a man, and chariotry (the part of a military force that fought from chariots) gave
way to cavalry.[8]

[edit] Weapons of the Middle Ages

Ancient Chinese cannon displayed in the Tower of London.

The Medieval period, including the Western Middle Ages, was characterized by two iconic Medieval
weapons: knights, heavily-armored horsemen, and the rudimentary siege artillery to negate the increased
use of castles, fortified dwellings which proliferated throughout Europe and the near east. While knights
were an evolutionary development of the earlier historical cavalry such as the Roman and Persian
cataphracts, siege artillery used to breach castle walls triggered quite revolutionary advances, including
increasingly sophisticated siegecraft using gunpowder weapons, the cannon.

[edit] Early modern period weapons

The Renaissance marked the beginning of the implementation of firearms in warfare, with the
introduction of guns and rockets to the battlefield.
Firearms are qualitatively different from earlier weapons because they store energy in a combustible
propellant such as gunpowder, rather than in a weight or spring. This energy is released quite rapidly, and
can be restored without much effort by the user, so that even early firearms such as the arquebus were
much more powerful than human-powered weapons. They became increasingly important and effective
during the 16th century to 19th century, with progressive improvements in ignition mechanisms followed
by revolutionary changes in ammunition handling and propellant. During the U.S. Civil War various
technologies including the machine gun and ironclad warship emerged that would be recognizable and
useful military weapons today, particularly in lower-technology conflicts. In the 19th century warship
propulsion changed from sail power to fossil fuel-powered steam engines.

The bayonet is used as both knife and polearm.

The age of edged weapons ended abruptly just before World War I with rifled artillery, such as howitzers
which were able to destroy any masonry fortress, as well as destroy other fortifications. This single
invention caused a revolution in military affairs and doctrines that continues to this day. See Technology
during World War I for a detailed discussion.

An important feature of industrial age warfare was technological escalation - an innovation could, and
would, be rapidly matched by copying it, and often with yet another innovation to counter it. The
technological escalation during World War I was profound, producing armed aircraft and tanks.

This continued in the period between the end of that war and the next, with continuous improvements of
all weapons by all major powers. Many modern military weapons, particularly ground-based ones, are
relatively minor improvements on those of World War II. See military technology during World War II
for a detailed discussion.

[edit] Modern weapons

The Maxim gun and its successor the Vickers (shown here) remained in British military service for 79
consecutive years.

From the American Revolution[citation needed] through the beginning of the 20th century, human-powered
weapons were finally excluded from the battlefield for the most part. Sometimes referred to as the "Age
of Rifles"[9], this period was characterized by the development of firearms for infantry and cannons for
support, as well as the beginnings of mechanized weapons such as the machine gun, the tank and above
all the wide introduction of aircraft into warfare, including naval warfare with the introduction of the
aircraft carriers. World War I marked the entry of fully industrialized warfare, and weapons were
developed quickly to meet wartime needs. Above all it promosed to the military commanders the
independence from the horse and the resurgence in manoeuvre warfare through extensive use of motor
vehicles. The changes that these military technologies underwent before and during the Second World
War were evolutionary, but defined the development for the rest of the century. World War II however,
perhaps marked the most frantic period of weapons development in the history of humanity. Massive
numbers of new designs and concepts were fielded, and all existing technologies were improved between
1939 and 1945. The most powerful weapon invented during this period was the atomic bomb.

[edit] Weapon development since the Second World War

After World War II, with the onset of the Cold War, the constant technological development of new
weapons was institutionalized, as participants engaged in a constant race to develop weapons and counter-
weapons. This constant state of weapons development continues into the modern era, and remains a
constant draw on the resources of most nations.

The most notable development in weaponry since World War II has been the combination and further
development of two weapons first used in it—nuclear weapons and the ballistic missile, leading to its
ultimate configuration: the ICBM. The mutual possession of these by the United States and the Soviet
Union ensured that either nation could inflict terrible damage on the other; so terrible, in fact, that neither
nation was willing to instigate direct, all-out war with the other (a phenomenon known as Mutually
Assured Destruction). The indiscriminate nature of the destruction has made nuclear-tipped missiles
essentially useless for the smaller wars fought since. However computer-guided weaponry of all kinds,
from precision-guided munitions (or "smart bombs") to computer-aimed tank rounds, has greatly
increased weaponry's accuracy.

India's Agni-II, a ballistic missile. (Photo: Antônio Milena/ABr)

Being able to prepare, maneuver and attack before the enemy can detect the threat and respond can be a
decisive advantage. The element of surprise has long been recognized as a tactical advantage. Modern
technology can increase this, such as when one side has sophisticated night vision technology allowing
maneuvering and combat at night when the enemy, not so equipped, is limited. High tech surveillance and
intelligence gathering methods such as pilotless drones can prevent surprise or identify targets.
Coordination of forces is necessary in order to utilize separated forces effectively, modern
communications, if unjammed and unintercepted are substantial advantages. Even once targets or strategic
objectives are identified, it is necessary to prepare detailed plans for individual forces to follow, a time
consuming process that modern armies are trying to computerize to achieve an advantage of speed over
the enemy.[citation needed]

Since interfering with enemy infrastructure, intelligence and communications yields an advantage, and a
weapon is defined as something that grants such an advantage, new targets and weapons such as
cyberwarfare are becoming possible.

[edit] Classification of weapons
There are essentially three facets to classifying weapon systems: who uses it, how it works, and what it
targets. The categorisation is also subject to the combat environment in which the weapon, or its platform
is used, generally on land, on or in the water, in the atmosphere, or in space. These combat environments
set unique engineering design criteria for user proficiency, system complexity and therefore affordability,
and the capability it offers against specific types of threats.

Who uses it essentially determines how it can be employed:

• Personal weapons (or small arms) are designed to be used by a single person.
• Infantry support weapons are larger than personal weapons, requiring more than one crew member
to operate correctly.
• Fortification weapons are designed to be mounted in a permanent installation, or used primarily
within a fortification.
• Mountain weapons are designed for use by mountain forces or those operating in difficult terrain
and harsh climates.
• Vehicle weapons are designed to be mounted on any type of military vehicle.
• Railway weapons are designed to be mounted on railway cars, including armored trains.
• Aircraft weapons are designed to be carried on and used by some type of aircraft, helicopter, or
other aerial vehicle.
• Naval weapons are designed to be mounted on ships and submarines.
• Space weapons are designed to be used in or launched from space.

How it works refers to the construction of the weapon and how it operates:

• Antimatter weapons (still theoretical) would combine matter and antimatter to cause a powerful
explosion. However, antimatter is still hard to make and harder to store.
• Archery related weapons operate by using a tensioned string to launch a projectile at some target.
• Artillery are large firearms capable of launching heavy projectiles (normally explosive) over long
• Biological weapons spread biological agents, attacking humans (or livestock) by causing disease
and infection.
• Chemical weapons spread chemical agents, attacking humans by poisoning and causing reactions.
• Energy weapons rely on concentrating forms of energy to attack, such as lasers, electrical shocks,
and thermal or sonic attack.
• Explosive weapons use a physical explosion to create blast concussion or spread shrapnel.
• Firearms use a chemical charge to launch one or more projectiles down a rifled or smoothbore
• Improvised weapons are common objects that were not designed for combat purposes but are used
as such in self defense, guerrilla warfare or a violent crime.
• Incendiary weapons rely on combustible materials and an ignition mechanism to cause damage by
• Non-lethal weapons are used to attack and subdue humans, but are designed to minimize the risk
of killing the target.
• Magnetic weapons is one that uses magnetic fields to accelerate and propel projectiles, or to focus
charged particle beams.
• Mêlée weapons operate as physical extensions of the user's body and directly impact their target.
• Missiles are rockets which are guided to their target after launch. This is also a general term for
projectile weapons.
• Nuclear weapons use radioactive materials to create nuclear fission and/or nuclear fusion
detonations above a target (air burst) or at ground-level (ground burst).
• Primitive weapons make little or no use of technological or industrial elements, instead being
purely constructed of easily obtainable natural materials.
• Ranged weapons cause a projectile to leave the user and (ideally) strike a target afterwards.
• Rockets use chemical propellant to accelerate a projectile (usually with an explosive warhead)
towards a target and are typically unguided once fired.
• Suicide weapons are typically explosive in nature and exploit the willingness of their operator to
not survive the attack to reach their target.

What it targets refers to what type of target the weapon is designed to attack:

• Anti-aircraft weapons target enemy aircraft, helicopters, missiles and any other aerial vehicles in
• Anti-fortification weapons are designed to target enemy installations, including bunkers and
fortifications. The American bunker buster bomb is designed to travel almost 10 metres
underground before detonating, toppling underground installations.
• Anti-personnel weapons are designed to attack people, either individually or in numbers.
• Anti-radiation weapons target enemy sources of electronic radiation, particularly radar emitters.
• Anti-ship weapons target enemy ships and vessels on water.
• Anti-submarine weapons target enemy submarines and other underwater targets.
• Anti-tank weapons are primarily used to defeat armored targets, but may be targeted against other
less well armored targets.
• Area denial weapons are designed to target territory, making it unsafe or unsuitable for enemy use
or travel.
• Hunting weapons are designed particularly for use against animals for hunting purposes.
• Infantry support weapons are designed to attack various threats to infantry units, supporting the
infantry's operations, including heavy machine guns, mortars and pinpoint airstrikes ordered by
the infantry, often to strike heavily defended positions, such as enemy camps or extensively
powerful machine-gun nests.

[edit] See also
• Arms trade
• List of martial arts weapons
• List of weapons
• Riot control agent
• Toy weapons
• Weapons of mass destruction

[edit] Citations and notes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Crime (disambiguation).

Crime is the breach of one or more rules or laws for which some governing authority or force may
ultimately prescribe a punishment. The word crime originates from the Latin crimen (genitive criminis),
from the Latin root cernō and Greek κρινω = "I judge". Originally it meant "charge (in law), guilt,

When society deems informal relationships and sanctions insufficient to create and maintain a desired
social order, there may result more formalized systems of social control imposed by a government, or
more broadly, by a State. With the institutional and legal machinery at their disposal, agents of the State
can compel individuals to conform to behavioural codes and punish those that do not. Various
mechanisms are employed to regulate behaviour, including rules codified into laws, policing people to
ensure they comply with those laws, and other policies and practices designed to prevent crime. In
addition are remedies and sanctions, and collectively these constitute a criminal justice system. Not all
breaches of the law, however, are considered crimes, for example, breaches of contract and other civil law
offences. The label of "crime" and the accompanying social stigma are normally reserved for those
activities that are injurious to the general population or the State, including some that cause serious loss or
damage to individuals. The label is intended to assert an hegemony of a dominant population, or to reflect
a consensus of condemnation for the identified behavior and to justify a punishment imposed by the State,
in the event that an accused person is tried and convicted of a crime. Usually, the perpetrator of the crime
is a natural person, but in some jurisdictions and in some moral environments, legal persons are also
considered to have the capability of committing crimes.


• 1 Definition
• 2 Criminalization
• 3 History
• 4 Natural-law theory
• 5 Distinctions
• 6 Types
o 6.1 U.S. classification
• 7 Crimes against international law
• 8 Religion and crime
• 9 Military jurisdictions and states of emergency
• 10 Employee crime
• 11 See also
o 11.1 Statistics
• 12 Notes
• 13 References

• 14 External links

[edit] Definition
A normative definition views crime as deviant behavior that violates prevailing norms – cultural
standards prescribing how humans ought to behave normally. This approach considers the complex
realities surrounding the concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social, political,
psychological, and economic conditions may affect the current definitions of crime and the form of the
legal, law enforcement, and penal responses made by society. These structural realities remain fluid and
often contentious. For example, as cultures change and the political environment shifts, behavior may be
criminalised or decriminalised, which will directly affect the statistical crime rates, determine the
allocation of resources for the enforcement of such laws, and influence the general public opinion.
Similarly, changes in the way that crime data are collected and/or calculated may affect the public
perceptions of the extent of any given "crime problem". All such adjustments to crime statistics, allied
with the experience of people in their everyday lives, shape attitudes on the extent to which law should be
used to enforce any particular social norm. There are many ways in which behaviour can be controlled
without having to resort to the criminal justice system. Indeed, in those cases where there is no clear
consensus on the given norm, the use of criminal law by the group in power to prohibit the behaviour of
another group may be considered an improper limitation of the second group's freedom, and the ordinary
members of society may lose some of their respect for the law in general whether the disputed law is
actively enforced or not.

Legislatures pass laws (called mala prohibita) that define crimes which violate social norms. These laws
vary from time to time and from place to place: note variations in gambling laws, for example. Other
crimes, called mala in se, are nearly universally outlawed, such as murder, theft and rape

[edit] Criminalization
Main article: Criminalization

• One can view criminalization as a procedure intended as a pre-emptive, harm-reduction device,
using the threat of punishment as a deterrent to those proposing to engage in the behavior causing
harm. The State becomes involved because they usually believe costs of not criminalizing (i.e.
allowing the harms to continue unabated) outweigh the costs of criminalizing it (i.e. restricting
individual liberty in order to minimize harm to others).
• Criminalization may provide future harm-reduction even after a crime, assuming those
incarcerated for committing crimes are more likely to cause harm in the future.[clarification needed]
• Criminalization might be intended as a way to make potential criminals pay for their crimes. In
this case, criminalization is a way to set the price that one must pay (to society) for certain actions
that are considered detrimental to society as a whole. In this sense criminalization can be viewed
as nothing more than State-sanctioned revenge.

States control the process of criminalization because:

• Even if victims recognize their own role as victims, they may not have the resources to investigate
and seek legal redress for the injuries suffered: the enforcers formally appointed by the State have
the expertise and the resources.
• The victims may only want compensation for the injuries suffered, while being indifferent to a
possible desire for deterrence (see Polinsky & Shavell (1997) on the fundamental divergence
between the private and the social motivation for using the legal system).
• Fear of retaliation may deter victims or witnesses of crimes from taking any action. Even in
policed societies, fear may inhibit reporting or co-operation in a trial.
• Victims alone may lack the economies of scale which might allow them to administer a penal
system, let alone collect any fines levied by a court (see Polinsky (1980) on the enforcement of
fines). Garoupa & Klerman (2002) warn that a rent-seeking government has as its primary
motivation to maximize revenue and so, if offenders have sufficient wealth, a rent-seeking
government will act more aggressively than a social-welfare-maximizing government in enforcing
laws against minor crimes (usually with a fixed penalty such as parking and routine traffic
violations), but more laxly in enforcing laws against major crimes.
• As a result of the crime, victims may die or become incapacitated.

[edit] History
The earliest known civilizations had codes of law, containing both civil and penal rules mixed together,
though not always in recorded form. The Sumerians produced the earliest surviving written codes,[1] and it
is known that Urukagina had an early code that does not survive. A later king, Ur-Nammu left the earliest
code that has been discovered, creating a formal system of prescribed penalties for specific cases in 57
articles, the Code of Ur-Nammu. The Sumerians later issued other codes, including the "code of Lipit-
Ishtar". This code, from the 20th century BCE, contains some fifty articles, and has been reconstructed by
comparison among several sources.

The Sumerian was deeply conscious of his personal rights and resented any encroachment on them, whether by his
King, his superior, or his equal. No wonder that the Sumerians were the first to compile laws and law codes.

— Kramer[2]

Successive legal codes in Babylon, including the code of Hammurabi, reflected Mesopotamian society's
belief that law derived from the will of the gods (see Babylonian law).[3] Many states at this time
functioned as theocracies, with codes of conduct largely religious in origin or reference.

Sir Henry Maine (1861) studied the ancient codes available in his day, and failed to find any criminal law
in the "modern" sense of the word. While modern systems distinguish between offences against the
"State" or "Community", and offences against the "Individual", the so-called penal law of ancient
communities was not the law of "Crimes" (crimina); it was the law of "Wrongs" (delicta). Thus, the
Hellenic laws[4] treated all forms of theft, assault, rape, and murder as private wrongs, and left action for
enforcement up to the victims or their survivors. The earliest systems seem to have lacked formal courts.

The Romans systematized law and exported it across their Empire. Again, the initial rules of Roman Law
regarded assaults as a matter of private compensation. The most significant Roman Law concept involved
dominion.[5] The pater familias owned all the family and its property (including slaves); the pater
enforced matters involving interference with any property. The Commentaries of Gaius on the Twelve
Tables treated furtum (in modern parlance: theft) as a tort. Similarly, assault and violent robbery involved
trespass as to the pater's property (so, for example, the rape of a slave could become the subject of
compensation to the pater as having trespassed on his "property"), and breach of such laws created a
vinculum juris (an obligation of law) that only the payment of monetary compensation (modern
"damages") could discharge. Similarly, the consolidated Teutonic Laws of the Germanic tribes,[6] included
a complex system of monetary compensations for what courts would now consider the complete range of
criminal offences against the person, from murder down.

Even though Rome abandoned its Britannic provinces sometime around 400 AD, the Germanic
mercenaries – who had largely become instrumental in enforcing Roman rule – acquired ownership of
the land there and continued to use a mixture of Roman and Teutonic Law, with much written down under
the early Anglo-Saxon Kings.[7] But only when a more centralized English monarchy emerged following
the Norman invasion, and the kings of England attempted to assert power over the land and its peoples,
did the modern concept emerge, namely of a crime not only as an offence against the "individual", but
also as a wrong against the "State".[8] This idea came from common law, and the earliest conception of a
criminal act involved events of such major significance that the "State" had to usurp the usual functions of
the civil tribunals, and direct a special law or privilegium against the perpetrator. All the earliest English
criminal trials involved wholly extraordinary and arbitrary courts without any settled law to apply,
whereas the civil delictual law operated in a highly developed and consistent manner (except where a
King wanted to raise money by selling a new form of writ). The development of the idea that the "State"
dispenses justice in a court only emerges in parallel with or after the emergence of the concept of

In continental Europe, Roman Law persisted, but with a stronger influence from the Church.[9] Coupled
with the more diffuse political structure based on smaller State units, various different legal traditions
emerged, remaining more strongly rooted in Roman jurisprudence modified to meet the prevailing
political climate. In Scandinavia, the effect of Roman law did not become apparent until the 17th century,
and the courts grew out of the things — the assemblies of the people. The cases were decided by the
people (usually largest freeholders dominating) which later gradually transformed into a system of a royal
judge nominating a number of most esteemed men of the parish as his board, fulfilling the function of "the
people" of yore.

From the Hellenic system onwards, the policy rationale for requiring the payment of monetary
compensation for wrongs committed has involved the avoidance of feuding between clans and families.[10]
If families' feelings could be mollified by compensation, this would help to keep the peace. On the other
hand, the threat of feudal warfare was played down also by the institution of oaths. Both in archaic Greece
and in medieval Scandinavia, the accused was released if he could get a sufficient number of male
relatives to swear him unguilty. This may be compared with the United Nations Security Council where
the veto power of the permanent members ensures that the organization is not drawn into crises where it
could not enforce its decisions. These means of restraining private feuds did not always work or prevented
the fulfillment of justice but, in the earliest times, the "States" were not prepared to provide an
independent police force. Thus, criminal law grew out of what is now tort and, in real terms, many acts
and omissions that are classified as crimes overlap civil law concepts.

The development of sociological thought from the 19th century onwards prompted some fresh views on
crime and criminality, and fostered the beginnings of criminology as a study of crime in society.
Nietzsche noted a link between crime and creativity – in The Birth of Tragedy he asserted: "The best and
brightest that man can acquire he must obtain by crime". In the 20th century Michel Foucault in
Discipline and Punish made a study of criminalization as a coercive method of state control.

[edit] Natural-law theory
Justifying the State's use of force to coerce compliance with its laws has proven a consistent theoretical
problem. One of the earliest justifications involved the theory of natural law. This posits that the nature of
the world or of human beings underlies the standards of morality or constructs them. Thomas Aquinas
said: "the rule and measure of human acts is the reason, which is the first principle of human acts"
(Aquinas, ST I-II, Q.90, A.I), i.e. since people are by nature rational beings, it is morally appropriate that
they should behave in a way that conforms to their rational nature. Thus, to be valid, any law must
conform to natural law and coercing people to conform to that law is morally acceptable. William
Blackstone (1979: 41) describes the thesis:

"This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course
superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times:
no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their
force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original."

But John Austin, an early positivist, applied utilitarianism in accepting the calculating nature of human
beings and the existence of an objective morality, but denied that the legal validity of a norm depends on
whether its content conforms to morality. Thus in Austinian terms a moral code can objectively determine
what people ought to do, the law can embody whatever norms the legislature decrees to achieve social
utility, but every individual remains free to choose what he or she will do. Similarly, Hart (1961) saw the
law as an aspect of sovereignty with lawmakers able to adopt any law as a means to a moral end. Thus,
the necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of a proposition of law were simply that the law was
internally logical and consistent, and that State power was being used with responsibility. Dworkin (2005)
rejects Hart's theory and argues that fundamental among political rights is the right of each individual to
the equal respect and concern of those who govern him. He offers a theory of compliance overlaid by a
theory of deference (the citizen's duty to obey the law) and a theory of enforcement, which identifies the
legitimate goals of enforcement and punishment. Legislation must conform to a theory of legitimacy,
which describes the circumstances under which a particular person or group is entitled to make law, and a
theory of legislative justice, which describes the law they are entitled or obliged to make.
Indeed, despite everything, the majority of natural-law theorists have accepted the idea of enforcing the
prevailing morality as a primary function of the law. This view entails the problem that it makes any
moral criticism of the law impossible in that, if conformity with natural law forms a necessary condition
for legal validity, all valid law must, by definition, be morally just. Thus, on this line of reasoning, the
legal validity of a norm necessarily entails its moral justice. The solution to this problem is to admit some
degree of moral relativism and to accept that norms may evolve over time and, therefore, the continued
enforcement of old laws may be criticized in the light of the current norms. The law may be acceptable
but the use of State power to coerce citizens to comply with that law is not morally justified. In more
modern conceptions of the theory, crime is characterized as the violation of individual rights. Since so
many rights are considered as natural, hence the term "right", rather than man-made, what constitutes a
crime is also natural, in contrast to laws, which are man-made. Adam Smith illustrates this view, saying
that a smuggler would be an excellent citizen, "...had not the laws of his country made that a crime which
nature never meant to be so."

Natural-law theory therefore distinguishes between "criminality" (which derives from human nature) and
"illegality" (which originates with the interests of those in power). Lawyers sometimes express the two
concepts with the phrases malum in se and malum prohibitum respectively. A crime malum in se (they
argue) is inherently criminal; whereas a crime malum prohibitum is argued to be criminal only because
the law has decreed it so. This view leads to a seeming paradox, that an act can be illegal that is no crime,
while a criminal act could be perfectly legal. Many Enlightenment thinkers such as Adam Smith and the
American Founding Fathers subscribed to this view to some extent, and it remains influential among so-
called classical liberals[citation needed] and libertarians[citation needed].

[edit] Distinctions

Religious sentiment often become a contributory factor of crime. Rioters set fire to many of Ahmedabad's
buildings during the 2002 Gujarat violence.

Governments criminalise antisocial behaviour — and treat it within a system of offences against society
— in order to justify the imposition of punishment. Authorities make a series of distinctions depending on
the passive subject of the crime (the victim), or on the offended interest(s), in crimes against:

• personality of the State
• rights of the citizen
• public administration
• administration of justice
• religious sentiment and faith
• public order
• public economy, industry, and commerce
• public morality.
• person and honour.
• patrimony

Or one can categorise crimes depending on the related punishment with sentencing tariffs prescribed in
line with the perceived seriousness of the offence with fines and noncustodial sentences for the least
serious, and (in some States) capital punishment for the most serious.

[edit] Types
Researchers and commentators may classify crime into categories, including violent crime, property
crime, and public order crime.

[edit] U.S. classification

In the United States since 1930, the FBI has tabulated Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) annually from
crime data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the United States.[11] Officials compile this data
at the city, county, and state levels into the Uniform crime reports (UCR). They classify violations of laws
which derive from common law as Part I (index) crimes in UCR data, further categorised as violent or
property crimes. Part I violent crimes include murder and criminal homicide (voluntary manslaughter),
forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery, while Part I property crimes include burglary, arson,
larceny/theft, and motor vehicle theft. All other crimes are classified as Part II crimes.

Analysts can also group crimes by severity, some common categorical terms including:

• felonies (US and previously UK)
• indictable offences (UK)
• misdemeanors (US and previously UK)
• summary offences (UK)

For convenience, such lists usually include infractions although, in the U.S., they may not be the subject
of the criminal law, but rather of the civil law. Compare tortfeasance.

[edit] Crimes against international law
Crimes defined by treaty as crimes against international law include:

• crimes against peace
• waging a war of aggression
• crimes of apartheid
• piracy
• genocide
• war crimes
• the slave trade

From the point of view of State-centric law, extraordinary procedures (usually international courts) may
prosecute such crimes. Note the role of the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands.

[edit] Religion and crime
Socially accepted or imposed religious morality has influenced secular jurisdictions on issues that may
otherwise concern only an individual's conscience. Activities sometimes criminalized on religious
grounds include (for example) alcohol-consumption (prohibition), abortion and stem cell research. In
various historical and present-day societies institutionalized religions have established systems of earthly
justice which punish crimes against the divine will and specific devotional, organizational and other rules
under specific codes, such as Islamic sharia or Roman Catholic canon law.

[edit] Military jurisdictions and states of emergency
In the military sphere, authorities can prosecute both regular crimes and specific acts (such as mutiny or
desertion) under martial-law codes that either supplant or extend civil codes in times of war.

Many constitutions contain provisions to curtail freedoms and criminalize otherwise tolerated behaviors
under a state of emergency in the event of war, natural disaster or civil unrest. Such undesired activities
may include assembly in the streets, violation of curfew, or possession of firearms.

[edit] Employee crime
Two common types of employee crime exist: embezzlement and sabotage.[citation needed] The complexity and
anonymity of computers may help sinister employees camouflage their crimes. The victims of the most
costly scams include banks, brokerage houses, insurance companies, and other large financial institutions.
Most people guilty of embezzlement do not have criminal histories. It is more likely that they have a
gripe against their employer, have financial problems, or simply can't resist the temptation of a loop-hole
they have found. Screening and background checks on perspective employees can help; however, many
laws make some types of screening difficult or even illegal. Fired or disgruntled employees sometimes
sabotage their company's computer system as a form of 'pay back'.[12] This sabotage may take the form of
a Logic bomb, a computer virus, or creating general havoc.

Some places of employment have developed measures in an attempt to combat and prevent employee
crime. Places of employment sometimes implement security measures such as cameras, fingerprint
records of employees, and background checks.[citation needed] Although privacy-advocates have questioned
such methods, they serve the interests of the companies using them. Not only do these methods help
prevent employee crime, but they protect the company from punishment and/or lawsuits for negligent
hiring.[13][verification needed]

[edit] See also
• Actus reus • Fear of crime
• Case law • Gang
• Civil law • Insanity defense
• Corrections • Juvenile delinquency
• Crime importation • Law and order
• Crime Library • Neighborhood watch
• Crime mapping • Organized Crime
• Crime in Brazil • Outlaw
• Crime in Mexico • Penal colony
• Crime in the United States • Timeline of organized crime from 1870
• Criminal justice • Victimology
• Criminal law
• Victimless crime (political philosophy)
• Criminal record

[edit] Statistics

• Crime rate
• Murder statistics
• Rape statistics
• List of countries by murder rate
• United States cities by crime rate

[edit] Notes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Shy)
Jump to: navigation, search
"Shy" redirects here. For other uses, see Shy (disambiguation).
The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the
Please improve this article or discuss the issue on the talk page.
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2008)

In humans, shyness (also called diffidence) is a social psychology term used to describe the feeling of
apprehension, lack of confidence, or awkwardness experienced when a person is in proximity to,
approaching, or being approached by other people, especially in new situations or with unfamiliar people.
The term is often used by laypersons as a blanket-term for a family of related and partially overlapping
afflictions, including timidity around new people, bashfulness and diffidence, lack of assertiveness,
apprehension and anticipation of interaction, social anxiety, or intimidation. Shyness may come from
personality introversion, genetic traits, or the environment in which a person is raised.

In zoology, shy generally means "tends to avoid human beings"; See crypsis. Shyness in animals
manifests with ostensibly similar behavioral traits, but differs wholly from humans in cognition and


• 1 Triggers, traits and misperception
o 1.1 Complications
• 2 Origins
o 2.1 Genetics and heredity
o 2.2 As symptom of mercury poisoning
• 3 See also
• 4 References

• 5 External links

[edit] Triggers, traits and misperception
Shyness is most likely to occur during unfamiliar situations, though in severe cases it may hinder an
individual in his or her most familiar situations and relationships as well. Shy individuals avoid the
objects of their apprehension in order to avoid feeling uncomfortable and inept, thus the situations remain
unfamiliar and the shyness perpetuates itself. Shyness may fade with time (a child who is shy toward
strangers, for instance, may eventually lose this trait when older and more socially adept), often by
adolescence and young adulthood (most likely around the age of 13), or it may be an integrated, life-long
character trait. Humans experience shyness to different degrees and in different areas. For example, an
actor may be loud and bold on stage, but shy in an interview. In addition, shyness may manifest when one
is in the company of certain people and completely disappear when with others—one may be outgoing
with friends and family, but experience love-shyness toward potential partners, even if strangers are
generally not an obstacle.

The condition of true shyness may simply involve the discomfort of difficulty in knowing what to say in
social situations, or may include crippling physical manifestations of uneasiness. Shyness usually
involves a combination of both symptoms, and may be quite devastating for the sufferer, in many cases
leading them to feel that they are boring, or exhibit bizarre behavior in an attempt to create interest,
alienating them further. Instinctive behavioral traits in social situations such as smiling, easily producing
suitable conversational topics, assuming a relaxed posture and making good eye contact, which come
spontaneously for the average person, may not be second nature for a shy person, requiring struggle or
being completely unattainable. Shyness is considered to be a neutral personality trait by people who are
not shy, but a very negative trait by those who are shy themselves.

[edit] Complications

The term shyness may be implemented as a lay blanket-term for a family of related and partially
overlapping afflictions, including timidity (apprehension in meeting new people), bashfulness and
diffidence (lack of assertiveness), apprehension and anticipation (general fear of potential interaction), or
intimidation (relating to the object of fear rather than one's low confidence).[1] Apparent shyness, as
perceived by others, may simply be the manifestation of reservation or introversion, character traits which
cause an individual to voluntarily avoid excessive social contact or be terse in communication, but are not
motivated or accompanied by discomfort, apprehension, or lack of confidence.

Rather, according to Bernardo J. Carducci, director of the Shyness Research Institute, introverts choose to
avoid social situations because they derive no reward from them, or may find surplus sensory input
overwhelming. Conversely, shy people fear such situations and feel that they must avoid them. [2] Shy
people tend to perceive their own shyness as a negative trait, and many people are uneasy with shyness in
others, especially in cultures which value individuality and taking charge. This generally poor reception of
shyness may be misinterpreted by the suffering individual as aversion related to his or her personality,
rather than simply to his or her shyness. Both conditions can lead to a compounding of a shy individual's
low self-confidence.

In some cultures which value outspokenness and overt confidence, shyness can be perceived as weakness.
To an unsympathetic observer, a shy individual may be mistaken as cold, distant, arrogant or aloof, which
can be frustrating for the shy individual. However in other cultures, shy people may be perceived as being
thoughtful, intelligent, as being good listeners, and as being more likely to think before they speak.
Furthermore, boldness, the opposite of shyness, may cause its own problems, such as impertinence or
inappropriate behavior.

[edit] Origins
The initial causes of shyness vary. Scientists have located some genetic data that supports the hypothesis
that shyness is at least partially genetic. However, there is also evidence that the environment in which a
person is raised can affect their shyness. This includes child abuse, particularly emotional abuse such as
ridicule. Shyness can originate after a person has experienced a physical anxiety reaction; at other times,
shyness seems to develop first and then later causes physical symptoms of anxiety. Shyness differs from
social anxiety, which is a broader, often depression-related psychological condition including the
experience of fear, apprehension or worry about being evaluated by others in social situations to the
extent of inducing panic.

[edit] Genetics and heredity

The genetics of shyness is a relatively small area of research that has been receiving an even smaller
amount of attention, although papers on the biological bases of shyness date back to 1988. Some research
has indicated that shyness and aggression are related—through long and short forms of the gene DRD4,
though considerably more research on this is needed. Further, it has been suggested that shyness and
social phobia (the distinction between the two is becoming ever more blurred) are related to obsessive-
compulsive disorder. As with other studies of behavioral genetics, the study of shyness is complicated by
the number of genes involved in, and the confusion in defining, the phenotype. Naming the phenotype –
and translation of terms between genetics and psychology — also causes problems. In some research,
"behavioral inhibition" is studied, in others anxiety or social inhibition is. One solution to this problem is
to study the genetics of underlying traits, such as "anxious temperament."

Several genetic links to shyness are current areas of research. One is the serotonin transporter promoter
region polymorphism (5-HTTLPR), the long form of which has been shown to be modestly correlated
with shyness in grade school children.[1] Previous studies had shown a connection between this form of
the gene and both obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism.[citation needed] Mouse models have also been
used, to derive genes suitable for further study in humans; one such gene, the glutamic acid decarboxylase
gene (which encodes an enzyme that functions in GABA synthesis), has so far been shown to have some
association with behavioral inhibition.

Another gene, the dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) exon III polymorphism, had been the subject of
studies in both shyness and aggression, and is currently the subject of studies on the "novelty seeking"
trait. A 1996 study of anxiety-related traits (shyness being one of these) remarked that, "Although twin
studies have indicated that individual variation in measures of anxiety-related personality traits is 40-60%
heritable, none of the relevant genes has yet been identified," and that "10 to 15 genes might be predicted
to be involved" in the anxiety trait. Progress has been made since then, especially in identifying other
potential genes involved in personality traits, but there has been little progress made towards confirming
these relationships. The long version of the 5-HTT gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) is now
postulated to be correlated with shyness,[1] but in the 1996 study, the short version was shown to be
related to anxiety-based traits. This confusion and contradiction does not oppose the genetic basis of
personality traits, but does emphasize the amount of research there is still to be done before the bases of
even one or two of these characteristics can be identified.

[edit] As symptom of mercury poisoning

Excessive shyness, embarrassment, self consciousness and timidity, social-phobia and lack of self-
confidence are also components of erethism, which is a symptom complex that appears in cases of
mercury poisoning[2][3]. Mercury poisoning was common among hat makers in England in the 1700s and
1800s, who used mercury to stabilize the wool into felt fabric.

[edit] See also
Psychology portal

• Boldness
• Love-shyness
• Introversion
• Social anxiety
• Social anxiety disorder
• Selective mutism
• Avoidant personality disorder
• Highly sensitive person
• Schizoid Personality Disorder

[edit] References
• Kluger, A. N.; Siegfried, Z.; Epbstein, R. P.: A meta-analysis of the association between DRD4
polymorphism and novelty seeking. Molecular Psychiatry 2002; 7: 712-717.
• Lesch, Klaus-Peter; Bengal, Dietmar; Heils, Armin; Sabol, Sue Z.; Greenberg, Benjamin D.; Petri,
Susanne; Benjamin, Jonathan; Muller, Clemens R.; Hamer, Dean H.; Murphy, Dennis L.: Association of
anxiety-related traits with a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene regulatory region. Science
1996; 274(5292): 1527-1531.
• Smoller, Jordan W.; Rosenbaum, Jerold F.; Biederman, Joseph; Susswein, Lisa S.; Kennedy, John; Kagan,
Jerome; Snidman, Nancy; Laird, Nan; Tsuang, Ming T.; Faraone, Stephen V.; Schwarz, Alysandra;
Slaugenhaupt, Susan A.: Genetic association analysis of behavioral inhibition using candidate loci from
mouse models. American Journal of Medical Genetics 2001; 105: 226-235.
1. ^ a b Shoshana Arbelle, Jonathan Benjamin, Moshe Golin, Ilana Kremer, Robert H. Belmaker & Richard P.
Ebstein (April 2003). "Relation of shyness in grade school children to the genotype for the long form of the
serotonin transporter promoter region polymorphism". The American journal of psychiatry 160 (4): 671–
676. PMID 12668354.
2. ^ WHO (1976) Environmental Health Criteria 1: Mercury, Geneva, World Health Organization, 131 pp.
3. ^ WHO. Inorganic mercury. Environmental Health Criteria 118. World Health Organization, Geneva,

[edit] External links

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2007)

Calmness is a mental state wherein the mind is not turbulent, but open and reflective. No emotions are
agitating the mind and no insistent train of thought is disturbing the mind. Calmness can most easily occur
for the average person during a state of relaxation, but it can also be found during much more alert and
aware states. Some people find that focusing the mind on something external, or even internal, such as the
breathing, can itself be very calming. Calmness is a quality that can be cultivated and increased with
practice. It usually takes a trained mind to stay calm in the face of a great deal of different stimulation,
and possible distractions, especially emotional ones. The negative emotions are the greatest challenge to
someone who is attempting to cultivate a calm mind. Some disciplines that promote and develop calmness
are yoga, relaxation training, breath training, and meditation practices.

[edit] See also

Look up calmness in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

• Ataraxia
Emotions (list)

Acceptance · Affection · Alertness · Ambivalence · Anger · Angst · Annoyance · Anticipation · Anxiety ·
Apathy · Awe · Boredom · Calmness · Compassion · Confusion · Contempt · Contentment · Curiosity ·
Depression · Desire · Disappointment · Disgust · Doubt · Ecstasy · Embarrassment · Empathy ·
Emptiness · Enthusiasm · Envy · Epiphany · Euphoria · Fanaticism · Fear · Frustration · Gratification ·
Gratitude · Grief · Guilt · Happiness · Hatred · Homesickness · Honesty · Hope · Hostility · Humiliation ·
Hysteria · Inspiration · Interest · Jealousy · Kindness · Limerence · Loneliness · Love · Lust · Melancholia ·
Nostalgia · Panic · Patience · Pity · Pride · Rage · Regret · Remorse · Repentance · Resentment · Righteous
indignation · Sadness · Saudade · Schadenfreude · Sehnsucht · Self-pity · Shame · Shyness · Suffering ·
Surprise · Suspicion · Sympathy · Wonder · Worry

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This article is about the chemical substance. For its chemical and physical properties, see water
(molecule). For other uses, see Water (disambiguation).

Water in three states: liquid, solid (ice), and (invisible) vapor in air. Clouds are droplets of liquid,
condensed from water vapor.

Water is a common chemical substance that is essential for the survival of all known forms of life. In
typical usage, water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has a solid state, ice, and
a gaseous state, water vapor or steam. About 1.460 petatonnes (Pt) (1021kilograms) of water covers 71%
of the Earth's surface[1], mostly in oceans and other large water bodies, with 1.6% of water below ground
in aquifers and 0.001% in the air as vapor, clouds (formed of solid and liquid water particles suspended in
air), and precipitation.[2] Saltwater oceans hold 97% of surface water, glaciers and polar ice caps 2.4%,
and other land surface water such as rivers, lakes and ponds 0.6%. A very small amount of the Earth's
water is contained within water towers, biological bodies, manufactured products, and food stores. Other
water is trapped in ice caps, glaciers, aquifers, or in lakes, sometimes providing fresh water for life on

Water moves continually through a cycle of evaporation or transpiration (evapotranspiration),
precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea. Winds carry water vapor over land at the same rate as
runoff into the sea, about 36 Tt (1012kilograms) per year. Over land, evaporation and transpiration
contribute another 71 Tt per year to the precipitation of 107 Tt per year over land. Clean, fresh drinking
water is essential to human and other life. However, in many parts of the world—especially developing
countries—there is a water crisis, and it is estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world population
will be facing water-based vulnerability.[3] Water plays an important role in the world economy, as it
functions as a solvent for a wide variety of chemical substances and facilitates industrial cooling and
transportation. Approximately 70% of freshwater is consumed by agriculture.[4]


• 1 Types of water
• 2 Chemical and physical properties
• 3 Distribution of water in nature
o 3.1 Water in the Universe
o 3.2 Water and habitable zone
• 4 Water on Earth
o 4.1 Water cycle
o 4.2 Fresh water storage
o 4.3 Tides
• 5 Effects on life
o 5.1 Aquatic life forms
• 6 Effects on human civilization
o 6.1 Health and pollution
o 6.2 Human uses
 6.2.1 Agriculture
 6.2.2 As a scientific standard
 6.2.3 For drinking
 6.2.4 As a dissolving agent or solvent
 6.2.5 As a heat transfer fluid
 6.2.6 Extinguishing fires
 6.2.7 Chemical uses
 6.2.8 Recreation
 6.2.9 Water industry
 6.2.10 Industrial applications
 6.2.11 Food processing
• 7 Water politics and water crisis
• 8 Religion, philosophy, and literature
• 9 See also
• 10 References
• 11 Further reading
o 11.1 Water as a natural resource
• 12 External links

Types of water

Liquid water in motion

Water can appear in three states; it is one of the very few substances to be found naturally in all three
states on earth.[citation needed] Water takes many different forms on Earth: water vapor and clouds in the sky;
seawater and rarely icebergs in the ocean; glaciers and rivers in the mountains; and the liquid in aquifers
in the ground.

Water can dissolve many different substances, giving it different tastes and odors. In fact, humans and
other animals have developed senses which are, to a degree, able to evaluate the potability of water,
avoiding water that is too salty or putrid. Humans also tend to prefer cold water to lukewarm; cold water
is likely to contain fewer microbes. The taste advertised in spring water or mineral water derives from the
minerals dissolved in it, as pure H2O is tasteless. As such, purity in spring and mineral water refers to
purity from toxins, pollutants, and microbes.

Different names are given to water's various forms:

Snowflakes by Wilson Bentley, 1902

• according to state
o solid - ice
o liquid - water
o gaseous - water vapor

• according to meteorology:
o hydrometeor
 precipitation
precipitation according to moves precipitation according to state
• vertical (falling) precipitation • liquid precipitation
o rain o rain
o freezing rain o freezing rain
o drizzle o drizzle
o freezing drizzle o freezing drizzle
o snow o dew
o snow pellets • solid precipitation
o snow grains o snow
o ice pellets o snow pellets
o frozen rain o snow grains
o hail o ice pellets
o ice crystals o frozen rain
• horizontal (seated) precipitation o hail
o dew o ice crystals
o hoarfrost o hoarfrost
o atmospheric icing o atmospheric icing
o glaze ice
o glaze ice • mixed precipitation

o in temperatures around 0 °C

o levitating particles
 clouds
 fog
 mist
o ascending particles (drifted by wind)
 spindrift
 stirred snow
• according to occurrence
o groundwater
o meltwater
o meteoric water
o connate water
o fresh water
o surface water
o mineral water – contains much minerals
o brackish water
o dead water – strange phenomenon which can occur when a layer of fresh or brackish water
rests on top of denser salt water, without the two layers mixing. It is dangerous for ship
o seawater
o brine
• according to uses
o tap water
o bottled water
o drinking water or potable water – useful for everyday drinking, without fouling, it contains
balanced minerals that are not harmful to health (see below)
o purified water, laboratory-grade, analytical-grade or reagent-grade water – water which has
been highly purified for specific uses in science or engineering. Often broadly classified as
Type I, Type II, or Type III, this category of water includes, but is not limited to the
 distilled water
 double distilled water
 deionized water

• according to other features
o soft water – contains less minerals
o hard water – from underground, contains more minerals
o distilled water, double distilled water, deionized water - contains no minerals
o Water of crystallization — water incorporated into crystalline structures
o Hydrates — water bound into other chemical substances
o heavy water – made from
heavy atoms of hydrogen -
deuterium. It is in nature in
normal water in very low
concentration. It was used in Water is a necessary solvent for all known life, and
construction of first nuclear an abundant compound on the earth's surface.
Information and properties
o tritiated water
Common name water
• according to microbiology IUPAC name oxidane
o drinking water
o wastewater aqua, dihydrogen monoxide,
Alternative names
o stormwater or surface water hydrogen hydroxide, (more)
Molecular formula H2O[citation needed]
• according to religion
o holy water CAS number 7732-18-5
InChI InChI=1/H2O/h1H2
Chemical and physical Molar mass 18.0153 g/mol
properties 0.998 g/cm³ (liquid at 20 °C, 1 atm)
Density and phase
0.917 g/cm³ (solid at 0 °C, 1 atm)
Main article: Water (molecule)
Melting point 0 °C (273.15 K) (32 °F)
Boiling point 99.974 °C (373.124 K) (211.95 °F)
4.184 J/(g·K) (liquid at 20 °C)
Specific heat capacity
74.539 J/ (mol·K) (liquid at 25 °C)
Supplementary data page
Disclaimer and references

model of hydrogen bonds between molecules of water
Impact from a water drop causes an upward "rebound" jet surrounded by circular capillary waves.

Dew drops adhering to a spider web

capillary action of water compared to mercury

Water is the chemical substance with chemical formula H2O: one molecule of water has two hydrogen
atoms covalently bonded to a single oxygen atom.

The major chemical and physical properties of water are:

• Water is a tasteless, odorless liquid at ambient temperature and pressure. The color of water and
ice is, intrinsically, a very light blue hue, although water appears colorless in small quantities. Ice
also appears colorless, and water vapor is essentially invisible as a gas.[5]

• Water is transparent, and thus aquatic plants can live within the water because sunlight can reach
them. Only strong UV light is slightly absorbed.

• Since oxygen has a higher electronegativity than hydrogen, water is a polar molecule. The oxygen
has a slight negative charge while the hydrogens have a slight positive charge giving the article a
strong effective dipole moment. The interactions between the different dipoles of each molecule
cause a net attraction force associated with water's high amount of surface tension.

• Another very important force that causes the water molecules to stick to one another is the
hydrogen bond.[6]

• The boiling point of water (and all other liquids) is directly related to the barometric pressure. For
example, on the top of Mt. Everest water boils at about 68 °C (154 °F), compared to 100 °C
(212 °F) at sea level. Conversely, water deep in the ocean near geothermal vents can reach
temperatures of hundreds of degrees and remain liquid.

• Water has a high surface tension caused by the weak interactions, (Van Der Waals Force) between
water molecules because it is polar. The apparent elasticity caused by surface tension drives the
capillary waves.

• Water also has high adhesion properties because of its polar nature.
• Capillary action refers to the tendency of water to move up a narrow tube against the force of
gravity. This property is relied upon by all vascular plants, such as trees.

• Water is a very strong solvent, referred to as the universal solvent, dissolving many types of
substances. Substances that will mix well and dissolve in water, e.g. salts, sugars, acids, alkalis,
and some gases: especially oxygen, carbon dioxide (carbonation), are known as "hydrophilic"
(water-loving) substances, while those that do not mix well with water (e.g. fats and oils), are
known as "hydrophobic" (water-fearing) substances.

• All the major components in cells (proteins, DNA and polysaccharides) are also dissolved in

• Pure water has a low electrical conductivity, but this increases significantly upon solvation of a
small amount of ionic material such as sodium chloride.

• Water has the second highest specific heat capacity of any known chemical compound, after
ammonia, as well as a high heat of vaporization (40.65 kJ mol−1), both of which are a result of the
extensive hydrogen bonding between its molecules. These two unusual properties allow water to
moderate Earth's climate by buffering large fluctuations in temperature.

• The maximum density of water is at 3.98 °C (39.16 °F).[7] Water becomes even less dense upon
freezing, expanding 9%. This causes an unusual phenomenon: ice floats upon water, and so water
organisms can live inside a partly frozen pond because the water on the bottom has a temperature
of around 4 °C (39 °F).

ADR label for transporting goods dangerously reactive with water

• Water is miscible with many liquids, for example ethanol, in all proportions, forming a single
homogeneous liquid. On the other hand, water and most oils are immiscible usually forming layers
according to increasing density from the top. As a gas, water vapor is completely miscible with

• Water forms an azeotrope with many other solvents.

• Water can be split by electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen.

• As an oxide of hydrogen, water is formed when hydrogen or hydrogen-containing compounds
burn or react with oxygen or oxygen-containing compounds. Water is not a fuel, it is an end-
product of the combustion of hydrogen. The energy required to split water into hydrogen and
oxygen by electrolysis or any other means is greater than the energy released when the hydrogen
and oxygen recombine.[8]

• Elements which are more electropositive than hydrogen such as lithium, sodium, calcium,
potassium and caesium displace hydrogen from water, forming hydroxides. Being a flammable
gas, the hydrogen given off is dangerous and the reaction of water with the more electropositive of
these elements is violently explosive.

Distribution of water in nature
Water in the Universe

Much of the universe's water may be produced as a byproduct of star formation. When stars are born,
their birth is accompanied by a strong outward wind of gas and dust. When this outflow of material
eventually impacts the surrounding gas, the shock waves that are created compress and heat the gas. The
water observed is quickly produced in this warm dense gas.[9]

Water has been detected in interstellar clouds within our galaxy, the Milky Way. It is believed[who?] that
water exists in abundance in other galaxies too, because its components, hydrogen and oxygen, are among
the most abundant elements in the universe. Interstellar clouds eventually condense into solar nebulae and
solar systems, such as ours.

Water vapor is present on:

• Mercury - 3.4% in the atmosphere, and large amounts of water in Mercury's exosphere[10]
• Venus - 0.002% in the atmosphere
• Earth - trace in the atmosphere (varies with climate)
• Mars - 0.03% in the atmosphere
• Jupiter - 0.0004% in the atmosphere
• Saturn - in ices only
• Enceladus (moon of Saturn) - 91% in the atmosphere
• exoplanets known as HD 189733 b[11] and HD 209458 b.[12]

Liquid water is present on:

• Earth - 71% of surface
• Moon - small amounts of water have been found (in 2008) in the inside of volcanic pearls brought
from Moon to Earth by the Apollo 15 crew in 1971.[13]

Strong evidence suggests that liquid water is present just under the surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus.
Probably some liquid water is on Europa.

Water ice is present on:

• Earth - mainly on ice sheets
• polar ice caps on Mars
• Titan
• Europa
• Enceladus

Probability or possibility of distribution of water ice is at: lunar ice on the Moon, Ceres (dwarf planet),
Tethys (moon). Ice is probably in internal structure of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto and on comets.

Water and habitable zone

The Solar System along center row range of possible habitable zones of varying size stars.

The existence of liquid water, and to a lesser extent its gaseous and solid forms, on Earth is vital to the
existence of life on Earth as we know it. The Earth is located in the habitable zone of the solar system; if
it were slightly closer to or further from the Sun (about 5%, or about 8 million kilometres), the conditions
which allow the three forms to be present simultaneously would be far less likely to exist.[14]

Earth's mass allows gravity to hold an atmosphere. Water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
provide a greenhouse effect which helps maintain a relatively steady surface temperature. If Earth were
smaller, a thinner atmosphere would cause temperature extremes preventing the accumulation of water
except in polar ice caps (as on Mars).

It has been proposed that life itself may maintain the conditions that have allowed its continued existence.
The surface temperature of Earth has been relatively constant through geologic time despite varying levels
of incoming solar radiation (insolation), indicating that a dynamic process governs Earth's temperature via
a combination of greenhouse gases and surface or atmospheric albedo. This proposal is known as the
Gaia hypothesis.

The state of water also depends on a planet's gravity. If a planet is sufficiently massive, the water on it
may be solid even at high temperatures, because of the high pressure caused by gravity.

There are various theories about origin of water on Earth.

Water on Earth
Main articles: Hydrology and Water distribution on Earth

Water covers 71% of the Earth's surface; the oceans contain 97.2% of the Earth's water. The Antarctic ice
sheet, which contains 90% of all fresh water on Earth, is visible at the bottom. Condensed atmospheric
water can be seen as clouds, contributing to the Earth's albedo.

Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water throughout the Earth. The
study of the distribution of water is hydrography. The study of the distribution and movement of
groundwater is hydrogeology, of glaciers is glaciology, of inland waters is limnology and distribution of
oceans is oceanography. Ecological processes with hydrology are in focus of ecohydrology.

The collective mass of water found on, under, and over the surface of a planet is called hydrosphere.
Earth's approximate water volume (the total water supply of the world) is 1 360 000 000 km³
(326 000 000 mi³). Of this volume:

• 1 320 000 000 km³ (316 900 000 mi³ or 97.2%) is in the oceans.
• 25 000 000 km³ (6 000 000 mi³ or 1.8%) is in glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets.
• 13 000 000 km³ (3,000,000 mi³ or 0.9%) is groundwater.
• 250 000 km³ (60,000 mi³ or 0.02%) is fresh water in lakes, inland seas, and rivers.
• 13 000 km³ (3,100 mi³ or 0.001%) is atmospheric water vapor at any given time.
Groundwater and fresh water are useful or potentially useful to humans as water resources.

Liquid water is found in bodies of water, such as an ocean, sea, lake, river, stream, canal, pond, or
puddle. The majority of water on Earth is sea water. Water is also present in the atmosphere in solid,
liquid, and vapor states. It also exists as groundwater in aquifers.

The most important geological processes caused by water are: chemical weathering, water erosion, water
sediment transport and sedimentation, mudflows, ice erosion and sedimentation by glacier.

Water cycle

Main article: Water cycle

Water cycle.

The water cycle (known scientifically as the hydrologic cycle) refers to the continuous exchange of water
within the hydrosphere, between the atmosphere, soil water, surface water, groundwater, and plants.

Water moves perpetually through each of these regions in the water cycle consisting of following transfer

• evaporation from oceans and other water bodies into the air and transpiration from land plants and
animals into air.
• precipitation, from water vapor condensing from the air and falling to earth or ocean.
• runoff from the land usually reaching the sea.

Most water vapor over the oceans returns to the oceans, but winds carry water vapor over land at the same
rate as runoff into the sea, about 36 Tt per year. Over land, evaporation and transpiration contribute
another 71 Tt per year. Precipitation, at a rate of 107 Tt per year over land, has several forms: most
commonly rain, snow, and hail, with some contribution from fog and dew. Condensed water in the air
may also refract sunlight to produce rainbows.

Water runoff often collects over watersheds flowing into rivers. A mathematical model used to simulate
river or stream flow and calculate water quality parameters is hydrological transport model. Some of
water is diverted to irrigation for agriculture. Rivers and seas offer opportunity for travel and commerce.
Through erosion, runoff shapes the environment creating river valleys and deltas which provide rich soil
and level ground for the establishment of population centers. A flood occurs when an area of land, usually
low-lying, is covered with water. It is when a river overflows its banks or flood from the sea. A drought is
an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. This occurs
when a region receives consistently below average precipitation.

Fresh water storage

Main article: Water resources

Some runoff water is trapped for periods, for example in lakes. At high altitude, during winter, and in the
far north and south, snow collects in ice caps, snow pack and glaciers. Water also infiltrates the ground
and goes into aquifers. This groundwater later flows back to the surface in springs, or more spectacularly
in hot springs and geysers. Groundwater is also extracted artificially in wells. This water storage is
important, since clean, fresh water is essential to human and other land-based life. In many parts of the
world, it is in short supply.


