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A very large ray, sometimes called a devilfish.
(Str: dp. 3,800; 1. 251'; b. 43'6"; dr. 17'9"; s. 9 k.; cpl. 64; a. 1 5", 13")
manta (No. 2036), originally built for the Clyde Steamship Co., was launched in 1916 by the Chicago Ship Building Co., South Chicago, Ill.; and acquired and commissioned by the Navy 8 December 1917.
Manta, a NOTS cargo ship, plied the waters of the eastern Atlantic and the Caribbean until mid-July 1918. She then conducted two round-trip voyages to Europe as a mine carrier. On 30 October 1918 during the second return voyage, she was damaged in a storm and was towed to Norfolk. After extensive repairs she was decommissioned 13 March 1919 and returned to her owner.
Characteristics [ edit | edit source ]
After military defeats on Naboo, Maramere, and other water-covered planets, the Trade Federation began investing in the research and development of submersible fighter-craft. The Republic legislation that prohibited the Trade Federation from developing military droid hardware was only a temporary setback for the project because Trade Federation officials just moved the prototypes away from Republic investigators and bribed or disposed of anyone who discovered their work in progress.
The devout Xi Charrian engineers developed the subfighter while residing on remote private estates, isolated from the rest of their Haor Chall religious order, some time prior to the Naboo debacle. As a result of their isolation, their design talents were affected and the end product did suffer a number of design limitations. Nonetheless, the resulting manta droid subfighters were still impressive fighting machines when released in large shoals.
The sleek torpedo-like droid body was capped in front of a large wedge-shaped diving plane. The forward edge of the plane had an electromotive field, that when merged with repulsorlift-driven supercavitation vectrals incorporated into the subfighter's design, resulted in a very fast and surprisingly maneuverable underwater vessel. The twin barrels recessed in the plane sport laser cannons or torpedo launchers, and a few models even featured articulated barrel assemblies that allow both types of weapons on the same fighter.
About the Species
The giant manta ray is the world’s largest ray with a wingspan of up to 29 feet. They are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton. Giant manta rays are slow-growing, migratory animals with small, highly fragmented populations that are sparsely distributed across the world.
The main threat to the giant manta ray is commercial fishing, with the species both targeted and caught as bycatch in a number of global fisheries throughout its range. Manta rays are particularly valued for their gill rakers, which are traded internationally. In 2018, NOAA Fisheries listed the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Information on the global distribution of giant manta rays and their population sizes is lacking. Regional population sizes are small, ranging from around 100 to 1,500 individuals, and in areas subject to fishing, have significantly declined. Ecuador is thought to be home to the largest population of giant manta ray, with large aggregation sites within the waters of the Machalilla National Park and the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Overall, given their life history traits, particularly their low reproductive output, giant manta ray populations are inherently vulnerable to depletions, with low likelihood of recovery. Additional research is needed to better understand the population structure and global distribution of the giant manta ray.
CITES Appendix II
Manta rays are recognized by their large diamond-shaped body with elongated wing-like pectoral fins, ventrally-placed gill slits, laterally-placed eyes, and wide, terminal mouths. In front of the mouth, they have two structures called cephalic lobes which extend and help to channel water into the mouth for feeding activities (making them the only vertebrate animals with three paired appendages).
Manta rays come in two distinct color types: chevron (mostly black back and white belly) and black (almost completely black on both sides). They also have distinct spot patterns on their bellies that can be used to identify individuals. There are two species of manta rays: giant manta rays (Manta birostris) and reef manta rays (Manta alfredi). Giant manta rays are generally larger than reef manta rays, have a caudal thorn, and rough skin appearance. They can also be distinguished from reef manta rays by their coloration.
Behavior and Diet
The giant manta ray is a migratory species and seasonal visitor along productive coastlines with regular upwelling, in oceanic island groups, and near offshore pinnacles and seamounts. The timing of these visits varies by region and seems to correspond with the movement of zooplankton, current circulation and tidal patterns, seasonal upwelling, seawater temperature, and possibly mating behavior.
Although the giant manta ray tends to be solitary, they aggregate at cleaning sites and to feed and mate. Manta rays primarily feed on planktonic organisms such as euphausiids, copepods, mysids, decapod larvae, and shrimp, but some studies have noted their consumption of small and moderately sized fish as well. When feeding, mantas hold their cephalic fins in an “O” shape and open their mouths wide, creating a funnel that pushes water and prey through their mouth and over their gill rakers. Manta rays use many different types of feeding strategies, such as barrel rolling (doing somersaults over and over again) and creating feeding chains with other mantas to maximize prey intake.