High tide (left) and low tide (right).
Main article: Tide

Tides are the cyclic rising and falling of Earth's ocean surface caused by the tidal forces of the Moon and
the Sun acting on the oceans. Tides cause changes in the depth of the marine and estuarine water bodies
and produce oscillating currents known as tidal streams. The changing tide produced at a given location is
the result of the changing positions of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth coupled with the effects of
Earth rotation and the local bathymetry. The strip of seashore that is submerged at high tide and exposed
at low tide, the intertidal zone, is an important ecological product of ocean tides.

Effects on life

An oasis is an isolated water source with vegetation in desert

Some of the biodiversity of a coral reef
Water reflecting light in Crissy Field

From a biological standpoint, water has many distinct properties that are critical for the proliferation of
life that set it apart from other substances. It carries out this role by allowing organic compounds to react
in ways that ultimately allow replication. All known forms of life depend on water. Water is vital both as
a solvent in which many of the body's solutes dissolve and as an essential part of many metabolic
processes within the body. Metabolism is the sum total of anabolism and catabolism. In anabolism, water
is removed from molecules (through energy requiring enzymatic chemical reactions) in order to grow
larger molecules (e.g. starches, triglycerides and proteins for storage of fuels and information). In
catabolism, water is used to break bonds in order to generate smaller molecules (e.g. glucose, fatty acids
and amino acids to be used for fuels for energy use or other purposes). Water is thus essential and central
to these metabolic processes. Therefore, without water, these metabolic processes would cease to exist,
leaving us to muse about what processes would be in its place, such as gas absorption, dust collection, etc.

Water is also central to photosynthesis and respiration. Photosynthetic cells use the sun's energy to split
off water's hydrogen from oxygen. Hydrogen is combined with CO2 (absorbed from air or water) to form
glucose and release oxygen. All living cells use such fuels and oxidize the hydrogen and carbon to capture
the sun's energy and reform water and CO2 in the process (cellular respiration).

Water is also central to acid-base neutrality and enzyme function. An acid, a hydrogen ion (H+, that is, a
proton) donor, can be neutralized by a base, a proton acceptor such as hydroxide ion (OH−) to form water.
Water is considered to be neutral, with a pH (the negative log of the hydrogen ion concentration) of 7.
Acids have pH values less than 7 while bases have values greater than 7. Stomach acid (HCl) is useful to
digestion. However, its corrosive effect on the esophagus during reflux can temporarily be neutralized by
ingestion of a base such as aluminum hydroxide to produce the neutral molecules water and the salt
aluminum chloride. Human biochemistry that involves enzymes usually performs optimally around a
biologically neutral pH of 7.4.

For example a cell of Escherichia coli contains 70% of water, a human body 60–70%, plant body up to
90% and the body of an adult jellyfish is made up of 94–98% water.

Aquatic life forms

Main articles: Hydrobiology and Aquatic plant

Some marine diatoms - a key phytoplankton group
Earth's waters are filled with life. The earliest life forms appeared in water; nearly all fish live exclusively
in water, and there are many types of marine mammals, such as dolphins and whales that also live in the
water. Some kinds of animals, such as amphibians, spend portions of their lives in water and portions on
land. Plants such as kelp and algae grow in the water and are the basis for some underwater ecosystems.
Plankton is generally the foundation of the ocean food chain.

Aquatic animals must obtain oxygen to survive, and they do so in various ways. Fish have gills instead of
lungs, although some species of fish, such as the lungfish, have both. Marine mammals, such as dolphins,
whales, otters, and seals need to surface periodically to breathe air. Smaller life forms are able to absorb
oxygen through their skin.

Effects on human civilization

Water Fountain

Civilization has historically flourished around rivers and major waterways; Mesopotamia, the so-called
cradle of civilization, was situated between the major rivers Tigris and Euphrates; the ancient society of
the Egyptians depended entirely upon the Nile. Large metropolises like Rotterdam, London, Montreal,
Paris, New York City, Shanghai, Tokyo, Chicago, and Hong Kong owe their success in part to their easy
accessibility via water and the resultant expansion of trade. Islands with safe water ports, like Singapore,
have flourished for the same reason. In places such as North Africa and the Middle East, where water is
more scarce, access to clean drinking water was and is a major factor in human development.

Health and pollution

Environmental Scientist sampling water.

Water fit for human consumption is called drinking water or potable water. Water that is not potable can
be made potable by filtration or distillation (heating it until it becomes water vapor, and then capturing the
vapor without any of the impurities it leaves behind), or by other methods (chemical or heat treatment that
kills bacteria). Sometimes the term safe water is applied to potable water of a lower quality threshold (i.e.,
it is used effectively for nutrition in humans that have weak access to water cleaning processes, and does
more good than harm). Water that is not fit for drinking but is not harmful for humans when used for
swimming or bathing is called by various names other than potable or drinking water, and is sometimes
called safe water, or "safe for bathing". Chlorine is a skin and mucous membrane irritant that is used to
make water safe for bathing or drinking. Its use is highly technical and is usually monitored by
government regulations (typically 1 part per million (ppm) for drinking water, and 1–2 ppm of chlorine
not yet reacted with impurities for bathing water).

This natural resource is becoming scarcer in certain places, and its availability is a major social and
economic concern. Currently, about 1 billion people around the world routinely drink unhealthy water.
Most countries accepted the goal of halving by 2015 the number of people worldwide who do not have
access to safe water and sanitation during the 2003 G8 Evian summit.[15] Even if this difficult goal is met,
it will still leave more than an estimated half a billion people without access to safe drinking water and
over 1 billion without access to adequate sanitation. Poor water quality and bad sanitation are deadly;
some 5 million deaths a year are caused by polluted drinking water. The World Health Organization
estimates that safe water could prevent 1.4 million child deaths from diarrhea each year.[16] Water,
however, is not a finite resource, but rather re-circulated as potable water in precipitation in quantities
many degrees of magnitude higher than human consumption. Therefore, it is the relatively small quantity
of water in reserve in the earth (about 1% of our drinking water supply, which is replenished in aquifers
around every 1 to 10 years), that is a non-renewable resource, and it is, rather, the distribution of potable
and irrigation water which is scarce, rather than the actual amount of it that exists on the earth. Water-
poor countries use importation of goods as the primary method of importing water (to leave enough for
local human consumption), since the manufacturing process uses around 10 to 100 times products' masses
in water.

In the developing world, 90% of all wastewater still goes untreated into local rivers and streams.[17] Some
50 countries, with roughly a third of the world’s population, also suffer from medium or high water stress,
and 17 of these extract more water annually than is recharged through their natural water cycles.[18] The
strain not only affects surface freshwater bodies like rivers and lakes, but it also degrades groundwater

Human uses


Irrigation of field crops

The most important use of water in agriculture is for an irrigation and irrigation is key component to
produce enough food. Irrigation takes up to 90% of water withdrawn in some developing countries.[19]

As a scientific standard

On 7 April 1795, the gram was defined in France to be equal to "the absolute weight of a volume of pure
water equal to a cube of one hundredth of a meter, and to the temperature of the melting ice."[20] For
practical purposes though, a metallic reference standard was required, one thousand times more massive,
the kilogram. Work was therefore commissioned to determine precisely how massive one liter of water
was. In spite of the fact that the decreed definition of the gram specified water at 0 °C—a highly stable
temperature point—the scientists chose to redefine the standard and to perform their measurements at the
most stable density point: the temperature at which water reaches maximum density, which was measured
at the time as 4 °C.[21]

The Kelvin temperature scale of the SI system is based on the triple point of water, defined as exactly
273.16 K or 0.01 °C. The scale is a more accurate development of the Celsius temperature scale, which is
defined by the boiling point (100 °C) and melting point (0 °C) of water.

Natural water consists mainly of the isotopes hydrogen-1 and oxygen-16, but there is also small quantity
of heavier isotopes such as hydrogen-2 (deuterium). The amount of deuterium oxides or heavy water is
very small, but it still affects the properties of water. Water from rivers and lakes tends to contain less
deuterium than seawater. Therefore, a standard water called Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water is
defined as the standard water.

For drinking

A young girl drinking bottled water.
Main article: Drinking water

The human body is anywhere from 55% to 78% water depending on body size.[22] To function properly,
the body requires between one and seven liters of water per day to avoid dehydration; the precise amount
depends on the level of activity, temperature, humidity, and other factors. Most of this is ingested through
foods or beverages other than drinking straight water. It is not clear how much water intake is needed by
healthy people, though most advocates agree that 6–7 glasses of water (approximately 2 litres) daily is the
minimum to maintain proper hydration.[23] Medical literature favors a lower consumption, typically 1 liter
of water for an average male, excluding extra requirements due to fluid loss from exercise or warm
weather.[24] For those who have healthy kidneys, it is rather difficult to drink too much water, but
(especially in warm humid weather and while exercising) it is dangerous to drink too little. People can
drink far more water than necessary while exercising, however, putting them at risk of water intoxication
(hyperhydration), which can be fatal. The "fact" that a person should consume eight glasses of water per
day cannot be traced back to a scientific source.[25] There are other myths such as the effect of water on
weight loss and constipation that have been dispelled.[26]

An original recommendation for water intake in 1945 by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National
Research Council read: "An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food.
Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods."[27] The latest dietary reference intake report by the
United States National Research Council in general recommended (including food sources): 2.7 liters of
water total for women and 3.7 liters for men.[28] Specifically, pregnant and breastfeeding women need
additional fluids to stay hydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine—who recommend that, on
average, women consume 2.2 litres and men 3.0 litres—this is recommended to be 2.4 litres (approx. 9
cups) for pregnant women and 3 litres (approx. 12.5 cups) for breastfeeding women since an especially
large amount of fluid is lost during nursing.[29] Also noted is that normally, about 20 percent of water
intake comes from food, while the rest comes from drinking water and beverages (caffeinated included).
Water is excreted from the body in multiple forms; through urine and feces, through sweating, and by
exhalation of water vapor in the breath. With physical exertion and heat exposure, water loss will increase
and daily fluid needs may increase as well.

Hazard symbol for No drinking water

Humans require water that does not contain too many impurities. Common impurities include metal salts
and/or harmful bacteria, such as Vibrio. Some solutes are acceptable and even desirable for taste
enhancement and to provide needed electrolytes.[30]

The single largest freshwater resource suitable for drinking is Lake Baikal in Siberia, which has a very
low salt and calcium content and is very clean.

As a dissolving agent or solvent

Dissolving (or suspending) is used to wash everyday items such as the human body, clothes, floors, cars,
food, and pets. Also, human wastes are carried by water in the sewage system. Its use as a cleaning
solvent consumes most of water in industrialized countries.

Water can facilitate the chemical processing of wastewater. An aqueous environment can be favourable to
the breakdown of pollutants, due to the ability to gain an homogenous solution that is pumpable and
flexible to treat. Aerobic treatment can be used by applying oxygen or air to a solution reduce the
reactivity of substances within it.

Water also facilitates biological processing of waste that have been dissolved within it. Microorganisms
that live within water can access dissolved wastes and can feed upon them breaking them down into less
polluting substances. Reedbeds and anaerobic digesters are both examples of biological systems that are
particularly suited to the treatment of effluents.

Typically from both chemical and biological treatment of wastes, there is often a solid residue or cake that
is left over from the treatment process. Depending upon its constituent parts, this 'cake' may be dried and
spread on land as a fertilizer if it has beneficial properties, or alternatively disposed of in landfill or

As a heat transfer fluid
Ice used for cooling.

Water and steam are used as heat transfer fluids in diverse heat exchange systems, due to its availability
and high heat capacity, both as a coolant and for heating. Cool water may even be naturally available from
a lake or the sea. Condensing steam is a particularly efficient heating fluid because of the large heat of
vaporization. A disadvantage is that water and steam are somewhat corrosive. In almost all electric power
plants, water is the coolant, which vaporizes and drives steam turbines to drive generators.

In the nuclear industry, water can also be used as a neutron moderator. In a pressurized water reactor,
water is both a coolant and a moderator. This provides a passive safety measure, as removing the water
from the reactor also slows the nuclear reaction down.

Extinguishing fires

Water is used for fighting wildfires.

Water has a high heat of vaporization and is relatively inert, which makes it a good fire extinguishing
fluid. The evaporation of water carries heat away from the fire. However, water cannot be used to fight
fires of electric equipment, because impure water is electrically conductive, or of oils and organic
solvents, because they float on water and the explosive boiling of water tends to spread the burning liquid.

Use of water in fire fighting should also take into account the hazards of a steam explosion, which may
occur when water is used on very hot fires in confined spaces, and of a hydrogen explosion, when
substances which react with water, such as certain metals or hot graphite, decompose the water, producing
hydrogen gas.

The power of such explosions was seen in the Chernobyl disaster, although the water involved did not
come from fire-fighting at that time but the reactor's own water cooling system. A steam explosion
occurred when the extreme over-heating of the core caused water to flash into steam. A hydrogen
explosion may have occurred as a result of reaction between steam and hot zirconium.

Chemical uses

Organic reactions are usually quenched with water or a water solution of a suitable acid, base or buffer.
Water is generally effective in removing inorganic salts. In inorganic reactions, water is a common
solvent. In organic reactions, it is usually not used as a reaction solvent, because it does not dissolve the
reactants well and is amphoteric (acidic and basic) and nucleophilic. Nevertheless, these properties are
sometimes desirable. Also, acceleration of Diels-Alder reactions by water has been observed.
Supercritical water has recently been a topic of research. Oxygen-saturated supercritical water combusts
organic pollutants efficiently.

Main article: Water sport (recreation)

Humans use water for many recreational purposes, as well as for exercising and for sports. Some of these
include swimming, waterskiing, boating, and diving. In addition, some sports, like ice hockey and ice
skating, are played on ice. Lakesides, beaches and waterparks are popular places for people to go to relax
and enjoy recreation. Many find the sound of flowing water to be calming, too. Some keep fish and other
life in aquariums or ponds for show, fun, and companionship. Humans also use water for snow sports i.e.
skiing or snowboarding, which requires the water to be frozen. People may also use water for play
fighting such as with snowballs, water guns or water balloons. They may also make fountains and use
water in their public or private decorations.

Water industry

Main articles: Water industry and :Category:Water supply and sanitation by country

A water-carrier in India,1882. In many places where running water is not available, water has to be
transported by people.

The water industry provides drinking water and wastewater services (including sewage treatment) to
households and industry.

A manual water pump in China
water purification facility

Water used in landscaping.

Water supply facilities includes for example water wells cisterns for rainwater harvesting, water supply
network, water purification facilities, water tanks, water towers, water pipes including old aqueducts.
Atmospheric water generator is in development.

Drinking water is often collected at springs, extracted from artificial borings in the ground, or wells.
Building more wells in adequate places is thus a possible way to produce more water, assuming the
aquifers can supply an adequate flow. Other water sources are rainwater and river or lake water. This
surface water, however, must be purified for human consumption. This may involve removal of
undissolved substances, dissolved substances and harmful microbes. Popular methods are filtering with
sand which only removes undissolved material, while chlorination and boiling kill harmful microbes.
Distillation does all three functions. More advanced techniques exist, such as reverse osmosis.
Desalination of abundant ocean or seawater is a more expensive solution used in coastal arid climates.

The distribution of drinking water is done through municipal water systems or as bottled water.
Governments in many countries have programs to distribute water to the needy at no charge. Others argue
that the market mechanism and free enterprise are best to manage this rare resource and to finance the
boring of wells or the construction of dams and reservoirs.

Reducing waste by using drinking water only for human consumption is another option. In some cities
such as Hong Kong, sea water is extensively used for flushing toilets citywide in order to conserve fresh
water resources.

Polluting water may be the biggest single misuse of water; to the extent that a pollutant limits other uses
of the water, it becomes a waste of the resource, regardless of benefits to the polluter. Like other types of
pollution, this does not enter standard accounting of market costs, being conceived as externalities for
which the market cannot account. Thus other people pay the price of water pollution, while the private
firms' profits are not redistributed to the local population victim of this pollution. Pharmaceuticals
consumed by humans often end up in the waterways and can have detrimental effects on aquatic life if
they bioaccumulate and if they are not biodegradable.

Wastewater facilities are sewers and wastewater treatment plants. Another way to remove pollution from
surface runoff water is bioswale.

Industrial applications

Water is used in power generation. Hydroelectricity is electricity obtained from hydropower.
Hydroelectric power comes from water driving a water turbine connected to a generator. Hydroelectricity
is a low-cost, non-polluting, renewable energy source. The energy is supplied by the sun. Heat from the
sun evaporates water, which condenses as rain in higher altitudes, from where it flows down.
Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydro-electric power station

Pressurized water is used in water blasting and water jet cutters. Also, very high pressure water guns are
used for precise cutting. It works very well, is relatively safe, and is not harmful to the environment. It is
also used in the cooling of machinery to prevent over-heating, or prevent saw blades from over-heating.

Water is also used in many industrial processes and machines, such as the steam turbine and heat
exchanger, in addition to its use as a chemical solvent. Discharge of untreated water from industrial uses
is pollution. Pollution includes discharged solutes (chemical pollution) and discharged coolant water
(thermal pollution). Industry requires pure water for many applications and utilizes a variety of
purification techniques both in water supply and discharge.

Food processing

Water can be used to cook foods such as noodles.

Water plays many critical roles within the field of food science. It is important for a food scientist to
understand the roles that water plays within food processing to ensure the success of their products.

Solutes such as salts and sugars found in water affect the physical properties of water. The boiling and
freezing points of water is affected by solutes. One mole of sucrose (sugar) raises the boiling point of
water by 0.52 °C, and one mole of salt raises the boiling point by 1.04 °C while lowering the freezing
point of water in a similar way.[31] Solutes in water also affect water activity which affects many chemical
reactions and the growth of microbes in food.[32] Water activity can be described as a ratio of the vapor
pressure of water in a solution to the vapor pressure of pure water.[31] Solutes in water lower water
activity. This is important to know because most bacterial growth ceases at low levels of water activity.[32]
Not only does microbial growth affect the safety of food but also the preservation and shelf life of food.

Water hardness is also a critical factor in food processing. It can dramatically affect the quality of a
product as well as playing a role in sanitation. Water hardness is classified based on the amounts of
removable calcium carbonate salt it contains per gallon. Water hardness is measured in grains; 0.064 g
calcium carbonate is equivalent to one grain of hardness.[31] Water is classified as soft if it contains 1 to 4
grains, medium if it contains 5 to 10 grains and hard if it contains 11 to 20 grains.[vague] [31] The hardness of
water may be altered or treated by using a chemical ion exchange system. The hardness of water also
affects its pH balance which plays a critical role in food processing. For example, hard water prevents
successful production of clear beverages. Water hardness also affects sanitation; with increasing hardness,
there is a loss of effectiveness for its use as a sanitizer.[31]

Boiling, steaming, and simmering are popular cooking methods that often require immersing food in
water or its gaseous state, steam. While cooking water is used for dishwashing too.

Water politics and water crisis
Main articles: Water politics and Water crisis
See also: Water resources, Water law, and Water right

Water politics is politics affected by water and water resources. Because of overpopulation, mass
consumption, misuse, and water pollution, the availability of drinking water per capita is inadequate and
shrinking as of the year 2006. For this reason, water is a strategic resource in the globe and an important
element in many political conflicts. It causes health impacts and damage to biodiversity. The serious
worldwide water situation is called water crisis.

UNESCO's World Water Development Report (WWDR, 2003) from its World Water Assessment
Program indicates that, in the next 20 years, the quantity of water available to everyone is predicted to
decrease by 30%. 40% of the world's inhabitants currently have insufficient fresh water for minimal
hygiene. More than 2.2 million people died in 2000 from waterborne diseases (related to the consumption
of contaminated water) or drought. In 2004, the UK charity WaterAid reported that a child dies every 15
seconds from easily preventable water-related diseases; often this means lack of sewage disposal; see

To halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water is one of the
Millennium Development Goals.

Fresh water — now more precious than ever in our history for its extensive use in agriculture, high-tech
manufacturing, and energy production — is increasingly receiving attention as a resource requiring better
water management and sustainable use.

Organizations concerned in water protection include International Water Association (IWA), WaterAid,
Water 1st, American Water Resources Association. Water related conventions are United Nations
Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), International Convention for the Prevention of
Pollution from Ships, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and Ramsar Convention. World
Day for Water takes place at March 22 and World Ocean Day at June 8.

Water used in the production of a good or service is virtual water.

Religion, philosophy, and literature
A Hindu ablution as practiced in Tamil Nadu

Water is considered a purifier in most religions. Major faiths that incorporate ritual washing (ablution)
include Christianity, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, Islam, Shinto, Taoism, and Judaism. Immersion (or
aspersion or affusion) of a person in water is a central sacrament of Christianity (where it is called
baptism); it is also a part of the practice of other religions, including Judaism (mikvah) and Sikhism
(Amrit Sanskar). In addition, a ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions
including Judaism and Islam. In Islam, the five daily prayers can be done in most cases after completing
washing certain parts of the body using clean water (wudu). In Shinto, water is used in almost all rituals to
cleanse a person or an area (e.g., in the ritual of misogi). Water is mentioned in the Bible 442 times in the
New International Version and 363 times in the King James Version: 2 Peter 3:5(b) states, "The earth was
formed out of water and by water" (NIV).

Some faiths use water especially prepared for religious purposes (holy water in some Christian
denominations, Amrita in Sikhism and Hinduism). Many religions also consider particular sources or
bodies of water to be sacred or at least auspicious; examples include Lourdes in Roman Catholicism, the
Jordan River (at least symbolically) in some Christian churches, the Zamzam Well in Islam and the River
Ganges (among many others) in Hinduism.

Water is often believed to have spiritual powers. In Celtic mythology, Sulis is the local goddess of
thermal springs; in Hinduism, the Ganges is also personified as a goddess, while Saraswati have been
referred to as goddess in Vedas. Also water is one of the "panch-tatva"s (basic 5 elements, others
including fire, earth, space, air). Alternatively, gods can be patrons of particular springs, rivers, or lakes:
for example in Greek and Roman mythology, Peneus was a river god, one of the three thousand Oceanids.
In Islam, not only does water give life, but every life is itself made of water: "We made from water every
living thing".[33]

The Ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles held that water is one of the four classical elements along
with fire, earth and air, and was regarded as the ylem, or basic substance of the universe. Water was
considered cold and moist. In the theory of the four bodily humors, water was associated with phlegm.
Water was also one of the five elements in traditional Chinese philosophy, along with earth, fire, wood,
and metal.

Water also plays an important role in literature as a symbol of purification. Examples include the critical
importance of a river in As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and the drowning of Ophelia in Hamlet.

Water portal

Sherlock Holmes held that "From a drop of water, a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a
Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other."[34]
See also
Sustainable development portal

• Water Pasteurization Indicator
• Dihydrogen monoxide hoax


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
"Explorer" redirects here. For other uses, see Explorer (disambiguation).

Stereotypical explorer Kazimierz Nowak

Exploration is the act of searching or traveling a terrain for the purpose of discovery, e.g. of unknown
people, including space (space exploration), for oil, gas, coal, ores, caves, water (Mineral exploration, or
prospecting), or information.

Although exploration has existed as long as human beings, its peak is seen as being during the Age of
Discovery when European navigators traveled around the world discovering new lands and cultures.


• 1 Other uses
• 2 Notable Female Explorers
• 3 Notable Male Explorers
• 4 See also
• 5 References

• 6 External links

[edit] Other uses
The term may also be used metaphorically, for example persons may speak of exploring the internet,
sexuality, etc.

In scientific research, exploration is one of three purposes of research (the other two being description and
explanation). Exploration is the attempt to develop an initial, rough understanding of some phenomenon.

[edit] Notable Female Explorers

Photo of Explorer Kira Salak in Iran[1]

• Sacagawea; accompanied and assisted Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on the Lewis and
Clark Expedition (1804–1806), the first American overland expedition to the Pacific coast and
• Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (b. 26 May 1689 – d. 21 August 1762) Explored Turkey.
• Isabella Bird (b. October 15, 1831 – d. October 7, 1904) She was the first woman inducted into the
Royal Geographical Society; she travelled extensively, exploring the Far East, Central Asia, and
the American West.
• Mary Kingsley (b. October 13, 1862 – d. June 3, 1900) Explored the Upper Ogawe River in
Gabon and journeyed alone into unknown regions of the Congo jungle.
• Freya Stark (b. 31 Jan 1893, Paris France - d. 9 May 1993) She was not only one of the first
Western women to travel through the Arabian deserts (Hadhramaut); she often traveled solo into
areas where few Europeans, let alone women, had ever been.
• Robyn Davidson (b. September 6, 1950) She was the first person to make a solo crossing of the
Australian Outback by camel; she also explored the remote desert regions of India.[2]
• Valentina Tereshkova, one of the first people in space; first female cosmonaut.
• Kira Salak (b. September 4, 1971) A National Geographic Emerging Explorer[3], Salak was the
first woman to cross the island of New Guinea; she was also the first person in the world to kayak
600 miles alone to Timbuktu. Salak has done solo exploration to regions such as Borneo, Libya,
Iran, Madagascar, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[1]

[edit] Notable Male Explorers
• Pytheas (380 – c. 310 BC) - Greek explorer. First to circumnavigate Great Britain and to explore
Germany. Reached Thule, most commonly thought to be the Shetland Islands or Iceland.
• Brendan the Navigator (c. 484 – c. 577) - Irish monk, allegedly found Iceland and America in the
6th century.
• Dicuil (born in the 8th century) - Irish monk and geographer, author of "De mensura Orbis terrae".
• The Papar - Irish monks who lived in Iceland, 8th-9th centuries, before the Vikings.
• Ahmad ibn Fadlan - 10th century Iraqi explorer.
• Erik the Red (950 - 1003) - Norwegian Viking explorer. After being cast out from Iceland, he
sailed to Greenland and settled there.
• Leif Ericson (980 - 1020) - Icelandic explorer. Believed to have been the first European to land in
North America.
• Friar Julian (traveled in 1235) - Hungarian Dominican friar.
• Marco Polo (1254 - 1324) - Venetian explorer.[4]
• Ibn Battuta (1304 - 1377) - Moroccan explorer.[5]
• James of Ireland (fl.1316 - 1330) - Irish companion of Odoric of Pordenone.
• Simon FitzSimon (fl.1323), Irish author of a itenerum through Egypt and the Holy Land.
• Zheng He (1371 - 1433) - Chinese explorer.
• João Fernandes Lavrador (1445? - 1501) - Portuguese explorer. First European reaching
Labrador/Newfoundland. Fernandes charted the coasts of Southwestern Greenland and of adjacent
Northeastern North America around 1498. In 1501, Fernandes set sail again in discovery of lands
and was never heard from again.
• John Cabot (c. 1450 - 1499) - Italian explorer for England. Discovered Newfoundland and claimed
it for the Kingdom of England.
• Bartolomeu Dias (c. 1450 - 1500) - Portuguese explorer. He sailed from Portugal and reached the
Cape of Good Hope.
• Christopher Columbus (1451 - 1506) - Genoese explorer for Spain. Sailed in 1492 and discovered
the "New World" of the Americas.
• Amerigo Vespucci (c. 1454 - 1512) - Italian explorer for Spain. Sailed in 1499 and 1502. He
explored the east coast of South America.
• Juan Ponce de León (c. 1460 - 1521) - Spanish explorer. He explored Florida while attempting to
locate a Fountain of Youth.
• Piri Reis (c. 1465/1470 – 1554/1555) - Ottoman explorer.
• Pedro Álvares Cabral (c. 1467 - c. 1520) - Portuguese explorer, generally regarded as the
European discoverer of Brazil.
• Vasco da Gama (c. 1469 - 1524) - Portuguese explorer. The first European to sail from Europe to
India by rounding the Cape of Good Hope.
• Vasco Núñez de Balboa (c. 1475 - 1519) - Spanish explorer. The first European to cross the
Isthmus of Panama and view the Pacific ocean from American shores.
• Francisco Pizarro (c. 1475 - 1541) - Spanish explorer. Conquered the Inca Empire.
• Juan Sebastián Elcano (1476 - 1526) - Spanish explorer. Completed the first circumnavigation of
the globe in a single expedition after its captain, Magellan, was killed.
• Ferdinand Magellan (1480 - 1521) - Portuguese explorer for Spain. Initiated the first
circumnavigation of the globe in a single expedition. Sailed through Strait of Magellan and named
Pacific Ocean. Died in the Philippines after claiming them for Spain.
• Giovanni da Verrazzano (c. 1485 - 1528) - Italian explorer for France. Explored the northeast
coast of America, from about present day South Carolina to Newfoundland.
• Hernán Cortés (1485 - 1545) - Spanish explorer. Conquered the Aztec Empire for Spain.
• Jacques Cartier (1491 – 1557) - French explorer. Discovered Canada.
• Hernando de Soto (c. 1496 - 1542) - Spanish explorer. Explored Florida, mainly northwest
Florida, and discovered the Mississippi River.
• Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (c. 1510 - 1554) - Spanish explorer. Searched for the Seven Cities
of Gold and discovered the Grand Canyon in the process.
• Francisco de Orellana (1511-1546) - Spanish explorer in 1541-42 sails the length of the Amazon
• Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa (1532 - 1592) Spanish explorer of the Pacific.
• Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540 - 1596) - English explorer. The first English captain to sail around the
world and survive.
• Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra 1541-1596 - Spanish explorer of the Pacific.
• Willem Barentsz 1550-1597 Dutch navigator and explorer, leader of early expeditions to the far
• Pedro Fernandes de Queirós 1565-1614 Portuguese navigator. Explored the Pacific in the service
of the Spanish Crown.
• Luis Váez de Torres (c. 1565- ) Spanish or Portuguese navigator. Explored the Pacific in the
service of the Spanish Crown.
• Henry Hudson (1570 - 1611) - English explorer. Explored much of the North Atlantic, including
Labrador, the coast of Greenland, and Hudson Bay. Presumed dead in a 1611 mutiny of his own
• António de Andrade (1580 - 1634) - Portuguese explorer. First European reaching Tibet. His
reports were the only account of the Tibet culture and geography until the second half of the 18th
• Abel Tasman (1603 - 1659) - Dutch explorer. Discovered New Zealand and Tasmania.
• Evliya Çelebi (1611 - 1682) - Ottoman traveller.
• Vitus Bering (1681 - 1741) - Danish explorer. Explored the Siberian Far East and Alaska and
claimed it for Russia.
• James Cook (1728 - 1779) - British naval captain. Explored much of the Pacific including New
Zealand, Australia and Hawaii.
• Jean François La Pérouse (1741–1788) was a French Navy officer and explorer whose expedition
vanished in Oceania
• Alessandro Malaspina (1754-1810) - Italian explorer. Explored the Pacific and the west coast of
North America in the service of Spanish Crown
• Alexander MacKenzie (1764-1820) Scottish-Canadian explorer who in 1789, looking for the
Northwest Passage, followed the river now named after him to the Arctic Ocean and then in 1793
crossed the Rockies and reached the Pacific in 1793, thus beating Lewis and Clark by 12 years.
• Alexander von Humboldt (1769 - 1859) - German explorer and scientist whose work was
foundational to the field of biogeography.
• Mungo Park (1771-1806) Was the first Westerner to discover the Niger River; he was the first
Western explorer to reach Timbuktu, though he didn't live to share his discovery with the world.
• Captain Meriwether Lewis (1774 - 1809) - American explorer and field scientist who led the
Lewis and Clark Expedition into the Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest in 1804-1806.
• Edward Sabine(October 14, 1788 – May 26, 1883) - Irish participant in the Ross and Perry Arctic
• Thomas Coulter (1793 – 1843) - Irish botanist and explorer of Mexico and Arizona.
• Charles Wilkes (April 3, 1798 – February 8, 1877) - American naval officer and explorer who
commanded the United States Exploring Expedition
• George Fletcher Moore (10 December 1798 – 30 December 1886) - early Irish explorer of
• Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801 - 1873) - Belgian missionary and explorer in North America.
• David Livingstone (1813 – 1873) - Scottish missionary and explorer in central Africa. He was the
first European to see Victoria Falls, which he named in honour of Queen Victoria.
• Robert O'Hara Burke (1821 – c.28 June 1861) - Irish leader of the Burke and Wills expedition.
• Henry Morton Stanley (1841 – 1904) - Welsh journalist and explorer in central Africa best
remembered for his search for David Livingstone, and upon finding him saying: "Dr. Livingstone,
I presume?"
• George Comer (1858 - 1937) - American polar explorer. The Comer Strait of northern
Southampton Island and the Gallinula comeri flightless bird of Gough Island were named in his
• Fridtjof Nansen (1861 - 1930) - Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. He was the first to
cross the Greenland ice cap in 1888 and drifted across the Arctic ocean with the Fram in 1893-
1896 where he attempted to reach the North Pole with Hjalmar Johansen.
• Otto Sverdrup (1854 - 1930) - Norwegian explorer. Joined Fridtjof Nansen acoss Greenland in
1888 and captain on the Fram on the polar drift in 1893-1896 and the 2nd Fram expedition in
1898-1902. Mapped the Northernmost part of Canada in 1898-1902.
• Roald Amundsen (1872 - 1928) - Norwegian explorer. He led the first successful Antarctic
expedition between 1910 and 1912. He was also the first ever person to successfully traverse the
North West Passage.
• Ernest Shackleton (1874 - 1922) - Irish Explorer, noted for his ill-fated Endurance expedition to
• Hiram Bingham III (1875 - 1956) - U.S. Senator from Connecticut and explorer best known for
uncovering Machu Picchu.
• Robert Bartlett (1875 - 1946) - Newfoundland captain. Led over 40 expeditions to the Arctic,
more than anyone before or since. Was the first to sail north of 88° N latitude.
• Tom Crean (20 July 1877 – 27 July 1938) - Irish Antarctic explorer.
• Knud Rasmussen (1879 - 1933) - Greenlandic polar explorer and anthropologist. Rasmussen was
the first to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled.
• Auguste Piccard (1884-1962), physicist, balloonist, hydronaut- Explored the stratosphere and the
deep sea
• Ahmed Pasha Hassanein (1889 - 1946) - Egyptian explorer, diplomat, one of two non-European
winners of Gold Medal of Royal Geographical Society in 1924, King's chamberlain, fencing
participant to 1924 Olympics, photographer, author and discoverer of Jebel Uweinat, and writer of
"The Lost Oases" book in three languages.
• Colonel Noel Andrew Croft (1906 - 1998) - held the record for the longest self-sustaining journey
across the Arctic in the 1930s for 60 years.
• Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (1919–2008) - New Zealand explorer, together with Tenzing Norgay,
the first to climb Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.
• Yuri Gagarin (March 9, 1934 – March 27, 1968) - Soviet cosmonaut who on April 12, 1961
became the first man in space and the first human to orbit Earth.
• Neil Armstrong (born August 5, 1930) - American astronaut - First human being to set foot on the
Moon on July 20, 1969.
• Robert Ballard - born in 1942) - undersea explorer; discovered the shipwreck of the RMS Titanic'.
• Dr. E. Lee Spence (1947- ) - undersea explorer and pioneer underwater archaeologist: discovered
numerous shipwrecks including H.L. Hunley the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship;
and the Georgiana, said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser.
• Reinhold Messner (born September 17, 1944) - Italian mountaineer, first man to climb all the 14
peaks higher than 8,000 meters.
• Frank Cole (1954 - 2000) - Canadian explorer, filmmaker and life extensionist. He was the first
North American to cross the Sahara desert in 1990 alone on camel. He was murdered by bandits
during a second crossing in 2000.
• Jeremy Curl (born 1982) - British explorer; the youngest to traverse the Sahara on foot and the
first non African to cross the desolate Tanezrouft area of the Sahara by camel.
• Michael Asher (1953-) - British explorer. In 1986-7 Michael Asher and his wife, Italian-born
photographer and Arabist, Mariantonietta Peru, made the first ever west-east crossing of the
Sahara desert by camel and on foot.

In 2001 Jon Muir and his dog, Seraphine, began an odyssey to cross Australia on foot, from the coast of
South Australia to the north coast of Queensland. 128 days and 2,500 kilometers later, on the point of
starvation and exhaustion, Jon arrived in Burketown, becoming the first person to walk solo and
unassisted across the continent of Australia.

[edit] See also
• Exploration of Asia
• European exploration of Africa
• Expeditions
• List of explorers
• List of maritime explorers
• BSES (British Schools Exploring Society) Expeditions
• Age of Exploration
• Cave exploration
• Confluence exploration/hunting
• Desert exploration
• Global Vision International
• Polar exploration
• Space exploration
• Urban exploration
• Mineral exploration
• Explorer (newspaper)

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"Women" redirects here. For other uses, see Woman (disambiguation). For
other uses, see Women (disambiguation).

Truth, 1870 by Jules Joseph Lefebvre

A woman is an adult female human. The term woman (irregular plural: women) usually is used for an
adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent. However, the term woman
is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "Women's


• 1 Etymology
• 2 Age and terminology
• 3 Biology and sex
• 4 Culture and gender roles
• 5 Education and employment
o 5.1 OECD countries
• 6 Further reading
• 7 See also
• 8 References

• 9 External links


Symbol of the planet/Roman goddess Venus, also used to indicate the female sex among animals that
reproduce sexually

The English term "Man" (from Proto-Germanic mannaz "man, person") and words derived therefrom can
designate any or even all of the human race regardless of their sex or age. This is indeed the oldest usage
of "Man" in English. It derives from Proto-Indo-European *mánu- 'man, human', cognate to Sanskrit
manu, Old Church Slavonic mǫžĭ, 'man', 'husband'.

In Old English the words wer and wyf (also wæpman and wifman) were what was used to refer to "a man"
and "a woman" respectively, and "Man" was gender-neutral. In Middle English man displaced wer as
term for "male human", whilst wifman (which eventually evolved into woman) was retained for "female
human". ("Wif" also evolved into the word "wife".) "Man" does continue to carry its original sense of
"Human" however, resulting in an asymmetry sometimes criticized as sexist.[1] (See also womyn.)

A very common Indo-European root for woman, *gwen-, is the source of English queen (Old English
cwēn primarily meant woman, highborn or not; this is still the case in Danish, with the modern spelling
kvinde), as well as gynaecology (from Greek gynē), banshee fairy woman (from Irish bean woman, sí
fairy) and zenana (from Persian zan). The Latin fēmina, whence female, is likely from the root in fellāre
(to suck), referring to breastfeeding.[2][3]

The symbol for the planet Venus is the sign also used in biology for the female sex. It is a stylized
representation of the goddess Venus's hand mirror or an abstract symbol for the goddess: a circle with a
small equilateral cross underneath (Unicode: ♀). The Venus symbol also represented femininity, and in
ancient alchemy stood for copper. Alchemists constructed the symbol from a circle (representing spirit)
above an equilateral cross (representing matter).
Age and terminology

A young woman

Womanhood is the period in a female's life after she has transitioned from girlhood, at least physically,
having passed the age of menarche. Many cultures have rites of passage to symbolize a woman's coming
of age, such as confirmation in some branches of Christianity, bat mitzvah in Judaism, or even just the
custom of a special celebration for a certain birthday (generally between 12 and 21).

Currently in the English language there is no commonly-used word for a woman who has passed
menopause, although historically a woman in the third part of her life was known as a crone, which was
originally not a pejorative term. The three ages of woman were historically known as "maiden, matron,
and crone" and are sometimes quoted as "maiden, mother and crone". This could perhaps be rendered in
modern English as "little girl", "woman of reproductive age" and "older lady".

The word woman can be used generally, to mean any female human, or specifically, to mean an adult
female human as contrasted with girl. The word girl originally meant "young person of either sex" in
English; it was only around the beginning of the 16th century that it came to mean specifically a female
child. Nowadays girl sometimes is used colloquially to refer to a young or unmarried woman. During the
early 1970s feminists challenged such use, and use of the word to refer to a fully grown woman may
cause offence. In particular, previously common terms such as office girl are no longer used.

Conversely, in certain cultures which link family honor with female virginity, the word girl is still used to
refer to a never-married woman; in this sense it is used in a fashion roughly analogous to the obsolete
English maid or maiden. Referring to an unmarried female as a woman may, in such a culture, imply that
she is sexually experienced, which would be an insult to her family.

In some settings, the use of girl to refer to an adult female is a common practice (such as girls' night out),
even among some elderly women. In this sense, girl may be considered to be the analogue to the British
word bloke for a man, although it again fails to meet the parallel status as an adult. Gal aside, some
feminists cite this lack of an informal yet respectful term for women as misogynistic; they regard non-
parallel usages, such as men and girls, as sexist.

There are various words used to refer to the quality of being a woman. The term "womanhood" merely
means the state of being a woman, having passed the menarche; "femininity" is used to refer to a set of
supposedly typical female qualities associated with a certain attitude to gender roles; "womanliness" is
like "femininity", but is usually associated with a different view of gender roles; "femaleness" is a general
term, but is often used as shorthand for "human femaleness"; "distaff" is an archaic adjective derived from
women's conventional role as a spinner, now used only as a deliberate archaism; "muliebrity" is a
"neologism" (derived from the Latin) meant to provide a female counterpart of "virility", but used very
loosely, sometimes to mean merely "womanhood", sometimes "femininity", and sometimes even as a
collective term for women.

Biology and sex

The human female reproductive system

In terms of biology, the female sex organs are involved in the reproductive system, whereas the secondary
sex characteristics are involved in nurturing children or, in some cultures, attracting a mate. The ovaries,
in addition to their regulatory function producing hormones, produce female gametes called eggs which,
when fertilized by male gametes (sperm), form new genetic individuals. The uterus is an organ with tissue
to protect and nurture the developing fetus and muscle to expel it when giving birth. The vagina is used in
copulation and birthing (although the word vagina is often colloquially and incorrectly used for the vulva
or external female genitalia, which also includes the labia, the clitoris, and the female urethra). The breast
evolved from the sweat gland to produce milk, a nutritious secretion that is the most distinctive
characteristic of mammals, along with live birth. In mature women, the breast is generally more
prominent than in most other mammals; this prominence, not necessary for milk production, is probably
at least partially the result of sexual selection. (For other ways in which men commonly differ physically
from women, see Man.)

Spectral karyotype of a human female. The XX combination is formed at the 23rd week of gestation. -
National Human Genome Resource Institute

An imbalance of maternal hormonal levels and some chemicals (or drugs) may alter the secondary sexual
characteristics of fetuses. Most women have the karyotype 46,XX, but around one in a thousand will be
47,XXX, and one in 2500 will be 45,X. This contrasts with the typical male karotype of 46,XY; thus, the
X and Y chromosomes are known as female and male, respectively. Unlike the Y chromosome, the X can
come from either the mother or the father, thus genetic studies which focus on the female line use
mitochondrial DNA.

Biological factors are not sufficient determinants of whether a person considers themselves a woman or is
considered a woman. Intersex individuals, who have mixed physical and/or genetic features, may use
other criteria in making a clear determination. There are also transgender or transsexual women, who
were born or physically assigned as male at birth, but identify as women; there are varying social, legal,
and individual definitions with regard to these issues. (See transwoman.)
Although fewer females than males are born (the ratio is around 1:1.05), due to a longer life expectancy
there are only 81 men aged 60 or over for every 100 women of the same age, and among the oldest
populations, there are only 53 men for every 100 women.[citation needed] Women typically have a longer life
expectancy than men.[citation needed] This is due to a combination of factors: genetics (redundant and varied
genes present on sex chromosomes in women); sociology (such as not being expected in most countries to
perform military service); health-impacting choices (such as suicide or the use of cigarettes, and alcohol);
the presence of the female hormone estrogen, which has a cardioprotective effect in premenopausal
women; and the effect of high levels of androgens in men. Out of the total human population, there are
101.3 men for every 100 women (source: 2001 World Almanac).

Most women go through menarche and are then able to become pregnant and bear children.[4] This
generally requires internal fertilization of her eggs with the sperm of a man through sexual intercourse,
though artificial insemination or the surgical implantation of an existing embryo is also possible (see
reproductive technology). The study of female reproduction and reproductive organs is called
gynaecology. Women generally reach menopause in their late 40s or early 50s, at which point their
ovaries cease producing estrogen[citation needed] and they can no longer become pregnant.

To a large extent, women suffer from the same illnesses as men.[citation needed] However, there are some
diseases that primarily affect women, such as lupus. Also, there are some sex-related illnesses that are
found more frequently or exclusively in women, e.g., breast cancer, cervical cancer, or ovarian cancer.
Women and men may have different symptoms of an illness and may also respond differently to medical
treatment. This area of medical research is studied by gender-based medicine.

During early fetal development, embryos of both sexes appear gender-neutral; the release of hormones is
what changes physical appearance male or female. As in other cases without two sexes, such as species
that reproduce asexually, the gender-neutral appearance is closer to female than to male.

Culture and gender roles
Main article: Gender role
This section does not cite any references or sources.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and
removed. (November 2006)

A woman weaving. Textile work has historically been a female occupation in some cultures.
Turkish women smoking hookah, 1910

Women pilots

In many prehistoric cultures, women assumed a particular cultural role. In hunter-gatherer societies,
women were generally the gatherers of plant foods, small animal foods, fish, and learned to use dairy
products, while men hunted meat from large animals.

In more recent history, the gender roles of women have changed greatly. Traditionally, middle-class
women were typically involved in domestic tasks emphasizing child care, and did not enter paid
employment. For poorer women, especially working class women, this often remained an ideal,[specify] as
economic necessity compelled them to seek employment outside the home. The occupations that were
available to them were, however, lower in prestige and pay than those available to men.

As changes in the labor market for women came about, availability of employment changed from only
"dirty", long houred factory jobs to "cleaner", more respectable office jobs where more education was
demanded, women's participation in the U.S. labor force rose from 6% in 1900 to 23% in 1923. These
shifts in the labor force led to changes in the attitudes of women at work, allowing for the "quiet"
revolution which resulted in women becoming more career and education oriented.

Women's movements advocate equality of opportunity with men, and equal rights irrespective of gender.
Through a combination of economic changes and the efforts of the feminist movement,[specify] in recent
decades women in most societies now have access to careers beyond the traditional homemaker.

Many observers, including feminist groups, maintain that women in industry and commerce face glass

These changes and struggles are among the foci of the academic field of women's studies.[citation needed]

Education and employment
OECD countries

• Education

The gender gap in OECD countries has been reduced over the last 30 years. Younger women today are far
more likely to have completed a tertiary qualification: in 19 of the 30 OECD countries, more than twice as
many women aged 25 to 34 have completed tertiary education than women aged 55 to 64 do. In 21 of 27
OECD countries with comparable data, the number of women graduating from university-level
programmes is equal to or exceeds that of men. 15-year-old girls tend to show much higher expectations
for their careers than boys of the same age.[5]

While women account for more than half of university graduates in several OECD countries, they receive
only 30% of tertiary degrees granted in science and engineering fields, and women account for only 25%
to 35% of researchers in most OECD countries.[6]

Further reading
• Chafe, William H., "The American Woman: Her Changing Social, Economic, And Political Roles,
1920-1970", Oxford University Press, 1972. ISBN 0-19-501785-4
• Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003 3rd edition) ISBN 0-618-25414-
• McWhorter, John. 'The Uses of Ugliness', The New Republic Online, January 31, 2002. Retrieved
May 11, 2005 ["bitch" as an affectionate term]
• McWhorter, John. Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority (New York: Gotham,
2003) ISBN 1-59240-001-9 [casual use of "bitch" in ebonics]
• Routledge international encyclopedia of women, 4 vls., ed. by Cheris Kramarae and Dale Spender,
Routledge 2000
• Women in world history : a biographical encyclopedia, 17 vls., ed. by Anne Commire, Waterford,
Conn. [etc.] : Yorkin Publ. [etc.], 1999 - 2002

See also
• Childbirth • New Woman
• Feminism • Obstetrics
• Gender and sexuality studies • Representation of women in Ancient Greek
• Gender differences theatre
• Lady • Sexism
• Lesbian • Timeline of women's suffrage
• Lists of women • Women in science
• Women in religion
• Matriarchy
• Women's suffrage

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the human developmental stage. For the adult insect stage, see Imago. For the band,
see ADULT..
For the 2008 British film by Noel Clarke see Adulthood (film).

The term adult has three distinct meanings. It indicates a grown person. It may also mean a plant or
animal that has reached full growth, or one who is legally of age; as opposed to a minor.
Adulthood can be defined in biology, psychological adult development, law, personal character, or social
status. These different aspects of adulthood are often inconsistent and contradictory. A person may be
biologically an adult, and have adult behavioral but still be treated as a child if they are under the legal
age of majority. Conversely one may legally be an adult but possess none of the maturity and
responsibility that define adult character.

Coming of age is the event; passing a series of tests to demonstrate the child is prepared for adulthood; or
reaching a specified age, sometimes in conjunction with demonstrating preparation. Most modern
societies determine legal adulthood based on reaching a legally-specified age without requiring a
demonstration of physical maturity or preparation for adulthood.

Adult, especially in the sense of entertainment or other diversion, frequently appears as a euphemism for
being related to sexual behaviour. Adult toys and adult games—which terms refer to games and toys that
are closely related to sex, do not generally refer only to games or toys with which children are simply
incompatible—are in this category, for example. This usage does indicate unsuitability for children, but
the more immediate meaning is closer to "not legal for children." Adult education, however, does simply
mean education for adults, especially for those past the usual age for either high school or university.

Some propose that moving into adulthood involves an emotional structuring of denial. This process
becomes necessary to cope with one's own behavior, especially in uncomfortable situations, and also the
behavior of others.


• 1 Biological adulthood
• 2 Legal adulthood
• 3 Personal characteristics
• 4 See also
• 5 References

• 6 External links

[edit] Biological adulthood
Adulthood is generally understood as the time when physical maturation is complete. This usually occurs
anywhere between 19 and 21. They reach their maximum height and secondary sex characteristics in the
form of body hair and maturing of the larynx, as well as ovulating monthly for women. Natural sleep
patterns change in adulthood, as adults typically require less sleep than during adolescence and childhood.
At this point, such individuals usually become independent and therefore able to care for others as well as
themselves. There are exceptions to this rule however.

[edit] Legal adulthood
Main article: Age of majority

Legally it means that one can engage in a contract. The same or a different minimum age may be
applicable to, for example, parents losing parenting rights and duties regarding the person concerned,
parents losing financial responsibility, marriage, voting, having a job, being a soldier, buying/possessing
firearms (if legal at all), driving, traveling abroad, involvement with alcoholic beverages (if legal at all),
smoking, sex, gambling (both lottery and casino) being a prostitute or a client of a prostitute (if legal at
all), being a model or actor in pornography, etc. Admission of a young person to a place may be restricted
because of danger for that person, and/or because of the risk that the young person causes damage (for
example, at an exhibition of fragile items).

One can distinguish the legality of acts of a young person, and of enabling a young person to carry out
that act, by selling, renting out, showing, permitting entrance, participating, etc. There may be distinction
between commercially and socially enabling. Sometimes there is the requirement of supervision by a legal
guardian, or just by an adult. Sometimes there is no requirement, but just a recommendation.

With regard to pornography one can distinguish:

• being allowed inside an adult establishment
• being allowed to purchase pornography
• being allowed to possess pornography
• another person being allowed to sell, rent out, or show the young person pornography, see
disseminating pornography to a minor
• being a model or actor in pornography: rules for the young person, and for other people, regarding
production, possession, etc. (see child pornography)

With regard to films with violence, etc.:

• another person being allowed to sell, rent out, or show the young person the film, a cinema being
allowed to let the young person (under 17) enter

The legal definition of entering adulthood usually varies between ages 15–21, depending on the region in
question. Some cultures in Africa define adult at age 13.

According to Jewish tradition, adulthood is reached at age 13 (the age of the Bar Mitzvah), for Jewish
boys, for example, were expected to demonstrate preparation for adulthood by learning the Torah and
other Jewish practices. The Christian Bible and Jewish scripture has no age requirement for adulthood or
marrying, which includes engaging in sexual activity. According to The Disappearance of Childhood by
Neil Postman, the Christian Church of the Middle Ages considered the age of accountability, when a
person could be tried and even executed as an adult, to be age 7 .

In most of the world, including the United States, parts of the United Kingdom (England, Northern
Ireland, Wales), India and China, the legal adult age is 18, with some exceptions:

1. Iran and Singapore (21)
2. Indonesia and Japan (20)
3. South Korea & British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest
Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Yukon Territory in Canada (19)
4. the United Kingdom: Scotland (16)

[edit] Personal characteristics
There are some qualities that symbolize adultness in most cultures. There is not always a correlation
between the qualities and the physical age of the person.

The adult character comprises:
• Self-control - restraint, emotional control.
• Stability - stable personality, strength.
• Independence - ability to self-regulate.
• Seriousness - ability to deal with life in a serious manner.
• Responsibility - accountability, commitment and reliability.
• Method/Tact - ability to think ahead and plan for the future, patience.
• Endurance - ability and willingness to cope with difficulties that present themselves.
• Experience - breadth of mind, understanding.
• Objectivity - perspective and realism.
• Decision making capability - as all of the above correspond to making proper decisions.
• Priorities - Ability to determine what is necessary at that place and time.

[edit] See also
• Adolescence
• Adult development
• Child
• Watershed (television)
• Age of consent
• Manhood
• Womanhood
• Motion picture rating system
• Adultism

[edit] References
[edit] External links
• Table 8. Age of Independence US and UK legal age guide.

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Human development: biological - psychological - Overview table

Pre- and
Prenatal development • Pre- and perinatal psychology

Infancy Infant and child development (stages) • Infancy

Child development (stages)
Toddlerhood • Preadolescence
Adolescence Youth development • Puberty

Adulthood Early adulthood • Middle adulthood • Late adulthood • Ageing & Senescence

John Bowlby-attachment • Urie Bronfenbrenner-ecological systems • Erik
Theorists-theories Erikson-psychosocial • Sigmund Freud-psychosexual • Lawrence Kohlberg-
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Human sexual behavior
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Sexual behaviour)
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about sexual practices (i.e., physical sex). For broader aspects of sexual behavior see
human sexuality.
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2008)
Close relationships

Affinity · Attachment · Bonding
Boyfriend · Casual · Cohabitation
Compersion · Concubinage
Consort · Courtesan · Courtship
Divorce · Domestic partnership
Dower / Dowry / Bride price
Family · Friendship · Girlfriend
Husband · Infatuation · Intimacy
Jealousy · Limerence · Love
Kinship · Marriage · Monogamy
Psychology of monogamy
Passion · Pederasty
Platonic love · Polyamory
Polyfidelity · Polygamy
Relationship abuse
Relationship breakup · Romance
Romantic friendship · Separation
Sexuality · Same-sex relationship
Significant other · Soulmate
Teen dating violence · Wedding
Widowhood · Wife


Human sexual behavior or different human sexual practices encompass a wide range of activities such
as strategies to find or attract partners (mating and display behaviour), interactions between individuals,
physical or emotional intimacy, and sexual contact.

Some cultures find only sexual contact within marriage acceptable; however, extramarital sexual activity
still takes place within such cultures. Unprotected sex poses a risk in unwanted pregnancy or sexually
transmitted diseases. In some areas, sexual abuse of individuals is prohibited by law and considered
against the norms of society.


• 1 Aspects of human sexual behavior
o 1.1 Sexual pleasure
o 1.2 Cultural aspects
o 1.3 Social norms and rules
o 1.4 Frequency of sexual activity
• 2 Safety and ancillary issues
• 3 Legal issues related to sexual behavior
o 3.1 Sodomy and same sex laws
• 4 Child sexuality
• 5 Footnotes
• 6 Further reading

[edit] Aspects of human sexual behavior
[edit] Sexual pleasure

Sexual pleasure is pleasure derived from any kind of sexual activity, most commonly masturbation and
sexual intercourse. Though orgasm (sexual climax) is generally known, sexual pleasure includes erotic
pleasure during foreplay, and pleasure due to fetish or BDSM.[1][2]

[edit] Cultural aspects

As with other behaviors, human intelligence and complex societies have produced among the most
complicated sexual behaviors of any animal. Most people experiment with a range of sexual activities
during their lives, though they tend to engage in only a few of these regularly. Most people enjoy some
sexual activities. However, most societies have defined some sexual activities as inappropriate (wrong
person, wrong activity, wrong place, etc.) Some people enjoy many different sexual activities, while
others avoid sexual activities altogether for religious or other reasons (see chastity, sexual abstinence).
Some societies and religions view sex as appropriate only within marriage.

Coitus, tacuinum sanitatis casanatensis (XIV century)

[edit] Social norms and rules

Main article: Social norm

Human sexual behavior, like many other kinds of activity engaged in by human beings, is generally
governed by social rules that are culturally specific and vary widely. These social rules are referred to as
sexual morality (what can and can not be done by society's rules) and sexual norms (what is and is not
expected). In the United States, attitudes towards premarital sex and the use of contraceptives correlate to
religious beliefs and political affiliation.[3]

Sexual ethics, morals, and norms relate to issues including deception/honesty, legality, fidelity and
consent. Some activities, known as sex crimes, are illegal in some jurisdictions, including those conducted
between (or among) consenting and competent adults (examples include sodomy law and adult-adult
Some people engage in various sexual activities as a business transaction. When this involves having sex
with, or performing certain actual sexual acts for another person, it is called prostitution. Other aspects of
the adult industry include (for example) telephone sex operators, strip clubs, pornography and the like.

Nearly all developed societies consider it a serious crime to force someone to engage in sexual behavior
or to engage in sexual behavior with someone who does not consent. This is called sexual assault, and if
sexual penetration occurs it is called rape, the most serious kind of sexual assault. The details of this
distinction may vary among different legal jurisdictions. Also, precisely what constitutes effective consent
to have sex varies from culture to culture and is frequently debated. Laws regulating the minimum age at
which a person can consent to have sex (age of consent) are frequently the subject of political and moral
debate[citation needed], as is adolescent sexual behavior in general. Additionally, many societies have forced
marriage, so consent does not really figure in to the equation of a sex crime.[citation needed]

It is possible to engage in sexual activity without a partner, primarily through masturbation and/or sexual

[edit] Frequency of sexual activity

The frequency of sexual intercourse might range from zero (sexual abstinence) to 15 or 20 times a week.[4]
It is generally recognized that postmenopausal women experience declines in frequency of sexual
intercourse.[5]. The average frequency of sexual intercourse for married couples is 2 to 3 times a week (in
America). [6]

[edit] Safety and ancillary issues
Main article: Safe sex

There are four main areas of risk in sexual activity, namely:

• choosing to trust a partner who is physically at risk
• sexually transmitted disease
• unwanted pregnancy
• seeking or engaging in an activity which is legally or culturally disapproved

These risks are raised by any condition (temporary or permanent) which impairs one's judgement, such as
excess alcohol or drugs, or emotional states such as loneliness, depression or euphoria. Carefully
considered activity can greatly reduce all of these issues.

Sexual behaviors that involve contact with the bodily fluids of another person entail risk of transmission
of sexually transmitted disease. Safe sex practices try to avoid this. These techniques are often seen as less
necessary for those in committed relationships with persons known to be free of disease; see fluid

Due to health concerns arising from HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV and other sexually
transmitted infections, some people may want potential sex partners to be tested for STDs before
engaging in sex.

Sexual behaviors that involve the contact of semen with the vagina or vulva may result in pregnancy. To
prevent pregnancy, many people employ a variety of birth control measures. The most popular methods of
prevention are condoms, spermicides, hormonal contraception, and sterilization.
[edit] Legal issues related to sexual behavior
Main articles: Paraphilia#Legal views and Sex and the law

[edit] Sodomy and same sex laws

Various forms of same-sex sexual activity have been prohibited under law in many areas at different times
in history. In 2003, the Lawrence v Texas United States Supreme Court decision overturned all such laws
in the US.[7]

Usually, though not always, such laws are termed sodomy laws, but also include issues such as age of
consent laws, "decency" laws, and so forth. Laws prohibiting same-sex sexuality have varied widely
throughout history, varying by culture, religious and social taboos and customs, etc. Often such laws are
targeted or applied differently based on sex as well. For example, laws against same-sex sexual behavior
in the United Kingdom during the reign of Queen Victoria, sodomy or "buggery" laws were aimed
specifically at male same-sex sexual activity and did not target or even address female homosexuality. A
well known example of such laws applied in relatively modern times can be found in the life story of Alan

[edit] Child sexuality
Main article: Child sexuality

Child sexuality examines sexual feelings, behaviors, and developments in children. Children are naturally
curious about their bodies and sexual functions — they wonder where babies come from, they notice
anatomical differences between males and females, and many engage in genital play (often mistaken for
masturbation). In the past, children were often assumed to be sexually "pure", having no sexuality until
later development. Sigmund Freud was one of the first researchers to take child sexuality seriously. While
his ideas, such as psychosexual development and the Oedipus conflict, have been rejected or labeled
obsolete, acknowledging the existence of child sexuality was a milestone. Alfred Kinsey also examined
child sexuality in his Kinsey Reports.

Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which a child is abused for the sexual gratification of
someone else; child abuse is also a legal umbrella term describing criminal and civil offenses in which an
adult engages in sexual activity with a minor or exploits a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification.[8]
In addition to direct sexual contact, child sexual abuse also occurs when an adult exposes their
genitals to a child, asks or pressures a child to engage in sexual activities, displays pornography to a child,
or uses a child to produce child pornography.[12][10][9] The American Psychiatric Association states that
"children cannot consent to sexual activity with adults",[13][14] and condemns any such action: "An adult
who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act which never can be
considered normal or socially acceptable behavior."[13] Nonetheless, transgenerational sexual contact is
present in a large number of societies[15] under the form of handling of toddlers's genitals and also, with
older kids, for the purpose of sexual training[16].

Possible effects of child sexual abuse include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety,
propensity to re-victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems.[17][18]
Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest, and can result in more serious and long-term
psychological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest.[22]

[edit] Footnotes
World view
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from World outlook)
Jump to: navigation, search
It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Contemplation. (Discuss)

A comprehensive world view (or worldview) is a term calqued from the German word Weltanschauung
([ˈvɛlt.ʔanˌʃaʊ.ʊŋ] (help·info)) Welt is the German word for "world", and Anschauung is the German word
for "view" or "outlook." It is a concept fundamental to German philosophy and epistemology and refers to
a wide world perception. Additionally, it refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs through which an
individual interprets the world and interacts with it. The German word is also in wide use in English, as
well as the translated form world outlook or world view.


• 1 Origins of world views
o 1.1 Worldview and linguistics
o 1.2 Weltanschauung and cognitive philosophy
o 1.3 Worldview and folk-epics
o 1.4 Construction of worldviews
• 2 Impact of worldviews
o 2.1 Structural aspects
o 2.2 Other aspects
• 3 Worldviews in religion and philosophy
• 4 See also
• 5 References

• 6 External links

[edit] Origins of world views
[edit] Worldview and linguistics

A worldview describes a consistent (to a varying degree) and integral sense of existence and provides a
framework for generating, sustaining, and applying knowledge.
The linguistic relativity hypothesis of Benjamin Lee Whorf describes how the syntactic-semantic structure
of a language becomes an underlying structure for the Weltanschauung of a people through the
organization of the causal perception of the world and the linguistic categorization of entities. As
linguistic categorization emerges as a representation of worldview and causality, it further modifies social
perception and thereby leads to a continual interaction between language and perception.[1]

The theory, or rather hypothesis, was well received in the late 1940s, but declined in prominence after a
decade. In the 1990s, new research gave further support for the linguistic relativity theory, in the works of
Stephen Levinson and his team at the Max Planck institute for Psycholinguistics at Nijmegen, The
Netherlands [2]. The theory has also gained attention through the work of Lera Boroditsky at Stanford

[edit] Weltanschauung and cognitive philosophy

One of the most important concepts in cognitive philosophy and generative sciences is the German
concept of ‘Weltanschauung’. This expression refers to the "wide worldview" or "wide world perception"
of a people, family, or person. The Weltanschauung of a people originates from the unique world
experience of a people, which they experience over several millennia. The language of a people reflects
the Weltanschauung of that people in the form of its syntactic structures and untranslatable connotations
and its denotations.

If it were possible to draw a map of the world on the basis of Weltanschauung, it would probably be seen
to cross political borders — Weltanschauung is the product of political borders and common experiences
of a people from a geographical region,[3] environmental-climatic conditions, the economic resources
available, socio-cultural systems, and the linguistic family.[3] (The work of the population geneticist Luigi
Luca Cavalli-Sforza aims to show the gene-linguistic co-evolution of people).

If the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is correct, the worldview map of the world would be similar to the
linguistic map of the world. However, it would also almost coincide with a map of the world drawn on the
basis of music across people.[4]

[edit] Worldview and folk-epics

As natural language becomes manifestations of world perception, the literature of a people with common
Weltanschauung emerges as holistic representations of the wide world perception of the people. Thus the
extent and commonality between world folk-epics becomes a manifestation of the commonality and
extent of a worldview.

Epic poems are shared often by people across political borders and across generations. Examples of such
epics include the Nibelungenlied of the Germanic-Scandinavian people, The Silappadhikaram of the
South Indian people, The Gilgamesh of the Mesopotamian-Sumerian civilization and the people of the
Fertile Crescent at large, The Arabian nights of the Arab world and the Sundiata epic of the Mandé

See also: list of world folk-epic

[edit] Construction of worldviews

The 'construction of integrating worldviews' begins from fragments of worldviews offered to us by the
different scientific disciplines and the various systems of knowledge [5]. It is contributed to by different
perspectives that exist in the world's different cultures. This is the main topic of research at the Center Leo
Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies.

It should be noted that while Apostel and his followers clearly hold that individuals can construct
worldviews, other writers regard worldviews as operating at a community level, and/or in an unconscious
way. For instance, if one's worldview is fixed by one's language, as according to a strong version of the
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, one would have to learn or invent a new language in order to construct a new

According to Apostel, a worldview should comprise seven elements:

1. An ontology, a descriptive model of the world
2. An explanation of the world
3. A futurology, answering the question "where are we heading?"
4. Values, answers to ethical questions: "What should we do?"
5. A praxeology, or methodology, or theory of action.: "How should we attain our goals?"
6. An epistemology, or theory of knowledge. "What is true and false?"
7. An etiology. A constructed world-view should contain an account of its own "building blocks," its
origins and construction.

[edit] Impact of worldviews
[edit] Structural aspects

The term denotes a comprehensive set of opinions, seen as an organic unity, about the world as the
medium and exercise of human existence. Weltanschauung serves as a framework for generating various
dimensions of human perception and experience like knowledge, politics, economics, religion, culture,
science, and ethics. For example, worldview of causality as uni-directional, cyclic, or spiral generates a
framework of the world that reflects these systems of causality. A uni-directional view of causality is
present in some monotheistic views of the world with a beginning and an end and a single great force with
a single end (e.g., Christianity and Islam), while a cyclic worldview of causality is present in religious
tradition which is cyclic and seasonal and wherein events and experiences recur in systematic patterns
(e.g., Zoroastrianism, Mithraism, and Hinduism).

These worldviews of causality not only underlie religious traditions but also other aspects of thought like
the purpose of history, political and economic theories, and systems like democracy, authoritarianism,
anarchism, capitalism, socialism, and communism.

The worldview of a linear and non-linear causality generates various related/conflicting disciplines and
approaches in scientific thinking. The Weltanschauung of the temporal contiguity of act and event leads to
underlying diversifications like determinism vs. free will. A worldview of Freewill leads to disciplines
that are governed by simple laws that remain constant and are static and empirical in scientific method,
while a worldview of determinism generates disciplines that are governed with generative systems and
rationalistic in scientific method.

Some forms of Philosophical naturalism and materialism reject the validity of entities inaccessible to
natural science. They view the scientific method as the most reliable model for building anunderstanding
of the world.

[edit] Other aspects
In The Language of the Third Reich, Weltanschauungen came to designate the instinctive understanding
of complex geo-political problems by the Nazis, which allowed them to act in the name of a higher ideal[6]
and in accordance to their theory of the world. These acts perceived outside that unique Weltanschauung
are now commonly perceived as acts of aggression, such as openly beginning invasions, twisting facts,
and violating human rights.

[edit] Worldviews in religion and philosophy
Various writers suggest that religious or philosophical belief-systems should be seen as worldviews rather
than a set of individual hypotheses or theories. The Japanese Philosopher Nishida Kitaro wrote
extensively on "the Religious Worldview" in exploring the philosophical significance of Eastern
religions[7]. According to Neo-Calvinist David Naugle's Worldview: The History of a Concept
"Conceiving of Christianity as a worldview has been one of the most significant developments in the
recent history of the church."[8]

The Christian thinker James W. Sire defines a worldview as "a commitment, a fundamental orientation of
the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true,
partially true, or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or
inconsistently) about the basic construction of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live
and move and have our being." He suggests that "we should all think in terms of worldviews, that is, with
a consciousness not only of our own way of thought but also that of other people, so that we can first
understand and then genuinely communicate with others in our pluralistic society."[9] The Rev. Professor
Keith Ward bases his discussion of the rationality of religious belief in Is Religion Dangerous? on a
consideration of religious and non-religious worldviews.[10]

The philosophical importance of Worldviews became increasingly clear during the 20th Century for a
number of reasons, such as increasing contact between cultures, and the failure of some aspects of the
Enlightenment project, such as the rationalist project of attaining all truth by reason alone. Mathematical
logic showed that fundamental choices of axioms were essential in deductive reasoning[11] and that, even
having chosen axioms not everything that was true in a given logical system could be proven[12]. Some
philosophers believe the problems extend to "the inconsistencies and failures which plagued the
Enlightenment attempt to identify universal moral and rational principles"[13]; although Enlightenment
principles such as universal suffrage and (the universal declaration of) human rights are accepted, if not
taken for granted, by many.[14]

A worldview can be considered as comprising a number of basic beliefs which are philosophically
equivalent to the axioms of the worldview considered as a logical theory. These basic beliefs cannot, by
definition, be proven (in the logical sense) within the worldview precisely because they are axioms, and
are typically argued from rather than argued for[15]. However their coherence can be explored
philosophically and logically, and if two different worldviews have sufficient common beliefs it may be
possible to have a constructive dialogue between them[16]. On the other hand, if different worldviews are
held to be basically incommensurate and irreconcilable, then the situation is one of cultural relativism and
would therefore incur the standard criticisms from philosophical realists. [17] [18][19]. Additionally, religious
believers might not wish to see their beliefs relativized into something that is only "true for them"[20][21].
Subjective logic is a belief reasoning formalism where beliefs explicitly are subjectively held by
individuals but where a consensus between different worldviews can be achieved[22].

A third alternative is that the Worldview approach is only a methodological relativism, that it is a
suspension judgment about the truth of various belief systems, but not a declaration that there is no global
truth. For instance, the religious philosopher Ninian Smart begins his Worldviews: Crosscultural
Explorations of Human Beliefs with "Exploring Religions and Analysing Worldviews" and argues for "the
neutral, dispassionate study of different religious and secular systems - a process I call worldview

[edit] See also
• Belief • Philosophy
• Belief networks • Point of view
• Contemplation • Reality
• Cultural identity • Reality tunnel
• Ideology • Religion
• Life stance • Scientism
• Metaphysics • Scientific modeling
• Ontology • Social reality
• Paradigm • Socially constructed reality

• Perspective • Subjective logic

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2008)
The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the
Please improve this article or discuss the issue on the talk page.
For the television series, see House (TV series). For the governmental body, see house of representatives;
see also legislature. For other uses, see House (disambiguation).

A ranch style house in Salinas, California
Example of an early Victorian "Gingerbread House" in the United States, built in 1855

House generally refers to a shelter or building that is a dwelling or place for habitation by human beings.
The term includes many kinds of dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to high-rise
apartment buildings.[1] However, the word can also be used as a verb ("to house"), and can have adjectival
formations as well. In some contexts, "house" may mean the same as dwelling, residence, home, abode,
accommodation, housing, lodging, among other meanings. The social unit that lives in a house is known
as a household. Most commonly, a household is a family unit of some kind, though households can be
other social groups, such as single persons, or groups of unrelated individuals. Settled agrarian and
industrial societies are composed of household units living permanently in housing of various types,
according to a variety of forms of land tenure. English-speaking people generally call any building they
routinely occupy "home". Many people leave their houses during the day for work and recreation but
typically return to them to sleep or for other activities.


• 1 History
• 2 Types
o 2.1 Structure
o 2.2 Shape
o 2.3 Function
• 3 Inside the house
o 3.1 Layout
o 3.2 Parts
• 4 Construction
o 4.1 Energy-efficiency
o 4.2 Earthquake protection
• 5 Legal issues
o 5.1 United Kingdom
o 5.2 United States and Canada
• 6 Identifying houses
• 7 Animal houses
• 8 Shelter
• 9 Houses and symbolism
o 9.1 Heraldry
• 10 See also
• 11 References

• 12 External links
[edit] History
The oldest house in the world is approximately from 10,000 B.C and was made of mammoth bones, found
at Mezhirich near Kiev in Ukraine. It was probably covered with mammoth hides. The house was
discovered in 1965 by a farmer digging a new basement six feet below the ground.[2]

Architect Norbert Schoenauer, in his book 6,000 Years of Housing, identifies three major categories of
types of housing: the "Pre-Urban" house, the "Oriental Urban" house, and the "Occidental Urban" house.

Types of Pre-Urban houses include temporary dwellings such as the Inuit igloo, semi-permanent
dwellings such as the pueblo, and permanent dwellings such as the New England homestead.

"Oriental Urban" houses include houses of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and traditional urban houses
in China, India, and Islamic cities.

"Occidental Urban" houses include medieval urban houses, the Renaissance town house, and the houses,
tenements and apartments of the 19th and 20th centuries.[1]

[edit] Types
See also: List of house types

[edit] Structure

A suburban neighborhood in San Jose, California.

Wood houses in the Swiss Alps.

The developed world in general features three basic types of house that have their own ground-level entry
and private open space, and usually on a separately titled parcel of land:

• Single-family detached houses - free-standing on all sides.
• Semi-detached houses (duplexes) - houses that are attached, usually to only one other house via a
party wall.
• Terraced house (UK) also known as a row house or townhouse - attached to other houses, possibly
in a row, each separated by a party wall.
In addition, there are various forms of attached housing where a number of dwelling units are co-located
within the same structure, which share a ground-level entry and may or may not have any private open
space, such as apartments (a.k.a. flats) of various scales. Another type of housing is movable, such as
houseboats, caravans, and trailer homes.

In the United Kingdom, 27% of the population live in terraced houses and 32% in semi-detached houses,
as of 2002. In the United States as of 2000, 61.4% of people live in detached houses and 5.6% in semi-
detached houses, 26% in row houses or apartments, and 7% in mobile homes.

[edit] Shape

Archaeologists have a particular interest in house shape: they see the transition over time from round huts
to rectangular houses as a significant advance in optimizing the use of space, and associate it with the
growth of the idea of a personal area (see personal space).[citation needed]

[edit] Function

A Nalukettu traditional Kerala house in India

Some houses transcend the basic functionality of providing "a roof over one's head" or of serving as a
family "hearth and home". When a house becomes a display-case for wealth and/or fashion and/or
conspicuous consumption, we may speak of a "great house". The residence of a feudal lord or of a ruler
may require defensive structures and thus turn into a fort or a castle. The house of a monarch may come to
house courtiers and officers as well as the royal family: this sort of house may become a palace.
Moreover, in time the lord or monarch may wish to retreat to a more personal or simple space such as a
villa, a hunting lodge or a dacha. Compare the popularity of the holiday house or cottage, also known as a

In contrast to a relatively upper class or modern trend to ownership of multiple houses, much of human
history shows the importance of multi-purpose houses. Thus the house long served as the traditional place
of work (the original cottage industry site or "in-house" small-scale manufacturing workshop) or of
commerce (featuring, for example, a ground floor "shop-front" shop or counter or office, with living space
above). During the Industrial Revolution there was a separation of manufacturing and banking from the
house, though to this day some shopkeepers continue (or have returned) to live "over the shop".

[edit] Inside the house
[edit] Layout
House in Brazil.
Main article: House plan

Ideally, architects of houses design rooms to meet the needs of the people who will live in the house. Such
designing, known as "interior design", has become a popular subject in universities. Feng shui, originally
a Chinese method of situating houses according to such factors as sunlight and micro-climates, has
recently expanded its scope to address the design of interior spaces with a view to promoting harmonious
effects on the people living inside the house. Feng shui can also mean the 'aura' in or around a dwelling.
Compare the real-estate sales concept of "indoor-outdoor flow".

The square footage of a house in the United States reports the area of "living space", excluding the garage
and other non-living spaces. The "square meters" figure of a house in Europe reports the area of the walls
enclosing the home, and thus includes any attached garage and non-living spaces.[citations needed]

[edit] Parts

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Room. (Discuss)

Floor plan of a "foursquare" house

Many houses have several rooms with specialized functions. These may include a living/eating area, a
sleeping area, and (if suitable facilities and services exist) washing and lavatory areas. In traditional
agriculture-oriented societies, domestic animals such as chickens or larger livestock (like cattle) often
share part of the house with human beings. Most conventional modern houses will at least contain a
bedroom, bathroom, kitchen (or kitchen area), and a living room. A typical "foursquare house" (as
pictured) occurred commonly in the early history of the United States of America, with a staircase in the
center of the house, surrounded by four rooms, and connected to other sections of the house (including in
more recent eras a garage).

The names of parts of a house often echo the names of parts of other buildings, but could typically
• atrium • kitchen
• attic • larder
• alcove • laundry room
• basement / cellar • library
• bathroom (in various senses of the word) • living room
• loft
• bath / shower • lounge
• toilet • nook
• office or study
• bedroom (or nursery, for infants or small children) • pantry
• conservatory • parlour
• dining room • recreation room / rumpus room /
• family room or den television room
• shrines to serve the religious
• Fireplace (for warmth during winter; functions associated with a family
generally not found in warmer climates) • stairwell
• sunroom
• foyer • storage room / box room
• front room (in various senses of the phrase)
• garage • workshop
• hallway/passage

• hearth - often an important symbolic focus of family
See also: Room (architecture)

[edit] Construction

The structure of the house (under demolition). This house is constructed from bricks and wood and was
later covered by insulating panels. The roof construction is also seen.

In the United States, modern house-construction techniques include light-frame construction (in areas
with access to supplies of wood) and adobe or sometimes rammed-earth construction (in arid regions with
scarce wood-resources). Some areas use brick almost exclusively, and quarried stone has long provided
walling. To some extent, aluminum and steel have displaced some traditional building materials.
Increasingly popular alternative construction materials include insulating concrete forms (foam forms
filled with concrete), structural insulated panels (foam panels faced with oriented strand board or fiber
cement), and light-gauge steel framing and heavy-gauge steel framing.
The Saitta House, Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York built in 1899 is made of and decorated in wood.[3]

More generally, people often build houses out of the nearest available material, and often tradition and/or
culture govern construction-materials, so whole towns, areas, counties or even states/countries may be
built out of one main type of material. For example, a large fraction of American houses use wood, while
most British and many European houses utilize stone or brick.

In the 1900s, some house designers started using prefabrication. Sears, Roebuck & Co. first marketed
their Houses by Mail to the general public in 1908. Prefab techniques became popular after World War II.
First small inside rooms framing, then later, whole walls were prefabricated and carried to the
construction site. The original impetus was to use the labor force inside a shelter during inclement
weather. More recently builders have begun to collaborate with structural engineers who use computers
and finite element analysis to design prefabricated steel-framed homes with known resistance to high
wind-loads and seismic forces. These newer products provide labor savings, more consistent quality, and
possibly accelerated construction processes.

Lesser-used construction methods have gained (or regained) popularity in recent years. Though not in
wide use, these methods frequently appeal to homeowners who may become actively involved in the
construction process. They include:

• Cannabrick construction
• Cordwood construction
• Straw bale construction
• Geodesic domes
• Wattle and daub

Thermographic comparison of traditional (left) and 'passivhaus' (right) buildings

[edit] Energy-efficiency

In the developed world, energy-conservation has grown in importance in house-design. Housing produces
a major proportion of carbon emissions (30% of the total in the UK, for example).[citation needed]

Development of a number of low-energy building types and techniques continues. They include the zero-
energy house, the passive solar house, superinsulated and houses built to the Passivhaus standard.
[edit] Earthquake protection

One tool of earthquake engineering is base isolation which is increasingly used for earthquake
protection. Base isolation is a collection of structural elements of a building that should substantially
decouple it from the shaking ground thus protecting the building's integrity[4] and enhancing its seismic
performance. This technology, which is a kind of seismic vibration control, can be applied both to a newly
designed building and to seismic upgrading of existing structures.[5]

Normally, excavations are made around the building and the building is separated from the foundations.
Steel or reinforced concrete beams replace the connections to the foundations, while under these, the
isolating pads, or base isolators, replace the material removed. While the base isolation tends to restrict
transmission of the ground motion to the building, it also keeps the building positioned properly over the
foundation. Careful attention to detail is required where the building interfaces with the ground, especially
at entrances, stairways and ramps, to ensure sufficient relative motion of those structural elements.

[edit] Legal issues
Buildings with historical importance have restrictions.

[edit] United Kingdom

New houses in the UK are not covered by the Sale of Goods Act. When purchasing a new house the buyer
has less legal protection than when buying a new car. New houses in the UK may be covered by a NHBC
guarantee but some people feel that it would be more useful to put new houses on the same legal footing
as other products.

[edit] United States and Canada

In the US and Canada, many new houses are built in housing tracts, which provide homeowners a sense
of "belonging" and the feeling they have "made the best use" of their money. However, these houses are
often built as cheaply and quickly as possible by large builders seeking to maximize profits. Many
environmental health issues are ignored or minimized in the construction of these structures. In one case
in Benicia, California, a housing tract was built over an old landfill. Home buyers were never told, and
only found out when some began having reactions to high levels of lead and chromium.

[edit] Identifying houses
With the growth of dense settlement, humans designed ways of identifying houses and/or parcels of land.
Individual houses sometimes acquire proper names; and those names may acquire in their turn
considerable emotional connotations: see for example the house of Howards End or the castle of
Brideshead Revisited. A more systematic and general approach to identifying houses may use various
methods of house numbering.

[edit] Animal houses
Humans often build "houses" for domestic or wild animals, often resembling smaller versions of human
domiciles. Familiar animal houses built by humans include bird-houses, hen-houses/chicken-coops and
doghouses (kennels); while housed agricultural animals more often live in barns and stables. However,
human interest in building houses for animals does not stop at the domestic pet. People build bat-houses,
nesting-sites for wild ducks and other birds, bee houses, giraffe houses, kangaroo houses, worm houses,
hermit crab houses, as well as shelters for many other animals.

[edit] Shelter

A modern style house in Canberra, ACT

Forms of (relatively) simple shelter may include:

• Bus stop
• Camper
• Chalet
• Cottage
• dugout
• Gazebo
• Hangar
• Houseboat
• hut
• Lean-to
• Log Cabin
• Shack
• Tent (see also camp)
• yaodong
• Caravan
• Umbrella

[edit] Houses and symbolism
Houses may express the circumstances or opinions of their builders or their inhabitants. Thus a vast and
elaborate house may serve as a sign of conspicuous wealth, whereas a low-profile house built of recycled
materials may indicate support of energy conservation.

Houses of particular historical significance (former residences of the famous, for example, or even just
very old houses) may gain a protected status in town planning as examples of built heritage and/or of
streetscape values. Plaques may mark such structures.

House-ownership provides a common measure of prosperity in economics. Contrast the importance of
house-destruction, tent dwelling and house rebuilding in the wake of many natural disasters.

Peter Olshavsky's House for the Dance of Death provides a 'pataphysical variation on the house.

[edit] Heraldry
The house occurs as a rare charge in heraldry.

[edit] See also

• U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
o Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
• Moladi


• Affordable housing
• Housing bubble
o United States housing bubble


• Mixed-use development
• Visitability


• Home automation
• Hurricane proof house
• Earth sheltering
• Lodging
• Boarding house
• Lustron house
• Mobile home
• Modular home
• Housing in Japan
• Housing estate


• Housewarming party
• Domestic robot
• Squatting


• List of house types
• List of house styles
• List of types of lodging
• List of real estate topics
• List of famous American Houses

[edit] References
Calendar date
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For the use of dates on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (dates and numbers)
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2007)

A date in a calendar is a reference to a particular day represented within a calendar system. The calendar
date allows the specific day to be identified. The number of days between two dates may be calculated.
For example, "19 December 2008" is ten days after "9 December 2008" in the Gregorian calendar. The
date of a particular event depends on the time zone in which it is observed. For example the attack on
Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1941, in Hawaii, but on December 8 according to Japanese time.

A particular day may be represented by a different date in another calendar as in the Gregorian calendar
and the Julian calendar, which have been used simultaneously in different places. In most calendar
systems, the date consists of three parts: the day of month, month, and the year. There may also be
additional parts, such as the day of week. Years are usually counted from a particular starting point,
usually called the epoch, with era referring to the particular period of time (Note the different use of the
terms in geology).

The most widely used epoch is a conventional birthdate of Jesus (which was established by Dionysius
Exiguus in the sixth century). A date without the year part may also be referred to as a date or calendar
date (such as "20 December" rather than "20 December 2008"). As such, it defines the day of an annual
event, such as a birthday or Christmas on 25 December.


• 1 Date format
o 1.1 Little endian forms, starting with the day
o 1.2 Big endian forms, starting with the year
o 1.3 Middle endian forms, starting with the month
o 1.4 Usage issues
 1.4.1 dd/mm/yyyy or (day, month, year)
 1.4.2 mm/dd/yy or mm/dd/yyyy (month, day, year)
 1.4.3 yyyy-mm-dd (year, month, day)
 Advantages for ordering in sequence
o 1.5 Day and year only
o 1.6 Week number used
• 2 Expressing dates in spoken English
• 3 See also
• 4 References

• 5 External links

[edit] Date format
Related to the classification of a day as a specific calendar date is the format used to express that date.
The differing formats of dates are an example of endianness. Even for a specific calendar system,
different formats are used. For example, the following formats all express the same date in the Gregorian

[edit] Little endian forms, starting with the day

This sequence is common to the vast majority of the world's countries (see below for breakdown of
countries by format). This date format originates from the custom of writing the date as ' the 16th day of
November in the year of our Lord 2003' in religious and legal documents which at one time were the
majority of documents created. The format has shortened as more and more people learned to read and
write but the order of the elements has remained constant.

• 16/11/2003, 16.11.2003 (using dot as separator with this sequence has been defined by DIN 5008)
16-11-2003 or 16-11-03
• 16th [of] November 2003 (The 'of' is included in speech, however it is considered bad practice to
include it when written.)
• 16th November 2003
• 16 November 2003
• 16 Nov 2003

[edit] Big endian forms, starting with the year

This form is consistent with the big endianness of the western decimal numbering system, progressing
from the highest to the lowest order magnitude. This is a standard format in Asian countries, in Hungary
and in Sweden where the most significant data item is written first followed by lesser data items. An
example of this is the custom of writing the family name before the personal name of an individual.

• 2003 November 16
• 2003-11-16: the ISO 8601 international standard orders the components of a date like this, and
additionally uses leading zeros, e.g. 0813-03-01, to be easily read and sorted by computers. It is
used with UTC in the Internet date/time format (see the external link below). This format is also
favoured in certain Asian countries, mainly East Asian countries, as well as in some European
countries. The big endian convention is also frequently used in Canada, but all three conventions
are used there.[1]
It is also extended through the universal big-endian format clock time: 2003 Nov. 16, 18h 14m 12s, or
2003/11/16/18:14:12 or 2003-11-16T18:14:12.

[edit] Middle endian forms, starting with the month

This sequence is used only in the United States and a few other countries (listed below) that have been
heavily influenced by the US.

• November 16, 2003
• Nov. 16, 2003
• 11/16/2003, 11-16-2003, 11.16.2003 or 11.16.03

[edit] Usage issues

The many numerical forms can create confusion when used in international correspondence, particularly
when abbreviating the year to its final two digits.

For example, '9/11' can refer to both 'The fall of the Berlin Wall' on 9 November 1989 and to the
September 11, 2001 attacks. In the United States, dates are rarely written in purely numerical forms in
formal writing. In the United Kingdom, while it is regarded as acceptable, but rare, to write monthname
day, year (as well as day monthname year), this order is never used when written numerically, although,
due to American media influence, the American shorthand "9/11" is widely understood as referring to the
11th of September aeroplane attacks.[2]

When numbers are used to represent months, a significant amount of confusion can arise from the
ambiguity of a date order; especially when the numbers representing the day, month or year are low, it can
be impossible to tell which order is being used. This can be clarified by using four digits to represent
years, and naming the month; for example, "Feb" instead of "02". In some countries Roman numerals are
used to denote the month, e.g. 11.IX.2001.[citation needed] Many Internet sites use year-month-day, and those
using other conventions often write out the month (9-MAY-2001, MAY 09 2001, etc.) so there is no
ambiguity. The ISO 8601 date order, with four-digit years, is specifically chosen to be unambiguous. The
ISO 8601 standard also has the advantage of being language independent and is therefore useful when
there may be no language context and a universal application is desired (expiration dating on export
products, for example).

In addition, the ISO considers its ISO 8601 standard to make sense from a logical perspective.[3] Mixed
units, for example feet and inches, or pounds and ounces, are normally written with the largest unit first,
in decreasing order. Numbers are also written in that order, so the digits of 2006 indicate, in order, the
millennium, the century within the millennium, the decade within the century, and the year within the
decade. The only date order that is consistent with these well-established conventions is year-month-day.
A plain text list of dates with this format can be easily sorted by word processors, spreadsheets and other
software tools with built-in sorting functions.

An early U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard recommended 2-digit years. This is now widely
recognized as a bad idea, because of the year 2000 problem. Some U.S. government agencies now use
ISO 8601 with 4 digit year.[4][5]

When transitioning from one date notation to another, people often write both Old Style and New Style
dd-mm-yyyy dd-mm-yyyy and yyyy-mm-dd yyyy-mm-dd mm-dd-yyyy mm-dd-yyyy and dd-mm-
yyyy mm-dd-yyyy, dd-mm-yyyy, and yyyy-mm-dd

[edit] dd/mm/yyyy or (day, month, year)

Using the dd/mm/yyyy format, the 30th December 2006 would be written as 30/12/2006. The
dd/mm/yyyy format is used in:

• Albania[6][7] (some use of ISO 8601)[8]
• Algeria[9][10]
• Argentina[11][12]
• Armenia ([13][14]
• Australia[15][16][17]
• Austria (using dots (which denote ordinal numbering) as in “d.m.(yy)yy” or sometimes "d. month
• Azerbaijan ([20]
• Bahrain[21]
• Bangladesh (century digits may be omitted, e.g. dd-mm-yy)[22]
• Barbados
• Belarus ([23][24]
• Belgium[25][26]
• Bolivia[27]
• Brazil ([28][29]
• Bulgaria ([30][31]
• Canada (All 3 main types are used in Canada - in French and in English)
• Chile[32]
• Colombia[33]
• Costa Rica[34]
• Croatia (d. m. yyyy. or d. month yyyy; yyyy-mm-dd also used widely)[35][36]
• Cyprus
• Czech Republic (d. m. yyyy or d. month yyyy)[37][38]
• Denmark (The format dd-mm-yy(yy) is the traditional Danish date format.[39] The international
format yyyy-mm-dd or yyyymmdd is also accepted. There are no preferences, although the
traditional format is the most widely used. The formats dd.'monthname' yyyy and in handwriting
d/m/yy are also acceptable. [40])
• Dominica
• Dominican Republic[41]
• Ecuador[42]
• Egypt[43][44]
• El Salvador[45]
• Estonia (d.m.yyyy or d. month yyyy)[46][47]
• Finland (d.m.yyyy or d. month yyyy)[48]
• France (dd-mm-yyyy or dd/mm/yyyy)[49][50]
• Georgia (
• Germany (using dots (which denote ordinal numbering) as in “d.m.(yy)yy” or sometimes "d.
month (yy)yy")[51]
• Greece[52][53]
• Greenland ([54]
• Grenada
• Guatemala[55]
• Guyana
• Hong Kong (in English)[56]
• Honduras[57]
• Iceland ([58][59]
• Iran (yyyy/mm/dd)
• Ireland (dd-m-yyyy)[60]
• India ( in Bengali; dd-mm-yyyy in Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil; d-m-
yyyy in Telugu, no leading zeroes used)[61][62]
• Indonesia[63]
• Iraq (dd/mm/yyyy)[64]
• Ireland[65]
• Israel (dd/mm/yyyy)[66][67]
• Italy[68]
• Jamaica[69]
• Jordan[70]
• Kazakhstan ([71]
• Kenya (d/m/yyyy and m/d/yyyy)[72]
• Kuwait[73]
• Kyrgyzstan (
• Latvia ([74]; official standard is year-month-day[citation needed])
• Lebanon[75]
• Libya[76]
• Luxembourg(dd/mm/yyyy in French,[77] d.m.yyyy in German[78])
• Macau (in Portuguese & English)
• Macedonia ([79]
• Malaysia[80]
• Mexico[81]
• Montenegro (d.m.yyyy)
• Morocco[82]
• Netherlands (using hyphens as in “dd-mm-(yy) yy”, very often "d month (yy)yy")[83]
• New Zealand[84]
• Nicaragua[85]
• Norway (d.m.y; the fraction form d/m-y is common, but incorrect[citation needed])
• Oman[86]
• Pakistan[87] (dd-mm-(yy)yy)
• Panama[88]
• Paraguay[89]
• Peru[90]
• Philippines (in Filipino)
• Poland ([91], more official is d <month in genitive> yyyy, occasionally archaic format
d <month as roman figure> yyyy, often with dots as separators)[92][93]
• Portugal[94]
• Qatar[95]
• Romania ([96][97]
• Russia ([98]
• Saint Kitts and Nevis
• Saint Lucia
• Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
• Saudi Arabia (dd/mm/yyyy in Islamic and Gregorian calendar systems,[99][100] except for major
companies, which conventionally use the American mm/dd/yyyy format[citation needed])
• Serbia (d.m.yyyy)[101][102][103]
• Singapore (English)[104]
• Slovakia (d.m.yyyy, some use of dd-mm-yyyy)[105][106]
• Slovenia (d.m.yyyy or d. mmmm yyyy)[107]
• Spain[108]
• Sweden (as d/m yyyy, although the yyyy-mm-dd form is more common and the national
• Switzerland ([109][110]
• Syria[111]
• Tajikistan ([112]
• Thailand (with Buddhist Era years instead of Common Era)[113]
• Trinidad and Tobago[114]
• Tunisia[115]
• Turkey[116][117]
• Turkmenistan ([118]
• Ukraine ([119]; some cases of dd/mm/yyyy[120])
• United Arab Emirates[121]
• United Kingdom[122][123]
• Uruguay[124][125]
• Uzbekistan ( Cyrillic, dd/mm yyyy Latin)[126][127][127]
• Venezuela[128][129]
• Vietnam[130]
• Yemen[131][132]

[edit] mm/dd/yy or mm/dd/yyyy (month, day, year)

Using the mm/dd/yy format, October 18, 2008 would be written as 10/18/08.

The mm/dd/yy format is used in:

• Belize[133]
• Canada (Although most official documents use the yyyy-mm-dd format, the mm/dd/yy format is
also understood due to influences from the United States.)[134]
• Federated States of Micronesia[135]
• Kenya[136]
• Palau
• Philippines (d/m/yy in Filipino language.[citation needed] May still be found in certain contexts,
mm/dd/yy is used in English)[137]
• Puerto Rico[138]
• United States[139]

[edit] yyyy-mm-dd (year, month, day)

Using the yyyy-mm-dd format, the 30th of December 2006 would be written as 2006-12-30.

• Used internationally in some contexts as the ISO 8601 standard

• Albania (more references indicate use of dd/mm/yyyy, see above)[8]
• Canada (yyyy-mm-dd, government all-numeric standard)[140] (All 3 main types are used in Canada-
in French and in English)
• China (yyyy-mm-dd or yyyy 年 m 月 d 日 with no leading zeroes)[141]
• Denmark (The format dd-mm-yy(yy) is the traditional Danish date format. The international
format yyyy-mm-dd or yyyymmdd is also accepted. There are no preferences, although the
traditional format is the most widely used. The formats dd.'monthname' yyyy and in handwriting
d/m/yy are also acceptable. [40])
• Europe[142]
• Hong Kong (yyyy 年 m 月 d 日 with no leading zeroes;[143] and dd/mm/yyyy for English[144])
• Hungary ([145][8] – traditionally the number of the month is sometimes written in
Roman numerals[citation needed])
• Japan, often in the form yyyy 年 mm 月 dd 日;[146] sometimes Japanese era year is used, e.g. 平成
18 年 12 月 30 日.[147]
• Korea (yyyy 년 mm 월 dd 일; yyyy/mm/dd also used)[148]
• Latvia[149] (But often is used[citation needed])
• Lithuania (yyyy-mm-dd)[150]
• Macau (same as Hong Kong)[151]
• Mongolia ([152]
• Nepal[citation needed] (also see Nepal Sambat which is also in use)
• Norway[153]
• Singapore (Chinese representation: yyyy 年 m 月 d 日, no leading zeroes)[154]
• Slovenia[155]
• South Africa (yyyy/mm/dd;[156][157] "d/m/yy" is a common alternative[citation needed])
• Spain (Basque:[158]
• Sweden (national standard format)[159]
• Taiwan; same as China except year might be represented using ROC era system: 民國 95 年 12 月
30 日.[160]

[edit] Advantages for ordering in sequence

Editors are currently in dispute concerning points of view expressed in this section. Please help to
discuss and resolve the dispute before removing this message. (November 2008)

One of the advantages of using the ISO 8601 standard date format is that when dates in this format are
ordered by a standard collation i.e by leading characters first, they are also in date order, for example:

1998-02-28 (28 February 1998)
1999-03-01 (01 March 1999)
2000-01-30 (30 January 2000)

Layouts with the elements in a different format or order will not give this result, although the separators
do not affect sort order.[161]

This ordering is often used in scientific, technical or international communication.[citation needed]

[edit] Day and year only

See also: calendar, time, date-time group, Japanese calendar, and Wikibooks:English:Time

The U.S. military sometimes uses a system, which they call "Julian date format"[162] that indicates the year
and the actual day out of the 365 days of the year (and thus a designation of the month would not be
needed). For example, "10 December 1999" can be written in some contexts as "1999345" or "99345", for
the 345th day of 1999.[163] This system is most often used in US military logistics, since it makes the
process of calculating estimated shipping and arrival dates easier. For example: say a tank engine takes an
estimated 35 days to ship by sea from the US to Korea. If the engine is sent on 99104, it should arrive on
99139. Note that outside of the US military, this format is usually referred to as "ordinal date", rather than
"Julian date."
Such ordinal date formats are also used by many computer programs (especially those for mainframe
systems). Using a three-digit Julian day number saves one byte of computer storage over a two-digit
month plus two-digit day, e.g. "January 17" is 017 in Julian versus 0117 in month-day format. OS/390 or
its successor, z/OS, display dates in yy.ddd format for most operations.

Another "ordinal" date system ("ordinal" in the sense of advancing in value by one as the date advances
by one day) is in common use in astronomical calculations and referencing and uses the same name as this
"logistics" system. The continuity of representation of period regardless of the time of year being
considered is obviously highly useful to both groups of specialists. The astronomers describe their system
too as being a "Julian date", and it is described in more detail in the article Julian date. Unlike the system
described above, the astronomical system does not consider years, it only counts days. Thus it is
unperturbed by complications such as leap years.

[edit] Week number used

Companies in Europe often use year, week number and day for planning purposes. So, for example, an
event in a project can happen on w43 (week 43) or w43-1 (Monday, week 43) or, if the year needs to be
indicated, on w0543 or w543 (year 2005 week 43).

The ISO does present a standard for identifying weeks, but as it does not match up with Gregorian
calendar (the beginning and ending days of a given year do not match up), this standard is somewhat more
problematic than the other standards for dates.

[edit] Expressing dates in spoken English
In British English, full dates are usually written and spoken as 7th December 1941 (or 7 December 1941)
and pronounced "the seventh of December, nineteen forty-one" (note mandatory usage of "the" and "of"),
with the occasional usage of December 7, 1941 ("December the seventh, nineteen forty-one"). In common
with continental European usage, however, numerical dates are invariably ordered dd/mm/yyyy.

In the United States, the usual written form is December 7, pronounced "December the seventh" or
colloquially "December seventh".

[edit] See also
• Date and time notation by country
• Internationalization and localization

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

For other uses, see Money (disambiguation).
"Dinero" redirects here. For obsolete Spanish currency, see Spanish dinero. For the community in the
United States, see Dinero, Texas.
Various denominations of currency, one form of money.

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Money is anything that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts.[1]
The main uses of money are as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value.[2] Some
authors explicitly require money to be a standard of deferred payment.[3]

The term "price system" is sometimes used to refer to methods using commodity valuation or money
accounting systems.

The word "money" is believed to originate from a temple of Hera, located on Capitoline, one of Rome's
seven hills. In the ancient world Hera was often associated with money. The temple of Juno Moneta at
Rome was the place where the mint of Ancient Rome was located.[4]. The name "Juno" may derive from
the Etruscan goddess Uni (which means "the one", "unique", "unit", "union", "united") and "Moneta"
either from the Latin word "monere" (remind, warn, or instruct) or the Greek word "moneres" (alone,


• 1 Economic characteristics
o 1.1 Medium of exchange
o 1.2 Unit of account
o 1.3 Store of value
• 2 Market liquidity
• 3 Types of money
o 3.1 Commodity money
o 3.2 Representative money
o 3.3 Credit money
o 3.4 Fiat money
o 3.5 Money supply
o 3.6 Monetary policy
• 4 History of money
• 5 See also
• 6 References

• 7 External links

Economic characteristics
Money is generally considered to have the following characteristics, which are summed up in a rhyme
found in older economics textbooks: "Money is a matter of functions four, a medium, a measure, a
standard, a store." That is, money functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a standard of
deferred payment, and a store of value.[2][5][6]

There have been many historical arguments regarding the combination of money's functions, some
arguing that they need more separation and that a single unit is insufficient to deal with them all. One of
these arguments is that the role of money as a medium of exchange is in conflict with its role as a store of
value: its role as a store of value requires holding it without spending, whereas its role as a medium of
exchange requires it to circulate.[6] Others argue that storing of value is just deferral of the exchange, but
does not diminish the fact that money is a medium of exchange that can be transported both across space
and time.[7] 'Financial capital' is a more general and inclusive term for all liquid instruments, whether or
not they are a uniformly recognized tender.

Medium of exchange

Main article: Medium of exchange

Money is used as an intermediary for trade, in order to avoid the inefficiencies of a barter system, which
are sometimes referred to as the 'double coincidence of wants problem'. Such usage is termed a medium of

Unit of account
Main article: Unit of account

A unit of account is a standard numerical unit of measurement of the market value of goods, services,
and other transactions. Also known as a "measure" or "standard" of relative worth and deferred payment,
a unit of account is a necessary prerequisite for the formulation of commercial agreements that involve

• Divisible into small units without destroying its value; precious metals can be coined from bars, or
melted down into bars again.
• Fungible: that is, one unit or piece must be perceived as equivalent to any other, which is why
diamonds, works of art or real estate are not suitable as money.
• A specific weight, or measure, or size to be verifiably countable. For instance, coins are often
made with ridges around the edges, so that any removal of material from the coin (lowering its
commodity value) will be easy to detect.

Store of value

Main article: Store of value

To act as a store of value, a commodity, a form of money, or financial capital must be able to be reliably
saved, stored, and retrieved — and be predictably useful when it is so retrieved. Fiat currency like paper
or electronic currency no longer backed by gold in most countries is not considered by some economists
to be a store of value.

Market liquidity
Main article: Market liquidity

Liquidity describes how easily an item can be traded for another item, or into the common currency
within an economy. Money is the most liquid asset because it is universally recognised and accepted as
the common currency. In this way, money gives consumers the freedom to trade goods and services easily
without having to barter.

Liquid financial instruments are easily tradable and have low transaction costs. There should be no — or
minimal — spread between the prices to buy and sell the instrument being used as money.

Types of money
In economics, money is a broad term that refers to any financial instrument that can fulfill the functions of
money (detailed above). Modern monetary theory distinguishes among different types of monetary
aggregates, using a categorization system that focuses on the liquidity of the financial instrument used as

Commodity money

Main article: Commodity money

Commodity money value comes from the commodity out of which it is made. The commodity itself
constitutes the money, and the money is the commodity.[8] Examples of commodities that have been used
as mediums of exchange include gold, silver, copper, rice, salt, peppercorns, large stones, decorated belts,
shells, alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, candy, barley, etc. These items were sometimes used in a metric of
perceived value in conjunction to one another, in various commodity valuation or Price System
economies. Use of commodity money is similar to barter, but a commodity money provides a simple and
automatic unit of account for the commodity which is being used as money.

Representative money

Main article: Representative money

Representative money is money that consists of token coins, other physical tokens such as certificates,
and even non-physical "digital certificates" (authenticated digital transactions) that can be reliably
exchanged for a fixed quantity of a commodity such as gold, silver or potentially water, oil or food.
Representative money thus stands in direct and fixed relation to the commodity which backs it, while not
itself being composed of that commodity.

Banknotes from all around the world donated by visitors to the British Museum, London.

Credit money

Main article: Credit money

Credit money is any claim against a physical or legal person that can be used for the purchase of goods
and services.[8] Credit money differs from commodity and fiat money in two ways: It is not payable on
demand (although in the case of fiat money, "demand payment" is a purely symbolic act since all that can
be demanded is other types of fiat currency) and there is some element of risk that the real value upon
fulfillment of the claim will not be equal to real value expected at the time of purchase.[8]

This risk comes about in two ways and affects both buyer and seller.

First it is a claim and the claimant may default (not pay). High levels of default have destructive supply
side effects. If manufacturers and service providers do not receive payment for the goods they produce,
they will not have the resources to buy the labor and materials needed to produce new goods and services.
This reduces supply, increases prices and raises unemployment, possibly triggering a period of
stagflation. In extreme cases, widespread defaults can cause a lack of confidence in lending institutions
and lead to economic depression. For example, abuse of credit arrangements is considered one of the
significant causes of the Great Depression of the 1930s.[9]

The second source of risk is time. Credit money is a promise of future payment. If the interest rate on the
claim fails to compensate for the combined impact of the inflation (or deflation) rate and the time value of
money, the seller will receive less real value than anticipated. If the interest rate on the claim
overcompensates, the buyer will pay more than expected.

Fiat money

Main article: Fiat money

Fiat money is any money whose value is determined by legal means. The terms fiat currency and fiat
money relate to types of currency or money whose usefulness results not from any intrinsic value or
guarantee that it can be converted into gold or another currency, but instead from a government's order
(fiat) that it must be accepted as a means of payment.[10] [11]

Fiat money is created when a type of credit money (typically notes from a central bank, such as the
Federal Reserve System in the U.S.) is declared by a government act (fiat) to be acceptable and officially-
recognized payment for all debts, both public and private. Fiat money may thus be symbolic of a
commodity or a government promise, though not a completely specified amount of either of these. Fiat
money is thus not technically fungible or tradable directly for fixed quantities of anything, except more of
the same government's fiat money. Fiat moneys usually trade against each other in value in an
international market, as with other goods. An exception to this is when currencies are locked to each
other, as explained below. Many but not all fiat moneys are accepted on the international market as
having value. Those that are trade indirectly against any internationally available goods and services [8].
Thus the number of U.S. dollars or Japanese yen which are equivalent to each other, or to a gram of gold
metal, are all market decisions which change from moment to moment on a daily basis. Occasionally, a
country will peg the value of its fiat money to that of the fiat money of a larger economy: for example the
Belize dollar trades in fixed proportion (at 2:1) to the U.S. dollar, so there is no floating value ratio of the
two currencies.

Fiat money, if physically represented in the form of currency (paper or coins) can be easily damaged or
destroyed. However, here fiat money has an advantage over representative or commodity money, in that
the same laws that created the money can also define rules for its replacement in case of damage or
destruction. For example, the U.S. government will replace mutilated federal reserve notes (U.S. fiat
money) if at least half of the physical note can be reconstructed, or if it can be otherwise proven to have
been destroyed.[12] By contrast, commodity money which has been destroyed or lost is gone.

Money supply

Main article: Money supply

The money supply is the amount of money within a specific economy available for purchasing goods or
services. The supply in the US is usually considered as four escalating categories M0, M1, M2 and M3.
The categories grow in size with M3 representing all forms of money (including credit) and M0 being just
base money (coins, bills, and central bank deposits). M0 is also money that can satisfy private banks'
reserve requirements. In the US, the Federal Reserve is responsible for controlling the money supply,
while in the Euro area the respective institution is the European Central Bank. Other central banks with
significant impact on global finances are the Bank of Japan, People's Bank of China and the Bank of

When gold is used as money, the money supply can grow in either of two ways. First, the money supply
can increase as the amount of gold increases by new gold mining at about 2% per year, but it can also
increase more during periods of gold rushes and discoveries, such as when Columbus discovered the new
world and brought gold back to Spain, or when gold was discovered in California in 1848. This kind of
increase helps debtors, and causes inflation, as the value of gold goes down. Second, the money supply
can increase when the value of gold goes up. This kind of increase in the value of gold helps savers and
creditors and is called deflation, where items for sale are less expensive in terms of gold. Deflation was
the more typical situation for over a century when gold and credit money backed by gold were used as
money in the US from 1792 to 1913.

Monetary policy

Main article: Monetary policy

Monetary policy is the process by which a government, central bank, or monetary authority manages the
money supply to achieve specific goals. Usually the goal of monetary policy is to accommodate economic
growth in an environment of stable prices. For example, it is clearly stated in the Federal Reserve Act that
the Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee should seek “to promote effectively the
goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.”[13]

A failed monetary policy can have significant detrimental effects on an economy and the society that
depends on it. These include hyperinflation, stagflation, recession, high unemployment, shortages of
imported goods, inability to export goods, and even total monetary collapse and the adoption of a much
less efficient barter economy. This happened in Russia, for instance, after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Governments and central banks have taken both regulatory and free market approaches to monetary
policy. Some of the tools used to control the money supply include:

• changing the interest rate at which the government loans or borrows money
• currency purchases or sales
• increasing or lowering government borrowing
• increasing or lowering government spending
• manipulation of exchange rates
• raising or lowering bank reserve requirements
• regulation or prohibition of private currencies
• taxation or tax breaks on imports or exports of capital into a country

For many years much of monetary policy was influenced by an economic theory known as monetarism.
Monetarism is an economic theory which argues that management of the money supply should be the
primary means of regulating economic activity. The stability of the demand for money prior to the 1980s
was a key finding of Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz[14] supported by the work of David Laidler[15],
and many others.