Giant manta rays also appear to exhibit a high degree of plasticity or variation in terms of their use of depths within their habitat. During feeding, giant manta rays may be found aggregating in shallow waters at depths less than 10 meters. However, tagging studies have also shown that the species conducts dives of up to 200 to 450 meters and is capable of diving to depths exceeding 1,000 meters. This diving behavior may be influenced by season and shifts in prey location associated with the thermocline.
Where They Live
The giant manta ray is found worldwide in tropical, subtropical, and temperate bodies of water and is commonly found offshore, in oceanic waters, and in productive coastal areas. The species has also been observed in estuarine waters, oceanic inlets, and within bays and intercoastal waterways. As such, giant manta rays can be found in cool water, as low as 19°C, although temperature preference appears to vary by region. For example, off the U.S. East Coast, giant manta rays are commonly found in waters from 19 to 22°C, whereas those off the Yucatan peninsula and Indonesia are commonly found in waters between 25 to 30°C.
Lifespan & Reproduction
Manta rays have among the lowest fecundity of all elasmobranchs (a subclass of cartilaginous fish), typically giving birth to only one pup every two to three years. Gestation is thought to last around a year. Although manta rays have been reported to live at least 40 years, not much is known about their growth and development.
Overfishing and Bycatch
The most significant threat to the giant manta ray is overutilization for commercial purposes. Giant manta rays are both targeted and caught as bycatch in a number of global fisheries throughout their range, and are most susceptible to industrial purse-seine and artisanal gillnet fisheries.
Efforts to address overutilization of the species through current regulatory measures are inadequate, as targeted fishing of the species still occurs despite prohibitions in a significant portion of the species’ range. Also, measures to address bycatch of the species in industrial fisheries are rare.
Harvest for International Trade
Demand for the gills of manta and other mobula rays has risen dramatically in Asian markets. With this expansion of the international gill raker market and increasing demand for manta ray products, estimated harvest of giant manta rays, particularly in many portions of the Indo-Pacific, frequently exceeds numbers of identified individuals in those areas and are accompanied by observed declines in sightings and landings of the species of up to 95 percent.
Diving with Manta Rays
We have done some of the world's best manta dives and know that the joy of diving with these creatures is difficult to overstate. They capture divers' imaginations since they move so gracefully and majestically through the water - whether frolicking in the surf, or enjoying the skin care treatment of a cleaning station. Find out more about these beautiful and mysterious fish .
There are few sights more awe inspiring for scuba divers than watching manta rays performing their graceful somersaults. These magnificent creatures are frequently seen feeding alone or in small groups near the surface and other near shore waters near coral and rocky reefs. Sightings are common in the Maldives, particularly during the August to October feeding and mating spectacular at Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll, in the northern atolls of the Maldives. Other great places to witness these majestic creatures include Koh Bon in Thailand, Komodo and Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Black Rock in Myanmar, Kadavu in Fiji, Cabo Marshall in the Galapagos Islands and Mexico.
Manta rays are strong pelagic swimmers, possibly able to cross the open ocean and so often host 1 or more clinging remora, or sucker fish. Remoras have their first dorsal fin modified into a sucking disc. While the remoras do not harm their host directly (apart from sore skin where attached), mantas do use more energy when swimming with them.
Manta Ray Fact Sheet
Family name: Myliobatidae, subfamily Mobulinae
Order name: Batoides
Common name: Manta ray
Scientific name: Manta Birostris and Manta Alfredi
They can grow to 6.7m wide, weigh up to 1,400 kg, and are the largest of all rays. The Spanish word for blanket is 'manta' and aptly describes the unique body shape of this animal. With graceful pectoral 'wings', manta rays are easily recognised by their paddle-like cephalic lobes projecting forward from the front of the head (actually extensions of the pectoral fins, supported by radial cartilages), and a very broad, rectangular terminal mouth.
Mantas vary in colour from black, grey-blue, to red-brown on the upper surface of their cartilage body, sometimes with white shoulder patches and blotches, and almost pure white on the lower surface of their pectoral fins and body disc. Their body patterns show individual variation and helps identify individuals, as well as species.
There are also regional differences in colour patterns. For example, specimens from the eastern Pacific often feature dusky to mostly black undersurfaces, while those from the western Pacific are typically snow white underneath.