The nature of the demand for money changed during the 1980s owing to technical, institutional, and legal
factors and the influence of monetarism has since decreased.

History of money
Main article: History of money
Himba woman covered with a traditional ochre pigment

The use of barter like methods may date back to at least 100,000 years ago. Trading in red ochre is
attested in Swaziland, shell jewellery in the form of strung beads also dates back to this period, and had
the basic attributes needed of commodity money. To organize production and to distribute goods and
services among their populations, before market economies existed, people relied on tradition, top-down
command, or community cooperation.

The Shekel referred to an ancient unit of weight and currency. The first usage of the term came from
Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC. and referred to a specific mass of barley which related other values in a
metric such as silver, bronze, copper etc. A barley/shekel was originally both a unit of currency and a unit
of weight.[16]

A 640 BCE one-third stater electrum coin from Lydia, shown larger.

According to Herodotus, and most modern scholars, the Lydians were the first people to introduce the use
of gold and silver coin.[17] It is thought that these first stamped coins were minted around 650-600 BC.[18]
A stater coin was made in the stater (trite) denomination. To complement the stater, fractions were made:
the trite (third), the hekte (sixth), and so forth in lower denominations.

The name of Croesus of Lydia became synonymous with wealth in antiquity. Sardis was renowned as a
beautiful city. Around 550 BC, Croesus contributed money for the construction of the temple of Artemis
at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

The first banknotes were used in China in the 7th century, and the first in Europe issued by Stockholms
Banco in 1661.

In the Western world, a prevalent term for coin-money has been specie, stemming from Latin in specie
"in kind".[19]

See also
Numismatics portal

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Money
Look up Money in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Money

• Category:Money
• Coin of account
• Counterfeit, for Counterfeiting of Money
• Credit money
• Currency market
• Economics
• Electronic money
• Federal Reserve
• Fractional reserve banking
• Full reserve banking
• Labor-time voucher
• Local Exchange Trading Systems
• Money creation
• non-market economics
• Numismatics — Collection and study of money
• Seignorage
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• World currency


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For current exchange rates, see exchange links.


Coins, Banknotes,

Circulating currencies
Community currencies

Company scrip, LETS,
Time dollars
Fictional currencies
Ancient currencies
Greek, Roman,

Medieval currencies
Modern currencies

Africa, The Americas,
Europe, Asia, Oceania
Mint, Designers
Coining, Milling,
Hammering, Cast
Credit cards, Medals,




Stocks, Bonds

A currency is a unit of exchange, facilitating the transfer of goods and/or services.[citation needed] It is one
form of money, where money is anything that serves as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a
standard of value. Currencies are the dominant medium of exchange.[citation needed] Coins and paper money
are both forms of currency.

Currencies around the world.


• 1 History
o 1.1 Early currency
o 1.2 Coinage
o 1.3 Era of hard and credit money
o 1.4 Legal tender era
o 1.5 Paper money era
• 2 Modern currencies
• 3 Local currencies
• 4 Proposed currencies
• 5 See also
o 5.1 Accounting units
o 5.2 Lists

• 6 References

In most cases, each country has monopoly control over the supply and production of its own currency. To
facilitate trade between these currency zones, there are exchange rates, which are the prices at which
currencies (and the goods and services of individual currency zones) can be exchanged against each other.
Currencies can be classified as either floating currencies or fixed currencies based on their exchange rate

In cases where a country does have control of its own currency, that control is exercised either by a
central bank or by a Ministry of Finance. In either case, the institution that has control of monetary policy
is referred to as the monetary authority. Monetary authorities have varying degrees of autonomy from the
governments that create them. In the United States, the Federal Reserve System operates without direct
oversight by the legislative or executive branches. It is important to note that a monetary authority is
created and supported by its sponsoring government, so independence can be reduced or revoked by the
legislative or executive authority that creates it. However, in practical terms, the revocation of authority is
not likely. In almost all Western countries, the monetary authority is largely independent from the

Several countries can use the same name for their own distinct currencies (e.g., dollar in Canada and the
United States). By contrast, several countries can also use the same currency (e.g., the euro), or one
country can declare the currency of another country to be legal tender. For example, Panama and El
Salvador have declared U.S. currency to be legal tender, and from 1791–1857, Spanish silver coins were
legal tender in the United States. At various times countries have either re-stamped foreign coins, or used
currency board issuing one note of currency for each note of a foreign government held, as Ecuador
currently does.

Each currency typically has a main currency unit (the U.S. dollar, for example, or the euro) and a
fractional currency, often valued at 1⁄100 of the main currency: 100 cents = 1 dollar, 100 centimes = 1 franc,
100 pence = 1 pound, although units of 1⁄10 or 1⁄1000 are also common. Some currencies do not have any
smaller units at all.

Mauritania and Madagascar are the only remaining countries that do not use the decimal system; instead,
the Mauritanian ouguiya is divided into 5 khoums, while the Malagasy ariary is divided into 5
iraimbilanja. In these countries, words like dollar or pound "were simply names for given weights of
gold."[1] Due to inflation khoums and iraimbilanja have in practice fallen into disuse. (See non-decimal
currencies for other historic currencies with non-decimal divisions.)

[edit] History
[edit] Early currency

The origin of currency is the creation of a circulating medium of exchange based on a unit of account
which quickly becomes a store of value. Currency evolved from two basic innovations: the use of
counters to assure that shipments arrived with the same goods that were shipped, and later with the use of
silver ingots to represent stored value in the form of grain.[citation needed] Both of these developments had
occurred by 2000 BC. Originally money was a form of receipting grain stored in temple granaries in
ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

This first stage of currency, where metals were used to represent stored value, and symbols to represent
commodities, formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years. However, the collapse
of the Near Eastern trading system pointed to a flaw: in an era where there was no place that was safe to
store value, the value of a circulating medium could only be as sound as the forces that defended that
store. Trade could only reach as far as the credibility of that military. By the late Bronze Age, however, a
series of international treaties had established safe passage for merchants around the Eastern
Mediterranean, spreading from Minoan Crete and Mycenae in the North West to Elam and Bahrein in the
South East. Although it is not known what functioned as a currency to facilitate these exchanges, it is
thought that ox-hide shaped ingots of copper, produced in Cyprus may have functioned as a currency.

It is thought that the increase in piracy and raiding associated with the Bronze Age collapse, possibly
produced by the Peoples of the Sea, brought this trading system to an end. It was only with the recovery
of Phoenician trade in the ninth and tenth centuries, that saw a return to prosperity, and the appearance of
real coinage, possibly first in Anatolia with Croesus of Lydia and subsequently with the Greeks and
Persians. In Africa many forms of value store have been used including beads, ingots, ivory, various
forms of weapons, livestock, the manilla currency, ochre and other earth oxides, and so on. The manilla
rings of West Africa were one of the currencies used from the 15th century onwards to buy and sell
slaves. African currency is still notable for its variety, and in many places various forms of barter still

[edit] Coinage

These factors led to the shift of the store of value being the metal itself: at first silver, then both silver and
gold. Metals were mined, weighed, and stamped into coins. This was to assure the individual taking the
coin that he was getting a certain known weight of precious metal. Coins could be counterfeited, but they
also created a new unit of account, which helped lead to banking. Archimedes' principle was that the next
link in currency occurred: coins could now be easily tested for their fine weight of metal, and thus the
value of a coin could be determined, even if it had been shaved, debased or otherwise tampered with (see

In most major economies using coinage, copper, silver and gold formed three tiers of coins. Gold coins
were used for large purchases, payment of the military and backing of state activities. Silver coins were
used for large, but common, transactions, and as a unit of account for taxes, dues, contracts and fealty,
while copper coins represented the coinage of common transaction. This system had been used in ancient
India since the time of the Mahajanapadas. In Europe, this system worked through the medieval period
because there was virtually no new gold, silver or copper introduced through mining or conquest. Thus
the overall ratios of the three coinages remained roughly equivalent.

[edit] Era of hard and credit money

In premodern China, the need for credit and for circulating a medium that was less of a burden than
exchanging thousands of copper coins led to the introduction of paper money, commonly known today as
banknotes. This economic phenomenon was a slow and gradual process that took place from the late Tang
Dynasty (618–907) into the Song Dynasty (960–1279). It began as a means for merchants to exchange
heavy coinage for receipts of deposit issued as promissory notes from shops of wholesalers, notes that
were valid for temporary use in a small regional territory. In the 10th century, the Song Dynasty
government began circulating these notes amongst the traders in their monopolized salt industry. The
Song government granted several shops the sole right to issue banknotes, and in the early 12th century the
government finally took over these shops to produce state-issued currency. Yet the banknotes issued were
still regionally-valid and temporary; it was not until the mid 13th century that a standard and uniform
government issue of paper money was made into an acceptable nationwide currency. The already
widespread methods of woodblock printing and then Bi Sheng's movable type printing by the 11th
century was the impetus for the massive production of paper money in premodern China.

At around the same time in the medieval Islamic world, a vigorous monetary economy was created during
the 7th–12th centuries on the basis of the expanding levels of circulation of a stable high-value currency
(the dinar). Innovations introduced by Muslim economists, traders and merchants include the earliest uses
of credit,[2] cheques, promissory notes,[3] savings accounts, transactional accounts, loaning, trusts,
exchange rates, the transfer of credit and debt,[4] and banking institutions for loans and deposits.[5]

In Europe paper money was first introduced in Sweden in 1661. Sweden was rich in copper, thus, because
of copper's low value, extraordinarily big coins (often weighing several kilograms) had to be made.
Because the coin was so big, it was probably more convenient to carry a note stating your possession of
such a coin than to carry the coin itself.[citation needed]

The advantages of paper currency were numerous: it reduced transport of gold and silver, and thus
lowered the risks; it made loaning gold or silver at interest easier, since the specie (gold or silver) never
left the possession of the lender until someone else redeemed the note; and it allowed for a division of
currency into credit and specie backed forms. It enabled the sale of stock in joint stock companies, and the
redemption of those shares in paper.

However, these advantages held within them disadvantages. First, since a note has no intrinsic value,
there was nothing to stop issuing authorities from printing more of it than they had specie to back it with.
Second, because it created money that did not exist, it increased inflationary pressures, a fact observed by
David Hume in the 18th century. The result is that paper money would often lead to an inflationary
bubble, which could collapse if people began demanding hard money, causing the demand for paper notes
to fall to zero. The printing of paper money was also associated with wars, and financing of wars, and
therefore regarded as part of maintaining a standing army.

For these reasons, paper currency was held in suspicion and hostility in Europe and America. It was also
addictive, since the speculative profits of trade and capital creation were quite large. Major nations
established mints to print money and mint coins, and branches of their treasury to collect taxes and hold
gold and silver stock.

[edit] Legal tender era

The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the
Please improve this article or discuss the issue on the talk page.

With the creation of central banks, currency underwent several significant changes. During both the
coinage and credit money eras the number of entities which had the ability to coin or print money was
quite large. One could, literally, have "a license to print money"; many nobles had the right of coinage.
Royal colonial companies, such as the Massachusetts Bay Company or the British East India Company
could issue notes of credit—money backed by the promise to pay later, or exchangeable for payments
owed to the company itself. This led to continual instability of the value of money. The exposure of coins
to debasement and shaving, however, presented the same problem in another form: with each pair of
hands a coin passed through, its value grew less.

The solution which evolved beginning in the late 18th century and through the 19th century was the
creation of a central monetary authority which had a virtual monopoly on issuing currency, and whose
notes had to be accepted for "all debts public and private". The creation of a truly national currency,
backed by the government's store of precious metals, and enforced by their military and governmental
control over an area was, in its time, extremely controversial. Advocates of the old system of Free
Banking repealed central banking laws, or slowed down the adoption of restrictions on local currency.
(See Gold standard for a fuller discussion of the creation of a standard gold based currency).

At this time both silver and gold were considered legal tender, and accepted by governments for taxes.
However, the instability in the ratio between the two grew over the course of the 19th century, with the
increase both in supply of these metals, particularly silver, and of trade. This is called bimetallism and the
attempt to create a bimetallic standard where both gold and silver backed currency remained in circulation
occupied the efforts of inflationists. Governments at this point could use currency as an instrument of
policy, printing paper currency such as the United States Greenback, to pay for military expenditures.
They could also set the terms at which they would redeem notes for specie, by limiting the amount of
purchase, or the minimum amount that could be redeemed.

By 1900, most of the industrializing nations were on some form of gold standard, with paper notes and
silver coins constituting the circulating medium. Private banks and governments across the world
followed Gresham's Law: keeping gold and silver paid, but paying out in notes. This did not happen all
around the world at the same time, but occurred sporadically, generally in times of war or financial crisis,
beginning in the early part of the 20th century and continuing across the world until the late 20th century,
when the regime of floating fiat currencies came into force. One of the last countries to break away from
the gold standard was the United States in 1971. Prior to this final, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
authorized the confiscation of all private holdings of gold, and permitted the private banks to confiscate
gold deposits pursuant to Presidential Executive Order number 6102, which effectively confiscated all
privately held gold in the United States on April 5, 1933.[citation needed]

No country anywhere in the world today has an enforceable gold standard or silver standard currency

[edit] Paper money era

Main articles: Banknote and Fiat currency

A banknote (more commonly known as a bill in the United States and Canada) is a type of currency, and
commonly used as legal tender in many jurisdictions. With coins, banknotes make up the cash form of all
modern money.

[edit] Modern currencies
British pounds, Danish kroner, euros, and Canadian dollars.

To find out which currency is used in a particular country, check list of circulating currencies.

Currently, the International Organization for Standardization has introduced a three-letter system of codes
(ISO 4217) to define currency (as opposed to simple names or currency signs), in order to remove the
confusion that there are dozens of currencies called the dollar and many called the franc. Even the pound
is used in nearly a dozen different countries, all, of course, with wildly differing values. In general, the
three-letter code uses the ISO 3166-1 country code for the first two letters and the first letter of the name
of the currency (D for dollar, for instance) as the third letter. United States currency, for instance is
globally referred to as USD.

The International Monetary Fund uses a variant system when referring to national currencies.

For exchange rates, see exchange rate and tables of historical exchange rates.

[edit] Local currencies
Main article: Local currency

In economics, a local currency is a currency not backed by a national government, and intended to trade
only in a small area. Advocates such as Jane Jacobs argue that this enables an economically depressed
region to pull itself up, by giving the people living there a medium of exchange that they can use to
exchange services and locally-produced goods (In a broader sense, this is the original purpose of all
money.) Opponents of this concept argue that local currency creates a barrier which can interfere with
economies of scale and comparative advantage, and that in some cases they can serve as a means of tax

Local currencies can also come into being when there is economic turmoil involving the national
currency. An example of this is the Argentinian economic crisis of 2002 in which IOUs issued by local
governments quickly took on some of the characteristics of local currencies.

[edit] Proposed currencies
• Eco: West African Monetary Zone (Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, possibly
• Metica: Mozambique (never implemented)
• Perun: Montenegro (never implemented)
• Amero: American currency union (hypothetical)
• Asian Currency Unit: proposed for the ASEAN +3
• East African shilling: East African Community (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda)
• Khaleeji (currency): Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
United Arab Emirates)
• Currency for Caribbean area[6]—CARICOM states except the Bahamas.
• QUID or Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination: Prototype currency for use in space.

[edit] See also
Numismatics portal

• Exchange rate
• Foreign exchange
• Foreign exchange reserves
• Optimum currency area
• History of money
• World currency

[edit] Accounting units

• Franc Poincaré
• Special Drawing Rights
• European Currency Unit
• Currency sign
• Krugerrand
• Fictional currency
• Local currencies
• Petrocurrency
• Currency pair

[edit] Lists

• List of currencies
• List of circulating currencies
• List of historical currencies
• List of fictional currencies
• List of motifs on banknotes
• List of international trade topics
• List of historical exchange rates

[edit] References

Economic system
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Economical)
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An economic system is a system that involves the production,
distribution and consumption of goods and services between the
Part of a series on entities in a particular society. The economic system is composed of
people and institutions, including their relationships to productive
Economic systems resources, such as through the convention of property. In a given
economy, it is the systemic means by which problems of economics are
addressed, such as the economic problem of scarcity through allocation
of finite productive resources. Examples of contemporary economic
systems include capitalist systems, socialist systems, and mixed
Economic ideologies
economies. Economic systems is the economics category that includes
the study of respective systems.
Anarchist · Capitalist
Communist · Corporatist
Fascist · Georgist
[hide] Islamic · Laissez-faire
Market socialist · Mercantilist
• 1 Overview
Protectionist · Socialist
• 2 Division of economic systems
o 2.1· Third Way State-oriented Systems
o 2.2 "Hands-on" Private-oriented Systems
o 2.3 "Hands-on" Communal-oriented Systems
Sectors and systems
o 2.4 "Hands-off" Private-oriented Systems
o 2.5 "Hands-off" State-oriented Systems
o (Autarky) · Digital Communal-oriented Systems
2.6 "Hands-off"
Dual 2.7 ·"Compromise"
o · Gift Informal Mixed systems
• 3 List of economic
Market · Mixed · Natural systems by Name
• 4 See also
Open · Participatory
• 5 References
• 6Planned
Further· Subsistence
Underground · Virtual
• 7 External links
Other types of economies
[edit] Overview
Anglo-Saxon · Feudal An economic system is a set of methods and standards brought by
Global · Hunter-gatherer which a society decides and organizes the ownership and allocation of
Information economic resources. At one extreme, production is carried in a private-
Newly industrialized country enterprise system such that all resources are privately owned. It was
described by Adam Smith as frequently promoting a social interest,
Palace · Plantation
although only a private interest was intended. Adam Smith's book,
Post-capitalist · Post-industrial "The Wealth of Nations", changed the way people thought about
Social market · Socialist market economics, and is one of the most important books of the modern
Token · Traditional world. At the other extreme, following Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin
Transition is what is commonly called a pure-communist system, such that all
resources are publicly owned with an intent of minimizing inequalities
of wealth among other social objectives.[1]
Business and
economics portal Alternatively, 'economic system' refers to the organizational
arrangements and process through which a society makes its production
and consumption decisions. In creating and modifying its economic
system, each society chooses among alternative objectives and alternative decision modes. Many
objectives may be seen as desirable, like efficiency, growth, liberty, and equality.[2]

Part of a social system

An economic system can be considered a part of the social system and hierarchically equal to the law
system, political system, cultural, etc. There is often a strong correlation between certain ideologies,
political systems and certain economic systems (for example,
consider the meanings of the term "communism"). Many economic
systems overlap each other in various areas (for example, the term
"mixed economy" can be argued to include elements from various
systems). There are also various mutually exclusive hierarchical

Basic types Economic systems

The basic and general economic systems are:

• Market economy (the basis for several "hands off" systems,
such as capitalism).
• Mixed economy (a compromise economic system that
incorporates some aspects of the market approach as well as
some aspects of the planned approach).
• Planned economy (the basis for several "hands on" systems,
such as socialism).
• Command Economy (a complete "hands on" system, such as
the Soviet economic model).
• Traditional economy (a generic term for the oldest and
traditional economic
• Participatory economics (a
recent proposal for a new
economic system)
• Inclusive Democracy (a
project for a new political and economic system)

There are several basic and unfinished questions that must be answered
in order to resolve the problems of economics satisfactorily. The
scarcity problem, for example, requires answers to basic questions,
such as: what to produce, how to produce it, and who gets what is
produced. An economic system is a way of answering these basic
questions, and different economic systems answer them differently.
fred eats ham and cheese sandwiches

[edit] Division of economic systems
Typically, "hands-on" economic systems involve a greater role for
society and/or the government to determine what gets produced, how it
gets produced, and who gets the produced goods and services, with the
stated aim of ensuring social justice and a more equitable distribution
of wealth (see welfare state). Meanwhile, "hands-off" economic
systems give more power to private individuals (and perhaps corporations) to make those decisions, rather
than leaving them up to society as a whole, and often limit government involvement in the economy.

Often the primary concern of "hands-on" economic systems is usually egalitarianism, while the primary
concern of "hands-off" economic systems is usually private property. Libertarians target individual
economic freedom as a primary goal of their "hands-off" policies, though in general, most types of
economic systems claim that their system of economic organization is either most efficient or socially

The following list divides the main economic systems into "hands-on" and "hands-off," it attempts to
structure the systems in a given section by alphabetical order and in a vertical hierarchy where possible.

[edit] "Hands-on" State-oriented Systems

Economic systems in which the state directs or controls economic activity.

• Marxian Socialism
• Socialism
o State socialism
o Market socialism
• Feudalism
• Mercantilism

[edit] "Hands-on" Private-oriented Systems

A system in which large privately-owned entities control or direct the economy in their favor, or in which
private shareholders invest in and own enterprises that are operated by the state or by employee

• State Corporatism
o Fascist Economics
• Capitalism
o State Capitalism

[edit] "Hands-on" Communal-oriented Systems

Economic systems in which a collective, such as a commune or cooperative directs or plans large-scale
economic activity.

• Communism
o Anarcho-communism (a form of libertarian socialism)
• Socialism
o Libertarian socialism
o Democratic Socialism (a form of socialism in which enterprises are managed
democratically by workers but are owned by the state)
o Participatory Economics

[edit] "Hands-off" Private-oriented Systems

Economic systems in which the economy is controlled by privately in a usually decentralized fashion and
operated based on market principles.
• Capitalism
o Anarcho-capitalism
o Laissez-faire capitalism
o Corporate capitalism
• Gift economy
• Mutualism (a form of libertarian socialism)

[edit] "Hands-off" State-oriented Systems

Economic systems in which the state runs, owns and/or manages its own resources and businesses in a
free-market economy with minimal regulation.

• Socialist market economy
• Various socialist proposals in which the means of production are owned and operated by the state
in a free-market system with no government regulation

[edit] "Hands-off" Communal-oriented Systems

Economic systems that are characterized by decentralized cooperative or collective ownership that operate
in market economies or decentralized, collectively-planned economies.

• Anarchist economics
o Syndicalism
o Participatory Planning
o Inclusive Democracy (a project for a new political and economic system based on
democratic principles and libertarian socialism)
• Mutualism (a form of libertarian socialism)
• Non-property system

[edit] "Compromise" Mixed systems

Economic systems that contain substantial state, private and sometimes cooperative ownership and
operated in mixed economies - i.e, ones that contain substantial amounts of both market activity and
economic planning.

• Distributism
• Georgism
• Mixed economy
o American School
o Dirigisme
o Nordic model
o Japanese System
o Mercantilism
o Social market economy also known as Soziale Marktwirtschaft
o PROUT also known as Progressive Utilization Theory
o Indicative Planning also known as a planned market economy

[edit] List of economic systems by Name
An etymologist's approach to economic systems, this list attempts to sort all possible economic systems in
alphabetical order, without any division or hierarchization.

• American School • Fascist socialization • Mutualism
• Anarchism • Feudalism • National Socialism
• Anarcho-capitalism • Green economy • Natural economy
• Anarcho-communism • Hydraulic despotism • Neo-colonialism
• Autarky • Inclusive Democracy • Network Economy
• Barter economy • Information economy • Nordic model
• Buddhist Economy • Internet Economy • Parecon
• Capitalism • Islamic economics • Participatory economy
• Colonialism • Japanese System • Planned economy
• Command economy • Knowledge Economy • Progressive Utilization Theory
• Communism • Libertarian communism • Resource based economy
• Coordinatorism • Libertarian socialism • Self-management
• Corporatism • Market economy • Social market economy
• Corporate capitalism • Market socialism • Socialism
• Digital Economy • Marxian economics • Socialist market economy
• Distributism • Mercantilism • Subsistence economy
• Dirigisme • Mixed economy • Traditional economy

• Virtual economy

[edit] See also
• Economy
• History of economic thought
• Political economy
• Economic ideology

[edit] References
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

A market outside of the walls of Tangier, by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
Markets may be any of a variety of different systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and
infrastructures whereby persons trade, and goods and services are exchanged, forming part of the
economy. Markets vary in size, range, geographic scale, location, types and variety of human
communities, as well as the types of goods and services traded. Some examples include local farmers’
markets held in town squares or parking lots, shopping centers and shopping malls, international currency
and commodity markets, legally created markets such as for pollution permits, and illegal markets such as
the market for illicit drugs.

In mainstream economics, the concept of a market is any structure that allows buyers and sellers to
exchange any type of goods, services and information. The exchange of goods or services for money is a
transaction. Market participants consist of all the buyers and sellers of a good who influences its price.
This influence is a major study of economics and has given rise to several theories and models concerning
the basic market forces of supply and demand. There are two roles in markets, buyers and sellers. The
market facilitates trade and enables the distribution and allocation of resources in a society. Markets allow
any tradable item to be evaluated and priced. A market emerges more or less spontaneously or is
constructed deliberately by human interaction in order to enable the exchange of rights (cf. ownership) of
services and goods.
The historical origin of markets is the physical marketplaces which would often develop into small
communities, towns and cities[citation needed].


• 1 Types of markets
o 1.1 Financial markets
o 1.2 Prediction markets
• 2 Organization of markets
• 3 Mechanisms of markets
• 4 Study of markets
• 5 Gallery
• 6 Notes
• 7 References
• 8 Sources
• 9 See also

• 10 External links

[edit] Types of markets
Although many markets exist in the traditional sense—such as a marketplace—there are various other
types of markets and various organizational structures to assist their functions.

[edit] Financial markets

Financial markets facilitate the exchange of liquid assets. Most investors prefer investing in two markets,
the stock markets and the bond markets. NYSE, AMEX, and the NASDAQ are the most common stock
markets in the US. Futures markets, where contracts future delivery of goods are exchanged, these are
often and outgrowth of general commodity markets.
Currency markets are used to trade one currency for another, and are often used for speculation on
currency exchange rates.

The money market is the name for the global market for lending and borrowing.

[edit] Prediction markets

Prediction markets are a type of speculative market in which the goods exchanged are futures on the
occurrence of certain events. They apply the market dynamics to facilitate information aggregation.

[edit] Organization of markets
A market can be organized as an auction, as a private electronic market, as a shopping center, as a
complex institution such as a stock market, and as an informal discussion between two individuals.

Markets of varying types can spontaneously arise whenever a party has interest in a good or service that
some other party can provide. Hence there can be a market for cigarettes in correctional facilities, another
for chewing gum in a playground, and yet another for contracts for the future delivery of a commodity.
There can be black markets, where a good is exchanged illegally and virtual markets, such as eBay, in
which buyers and sellers do not physically interact. There can also be markets for goods under a
command economy despite pressure to repress them.

[edit] Mechanisms of markets
In economics, a market that runs under laissez-faire policies is a free market. It is "free" in the sense that
the government makes no attempt to intervene through taxes, subsidies, minimum wages, price ceilings,
etc. Market prices may be distorted by a seller or sellers with monopoly power, or a buyer with
monopsony power. Such price distortions can have an adverse effect on market participant's welfare and
reduce the efficiency of market outcomes. Also, the level of organization or negotiation power of buyers,
markedly affects the functioning of the market. Markets where price negotiations do not arrive at efficient
outcomes for both sides are said to experience market failure.

[edit] Study of markets
The study of actual existing markets made up of persons interacting in space and place in diverse ways is
widely seen as an antidote to abstract and all-encompassing concepts of “the market” and has historical
precendent in the works of Ferdinand Braudel and Karl Polanyi. The latter term is now generally used in
two ways. First, to denote the abstract mechanisms whereby supply and demand confront each other and
deals are made. In its place, reference to markets reflects ordinary experience and the places, processes
and institutions in which exchanges occurs.[1] Second, the market is often used to signify an integrated,
all-encompassing and cohesive capitalist world economy. A widespread trend in economic history and
sociology is skeptical of the idea that it is possible to develop a theory to capture an essence or unifying
thread to markets. [2]. For economic geographers, reference to regional, local, or commodity specific
markets can serve to undermine assumptions of global integration, and highlight geographic variations in
the structures, institutions, histories, path dependencies, forms of interaction and modes of self-
understanding of agents in different spheres of market exchange [3] Reference to actual markets can show
capitalism not as a totalizing force or completely encompassing mode of economic activity, but rather as
“a set of economic practices scattered over a landscape, rather than a systemic concentration of power” [4]
C.B. MacPherson identifies an underlying model of the market underlying Anglo-American liberal-
democratic political economy and philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: Persons are
cast as self-interested individuals, who enter into contractual relations with other such individuals,
concerning the exchange of goods or personal capacities cast as commodities, with the motive of
maximizing pecuniary interest. The state and its governance systems are cast as outside of this
framework.[5]). This model came to dominant economic thinking in the later nineteenth century, as
economists such as Ricardo, Mill, Jevons, Walras and later neo-classical economics shifted from
reference to geographically located marketplaces to an abstract “market” [6]. This tradition is continued in
contemporary neoliberalism, where the market is held up as optimal for wealth creation and human
freedom, and the states’ role imagined as minimal, reduced to that of upholding and keeping stable
property rights, contract, and money supply. This allowed for boilerplate economic and institutional
restructuring under structural adjustment and post-Communist reconstruction. [7]

Similar formalism occurs in a wide variety of social democratic and Marxist discourses that situate
political action as antagonistic to the market. In particular, commodification theorists such as Georg
Lukacs insist that market relations necessarily lead to undue exploitation of labour and so need to be
opposed in toto. ,[8]). Pierre Bourdieu has suggested the market model is becoming self-realizing, in virtue
of its wide acceptance in national and international institutions through the 1990s. [9]). The formalist
conception faces a number of insuperable difficulties, concerning the putatively global scope of the
market to cover the entire Earth, in terms of penetration of particular economies, and in terms of whether
particular claims about the subjects (individuals with pecuniary interest), objects (commodities), and
modes of exchange (transactions) apply to any actually existing markets.

A central theme of empirical analyses is the variation and proliferation of types of markets since the rise
of capitalism and global scale economies. The Regulation School stresses the ways in which developed
capitalist countries have implemented varying degrees and types of environmental, economic, and social
regulation, taxation and public spending, fiscal policy and government provisioning of goods, all of which
have transformed markets in uneven and geographical varied ways and created a variety of mixed
economies. Drawing on concepts of institutional variance and path dependency, varieties of capitalism
theorists (such as Hall and Soskice) identify two dominant modes of economic ordering in the developed
capitalist countries, “coordinated market economies” such as Germany and Japan, and an Anglo-
American “liberal market economies”. However, such approaches imply that the Anglo-American liberal
market economies in fact operate in a matter close to the abstract notion of “the market”. While Anglo-
American countries have seen increasing introduction of neo-liberal forms of economic ordering, this has
not lead to simple convergence, but rather a variety of hybrid institutional orderings. [10]. Rather, a variety
of new markets have emerged, such as for carbon trading or rights to pollute. In some cases, such as
emerging markets for water, different forms of privatization of different aspects of previously state run
infrastructure have created hybrid private-public formations and graded degrees of commodification,
commercialization and privatization [11]

Problematic for market formalism is the relationship between formal capitalist economic processes and a
variety of alternative forms, ranging from semi-feudal and peasant economies widely operative in many
developing economies, to informal markets, barter systems, worker cooperatives, or illegal trades that
occur in most developed countries. Practices of incorporation of non-Western peoples into global markets
in the nineteenth and twentieth century did not merely result in the quashing of former social economic
institutions. Rather, various modes of articulation arose between transformed and hybridized local
traditions and social practices and the emergence world economy. So called capitalist markets in fact
include and depend on a wide range of geographically situated economic practices that do not follow the
market model. Economies are thus hybrids of market and non-market elements[12]

Helpful here is J. K. Gibson-Graham’s complex topology of the diversity of contemporary market
economies describing different types of transactions, labour, and economic agents. Transactions can occur
in underground markets (such as for marijuana) or be artificially protected (such as for patents). They can
cover the sale of public goods under privatization schemes to co-operative exchanges and occur under
varying degrees of monopoly power and state regulation. Likewise, there are a wide variety of economic
agents, which engage in different types of transactions on different terms: One cannot assume the
practices of a religious kindergarten, multinational corporation, state enterprise, or community-based
cooperative can be subsumed under the same logic of calculability (pp. 53-78). This emphasis on
proliferation can also be contrasted with continuing scholarly attempts to show underlying cohesive and
structural similarities to different markets. [13]

A prominent entry point for challenging the market model’s applicability concerns exchange transactions
and the homo economicus assumption of self-interest maximization. There are now a number of streams
of economic sociological analysis of markets focusing on the role of the social in transactions, and the
ways transactions involve social networks and relations of trust, cooperation and other bonds. [13].
Economic geographers in turn draw attention to the ways in exchange transactions occur against the
backdrop of institutional, social and geographic processes, including class relations, uneven development,
and historically contingent path dependencies [14]. A useful schema is provided by Michel Callon’s
concept of framing: Each economic act or transaction occurs against, incorporates and also re-performs a
geographically and cultural specific complex of social histories, institutional arrangements, rules and
connections. These network relations are simultaneously bracketed, so that persons and transactions may
be disentangled from thick social bonds. The character of calculability is imposed upon agents as they
come to work in markets and are “formatted” as calculative agencies. Market exchanges contain a history
of struggle and contestation that produced actors predisposed to exchange under certain sets of rules. As
such market transactions can never be disembedded from social and geographic relations and there is no
sense to talking of degrees of embeddedness and disembeddeness [15].

An emerging theme worthy of further study is the interrelationship, interpenetrability and variations of
concepts of persons, commodities, and modes of exchange under particular market formations. This is
most pronounced in recent movement towards post-structuralist theorizing that draws on Foucault and
Actor Network Theory and stress relational aspects of personhood, and dependence and integration into
networks and practical systems. Commodity network approaches further both deconstruct and show
alternatives to the market models concept of commodities. Here, both researchers and market actors are
understood as reframing commodities in terms of processes and social and ecological relationships.
Rather than a mere objectification of things traded, the complex network relationships of exchange in
different markets calls on agents to alternatively deconstruct or “get with” the fetish of commodities. [16]
Gibson-Graham thus read a variety of alternative markets, for fair trade and organic foods, or those using
Local Exchange Trading Systems as not only contributing to proliferation, but also forging new modes of
ethical exchange and economic subjectivities.

Most markets are regulated by state wide laws and regulations. While barter markets exist, most markets
use currency or some other form of money.

[edit] Gallery

A produce market in Banfora, A street market in Aix-en- Fruit and vegetables on sale in a
Burkina Faso Provence, France market in Bonn

[edit] Notes

Good (economics)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Goods)
Jump to: navigation, search

A good in economics is any object, service or right that increases utility, directly or indirectly, not to be
confused with the adjective "good", as used in a moral or ethical sense (see Utilitarianism and
Consequentialism). A good that cannot be used by consumers directly, such as an "office building" or
"capital equipment", can also be referred to as a good as an indirect source of utility through resale value
or as a source of income.

In macroeconomics and accounting, a good is contrasted with a service. A good here is defined as a
physical (tangible) product, capable of being delivered to a purchaser and involves the transfer of
ownership from seller to customer, say an apple, as opposed to an (intangible) service, say a haircut. A
more general term that preserves the distinction between goods and services is 'commodities'. In
microeconomics, a 'good' is often used in this more inclusive sense of the word.


• 1 Utility characteristics of goods
• 2 Types of goods
• 3 See also

• 4 References

[edit] Utility characteristics of goods
A good is an object whose consumption increases the utility of the consumer, for which the quantity
demanded exceeds the quantity supplied at zero price. Goods are usually modeled as having diminishing
marginal utility. The first car an individual purchases is very valuable; the fourth is much less useful.
Thus, in these and similar goods, the marginal utility of additional units approaches zero, as the quantity
consumed increases. Assuming that one cannot re-sell it, there is a point at which a consumer would
decline to purchase an additional car, even at a price very near zero. This margin of utility is the
consumer's satiation point.

In some cases, such as the above example of a car, the lower limit of utility as quantity increases is zero.
In other goods, the utility of a good can cross zero, changing from positive to negative through time. This
means that what initially is a good can become bad if too much of it is consumed. For example, shots of
vodka can have positive utility, but beyond some point, additional units make the consumer less happy.
Some things are useful, but not scarce enough to have monetary value, such as the Earth's atmosphere,
these are referred to as 'free goods'.

In economics, a bad is the opposite of a good. Ultimately, whether an object is a good or a bad depends on
each individual consumer and therefore, it is important to realize that not all goods are good all the time
and not all goods are goods to all people!

[edit] Types of goods
Goods can be defined in a variety of ways, depending on a number a characteristics. These are listed in
the table below:

Types of goods

public good - private good - common good - common-pool resource - club good - anti-rival good

(non-)rivalrous good and (non-)excludable good
complementary good vs. substitute good
free good vs. positional good

(non-)durable good - intermediate good (producer good) - final good - capital good

inferior good - normal good - ordinary good - Giffen good - luxury good - Veblen good - superior good

search good - (post-)experience good - merit good - credence good - demerit good - composite good

[edit] See also
• Fast moving consumer goods
• Final goods
• List of economics topics

[edit] References
• Bannock, Graham et al. (1997). Dictionary of Economics, Penguin Books.
• Milgate, Murray (1987), "goods and commodities," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of
Economics, v. 2, pp. 546-48. Includes historical and contemporary uses of the terms in economics.

Retrieved from ""
Categories: Goods | Consumer theory | Supply chain management terms
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Utility (disambiguation).

In economics, utility is a measure of the relative satisfaction from or desirability of consumption of
various goods and services. Given this measure, one may speak meaningfully of increasing or decreasing
utility, and thereby explain economic behavior in terms of attempts to increase one's utility. For
illustrative purposes, changes in utility are sometimes expressed in units called utils.

The doctrine of utilitarianism saw the maximization of utility as a moral criterion for the organization of
society. According to utilitarians, such as Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-
1876), society should aim to maximize the total utility of individuals, aiming for "the greatest happiness
for the greatest number".

In neoclassical economics, rationality is precisely defined in terms of imputed utility-maximizing
behavior under economic constraints. As a hypothetical behavioral measure, utility does not require
attribution of mental states suggested by "happiness", "satisfaction", etc.

Utility is applied by economists in such constructs as the indifference curve, which plots the combination
of commodities that an individual or a society requires to maintain a given level of satisfaction. Individual
utility and social utility can be construed as the dependent variable of a utility function (such as an
indifference curve map) and a social welfare function respectively. When coupled with production or
commodity constraints, these functions can represent Pareto efficiency, such as illustrated by Edgeworth
boxes and contract curves. Such efficiency is a central concept of welfare economics.


• 1 Cardinal and ordinal utility
• 2 Utility functions
• 3 Expected utility
o 3.1 Additive von Neumann-Morgenstern Utility
• 4 Utility of money
• 5 Discussion and criticism
• 6 See also
• 7 References and additional reading

• 8 External links

[edit] Cardinal and ordinal utility
Economists distinguish between cardinal utility and ordinal utility. When cardinal utility is used, the
magnitude of utility differences is treated as an ethically or behaviorally significant quantity. On the other
hand, ordinal utility captures only ranking and not strength of preferences. An important example of a
cardinal utility is the probability of achieving some target.

Utility functions of both sorts assign real numbers (utils) to members of a choice set. For example,
suppose a cup of Coca-Cola has utility of 120 utils, a cup of tea has a utility of 80 utils, and a cup of water
has a utility of 40 utils. When speaking of cardinal utility, it could be concluded that the cup of Coca-Cola
is better than the cup of tea by exactly the same amount by which the cup of tea is better than the cup of
water. One is not entitled to conclude, however, that the cup of tea is two thirds as good as the cup of
Coca-Cola, because this conclusion would depend not only on magnitudes of utility differences, but also
on the "zero" of utility.

It is tempting when dealing with cardinal utility to aggregate utilities across persons. The argument
against this is that interpersonal comparisons of utility are suspect because there is no good way to
interpret how different people value consumption bundles.

When ordinal utilities are used, differences in utils are treated as ethically or behaviorally meaningless:
the utility values assigned encode a full behavioral ordering between members of a choice set, but nothing
about strength of preferences. In the above example, it would only be possible to say that coke is
preferred to tea to water, but no more.

Neoclassical economics has largely retreated from using cardinal utility functions as the basic objects of
economic analysis, in favor of considering agent preferences over choice sets. As will be seen in
subsequent sections, however, preference relations can often be rationalized as utility functions satisfying
a variety of useful properties.

Ordinal utility functions are equivalent up to monotone transformations, while cardinal utilities are
equivalent up to positive linear transformations.

[edit] Utility functions
While preferences are the conventional foundation of microeconomics, it is often convenient to represent
preferences with a utility function and reason indirectly about preferences with utility functions. Let X be
the consumption set, the set of all mutually-exclusive packages the consumer could conceivably consume
(such as an indifference curve map without the indifference curves). The consumer's utility function
ranks each package in the consumption set. If u(x) ≥ u(y), then the consumer strictly prefers x to y or is
indifferent between them.

For example, suppose a consumer's consumption set is X = {nothing, 1 apple, 1 orange, 1 apple and 1
orange, 2 apples, 2 oranges}, and its utility function is u(nothing) = 0, u (1 apple) = 1, u (1 orange) = 2, u
(1 apple and 1 orange) = 4, u (2 apples) = 2 and u (2 oranges) = 3. Then this consumer prefers 1 orange to
1 apple, but prefers one of each to 2 oranges.

In microeconomic models, there are usually a finite set of L commodities, and a consumer may consume
an arbitrary amount of each commodity. This gives a consumption set of , and each package is a vector
containing the amounts of each commodity. In the previous example, we might say there are two
commodities: apples and oranges. If we say apples is the first commodity, and oranges the second, then
the consumption set X = and u (0, 0) = 0, u (1, 0) = 1, u (0, 1) = 2, u (1, 1) = 4, u (2, 0) = 2, u (0, 2) = 3 as
before. Note that for u to be a utility function on X, it must be defined for every package in X.

A utility function rationalizes a preference relation on X if for every , if and only if . If u rationalizes ,
then this implies is complete and transitive, and hence rational.

In order to simplify calculations, various assumptions have been made of utility functions.

• CES (constant elasticity of substitution, or isoelastic) utility
• Exponential utility
• Quasilinear utility
• Homothetic utility

Most utility functions used in modeling or theory are well-behaved. They usually exhibit monotonicity,
convexity, and global non-satiation. There are some important exceptions, however.

Lexicographic preferences cannot even be represented by a utility function.[1][citation needed]

[edit] Expected utility
Main article: Expected utility hypothesis

The expected utility theory deals with the analysis of choices among risky projects with (possibly
multidimensional) outcomes.

The expected utility model was first proposed by Daniel Bernoulli as a solution to the St. Petersburg
paradox. Bernoulli argued that the paradox could be resolved if decisionmakers displayed risk aversion
and argued for a logarithmic cardinal utility function.

The first important use of the expected utility theory was that of John von Neumann and Oskar
Morgenstern who used the assumption of expected utility maximization in their formulation of game

[edit] Additive von Neumann-Morgenstern Utility

In older definitions of utility, it makes sense to rank utilities, but not to add them together. A person can
say that a new shirt is preferable to a baloney sandwich, but not that it is twenty times preferable to the

The reason is that the utility of twenty sandwiches is not twenty times the utility of one ham sandwich, by
the law of diminishing returns. So it is hard to compare the utility of the shirt with 'twenty times the utility
of the sandwich'. But Von Neumann and Morgenstern suggested an unambiguous way of making a
comparison like this.
Their method of comparison involves considering probabilities. If a person can choose between various
randomized events (lotteries), then it is possible to additively compare the shirt and the sandwich. It is
possible to compare a sandwich with probability 1, to a shirt with probability p or nothing with
probability 1-p. By adjusting p, the point at which the sandwich becomes preferable defines the ratio of
the utilities of the two options.

A notation for a lottery is as follows: if options A and B have probability p and 1-p in the lottery, write it
as a linear combination:

More generally, for a lottery with many possible options:


By making some reasonable assumptions about the way choices behave, von Neumann and Morgenstern
showed that if an agent can choose between the lotteries, then this agent has a utility function which can
be added and multiplied by real numbers, which means the utility of an arbitrary lottery can be calculated
as a linear combination of the utility of its parts.

This is called the expected utility theorem. The required assumptions are four axioms about the properties
of the agent's preference relation over 'simple lotteries', which are lotteries with just two options. Writing
to mean 'A is preferred to B', the axioms are:

1. completeness: For any two simple lotteries and , either , , or .
2. transitivity: if and , then .
3. convexity/continuity (Archimedean property): If , then there is a between 0 and 1 such that the
lottery is equally preferable to .
4. independence: if , then .

In more formal language: A von Neumann-Morgenstern utility function is a function from choices to the
real numbers:

which assigns a real number to every outcome in a way that captures the agent's preferences over both
simple and compound lotteries. The agent will prefer a lottery L2 to a lottery L1 if and only if the expected
utility of L2 is greater than the expected utility of L1:

Repeating in category language: u is a morphism between the category of preferences with uncertainty
and the category of reals as an additive group.

Of all the axioms, independence is the most often discarded. A variety of generalized expected utility
theories have arisen, most of which drop or relax the independence axiom.

• CES (constant elasticity of substitution, or isoelastic) utility is one with constant relative risk
• Exponential utility exhibits constant absolute risk aversion

[edit] Utility of money
One of the most common uses of a utility function, especially in economics, is the utility of money. The
utility function for money is a nonlinear function that is bounded and asymmetric about the origin. These
properties can be derived from reasonable assumptions that are generally accepted by economists and
decision theorists, especially proponents of rational choice theory. The utility function is concave in the
positive region, reflecting the phenomenon of diminishing marginal utility. The boundedness reflects the
fact that beyond a certain point money ceases being useful at all, as the size of any economy at any point
in time is itself bounded. The asymmetry about the origin reflects the fact that gaining and losing money
can have radically different implications both for individuals and businesses. The nonlinearity of the
utility function for money has profound implications in decision making processes: in situations where
outcomes of choices influence utility through gains or losses of money, which are the norm in most
business settings, the optimal choice for a given decision depends on the possible outcomes of all other
decisions in the same time-period. [2]

[edit] Discussion and criticism
Different value systems have different perspectives on the use of utility in making moral judgments. For
example, Marxists, Kantians, and certain libertarians (such as Nozick) all believe utility to be irrelevant as
a moral standard or at least not as important as other factors such as natural rights, law, conscience and/or
religious doctrine. It is debatable whether any of these can be adequately represented in a system that uses
a utility model.

Another criticism come from the assertion that neither cardinal nor ordinary utility are empirically
observable in the real world. In case of cardinal utility it is impossible to measure the level of satisfaction
"quantitatively" when someone consume/purchase an apple. In case of ordinal utility, it is impossible to
determine what choice were made when someone purchase an orange. Any act would involve preference
over infinite possibility of set choices such as (apple, orange juice, other vegetable, vitamin C tablets,
exercise, not purchasing, etc). [1][2][3]

[edit] See also
• Allais paradox
• behavioral economics
• Choice Modelling
• consumer surplus
• convex preferences
• cumulative prospect theory
• decision theory
• efficient market theory
• expectation utilities
• Ellsberg paradox
• game theory
• list of economics topics
• marginal utility
• microeconomics
• prospect theory
• risk aversion
• risk premium
• transferable utility
• utility maximization problem
• utility (patent)
• utility model
• usability
• applicability
[edit] References and additional reading
1. ^ Jonathan E. Ingersoll, Jr. Theory of Financial Decision Making. Rowman and Littlefield, 1987. p. 21
2. ^ J.O. Berger, Statistical Decision Theory and Bayesian Analysis. Springer-Verlag 2nd ed. (1985) ch. 2.
(ISBN 3540960988)

• Neumann, John von and Morgenstern, Oskar Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. Princeton, NJ.
Princeton University Press. 1944 sec.ed. 1947
• Nash Jr., John F. The Bargaining Problem. Econometrica 18:155 1950
• Anand, Paul. Foundations of Rational Choice Under Risk Oxford, Oxford University Press. 1993 reprinted
1995, 2002
• Kreps, David M. Notes on the Theory of Choice. Boulder, CO. Westview Press. 1988
• Fishburn, Peter C. Utility Theory for Decision Making. Huntington, NY. Robert E. Krieger Publishing Co.
1970. ISBN 978-0471260608
• Plous, S. The Psychology of Judgement and Decision Making New York: McGraw-Hill, 1993
• Virine, L. and Trumper M., Project Decisions: The Art and Science. Management Concepts. Vienna, VA,
2007. ISBN 978-1567262179

[edit] External links
• Anatomy of Cobb-Douglas Type Utility Functions in 3D
• Anatomy of CES Type Utility Functions in 3D

Retrieved from ""
Categories: Utility | Economics of uncertainty | Ethical principles
Hidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements since April
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Science (disambiguation).

The Meissner effect causes a magnet to levitate above a Very low temperature superconductor

A human protected by advanced technology during the first lunar landing, demonstrates knowledge
developed through study of the natural sciences.

Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge" or "knowing") is the effort to discover, and
increase human understanding of how the physical world works. Using controlled methods, scientists
collect data in the form of observations, records of observable physical evidence of natural phenomena,
and analyze this information to construct theoretical explanations of how things work. Knowledge in
science is gained through research. The methods of scientific research include the generation of
hypotheses about how natural phenomena work, and experimentation that tests these hypotheses under
controlled conditions. The outcome or product of this empirical scientific process is the formulation of
theory that describes human understanding of physical processes and facilitates prediction.

Lavoisier says, "... the impossibility of separating the nomenclature of a science from the science itself is
owing to this, that every branch of physical science must consist of three things: the series of facts which
are the objects of the science, the ideas which represent these facts and the words by which these ideas are

A broader modern definition of science may include the natural sciences along with the social and
behavioral sciences, as the main subdivisions of science, defining it as the observation, identification,
description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.[2] However, other
contemporary definitions still place the natural sciences, which are closely related with the physical
world's phenomena, as the only true vehicles of science.


• 1 History of science
• 2 History of usage of the word science
o 2.1 Distinguished from technology
• 3 Scientific method
o 3.1 Mathematics
• 4 Philosophy of science
• 5 Critiques
o 5.1 Science, pseudoscience and nonscience
o 5.2 Philosophical focus
o 5.3 The media and the scientific debate
o 5.4 Epistemological inadequacies
• 6 Scientific community
o 6.1 Fields
o 6.2 Institutions
o 6.3 Literature
• 7 See also
• 8 Notes
• 9 References
• 10 Further reading

• 11 External links

[edit] History of science
Main article: History of science

While empirical investigations of the natural world have been described since antiquity (for example, by
Aristotle, Theophrastus and Pliny the Elder), and scientific methods have been employed since the Middle
Ages (for example, by Ibn al-Haytham, Abu Rayhan Biruni and Roger Bacon), the dawn of modern
science is generally traced back to the early modern period, during what is known as the Scientific
Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Greek word for science is 'επιστήμη', deriving from the
verb 'επίσταμαι', which literally means 'to know'.

[edit] History of usage of the word science
Well into the eighteenth century, science and natural philosophy were not quite synonymous, but only
became so later with the direct use of what would become known formally as the scientific method, which
was earlier developed during the Middle Ages and early modern period in Europe and the Middle East
(see History of scientific method). Prior to the 18th century, however, the preferred term for the study of
nature was natural philosophy, while English speakers most typically referred to the study of the human
mind as moral philosophy. By contrast, the word "science" in English was still used in the 17th century to
refer to the Aristotelian concept of knowledge which was secure enough to be used as a sure prescription
for exactly how to do something. In this differing sense of the two words, the philosopher John Locke in
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding wrote that "natural philosophy [the study of nature] is not
capable of being made a science".[3]

By the early 1800s, natural philosophy had begun to separate from philosophy, though it often retained a
very broad meaning. In many cases, science continued to stand for reliable knowledge about any topic, in
the same way it is still used in the broad sense (see the introduction to this article) in modern terms such
as library science, political science, and computer science. In the more narrow sense of science, as natural
philosophy became linked to an expanding set of well-defined laws (beginning with Galileo's laws,
Kepler's laws, and Newton's laws for motion), it became more popular to refer to natural philosophy as
natural science. Over the course of the nineteenth century, moreover, there was an increased tendency to
associate science with study of the natural world (that is, the non-human world). This move sometimes
left the study of human thought and society (what would come to be called social science) in a linguistic
limbo by the end of the century and into the next.[4]

Through the 19th century, many English speakers were increasingly differentiating science (meaning a
combination of what we now term natural and biological sciences) from all other forms of knowledge in a
variety of ways. The now-familiar expression “scientific method,” which refers to the prescriptive part of
how to make discoveries in natural philosophy, was almost unused during the early part of the 19th
century, but became widespread after the 1870s, though there was rarely total agreement about just what it
entailed.[4] The word "scientist," meant to refer to a systematically-working natural philosopher, (as
opposed to an intuitive or empirically-minded one) was coined in 1833 by William Whewell.[5] Discussion
of scientists as a special group of people who did science, even if their attributes were up for debate, grew
in the last half of the 19th century.[4] Whatever people actually meant by these terms at first, they
ultimately depicted science, in the narrow sense of the habitual use of the scientific method and the
knowledge derived from it, as something deeply distinguished from all other realms of human endeavor.

By the twentieth century, the modern notion of science as a special brand of information about the world,
practiced by a distinct group and pursued through a unique method, was essentially in place. It was used
to give legitimacy to a variety of fields through such titles as "scientific" medicine, engineering,
advertising, or motherhood.[4] Over the 1900s, links between science and technology also grew
increasingly strong.

[edit] Distinguished from technology

By the end of the century, it is arguable that technology had even begun to eclipse science as a term of
public attention and praise. Scholarly studies of science have begun to refer to "technoscience" rather than
science or technology separately. Meanwhile, such fields as biotechnology and nanotechnology are
capturing the headlines. One author has suggested that, in the coming century, "science" may fall out of
use, to be replaced by technoscience or even by some more exotic label such as "techknowledgy."[4]

[edit] Scientific method
Main article: Scientific method

The Bohr model of the atom, like many ideas in the history of science, was at first prompted by and later
partially disproved by experiment.

The scientific method seeks to explain the events of nature in a reproducible way, and to use these
reproductions to make useful predictions. It is done through observation of natural phenomena, and/or
through experimentation that tries to simulate natural events under controlled conditions. It provides an
objective process to find solutions to problems in a number of scientific and technological fields.[6]

Based on observations of a phenomenon, a scientist may generate a model. This is an attempt to describe
or depict the phenomenon in terms of a logical physical or mathematical representation. As empirical
evidence is gathered, a scientist can suggest a hypothesis to explain the phenomenon. This description can
be used to make predictions that are testable by experiment or observation using the scientific method.
When a hypothesis proves unsatisfactory, it is either modified or discarded.

While performing experiments, Scientists may have a preference for one outcome over another, and it is
important that this tendency does not bias their interpretation.[7][8] A strict following of the scientific
method attempts to minimize the influence of a scientist's bias on the outcome of an experiment. This can
be achieved by correct experimental design, and a thorough peer review of the experimental results as
well as conclusions of a study.[9][10] Once the experiment results are announced or published, an important
cross-check can be the need to validate the results by an independent party.[11]

Once a hypothesis has survived testing, it may become adopted into the framework of a scientific theory.
This is a logically reasoned, self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of certain
natural phenomena. A theory typically describes the behavior of much broader sets of phenomena than a
hypothesis—commonly, a large number of hypotheses can be logically bound together by a single theory.
These broader theories may be formulated using principles such as parsimony (e.g., "Occam's Razor").
They are then repeatedly tested by analyzing how the collected evidence (facts) compares to the theory.
When a theory survives a sufficiently large number of empirical observations, it then becomes a scientific
generalization that can be taken as fully verified.

Despite the existence of well-tested theories, science cannot claim absolute knowledge of nature or the
behavior of the subject or of the field of study due to epistemological problems that are unavoidable and
preclude the discovery or establishment of absolute truth. Unlike a mathematical proof, a scientific theory
is empirical, and is always open to falsification, if new evidence is presented. Even the most basic and
fundamental theories may turn out to be imperfect if new observations are inconsistent with them. Critical
to this process is making every relevant aspect of research publicly available, which allows ongoing
review and repeating of experiments and observations by multiple researchers operating independently of
one another. Only by fulfilling these expectations can it be determined how reliable the experimental
results are for potential use by others.

Isaac Newton's Newtonian law of gravitation is a famous example of an established law that was later
found not to be universal—it does not hold in experiments involving motion at speeds close to the speed
of light or in close proximity of strong gravitational fields. Outside these conditions, Newton's Laws
remain an excellent model of motion and gravity. Since general relativity accounts for all the same
phenomena that Newton's Laws do and more, general relativity is now regarded as a more comprehensive

[edit] Mathematics

Data from the famous Michelson–Morley experiment

Mathematics is essential to many sciences. One important function of mathematics in science is the role it
plays in the expression of scientific models. Observing and collecting measurements, as well as
hypothesizing and predicting, often require extensive use of mathematics and mathematical models.
Calculus may be the branch of mathematics most often used in science, but virtually every branch of
mathematics has applications in science, including "pure" areas such as number theory and topology.
Mathematics is fundamental to the understanding of the natural sciences and the social sciences, many of
which also rely heavily on statistics.

Statistical methods, comprised of mathematical techniques for summarizing and exploring data, allow
scientists to assess the level of reliability and the range of variation in experimental results. Statistical
thinking also plays a fundamental role in many areas of science.

Computational science applies computing power to simulate real-world situations, enabling a better
understanding of scientific problems than formal mathematics alone can achieve. According to the
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, computation is now as important as theory and
experiment in advancing scientific knowledge.[13]

Whether mathematics itself is properly classified as science has been a matter of some debate. Some
thinkers see mathematicians as scientists, regarding physical experiments as inessential or mathematical
proofs as equivalent to experiments. Others do not see mathematics as a science, since it does not require
an experimental test of its theories and hypotheses. Mathematical theorems and formulas are obtained by
logical derivations which presume axiomatic systems, rather than the combination of empirical
observation and logical reasoning that has come to be known as the scientific method. In general,
mathematics is classified as formal science, while natural and social sciences are classified as empirical

[edit] Philosophy of science

Velocity-distribution data of a gas of rubidium atoms, confirming the discovery of a new phase of matter,
the Bose–Einstein condensate.
Main article: Philosophy of science

The philosophy of science seeks to understand the nature and justification of scientific knowledge. It has
proven difficult to provide a definitive account of the scientific method that can decisively serve to
distinguish science from non-science. Thus there are legitimate arguments about exactly where the
borders are, leading to the problem of demarcation. There is nonetheless a set of core precepts that have
broad consensus among published philosophers of science and within the scientific community at large.
Science is reasoned-based analysis of sensation upon our awareness. As such, the scientific method
cannot deduce anything about the realm of reality that is beyond what is observable by existing or
theoretical means.[15] When a manifestation of our reality previously considered supernatural is understood
in the terms of causes and consequences, it acquires a scientific explanation.[16]

Some of the findings of science can be very counter-intuitive. Atomic theory, for example, implies that a
granite boulder which appears a heavy, hard, solid, grey object is actually a combination of subatomic
particles with none of these properties, moving very rapidly in space where the mass is concentrated in a
very small fraction of the total volume. Many of humanity's preconceived notions about the workings of
the universe have been challenged by new scientific discoveries. Quantum mechanics, particularly,
examines phenomena that seem to defy our most basic postulates about causality and fundamental
understanding of the world around us. Science is the branch of knowledge dealing with people and the
understanding we have of our environment and how it works.

There are different schools of thought in the philosophy of scientific method. Methodological naturalism
maintains that scientific investigation must adhere to empirical study and independent verification as a
process for properly developing and evaluating natural explanations for observable phenomena.[17]
Methodological naturalism, therefore, rejects supernatural explanations, arguments from authority and
biased observational studies. Critical rationalism instead holds that unbiased observation is not possible
and a demarcation between natural and supernatural explanations is arbitrary; it instead proposes
falsifiability as the landmark of empirical theories and falsification as the universal empirical method.
Critical rationalism argues for the ability of science to increase the scope of testable knowledge, but at the
same time against its authority, by emphasizing its inherent fallibility. It proposes that science should be
content with the rational elimination of errors in its theories, not in seeking for their verification (such as
claiming certain or probable proof or disproof; both the proposal and falsification of a theory are only of
methodological, conjectural, and tentative character in critical rationalism).[18] Instrumentalism rejects the
concept of truth and emphasizes merely the utility of theories as instruments for explaining and predicting

[edit] Critiques
[edit] Science, pseudoscience and nonscience

Main articles: Cargo cult science, Fringe science, Junk science, Pseudoscience, and Scientific

Any established body of knowledge which masquerades as science in an attempt to claim a legitimacy
which it would not otherwise be able to achieve on its own terms is not science; it is often known as
fringe- or alternative science. The most important of its defects is usually the lack of the carefully
controlled and thoughtfully interpreted experiments which provide the foundation of the natural sciences
and which contribute to their advancement. Another term, junk science, is often used to describe scientific
theories or data which, while perhaps legitimate in themselves, are believed to be mistakenly used to
support an opposing position. There is usually an element of political or ideological bias in the use of the
term. Thus the arguments in favor of limiting the use of fossil fuels in order to reduce global warming are
often characterized as junk science by those who do not wish to see such restrictions imposed, and who
claim that other factors may well be the cause of global warming. A wide variety of commercial
advertising (ranging from hype to outright fraud) would also fall into this category. Finally, there is just
plain bad science, which is commonly used to describe well-intentioned but incorrect, obsolete,
incomplete, or over-simplified expositions of scientific ideas.
The status of many bodies of knowledge as true sciences, has been a matter of debate. Discussion and
debate abound in this topic with some fields like the social and behavioural sciences accused by critics of
being unscientific. Many groups of people from academicians like Nobel Prize physicist Percy W.
Bridgman,[20] or Dick Richardson, Ph.D.—Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at
Austin,[21] to politicians like U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and other co-sponsors,[22] oppose giving
their support or agreeing with the use of the label "science" in some fields of study and knowledge they
consider non-scientific, ambiguous, or scientifically irrelevant compared with other fields. Karl Popper
denied the existence of evidence[23] and of scientific method.[24] Popper holds that there is only one
universal method, the negative method of trial and error. It covers not only all products of the human
mind, including science, mathematics, philosophy, art and so on, but also the evolution of life.[25] He also
contributed to the Positivism dispute, a philosophical dispute between Critical rationalism (Popper,
Albert) and the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Habermas) about the methodology of the social sciences.[26]

[edit] Philosophical focus

Historian Jacques Barzun termed science "a faith as fanatical as any in history" and warned against the
use of scientific thought to suppress considerations of meaning as integral to human existence.[27] Many
recent thinkers, such as Carolyn Merchant, Theodor Adorno and E. F. Schumacher considered that the
17th century scientific revolution shifted science from a focus on understanding nature, or wisdom, to a
focus on manipulating nature, i.e. power, and that science's emphasis on manipulating nature leads it
inevitably to manipulate people, as well.[28] Science's focus on quantitative measures has led to critiques
that it is unable to recognize important qualitative aspects of the world.[28] It is not clear, however, if this
kind of criticism is adequate to a vast number of non-experimental scientifics fields like astronomy,
cosmology, evolutionary biology, complexity theory, paleontology, paleoanthropology, archeology, earth
sciences, climatology, ecology and other sciences, like statistical physics of irreversible non-linear
systems, that emphasize systemic and historically contingent frozen accidents. Considerations about the
philosophical impact of science to the discussion of the (or lack of) meaning in human existence are not
suppressed but strongly discussed in the literature of science divulgation, a movement sometimes called
The Third Culture.

The implications of the ideological denial of ethics for the practice of science itself in terms of fraud,
plagiarism, and data falsification, has been criticized by several academics. In "Science and Ethics", the
philosopher Bernard Rollin examines the ideology that denies the relevance of ethics to science, and
argues in favor of making education in ethics part and parcel of scientific training.[29]

[edit] The media and the scientific debate

The mass media face a number of pressures that can prevent them from accurately depicting competing
scientific claims in terms of their credibility within the scientific community as a whole. Determining how
much weight to give different sides in a scientific debate requires considerable expertise on the issue at
hand.[30] Few journalists have real scientific knowledge, and even beat reporters who know a great deal
about certain scientific issues may know little about other ones they are suddenly asked to cover.[31][32]

[edit] Epistemological inadequacies

Psychologist Carl Jung believed that though science attempted to understand all of nature, the
experimental method used would pose artificial, conditional questions that evoke only partial answers.[33]
Robert Anton Wilson criticized science for using instruments to ask questions that produce answers only
meaningful in terms of the instrument, and that there was no such thing as a completely objective vantage
point from which to view the results of science.[34]
[edit] Scientific community
Main article: Scientific community

The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is
normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science.

[edit] Fields

Main article: Fields of science

Fields of science are commonly classified along two major lines: natural sciences, which study natural
phenomena (including biological life), and social sciences, which study human behavior and societies.
These groupings are empirical sciences, which means the knowledge must be based on observable
phenomena and capable of being experimented for its validity by other researchers working under the
same conditions.[35] There are also related disciplines that are grouped into interdisciplinary and applied
sciences, such as engineering and health science. Within these categories are specialized scientific fields
that can include elements of other scientific disciplines but often possess their own terminology and body
of expertise.[36]

Mathematics, which is sometimes classified within a third group of science called formal science, has
both similarities and differences with the natural and social sciences.[35] It is similar to empirical sciences
in that it involves an objective, careful and systematic study of an area of knowledge; it is different
because of its method of verifying its knowledge, using a priori rather than empirical methods.[35] Formal
science, which also includes statistics and logic, is vital to the empirical sciences. Major advances in
formal science have often led to major advances in the physical and biological sciences. The formal
sciences are essential in the formation of hypotheses, theories, and laws,[35] both in discovering and
describing how things work (natural sciences) and how people think and act (social sciences).

[edit] Institutions

Louis XIV visiting the Académie des sciences in 1671.

Learned societies for the communication and promotion of scientific thought and experimentation have
existed since the Renaissance period.[37] The oldest surviving institution is the Accademia dei Lincei in
Italy.[38] National Academy of Sciences are distinguished institutions that exist in a number of countries,
beginning with the British Royal Society in 1660[39] and the French Académie des Sciences in 1666.[40]

International scientific organizations, such as the International Council for Science, have since been
formed to promote cooperation between the scientific communities of different nations. More recently,
influential government agencies have been created to support scientific research, including the National
Science Foundation in the U.S.

Other prominent organizations include the academies of science of many nations, CSIRO in Australia,
Centre national de la recherche scientifique in France, Max Planck Society and Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinschaft in Germany, and in Spain, CSIC.

[edit] Literature

Main article: Scientific literature

An enormous range of scientific literature is published.[41] Scientific journals communicate and document
the results of research carried out in universities and various other research institutions, serving as an
archival record of science. The first scientific journals, Journal des Sçavans followed by the
Philosophical Transactions, began publication in 1665. Since that time the total number of active
periodicals has steadily increased. As of 1981, one estimate for the number of scientific and technical
journals in publication was 11,500.[42] While Pubmed lists almost 40,000, related to the medical sciences

Most scientific journals cover a single scientific field and publish the research within that field; the
research is normally expressed in the form of a scientific paper. Science has become so pervasive in
modern societies that it is generally considered necessary to communicate the achievements, news, and
ambitions of scientists to a wider populace.

Science magazines such as New Scientist, Science & Vie and Scientific American cater to the needs of a
much wider readership and provide a non-technical summary of popular areas of research, including
notable discoveries and advances in certain fields of research. Science books engage the interest of many
more people. Tangentially, the science fiction genre, primarily fantastic in nature, engages the public
imagination and transmits the ideas, if not the methods, of science.

Recent efforts to intensify or develop links between science and non-scientific disciplines such as
Literature or, more specifically, Poetry, include the Creative Writing <-> Science resource developed
through the Royal Literary Fund.[44]

[edit] See also
Science portal
Main lists: List of basic science topics and List of science topics
• Military funding of science
• Scientific computing
Application • Scientific enterprise

• Science and technology
Controversy • Fringe science
• Junk science
• Pathological science
• Pseudoscience
• Relationship between religion and science
• Creation-evolution controversy
• Scientific misconduct

• Scientific skepticism
• History of science and technology
• Historiography of science
• Protoscience
• Scientific constants named after people
• Scientific laws named after people
• Scientific phenomena named after people
• Scientific revolution
• Scientific units named after people

• Scientometry
• Naturalism (philosophy)
• Philosophy of science
• Rhetoric of science
• Scientific method

• Antiscience
• List of publications in science

[edit] Notes
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Competition (disambiguation).
The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view of the
Please improve this article or discuss the issue on the talk page. (August 2008)
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2008)
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.
Please improve this article if you can. (August 2008)
Competition is a rivalry between individuals, groups, nations, or animals, for territory or resources. It
arises whenever two or more parties strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs
naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment. For example, animals
compete over water supplies, food, and mates, etc. Humans compete for water, food, and mates as well,
though when these needs are met deep rivalries often arise over the pursuit of wealth, prestige, and fame.
Business is often associated with competition as most companies are in competition with at least one other
firm over the same group of customers.

Competition may give incentives for self-improvement. For example, if two watchmakers are competing
for business, they will lower their prices and improve their products to increase sales. If birds compete for
a limited water supply during a drought, the more suited birds will survive to reproduce and improve the

Rivals will often refer to their competitors as "the competition". The term can also be used to refer to the
contest or tournament itself.


• 1 Etymology
• 2 Sizes and levels
• 3 Destructive competition and co-operative competition
o 3.1 Destructive competition
o 3.2 Co-operative competition
• 4 Consequences
• 5 Economics and business
• 6 Law
• 7 Politics
• 8 Sports
• 9 Education
• 10 Literature
• 11 Biology and ecology
• 12 The study of competition
o 12.1 Competitiveness
o 12.2 Hypercompetitiveness
• 13 See also

• 14 References

[edit] Etymology
The Latin root for the verb "to compete" is "competere", which means "to seek together" or "to strive
together".[1] However, even the general definition stated above is not universally accepted. Social
theorists, most notably Alfie Kohn [2] and cooperativists in general, argue that the traditional definition of
competition is too broad and vague. Competition which originates internally and is biologically motivated
can and should be defined as either amoral competition or simply the survival instinct, i.e. behavior
which is neither good nor bad, but exists to further the survival of an individual or species (for instance
hunting), or behavior which is coerced (for instance self-defense). Social Darwinists, however, state that
competition is not only moral, but necessary for the survival of the species.
[edit] Sizes and levels
Competition may also exist at different sizes; some competitions may be between two members of a
species, while other competitions can involve entire species. In an example in economics, a competition
between two small stores would be considered small compared to competition between several mega-
giants. As a result, the consequences of the competition would also vary- the larger the competition, the
larger the effect.

In addition, the level of competition can also vary. At some levels, competition can be informal; more for
pride and/or fun. However, other competitions can be extremely serious; for example, some human wars
have erupted because of the intense competition between two nations or nationalities.

[edit] Destructive competition and co-operative competition
[edit] Destructive competition

Destructive competition seeks to benefit an individual/group/organism by damaging and/or eliminating
competing individuals, groups and/or organisms; it opposes the desire for mutual survival. It is “winner
takes all”, the rationale being that the challenge is a zero-sum game; the success of one group is
dependent on the failure of the other competing groups. Destructive competition tends to promote fear, a
"strike-first" mentality and embraces certain forms of trespass.[3]

[edit] Co-operative competition

Further information: coopetition

Co-operative competition is based upon promoting mutual survival - “everyone wins”. Adam Smith’s
“invisible hand” is a process where individuals compete to improve their level of happiness but compete
in a cooperative manner through peaceful exchange and without violating other people. Cooperative
competition focuses individuals/groups/organisms against the environment.[3]

[edit] Consequences
Competition can have both beneficial and detrimental effects. Many evolutionary biologists view inter-
species and intra-species competition as the driving force of adaptation, and ultimately of evolution.
However, some biologists, most famously Richard Dawkins, prefer to think of evolution in terms of
competition between single genes, which have the welfare of the organism 'in mind' only insofar as that
welfare furthers their own selfish drives for replication. Some social Darwinists claim (controversially)
that competition also serves as a mechanism for determining the best-suited group; politically,
economically and ecologically.

On the negative side, competition can cause injury to the organisms involved, and drain valuable
resources and energy. Human competition can be expensive, as is the case with political elections,
international sports competitions, and advertising wars. It can lead to the compromising of ethical
standards in order to gain an advantage: for example, several athletes have been caught using banned
steroids in professional sports in order to boost their own chances of success or victory. It can also be
harmful for the participants, such as athletes who injure themselves when pushing their body past its
natural limits, or companies which pursue unprofitable paths while engaging in competitive rivalries.
[edit] Economics and business
Main article: Competition (economics)

Merriam-Webster defines competition in business as "the effort of two or more parties acting
independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms". [2] Seen as the
pillar of capitalism in that it may stimulate innovation, encourage efficiency or drive down prices,
competition is touted as the foundation upon which capitalism is justified. According to microeconomic
theory, no system of resource allocation is more efficient than pure competition. Competition, according
to the theory, causes commercial firms to develop new products, services and technologies, which would
give consumers greater selection and better products. The greater selection typically causes lower prices
for the products, compared to what the price would be if there was no competition (monopoly) or little
competition (oligopoly).

However, competition may also lead to wasted (duplicated) effort and to increased costs (and prices) in
some circumstances. For example, the intense competition for the small number of top jobs in music and
movie acting leads many aspiring musicians and actors to make substantial investments in training which
are not recouped, because only a fraction become successful.

Three levels of economic competition have been classified:

1. The most narrow form is direct competition (also called category competition or brand competition),
where products which perform the same function compete against each other. For example, one brand of
pick-up trucks competes with several other brands of pick-up trucks. Sometimes, two companies are rivals
and one adds new products to their line, which leads to the other company distributing the same new
things, and in this manner they compete.

2. The next form is substitute or indirect competition, where products which are close substitutes for
one another compete. For example, butter competes with margarine, mayonnaise and other various sauces
and spreads.

3. The broadest form of competition is typically called budget competition. Included in this category is
anything on which the consumer might want to spend their available money. For example, a family which
has $20,000 available may choose to spend it on many different items, which can all be seen as competing
with each other for the family's expenditure.

Competition does not necessarily have to be between companies. For example, business writers
sometimes refer to internal competition. This is competition within companies. The idea was first
introduced by Alfred Sloan at General Motors in the 1920s. Sloan deliberately created areas of overlap
between divisions of the company so that each division would be competing with the other divisions. For
example, the Chevy division would compete with the Pontiac division for some market segments. Also, in
1931, Procter & Gamble initiated a deliberate system of internal brand-versus-brand rivalry. The company
was organized around different brands, with each brand allocated resources, including a dedicated group
of employees willing to champion the brand. Each brand manager was given responsibility for the success
or failure of the brand, and compensated accordingly. This is known as intra-brand competition.

Finally, most businesses also encourage competition between individual employees. An example of this is
a contest between sales representatives. The sales representative with the highest sales (or the best
improvement in sales) over a period of time would gain benefits from the employer.
It should also be noted that business and economic competition in most countries is often limited or
restricted. Competition often is subject to legal restrictions. For example, competition may be legally
prohibited, as in the case with a government monopoly or a government-granted monopoly. Tariffs,
subsidies or other protectionist measures may also be instituted by government in order to prevent or
reduce competition. Depending on the respective economic policy, the pure competition is to a greater or
lesser extent regulated by competition policy and competition law.

Competition between countries is quite subtle to detect, but is quite evident in the World economy.
Countries compete to provide the best possible business environment for multinational corporations. Such
competition is evident by the policies undertaken by these countries to educate the future workforce. For
example, East Asian economies such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea tend to emphasize education
by allocating a large portion of the budget to this sector, and by implementing programmes such as gifted
education. (See separate sub-markets principle).

[edit] Law
Main article: Competition law

The Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. is home to the influential antitrust enforcers of
U.S. competition laws

Competition law, known in the United States as antitrust law, has three main functions. Firstly, it
prohibits agreements aimed to restrict free trading between business entities and their customers. For
example, a cartel of sports shops who together fix football jersey prices higher than normal is illegal.[4]
Secondly, competition law can ban the existence or abusive behaviour of a firm dominating the market.
One case in point could be a software company who through its monopoly on computer platforms makes
consumers use its media player.[5] Thirdly, to preserve competitive markets, the law supervises the
mergers and acquisitions of very large corporations. Competition authorities could for instance require
that a large packaging company give plastic bottle licenses to competitors before taking over a major PET
producer.[6] In this case (as in all three), competition law aims to protect the welfare of consumers by
ensuring business must compete for its share of the market economy.

In recent decades, competition law has also been sold as good medicine to provide better public services,
traditionally funded by tax payers and administered by democratically accountable governments. Hence
competition law is closely connected with the law on deregulation of access to markets, providing state
aids and subsidies, the privatisation of state-owned assets and the use of independent sector regulators,
such as the United Kingdom telecommunications watchdog Ofcom. Behind the practice lies the theory,
which over the last fifty years has been dominated by neo-classical economics. Markets are seen as the
most efficient method of allocating resources, although sometimes they fail, and regulation becomes
necessary to protect the ideal market model. Behind the theory lies the history, reaching back further than
the Roman Empire. The business practices of market traders, guilds and governments have always been
subject to scrutiny and sometimes severe sanctions. Since the twentieth century, competition law has
become global. The two largest, most organised and influential systems of competition regulation are
United States antitrust law and European Community competition law. The respective national
authorities, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United
States and the European Commission's Competition Directorate General (DGCOMP) have formed
international support and enforcement networks. Competition law is growing in importance every day,
which warrants for its careful study.

[edit] Politics
Competition is also found in politics. In democracies, an election is a competition for an elected office. In
other words, two or more candidates strive and compete against one another to attain a position of power.
The winner gains the seat of the elected office for a predefined period of time, towards the end of which
another election is usually held to determine the next holder of the office.

In addition, there is inevitable competition inside a government. Because several offices are appointed,
potential candidates compete against the others in order to gain the particular office. Departments may
also compete for a limited amount of resources, such as for funding. Finally, where there are party
systems, elected leaders of different parties will ultimately compete against the other parties for laws,
funding and power.

Finally, competition also exists between governments. Each country or nationality struggles for world
dominance, power, or military strength. For example, the United States competed against the Soviet
Union in the Cold War for world power, and the two also struggled over the different types of government
(in these cases representative democracy and communism). The result of this type of competition often
leads to worldwide tensions, and may sometimes erupt into warfare.

[edit] Sports

The USOC's headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Olympic Games are regarded as the
international pinnacle of sports competition.

While some sports (such as fishing or hiking) have been viewed as primarily recreational, most sports are
considered competitive. The majority involve competition between two or more persons (or animals
and/or mechanical devices typically controlled by humans, as in horse racing or auto racing). For
example, in a game of basketball, two teams compete against one another to determine who can score the
most points. While there is no set reward for the winning team, many players gain an internal sense of
pride. In addition, extrinsic rewards may also be given. Athletes, besides competing against other humans,
also compete against nature in sports such as whitewater kayaking or mountaineering, where the goal is to
reach a destination, with only natural barriers impeding the process. A regularly scheduled (for instance
annual) competition meant to determine the "best" competitor of that cycle is called a championship.

While professional sports have been usually viewed as intense and extremely competitive, recreational
sports, which are often less intense, are often considered a healthy option for the release of competitive
urges in humans. Sport provides a relatively safe venue for converting unbridled competition into
harmless competition, because sports competition is restrained. Competitive sports are governed by
codified rules agreed upon by the participants. Violating these rules is considered to be unfair
competition. Thus, sports provide artificial (not natural) competition; for example, competing for control
of a ball, or defending territory on a playing field is not an innate biological factor in humans. Athletes in
sports such as gymnastics and competitive diving compete against each other in order to come closest to a
conceptual ideal of a perfect performance, which incorporates measurable criteria and standards which are
translated into numerical ratings and scores by appointed judges.

Sports competition is generally broken down into three categories: individual sports, such as archery;
dual sports, such as doubles tennis, and team sports competition, such as cricket or football. While most
sports competitions are recreation, there exist several major and minor professional sports leagues
throughout the world. The Olympic Games, held every four years, is usually regarded as the international
pinnacle of sports competition.

[edit] Education
Competition is a major factor in education. On a global scale, national education systems, intending to
bring out the best in the next generation, encourage competitiveness among students through scholarships.
Countries such as England and Singapore have special education programmes which cater for specialist
students, prompting charges of academic elitism. Upon receipt of their academic results, students tend to
compare their grades to see who is better. In severe cases, the pressure to perform in some countries is so
high that it can result in stigmatization of intellectually deficient students, or even suicide as a
consequence of failing the exams; Japan being a prime example (see Education in Japan). This has
resulted in critical re-evaluation of examinations as a whole by educationalists[citation needed]. Critics of
competition (as opposed to excellence) as a motivating factor in education systems, such as Alfie Kohn,
assert that competition actually has a net negative influence on the achievement levels of students, and
that it "turns all of us into losers" (Kohn 1986).

Competitions also make up a large proponent of extracurricular activities in which students participate.
Such competitions include TVO's broadcast Reach for the Top competition, FIRST Robotics, Duke
Annual Robo-Climb Competition (DARC) and the University of Toronto Space Design Contest. In Texas,
the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has 22 High School-level contests and 18 elementary and
Junior High in subjects ranging from accounting to science to ready writing.

[edit] Literature
Literary competitions, such as contests sponsored by literary journals, publishing houses and theaters,
have increasingly become a means for aspiring writers to gain recognition. Prestigious awards for fiction
include those sponsored by the Missouri Review, Boston Review and Southwest Review. The Albee
Award, sponsored by the Yale Drama Series, is among the most prestigious playwriting awards.

Charging fees for literary competitions is extremely controversial. Some writers view fees as a form of
exploitation that takes advantage of aspiring authors and playwrights. However, fee-based contests also
have strong supporters who argue that these competitions offer rare opportunities for young writers to
have their voices heard at a time when access to major agents and editors has grown increasingly limited.

[edit] Biology and ecology
Main article: Competition (biology)
Competition within and between species is an important topic in biology, specifically in the field of
ecology. Competition between members of a species ("intraspecific") is the driving force behind evolution
and natural selection; the competition for resources such as food, water, territory, and sunlight results in
the ultimate survival and dominance of the variation of the species best suited for survival. Competition is
also present between species ("interspecific"). A limited amount of resources are available, and several
species may depend on these resources. Thus, each of the species competes with the others to gain access
to the resources. As a result, species less suited to compete for the resources must either adapt or die out.
According to evolutionary theory, this competition within and between species for resources plays a
critical role in natural selection. For example, a smaller tree will receive less sunlight than an adjacent tree
which is larger than it in a rainforest. The larger tree is competing with the smaller one for the same

[edit] The study of competition
Competition has been studied in several fields, including psychology, sociology and anthropology. Social
psychologists, for instance, study the nature of competition. They investigate the natural urge of
competition and its circumstances. They also study group dynamics, to detect how competition emerges
and what its effects are. Sociologists, meanwhile, study the effects of competition on society as a whole.
In addition, anthropologists study the history and prehistory of competition in various cultures. They also
investigate how competition manifested itself in various cultural settings in the past, and how competition
has developed over time.

[edit] Competitiveness

Main article: Competitiveness

Many philosophers and psychologists have identified a trait in most living organisms which can drive the
particular organism to compete. This trait, unsurprisingly called competitiveness, is viewed as an innate
biological trait which coexists along with the urge for survival. Competitiveness, or the inclination to
compete, though, has become synonymous with aggressiveness and ambition in the English language.
More advanced civilizations integrate aggressiveness and competitiveness into their interactions, as a way
to distribute resources and adapt. Most plants compete for higher spots on trees to receive more sunlight.

However, Stephen Jay Gould and others have argued that as one ascends the evolutionary hierarchy,
competitiveness (the survival instinct) becomes less innate, and more a learned behavior. The same could
be said for co-operation: in humans, at least, both co-operation and competition are considered learned
behaviors, because the human species learns to adapt to environmental pressures. Consequently, if
survival requires competitive behaviors, the individual will compete, and if survival requires co-operative
behaviors, the individual will co-operate. In the case of humans, therefore, aggressiveness may be an
innate characteristic, but a preson need not be competitive at the same time, for instance when scaling a
cliff. On the other hand, humans seem also to have a nurturing instinct, to protect newborns and the weak.
While that does not necessitate co-operative behavior, it does help.

The term also applies to econometrics. Here, it is a comparative measure of the ability and performance of
a firm or sub-sector to sell and produce/supply goods and/or services in a given market. The two academic
bodies of thought on the assessment of competitiveness are the Structure Conduct Performance
Paradigm and the more contemporary New Empirical Industrial Organisation model. Predicting
changes in the competitiveness of business sectors is becoming an integral and explicit step in public
policymaking. Within capitalist economic systems, the drive of enterprises is to maintain and improve
their own competitiveness.
[edit] Hypercompetitiveness

The tendency toward extreme, unhealthy competition has been termed hypercompetitive. This concept
originated in Karen Horney's theories on neurosis; specifically, the highly aggressive personality type
which is characterized as "moving against people". In her view, some people have a need to compete and
win at all costs as a means of maintaining their self-worth. These individuals are likely to turn any activity
into a competition, and they will feel threatened if they find themselves losing. Researchers have found
that men and women who score high on the trait of hypercompetitiveness are more narcissistic and less
psychologically healthy than those who score low on the trait [8]. Hypercompetitive individuals generally
believe that "winning isn't everything; it's the only thing".

[edit] See also

Look up competition, competitor in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

• Biological interaction
• Competition regulator
• Competitor analysis
• Cooperation
• Cooperative
• Ecological model of competition
• Imperfect competition
• Microeconomics
• Monopolistic competition
• Perfect competition
• Planned economy
• Zero-profit condition
• Zero-sum

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

This article or section deals primarily with Europe and does not represent a worldwide view of the
Please improve this article or discuss the issue on the talk page.
For other uses, see Music (disambiguation).
Performing arts

Major forms

Dance · Music · Opera · Theatre
Minor forms
Circus Arts
Drama · Tragedy · Comedy ·
Tragicomedy · Romance · Satire · Epic ·

Music is an art form whose medium is sound organized in time. Common elements of music are pitch
(which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and
articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from Greek
μουσική (mousike), "(art) of the Muses".[1]

The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of music vary according to culture and
social context. Music ranges from strictly organized compositions (and their recreation in performance),
through improvisational music to aleatoric forms. Music can be divided into genres and subgenres,
although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to
individual interpretation, and occasionally controversial. Within "the arts", music may be classified as a
performing art, a fine art, and auditory art.

To people in many cultures, music is inextricably intertwined into their way of life. Greek philosophers
and ancient Indians defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies.
Common sayings such as "the harmony of the spheres" and "it is music to my ears" point to the notion
that music is often ordered and pleasant to listen to. However, 20th-century composer John Cage thought
that any sound can be music, saying, for example, "There is no noise, only sound."[2] According to
musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez, "the border between music and noise is always culturally defined—
which implies that, even within a single society, this border does not always pass through the same place;
in short, there is rarely a consensus.… By all accounts there is no single and intercultural universal
concept defining what music might be, except that it is 'sound through time'."[3]


• 1 History
o 1.1 Prehistoric eras and antiquity
o 1.2 Western cultures
• 2 Non-Western Classical traditions
• 3 Performance
o 3.1 Aural tradition
o 3.2 Ornamentation
• 4 Production
o 4.1 Composition
o 4.2 Notation
o 4.3 Improvisation
o 4.4 Theory
• 5 Cognition
• 6 Sociology
• 7 Media and technology
o 7.1 Internet
• 8 Business
• 9 Education
o 9.1 Non-professional
o 9.2 Academia
o 9.3 Ethnomusicology
• 10 Music therapy
• 11 See also
• 12 References
• 13 Further reading

• 14 External links

Main article: History of music

Prehistoric eras and antiquity

The development of music among humans must have taken place against the backdrop of natural sounds
such as birdsong and the sounds other animals use to communicate.[citation needed] Prehistoric music is the
name which is given to all music produced in preliterate cultures.[citation needed][4]Ancient music can only be
imagined by scholars, based on findings from a range of paleolithic sites, such as bones in which lateral
holes have been pierced: these are usually identified as flutes,[5] blown at one end like the Japanese
shakuhachi. The earliest written records of musical expression are to be found in the Samaveda of India
and in 4,000 year old cuneiform from Ur.[citation needed] Instruments, such as the seven-holed flute and various
types of stringed instruments have been recovered from the Indus Valley Civilization archaeological sites.

India has one of the oldest musical traditions in the world—references to Indian classical music (marga)
can be found in the ancient scriptures of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. The traditional music of China
has a history stretching for around three thousand years. Music was an important part of cultural and
social life in Ancient Greece: mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and
spiritual ceremonies; musicians and singers had a prominent role in ancient Greek theater In the 9th
century, the Arab scholar al-Farabi wrote a book on music titled Kitab al-Musiqi al-Kabir ("Great Book
of Music"). He played and invented a variety of musical instruments and devised the Arab tone system of
pitch organisation, which is still used in Arabic music.[7]

Western cultures

During the Medieval music era (500-1400), the only European repertory which has survived from before
about 800 is the monophonic liturgical plainsong of the Roman Catholic Church, the central tradition of
which was called Gregorian chant. Alongside these traditions of sacred and church music there existed a
vibrant tradition of secular song. From the Renaissance music era (1400-1600), much of the surviving
music of 14th century Europe is secular. By the middle of the 15th century, composers and singers used a
smooth polyphony for sacred musical compositions. The introduction of commercial printing helped to
disseminate musical styles more quickly and across a larger area.
Allegory of Music, by Filippino Lippi

The era of Baroque music (1600-1750) began when the first operas were written and when contrapuntal
music became prevalent. German Baroque composers wrote for small ensembles including strings, brass,
and woodwinds, as well as choirs, pipe organ, harpsichord, and clavichord. During the Baroque period,
several major music forms were defined that lasted into later periods when they were expanded and
evolved further, including the fugue, the invention, the sonata, and the concerto.[8] The music of the
Classical period (1750-1800) is characterized by homophonic texture, often featuring a prominent melody
with accompaniment. These new melodies tended to be almost voice-like and singable. The now popular
instrumental music was dominated by further evolution of musical forms initially defined in the Baroque
period: the sonata, and the concerto, with the addition of the new form, the symphony. Joseph Haydn and
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are among the central figures of the Classical period.

In 1800, the Romantic era (1800-1890s) in music developed, with Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz
Schubert as transitional composers who introduced a more dramatic, expressive style. During this era,
existing genres, forms, and functions of music were developed, and the emotional and expressive qualities
of music came to take precedence over technique and tradition. The late 19th century saw a dramatic
expansion in the size of the orchestra, and in the role of concerts as part of urban society. Later Romantic
composers created complex and often much longer musical works. They used more complex chords and
used more dissonance to create dramatic tension. With 20th century music, there was a vast increase in
music listening as the radio gained popularity and phonographs were used to replay and distribute music.
The focus of art music was characterized by exploration of new rhythms, styles, and sounds. Igor
Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and John Cage were all influential composers in 20th century art music.

Jazz evolved and became a significant genre of music over the course of the 20th century, and during the
second half of that century, rock music did the same. Jazz is an American musical art form which
originated in the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United
States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. The style's West African pedigree is
evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note.[9] From its
early development until the present, jazz has also incorporated music from 19th and 20th century
American popular music.[10] Jazz has, from its early 20th century inception, spawned a variety of
subgenres, ranging from New Orleans Dixieland (1910s) to 1970s and 1980s-era jazz-rock fusion.

Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed in the 1960s from 1950s rock and roll, rockabilly,
blues, and country music. The sound of rock often revolves around the electric guitar or acoustic guitar,
and it uses a strong back beat laid down by a rhythm section of electric bass guitar, drums, and keyboard
instruments such as organ, piano, or, since the 1970s, digital synthesizers. Along with the guitar or
keyboards, saxophone and blues-style harmonica are used as soloing instruments. In its "purest form", it
"has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy melody."[11] In the late 1960s and early 1970s,
rock music branched out into different subgenres, ranging from blues rock and jazz-rock fusion to heavy
metal and punk rock, as well as the more classical influenced genre of progressive rock.
Non-Western Classical traditions
Indian classical music is one of the oldest musical traditions in the world.[12] The Indus Valley civilization
has sculptures which show dance[13] and old musical instruments, like the seven holed flute. Various types
of stringed instruments and drums have been recovered from Harrappa and Mohenjo Daro by excavations
carried out by Sir Mortimer Wheeler.[14] The Rigveda has elements of present Indian music, with a
musical notation to denote the metre and the mode of chanting.[15] Indian classical music (marga) is
monophonic, and based around a single melody line or raga rhythmically organized through talas.
Carnatic music is largely devotional; the majority of the songs are addressed to the Hindu deities. There
are a lot of songs emphasising love and other social issues. Hindustani music was also influenced by the
Persian performance practices of the Afghan Mughals.

Asian music covers the music cultures of Arabia, Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Chinese classical music, the traditional art or court music of China, has a history stretching over around
three thousand years. It has its own unique systems of musical notation, as well as musical tuning and
pitch, musical instruments and styles or musical genres. Chinese music is pentatonic-diatonic, having a
scale of twelve notes to an octave (5+7 = 12) as does European-influenced music. Persian music is the
music of Persia and Persian language countries: musiqi, the science and art of music, and muzik, the sound
and performance of music (Sakata 1983). See also: Music of Iran, Music of Afghanistan, Music of
Tajikistan, Music of Uzbekistan).

The music of Greece was a major part of ancient Greek theater. In ancient Greece, mixed-gender choruses
performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons. Instruments included the double-reed aulos
and the plucked string instrument, the lyre, especially the special kind called a kithara. Music was an
important part of education in ancient Greece, and boys were taught music starting at age six. Greek
musical literacy created a flowering of development; Greek music theory included the Greek musical
modes, eventually became the basis for Western religious music and classical music. Later, influences
from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe and the Byzantine Empire changed Greek music.

Main article: Performance

Chinese Naxi musicians

Performance is the physical expression of music. Often, a musical work is performed once its structure
and instrumentation are satisfactory to its creators; however, as it gets performed, it can evolve and
change. A performance can either be rehearsed or improvised. Improvisation is a musical idea created
without premeditation, while rehearsal is vigorous repetition of an idea until it has achieved cohesion.
Musicians will sometimes add improvisation to a well-rehearsed idea to create a unique performance.

Many cultures include strong traditions of solo and performance, such as in Indian classical music, and in
the Western Art music tradition. Other cultures, such as in Bali, include strong traditions of group
performance. All cultures include a mixture of both, and performance may range from improvised solo
playing for one's enjoyment to highly planned and organised performance rituals such as the modern
classical concert, religious processions, music festivals or music competitions. Chamber music, which is
music for a small ensemble with only a few of each type of instrument, is often seen as more intimate than
symphonic works.

Aural tradition

Many types of music, such as traditional blues and folk music were originally preserved in the memory of
performers, and the songs were handed down orally, or aurally (by ear). When the composer of music is
no longer known, this music is often classified as "traditional". Different musical traditions have different
attitudes towards how and where to make changes to the original source material, from quite strict, to
those which demand improvisation or modification to the music. A culture's history may also be passed
by ear through song.


Main article: Ornament (music)

The detail included explicitly in the music notation varies between genres and historical periods. In
general, art music notation from the 17th through the 19th century required performers to have a great
deal of contextual knowledge about performing styles. For example, in the 17th and 18th century, music
notated for solo performers typically indicated a simple, unornamented melody. However, it was expected
that performers would know how to add stylistically-appropriate ornaments such as trills and turns. In the
19th century, art music for solo performers may give a general instruction such as to perform the music
expressively, without describing in detail how the performer should do this. It was expected that the
performer would know how to use tempo changes, accentuation, and pauses (among other devices) to
obtain this "expressive" performance style. In the 20th century, art music notation often became more
explicit and used a range of markings and annotations to indicate to performers how they should play or
sing the piece.

In popular music and jazz, music notation almost always indicates only the basic framework of the
melody, harmony, or performance approach; musicians and singers are expected to know the performance
conventions and styles associated with specific genres and pieces. For example, the "lead sheet" for a jazz
tune may only indicate the melody and the chord changes. The performers in the jazz ensemble are
expected to know how to "flesh out" this basic structure by adding ornaments, improvised music, and
chordal accompaniment.

Main article: Music production

Music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or
ceremonial purposes, or as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Amateur musicians compose
and perform music for their own pleasure, and they do not derive their income from music. Professional
musicians are employed by a range of institutions and organisations, including armed forces, churches and
synagogues, symphony orchestras, broadcasting or film production companies, and music schools.
Professional musicians sometimes work as freelancers, seeking contracts and engagements in a variety of
There are often many links between amateur and professional musicians. Beginning amateur musicians
take lessons with professional musicians. In community settings, advanced amateur musicians perform
with professional musicians in a variety of ensembles and orchestras. In some cases, amateur musicians
attain a professional level of competence, and they are able to perform in professional performance
settings. A distinction is often made between music performed for the benefit of a live audience and music
that is performed for the purpose of being recorded and distributed through the music retail system or the
broadcasting system. However, there are also many cases where a live performance in front of an
audience is recorded and distributed (or broadcast).


Main article: Musical composition

An old songbook showing a composition

"Composition" is often classed as the creation and recording of music via a medium by which others can
interpret it (i.e. paper or sound). Many cultures use at least part of the concept of preconceiving musical
material, or composition, as held in western classical music. Even when music is notated precisely, there
are still many decisions that a performer has to make. The process of a performer deciding how to
perform music that has been previously composed and notated is termed interpretation. Different
performers' interpretations of the same music can vary widely. Composers and song writers who present
their own music are interpreting, just as much as those who perform the music of others or folk music.
The standard body of choices and techniques present at a given time and a given place is referred to as
performance practice, where as interpretation is generally used to mean either individual choices of a
performer, or an aspect of music which is not clear, and therefore has a "standard" interpretation.

In some musical genres, such as jazz and blues, even more freedom is given to the performer to engage in
improvisation on a basic melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic framework. The greatest latitude is given to the
performer in a style of performing called free improvisation, which is material that is spontaneously
"thought of" (imagined) while being performed, not preconceived. Improvised music usually follows
stylistic or genre conventions and even "fully composed" includes some freely chosen material.
Composition does not always mean the use of notation, or the known sole authorship of one individual.
Music can also be determined by describing a "process" which may create musical sounds; examples of
this range from wind chimes, through computer programs which select sounds. Music which contains
elements selected by chance is called Aleatoric music, and is associated with such composers as John
Cage, Morton Feldman, and Witold Lutosławski.

Music can be composed for repeated performance or it can be improvised: composed on the spot. The
music can be performed entirely from memory, from a written system of musical notation, or some
combination of both. Study of composition has traditionally been dominated by examination of methods
and practice of Western classical music, but the definition of composition is broad enough to include
spontaneously improvised works like those of free jazz performers and African drummers such as the
Ewe drummers.
What is important in understanding the composition of a piece is singling out its elements. An
understanding of music's formal elements can be helpful in deciphering exactly how a piece is
constructed. A universal element of music is how sounds occur in time, which is referred to as the rhythm
of a piece of music. When a piece appears to have a changing time-feel, it is considered to be in rubato
time, an Italian expression that indicates that the tempo of the piece changes to suit the expressive intent
of the performer. Even random placement of random sounds, which occurs in musical montage, occurs
within some kind of time, and thus employs time as a musical element.


Main article: Musical notation

Notation is the written expression of music notes and rhythms on paper using symbols. When music is
written down, the pitches and rhythm of the music is notated, along with instructions on how to perform
the music. The study of how to read notation involves music theory, harmony, the study of performance
practice, and in some cases an understanding of historical performance methods. Written notation varies
with style and period of music. In Western Art music, the most common types of written notation are
scores, which include all the music parts of an ensemble piece, and parts, which are the music notation for
the individual performers or singers. In popular music, jazz, and blues, the standard musical notation is
the lead sheet, which notates the melody, chords, lyrics (if it is a vocal piece), and structure of the music.
Scores and parts are also used in popular music and jazz, particularly in large ensembles such as jazz "big

In popular music, guitarists and electric bass players often read music notated in tablature (often
abbreviated as "tab"), which indicates the location of the notes to be played on the instrument using a
diagram of the guitar or bass fingerboard. Tabulature was also used in the Baroque era to notate music for
the lute, a stringed, fretted instrument. Notated music is produced as sheet music. To perform music from
notation requires an understanding of both the rhythmic and pitch elements embodied in the symbols and
the performance practice that is associated with a piece of music or a genre.


Musical improvisation is the creation of spontaneous music. Improvisation is often considered an act of
instantaneous composition by performers, where compositional techniques are employed with or without
preparation. Improvisation is a major part of some types of music, such as blues, jazz, and jazz fusion, in
which instrumental performers improvise solos and melody lines. In the Western art music tradition,
improvisation was an important skill during the Baroque era and during the Classical era; solo performers
and singers would improvise virtuoso cadenzas during concerts. However, in the 20th and 21st century,
improvisation played a smaller role in Western Art music.


Main article: Music theory

Music theory encompasses the nature and mechanics of music. It often involves identifying patterns that
govern composers' techniques. In a more detailed sense, music theory (in the western system) also distills
and analyzes the elements of music – rhythm, harmony (harmonic function), melody, structure, and
texture. People who study these properties are known as music theorists.

Further information: Hearing (sense) and Psychoacoustics

A chamber music group consisting of stringed instrument players, a flutist, and a harpsichordist perform
in Salzburg

The field of music cognition involves the study of many aspects of music including how it is processed by
listeners. Rather than accepting the standard practices of analyzing, composing, and performing music as
a given, much research in music cognition seeks instead to uncover the mental processes that underlie
these practices. Also, research in the field seeks to uncover commonalities between the musical traditions
of disparate cultures and possible cognitive "constraints" that limit these musical systems. Questions
regarding musical innateness, and emotional responses to music are also major areas of research in the

Deaf people can experience music by feeling the vibrations in their body, a process which can be
enhanced if the individual holds a resonant, hollow object. A well-known deaf musician is the composer
Ludwig van Beethoven, who composed many famous works even after he had completely lost his
hearing. Recent examples of deaf musicians include Evelyn Glennie, a highly acclaimed percussionist
who has been deaf since age twelve, and Chris Buck, a virtuoso violinist who has lost his hearing. This is
relevant because it indicates that music is a deeper cognitive process than unexamined phrases such as,
"pleasing to the ear" would suggest. Much research in music cognition seeks to uncover these complex
mental processes involved in listening to music, which may seem intuitively simple, yet are vastly
intricate and complex.


This painting, entitled the "Night Revels of Han Xiza", shows Chinese musicians entertaining guests at a party in a 10th
century household.

Music is experienced by individuals in a range of social settings ranging from being alone to attending a
large concert. Musical performances take different forms in different cultures and socioeconomic milieus.
In Europe and North America, there is often a divide between what types of music are viewed as a "high
culture" and "low culture." "High culture" types of music typically include Western art music such as
Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern-era symphonies, concertos, and solo works, and are typically
heard in formal concerts in concert halls and churches, with the audience sitting quietly in seats.

Other types of music - including, but not limited to, jazz, blues, soul, and country - are often performed in
bars, nightclubs, and theatres, where the audience may be able to drink, dance, and express themselves by
cheering. Until the later 20th century, the division between "high" and "low" musical forms was widely
accepted as a valid distinction that separated out better quality, more advanced "art music" from the
popular styles of music heard in bars and dance halls.

However, in the 1980s and 1990s, musicologists studying this perceived divide between "high" and "low"
musical genres argued that this distinction is not based on the musical value or quality of the different
types of music.[citation needed] Rather, they argued that this distinction was based largely on the socioeconomic
standing or social class of the performers or audience of the different types of music.[citation needed] For
example, whereas the audience for Classical symphony concerts typically have above-average incomes,
the audience for a rap concert in an inner-city area may have below-average incomes. Even though the
performers, audience, or venue where non-"art" music is performed may have a lower socioeconomic
status, the music that is performed, such as blues, rap, punk, funk, or ska may be very complex and

When composers introduce styles of music which break with convention, there can be a strong resistance
from academic music experts and popular culture. Late-period Beethoven string quartets, Stravinsky
ballet scores, serialism, bebop-era jazz, hip hop, punk rock, and electronica have all been considered non-
music by some critics when they were first introduced.[citation needed] Such themes are examined in the
sociology of music. The sociological study of music, sometimes called sociomusicology, is often pursued
in departments of sociology, media studies, or music, and is closely related to the field of

Media and technology
Further information: Computer music

The music that composers make can be heard through several media; the most traditional way is to hear it
live, in the presence, or as one of the musicians. Live music can also be broadcast over the radio,
television or the Internet. Some musical styles focus on producing a sound for a performance, while others
focus on producing a recording which mixes together sounds which were never played "live". Recording,
even of styles which are essentially live, often uses the ability to edit and splice to produce recordings
which are considered better than the actual performance.

As talking pictures emerged in the early 20th century, with their prerecorded musical tracks, an increasing
number of moviehouse orchestra musicians found themselves out of work.[16] During the 1920s live
musical performances by orchestras, pianists, and theater organists were common at first-run theaters.[17]
With the coming of the talking motion pictures, those featured performances were largely eliminated. The
American Federation of Musicians (AFM) took out newspaper advertisements protesting the replacement
of live musicians with mechanical playing devices. One 1929 ad that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press
features an image of a can labeled "Canned Music / Big Noise Brand / Guaranteed to Produce No
Intellectual or Emotional Reaction Whatever"[18]

Since legislation introduced to help protect performers, composers, publishers and producers, including
the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 in the United States, and the 1979 revised Berne Convention for
the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in the United Kingdom, recordings and live performances
have also become more accessible through computers, devices and Internet in a form that is commonly
known as Music-On-Demand.

In many cultures, there is less distinction between performing and listening to music, since virtually
everyone is involved in some sort of musical activity, often communal. In industrialized countries,
listening to music through a recorded form, such as sound recording or watching a music video, became
more common than experiencing live performance, roughly in the middle of the 20th century.

Sometimes, live performances incorporate prerecorded sounds. For example, a disc jockey uses disc
records for scratching, and some 20th century works have a solo for an instrument or voice that is
performed along with music that is prerecorded onto a tape. Computers and many keyboards can be
programmed to produce and play Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) music. Audiences can also
become performers by participating in karaoke, an activity of Japanese origin which centres around a
device that plays voice-eliminated versions of well-known songs. Most karaoke machines also have video
screens that show lyrics to songs being performed; performers can follow the lyrics as they sing over the
instrumental tracks.


The advent of the Internet has transformed the experience of music, partly through the increased ease of
access to music and the increased choice. Chris Anderson, in his book The Long Tail: Why the Future of
Business is Selling Less of More, suggests that while the economic model of supply and demand describes
scarcity, the Internet retail model is based on abundance. Digital storage costs are low, so a company can
afford to make its whole inventory available online, giving customers as much choice as possible. It has
thus become economically viable to offer products that very few people are interested in. Consumers'
growing awareness of their increased choice results in a closer association between listening tastes and
social identity, and the creation of thousands of niche markets.[19]

Another effect of the Internet arises with online communities like YouTube and MySpace. MySpace has
made social networking with other musicians easier, and greatly facilitates the distribution of one's music.
YouTube also has a large community of both amateur and professional musicians who post videos and
comments.[citation needed] Professional musicians also use YouTube as a free publisher of promotional
material. YouTube users, for example, no longer only download and listen to MP3s, but also actively
create their own. According to Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, in their book Wikinomics, there
has been a shift from a traditional consumer role to what they call a "prosumer" role, a consumer who
both creates and consumes. Manifestations of this in music include the production of mashes, remixes,
and music videos by fans.[20]

Main article: Music industry

The music industry refers to the business industry connected with the creation and sale of music. It
consists of record companies, labels and publishers that distribute recorded music products internationally
and that often control the rights to those products. Some music labels are "independent," while others are
subsidiaries of larger corporate entities or international media groups. In the 2000s, the increasing
popularity of listening to music as digital music files on MP3 players, iPods, or computers, and of trading
music on file sharing sites or buying it online in the form of digital files had a major impact on the
traditional music business. Many smaller independent CD stores went out of business as music buyers
decreased their purchases of CDs, and many labels had lower CD sales. Some companies did well with
the change to a digital format, though, such as Apple's iTunes, an online store which sells digital files of
songs over the Internet.


Main article: Music education

The incorporation of music training from preschool to post secondary education is common in North
America and Europe. Involvement in music is thought to teach basic skills such as concentration,
counting, listening, and cooperation while also promoting understanding of language, improving the
ability to recall information, and creating an environment more conducive to learning in other areas.[21] In
elementary schools, children often learn to play instruments such as the recorder, sing in small choirs, and
learn about the history of Western art music. In secondary schools students may have the opportunity to
perform some type of musical ensembles, such as choirs, marching bands, concert bands, jazz bands, or
orchestras, and in some school systems, music classes may be available. Some students also take private
music lessons with a teacher. Amateur musicians typically take lessons to learn musical rudiments and
beginner- to intermediate-level musical techniques.

At the university level, students in most arts and humanities programs can receive credit for taking music
courses, which typically take the form of an overview course on the history of music, or a music
appreciation course that focuses on listening to music and learning about different musical styles. In
addition, most North American and European universities have some type of musical ensembles that non-
music students are able to participate in, such as choirs, marching bands, or orchestras. The study of
Western art music is increasingly common outside of North America and Europe, such as the Indonesian
Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, or the classical music programs that are available in Asian
countries such as South Korea, Japan, and China. At the same time, Western universities and colleges are
widening their curriculum to include music of non-Western cultures, such as the music of Africa or Bali
(e.g. Gamelan music).


Musicology is the study of the subject of music. The earliest definitions defined three sub-disciplines:
systematic musicology, historical musicology, and comparative musicology or ethnomusicology. In
contemporary scholarship, one is more likely to encounter a division of the discipline into music theory,
music history, and ethnomusicology. Research in musicology has often been enriched by cross-
disciplinary work, for example in the field of psychoacoustics. The study of music of non-western
cultures, and the cultural study of music, is called ethnomusicology.