Although it's difficult not to recognise an adult manta ray, juveniles can be similar in appearance to mobula rays (of which there are 9 species) that grow to 3 metres and share cephalic lobes and gracefully curved pectoral wings. However, mobulas don't have paddle shaped lobes, they have shorter pointed ones which look a little like horns, earning them the common name 'devil rays'. Mobula rays can also be distinguished by the position of the mouth - mobulas have sub-terminal mouths (located underneath the head, similar to many sharks), whilst mantas have terminal mouths (located at the front of the head).
Until recently they were considered to be of a single species but now the genus has been re-evaluated into 2 distinct species - the giant manta ray (Birostris) and the reef manta (Alfredi), officially identified in 2009 by Andrea Marshall. They both have worldwide distribution and sometimes exist in the same region. Their genetic divergence has been confirmed by DNA testing.
Manta birostris is the larger and more widely distributed of the 2 species. It is more commonly found off shore and is believed to be more migratory. Manta alfredi is smaller and is found closer to shore. A possible 3rd species, is being investigated around the Atlantic coast of the Americas.
There are many differences between the 2 identified species. From photographs of the manta's underside, sufficient of these differences can be seen to assist with identification. These include ventral markings which occur higher than the lowest gill openings only on Manta alfredi. Also there is a dark band that runs all along the rear of only Manta birostris from wing tip to wing tip.
They are capable of rapid speed and juveniles sometimes leap well clear of the water, landing with a loud slap, sometimes performing 2 or 3 of these jumps in succession. The act seems to be playing or social behaviour - the great, crashing splash of their re-entries can often be heard from miles away. Getting rid of parasites may also play a role, much like breeching whales.
Manta rays frequently visit reef-side "cleaning stations" to let cleaner wrasse remove small parasites from skin and gill cavities, sometimes several lining up to wait their turn.
Seemingly inquisitive, manta rays sometimes approach and even solicit attention from divers, apparently enjoying the tactile stimulation provided by human contact as well as the bubbles from scuba units. In areas frequented by divers, however, they often become very wary and cease to approach.
When approached rapidly or grasped, they roll onto their backs, dive, or swim away rapidly, righting themselves only when some distance away. Entering the water carefully so as to not scare them away will greatly increase the enjoyment of your encounter and protect them from injury. Hovering and staying still will eventually allow the manta ray to approach you. It's best to position yourself a long the bottom or near a cleaning station to observe them close up.
Touching a manta ray, even if they present their bellies for a rub, will remove some of the mucus that protects them against marine infections. Stay within their vision and let them decide if they want to approach you. Although some manta rays seem to enjoy the bubbles from the SCUBA unit on their bellies, avoid exhaling bubbles into their face, as it may scare them off.
Flash photography and video doesn't seem to bother them, but do not disturb them if they are engage in feeding, cleaning or mating. Direct eye contact is considered a friendly connection, which they also seem to enjoy. Remember to never ride on one, even though it may appear as if they present themselves for a ride.
Even though mantas have up to 300 rows of small peg shaped teeth (the size of pin heads) only on the lower jaw, they really are gigantic filter-feeders, preying on planktonic crustaceans and small schooling bony fishes.
The 2 fleshy lobes of cephalic fins are unrolled and held at a downward angle to create a funnel guiding prey into their enormous mouth. Feeding often occurs near or at the surface where plankton accumulates. They may simply swim along allowing plankton to pass into their mouths, or if it is concentrated they may practise "barrel swimming" 'head-over-heels' to make the most of the localised bounty. They have also been seen to feed by swimming along the seabed if the plankton is concentrated near the floor.
The manta ray is ovoviviparous with a usual litter size of 2 - each pup wrapped in a thin-shell that hatches inside the mother, later to be born alive. Birth occurs in relatively shallow water, where the young remain for several years before expanding their range further offshore. Like sharks and other rays, mantas are fertilized internally.
Male manta rays have a pair of penis-like organs called claspers, along the inner part of their pelvic fins. During courtship, males chase the female, eventually 1 grasping the tip of 1 of her pectoral wings between his teeth, and pressing his belly against hers.
Then, the male flexes one of his claspers and inserts it into her vent. Copulation lasts about 90 seconds. The fertilized eggs develop inside a mother manta's body for an unknown length of time that may exceed 12 months.
A newborn manta ray is about 125 cm wide and growth is rapid, doubling in size during the first year of life. Males mature when they reach a size of about 4 metres, females at about 5 metres it is unknown what age this is. Likewise, it is not known how long they live, but best guesses are about 25 years.
Only large warm water sharks, such as the tiger shark are known to prey naturally upon manta rays.
Manta ray distribution is circum-tropical, around the globe, generally between 35 degrees north and south latitude.
This area includes South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique to Somalia in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Arabian Sea (Oman), the Bay of Bengal, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia to southern Japan, northern Australia, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Fiji, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Hawaii, southern California to northern Peru, North Carolina to southern Brazil, the Azores, and Senegal to Liberia.
Manta birostris appears to be more widely distributed, reaching as far north as California and Rhode Island in the USA, North Africa and Japan. They also reach as far south as South Africa, New Zealand and Uruguay. Manta alfredi is widespread throughout the Asia Pacific region as well as the Indian Ocean.
While there is considerable overlap, it is worth noting that the coastlines of the Americas seem to be the preserve of birostris, while sightings in the central Pacific region are overwhelmingly of alfredi.
Found in every tropical ocean, they stand apart as the largest of all rays but just as mantas obtain star status with scuba divers, promising increased eco-tourism revenues, their populations around the globe are in peril.
The harvest of manta rays in eastern Indonesia has increased exponentially in just a few years. It has been estimated that over 1,500 have been taken over a period of 6 months. In the Philippines, increasing pressure on local fisheries has forced fishermen to look to these giant rays as an alternative meat source.
Another factor leading to increased manta harvests is the new demand for brachial gill plates which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Its skin has also been exploited for such as wallets and handbags. Overall this represents a 10-fold increase in farming over historic levels and it is feared that this increased harvest will spread to the Western Pacific.
In the Philippines fishermen are licensed to catch mantas using 1 km-long drift nets about 30m in height. These nets also catch dolphins and endangered turtles, which are being marketed as shark meat. This overexploitation of species population, together with low birth rates and small litters, leaves them highly vulnerable.
When it was discovered that entire populations of whale shark and manta ray had been decimated in the Philippines, a ban prohibiting their harvesting was imposed in 1998. But this was short-lived. 4 years later, due to the lack of resources to implement a sustainable management system, and political pressures from fisherman, the ban was lifted.
A delicate balance exists between the economic well being of small fishing villages, demand for Chinese medicine and the protection of manta rays. Helping local groups protect ecosystems that are frequented by these rays for tourism may be the only viable solution. Conservation efforts need to work internationally and with local communities to protect these majestic creatures.
The Paiutes are said to have an oral tradition that told of red-haired, white, cannibals about 10 feet tall who lived in or near what is now known as Lovelock Cave in Nevada. It is unclear whether this “oral tradition” about the so-called Sitecah giants existed or if it was an exaggeration or distortion of their legends made after the Paiutes were mostly killed or dispersed in 1833 by an expedition by explorer Joseph Walker.
Brian Dunning of Skeptoid explored Paiutes legends and found no mention of the Sitecah being giants. It seems there was, however, a people who practiced cannibalism and who lived in Lovelock Cave. Human remains have been found there, and a few of the human bones had the marrow removed, suggesting the marrow was eaten. Cannibalism seems to have been a rare practice among these peoples, however.
The remains do have red hair, but this may be because black hair can turn red with time.
Lovelock Cave (Bureau of Land Management/Public Domain)
The Humboldt River near Lovelock, Nevada, where the Sitecah people were said to live. ( Famartin/CC BY-SA )
Miners unearthed the artifacts in 1912, leaving them in a pile before eventually contacting the University of California. Anthropologist Llewellyn L. Loud traveled from the university to the site to investigate. It is commonly agreed that excavation of the site was not handled well and certainly not up to modern standards. But some proponents of the Sitecah giants theory say researchers have deliberately covered up any giant remains found there.
Featured image: Navajo Hogan, Monument Valley ( public domain ). Navajo legends speak of the Starnake, a race of white giants.
Flight allows Black Manta to remain in the air for as long as his power is active. This can be used in a number of ways including extending combos, mixing up jump in times, avoiding projectiles, and more. During flight you also have access to all of Black Manta's specials that he can use in the air.
Black Manta relies heavily on his flight character power to extend combos, and mix up the opponent. If you are looking to make the most out of this character, be sure you understand exactly how this character power is used and when it should be used, because without it, he is ultimately a sub-par character.