Graduates of undergraduate music programs can go on to further study in music graduate programs.
Graduate degrees include the Master of Music, the Master of Arts, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (e.g.,
in musicology or music theory), and more recently, the Doctor of Musical Arts, or DMA. The Master of
Music degree, which takes one to two years to complete, is typically awarded to students studying the
performance of an instrument, education, voice or composition. The Master of Arts degree, which takes
one to two years to complete and often requires a thesis, is typically awarded to students studying
musicology, music history, or music theory. Undergraduate university degrees in music, including the
Bachelor of Music, the Bachelor of Music Education, and the Bachelor of Arts (with a major in music)
typically take three to five years to complete. These degrees provide students with a grounding in music
theory and music history, and many students also study an instrument or learn singing technique as part of
their program.

The PhD, which is required for students who want to work as university professors in musicology, music
history, or music theory, takes three to five years of study after the Master's degree, during which time the
student will complete advanced courses and undertake research for a dissertation. The DMAis a relatively
new degree that was created to provide a credential for professional performers or composers that want to
work as university professors in musical performance or composition. The DMA takes three to five years
after a Master's degree, and includes advanced courses, projects, and performances. In Medieval times,
the study of music was one of the Quadrivium of the seven Liberal Arts and considered vital to higher
learning. Within the quantitative Quadrivium, music, or more accurately harmonics, was the study of
rational proportions.

Zoomusicology is the study of the music of non-human animals, or the musical aspects of sounds
produced by non-human animals. As George Herzog (1941) asked, "do animals have music?" François-
Bernard Mâche's Musique, mythe, nature, ou les Dauphins d'Arion (1983), a study of "ornitho-
musicology" using a technique of Nicolas Ruwet's Language, musique, poésie (1972) paradigmatic
segmentation analysis, shows that bird songs are organised according to a repetition-transformation
principle. Jean-Jacques Nattiez (1990), argues that "in the last analysis, it is a human being who decides
what is and is not musical, even when the sound is not of human origin. If we acknowledge that sound is
not organised and conceptualised (that is, made to form music) merely by its producer, but by the mind
that perceives it, then music is uniquely human."

Music theory is the study of music, generally in a highly technical manner outside of other disciplines.
More broadly it refers to any study of music, usually related in some form with compositional concerns,
and may include mathematics, physics, and anthropology. What is most commonly taught in beginning
music theory classes are guidelines to write in the style of the common practice period, or tonal music.
Theory, even that which studies music of the common practice period, may take many other forms.
Musical set theory is the application of mathematical set theory to music, first applied to atonal music.
Speculative music theory, contrasted with analytic music theory, is devoted to the analysis and synthesis
of music materials, for example tuning systems, generally as preparation for composition.


Main article: Ethnomusicology

In the West, much of the history of music that is taught deals with the Western civilization's art music.
The history of music in other cultures ("world music" or the field of "ethnomusicology") is also taught in
Western universities. This includes the documented classical traditions of Asian countries outside the
influence of Western Europe, as well as the folk or indigenous music of various other cultures. Popular
styles of music varied widely from culture to culture, and from period to period. Different cultures
emphasised different instruments, or techniques, or uses for music. Music has been used not only for
entertainment, for ceremonies, and for practical and artistic communication, but also for propaganda in
totalitarian countries.

There is a host of music classifications, many of which are caught up in the argument over the definition
of music. Among the largest of these is the division between classical music (or "art" music), and popular
music (or commercial music - including rock and roll, country music, and pop music). Some genres do
not fit neatly into one of these "big two" classifications, (such as folk music, world music, or jazz music).

As world cultures have come into greater contact, their indigenous musical styles have often merged into
new styles. For example, the United States bluegrass style contains elements from Anglo-Irish, Scottish,
Irish, German and African instrumental and vocal traditions, which were able to fuse in the United States'
multi-ethnic society. Genres of music are determined as much by tradition and presentation as by the
actual music. Some works, like George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, are claimed by both jazz and
classical music, while Gershwin's Porgy and Bess and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story are claimed by
both opera and the Broadway musical tradition. Many current music festivals celebrate a particular
musical genre.
Indian music, for example, is one of the oldest and longest living types of music, and is still widely heard
and performed in South Asia, as well as internationally (especially since the 1960s). Indian music has
mainly three forms of classical music, Hindustani, Carnatic, and Dhrupad styles. It has also a large
repertoire of styles, which involve only percussion music such as the talavadya performances famous in
South India.

Music therapy
Main article: Music therapy

Music therapy is an interpersonal process in which the therapist uses music and all of its facets—physical,
emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual—to help clients to improve or maintain their health. In
some instances, the client's needs are addressed directly through music; in others they are addressed
through the relationships that develop between the client and therapist. Music therapy is used with
individuals of all ages and with a variety of conditions, including: psychiatric disorders, medical
problems, physical handicaps, sensory impairments, developmental disabilities, substance abuse,
communication disorders, interpersonal problems, and aging. It is also used to: improve learning, build
self-esteem, reduce stress, support physical exercise, and facilitate a host of other health-related activities.

Music has long been used to help people deal with their emotions. In the 17th century, the scholar Robert
Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy argued that music and dance were critical in treating mental illness,
especially melancholia.[22] He noted that music has an "excellent power expel many other diseases"
and he called it "a sovereign remedy against despair and melancholy". He pointed out that in Antiquity,
Canus, a Rhodian fiddler, used music to "make a melancholy man merry, ...a lover more enamoured, a
religious man more devout." [23][24][25] In November 2006, Dr. Michael J. Crawford[26] and his colleagues
also found that music therapy helped schizophrenic patients.[27] In the Ottoman Empire, mental illnesses
were treated with music.[28]

See also
Music portal

• List of basic music topics
• List of music topics

Visual perception
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Visual perception is the ability to interpret information from visible light reaching the eyes. The resulting
perception is also known as eyesight, sight or vision. The various physiological components involved in
vision are referred to collectively as the visual system, and are the focus of much research in psychology,
cognitive science, neuroscience and molecular biology.


• 1 Visual system
• 2 Study of visual perception
o 2.1 Early studies on visual perception
o 2.2 Unconscious inference
o 2.3 Gestalt theory
o 2.4 Analysis of eye-movements
• 3 The cognitive and computational approaches
• 4 See also
o 4.1 Disorders/Dysfunctions
o 4.2 Related disciplines
• 5 References

• 6 External links

[edit] Visual system
Main article: Visual system

The visual system in humans allows individuals to assimilate information from the environment. The act
of seeing starts when the lens of the eye focuses an image of its surroundings onto a light-sensitive
membrane in the back of the eye, called the retina. The retina is actually part of the brain that is isolated to
serve as a transducer for the conversion of patterns of light into neuronal signals. The lens of the eye
focuses light on the photoreceptive cells of the retina, which detect the photons of light and respond by
producing neural impulses. These signals are processed in a hierarchical fashion by different parts of the
brain, from the retina to the lateral geniculate nucleus, to the primary and secondary visual cortex of the

[edit] Study of visual perception
The major problem in visual perception is that what people see is not simply a translation of retinal
stimuli (i.e., the image on the retina). Thus people interested in perception have long struggled to explain
what visual processing does to create what we actually see.

[edit] Early studies on visual perception

The visual dorsal stream (green) and ventral stream (purple) are shown. Much of the human cerebral
cortex is involved in vision.

There were two major ancient Greek schools, providing a primitive explanation of how vision is carried
out in the body.

The first was the "emission theory" which maintained that vision occurs when rays emanate from the eyes
and are intercepted by visual objects. If we saw an object directly it was by 'means of rays' coming out of
the eyes and again falling on the object. A refracted image was, however, seen by 'means of rays' as well,
which came out of the eyes, traversed through the air, and after refraction, fell on the visible object which
was sighted as the result of the movement of the rays from the eye. This theory was championed by
scholars like Euclid and Ptolemy and their followers.

The second school advocated the so called the 'intromission' approach which sees vision as coming from
something entering the eyes representative of the object. With its main propagators Aristotle, Galen and
their followers, this theory seems to have touched a little sense on what really vision is, but light did not
play any role in this theory and it remained only a speculation lacking any experimental foundation.

Leonardo DaVinci: The eye has a central line and everything that reaches the eye through this central line
can be seen distinctly.

Ibn al-Haytham (also known as Alhacen or Alhazen), the "father of optics", was the first to reconcile both
schools of thought in his influential Book of Optics (1021). He argued that vision is due to light from
objects entering the eye, and he developed an early scientific method emphasizing extensive
experimentation in order to prove this. He pioneered the scientific study of the psychology of visual
perception, being the first scientist to argue that vision occurs in the brain, rather than the eyes. He
pointed out that personal experience has an effect on what people see and how they see, and that vision
and perception are subjective. He explained possible errors in vision in detail, and as an example,
describes how a small child with less experience may have more difficulty interpreting what he/she sees.
For a little child however ugly a mother is, it does not matter to it as the definition of beauty is not that
well defined for the little child as it is with any other adult. He also gives an example of an adult that can
make mistakes in vision because of how one's experience suggests that he/she is seeing one thing, when
he/she is really seeing something else. This can be easily related to the famous saying "beauty lies in the
eye of the beholder," which is to say that a flower which may appear beautiful to one person may not
appeal that much to another.[1] Al-Haytham carried out many investigations and experiments on visual
perception, extended the work of Ptolemy on binocular vision, and commented on the anatomical works
of Galen.[2][3]

Leonardo DaVinci,1452-1519, was the first to recognize the special optical qualities of the eye. He wrote
"The function of the human eye, ... was described by a large number of authors in a certain way. But I
found it to be completely different." His main experimental finding was that there is only a distinct and
clear vision at the line of sight, the optical line that ends at the fovea. Although he did not use these words
literally he actually is the father of the modern distinction between foveal vision and peripheral vision.

[edit] Unconscious inference

Hermann von Helmholtz is often credited with the first study of visual perception in modern times.
Helmholtz examined the human eye and concluded that it was, optically, rather poor. The poor quality
information gathered via the eye seemed to him to make vision impossible. He therefore concluded that
vision could only be the result of some form of unconscious inferences: a matter of making assumptions
and conclusions from incomplete data, based on previous experiences.

Inference requires prior experience of the world: examples of well-known assumptions - based on visual
experience - are:

• light comes from above
• objects are normally not viewed from below
• faces are seen (and recognized) upright [4]

The study of visual illusions (cases when the inference process goes wrong) has yielded much insight into
what sort of assumptions the visual system makes.

Another type of the unconscious inference hypothesis (based on probabilities) has recently been revived
in so-called Bayesian studies of visual perception. Proponents of this approach consider that the visual
system performs some form of Bayesian inference to derive a perception from sensory data. Models based
on this idea have been used to describe various visual subsystems, such as the perception of motion or the
perception of depth.[5][6]

[edit] Gestalt theory

Main article: Gestalt psychology

Gestalt psychologists working primarily in the 1930s and 1940s raised many of the research questions that
are studied by vision scientists today.
The Gestalt Laws of Organization have guided the study of how people perceive visual components as
organized patterns or wholes, instead of many different parts. Gestalt is a German word that translates to
"configuration or pattern". According to this theory, there are six main factors that determine how we
group things according to visual perception: Proximity, Similarity, Closure, Symmetry, Common fate and

One of the reasons why Gestalt laws have often been disregarded by cognitive psychologists is a lack of
understanding the nature of peripheral vision. It is true that visual perception only takes place during

But during fixations not only the high definition foveal vision at the fixation point, but also the peripheral
vision is functioning. Due to its lack of acuity and relative independence of eye position (due to its
extreme wide angle) it is an image compressing system.

While foveal vision is very slow (only 3 to 4 high quality telescopic images per second), peripheral vision
is very inaccurate but also very fast (up to 90 images per second - permitting one to see the flicker of the
European 50Hz TV images). Elements of the visual field are thus grouped automatically according to
laws like Proximity, Similarity, Closure, Symmetry, Common fate and Continuity.

[edit] Analysis of eye-movements

During the 1960s the technical development permitted the continuous registration of eye movements
during reading[7] in picture viewing [8] and later in visual problem solving [9] and when headset-cameras
became available, also during driving.[10]

The picture to the left shows what may happen during the first two seconds of visual inspection. While the
background is out of focus, representing the peripheral vision, the first eye movement goes to the boots of
the man (just because they are very near the starting fixation and have a reasonable contrast).

The following fixations jump from face to face. They might even permit comparisons between faces.

It may be concluded that the icon face is a very attractive search icon within the peripheral field of vision.
The foveal vision adds detailed information to the peripheral first impression.

[edit] The cognitive and computational approaches
The major problem with the Gestalt laws (and the Gestalt school generally) is that they are descriptive not
explanatory. For example, one cannot explain how humans see continuous contours by simply stating that
the brain "prefers good continuity". Computational models of vision have had more success in explaining
visual phenomena and have largely superseded Gestalt theory. More recently, the computational models
of visual perception have been developed for Virtual Reality systems - these are closer to real life
situation as they account for motion and activities which populate the real world.[11] Regarding Gestalt
influence on the study of visual perception, Bruce, Green & Georgeson conclude:

"The physiological theory of the Gestaltists has fallen by the wayside, leaving us with a set of
descriptive principles, but without a model of perceptual processing. Indeed, some of their "laws"
of perceptual organisation today sound vague and inadequate. What is meant by a "good" or
"simple" shape, for example?" [12]

In the 1980s David Marr developed a multi-level theory of vision, which analysed the process of vision at
different levels of abstraction. In order to focus on the understanding of specific problems in vision, he
identified (with Tomaso Poggio) three levels of analysis: the computational, algorithmic and
implementational levels.

The computational level addresses, at a high level of abstraction, the problems that the visual system must
overcome. The algorithmic level attempts to identify the strategy that may be used to solve these
problems. Finally, the implementational level attempts to explain how these problems are overcome in
terms of the actual neural activity necessary.

Marr suggested that it is possible to investigate vision at any of these levels independently. Marr
described vision as proceeding from a two-dimensional visual array (on the retina) to a three-dimensional
description of the world as output. His stages of vision include:

• a 2D or primal sketch of the scene, based on feature extraction of fundamental components of the
scene, including edges, regions, etc. Note the similarity in concept to a pencil sketch drawn
quickly by an artist as an impression.
• a 2-1/2 D sketch of the scene, where textures are acknowledged, etc. Note the similarity in
concept to the stage in drawing where an artist highlights or shades areas of a scene, to provide
• a 3 D model, where the scene is visualized in a continuous, 3-dimensional map.[13]

Marr unfortunately died of leukemia in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 35, but his theory
provides an important framework for the continued investigation of vision.

[edit] See also
• Color vision
• Motion perception
• Depth perception
• Visual illusion

[edit] Disorders/Dysfunctions

• Achromatopsia
• Color blindness
• Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome
• Astigmatism

[edit] Related disciplines

• Psychophysics
• Neuroscience
• Cognitive science
• Optometry
• Ophthalmology

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Road (disambiguation).
"Thoroughfare" redirects here. For other uses, see Thoroughfare (disambiguation).
"Roadway" redirects here. For the transportation holding company, see Roadway Services. For merged
transportation company, see YRC Worldwide.
The St. Gotthard Pass road with hairpin turns in the Swiss Alps

Interstate 80, the second-longest U.S. Interstate highway, runs from California to New Jersey

Castle Roads, in Bermuda. An example of the maritime application of the word roads.

A road is an identifiable route, way or path between places.[1] Roads are typically smoothed, paved, or
otherwise prepared to allow easy travel;[2] though they need not be, and historically many roads were
simply recognizable routes without any formal construction or maintenance.[3]

The term was also commonly used to refer to roadsteads, waterways that lent themselves to use by
shipping. Notable examples being Hampton Roads, in Virginia, and Castle Roads, in Bermuda (also
formerly in Virginia).

In urban areas roads may diverge through a city or village and be named as streets, serving a dual function
as urban space easement and route.[4] Economics and society depend heavily on efficient roads. In the
European Union (EU) 44% of all goods are moved by trucks over roads and 85% of all persons are
transported by cars, buses or coaches on roads.[5]

The United States has the largest network of roadways of any country with 6,430,366 km (2005). India
has the second largest road system in the world with 3,383,344 km (2002). People's Republic of China is
third with 1,870,661 km of roadway (2004).[6] When looking only at expressways the National Trunk
Highway System (NTHS) in People's Republic of China has a total length of 45,000 km at the end of
2006, second only to the United States with 90,000 km in 2005.[7][8]


• 1 History
o 1.1 Historical road construction dating to 4000 BC
• 2 Road transport economics
• 3 Environmental aspects
• 4 Driving on the right or the left
• 5 Construction
o 5.1 Duplication
• 6 Maintenance
• 7 Terminology
• 8 See also
• 9 References

• 10 External links

[edit] History
See also: History of road transport

A Greek street from the 3rd to 4th century BC in Velia, Italy. The Porta Rosa was the main street of Elea.
It is paved with limestone blocks, with a gutter for the drainage of rain water.

A paved Roman road in Pompeii.

That the first pathways were the trails made by animals has not been universally accepted, arguing that
animals do not follow constant paths.[3] Others believe that some roads originated from humans following
animal trails.[9][10] The Icknield Way is given as an example of this type road origination, where man and
animal both selected the same natural line.[11] By about 10,000 BC, rough pathways were used by human

[edit] Historical road construction dating to 4000 BC

• Stone paved streets are found in the city of Ur in the Middle East dating back to 4000 BC[3]
• Corduroy roads (log roads) are found dating to 4,000 BC in Glastonbury, England[3]

• The timber trackway; Sweet Track causeway in England, is one of the oldest engineered roads
discovered and the oldest timber trackway discovered in Northern Europe. Built in winter 3807
BC or spring 3806 BC, tree-ring dating (Dendrochronology) enabled very precise dating. It has
been claimed to be the oldest road in the world.[12][13]

• Brick paved streets were used in India as early as 3000 BC[3]

• In 500 BC, Darius I the Great started an extensive road system for Persia (Iran), including the
famous Royal Road which was one of the finest highways of its time.[14] The road remained in use
after Roman times.

• In ancient times, transport by river was far easier and faster than transport by road,[13] especially
considering the cost of road construction and the difference in carrying capacity between carts and
river barges. A hybrid of road transport and ship transport beginning in about 1740 is the horse-
drawn boat in which the horse follows a cleared path along the river bank.[15][16]

• From about 312 BC, the Roman Empire built straight[17] strong stone Roman roads throughout
Europe and North Africa, in support of its military campaigns. At its peak the Roman Empire was
connected by 29 major roads moving out from Rome and covering 78,000 kilometers or 52,964
Roman miles of paved roads.[13]

• In the 700s AD, many roads were built throughout the Arab Empire. The most sophisticated roads
were those of the Baghdad, Iraq, which were paved with tar in the 8th century. Tar was derived
from petroleum, accessed from oil fields in the region, through the chemical process of destructive

• In the 1600s road construction and maintenance in Britain was traditionally done on a local parish
basis.[13] This resulted in a poor and variable state of roads. To remedy this, the first of the
"Turnpike Trusts" was established around 1706, to build good roads and collect tolls from passing
vehicles. Eventually there were approximately 1,100 Trusts in Britain and some 36,800 km of
engineered roads.[13] The Rebecca Riots in Carmarthenshire and Rhayader from 1839 to 1844
contributed to a Royal Commission leading to the demise of the system in 1844.[19]

[edit] Road transport economics
Main article: Transport economics

A road in Mumbai, India. Most of the roads across the world are built and maintained by the public sector
The Transfăgărăşan in Romania, first built as a military road.

Transport economics is a branch of economics that deals with the allocation of resources within the
transport sector and has strong linkages with civil engineering. Transport economics differs from some
other branches of economics in that the assumption of a spaceless, instantaneous economy does not hold.
People and goods flow over networks at certain speeds. Demands peak. Advanced ticket purchase is often
induced by lower fares. The networks themselves may or may not be competitive. A single trip (the final
good from the point-of-view of the consumer) may require bundling the services provided by several
firms, agencies and modes.

Although transport systems follow the same supply and demand theory as other industries, the
complications of network effects and choices between non-similar goods (e.g. car and bus travel) make
estimating the demand for transportation facilities difficult. The development of models to estimate the
likely choices between the non-similar goods involved in transport decisions "discrete choice" models led
to the development of the important branch of econometrics, and a Nobel Prize for Daniel McFadden.[20]

In transport, demand can be measured in numbers of journeys made or in total distance traveled across all
journeys (e.g. passenger-kilometres for public transport or vehicle-kilometres of travel (VKT) for private
transport). Supply is considered to be a measure of capacity. The price of the good (travel) is measured
using the generalised cost of travel, which includes both money and time expenditure. The effect of
increases in supply (capacity) are of particular interest in transport economics (see induced demand), as
the potential environmental consequences are significant.

Road building and maintenance is an area of economic activity that remains dominated by the public
sector (though often through private contractors).[21] Roads (except those on private property that are not
accessible to the general public) are typically paid for by taxes (often raised through levies on fuel),[22]
though some public roads, especially freeways are funded by tolls.[23]

[edit] Environmental aspects

Road in Kaluga Oblast, Russia

Motor vehicle traffic on roads generate noise pollution especially at higher operating speeds, near
intersections and on uphill sections. Therefore, considerable noise health effects are expected from road
systems used by large numbers of motor vehicles. Noise mitigation strategies exist to reduce sound levels
at nearby sensitive receptors. The idea that road design could be influenced by acoustical engineering
considerations first arose about 1973.[24]

Motor vehicles operating on roads contribute emissions, particularly for congested city street conditions
and other low speed circumstances. Of particular concern are particulate emmissions from diesel engines.
Concentrations of air pollutants and adverse respiratory health effects are greater near the road than at
some distance away from the road. [25] Road dust dust kicked up by vehicles may trigger allergic reactions.

De-icing chemicals and sand can run off into roadsides. Road salts (primarily chlorides of sodium,
calcium or magnesium) can be toxic to sensitive plants and animals. Sand can alter stream bed
environments, causing stress for the plants and animals that live there. Traffic can grind sand into fine
particulates and contribute to air pollution.

[edit] Driving on the right or the left
Main article: Driving on the left or right

A sign on Australia's Great Ocean Road reminding foreign motorists to keep left.

Traffic flows on the right or on the left side of the road depending on the country.[27] In countries where
traffic flows on the right, traffic signs are mostly on the right side of the road, roundabouts and traffic
circles go counter-clockwise, and pedestrians crossing a two-way road should watch out for traffic from
the left first.[28] In countries where traffic flows on the left, the reverse is true.

About 34% of the world by population drive on the left, and 66% keep right. By roadway distances, about
28% drive on the left, and 72% on the right,[29] even though originally most traffic drove on the left

[edit] Construction
It has been suggested that Carriageway be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)
Surveyor at work with a leveling instrument.

Asphalt layer and roller

Road construction requires the creation of a continuous right-of-way, overcoming geographic obstacles
and having grades low enough to permit vehicle or foot travel.[31] (pg15) and may be required to meet
standards set by law[32] or official guidelines.[33] The process is often begun with the removal of earth and
rock by digging or blasting, construction of embankments, bridges and tunnels, and removal of vegetation
(this may involve deforestation) and followed by the laying of pavement material. A variety of road
building equipment is employed in road building.[34] [35]

After design, approval, planning, legal and environmental considerations have been addressed alignment
of the road is set out by a surveyor. [17] The Radii and gradient are designed and staked out to best suit the
natural ground levels and minimize the amount of cut and fill.[33] (page34) Great care is taken to preserve
reference Benchmarks [33] (page59)

Roadways are designed and built for primary use by vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Storm drainage and
environmental considerations are a major concern. Erosion and sediment controls are constructed to
prevent detrimental effects. Drainage lines are laid with sealed joints in the road easement with runoff
coefficients and characteristics adequate for the land zoning and storm water system. Drainage systems
must be capable of carrying the ultimate design flow from the upstream catchment with approval for the
outfall from the appropriate authority to a watercourse, creek, river or the sea for drainage discharge. [33]
(page38 to 40)

A Borrow pit (source for obtaining fill, gravel, and rock) and a water source should be located near or in
reasonable distance to the road construction site. Approval from local authorities may be required to draw
water or for working (crushing and screening) of materials for construction needs. The top soil and
vegetation is removed from the borrow pit and stockpiled for subsequent rehabilitation of the extraction
area. Side slopes in the excavation area not steeper than one vertical to two horizontal for safety reasons.
[33] (page 53 to 56 )
Road construction on Marquette Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Old road surfaces, fences, and buildings may need to be removed before construction can begin. Trees in
the road construction area may be marked for retention. These protected trees should not have the topsoil
within the area of the tree's drip line removed and the area should be kept clear of construction material
and equipment. Compensation or replacement may be required if a protected tree is damaged. Much of the
vegetation may be mulched and put aside for use during reinstatement. The topsoil is usually stripped and
stockpiled nearby for rehabilitation of newly constructed embankments along the road. Stumps and roots
are removed and holes filled as required before the earthwork begins. Final rehabilitation after road
construction is completed will include seeding, planting, watering and other activities to reinstate the area
to be consistent with the untouched surrounding areas.[33] (page 66 to 67 )

Processes during earthwork include excavation, removal of material to spoil, filling, compacting,
construction and trimming. If rock or other unsuitable material is discovered it is removed, moisture
content is managed and replaced with standard fill compacted to 90% relative compaction. Generally
blasting of rock is discouraged in the road bed. When a depression must be filled to come up to the road
grade the native bed is compacted after the topsoil has been removed. The fill is made by the "compacted
layer method" where a layer of fill is spread then compacted to specifications, the process is repeated until
the desired grade is reached.[33] (page 68 to 69 )

Typical pavement stratum for a heavily traveled road

General fill material should be free of organics, meet minimum California bearing ratio (CBR) results and
have a low plasticity index. Select fill (sieved) should be composed of gravel, decomposed rock or broken
rock below a specified Particle size and be free of large lumps of clay. Sand clay fill may also be used.
The road bed must be "proof rolled" after each layer of fill is compacted. If a roller passes over an area
without creating visible deformation or spring the section is deemed to comply. [33] (page 70 to 72 )

The completed road way is finished by paving or left with a gravel or other natural surface. The type of
road surface is dependent on economic factors and expected usage. Safety improvements like Traffic
signs, Crash barriers, Raised pavement markers, and other forms of Road surface marking are installed.

[edit] Duplication

When a single carriageway road is converted into dual carriageway by building a second separate
carriageway alongside the first, it is usually referred to as duplication[36] or twinning. The original
carriageway is changed from two-way to become one-way, while the new carriageway is one-way in the
opposite direction. In the same way as converting railway lines from single track to double track, the new
carriageway is not always constructed directly alongside the existing carriageway.

[edit] Maintenance

Like all structures, roads deteriorate over time. Deterioration is primarily due to accumulated damage
from vehicles, however environmental effects such as frost heaves, thermal cracking and oxidation often
contribute.[37] According to a series of experiments carried out in the late 1950s, called the AASHO Road
Test, it was empirically determined that the effective damage done to the road is roughly proportional to
the 4th power of axle weight .[38] A typical tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds (36.287 t) with 8,000
pounds (3.6287 t) on the steer axle and 36,000 pounds (16.329 t) on both of the tandem axle groups is
expected to do 7,800 times more damage than a passenger vehicle with 2,000 pounds (0.907 t) on each
axle. Potholes on roads are caused by rain damage and vehicle braking or related construction works.

Pavements are designed for an expected service life or design life. In some UK countries the standard
design life is 40 years for new bitumen and concrete pavement. Maintenance is considered in the whole
life cost of the road with service at 10, 20 and 30 year milestones. [39] Roads can be and are designed for a
variety of lives (8-, 15-, 30-, and 60-year designs). When pavement lasts longer then its intended life, it
may have been overbuilt, and the original costs may have been too high. When a pavement fails before its
intended design life, the owner may have excessive repair and rehabilitation costs. Many concrete
pavements built since the 1950s have significantly outlived their intended design lives. [40] Some roads
like Chicago, Illinois's "Wacker Drive", a major two-level viaduct in downtown area are being rebuilt
with a designed service life of 100 years. [41]

Virtually all roads require some form of maintenance before they come to the end of their service life.
Pro-active agencies continually monitor road conditions and apply preventive maintenance treatments as
needed to prolong the lifespan of their roads. Technically advanced agencies monitior the road network
surface condition with sophisticated equipment such as laser/inertial Profilometers. These measurements
include road curvature, cross slope, unevenness, roughness, rutting and texture (roads). This data is fed
into a pavement management system, which recommends the best maintenance or construction treatment
to correct the damage that has occurred.

Maintenance treatments for asphalt concrete generally include crack sealing, surface rejuvenating, fog
sealing, micro-milling and surface treatments. Thin surfacing preserves, protects and improves the
functional condition of the road while reducing the need for routing maintenance, leading to extended
service life without increasing structural capacity.[42]
[edit] Terminology

The A22(T) near Summer Hill, East Sussex, England

• Alignment (road) - Cross slope/Banking/Superelevation, horizontal and vertical curvature of a
• All-weather road - Unpaved road that is constructed of a material that does not create mud during
• Bollard - Rigid posts that can be arranged in a line to close a road or path to vehicles above a
certain width
• Byway - Highway over which the public have a right to travel for vehicular and other kinds of
traffic, but which is used mainly as footpaths and bridleways
• Bypass Road that avoids or "bypasses" a built-up area, town, or village
• Bottleneck - Section of a road with a carrying capacity substantially below that of other sections of
the same road
• Botts' dots - Non reflective raised pavement marker used on roads
• Cat's eye - reflective raised pavement marker used on roads
• Chicane - Sequence of tight serpentine curves (usually an S-shape curve or a bus stop) in a
• Chipseal - Road surface composed of a thin layer of crushed stone 'chips' and asphalt emulsion. It
seals the surface and protects it from weather, but provides no structural strength. It is cheaper
than asphalt concrete or a concrete, in the U.S. it is usually only used on low volume rural roads
• Corniche - Road on the side of a cliff or mountain, with the ground rising on one side and falling
away on the other
• Curb - Edge where a raised pavement/sidewalk/footpath, road median, or road shoulder meets an
unraised street or other roadway.
• Curb extension - (or also kerb extension, bulb-out, nib, elephant ear, curb bulge and blister)
Traffic calming measure, intended to slow the speed of traffic and increase driver awareness,
particularly in built-up and residential neighborhoods.
• Fork - (literally "fork in the road") Type of intersection where a road splits
• Guard rail - Prevents vehicles from veering off the road into oncoming traffic, crashing against
solid objects or falling from a road
• Green lane - (UK) Unsurfaced road, may be so infrequently used that vegetation colonises freely,
hence 'green'. Many green lanes are ancient routes that have existed for millennia, similar to a
• Interstate Highway System - United States System of Interstate and Defense Highways
• Median - On divided roads, including expressways, motorways, or autobahns, the central
reservation (British English), median (North American English), median strip (North American
English and Australian English), neutral ground [Louisiana English] or central nature strip
(Australian English) is the area which separates opposing lanes of traffic
• Mountain pass - Lower point that allows easier access through a range of mountains
• Milestone - One of a series of numbered markers placed along a road at regular intervals, showing
the distance to destinations.
• Pavement - The road regarded as a geoconstruction.
• Pedestrian crossing - Designated point on a road at which some means are employed to assist
pedestrians wishing to cross safely
• Private highway - Highway owned and operated for profit by private industry
• Private road - Road owned and maintained by a private individual, organization, or company
rather than by a government
• Public space - Place where anyone has a right to come without being excluded because of
economic or social conditions
• Pullout (layby, pull-off) - A paved area beside a main road where cars can stop temporarily to let
another car pass.
• Ranch road - U.S. road which serves to connect rural and agricultural areas to market towns
• Road number - Often assigned to a stretch of public roadway. The number chosen is often
dependent on the type of road, with numbers differentiating between interstates, motorways,
arterial thoroughfares, and so forth
• Road-traffic safety - Process to reduce the harm (deaths, injuries, and property damage) resulting
from crashes of road vehicles traveling on public roads
• Roadworks - Part or all of the road has to be occupied for work or maintenance relating to the road
• Roughness - Deviations from a true planar pavement surface, which affects vehicle suspension
deflection, dynamic loading, ride quality, surface drainage and winter operations. Roughness have
wavelengths ranging from 500 mm up to some 40 m. The upper limit may be as high as 350 m
when considering motion sickness aspects; motion sickness is generated by motion with down to
0.1 Hz frequency; in an ambulance car driving 35 m/s (126 km/h), waves with up to 350 m will
excite motion sickness.
• Shoulder - Reserved area by the verge of a road, generally it is kept clear of all traffic
• State highway - Road numbered by the state, falling below numbered national highways (like U.S.
Routes) in the hierarchy OR A road maintained by the state, including nationally-numbered
• Texture (roads) - Deviations from a true planar pavement surface, which affects the interaction
between road and tire. Microtexture have wavelengths below 0.5 mm, Macrotexture below 50 mm
and Megatexture below 500 mm.
• Traffic calming - Set of strategies used by urban planners and traffic engineers which aim to slow
down or reduce traffic, thereby improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as
improving the environment for residents
• Traffic light - also known as a traffic signal, stop light, stop-and-go lights, robot or semaphore, is a
signaling device positioned at a road intersection, pedestrian crossing, or other location in order to
assign right of way to different approaches to an intersection

[edit] See also
Roads portal
• Corpse roads • Road movie
• Design Manual for Roads and Bridges • Roadway air dispersion model
• Habitat fragmentation • Roadway noise
• Inca road system • Street
• Line source • Strip road
• List of roads and highways • Towing

• List of OECD countries by road network size • Trade route

[edit] References
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.
Please improve this article if you can. (May 2008)
This article is about the body of water. For other uses, see SEA and seas. For the ancient Jewish
unit of volume, see Seah (unit). For the Smirnoff advertising campaign, see Sea (Smirnoff advert)

The term sea refers to certain large bodies of water, but there is inconsistency as to its precise definition
and application. Most commonly, a sea may refer to a large expanse of saline water connected with an
ocean, but it is also used sometimes of a large saline lake that lacks a natural outlet, e.g. the Caspian Sea.
Colloquially, the term is used as a synonym for ocean. Additionally, large lakes, such as the Great Lakes,
are occasionally referred to as inland seas.


• 1 International Hydrographic Organization
• 2 List of seas
o 2.1 Atlantic Ocean
o 2.2 Arctic Ocean
o 2.3 Indian Ocean
o 2.4 Pacific Ocean
o 2.5 Southern Ocean
o 2.6 Landlocked seas
• 3 Nomenclature
• 4 Science
• 5 See also

• 6 References

[edit] International Hydrographic Organization
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) is the international authority that sets forth
nomenclature and definition of bodies of water.[1] The IHO's Limits of Oceans and Seas was first
published in 1928, with its current working document the third edition published in 1953.[2] A fourth draft
edition was proposed in 1986 but has yet to be ratified due to outstanding issues such as the Sea of Japan
naming dispute.

[edit] List of seas
[edit] Atlantic Ocean [edit] Arctic Ocean [edit] Pacific Ocean [edit] Southern Ocean

• Adriatic Sea • Amundsen Gulf • Arafura Sea • Amundsen Sea
• Aegean Sea • Baffin Bay • Banda Sea • Bass Strait
• Alboran Sea • Barents Sea • Bering Sea • Bellingshausen
• Argentine Sea • Beaufort Sea • Bismarck Sea Sea
• Bay of Biscay • Bering Sea • Bohai Sea • Davis Sea
• Bay of Bothnia • Cambridge Bay • Bohol Sea • Great Australian
• Bay of Campeche • Chukchi Sea (Mindanao Sea) Bight
• Bay of Fundy • Cold Bay • Camotes Sea • Gulf Saint Vincent
• Baltic Sea • Davis Strait • Celebes Sea • Ross Sea
• Black Sea • Denmark Strait • Ceram Sea • Scotia Sea
• Bothnian Sea • East Siberian Sea • Chilean Sea • Spencer Gulf
• Caribbean Sea • Greenland Sea • Coral Sea • Weddell Sea
• Hudson Bay • East China Sea
• Celtic Sea • James Bay • Flores Sea [edit] Landlocked seas
• Central Baltic Sea • Kara Sea • Gulf of Alaska
• Chesapeake Bay • Kara Strait • Gulf of California • Aral Sea
• English Channel • Labrador Sea (Sea of Cortés) • Lake Balkhash
• Gulf of Bothnia • Laptev Sea • Gulf of • Caspian Sea
• Gulf of Guinea • Lincoln Sea Carpentaria • Lake Chad
• Gulf of Finland • Norwegian Sea • Gulf of Thailand • Lake Chilwa
• Gulf of Mexico • White Sea • Halmahera Sea • Chott Melrhir
• Gulf of Sidra • Java Sea • Dead Sea
• Gulf of St. [edit] Indian Ocean • Koro Sea • Lake Eyre
Lawrence • Molucca Sea • Issyk Kul
• Gulf of • Andaman Sea • Philippine Sea • Namtso
Venezuela • Salish Sea • Sea of Galilee
• Ionian Sea • Arabian Sea
• Savu Sea • Great Salt Lake
• Ligurian Sea • Sea of Japan • Qinghai Lake
• Irish Sea • Bay of Bengal
• Sea of Okhotsk • Salton Sea
• Marmara Sea • Seto Inland Sea • Tonle Sap
• Mediterranean • Gulf of Aden
• Solomon Sea • Lake Torrens
Sea • South China Sea • Lake Turkana
• Mirtoon Sea • Gulf of Oman
• Sulu Sea
• North Sea • Tasman Sea • Lake Van
• Sea of Azov • Mozambique
• Sea of Crete Channel • Yellow Sea
• Sea of the
Hebrides • Persian Gulf
• Sargasso Sea
• Thracian Sea • Red Sea

• Tyrrhenian Sea • Timor Sea

[edit] Nomenclature
Some bodies of water that are called "seas" are not actually seas; there are also some seas that are not
called "seas". The following is an incomplete list of such potentially confusing names.

• The Sea of Galilee is a small freshwater lake with a natural outlet, which is called Lake Tiberias or
Lake Kinneret on modern Israeli maps, but its original name remains in use.
• The Sea of Cortés is more commonly known as the Gulf of California.
• The Persian Gulf is a sea.
• The Dead Sea is actually a lake, as is the Caspian Sea.
[edit] Science
The term "sea" has also been used in quantum physics. Dirac sea is an interpretation of the negative
energy states that comprises the vacuum.

[edit] See also
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Seas

Look up maritime in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Look up sea in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

• Oceanography
• Inlet
• International Maritime Organization
• List of places on land with elevations below sea level
• Pole of inaccessibility: the locations farthest from any coastline
• Marine debris
• Sea level
• Sea level rise
• Sea salt
• Seven Seas

[edit] References
1. ^ "IHO Background Information". International Hydrographic Organization (25 August 2004).
Retrieved on 2008-05-17.
2. ^ International Hydrographic Conference of 1952 (1953). "Limits of Oceans and Seas: Special
publication S-23" (.PDF). Third edition. International Hydrographic Organization. Retrieved on

Retrieved from ""
Categories: Bodies of water | Seas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Mountain (disambiguation).
Mount Damavand, Iran

Five Finger Mountain, Azerbaijan.

A mountain is a landform that stretches above the surrounding land in a limited area, with a peak. A
mountain is generally steeper than a hill, but there is no universally accepted standard definition for the
height of a mountain or a hill although a mountain usually has an identifiable summit. Mountains cover
64% of Asia, 36% of North America, 25% of Europe, 22% of South America, 17% of Australia, and 3%
of Africa. As a whole, 24% of the Earth's land mass is mountainous. 10% of people live in mountainous
regions. Most of the world's rivers are fed from mountain sources, and more than half of humanity
depends on mountains for water.[1][2] All 50 of the world’s tallest mountains are in Asia.

The adjective montane is used to describe mountainous areas and things associated with them. Orology
is its specialized field of studies, though the term is mostly replaced by "Mountain studies".


• 1 Definitions
o 1.1 In the United States
o 1.2 Height
• 2 Characteristics
• 3 Types of mountains
• 4 Geology
• 5 See also
• 6 Gallery

• 7 References

[edit] Definitions

Ben Nevis, a 1344 m (4409 ft) munro, Grampian Mountains, Scotland
Some authorities define a mountain as a peak with a large topographic prominence over a defined value:
for example, according to the Britannica Student Encyclopedia, the term "generally refers to rises over
2,000 feet (609.6 m)".[3] This is a widely accepted common usage in the UK; even though the Countryside
and Rights of Way Act 2000 gives a statute definition of a mountain as any "land above 600 m".[4] The
Encyclopædia Britannica, on the other hand, does not prescribe any height, merely stating that "the term
has no standardized geological meaning".[5]

[edit] In the United States

In the United States, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names lists hundreds of landscape features under
1,000 feet (305 m) (some as low as 100 feet) named as "mountains." This is true for all parts of the United
States, including the west coast where such lofty ranges as the Cascade Mountains dominate. And yet the
Board does not attempt to distinguish between such features as mountains, hills, or other prominences,
and simply categorizes all of them as summit, regardless of what they are called or how high they are.
However, the Board does list and categorize such low mountain ranges as the Mount Tom Range (with a
high point of 1,200 feet; 366 m) as range.[1]

[edit] Height

K2, 8,611 metres (28,250 ft), Karakoram Range, Pakistan.

The height of a mountain is measured as the elevation of its summit above mean sea level. The Himalayas
average 5 km above sea level, while the Andes average 4 km. The highest mountain on land is Everest,
8,848 metres (29,030 ft) in the Himalayas. The shortest mountain is Mount Wycheproof, 42 metres
(140 ft) in north west Victoria, Australia.

Other definitions of height are possible. The peak that is farthest from the center of the Earth is
Chimborazo in Ecuador. At 6,267 metres (20,560 ft) above sea level it is not even the tallest peak in the
Andes, but because Chimborazo is very close to the equator and the Earth bulges at the equator, it is
2,150 metres (7,100 ft) further away from the Earth's center than Everest.[6] The peak that rises farthest
from its base is Mauna Kea on Hawaii, whose peak is 10,200 metres (33,500 ft) above its base on the
floor of the Pacific Ocean.[7] Mount Lamlam on Guam also lays claim to the tallest mountain as measured
from it base. Although its peak is only 406 metres (1,330 ft) above sea level, it measures 11,530 metres
(37,830 ft) to its base at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.[8]
Even though Everest is the highest mountain on Earth today, there have been much taller mountains in the
past. During the Precambrian era, the Canadian Shield once had mountains 12,000 m (39,370 ft)[9] in
height that are now eroded down into rolling hills. These formed by the collision of tectonic plates much
like the Himalaya and the Rocky Mountains.

At 26 kilometres (85,000 ft) (Fraknoi et al., 2004), the tallest known mountain in the solar system is
Olympus Mons, located on Mars and is an ancient volcano. Volcanoes have been known to erupt on other
planets and moons in our solar system and some of them erupt ice instead of lava (see Cryovolcano).

[edit] Characteristics
High mountains, and mountains located closer to the Earth's poles, have elevations that exist in colder
layers of the atmosphere. They are consequently often subject to glaciation and erosion through frost
action. Such processes produce the popularly recognizable mountain peak shape. Some of these
mountains have glacial lakes, created by melting glaciers; for example, there are an estimated 3,000
glacial lakes in Bhutan.

Mount Olympus in Greece.

Alps mountain view in Switzerland

Sufficiently tall mountains have very different climatic conditions at the top than at the base, and will thus
have different life zones at different altitudes. The flora and fauna found in these zones tend to become
isolated since the conditions above and below a particular zone will be inhospitable to those organisms.
These isolated ecological systems are known as sky islands and/or microclimates. Alpine forests are
forests on mountain sides which attract moisture from the trees, creating a unique ecosystem. Very tall
mountains may be covered in ice or snow.

Mountains are colder than lower ground, because the Sun heats Earth from the ground up. The Sun's
radiation travels through the atmosphere to the ground, where Earth absorbs the heat. Air closest to the
Earth's surface is, in general, warmest (see lapse rate for details). Air as high as a mountain is poorly
warmed and, therefore, cold.[10] Air temperature normally drops 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (1.8 to 3.6 degrees
Fahrenheit) for each 300 meters (1000 feet) of altitude.

Mountains are generally less preferable for human habitation than lowlands; the weather is often harsher,
and there is little level ground suitable for agriculture. At very high altitudes, there is less oxygen in the
air and less protection against solar radiation (UV). Acute mountain sickness (caused by hypoxia - a lack
of oxygen in the blood) affects over half of lowlanders who spend more than a few hours above 3,500
meters (11,483 feet).

A number of mountains and mountain ranges of the world have been left in their natural state, and are
today primarily used for recreation, while others are used for logging, mining, grazing, or see little use of
any sort at all. Some mountains offer spectacular views from their summits, while others are densely
wooded. Summit accessibility ranges from mountain to mountain; height, steepness, latitude, terrain,
weather, and the presence or lack thereof of roads, lifts, or tramways are all factors that affect
accessibility. Hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, downhill skiing, and
snowboarding are recreational activities typically enjoyed on mountains. Mountains that support heavy
recreational use (especially downhill skiing) are often the locations of mountain resorts.

[edit] Types of mountains

The Matterhorn, the classical pyramidal peak

Mountains can be characterized in several ways. Some mountains are volcanoes and can be characterized
by the type of lava and eruptive history. Other mountains are shaped by glacial processes and can be
characterized by their glaciated features. Still others are typified by the faulting and folding of the Earth's
crust, or by the collision of continental plates via plate tectonics (the Himalayas, for instance). Shape and
placement within the overall landscape also define mountains and mountainous structures (such as butte
and monadnock). Finally, many mountains can be characterized by the type of rock that make up their
composition. More information on mountain types can be found in List of mountain types.

[edit] Geology

The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everest.

A mountain is usually produced by the movement of lithospheric plates, either orogenic movement or
epeirogenic movement. The compressional forces, isostatic uplift and intrusion of igneous matter forces
surface rock upward, creating a landform higher than the surrounding features. The height of the feature
makes it either a hill or, if higher and steeper, a mountain. The absolute heights of features termed
mountains and hills vary greatly according to an area's terrain. The major mountains tend to occur in long
linear arcs, indicating tectonic plate boundaries and activity. Two types of mountain are formed
depending on how the rock reacts to the tectonic forces – block mountains or fold mountains.

The compressional forces in continental collisions may cause the compressed region to thicken, so the
upper surface is forced upward. In order to balance the weight of the earth surface, much of the
compressed rock is forced downward, producing deep "mountain roots" [see the Book of "Earth", Press
and Siever page.413]. Mountains therefore form downward as well as upward (see isostasy). However, in
some continental collisions part of one continent may simply override part of the others, crumpling in the

Some isolated mountains were produced by volcanoes, including many apparently small islands that reach
a great height above the ocean floor.

Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, USA

Block mountains are created when large areas are widely broken up by faults creating large vertical
displacements. This occurrence is fairly common. The uplifted blocks are block mountains or horsts. The
intervening dropped blocks are termed graben: these can be small or form extensive rift valley systems.
This form of landscape can be seen in East Africa, the Vosges, the Basin and Range province of Western
North America and the Rhine valley. These areas often occur when the regional stress is extensional and
the crust is thinned.

The mid-ocean ridges are often referred to as undersea mountain ranges due to their bathymetric

Where rock does not fault it folds, either symmetrically or asymmetrically. The upfolds are anticlines and
the downfolds are synclines; in asymmetric folding there may also be recumbent and overturned folds.
The Jura mountains are an example of folding. Over time, erosion can bring about an inversion of relief:
the soft upthrust rock is worn away so the anticlines are actually lower than the tougher, more compressed
rock of the synclines.

[edit] See also
• List of mountains Environment portal
• List of highest mountains
• Category:Lists of mountains Ecology portal
• Mountain range and list of mountain ranges
• Latin names of mountains • Mountaineering
• List of ski areas and resorts

• List of peaks by prominence
[edit] Gallery

Mount Everest, Mount Feathertop,
8,848 metres (29,030 ft), Mount Kilimanjaro, Pilot Mountain, 738 metres
1,922 metres (6,310 ft), (2,420 ft), Sauratown
Himalayas, Nepal. 5,895 metres
Great Dividing Range, Mountains, North Carolina,
(19,340 ft), Tanzania.
Victoria, Australia United States

Northern Appalachian Yu Shan (Jade Finsteraarhorn, Sugarloaf Mountain,
Mountains, Chic-Choc Mountain), 4,274 metres (14,020 ft), Brazil, 396 metres
Range, Gaspé Peninsula, 3,952 metres Bernese Alps, (1,300 ft), Rio de Janeiro,
Quebec, Canada (12,970 ft), Taiwan. Switzerland. Brazil.

Table Mountain Cape
Town, South Africa

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

For other uses, see River (disambiguation).
"Riverine" redirects here. For the use of that term in maritime geography, see there.

Blackwood River, Western Australia
This bridge across the Danube River links Hungary with Slovakia.

This is an image of the Comal River in Landa Park, New Braunfels, Texas.

A view across the Brahmaputra from near Sukleswar ghat in Guwahati.

A river is a natural stream of water, usually freshwater, flowing toward an ocean, a lake, or another
stream. In some cases a river flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body
of water. Usually larger streams are called rivers while smaller streams are called creeks, brooks, rivulets,
rills, and many other terms, but there is no general rule that defines what can be called a river. Sometimes
a river is said to be larger than a creek,[1] but this is not always the case.[2]

A river is a component of the water cycle. The water within a river is generally collected from
precipitation through surface runoff, groundwater recharge (as seen at baseflow conditions / during
periods of lack of precipitation) and release of stored water in natural reservoirs, such as a glacier.


• 1 Origins
• 2 Topography
• 3 Classification
• 4 Uses
• 5 Ecology
• 6 Flooding
• 7 Flow
o 7.1 Direction
o 7.2 Rate
• 8 Management
• 9 Rating systems
o 9.1 Gallery
• 10 See also
o 10.1 Crossings
o 10.2 Transport
• 11 References

• 12 Further reading

[edit] Origins

The youthful Tambo River flowing over a slight change in topography

The beginning of a mountain river in the Swiss Alps (Reichenbach in Grosse Scheidegg)

A river may have its source in a spring, lake, from damp, boggy landscapes where the soil is waterlogged,
from glacial melt, or from surface runoff of precipitation. Almost all rivers are joined by other rivers and
streams termed tributaries, the highest of which are known as headwaters. Water may also originate from
groundwater sources. Throughout the course of the river, the total volume transported downstream will
often be a combination of the free water flow together with a substantial contribution flowing through
sub-surface rocks and gravels that underlie the river and its floodplain. For many rivers in large valleys,
this unseen component of flow may greatly exceed the visible flow.

From their source, rivers flow downhill, typically terminating in a sea or in a lake, through a confluence.
In arid areas rivers sometimes end by losing water to evaporation. River water may also infiltrate into the
soil or pervious rock, where it becomes groundwater. Excessive abstraction of water for use in industry,
irrigation, etc., can also cause a river to dry before reaching its natural terminus.

The mouth, or lower end, of a river is known as its base level. The area drained by a river and its canals is
called catchment, catchment basin, drainage basin or watershed. The term "watershed" is also used to
mean a boundary between catchments, which is also called a water divide, or in some, continental divide.

[edit] Topography
Amazon River in Brazil

The water in a river is usually confined to a channel, made up of a stream bed between banks. In larger
rivers there is also a wider floodplain shaped by flood-waters over-topping the channel. Flood plains may
be very wide in relation to the size of the river channel. This distinction between river channel and
floodplain can be blurred especially in urban areas where the floodplain of a river channel can become
greatly developed by housing and industry.

The term upriver, is referred to as the beginning or source of the river flow regardless of the direction of
flow. Therefore, the term down river, is referring to the direction of flow that the river continues in.

The river channel typically contains a single stream of water, but some rivers flow as several
interconnecting streams of water, producing a braided river. Extensive braided rivers are found in only a
few regions worldwide, such as the South Island of New Zealand. They also occur on peneplains and
some of the larger river deltas. Anastamosing rivers are similar to braided rivers and are also quite rare.
They have multiple sinuous channels carrying large volumes of sediment.

A river flowing in its channel is a source of energy which acts on the river channel to change its shape and
form. According to Brahm's law (sometimes called Airy's law), the mass of objects that may be flown
away by a river is proportional to the sixth power of the river flow speed. Thus, when the speed of flow
increases two times, it can transport 64 times larger (i.e. more massive) objects.[3] In mountainous
torrential zones this can be seen as erosion channels through hard rocks and the creation of sands and
gravels from the destruction of larger rocks. In U shaped glaciated valleys, the subsequent river valley can
often easily be identified by the V shaped channel that it has carved. In the middle reaches where the river
may flow over flatter land, meanders may form through erosion of the river banks and deposition on the
inside of bends. Sometimes the river will cut off a loop, shortening the channel and forming an oxbow
lake or billabong. Rivers that carry large amounts of sediment may develop conspicuous deltas at their
mouths, if conditions permit. Rivers whose mouths are in saline tidal waters may form estuaries.

[edit] Classification
Although the following classes are a useful way to visualize rivers, there are many other factors at work.
Gradient is controlled largely by tectonics, but discharge is controlled largely by climate, and sediment
load is controlled by various factors including climate, geology in the headwaters, and the stream

Leisure activities on the River Avon at Avon Valley Country Park, Keynsham, Bristol, England. A boat
giving trips to the public passes a moored private boat.
Youthful river
a river with a steep gradient that has very few tributaries and flows quickly. Its channels erode
deeper rather than wider. (Examples: Brazos River, Trinity River, Ebro River)
Mature river
a river with a gradient that is less steep than those of youthful rivers and flows more slowly than
youthful rivers. A mature river is fed by many tributaries and has more discharge than a youthful
river. Its channels erode wider rather than deeper. (Examples: Mississippi River, St. Lawrence
River, Danube River, Ohio River, River Thames)
Old river
a river with a low gradient and low erosive energy. Old rivers are characterized by flood plains.
(Examples: Huang He River, Ganges River, Tigris, Euphrates River, Indus River, Nile River)
Rejuvenated river
a river with a gradient that is raised by tectonic uplift.

The straight-line distance from the beginning to the end of most rivers is about one third their actual

The way which a river's characteristics vary between the upper course and lower course of a river is
summarized by the Bradshaw model.

Most rivers flow on the surface; however subterranean rivers flow underground in caves or caverns. Such
rivers are frequently found in remote regions with limestone geologic formations.

An intermittent river (or ephemeral river) only flows occasionally and can be dry for several years at a
time. These rivers are found in regions with limited or highly variable rainfall, or can occur due to
geologic conditions such as having a highly permeable river bed.

[edit] Uses
Rivers have been used as a source of water, for food, for transport, as a defensive barrier, as a source of
power to drive machinery, and as a means of disposing of waste.

For thousands of years rivers have been used for navigation (The earliest evidence of navigation is found
in the Indus Valley Civilization, which existed in northwestern pakistan around 3300 BC). Riverine
navigation provides the cheapest means of transport and is still used extensively on major rivers of the
world like the Amazon the Ganges, the Nile, the Mississippi, and the Indus.

In some heavily-forested regions like Scandinavia and Canada, lumberjacks use the river to float felled
trees downstream to lumber camps for further processing, saving much effort and cost by transporting the
huge heavy logs by natural means.