History [ edit ]
Super Mario series [ edit ]
Super Mario 64 / Super Mario 64 DS [ edit ]
A Manta character first appears in Super Mario 64 and its remake, where it resides in the level Dire, Dire Docks from the second Power Star onwards, swimming in a circle around the whirlpool in the center of the entrance area. The Manta will leave a trail of shimmering rings as it swims around the whirlpool. If Mario can swim through five rings in a row, he will be rewarded with a Power Star this is the focus of the mission "The Manta Ray's Reward". Moreover, he can swim through a ring to regain lost oxygen. However, if Mario misses a ring, he has to start the five ring sequence all over again. If he swims through a ring correctly, a red number will appear. When Mario accomplishes the five ring task, the Star will appear at the top of the whirlpool. Mario should also keep distance from the Manta's tail, as it can deal damage.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii [ edit ]
Types of Mantas called Jumbo Rays appear in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. They are green and wear a pair of water goggles. They can fly, so Mario and company can stand on them as platforms for a short time. Their appearance and manner of aiding the characters to pass some obstacles are rather similar to those of Dolphins from Super Mario World.
Mario Party 4 [ edit ]
In Mario Party 4, there is a minigame called Manta Rings in which a Manta releases golden rings while swimming. These rings give the players three points unlike the usual blue ones, which give out one point.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe [ edit ]
A single Manta appears in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Dolphin Shoals course. It has water goggles, light spots, and peach lips, resembling a Jumbo Ray, but retains its blue color, cephalic fins, and visible gills. It also has a small dorsal fin.
Other appearances [ edit ]
A Manta appeared in an early build of New Super Mario Bros. with an unknown role, but did not appear in the final game.
The name jantar is derived from yantra a Sanskrit word, meaning "instrument, machine", and mantar from mantrana also a Sanskrit word "consult, calculate").  Therefore, Jantar Mantar literally means 'calculating instrument'. 
Jai Singh noticed that the Zij, which was used for determining the position of celestial objects, did not match the positions calculated on the table. He constructed five new observatories in different cities in order to create a more accurate Zij. The astronomical tables Jai Singh created, known as the Zij-i Muhammad Shahi, were continuously used in India for a century. (However, the table had little significance outside of India.) Also, it was used to measure time. 
Exactly when Jai Singh began construction in Jaipur is unknown, but several instruments had been built by 1728, and the construction of the instruments in Jaipur continued until 1738. During 1735, when construction was at its peak, at least 23 astronomers were employed in Jaipur, and due to the changing political climate, Jaipur replaced Delhi as Jai Singh's main observatory and remained Jai Singh's central observatory until his death in 1743. The observatory lost support under Isvari Singh (r.1743-1750) because of a succession war between him and his brother. However, Mado Singh (r. 1750-1768), Isvari Singh's successor, supported the observatory, although it did not see the same level of activity as under Jai Singh. Although some restorations were made to the Jantar Mantar under Pratap Singh (r.1778-1803), activity at the observatory died down again. During this time, a temple was constructed and Pratap Singh turned the site of the observatory into a gun factory. [ citation needed ]
Ram Singh (r. 1835-1880) completed restoring the Jantar Mantar in 1876, and even made some of the instruments more durable by inserting lead into the instruments' lines and using stone to restore some of the plaster instruments. However, the observatory soon became neglected again, and was not restored until 1901 under Madho Singh II (r. 1880-1922) 
The observatory consists of nineteen instruments for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking location of major stars as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. The instruments are (alphabetical): 
- Chakra Yantra (four semicircular arcs on which a gnomon casts a shadow, thereby giving the declination of the Sun at four specified times of the day. This data corresponds to noon at four observatories around the world (Greenwich in UK, Zurich in Switzerland, Notke in Japan and Saitchen in the Pacific) this is equivalent of a wall of clocks registering local times in different parts of the world.) 