Rivers have been a source of food since pre-history. Apart from being a rich source of fish, rivers
indirectly aid cultivation by supplying water for the crops. Rivers sustain their own food chain. They are a
major source of fresh water, hence, it is no surprise to find most of the major cities of the world situated
on the banks of rivers. Rivers help to determine the urban form of cities and neighbourhoods and their
corridors often present opportunities for urban renewal through the development of foreshoreways such as
Riverwalks. Rivers also provide an easy means of disposing of waste.
Most riverbanks in Japan are used as places for playing, recreation and parties

The rocks and gravel generated and moved by rivers are used in construction. The beauty of rivers and
their surroundings contributes to tourist income.

In upland rivers, rapids with whitewater or even waterfalls occur. Rapids are often used for recreation,
such as whitewater kayaking. Fast flowing rivers and waterfalls are harnessed as sources of energy, via
watermills and hydroelectric plants.

Rivers have been important in determining political boundaries and defending countries. For example, the
Danube was a longstanding border of the Roman Empire, and today it forms most of the border between
Bulgaria and Romania. The Mississippi in North America and the Rhine in Europe are major east-west
boundaries in those continents. The Orange and Limpopo Rivers in southern Africa form the boundaries
between provinces and countries along their routes.

Ancient Greek historian Megasthenes mentions about River Ganga several times in his work Indika:
"India, again, possesses many rivers both large and navigable, which, having their sources in the
mountains which stretch along the northern frontier, traverse the level country, and not a few of these,
after uniting with each other, fall into the river called the Ganges. Now this river, which at its source is
30 stadia broad, flows from north to south, and empties its waters into the ocean forming the eastern
boundary of the Gangaridai, a nation which possesses a vast force of the largest-sized elephants."
(Diodorus II.37.)

[edit] Ecology
Main article: Lotic ecosystems

The flora and fauna of rivers use the aquatic habitats available, from torrential waterfalls through to
lowland mires. Although many organisms are restricted to the fresh water in rivers, some, such as salmon
and hilsa, have adapted to be able to survive both in rivers and in the sea.

[edit] Flooding
Flooding is a natural part of a river's cycle. The majority of the erosion of river channels and the erosion
and deposition on the associated floodplains occur during flood stage. Human activity, however, has upset
the natural way flooding occurs by walling off rivers, straightening their courses and by draining of
natural wetlands.

[edit] Flow
[edit] Direction
Some people think that most rivers flow from north to south.[6][7] Rivers in fact flow downhill regardless of
direction, often in a complex meandering path involving all directions of the compass.[8][9][10]

Few major rivers in the continental U.S. flow north since most of the country is located in the watershed
of the Pacific or Atlantic oceans or the Gulf of Mexico, with very few rivers flowing northward toward
the Arctic Ocean, Great Lakes, or Hudson Bay. However, thousands of north-flowing rivers exist
elsewhere, including such major watercourses as the Nile, Mackenzie, Rhine, Yenisei, Nelson, and Lena.
Four of the ten longest river systems of the world flow mainly north.

[edit] Rate

Volumetric flow rate, also called volume flow rate and rate of water flow, is the volume of water which
passes through a given volume per unit time, measured in cubic meters per second (1 m³/s = 35.51 ft³/s) or
cubic feet per second, sometimes gallons per second.

[edit] Management
Main article: River engineering

Rivers are often managed or controlled to make them more useful, or less disruptive, to human activity.

• Dams or weirs may be built to control the flow, store water, or extract energy.
• Levees, known as dikes in Europe, may be built to prevent river water from flowing on
floodplains or floodways.
• Canals connect rivers to one another for water transfer or navigation.
• River courses may be modified to improve navigation, or straightened to increase the flow rate.

River management is a continuous activity as rivers tend to 'undo' the modifications made by people.
Dredged channels silt up, sluice mechanisms deteriorate with age, levees and dams may suffer seepage or
catastrophic failure. The benefits sought through managing rivers may often be offset by the social and
economic costs of mitigating the bad effects of such management. As an example, in parts of the
developed world, rivers have been confined within channels to free up flat flood-plain land for
development. Floods can inundate such development at high financial cost and often with loss of life.

[edit] Rating systems
• International Scale of River Difficulty – The scale is used to rate the challenges of navigation—
particularly those with rapids. Class I is the easiest and Class VI is the hardest.
• Strahler Stream Order – The Strahler Stream Order ranks rivers based on the connectivity and
hierarchy of contributing tributaries. Headwaters are first order while the Amazon River is twelfth
order. Approximately 80% of the rivers and streams in the world are of the first and second order.

[edit] Gallery

Bridges are a common way
Río Peralonso - El Zulia River Gambia flowing of crossing rivers (Hooghly Zambezi and Victoria
(Norte de Santander), through Niokolokoba River, Kolkata, India) Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe,
Colombia National Park

Hooghly River (Kolkata, This river flows from
India) Heathcote National Park
Woronora Dam, Sydney.

[edit] See also
See also: geography, water cycle, and drainage basin
Look up River in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: River

• Aqueduct
• Baer's law
• Canal
• Drought
• Hydrology
• List of river name etymologies
• List of rivers by average discharge
• List of rivers by length
• List of rivers of Africa
• List of rivers of Asia
• List of rivers of Europe
• List of rivers of Oceania
• List of rivers of the Americas
• List of waterways
• Mainstem (hydrology)
• River cruise
• Rock-cut basin
• Water dispute

[edit] Crossings

• Bridges
• Ferries
• Fords
• Tunnels

[edit] Transport

• Barge
• Riverboat
• Sailing
• Towpath

[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the general concept of art. For the formal categories of different expressive
disciplines, see The arts. For other uses, see Art (disambiguation).
The Bath, a painting by Mary Cassatt (1844–1926).

The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night, Vincent van Gogh, September 1888.

Art is the process or product of deliberately and creatively arranging elements in a way that appeals to the
senses or emotions. In its narrow sense, the word art most often refers specifically to the visual arts,
including media such as painting, sculpture, and printmaking. However, "the arts" may also encompass a
diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature.
Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy which studies art.

Traditionally, the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery. This conception changed during the
Romantic period, when art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with
religion and science".[1] Generally, art is a human activity, made with the intention of stimulating thoughts
and emotions. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art.

The definition and evaluation of art has become especially problematic since the 20th century. Richard
Wollheim distinguishes three approaches: the Realist, whereby aesthetic quality is an absolute value
independent of any human view; the Objectivist, whereby it is also an absolute value, but is dependent on
general human experience; and the Relativist position, whereby it is not an absolute value, but depends
on, and varies with, the human experience of different humans.[2] An object may be characterized by the
intentions, or lack thereof, of its creator, regardless of its apparent purpose. A cup, which ostensibly can
be used as a container, may be considered art if intended solely as an ornament, while a painting may be
deemed craft if mass-produced.

Visual art is defined as the arrangement of colors, forms, or other elements "in a manner that affects the
sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium".[3] The nature
of art has been described by Wollheim as "one of the most elusive of the traditional problems of human
culture".[4] It has been defined as a vehicle for the expression or communication of emotions and ideas, a
means for exploring and appreciating formal elements for their own sake, and as mimesis or
representation.[5] Leo Tolstoy identified art as a use of indirect means to communicate from one person to
another.[5] Benedetto Croce and R.G. Collingwood advanced the idealist view that art expresses emotions,
and that the work of art therefore essentially exists in the mind of the creator.[6][7] The theory of art as form
has its roots in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and was developed in the early twentieth century by
Roger Fry and Clive Bell.[5] Art as mimesis or representation has deep roots in the philosophy of Aristotle.

• 1 Usage
• 2 Theories
• 3 Purpose of Art
o 3.1 Non-Motivated Functions of Art
o 3.2 Motivated Functions of Art
• 4 Classification disputes
• 5 Controversial art
• 6 Art, class and value
• 7 Forms, genres, mediums, and styles
• 8 History
• 9 Characteristics
o 9.1 Skill and craft
o 9.2 Value judgment
o 9.3 Communication
• 10 See also
• 11 Notes
• 12 Bibliography
• 13 Further reading

• 14 External links

The most common usage of the word "art," which rose to prominence after 1750, is understood to denote
skill used to produce an aesthetic result.[8] Britannica Online defines it as "the use of skill and imagination
in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others."[9] By any
of these definitions of the word, artistic works have existed for almost as long as humankind: from early
pre-historic art to contemporary art; however, some theories restrict the concept to modern Western
societies.[10] Much has been written about the concept of "art".[11] Where Adorno said in 1970 "It is now
taken for granted that nothing which concerns art can be taken for granted any more[...],"[12],[13] The first
and broadest sense of art is the one that has remained closest to the older Latin meaning, which roughly
translates to "skill" or "craft," and also from an Indo-European root meaning "arrangement" or "to
arrange". In this sense, art is whatever is described as having undergone a deliberate process of
arrangement by an agent. A few examples where this meaning proves very broad include artifact,
artificial, artifice, artillery, medical arts, and military arts. However, there are many other colloquial uses
of the word, all with some relation to its etymology.

The second and more recent sense of the word art is as an abbreviation for creative art or fine art. Fine art
means that a skill is being used to express the artist’s creativity, or to engage the audience’s aesthetic
sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of the finer things. Often, if the skill is being
used in a common or practical way, people will consider it a craft instead of art. Likewise, if the skill is
being used in a commercial or industrial way, it will be considered Commercial art instead of fine art. On
the other hand, crafts and design are sometimes considered applied art. Some art followers have argued
that the difference between fine art and applied art has more to do with value judgments made about the
art than any clear definitional difference.[14] However, even fine art often has goals beyond pure creativity
and self-expression. The purpose of works of art may be to communicate ideas, such as in politically-,
spiritually-, or philosophically-motivated art; to create a sense of beauty (see aesthetics); to explore the
nature of perception; for pleasure; or to generate strong emotions. The purpose may also be seemingly
Painting by Song Dynasty artist Ma Lin, c. 1250. 24,8 × 25,2 cm.

Art can describe several things: a study of creative skill, a process of using the creative skill, a product of
the creative skill, or the audience’s experience with the creative skill. The creative arts (art as discipline)
are a collection of disciplines (arts) that produce artworks (art as objects) that are compelled by a
personal drive (art as activity) and echo or reflect a message, mood, or symbolism for the viewer to
interpret (art as experience). Artworks can be defined by purposeful, creative interpretations of limitless
concepts or ideas in order to communicate something to another person. Artworks can be explicitly made
for this purpose or interpreted based on images or objects. Art is something that stimulates an individual's
thoughts, emotions, beliefs, or ideas through the senses. It is also an expression of an idea and it can take
many different forms and serve many different purposes. Although the application of scientific theories to
derive a new scientific theory involves skill and results in the "creation" of something new, this represents
science only and is not categorized as art.


Fountain by Marcel Duchamp. 1917

In the nineteenth century, artists were primarily concerned with ideas of truth and beauty. The aesthetic
theorist John Ruskin, who championed the raw naturalism of J. M. W. Turner, saw art's role as the
communication by artifice of an essential truth that could only be found in nature.[15] The arrival of
Modernism in the early twentieth century lead to a radical break in the conception of the function of art,[16]
and then again in the late twentieth century with the advent of postmodernism. Clement Greenberg's 1960
article "Modernist Painting" defines Modern Art as "the use of characteristic methods of a discipline to
criticize the discipline itself".[17] Greenberg originally applied this idea to the Abstract Expressionist
movement and used it as a way to understand and justify flat (non-illusionistic) abstract painting:
Realistic, naturalistic art had dissembled the medium, using art to conceal art; modernism used art to call attention
to art. The limitations that constitute the medium of painting – the flat surface, the shape of the support, the
properties of the pigment — were treated by the Old Masters as negative factors that could be acknowledged only
implicitly or indirectly. Under Modernism these same limitations came to be regarded as positive factors, and were
acknowledged openly.[17]

After Greenberg, several important art theorists emerged, such as Michael Fried, T. J. Clark, Rosalind
Krauss, Linda Nochlin and Griselda Pollock among others. Though only originally intended as a way of
understanding a specific set of artists, Greenberg's definition of Modern Art is important to many of the
ideas of art within the various art movements of the 20th century and early 21st century.

Pop artists like Andy Warhol became both noteworthy and influential through work including and
possibly critiquing popular culture, as well as the art world. Certain radical artists of the 1980s, 1990s,
and 2000s expanded this technique of self-criticism beyond high art to all cultural image-making,
including fashion images, comics, billboards and pornography.

Purpose of Art
Art has had an great number of different functions throughout its history, making its purpose difficult to
abstract or quantify to any single concept. This does not imply that the purpose of Art is "vague", but that
it has had many unique, different, reasons for being created. Some of these functions of Art are provided
in the following outline. The different purposes of art may be grouped according to those which are non-
motivated, and those which are motivated (Levi-Strauss).

Non-Motivated Functions of Art

The non-motivated purposes of Art are those which are integral to being human, transcend the individual,
or do not fulfill a specific external purpose. Aristotle has said, "Imitation, then, is one instinct of our
nature." [18] In this sense, Art, as creativity, is something which humans must do by their very nature (i.e.
no other species creates art), and is therefore beyond utility.

1. Basic human instinct for harmony, balance, rhythm. Art at this level is not an action or an object,
but an internal appreciation of balance and harmony (beauty), and therefore an aspect of being
human beyond utility.

"Imitation, then, is one instinct of our nature. Next, there is the instinct for 'harmony' and rhythm, meters
being manifestly sections of rhythm. Persons, therefore, starting with this natural gift developed by degrees
their special aptitudes, till their rude improvisations gave birth to Poetry." -Aristotle [19]

2. Experience of the mysterious. Art provides us with a way to experience ourselves in relation to the
universe. This experience may often come unmotivated, as we appreciate art, music or poetry.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."
-Albert Einstein [20]

3. Expression of the imagination. Art provide a means to express the imagination in non-grammatic
ways that are not tied to the formality of spoken or written language. Unlike words, which come in
sequences and each of which have a definite meaning, art provides a range of forms, symbols and
ideas with meanings that are maleable.

"Jupiter's eagle [as an example of art] is not, like logical (aesthetic) attributes of an object, the concept of
the sublimity and majesty of creation, but rather something else - something that gives the imagination an
incentive to spread its flight over a whole host of kindred representations that provoke more thought than
admits of expression in a concept determined by words. They furnish an aesthetic idea, which serves the
above rational idea as a substitute for logical presentation, but with the proper function, however, of
animating the mind by opening out for it a prospect into a field of kindred representations stretching
beyond its ken." -Immanuel Kant[21]

4. Universal communication. Art allows the individual to express things toward the world as a
whole. Earth Artists often create art in remote locations that will never be experienced by another
person. The practice of placing a cairn, or pile of stones at the top of a mountain, is an example.
(Note: This need not suggest a particular view of God, or religion.) Art created in this way is a
form of communication between the individual and the world as a whole.
5. Ritualistic and symbolic functions. In many cultures, art is used in rituals, performances and
dances as a decoration or symbol. While these often have no specific utilitarian (motivated)
purpose, anthropologists know that they often serve a purpose at the level of meaning within a
particular culture. This meaning is not furnished by any one individual, but is often the result of
many generations of change, and of a cosmological relationship within the culture.

"Most scholars who deal with rock paintings or objects recovered from prehistoric contexts that cannot be
explained in utilitarian terms and are thus categorized as decorative, ritual or symbolic, are aware of the
trap posed by the term 'art'." -Silva Tomaskova[22]

Motivated Functions of Art

The purposes of art which are motivated refer to intentional, conscious actions on the part of the artists or
creator. These may be to bring about political change, to comment on an aspect of society, to convey a
specific emotion or mood, to address personal psychology, to illustrate another discipline, to (with
commercial arts) to sell a product, or simply as a form of communication.

1. Communcation. Art, at its simplest, is a form of communication. As most forms of communication
have an intent or goal directed toward another individual, this is a motivated purpose. Illustrative
arts, such as scientific illustration, are a form of art as communication. Maps are another example.
However, the content need not be scientific. Emotions, moods and feelings are also communicated
through art.

"[Art is a set of] artefacts or images with symbolic meanings as a means of communication." -Steve

2. Art as Entertainment. Art may seek to bring about a particular emotion or mood, for the purpose
of relaxing or entertaining the viewer. This is often the function of the art industries of Motion
Pictures and Video Games.
3. The Avante-Garde. Art for political change. One of the defining functions of early twentieth
century art has been to use visual images to bring about political change. The art movements
which had this goal - Dadaism, Surrealism, Russian Constructivism, and Abstract Expressionism,
among others - are collectively referred to as the avante-garde arts.

"By contrast, the realistic attitude, inspired by positivism, from Saint Thomas Aquinas to Anatole France,
clearly seems to me to be hostile to any intellectual or moral advancement. I loathe it, for it is made up of
mediocrity, hate, and dull conceit. It is this attitude which today gives birth to these ridiculous books, these
insulting plays. It constantly feeds on and derives strength from the newspapers and stultifies both science
and art by assiduously flattering the lowest of tastes; clarity bordering on stupidity, a dog’s life." -Andre
Breton (Surrealism)[24]
4. Art for psychological and healing purposes. Art is also used by art therapists, psychotherapists and
clinical psychologists as art therapy. The Diagnostic Drawing Series, for example, is used to
determine the personality and emotional functioning of a patient. The end product is not the
principal goal in this case, but rather a process of healing, through creative acts, is sought. The
resultant piece of artwork may also offer insight into the troubles experienced by the subject and
may suggest suitable approaches to be used in more conventional forms of psychiatric therapy.
5. Art for social inquiry, subversion and/or anarchy. While similar to art for political change,
subversive or deconstructivist art may seek to question aspects of society without any specific
political goal. In this case, the function of art may be simply to criticize some aspect of society.

Spray-paint graffiti on a wall in Rome.

Graffiti art and other types of street art are graphics and images that are spray-painted or stencilled
on publicly viewable walls, buildings, buses, trains, and bridges, usually without permission.
Certain art forms, such as graffiti, may also be illegal when they break laws (in this case

6. Art for propaganda, or commercialism. Art is often utilized as a form of propaganda, and thus can
be used to subtly influence popular conceptions or mood. In a similar way, art which seeks to sell
a product also influences mood and emotion. In both cases, the purpose of art here is to subtly
manipulate the viewer into a particular emotional or psychological response toward a particular
idea or object. [25]

The functions of art described above are not mutually exclusive, as many of them may overlap. For
example, art for the purpose of entertainment may also seek to sell a product, i.e. the movie or video
game. One of the central challenges of post-modern art (after the 1970s), is that as the world becomes
increasingly utilitarian, functional, and market-driven, the presence of the non-motivated arts, or art which
is ritualistic or symbolic, becomes increasingly rare.

Classification disputes
Main article: Classificatory disputes about art

Image of a horse from the Lascaux caves.
It is common in the history of art for people to dispute whether a particular form or work, or particular
piece of work counts as art or not. In fact for much of the past century the idea of art has been to simply
challenge what art is. Philosophers of Art call these disputes “classificatory disputes about art.” For
example, Ancient Greek philosophers debated about whether or not ethics should be considered the "art of
living well". Classificatory disputes in the 20th century included: cubist and impressionist paintings,
Duchamp’s Fountain, the movies, superlative imitations of banknotes, propaganda, and even a crucifix
immersed in urine. Conceptual art often intentionally pushes the boundaries of what counts as art. New
media such as Video games slowly become co-opted by artists and/or recognized as art forms in its own
right, though these new classification shifts are not universally adopted and remain the subject of dispute.

Disputes over the nature of art have raged for centuries, and have even resulted in the banning of some

Philosopher David Novitz has argued that disagreement about the definition of art are rarely the heart of
the problem. Rather, "the passionate concerns and interests that humans vest in their social life" are "so
much a part of all classificatory disputes about art" (Novitz, 1996). According to Novitz, classificatory
disputes are more often disputes about our values and where we are trying to go with our society than they
are about theory proper. For example, when the Daily Mail criticized Hirst's and Emin’s work by arguing
"For 1,000 years art has been one of our great civilising forces. Today, pickled sheep and soiled beds
threaten to make barbarians of us all" they are not advancing a definition or theory about art, but
questioning the value of Hirst’s and Emin’s work.[27] In 1998, Arthur Danto, suggested a thought
experiment showing that "the status of an artifact as work of art results from the ideas a culture applies to
it, rather than its inherent physical or perceptible qualities. Cultural interpretation (an art theory of some
kind) is therefore constitutive of an object’s arthood."[28][29]

Controversial art
Theodore Gericault's "Raft of the Medusa" (1820), was a social commentary on a current event,
unprecedented at the time. Edouard Manet's "Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe" (1863), was considered scandalous
not because of the nude woman, but because she is seated next to men fully dressed in the clothing of the
time, rather than in robes of the antique world. John Singer Sargent's "Madame Pierre Gautreau (Madam
X)" (1884), caused a huge uproar over the reddish pink used to color the woman's ear lobe, considered far
too suggestive and supposedly ruining the high-society model's reputation.
Leon Golub's Interrogation III (1981)

In the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso's Guernica (1937) used arresting cubist techniques and stark
monochromatic oils, to depict the harrowing consequences of a contemporary bombing of a small, ancient
Basque town. Leon Golub's Interrogation III (1981), depicts a female nude, hooded detainee strapped to a
chair, her legs open to reveal her sexual organs, surrounded by two tormentors dressed in everyday
clothing. Andres Serrano's Piss Christ (1989) is a photograph of a crucifix, sacred to the Christian religion
and representing Christ's sacrifice and final suffering, submerged in a glass of the artist's own urine. The
resulting uproar led to comments in the United States Senate about public funding of the arts.

In the twenty-first century, Eric Fischl created Tumbling Woman as a memorial to those who jumped or
fell to their death in the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Initially installed at
Rockefeller Center in New York City, within a year the work was removed as too disturbing.[30]

Art, class and value

Versailles: Louis Le Vau opened up the interior court to create the expansive entrance cour d'honneur,
later copied all over Europe

Art has been perceived by some as belonging to some social classes and often excluding others. In this
context, art is seen as an upper-class activity associated with wealth, the ability to purchase art, and the
leisure required to pursue or enjoy it. For example, the palaces of Versailles or the Hermitage in St.
Petersburg with their vast collections of art, amassed by the fabulously wealthy royalty of Europe
exemplify this view. Collecting such art is the preserve of the rich, or of governments and institutions.

Fine and expensive goods have been popular markers of status in many cultures, and continue to be so
today. There has been a cultural push in the other direction since at least 1793, when the Louvre, which
had been a private palace of the Kings of France, was opened to the public as an art museum during the
French Revolution. Most modern public museums and art education programs for children in schools can
be traced back to this impulse to have art available to everyone. Museums in the United States tend to be
gifts from the very rich to the masses (The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, for example,
was created by John Taylor Johnston, a railroad executive whose personal art collection seeded the
museum.) But despite all this, at least one of the important functions of art in the 21st century remains as a
marker of wealth and social status.
Performance by Joseph Beuys, 1978 : Everyone an artist — On the way to the libertarian form of the
social organism.

There have been attempts by artists to create art that can not be bought by the wealthy as a status object.
One of the prime original motivators of much of the art of the late 1960s and 1970s was to create art that
could not be bought and sold. It is "necessary to present something more than mere objects"[31] said the
major post war German artist Joseph Beuys. This time period saw the rise of such things as performance
art, video art, and conceptual art. The idea was that if the artwork was a performance that would leave
nothing behind, or was simply an idea, it could not be bought and sold. "Democratic precepts revolving
around the idea that a work of art is a commodity impelled the aesthetic innovation which germinated in
the mid-1960s and was reaped throughout the 1970s. Artists broadly identified under the heading of
Conceptual art... substituting performance and publishing activities for engagement with both the material
and materialistic concerns of painted or sculptural form... [have] endeavored to undermine the art object
qua object."[32]

In the decades since, these ideas have been somewhat lost as the art market has learned to sell limited
edition DVDs of video works,[33] invitations to exclusive performance art pieces, and the objects left over
from conceptual pieces. Many of these performances create works that are only understood by the elite
who have been educated as to why an idea or video or piece of apparent garbage may be considered art.
The marker of status becomes understanding the work instead of necessarily owning it, and the artwork
remains an upper-class activity. "With the widespread use of DVD recording technology in the early
2000s, artists, and the gallery system that derives its profits from the sale of artworks, gained an important
means of controlling the sale of video and computer artworks in limited editions to collectors."[34]

Forms, genres, mediums, and styles
Main article: The arts

The creative arts are often divided into more specific categories that are related to their technique, or
medium, such as decorative arts, plastic arts, performing arts, or literature. Unlike scientific fields, art is
one of the few subjects that is academically organized according to technique [1]. An artistic medium is
the substance or material the artistic work is made from, and may also refers to the technique used. For
example, paint is the media used in painting, paper is a media used in drawing.

An art form is the specific shape, or quality an artistic expression takes. The media used often influences
the form. For example, the form of a sculpture must exist in space in three-dimensions, and respond to
gravity. The constraints and limitations of a particular medium are thus called its formal qualities. To
give another example, the formal qualities of painting are the canvas texture, color, and brush texture. The
formal qualities of video games are non-linearity, interactivity and virtual presence. The form of a
particular work of art is determined by both the formal qualities of the media, and the intentions of the

A genre is a set of conventions and styles within a particular media. For instance, well recognized genres
in film are western, horror and romantic comedy. Genres in music include death metal and trip hop.
Genres in painting include still life, and pastoral landscape. A particular work of art may bend or combine
genres but each genre has a recognizable group of conventions, clichés and tropes. (One note: the word
genre has a second older meaning within painting; genre painting was a phrase used in the 17th to 19th
century to refer specifically to paintings of scenes of everyday life and can still be used in this way.)

Detail of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, showing the painting technique of sfumato.

An artwork, artist’s, or movement's style is the distinctive method and form that art takes. Any loose
brushy, dripped or poured abstract painting is called expressionistic (with a lower case "e" and the "ic" at
the end). Often these styles are linked with a particular historical period, set of ideas, and particular
artistic movement. So Jackson Pollock is called an Abstract Expressionist.

Because a particular style may have a specific cultural meanings, it is important to be sensitive to
differences in technique. Roy Lichtenstein's (1923-1997) paintings are not pointillist, despite his uses of
dots, because they are not aligned with the original proponents of Pointillism. Lichtenstein used Ben-Day
dots: they are evenly-spaced and create flat areas of color. These types of dots, used in halftone printing,
were originally used in comic strips and newspapers to reproduce color. Lichtenstein thus uses the dots as
a style to question the "high" art of painting with the "low" art of comics - to comment on class
distinctions in culture. Lichtenstein is thus associated with the American Pop art movement (1960s).
Pointillism is a technique in late Impressionism (1880s), developed especially by the artist Georges
Seurat, that employs dots that are spaced in a way to create variation in color and depth in an attempt to
paint images that were closer to the way we really see color. Both artists use dots, but the particular style
and technique relates to the artistic movement these artists were a part of.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849), colored woodcut print.

These are all ways of beginning to define a work of art, to narrow it down. "Imagine you are an art critic
whose mission is to compare the meanings you find in a wide range of individual artworks. How would
you proceed with your task? One way to begin is to examine the materials each artist selected in making
an object, image video, or event. The decision to cast a sculpture in bronze, for instance, inevitably effects
its meaning; the work becomes something different than if it had been cast in gold or plastic or chocolate,
even if everything else about the artwork remained the same. Next, you might examine how the materials
in each artwork have become an arrangement of shapes, colors, textures, and lines. These, in turn, are
organized into various patterns and compositional structures. In your interpretation, you would comment
on how salient features of the form contribute to the overall meaning of the finished artwork. [But in the
end] the meaning of most artworks... is not exhausted by a discussion of materials, techniques, and form.
Most interpretations also include a discussion of the ideas and feelings the artwork engenders."[35]

Main article: History of Art

Venus of Willendorf.

Art predates history; sculptures, cave paintings, rock paintings, and petroglyphs from the Upper
Paleolithic starting roughly 40,000 years ago have been found, but the precise meaning of such art is often
disputed because so little is known about the cultures that produced them. The oldest art objects in the
world: a series of tiny, drilled snail shells about 75,000yrs old, were discovered in a South African cave.

The great traditions in art have a foundation in the art of one of the great ancient civilizations: Ancient
Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, India, China, Ancient Greece, Rome, or Arabia (ancient Yemen and Oman).
Each of these centers of early civilization developed a unique and characteristic style in their art. Because
of the size and duration these civilizations, more of their art works have survived and more of their
influence has been transmitted to other cultures and later times. They have also provided the first records
of how artists worked. For example, this period of Greek art saw a veneration of the human physical form
and the development of equivalent skills to show musculature, poise, beauty and anatomically correct

In Byzantine and Gothic art of the Western Middle Ages, art focused on the expression of Biblical and not
material truths, and emphasized methods which would show the higher unseen glory of a heavenly world,
such as the use of gold in the background of paintings, or glass in mosaics or windows, which also
presented figures in idealized, patterned (flat) forms.
The stylized signature of Sultan Mahmud II of the Ottoman Empire was written in Arabic calligraphy. It
reads Mahmud Khan son of Abdulhamid is forever victorious.

The western Renaissance saw a return to valuation of the material world, and the place of humans in it,
and this paradigm shift is reflected in art forms, which show the corporeality of the human body, and the
three dimensional reality of landscape.

Landscape of pine valley, by Ming Dynasty artist Chen Hongshou.

In the east, Islamic art's rejection of iconography led to emphasis on geometric patterns, calligraphy, and
architecture. Further east, religion dominated artistic styles and forms too. India and Tibet saw emphasis
on painted sculptures and dance with religious painting borrowing many conventions from sculpture and
tending to bright contrasting colors with emphasis on outlines. China saw many art forms flourish, jade
carving, bronzework, pottery (including the stunning terracotta army of Emperor Qin), poetry,
calligraphy, music, painting, drama, fiction, etc. Chinese styles vary greatly from era to era and are
traditionally named after the ruling dynasty. So, for example, Tang Dynasty paintings are monochromatic
and sparse, emphasizing idealized landscapes, but Ming Dynasty paintings are busy, colorful, and focus
on telling stories via setting and composition. Japan names its styles after imperial dynasties too, and also
saw much interplay between the styles of calligraphy and painting. Woodblock printing became important
in Japan after the 17th century.

The western Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century saw artistic depictions of physical and rational
certainties of the clockwork universe, as well as politically revolutionary visions of a post-monarchist
world, such as Blake’s portrayal of Newton as a divine geometer, or David’s propagandistic paintings.
This led to Romantic rejections of this in favor of pictures of the emotional side and individuality of
humans, exemplified in the novels of Goethe. The late 19th century then saw a host of artistic movements,
such as academic art, symbolism, impressionism and fauvism among others.

By the 20th century these pictures were falling apart, shattered not only by new discoveries of relativity
by Einstein[37] and of unseen psychology by Freud,[38] but also by unprecedented technological
development accelerated by the implosion of civilisation in two world wars. The history of twentieth
century art is a narrative of endless possibilities and the search for new standards, each being torn down in
succession by the next. Thus the parameters of Impressionism, Expressionism, Fauvism, Cubism,
Dadaism, Surrealism, etc cannot be maintained very much beyond the time of their invention. Increasing
global interaction during this time saw an equivalent influence of other cultures into Western art, such as
Pablo Picasso being influenced by African sculpture. Japanese woodblock prints (which had themselves
been influenced by Western Renaissance draftsmanship) had an immense influence on Impressionism and
subsequent development. Later, African sculptures were taken up by Picasso and to some extent by
Matisse. Similarly, the west has had huge impacts on Eastern art in 19th and 20th century, with originally
western ideas like Communism and Post-Modernism exerting powerful influence on artistic styles.

Modernism, the idealistic search for truth, gave way in the latter half of the 20th century to a realization of
its unattainability. Relativity was accepted as an unavoidable truth, which led to the period of
contemporary art and postmodern criticism, where cultures of the world and of history are seen as
changing forms, which can be appreciated and drawn from only with irony. Furthermore the separation of
cultures is increasingly blurred and some argue it is now more appropriate to think in terms of a global
culture, rather than regional cultures.

Art tends to facilitate intuitive rather than rational understanding, and is usually consciously created with
this intention. Fine art intentionally serves no other purpose. As a result of this impetus, works of art are
elusive, refractive to attempts at classification, because they can be appreciated in more than one way, and
are often susceptible to many different interpretations. In the case of Gericault's Raft of the Medusa,
special knowledge concerning the shipwreck that the painting depicts is not a prerequisite to appreciating
it, but allows the appreciation of Gericault's political intentions in the piece. Even art that superficially
depicts a mundane event or object, may invite reflection upon elevated themes.

Traditionally, the highest achievements of art demonstrate a high level of ability or fluency within a
medium. This characteristic might be considered a point of contention, since many modern artists (most
notably, conceptual artists) do not themselves create the works they conceive, or do not even create the
work in a conventional, demonstrative sense. Art has a transformative capacity: confers particularly
appealing or aesthetically satisfying structures or forms upon an original set of unrelated, passive

Skill and craft
Adam. Detail from Michelangelo's fresco in the Cappella Sistina (1511)

Art can connote a sense of trained ability or mastery of a medium. Art can also simply refer to the
developed and efficient use of a language to convey meaning with immediacy and or depth. Art is an act
of expressing our feelings, thoughts, and observations. There is an understanding that is reached with the
material as a result of handling it, which facilitates one's thought processes.

A common view is that the epithet “art”, particular in its elevated sense, requires a certain level of creative
expertise by the artist, whether this be a demonstration of technical ability or an originality in stylistic
approach such as in the plays of Shakespeare, or a combination of these two. Traditionally skill of
execution was viewed as a quality inseparable from art and thus necessary for its success; for Leonardo da
Vinci, art, neither more nor less than his other endeavors, was a manifestation of skill. Rembrandt's work,
now praised for its ephemeral virtues, was most admired by his contemporaries for its virtuosity. At the
turn of the 20th century, the adroit performances of John Singer Sargent were alternately admired and
viewed with skepticism for their manual fluency, yet at nearly the same time the artist who would become
the era's most recognized and peripatetic iconoclast, Pablo Picasso, was completing a traditional academic
training at which he excelled.

A common contemporary criticism of some modern art occurs along the lines of objecting to the apparent
lack of skill or ability required in the production of the artistic object. In conceptual art, Marcel
Duchamp's "Fountain" is among the first examples of pieces wherein the artist used found objects
("ready-made") and exercised no traditionally recognised set of skills. Tracey Emin's My Bed, or Damien
Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living follow this example and also
manipulate the mass media. Emin slept (and engaged in other activities) in her bed before placing the
result in a gallery as work of art. Hirst came up with the conceptual design for the artwork but has left
most of the eventual creation of many works to employed artisans. Hirst's celebrity is founded entirely on
his ability to produce shocking concepts. The actual production in many conceptual and contemporary
works of art is a matter of assembly of found objects. However there are many modernist and
contemporary artists who continue to excel in the skills of drawing and painting and in creating hands on
works of art.

Value judgment

Aboriginal hollow log tombs. National Gallery, Canberra, Australia.
Somewhat in relation to the above, the word art is also used to apply judgments of value, as in such
expressions like "that meal was a work of art" (the cook is an artist), or "the art of deception," (the highly
attained level of skill of the deceiver is praised). It is this use of the word as a measure of high quality and
high value that gives the term its flavor of subjectivity.

Making judgments of value requires a basis for criticism. At the simplest level, a way to determine
whether the impact of the object on the senses meets the criteria to be considered art, is whether it is
perceived to be attractive or repulsive. Though perception is always colored by experience, and is
necessarily subjective, it is commonly taken that - that which is not aesthetically satisfying in some
fashion cannot be art. However, "good" art is not always or even regularly aesthetically appealing to a
majority of viewers. In other words, an artist's prime motivation need not be the pursuit of the aesthetic.
Also, art often depicts terrible images made for social, moral, or thought-provoking reasons. For example,
Francisco Goya's painting depicting the Spanish shootings of 3rd of May 1808, is a graphic depiction of a
firing squad executing several pleading civilians. Yet at the same time, the horrific imagery demonstrates
Goya's keen artistic ability in composition and execution and produces fitting social and political outrage.
Thus, the debate continues as to what mode of aesthetic satisfaction, if any, is required to define 'art'.

The assumption of new values or the rebellion against accepted notions of what is aesthetically superior
need not occur concurrently with a complete abandonment of the pursuit of that which is aesthetically
appealing. Indeed, the reverse is often true, that in the revision of what is popularly conceived of as being
aesthetically appealing, allows for a re-invigoration of aesthetic sensibility, and a new appreciation for the
standards of art itself. Countless schools have proposed their own ways to define quality, yet they all seem
to agree in at least one point: once their aesthetic choices are accepted, the value of the work of art is
determined by its capacity to transcend the limits of its chosen medium in order to strike some universal
chord by the rarity of the skill of the artist or in its accurate reflection in what is termed the zeitgeist.


Art is often intended to appeal and connect with human emotion. It can arouse aesthetic or moral feelings,
and can be understood as a way of communicating these feelings. Artists express something so that their
audience is aroused to some extent, but they do not have to do so consciously. Art explores what is
commonly termed as the human condition that is essentially what it is to be human. Effective art often
brings about some new insight concerning the human condition either singly or en-mass, which is not
necessarily always positive, or necessarily widens the boundaries of collective human ability. The degree
of skill that the artist has, will affect their ability to trigger an emotional response and thereby provide
new insights, the ability to manipulate them at will shows exemplary skill and determination.

See also
• List of basic art topics
• Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects


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"Maths" and "Math" redirect here. For other uses of "Mathematics" or "Math", see Mathematics
(disambiguation) and Math (disambiguation).

Euclid, Greek mathematician, 3rd century BC, as imagined by Raphael in this detail from The School of

Mathematics is the academic discipline, and its supporting body of knowledge, that involves the study of
such concepts as quantity, structure, space and change. The mathematician Benjamin Peirce called it "the
science that draws necessary conclusions".[2] Other practitioners of mathematics maintain that
mathematics is the science of pattern, and that mathematicians seek out patterns whether found in
numbers, space, science, computers, imaginary abstractions, or elsewhere.[3][4] Mathematicians explore
such concepts, aiming to formulate new conjectures and establish their truth by rigorous deduction from
appropriately chosen axioms and definitions.[5]

Through the use of abstraction and logical reasoning, mathematics evolved from counting, calculation,
measurement, and the systematic study of the shapes and motions of physical objects. Knowledge and use
of basic mathematics have always been an inherent and integral part of individual and group life.
Refinements of the basic ideas are visible in mathematical texts originating in the ancient Egyptian,
Mesopotamian, Indian, Chinese, Greek and Islamic worlds. Rigorous arguments first appeared in Greek
mathematics, most notably in Euclid's Elements. The development continued in fitful bursts until the
Renaissance period of the 16th century, when mathematical innovations interacted with new scientific
discoveries, leading to an acceleration in research that continues to the present day.[6]

Today, mathematics is used throughout the world as an essential tool in many fields, including natural
science, engineering, medicine, and the social sciences such as economics and psychology. Applied
mathematics, the branch of mathematics concerned with application of mathematical knowledge to other
fields, inspires and makes use of new mathematical discoveries and sometimes leads to the development
of entirely new disciplines. Mathematicians also engage in pure mathematics, or mathematics for its own
sake, without having any application in mind, although practical applications for what began as pure
mathematics are often discovered later.[7]


• 1 Etymology
• 2 History
• 3 Inspiration, pure and applied mathematics, and aesthetics
• 4 Notation, language, and rigor
• 5 Mathematics as science
• 6 Fields of mathematics
o 6.1 Quantity
o 6.2 Structure
o 6.3 Space
o 6.4 Change
o 6.5 Foundations and philosophy
o 6.6 Discrete mathematics
o 6.7 Applied mathematics
• 7 Common misconceptions
o 7.1 Mathematics and physical reality
• 8 See also
• 9 Notes
• 10 References

• 11 External links

[edit] Etymology
The word "mathematics" comes from the Greek μάθημα (máthēma), which means learning, study,
science, and additionally came to have the narrower and more technical meaning "mathematical study",
even in Classical times. Its adjective is μαθηματικός (mathēmatikós), related to learning, or studious,
which likewise further came to mean mathematical. In particular, μαθηματικὴ τέχνη (mathēmatikḗ
tékhnē), in Latin ars mathematica, meant the mathematical art.

The apparent plural form in English, like the French plural form les mathématiques (and the less
commonly used singular derivative la mathématique), goes back to the Latin neuter plural mathematica
(Cicero), based on the Greek plural τα μαθηματικά (ta mathēmatiká), used by Aristotle, and meaning
roughly "all things mathematical".[8] In English, however, the noun mathematics takes singular verb
forms. It is often shortened to math in English-speaking North America and maths elsewhere.

[edit] History

A quipu, a counting device used by the Inca.
Main article: History of mathematics

The evolution of mathematics might be seen as an ever-increasing series of abstractions, or alternatively
an expansion of subject matter. The first abstraction was probably that of numbers: the realization that
two apples and two oranges (for example) have something in common was a breakthrough in human

In addition to recognizing how to count physical objects, prehistoric peoples also recognized how to count
abstract quantities, like time — days, seasons, years. Elementary arithmetic (addition, subtraction,
multiplication and division) naturally followed.

Further steps needed writing or some other system for recording numbers such as tallies or the knotted
strings called quipu used by the Inca to store numerical data. Numeral systems have been many and
diverse, with the first known written numerals created by Egyptians in Middle Kingdom texts such as the
Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. The Indus Valley civilization developed the modern decimal system,
including the concept of zero.
Mayan numerals

From the beginning of recorded history, the major disciplines within mathematics arose out of the need to
do calculations relating to taxation and commerce, to understand the relationships among numbers, to
measure land, and to predict astronomical events. These needs can be roughly related to the broad
subdivision of mathematics into the studies of quantity, structure, space, and change.

Mathematics has since been greatly extended, and there has been a fruitful interaction between
mathematics and science, to the benefit of both. Mathematical discoveries have been made throughout
history and continue to be made today. According to Mikhail B. Sevryuk, in the January 2006 issue of the
Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, "The number of papers and books included in the
Mathematical Reviews database since 1940 (the first year of operation of MR) is now more than 1.9
million, and more than 75 thousand items are added to the database each year. The overwhelming
majority of works in this ocean contain new mathematical theorems and their proofs."[9]

[edit] Inspiration, pure and applied mathematics, and aesthetics

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727), an inventor of infinitesimal calculus.
Main article: Mathematical beauty

Mathematics arises wherever there are difficult problems that involve quantity, structure, space, or
change. At first these were found in commerce, land measurement and later astronomy; nowadays, all
sciences suggest problems studied by mathematicians, and many problems arise within mathematics itself.
For example, the physicist Richard Feynman invented the path integral formulation of quantum
mechanics using a combination of mathematical reasoning and physical insight, and today's string theory,
a still-developing scientific theory which attempts to unify the four fundamental forces of nature,
continues to inspire new mathematics.[10] Some mathematics is only relevant in the area that inspired it,
and is applied to solve further problems in that area. But often mathematics inspired by one area proves
useful in many areas, and joins the general stock of mathematical concepts. The remarkable fact that even
the "purest" mathematics often turns out to have practical applications is what Eugene Wigner has called
"the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics."[11]

As in most areas of study, the explosion of knowledge in the scientific age has led to specialization in
mathematics. One major distinction is between pure mathematics and applied mathematics: most
mathematicians focus their research solely on one of these areas, and sometimes the choice is made as
early as their undergraduate studies. Several areas of applied mathematics have merged with related
traditions outside of mathematics and become disciplines in their own right, including statistics,
operations research, and computer science.

For those who are mathematically inclined, there is often a definite aesthetic aspect to much of
mathematics. Many mathematicians talk about the elegance of mathematics, its intrinsic aesthetics and
inner beauty. Simplicity and generality are valued. There is beauty in a simple and elegant proof, such as
Euclid's proof that there are infinitely many prime numbers, and in an elegant numerical method that
speeds calculation, such as the fast Fourier transform. G. H. Hardy in A Mathematician's Apology
expressed the belief that these aesthetic considerations are, in themselves, sufficient to justify the study of
pure mathematics.[12] Mathematicians often strive to find proofs of theorems that are particularly elegant, a
quest Paul Erdős often referred to as finding proofs from "The Book" in which God had written down his
favorite proofs.[13][14] The popularity of recreational mathematics is another sign of the pleasure many find
in solving mathematical questions.

[edit] Notation, language, and rigor

The infinity symbol ∞ in several typefaces.
Main article: Mathematical notation

Most of the mathematical notation in use today was not invented until the 16th century.[15] Before that,
mathematics was written out in words, a painstaking process that limited mathematical discovery.[citation
In the 18th century, Euler was responsible for many of the notations in use today. Modern notation
makes mathematics much easier for the professional, but beginners often find it daunting. It is extremely
compressed: a few symbols contain a great deal of information. Like musical notation, modern
mathematical notation has a strict syntax and encodes information that would be difficult to write in any
other way.

Mathematical language can also be hard for beginners. Words such as or and only have more precise
meanings than in everyday speech. Additionally, words such as open and field have been given
specialized mathematical meanings. Mathematical jargon includes technical terms such as
homeomorphism and integrable. But there is a reason for special notation and technical jargon:
mathematics requires more precision than everyday speech. Mathematicians refer to this precision of
language and logic as "rigor".

Rigor is fundamentally a matter of mathematical proof. Mathematicians want their theorems to follow
from axioms by means of systematic reasoning. This is to avoid mistaken "theorems", based on fallible
intuitions, of which many instances have occurred in the history of the subject.[16] The level of rigor
expected in mathematics has varied over time: the Greeks expected detailed arguments, but at the time of
Isaac Newton the methods employed were less rigorous. Problems inherent in the definitions used by
Newton would lead to a resurgence of careful analysis and formal proof in the 19th century. Today,
mathematicians continue to argue among themselves about computer-assisted proofs. Since large
computations are hard to verify, such proofs may not be sufficiently rigorous.[17]

Axioms in traditional thought were "self-evident truths", but that conception is problematic. At a formal
level, an axiom is just a string of symbols, which has an intrinsic meaning only in the context of all
derivable formulas of an axiomatic system. It was the goal of Hilbert's program to put all of mathematics
on a firm axiomatic basis, but according to Gödel's incompleteness theorem every (sufficiently powerful)
axiomatic system has undecidable formulas; and so a final axiomatization of mathematics is impossible.
Nonetheless mathematics is often imagined to be (as far as its formal content) nothing but set theory in
some axiomatization, in the sense that every mathematical statement or proof could be cast into formulas
within set theory.[18]

[edit] Mathematics as science

Carl Friedrich Gauss, himself known as the "prince of mathematicians", referred to mathematics as "the
Queen of the Sciences".

Carl Friedrich Gauss referred to mathematics as "the Queen of the Sciences".[19] In the original Latin
Regina Scientiarum, as well as in German Königin der Wissenschaften, the word corresponding to science
means (field of) knowledge. Indeed, this is also the original meaning in English, and there is no doubt that
mathematics is in this sense a science. The specialization restricting the meaning to natural science is of
later date. If one considers science to be strictly about the physical world, then mathematics, or at least
pure mathematics, is not a science. Albert Einstein has stated that "as far as the laws of mathematics refer
to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."[20]

Many philosophers believe that mathematics is not experimentally falsifiable, and thus not a science
according to the definition of Karl Popper.[21] However, in the 1930s important work in mathematical
logic showed that mathematics cannot be reduced to logic, and Karl Popper concluded that "most
mathematical theories are, like those of physics and biology, hypothetico-deductive: pure mathematics
therefore turns out to be much closer to the natural sciences whose hypotheses are conjectures, than it
seemed even recently."[22] Other thinkers, notably Imre Lakatos, have applied a version of falsificationism
to mathematics itself.

An alternative view is that certain scientific fields (such as theoretical physics) are mathematics with
axioms that are intended to correspond to reality. In fact, the theoretical physicist, J. M. Ziman, proposed
that science is public knowledge and thus includes mathematics.[23] In any case, mathematics shares much
in common with many fields in the physical sciences, notably the exploration of the logical consequences
of assumptions. Intuition and experimentation also play a role in the formulation of conjectures in both
mathematics and the (other) sciences. Experimental mathematics continues to grow in importance within
mathematics, and computation and simulation are playing an increasing role in both the sciences and
mathematics, weakening the objection that mathematics does not use the scientific method. In his 2002
book A New Kind of Science, Stephen Wolfram argues that computational mathematics deserves to be
explored empirically as a scientific field in its own right.

The opinions of mathematicians on this matter are varied. Many mathematicians feel that to call their area
a science is to downplay the importance of its aesthetic side, and its history in the traditional seven liberal
arts; others feel that to ignore its connection to the sciences is to turn a blind eye to the fact that the
interface between mathematics and its applications in science and engineering has driven much
development in mathematics. One way this difference of viewpoint plays out is in the philosophical
debate as to whether mathematics is created (as in art) or discovered (as in science). It is common to see
universities divided into sections that include a division of Science and Mathematics, indicating that the
fields are seen as being allied but that they do not coincide. In practice, mathematicians are typically
grouped with scientists at the gross level but separated at finer levels. This is one of many issues
considered in the philosophy of mathematics.

Mathematical awards are generally kept separate from their equivalents in science. The most prestigious
award in mathematics is the Fields Medal,[24][25] established in 1936 and now awarded every 4 years. It is
often considered, misleadingly, the equivalent of science's Nobel Prizes. The Wolf Prize in Mathematics,
instituted in 1978, recognizes lifetime achievement, and another major international award, the Abel
Prize, was introduced in 2003. These are awarded for a particular body of work, which may be
innovation, or resolution of an outstanding problem in an established field. A famous list of 23 such open
problems, called "Hilbert's problems", was compiled in 1900 by German mathematician David Hilbert.
This list achieved great celebrity among mathematicians, and at least nine of the problems have now been
solved. A new list of seven important problems, titled the "Millennium Prize Problems", was published in
2000. Solution of each of these problems carries a $1 million reward, and only one (the Riemann
hypothesis) is duplicated in Hilbert's problems.

[edit] Fields of mathematics

An abacus, a simple calculating tool used since ancient times.

As noted above, the major disciplines within mathematics first arose out of the need to do calculations in
commerce, to understand the relationships between numbers, to measure land, and to predict astronomical
events. These four needs can be roughly related to the broad subdivision of mathematics into the study of
quantity, structure, space, and change (i.e., arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and analysis). In addition to
these main concerns, there are also subdivisions dedicated to exploring links from the heart of
mathematics to other fields: to logic, to set theory (foundations), to the empirical mathematics of the
various sciences (applied mathematics), and more recently to the rigorous study of uncertainty.

[edit] Quantity

The study of quantity starts with numbers, first the familiar natural numbers and integers ("whole
numbers") and arithmetical operations on them, which are characterized in arithmetic. The deeper
properties of integers are studied in number theory, whence such popular results as Fermat's Last
Theorem. Number theory also holds two widely considered unsolved problems: the twin prime conjecture
and Goldbach's conjecture.

As the number system is further developed, the integers are recognized as a subset of the rational numbers
("fractions"). These, in turn, are contained within the real numbers, which are used to represent
continuous quantities. Real numbers are generalized to complex numbers. These are the first steps of a
hierarchy of numbers that goes on to include quarternions and octonions. Consideration of the natural
numbers also leads to the transfinite numbers, which formalize the concept of counting to infinity.
Another area of study is size, which leads to the cardinal numbers and then to another conception of
infinity: the aleph numbers, which allow meaningful comparison of the size of infinitely large sets.
Natural numbers Integers Rational numbers Real numbers Complex numbers

[edit] Structure

Many mathematical objects, such as sets of numbers and functions, exhibit internal structure. The
structural properties of these objects are investigated in the study of groups, rings, fields and other abstract
systems, which are themselves such objects. This is the field of abstract algebra. An important concept
here is that of vectors, generalized to vector spaces, and studied in linear algebra. The study of vectors
combines three of the fundamental areas of mathematics: quantity, structure, and space. Vector calculus
expands the field into a fourth fundamental area, that of change. Tensor calculus studies symmetry and the
behavior of vectors under rotation. A number of ancient problems concerning Compass and straightedge
constructions were finally solved using Galois theory.

Number theory Abstract algebra Group theory Order theory

[edit] Space

The study of space originates with geometry - in particular, Euclidean geometry. Trigonometry combines
space and numbers, and encompasses the well-known Pythagorean theorem. The modern study of space
generalizes these ideas to include higher-dimensional geometry, non-Euclidean geometries (which play a
central role in general relativity) and topology. Quantity and space both play a role in analytic geometry,
differential geometry, and algebraic geometry. Within differential geometry are the concepts of fiber
bundles and calculus on manifolds. Within algebraic geometry is the description of geometric objects as
solution sets of polynomial equations, combining the concepts of quantity and space, and also the study of
topological groups, which combine structure and space. Lie groups are used to study space, structure, and
change. Topology in all its many ramifications may have been the greatest growth area in 20th century
mathematics, and includes the long-standing Poincaré conjecture and the controversial four color
theorem, whose only proof, by computer, has never been verified by a human.

Geometry Trigonometry Differential geometry Topology Fractal geometry

[edit] Change

Understanding and describing change is a common theme in the natural sciences, and calculus was
developed as a powerful tool to investigate it. Functions arise here, as a central concept describing a
changing quantity. The rigorous study of real numbers and real-valued functions is known as real
analysis, with complex analysis the equivalent field for the complex numbers. The Riemann hypothesis,
one of the most fundamental open questions in mathematics, is drawn from complex analysis. Functional
analysis focuses attention on (typically infinite-dimensional) spaces of functions. One of many
applications of functional analysis is quantum mechanics. Many problems lead naturally to relationships
between a quantity and its rate of change, and these are studied as differential equations. Many
phenomena in nature can be described by dynamical systems; chaos theory makes precise the ways in
which many of these systems exhibit unpredictable yet still deterministic behavior.
Calculus Vector calculus Differential equations Dynamical systems Chaos theory

[edit] Foundations and philosophy

In order to clarify the foundations of mathematics, the fields of mathematical logic and set theory were
developed, as well as category theory which is still in development. The crisis of foundations, which is the
early 20th century's term for the search for proper foundations of mathematics, is a persistent
phenomenon; it is illustrated by a number of controversies, including the controversy over Cantor's set
theory and the Brouwer-Hilbert controversy.

Mathematical logic is concerned with setting mathematics on a rigid axiomatic framework, and studying
the results of such a framework. As such, it is home to Gödel's second incompleteness theorem, perhaps
the most widely celebrated result in logic, which (informally) implies that any formal system that contains
basic arithmetic, if sound (meaning that all theorems that can be proven are true), is necessarily
incomplete (meaning that there are true theorems which cannot be proved in that system). Gödel showed
how to construct, whatever the given collection of number-theoretical axioms, a formal statement in the
logic that is a true number-theoretical fact, but which does not follow from those axioms. Therefore no
formal system is a true axiomatization of full number theory. Modern logic is divided into recursion
theory, model theory, and proof theory, and is closely linked to theoretical computer science.

Mathematical logic Set theory Category theory

[edit] Discrete mathematics

Discrete mathematics is the common name for the fields of mathematics most generally useful in
theoretical computer science. This includes computability theory, computational complexity theory, and
information theory. Computability theory examines the limitations of various theoretical models of the
computer, including the most powerful known model - the Turing machine. Complexity theory is the
study of tractability by computer; some problems, although theoretically solvable by computer, are so
expensive in terms of time or space that solving them is likely to remain practically unfeasible, even with
rapid advance of computer hardware. Finally, information theory is concerned with the amount of data
that can be stored on a given medium, and hence deals with concepts such as compression and entropy.

As a relatively new field, discrete mathematics has a number of fundamental open problems. The most
famous of these is the "P=NP?" problem, one of the Millennium Prize Problems.[26]

Combinatorics Theory of computation Cryptography Graph theory

[edit] Applied mathematics

Applied mathematics considers the use of abstract mathematical tools in solving concrete problems in the
sciences, business, and other areas. An important field in applied mathematics is statistics, which uses
probability theory as a tool and allows the description, analysis, and prediction of phenomena where
chance plays a role. Most experiments, surveys and observational studies require the informed use of
statistics. (Many statisticians, however, do not consider themselves to be mathematicians, but rather part
of an allied group.) Numerical analysis investigates computational methods for efficiently solving a broad
range of mathematical problems that are typically too large for human numerical capacity; it includes the
study of rounding errors or other sources of error in computation.

Mathematical physicsMathematical fluid dynamics Numerical analysis Optimization

Probability theory Statistics Financial mathematicsGame theory

[edit] Common misconceptions
Mathematics is not a closed intellectual system, in which everything has already been worked out. There
is no shortage of open problems. Mathematicians publish many thousands of papers embodying new
discoveries in mathematics every month.

Mathematics is not numerology; it is not concerned with "supernatural" properties of numbers. It is not
accountancy; nor is it restricted to arithmetic.

Pseudomathematics is a form of mathematics-like activity undertaken outside academia, and occasionally
by mathematicians themselves. It often consists of determined attacks on famous questions, consisting of
proof-attempts made in an isolated way (that is, long papers not supported by previously published
theory). The relationship to generally accepted mathematics is similar to that between pseudoscience and
real science. The misconceptions involved are normally based on:

• misunderstanding of the implications of mathematical rigor;
• attempts to circumvent the usual criteria for publication of mathematical papers in a learned
journal after peer review, often in the belief that the journal is biased against the author;
• lack of familiarity with, and therefore underestimation of, the existing literature.

Like astronomy, mathematics owes much to amateur contributors such as Fermat, Mersenne, and
Ramanujan. See further the List of amateur mathematicians.

[edit] Mathematics and physical reality

Mathematical concepts and theorems need not correspond to anything in the physical world. Insofar as a
correspondence does exist, while mathematicians and physicists may select axioms and postulates that
seem reasonable and intuitive, it is not necessary for the basic assumptions within an axiomatic system to
be true in an empirical or physical sense. Thus, while many axiom systems are derived from our
perceptions and experiments, they are not dependent on them.

For example, we could say that the physical concept of two apples may be accurately modeled by the
natural number 2. On the other hand, we could also say that the natural numbers are not an accurate model
because there is no standard "unit" apple and no two apples are exactly alike. The modeling idea is further
complicated by the possibility of fractional or partial apples. So while it may be instructive to visualize
the axiomatic definition of the natural numbers as collections of apples, the definition itself is not
dependent upon nor derived from any actual physical entities.

Nevertheless, mathematics remains extremely useful for solving real-world problems.
[edit] See also
Mathematics portal

• Dyscalculia
• List of basic mathematics topics
• Lists of mathematics topics
• Mathematics and art
• Mathematics competitions
• Mathematics education
• Mathematical game
• Mathematical model
• Mathematical problem
• Mathematical structure
• Mathematics portal
• Philosophy of mathematics

[edit] Notes

Responsibility assumption
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
This article may contain original research or unverified claims. Please improve the article by adding
references. See the talk page for details. (July 2007)

Responsibility assumption is a doctrine in the personal growth field holding that each individual has
substantial or total responsibility for the events and circumstances that befall them in their life. While
there is little that is notable about the notion that each person has at least some role in shaping their
experience, the doctrine of responsibility assumption posits that the individual's mental contribution to his
or her own experience is substantially greater than is normally thought. "I must have wanted this" is the
type of catchphrase used by adherents of this doctrine when encountering situations, pleasant or
unpleasant, to remind them that their own desires and choices led to the present outcome.

The term responsibility assumption thus has a specialized meaning beyond the general concept of taking
responsibility for something, and is not to be confused with the general notion of making an assumption
that a concept such as "responsibility" exists.

• 1 Variations in degree of personal responsibility postulated
o 1.1 Partial but substantial responsibility
o 1.2 Total responsibility
• 2 Religious and philosophical roots and usage
• 3 In popular culture
• 4 See also
• 5 References
o 5.1 Nonfiction
o 5.2 Fiction

• 6 External links

[edit] Variations in degree of personal responsibility postulated
The main variable within various interpretations of the responsibility assumption doctrine is the degree to
which the individual is considered the cause of his or her own experience, ranging from partial but
substantial, to total.

[edit] Partial but substantial responsibility

In its forms positing less than total responsibility, the doctrine appears in nearly all motivational
programs, some psychotherapy, and large group awareness training programs. In programs as non-
controversial as books on the power of positive thinking, it functions as a mechanism to point out that
each individual does affect the perceived world by the decisions they make each day and by the choices
they made in the past. These less absolute forms may be expressed within the rubric that we cannot
control the situations that befall us, but we can at least control our attitudes toward them.

[edit] Total responsibility

In its more absolute form, the doctrine becomes both more pronounced and more controversial. Perhaps
the most prominent dividing line of controversy is the threshold of reversed mental causation, where
sufficient responsibility is assigned to the individual that their thoughts or mental attitudes are considered
the actual cause of external situations or physical occurrences rather than vice-versa, along the lines of the
catchphrase, "mind over matter." In this realm the doctrine can present controversial propositions such as,
"you chose to have cancer and can just as easily become well if you choose," or the even more shocking
and unpalatable proposition, "this genocide took place because the victims wanted to die." Despite the
extremity of these positions, there are indeed groups and schools of thought subscribing to the doctrine of
responsibility assumption that would support these propositions and more.[1]

[edit] Religious and philosophical roots and usage
The est seminars popularized the doctrine "responsibility assumption" in the 1970s although they did not
explicitly use the term.[citation needed] The doctrine both predates est and is found in a far wider variety of
settings. The doctrine has spiritual roots in the monism of Eastern religious traditions which hold that only
one true being exists, and all people are one with each other and with god and hence possess Godlike
powers, though they are often unaware of it. It has been likened to karma, which however tends to suggest
later retribution for earlier acts, while responsibility assumption posits more of an immediate link between
the experience desired and the outcome received. The doctrine also has associations with the neoplatonist
notion of an illusory world, which the doctrine's adherents would phrase more precisely as an illusion of
external worldly effects on inner mental states. It finds further support in philosophical idealism, which
posits thought as the one true substance.

Among historically Christian churches, denominations have belief systems that incorporate doctrinal
elements similar to responsibility assumption.[citation needed] The doctrine can be found in the work of
psychotherapist Georg Groddeck assigning mental causes to physical ailments, has been more recently
propagated by self-help authors such as Arnold Patent, and can be found in a number of New Age and
new religious movements. Prominent among these are Christian Science and the New Thought
Movement, whose constituent theologies espouse mental approaches to bodily healing and express
precepts such as, "to each, according to his belief." The doctrine combined with reversed causation can
further be found explicitly expressed in works such as A Course in Miracles.

[edit] In popular culture
Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into
appropriate sections or articles. (October 2007)

The theme of responsibility assumption appears in several places in popular culture. For example, it
appeared in Richard Bach's bestseller, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and Bach addressed the topic more
directly in a less-popular later book, Illusions.

John Denver, a proponent of est, wrote two songs about it, Farewell Andromeda (1973) and Looking for
Space (1975), and the opening lines of Farewell Andromeda capture the essence of responsibility

Welcome to my morning, welcome to my day
I'm the one responsible, I made it just this way
To make myself some pictures, see what they might bring
I think I made it perfectly, I wouldn't change a thing

The 1956 movie Forbidden Planet featured an analogous concept to responsibility assumption, about a
race who, through technology, became able to materialize their thoughts, to disastrous ends.

The 1967 television series The Prisoner featured an ambiguous climax spawning several interpretations,
one of which implicates responsibility assumption. Throughout the short seventeen-episode series, the
eponymous prisoner, a man held against his will by a mysterious group, attempted to determine—and in
the final episode apparently succeeded in determining—the identity of the mysterious person who led the
group and thus ultimately determined the prisoner's fate. The moment of revelation in which the
mysterious leader was literally unmasked by the prisoner was brief and unclear, but there are fans of the
series who believe the unmasked leader was the prisoner himself.

In 1962, the comic book superhero Spider-Man, created by Stan Lee, adopted the maxim, "With great
power there must also come great responsibility" after his failure to stop a thief led to the death of his
uncle Ben. The phrase has come into common usage as, "With great power comes great responsibility"
and was used as the tagline for the 2002 Spider-Man movie.
In a deleted scene from the 1999 movie Dogma, a fallen angel explained how the subconscious demands
of the damned that they be punished, as they believed God could never forgive their sins, remade the face
of Hell from a simple separation from God into a "suffering pit."

Though these are prominent examples, varying degrees of the doctrine of responsibility assumption have
formed a minor theme more broadly within the United States cultural landscape since the 1960s

More generally, different cultures place different weight on individual responsibility and that this
difference is manifested in folklore. In this view, the tale of the Fisherman and the Little Goldfish (in
which the protagonist makes little effort to improve his lot) illustrates the denial of responsibility.

[edit] See also
• Phenomenalism
• Phenomenology
• Karma

[edit] References
1. ^ Espouse total responsibility
o Dr. Joe Vitale
o Landmark Education at this site states:

“Responsibility,” according to The Charter of The Landmark Education Corporation, “begins with
the willingness to be cause in the matter of one’s life. Ultimately, it is a context from which one
chooses to live.” To be cause in the matter of one’s life is only possible if there are no other causes
to which one is ultimately subject.

[edit] Nonfiction

• Anonymous (1992). A Course in Miracles (2d ed.). Mill Valley, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace.
ISBN 0-9606388-8-1.
• May, Rollo, and Irvin D. Yalom (1984). "Existential Psychotherapy," pp. 354-391 in Raymond J.
Corsini, ed., Current Psychotherapies (3rd ed.). Itasca, IL: Peacock.

[edit] Fiction

• Bach, Richard. Illusions—Confessions of a Reluctant Messiah.
• Bach, Richard (1970). Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

[edit] External links
• Leadership Personal Responsibility

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since February 2007 | Articles with trivia sections from October 2007
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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For other uses, see Mind (disambiguation).
For the football player, see John Minds.

Mind collectively refers to the aspects of intellect and consciousness manifested as combinations of
thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination; mind is the stream of consciousness. It
includes all of the brain's conscious processes. This denotation sometimes includes, in certain contexts,
the working of the human unconscious or the conscious thoughts of animals. "Mind" is often used to refer
especially to the thought processes of reason.

There are many theories of the mind and its function. The earliest recorded works on the mind are by
Zarathushtra, the Buddha, Plato, Aristotle, Adi Shankara and other ancient Greek, Indian and Islamic
philosophers. Pre-scientific theories, based in theology, concentrated on the relationship between the mind
and the soul, the supernatural, divine or god-given essence of the person. Modern theories, based on
scientific understanding of the brain, theorize that the mind is a phenomenon of the brain and is
synonymous with consciousness.

The question of which human attributes make up the mind is also much debated. Some argue that only the
"higher" intellectual functions constitute mind: particularly reason and memory. In this view the emotions
- love, hate, fear, joy - are more "primitive" or subjective in nature and should be seen as different from
the mind. Others argue that the rational and the emotional sides of the human person cannot be separated,
that they are of the same nature and origin, and that they should all be considered as part of the individual

In popular usage mind is frequently synonymous with thought: It is that private conversation with
ourselves that we carry on "inside our heads." Thus we "make up our minds," "change our minds" or are
"of two minds" about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private
sphere to which no one but the owner has access. No-one else can "know our mind." They can only
interpret what we consciously or unconsciously communicate.


• 1 Aspects of mind
o 1.1 Mental faculties
o 1.2 Philosophy of mind
o 1.3 Science of mind
o 1.4 Social psychology and group behaviour
o 1.5 Brain
o 1.6 Mental health
o 1.7 Developmental history of the human mind
o 1.8 Animal intelligence
o 1.9 Artificial intelligence
o 1.10 Religious perspectives
o 1.11 New age and alternative perspectives
• 2 See also
• 3 References

• 4 External links

[edit] Aspects of mind
[edit] Mental faculties

See also: Reason, Faculty psychology, and Modularity of mind

Thought is a mental process in which the mind allows the being to model the world, and so to deal with it
effectively according to their goals, plans, ends and desires. Words referring to similar concepts and
processes include cognition, sentience, consciousness, idea, and imagination. Thinking involves the
cerebral manipulation of information, as when we form concepts, engage in problem solving, reason and
make decisions. Thinking is a higher cognitive function and the analysis of thinking processes is part of
cognitive psychology.

Memory is an organism's ability to store, retain, and subsequently recall information. Although traditional
studies of memory began in the realms of philosophy, the late nineteenth and early twentieth century put
memory within the paradigms of cognitive psychology. In recent decades, it has become one of the
principal pillars of a new branch of science called cognitive neuroscience, a marriage between cognitive
psychology and neuroscience.

Imagination is accepted as the innate ability and process to invent partial or complete personal realms the
mind derives from sense perceptions of the shared world. The term is technically used in psychology for
the process of reviving in the mind percepts of objects formerly given in sense perception. Since this use
of the term conflicts with that of ordinary language, some psychologists have preferred to describe this
process as "imaging" or "imagery" or to speak of it as "reproductive" as opposed to "productive" or
"constructive" imagination. Imagined images are seen with the "mind's eye". One hypothesis for the
evolution of human imagination is that it allowed conscious beings to solve problems (and hence increase
an individual's fitness) by use of mental simulation.

Consciousness is a quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-
awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one's
environment. It is a subject of much research in philosophy of mind, psychology, neuroscience, and
cognitive science. Some philosophers divide consciousness into phenomenal consciousness, which is
subjective experience itself, and access consciousness, which refers to the global availability of
information to processing systems in the brain.[1] Phenomenal consciousness is a state with qualia.
Phenomenal consciousness is being something and access consciousness is being conscious of something.

[edit] Philosophy of mind

Main article: Philosophy of mind

Philosophy of mind is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental
functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body. The mind-body
problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy
of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation
to the physical body.[2]

Dualism and monism are the two major schools of thought that attempt to resolve the mind-body problem.
Dualism is the position that mind and body are in some way separate from each other. It can be traced
back to Plato,[3] Aristotle[4][5][6] and the Samkhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy,[7] but it was most
precisely formulated by René Descartes in the 17th century.[8] Substance dualists argue that the mind is an
independently existing substance, whereas Property dualists maintain that the mind is a group of
independent properties that emerge from and cannot be reduced to the brain, but that it is not a distinct

Monism is the position that mind and body are not ontologically distinct kinds of entities. This view was
first advocated in Western Philosophy by Parmenides in the 5th Century BC and was later espoused by
the 17th Century rationalist Baruch Spinoza.[10] Physicalists argue that only the entities postulated by
physical theory exist, and that the mind will eventually be explained in terms of these entities as physical
theory continues to evolve. Idealists maintain that the mind is all that exists and that the external world is
either mental itself, or an illusion created by the mind. Neutral monists adhere to the position that there is
some other, neutral substance, and that both matter and mind are properties of this unknown substance.
The most common monisms in the 20th and 21st centuries have all been variations of physicalism; these
positions include behaviorism, the type identity theory, anomalous monism and functionalism.[11]

Many modern philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive or non-reductive physicalist position,
maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body.[11] These
approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, particularly in the fields of sociobiology,
computer science, evolutionary psychology and the various neurosciences.[12][13][14][15] Other philosophers,
however, adopt a non-physicalist position which challenges the notion that the mind is a purely physical
construct. Reductive physicalists assert that all mental states and properties will eventually be explained
by scientific accounts of physiological processes and states.[16][17][18] Non-reductive physicalists argue that
although the brain is all there is to the mind, the predicates and vocabulary used in mental descriptions
and explanations are indispensable, and cannot be reduced to the language and lower-level explanations
of physical science.[19][20] Continued neuroscientific progress has helped to clarify some of these issues.
However, they are far from having been resolved, and modern philosophers of mind continue to ask how
the subjective qualities and the intentionality (aboutness) of mental states and properties can be explained
in naturalistic terms.[21][22]

[edit] Science of mind

See also: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Unconscious mind

Psychology is the scientific study of human behaviour; Noology, the study of thought. As both an
academic and applied discipline, Psychology involves the scientific study of mental processes such as
perception, cognition, emotion, personality, as well as environmental influences, such as social and
cultural influences, and interpersonal relationships, in order to devise theories of human behaviour.
Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of human activity,
including problems of individuals' daily lives and the treatment of mental health problems.

Psychology differs from the other social sciences (e.g., anthropology, economics, political science, and
sociology) due to its focus on experimentation at the scale of the individual, as opposed to groups or
institutions. Historically, psychology differed from biology and neuroscience in that it was primarily
concerned with mind rather than brain, a philosophy of mind known as dualism. Modern psychological
science incorporates physiological and neurological processes into its conceptions of perception,
cognition, behaviour, and mental disorders.

A new scientific initiative, the Decade of the Mind, seeks to advocate for the U.S. Government to invest
$4 billion over the next ten years in the science of the mind. However, the mind research has many
ramifications. There is a possibility that the mind is an entity of a dynamic system that integrates its
processes. Integration means conscious control of coordination of the mind processes. A thing that may
have remained without attention, and needs further elaboration.

[edit] Social psychology and group behaviour

Social psychology is the study of how social conditions affect human beings. Scholars in this field are
generally either psychologists or sociologists. Social psychologists who are trained in psychology tend to
focus on individuals as the unit of study; sociologists tend to favor the study of groups and larger social
units such as societies, although there are exceptions to these general tendencies in both fields. Despite
their similarity, the disciplines also tend to differ in their respective goals, approaches, methods, and
terminology. They also favor separate academic journals and societies.

Like biophysics and cognitive science, social psychology is an interdisciplinary area. The greatest period
of collaboration between sociologists and psychologists was during the years immediately following
World War II (Sewell, 1989). Although there has been increasing isolation and specialization in recent
years, some degree of overlap and influence remains between the two disciplines.

[edit] Brain

See also: Cognitive science, Meme, and Memetics

In animals the brain, or encephalon (Greek for "in the head"), is the control center of the central nervous
system, responsible for thought. In most animals, the brain is located in the head, protected by the skull
and close to the primary sensory apparatus of vision, hearing, equilibrioception, taste and olfaction. While
all vertebrates have a brain, most invertebrates have either a centralized brain or collections of individual
ganglia. Primitive animals such as sponges do not have a brain at all. Brains can be extremely complex.
For example, the human brain contains more than 100 billion neurons, each linked to as many as 10,000

[edit] Mental health

Main article: Mental health

By analogy with the health of the body, one can speak metaphorically of a state of health of the mind, or
mental health. Merriam-Webster defines mental health as "A state of emotional and psychological well-
being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in
society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life." According to the World Health Organization
(WHO), there is no one "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective
assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined. In general,
most experts agree that "mental health" and "mental illness" are not opposites. In other words, the absence
of a recognized mental disorder is not necessarily an indicator of mental health.

One way to think about mental health is by looking at how effectively and successfully a person
functions. Feeling capable and competent; being able to handle normal levels of stress, maintaining
satisfying relationships, and leading an independent life; and being able to "bounce back," or recover from
difficult situations, are all signs of mental health.

Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in
problems of living. This usually includes increasing individual sense of well-being and reducing
subjective discomforting experience. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential
relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change and that are designed to improve the
mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family). Most forms of
psychotherapy use only spoken conversation, though some also use various other forms of
communication such as the written word, art, drama, narrative story, or therapeutic touch. Psychotherapy
occurs within a structured encounter between a trained therapist and client(s). Purposeful, theoretically
based psychotherapy began in the 19th century with psychoanalysis; since then, scores of other
approaches have been developed and continue to be created.

[edit] Developmental history of the human mind

The nature and origins of hominid intelligence is of natural interest to humans as the most successful and
intelligent hominid species. As nearly a century of archaeological research has shown, the hominids
evolved from earlier primates in eastern Africa. Like some non-primate tree-dwelling mammals, such as
opossums, they evolved an opposable thumb, which enabled them to grasp and manipulate objects, such
as fruit. They also possessed front-facing binocular vision.

Around 10 million years ago, the earth's climate entered a cooler and drier phase, which led eventually to
the ice ages. This forced tree-dwelling animals to adapt to their new environment or die out. Some
primates adapted to this challenge by adopting bipedalism: walking on their hind legs. The advantages of
this development are widely disputed. It was once thought that this gave their eyes greater elevation and
the ability to see approaching danger further off but as we now know that hominids developed in a forest
environment this theory has little real basis. At some point the bipedal primates developed the ability to
pick up sticks, bones and stones and use them as weapons, or as tools for tasks such as killing smaller
animals or cutting up carcases. In other words, these primates developed the use of technology, an
adaptation other animals have not attained to the same capacity as these hominids. Bipedal tool-using
primates evolved in the class of hominids, of which the earliest species, such as Sahelanthropus
tchadensis, are dated to about 7 million years ago although homonid-made tools were not developed until
about 2 million years ago. Thus bipedal hominids existed for 5 million years before they started making
tools. The advantage of bipedalism would have been simply to be able to carry anything with survival
value from an unfavorable environment to a more favorable one. Anything too big or heavy would have to
be broken or cut. This would be an insight that led early minds to develop tools for the purpose.

From about 5 million years ago, the hominid brain began to develop rapidly, some say this was because
an evolutionary loop had been established between the hominid hand and brain. This theory says that the
use of tools conferred a crucial evolutionary advantage on those hominids which had this skill. The use of
tools required a larger and more sophisticated brain to co-ordinate the fine hand movements required for
this task. However this theory has not been confirmed and many other theories have been developed
based on scientific evidence. It is likely that a tool using hominid would have made a formidable enemy
and that surviving this new threat would have been the loop that increased brain size and mind power. By
2 million years ago Homo habilis had appeared in east Africa: the first hominid to make tools rather than
merely use them. Several more species in the genus 'homo' appeared before fully modern humans, known
as homo sapiens developed. these homo sapiens, which are the archaic version of the modern human
showed the first evidence of language, and the range of activities we call culture, including art and
About 200,000 years ago in Europe and the Near East hominids known to us as Neanderthal man or some
call them homo neanderthalensis appeared. They too had art such as decorated tools for aesthetic pleasure
and culture, such as burying their dead in ways which suggest spiritual beliefs. hotly debated in the
scientific community is whether or not Homo sapiens developed from neanderthals or a combinations of
hominids. Some scientists say that the Neanderthals were wiped out by homo sapiens when they entered
the region about 40,000 years ago. What is known is that by 25,000 years ago the Neanderthal was
extinct. Between 120,000 to 165,000 years ago Homo sapiens reached their fully modern form, the first
evidence of this was found in Africa although once again the origins are widely debated between three
theories, the Single-Origin theory, the Multiregional model and the Assimilation model.

See also: Evolutionary psychology, Evolutionary neuroscience, and Paleoanthropology

[edit] Animal intelligence

Animal cognition, or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities
of animals. It has developed out of comparative psychology, but has also been strongly influenced by the
approach of ethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary psychology. Much of what used to be
considered under the title of animal intelligence is now thought of under this heading. Animal language
acquisition, attempting to discern or understand the degree to which animal cognistics can be revealed by
linguistics-related study, has been controversial among cognitive linguists.

[edit] Artificial intelligence

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding
reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2007)
Main article: Philosophy of artificial intelligence

The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first used by John McCarthy who considers it to mean "the
science and engineering of making intelligent machines".[23] It can also refer to intelligence as exhibited
by an artificial (man-made, non-natural, manufactured) entity. AI is studied in overlapping fields of
computer science, psychology, neuroscience and engineering, dealing with intelligent behavior, learning
and adaptation and usually developed using customized machines or computers.

Research in AI is concerned with producing machines to automate tasks requiring intelligent behavior.
Examples include control, planning and scheduling, the ability to answer diagnostic and consumer
questions, handwriting, natural language, speech and facial recognition. As such, the study of AI has also
become an engineering discipline, focused on providing solutions to real life problems, knowledge
mining, software applications, strategy games like computer chess and other video games. One of the
biggest difficulties with AI is that of comprehension. Many devices have been created that can do
amazing things, but critics of AI claim that no actual comprehension by the AI machine has taken place.

The debate about the nature of the mind is relevant to the development of artificial intelligence. If the
mind is indeed a thing separate from or higher than the functioning of the brain, then hypothetically it
would be much more difficult to recreate within a machine, if it were possible at all. If, on the other hand,
the mind is no more than the aggregated functions of the brain, then it will be possible to create a machine
with a recognisable mind (though possibly only with computers much different from today's), by simple
virtue of the fact that such a machine already exists in the form of the human brain.

[edit] Religious perspectives
Various religious traditions have contributed unique perspectives on the nature of mind. In many
traditions, especially mystical traditions, overcoming the ego is considered a worthy spiritual goal.

Judaism teaches that "moach shalit al halev", the mind rules the heart. Humans can approach the Divine
intellectually, through learning and behaving according to the Divine Will as enclothed in the Torah, and
use that deep logical understanding to elicit and guide emotional arousal during prayer. Christianity has
tended to see the mind as distinct from the soul (Greek nous) and sometimes further distinguished from
the spirit. Western esoteric traditions sometimes refer to a mental body that exists on a plane other than
the physical.

Hinduism's various philosophical schools have debated whether the human soul (Sanskrit atman) is
distinct from, or identical to, Brahman, the divine reality. Buddhism attempted to break with such
metaphysical speculation, and posited that there is actually no distinct thing as a human being, who
merely consists of five aggregates, or skandhas. The Indian philosopher-sage Sri Aurobindo attempted to
unite the Eastern and Western psychological traditions with his integral psychology, as have many
philosophers and New religious movements. Swami Parmanand Ji Maharaj of Bhagwat Bhakti Ashram
also gave a very good discourse on The Mind.

Taoism sees the human being as contiguous with natural forces, and the mind as not separate from the
body. Confucianism sees the mind, like the body, as inherently perfectible.

See also: Buddhism and psychology

[edit] New age and alternative perspectives

According to the Parapsychological Association, parapsychology is the scientific study of certain types of
paranormal phenomena, or of phenomena which appear to be paranormal.[24] The term is based on the
Greek para (beside/beyond), psyche (soul/mind), and logos (account/explanation) and was coined by
psychologist Max Dessoir in or before 1889. Its first appearance was in an article by Dessoir in the June
1889 issue of the German publication Sphinx.[25] J. B. Rhine later popularized "parapsychology" as a
replacement for the earlier term "psychical research", during a shift in methodologies which brought
experimental methods to the study of psychic phenomena.[25] In contemporary research, the term
'parapsychology' refers to the study of psi, a general blanket term used by academic parapsychologists to
denote anomalous processes or outcomes.[26][27][28]

The scientific reality of parapsychological phenomena and the validity of scientific parapsychological
research is a matter of frequent dispute and criticism. The field is regarded by critics as a pseudoscience.
Parapsychologists, in turn, say that parapsychological research is scientifically rigorous. Despite
criticisms, a number of academic institutions now conduct research on the topic, employing laboratory
methodologies and statistical techniques, such as meta-analysis.[citation needed] The Parapsychological
Association is the leading association for parapsychologists and has been a member of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science since 1969.[29]

[edit] See also
• Mental state
• Mind at Large
• Subjective character of experience
• Theory of mind
[edit] References

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Sport (disambiguation).

Sport in childhood. Association football, shown above, a team sport, and may provide social interaction.

Sport is activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. Sports
commonly refer to activities where the physical capabilities of the competitor are the sole or primary
determiner of the outcome (winning or losing), but the term is also used to include activities such as mind
sports (a common name for some card games and board games with little to no element of chance) and
motor sports where mental acuity or equipment quality are major factors. Sport is commonly defined as
an organized, competitive and skillful physical activity requiring commitment and fair play. Sports differ
from games based on levels of organization and profit (not always monetary). Accurate records are kept
and updated, while failures and accomplishments are widely announced in sport news.

[edit] Terminology

Show Jumping, an equestrian sport.
In British English, sporting activities are commonly denoted by the collective noun "sport". In American
English, "sports" is more used. In all English dialects, "sports" is the term used for more than one specific
sport. For example, "football and swimming are my favourite sports", would sound natural to all English
speakers, whereas "I enjoy sport" would sound less natural than "I enjoy sports" to North Americans.

The term "sport" is sometimes extended to encompass all competitive activities in which offense and
defense are played, regardless of the level of physical activity. Both games of skill and motor sport exhibit
many of the characteristics of physical sports, such as skill, sportsmanship, and at the highest levels, even
professional sponsorship associated with physical sports. Air sports, billiards, bridge, chess, motorcycle
racing, and powerboating are all recognized as sports by the International Olympic Committee with their
world governing bodies represented in the Association of the IOC Recognised International Sports

[edit] References
1. ^ "Recognized non-Olympic Sports" (2007-01-03).

• Free, Marcus; Hughson, John (2006) Common culture, commodity fetishism and the cultural
contradictions of sport International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 83-104 DOI:
10.1177/1367877906061166 SAGE Publications

[edit] See also
Sports and games portal
Find more about Sports on Wikipedia's sister projects:

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Martial arts
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Martial arts (disambiguation).

A block print from the Wu Pei Chih ("Bubishi" in Japanese), an 18th- or 19th-century text which
describes techniques found in Chinese martial arts (mostly addressing Fujian White Crane Gong-fu).

Martial arts are systems of codified practices and traditions of training for combat. While they may be
studied for various reasons, martial arts share a single objective: to defeat one or more people physically
and to defend oneself or others from physical threat. In addition, some martial arts are linked to spiritual
or religious beliefs/philosophies such as Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism or Shinto while others have
their own spiritual or non-spiritual code of honour. Many arts are also practised competitively most
commonly as combat sports, but may also be in the form of dance.

The word 'martial' derives from the name of Mars, the Roman god of war. The term 'martial arts' literally
means arts of war. This term comes from 15th century Europeans who were referring to their own
fighting arts that are today known as historical European martial arts. A practitioner of martial arts is
referred to as a martial artist.

In popular culture, the term "Martial Arts" often specifically refers to the combat systems that originated
in Asian cultures, especially East Asian martial arts. However, the term actually refers to any sort of
codified combat systems, regardless of origin. Europe is home to many extensive systems of martial arts,
both living traditions (e.g. Jogo do Pau and other stick and sword fencing and Savate, a French kicking
style developed by sailors and street fighters) and older systems collectively referred to as historical
European martial arts that existed until modern times and are now being reconstructed by several
organizations. In the Americas, Native Americans have a tradition of open-handed martial arts, which
includes wrestling, and Hawaiians have historically practiced arts featuring small and large joint
manipulation. A mix of origins occur in the athletic movements of Capoeira, a practice that was created in
Brazil by slaves and was based on skills brought with them from Africa.

While each style has unique facets that make it different from other martial arts, a common characteristic
is the systemization of fighting techniques. Methods of training vary and may include sparring or forms
(kata), which are sets or routines of techniques that are performed alone, or sometimes with a partner, and
which are especially common in the Asian and Asian-derived martial arts.[1]


• 1 Variation and scope
• 2 History
o 2.1 Asia
 2.1.1 Early history
 2.1.2 Recent history
o 2.2 Europe
o 2.3 Americas
o 2.4 Africa
o 2.5 Modern history
• 3 On the modern battlefield
• 4 Testing and competition
o 4.1 Light- and medium-contact
o 4.2 Full-contact
o 4.3 Sparring debates
• 5 Martial sport
• 6 Dance
• 7 See also
o 7.1 Styles
• 8 References

• 9 External links

[edit] Variation and scope
Martial arts vary widely, and may focus on a specific area or combination of areas, but they can be
broadly grouped into focusing on strikes, grappling, or weapons training. Below is a list of examples that
make extensive use of one these areas; it is not an exhaustive list of all arts covering the area, nor are
these necessarily the only areas covered by the art but are the focus or best known part as examples of the

Some arts have a very specific focus while others, such as Mixed martial arts, are more syncretic.


• Punching - Boxing (Western)
• Kicking - Capoeira, Savate, Taekwondo
• Other strikes (e.g. Elbows, knees, open-hand) - Muay Thai, Karate, Shaolin Kung Fu, Wing Chun


• Throwing - Glima, Judo, Jujutsu, Sambo, Shuai jiao
• Joint lock - Aikido, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Hapkido
• Pinning Techniques - Judo, Wrestling


• Traditional Weaponry - Fencing, Gatka, Kendo, Silambam
• Modern Weaponry - Eskrima, Jogo do Pau, Jukendo, Modern Arnis

Many martial arts, especially those from Asia, also teach side disciplines which pertain to medicinal
practices. This is particularly prevalent in traditional Chinese martial arts which may teach bone-setting,
qigong, acupuncture, acupressure (tui na), and other aspects of traditional Chinese medicine.[2]

[edit] History
Main article: History of martial arts
Further information: Martial arts timeline

Pictorial records of both wrestling and armed combat date to the Bronze Age ancient Near East, such as
the 20th century BC mural in the tomb of Amenemhet at Beni Hassan, or the 26th century BC "Standard
of Ur".
Ancient depiction of Shaolin monks practicing the art of self defense.

[edit] Asia

[edit] Early history

Main article: Asian martial arts (origins)

The foundation of the Asian martial arts is likely a blend of early Chinese and Indian martial arts.
Extensive trade occurred between these nations beginning around 600 BC, with diplomats, merchants, and
monks traveling the Silk Road. During the Warring States period of Chinese history (480-221 BC)
extensive development in martial philosophy and strategy emerged, as described by Sun Tzu in The Art of
War (c. 350 BC).

An early legend in martial arts tells the tale of a South Indian Pallava prince turned monk named
Bodhidharma (also called Daruma), believed to have lived around 550 A.D. The martial virtues of
discipline, humility, restraint and respect are attributed to this philosophy.[3]

Shaolin Monastery was built by the Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty in AD 477. Batuo
(also called Buddhabhadra), an Indian dhyana master becomes the first abbot of Shaolin Temple.[4]

The teaching of martial arts in Asia has historically followed the cultural traditions of teacher-disciple
apprenticeship. Students are trained in a strictly hierarchical system by a master instructor: Sifu in
Cantonese or Shifu in Mandarin; Sensei in Japanese; Sabeom-nim in Korean; Guru in Sanskrit, Hindi,
Telugu and Malay; Kruu in Khmer; Guro in Tagalog; Kalari Gurukkal or Kalari Asaan in Malayalam;
Asaan in Tamil; Achan or Kru in Thai; and Saya in Myanmar. Though these may not translate literally as

[edit] Recent history

Further information: Modern history of East Asian martial arts

Kalaripayat, an Indian martial art that witnessed a revival in 20th century
The Western interest in Asian martial arts dates back to the late 19th century, due to the increase in trade
between the United States with China and Japan. Relatively few Westerners actually practiced the arts,
considering it to be mere performance. Edward William Barton-Wright, a railway engineer who had
studied Jujutsu while working in Japan between 1894–97, was the first man known to have taught Asian
martial arts in Europe. He also founded an eclectic martial arts style named Bartitsu which combined
jujutsu, judo, boxing, savate and stick fighting.

Europe's colonisation of Asian countries also brought about a decline in local martial arts, especially with
the introduction of firearms. Most clearly be seen in India after the full establishment of British Raj in the
19th century.[5] More European modes of organizing police, armies and governmental institutions, and the
increasing use of firearms, eroded the need for traditional martial training associated with caste-specific
duties.[5] and in 1804 the British Colonial government banned kalaripayat in response to a series of
revolts.[6] Kalaripayat and other traditional arts experienced a resurgence in the 1920s in Tellicherry and
spread throughout South India.[5] Similar phenomena occurred in other Southeast Asian colonies such as
Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Phillippines. Other Indian martial arts, such as Thang-Ta also
witnessed a resurgence in the 1950s.[7]

As Western influence grew in East Asia a greater number of military personnel spent time in China,
Japan, and Korea. Exposure to martial arts during the Korean war was also significant. The later 1970s
and 1980s witnessed an increased media interest in the martial arts, thanks in part to Asian and
Hollywood martial arts movies. Jackie Chan and Jet Li are prominent movie figures who have been
responsible for promoting Chinese martial arts in recent years.

[edit] Europe

Main article: Historical European martial arts

Boxing was practiced in the ancient Mediterranean

Martial arts existed in classical European civilization, most notably in Greece where sports were integral
to the way of life. Boxing (pygme, pyx), Wrestling (pale) and Pankration (from pan, meaning "all", and
kratos, meaning "power" or "strength") were represented in the Ancient Olympic Games. The Romans
produced Gladiatorial combat as a public spectacle.
A number of historical fencing forms and manuals have survived, and many groups are working to
reconstruct older European martial arts. The process of reconstruction combines intensive study of
detailed combat treatises produced from 1400–1900 A.D. and practical training or "pressure testing" of
various techniques and tactics. This includes such styles as sword and shield, two-handed swordfighting,
halberd fighting, jousting and other types of melee weapons combat. This reconstruction effort and
modern outgrowth of the historical methods is generally referred to as Western martial arts. Many
Medieval martial arts manuals have survived, the most famous being Johannes Lichtenauer's Fechtbuch
(Sword Tome) of the 14th century. Today Lichtenauer's tome forms the basis of the German school of

In Europe, the martial arts declined with the rise of firearms. As a consequence, martial arts with
historical roots in Europe do not exist today to the same extent as in Asia, since the traditional martial arts
either died out or developed into sports. Swordsmanship developed into fencing. Boxing as well as forms
of wrestling have endured. European martial arts have mostly adapted to changing technology so that
while some traditional arts still exist, military personnel are trained in skills like bayonet combat and
marksmanship. Some European weapon systems have also survived as folk sports and as self-defense
methods. These include stick-fighting systems such as bataireacht of Ireland, Jogo do Pau of Portugal and
the Juego del Palo style(s) of the Canary Islands.

Other martial arts evolved into sports that no longer recognized as combative. One example is the pommel
horse event in men's gymnastics, an exercise which itself is derived from the sport of Equestrian vaulting.
Cavalryriders needed to be able to change positions on their horses quickly, rescue fallen allies, fight
effectively on horseback and dismount at a gallop. Training these skills on a stationery barrel evolved into
sport of gymnastics' pommel horse exercise. More ancient origins exist for the shot put and the javelin
throw, both weapons utilized extensively by the Romans.

[edit] Americas

Native peoples of North America and South America had their own martial training which began in
childhood. Some First Nations men, and more rarely some women, were called warriors only after they
had proved themselves in battle. Most groups selected individuals for training in the use of bows, knives,
blowguns, spears, and war clubs in early adolescence. War clubs were the preferred martial weapon
because Native American warriors could raise their social status by killing enemies in single combat face
to face.[citation needed] Warriors honed their weapons skills and stalking techniques through lifelong training.

Capoeira, with great roots in Africa, is a martial art originating in Brazil that involves a high degree of
flexibility and endurance. It consists of kicks, elbow strikes, hand strikes, head butts, cartwheels and
sweeps. Jeet Kune Do is a martial arts system developed by martial artist and actor Bruce Lee. Its roots lie
in Wing Chun, western boxing and fencing with a philosophy of a casting off what is useless and using no
way as way. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an adaptation of pre-World War II Judo and jujutsu, developed by the
brothers Carlos and Hélio Gracie, it was restructured into a sport with a large focus on groundwork. This
system has become a popular martial art and proved to be effective in mixed martial arts competitions
such as the UFC and PRIDE.[8]

As of 2003, over 1.5 million US citizens practice martial arts.

[edit] Africa

African knives may be classified by shape—typically into the 'f' group and the 'circular' group—and have
often been incorrectly described as throwing knives.[9]There are also wrestling and grappling techniques
found in West Africa. "Stick fighting" formed an important part of Zulu culture in South Africa, and is a
significant part of Obnu Bilate, a fighting form practiced in southern Botswana and Northern South

[edit] Modern history

Wrestling, Javelin, Fencing (1896 Summer Olympics), Archery (1900), Boxing (1904), and more recently
Judo (1964) and Tae Kwon Do (2000) are the martial arts that are featured as events in the modern
Summer Olympic Games.

Martial arts also developed among military and police forces to be used as arrest and self-defense methods
including: Kapap and Krav Maga developed in Israeli Defense Forces; San Shou in Chinese; Systema:
developed for the Russian armed forces and Rough and Tumble (RAT): originally developed for the South
African special forces (Reconnaissance Commandos) (now taught in a civilian capacity). Tactical arts for
use in close quarter combat warfare, i.e. Military Martial arts e.g. UAC (British), LINE (USA). Other
combative systems having their origins in the modern military include Soviet Bojewoje (Combat) Sambo.
Pars Tactical Defence (Turkei security personally self defence system)

Inter-art competitions came to the fore again in 1993 with the first Ultimate Fighting Championship this
has since evolved into the modern sport of Mixed martial arts.

[edit] On the modern battlefield

U.S. Army Combatives instructor Matt Larsen demonstrates a chokehold

Some traditional martial concepts have seen new use within modern military training. Perhaps the most
recent example of this is point shooting which relies on muscle memory to more effectively utilize a
firearm in a variety of awkward situations, much the way an iaidoka would master movements with their

During the World War II era William E. Fairbairn, a Shanghai policeman and a leading Western expert on
Asian fighting techniques, was recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) to teach Jujutsu to
U.K., U.S. and Canadian Special Forces. The book Kill or Get Killed, written by Colonel Rex Applegate,
became a classic military treatise on hand-to-hand combat. This fighting method was called Defendu.

Traditional hand-to-hand, knife, and spear techniques continue to see use in the composite systems
developed for today's wars. Examples of this include the US Army's Combatives system developed by
Matt Larsen, the Israeli army trains its soldiers in Krav Maga, the US Marine Corps's Marine Corps
Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), and Chinese San Shou.

Unarmed dagger defenses identical to that found in the fechtbuch of Fiore dei Liberi and the Codex
Wallerstein were integrated into the U.S. Army's training manuals in 1942[10] and continue to influence
today's systems along with other traditional systems such as Eskrima.

The rifle-mounted bayonet, which has its origin in the spear, has seen use by the United States Army, the
United States Marine Corps, and the British Army as recently as the Iraq War.[11]

[edit] Testing and competition
Testing or evaluation is important to martial art practitioners of many disciplines who wish to determine
their progression or own level of skill in specific contexts. Students within individual martial art systems
often undergo periodic testing and grading by their own teacher in order to advance to a higher level of
recognized achievement, such as a different belt color or title. The type of testing used varies from system
to system but may include forms or sparring.

Various forms and sparring are commonly used in martial art exhibitions and tournaments. Some
competitions pit practitioners of different disciplines against each other using a common set of rules, these
are referred to as mixed martial arts competitions. Rules for sparring vary between art and organization
but can generally be divided into light-contact, medium-contact, and full-contact variants, reflecting the
amount of force that should be used on an opponent.

[edit] Light- and medium-contact

These types of sparring restrict the amount of force that may be used to hit an opponent, in the case of
light sparring this is usual to 'touch' contact, e.g. a punch should be 'pulled' as soon as or before contact is
made. In medium-contact (sometimes referred to as semi-contact) the punch would not be 'pulled' but not
hit with full force. As the amount of force used is restricted, the aim of these types of sparring is not to
knock out an opponent; a point system is used in competitions.

A referee acts to monitor for fouls and to control the match, while judges mark down scores, as in boxing.
Particular targets may be prohibited (such as the face or groin), certain techniques may be forbidden, and
fighters may be required to wear protective equipment on their head, hands, chest, groin, shins or feet. In
grappling arts aikido uses a similar method of compliant training that is equivalent to light or medium

In some styles (such as fencing and some styles of taekwondo sparring), competitors score points based
on the landing of a single technique or strike as judged by the referee, whereupon the referee will briefly
stop the match, award a point, then restart the match. Alternatively, sparring may continue with the point
noted by the judges. Some critics of point sparring feel that this method of training teaches habits that
result in lower combat effectiveness. Lighter-contact sparring may be used exclusively, for children or in
other situations when heavy contact would be inappropriate (such as beginners), medium-contact sparring
is often used as training for full-contact.
[edit] Full-contact

"Full-contact" sparring or fighting is considered by some to be requisite in learning realistic unarmed
combat.[12] Full-contact sparring is different from light and medium-contact sparring in several ways,
including the use of strikes that are not pulled but are thrown with full force, as the name implies. In full-
contact sparring, the aim of a competitive match is either to knock out the opponent or to force the
opponent to submit. Full-contact sparring may include a wider variety of permitted attacks and contact
zones on the body.

Where scoring takes place it may be a subsidiary measure, only used if no clear winner has been
established by other means; in some competitions, such as the UFC 1, there was no scoring, though most
now use some form of judging as a backup.[13] Due to these factors, full-contact matches tend to be more
aggressive in character, but rule sets may still mandate the use of protective gloves and forbid certain
techniques or actions during a match, such as punching the back of the head.

Nearly all mixed martial arts leagues such as UFC, Pancrase, Shooto use a form of full-contact rules, as
do professional boxing organizations and K-1. Kyokushin karate requires advanced practitioners to
engage in bare-knuckled, full-contact sparring while wearing only a karate gi and groin protector but does
not allow strikes to the face, only kicks and knees. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo matches do not allow
striking, but are full-contact in the sense that full force is applied in the application during grappling and
submission techniques.

[edit] Sparring debates

Some practitioners believe that sports matches with rules are not a good measure of hand-to-hand combat
ability and training for these restrictions may inhibit effectiveness in self defence situations. These
practitioners may prefer not to participate in most types of rule-based martial art competition (even one
such as vale tudo where there are minimal rules), electing instead to study fighting techniques with little
or no regard to competitive rules or, even perhaps, ethical concerns and the law (the techniques practiced
may aim to kill or cripple the opponent). Others maintain that, given proper precautions such as a referee
and a ring doctor, sparring, in particular full-contact matches with basic rules, serves as a useful gauge of
an individual's overall fighting ability, and that failing to test techniques against a resisting opponent is
more likely to impede ability in self defence situations.

Several martial arts, such as Judo, are Olympic sports.

[edit] Martial sport
Judo and Tae Kwon Do as well as western archery, boxing, javelin, wrestling and fencing are currently
events in the Summer Olympic Games. Chinese wushu recently failed in its bid to be included, but is still
actively performed in tournaments across the world. Practitioners in some arts such as kickboxing and
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu often train for sport matches, whereas those in other arts such as Aikido and Wing
Chun generally spurn such competitions. Some schools believe that competition breeds better and more
efficient practitioners, and gives a sense of good sportsmanship. Others believe that the rules under which
competition takes place have diminished the combat effectiveness of martial arts or encourage a kind of
practice which focuses on winning trophies rather than a focus such as cultivating a particular moral

As part of the response to sport martial arts, new forms of competition are being held such as the Ultimate
Fighting Championship in the U.S. or Pancrase, DREAM, and Shooto in Japan which are also known as
mixed martial arts (or MMA) events. The original UFC was fought under very few rules allowing all
martial arts styles to enter and not be limited by the rule set.

Some martial artists also compete in non-sparring competitions such as breaking or choreographed
techniques poomse, kata or aka. Modern variations of the martial arts include dance-influenced
competitions such as tricking.

Some martial traditions have been influenced by governments to become more sport-like for political
purposes. The central impetus for the attempt by the People's Republic of China in transforming Chinese
martial arts into the committee-regulated sport of Wushu was suppressing what they saw as the potentially
subversive aspects of martial training, especially under the traditional system of family lineages.[14]

[edit] Dance
As mentioned above, some martial arts in various cultures can be performed in dance-like settings for
various reasons, such as for evoking ferocity in preparation for battle or showing off skill in a more
stylized manner. Many such martial arts incorporate music, especially strong percussive rhythms.

Examples of such war dances include:

Capoeira is a martial art traditionally performed with a dance-like flavor and to live musical
accompaniment, as seen depicted here.

• Buza - From Russia.
• Panther Dance - Burmese Bando with swords (dha)
• Gymnopaidiai - ancient Sparta
• European Sword dance or Weapon dance of various kinds
• Haka - New Zealand
• Sabre Dance - depicted in Khachaturian's ballet Gayane
• Maasai moran (warrior age-set) dances
• Aduk-Aduk - Brunei
• Ayyalah - Qatar
• Khattak Dance - Afghanistan and Pakistan
• Brazil's Capoeira, as well as some similar Afro-Caribbean arts
• Dannsa Biodag - Scotland and Scottish sword dances
• Hula & Lua - from the traditions of indigenous Hawaiian
• Combat Hopak - From Ukraine
• Yolah - From Oman/UAE

[edit] See also
Martial arts portal
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Martial arts

• For a time line of martial arts historical milestones, see Martial arts timeline
• For a detailed list of martial arts weapons, see List of martial arts weapons
• For other related topics, see List of martial arts-related topics

[edit] Styles

Over time, the number of martial arts has grown and multiplied, with hundreds of schools and
organizations around the world currently working towards myriad goals and practising a huge variety of

• For a detailed list of martial arts styles see: List of martial arts
• For a detailed list of fictional martial arts, see List of fictional martial arts
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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See also Entertainment (disambiguation) and The Entertainer (disambiguation)

A mime working for tips entertaining crowd in Paris, France
Entertainment is an activity designed to give people pleasure or relaxation. An audience may participate
in the entertainment passively as in watching opera or a movie, or actively as in games.[1]

The playing of sports and reading of literature are usually included in entertainment, but these are often
called recreation, because they involve some active participation beyond mere leisure

The industry that provides entertainment is called the entertainment industry.


• 1 Examples of entertainment
o 1.1 Animation
o 1.2 Cinema
o 1.3 Theatre
o 1.4 Circus
o 1.5 Comedy
o 1.6 Comics
o 1.7 Dance
o 1.8 Reading
o 1.9 Games
o 1.10 Music
o 1.11 Other forms of entertainment
• 2 See also
• 3 Footnotes

• 4 External links

[edit] Examples of entertainment
[edit] Animation

Wikipe-tan sailor fuku is a character in Japanese animation.

Animation provides moving images that are generated by an artist, in contrast to the live action normally
used in motion pictures. It is typically accompanied by a sound track consisting of recordings of live
actors. Animation is often used in computer-based forms of entertainment.
Cartoons are a comedic form of animation.[2] Anime or TV manga refers to animation originating from
Japan in the Occidental use of the word. In Japan the word refers to all animation. It may contain adult
themes and futuristic locations.[3]

[edit] Cinema

Cinema provides moving pictures as an art form. Cinema may also be called films or movies.[4] A film
produces an illusion of motion by presenting a series of individual image frames in rapid succession.
Films are produced by a crew that handle the cameras, sets and lighting. The cast consists of actors who
appear in front of the camera and follow a script. After the film has been shot, it is edited then distributed
to theaters or television studios for viewing.

[edit] Theatre

Theatre encompasses live performance such as plays, musicals, farces, monologues and pantomimes.

Circus act - fire breather

[edit] Circus

Circus acts include acrobats, clowns, trained animals, trapeze acts, hula hoopers, tightrope walkers,
jugglers, unicyclists and other stunt-oriented artists.[5]

Circuses are a great place for families.

[edit] Comedy

Comedy provides laughter and amusement. The audience is taken by surprise, by the parody or satire of
an unexpected effect or an opposite expectations of their cultural beliefs. Slapstick film, one-liner joke,
observational humor are forms of comedy which have developed since the early days of jesters and
traveling minstrels.[6]

[edit] Comics
Felix the Cat Comic Strip

Comics comprise of text and drawings which convey an entertaining narrative.[7] Several famous comics
revolve around super heroes such as Superman, Batman. Marvel Comics and DC Comics are two
publishers of comic books. Manga is the Japanese word for comic and print cartoons.

Caricature is a graphical entertainment. The purpose may vary from merely putting smile on the viewers
face, to raising social awareness, to highlighting the moral vices of a person being caricaturised.

[edit] Dance


Dance refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music,[8] used as a form of expression,
social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting. Dance includes ballet, cancan,
Charleston, Highland fling, folk dance, sun dance, modern dance, polka and many more.[9]

[edit] Reading

Reading comprises the interpretation of written symbols.[10] An author, poet or playwright sets out a
composition for publication to provide education or diversion for the reader. The format includes
paperback or hard cover books, magazines, periodicals, puzzle books, crossword magazines and coloring
books. Fantasy, horror, science fiction and mystery are forms of reading entertainment.

[edit] Games
Playing Bingo

Games provide relaxation and diversion usually following a rule set. Games may be played by one person
for their own entertainment, or by a group of people. Games may be played for achievement or money
such as gambling or bingo. Racing, chess or checkers may develop physical or mental prowess. Games
may be geared for children, or may be played outdoors such as lawn bowling. Equipment may be
necessary to play the game such as a deck of cards for card games, or a board and markers for board
games such as Monopoly, or backgammon.[11] A few may be ball games, Blind man's bluff, board games,
card games, children's games, Croquet, Frisbee, Hide and seek, Number games, Paintball, and Video
games to name a few.

[edit] Music

Musical Piece: Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony no. 5 in C minor

Music is a art form combining rhythm, melody, harmony for entertainment, ceremonial or religious

[edit] Other forms of entertainment

• Concert
• Lecture
• Magic
• Sports
• Mass media
• Revue
• Television
• Radio
• Storytelling
A juggler entertains outdoors in Devizes, Wiltshire, England

[edit] See also
Main list: List of basic entertainment topics

• Broadway theatre
• History of film
• Leisure
• Escapism
• Literature
• West End theatre

[edit] Footnotes
1. ^ "entertainment - Definitions from". Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. (2007).
Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
2. ^ "cartoon - Definitions from". Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. (2007). Retrieved
on 2007-11-30.
3. ^ "anime - Definitions from". Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. (2007). Retrieved
on 2007-11-30.
4. ^ Harper, Douglas gfg (2001). "fdgfg cinema- Definitions from". rOnline
Etymology Dictionary fd fdf. Lexico Publishing Group, LLC.. Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
5. ^ Hoh, Lavahn G. (2004). "The Circus in America: 1793–1940". The Institute for Advanced
Technology in the Humanities. University of Virginia. Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
6. ^ "comedy". From: The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. HighBeam Research, Inc. (2007).
Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
7. ^ "comic strip comic strip". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
(2007). Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
8. ^ "britannica".
9. ^ "Encyclopedia: Dance —". Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease (2000–
2007). Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
10. ^ "reading -". HighBeam Research, Inc (2007). Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
11. ^ "Games - MSN Encarta". Microsoft (2007). Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
12. ^ "music - definition of music by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia".
Farlex, Inc. (2007). Retrieved on 2007-11-30.
[edit] External links

Look up entertainer in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Category:Entertainment

• Entertainment at the Open Directory Project
• Entertainment

Retrieved from ""
Category: Entertainment
Hidden category: Wikipedia articles needing rewrite