- Dakshin Bhitti Yantra (measures meridian, altitude and zenith distances of celestial bodies) 
- Digamsha Yantra (a pillar in the middle of two concentric outer circles, used to measure azimuth of the sun and to calculate the time of sunrise and sunset forecasts) 
- Disha Yantra
- Dhruva Darshak Pattika (observe and find the location of pole star with respect to other celestial bodies) 
- Jai Prakash Yantra (two hemispherical bowl-based sundials with marked marble slabs that map inverted images of sky and allow the observer to move inside the instrument measures altitudes, azimuths, hour angles, and declinations) 
- Kapali Yantra (measures coordinates of celestial bodies in azimuth and equatorial systems any point in sky can be visually transformed from one coordinate system to another) 
- Kanali Yantra
- Kranti Vritta Yantra (measures longitude and latitude of celestial bodies)
- Laghu Samrat Yantra (the smaller sundial at the monument, inclined at 27 degrees, to measure time, albeit less accurately than Vrihat Samrat Yantra)  (meaning mixed instrument, it is a compilation of five different instruments)
- Nadi Valaya Yantra (two sundials on different faces of the instrument, the two faces representing north and south hemispheres measuring the time to an accuracy of less than a minute) 
- Palbha Yantra
- Rama Yantra (an upright building used to find the altitude and the azimuth of the sun)
- Rashi Valaya Yantra (12 gnomon dials that measure ecliptic coordinates of stars, planets and all 12 constellation systems)
- Shastansh Yantra (next to Vrihat Samrat Yantra) This instrument has a 60-degree arc built in the meridian plane within a dark chamber. At noon, the sun's pinhole image falls on a scale below enabling the observer to measure the zenith distance, declination, and the diameter of the Sun.) 
- Unnatamsa Yantra (a metal ring divided into four segments by horizontal and vertical lines, with a hole in the middle the position and orientation of the instrument allows measurement of the altitude of celestial bodies) 
The Vrihat Samrat Yantra, which means the "great king of instruments", is 88 feet (27 m) high its shadow tells the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.
The instruments are in most cases huge structures. The scale to which they have been built has been alleged to increase their accuracy. However, the penumbra of the sun can be as wide as 30 mm, making the 1mm increments of the Samrat Yantra sundial devoid of any practical significance. Additionally, the masons constructing the instruments had insufficient experience with construction of this scale, and subsidence of the foundations has subsequently misaligned them. The samrat yantra, for instance, which is a sundial, is claimed to tell the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in Jaipur local time.  The Giant Sundial, known as the Samrat Yantra (The Supreme Instrument) is one of the world's largest sundials, standing 27 metres tall.  Its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm per second, or roughly a hand's breadth (6 cm) every minute, which can be a profound experience to watch.
Materials of construction Edit
Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, bricks and mortar were also employed in building the instruments in the monument spread over about 18,700 square metres.  It was in continuous use until about 1800, then fell in disuse and disrepair.  Restored again several times during the British colonial rule, particularly in 1902, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948. It was restored in 2006.  The restoration process in early 20th century replaced some of the original materials of construction with different materials. 
Jantar Mantar is managed under the Archeological Sites and Monuments Act of Rajasthan since 1961, and protected as a National Monument of Rajasthan since 1968. 
The Vedas mention astronomical terms, measurement of time and calendar, but do not mention any astronomical instruments.  The earliest discussion of astronomical instruments, gnomon and clepsydra, is found in the Vedangas, ancient Sanskrit texts.   The gnomon (called Shanku, शङ्कु)  found at Jantar Mantar monument is discussed in these 1st millennium BCE Vedangas and in many later texts such as the Katyayana Sulbasutras.  Other discussions of astronomical instruments are found in Hinduism texts such as the 4th century BCE  Arthashastra, Buddhist texts such as Sardulakarna-avadana, and Jainism texts such as Surya-prajnapti. The theories behind the instruments are found in texts by the 5th century CE Aryabhatta, 6th century CE Brahmagupta and Varahamihira, 9th century Lalla, 11th century Sripati and Bhaskara. The texts of Bhaskara have dedicated chapters on instruments and he calls them Yantra-adhyaya.  
The theory of chakra-yantra, yasti-yantra, dhanur-yantra, kapala-yantra, nadivalaya-yantra, kartari-yantra, and others are found in the ancient texts. 
Although Jai Singh's observatories did not use telescopes, Jai Singh himself had several which he occasionally used for his observations, and telescopes were being built in India. However, telescopes built at the time were not very accurate for measuring celestial objects. In Europe, the telescope sights were first being used and increased the accuracy of measuring celestial objects. However, the telescope sight was still a new invention in Europe and had not yet reached India. European innovations in Astronomy were only slightly more accurate than the medieval Hindu instruments that Jai Singh had created. 
It was used as a filming location for the 2006 film The Fall as a maze.
Storm Thorgerson photographed the sundial for the cover of Shpongle's DVD, Live at the Roundhouse 2008. 
It was photographed by Julio Cortázar with the collaboration of Antonio Gálvez for the book Prosa del Observatorio (Editorial Lumen: Barcelona, 1972).
By combining cutting-edge OLED technology, electronics and control technology, light fixture manufacturer Selux and new media design studio ART + COM have opened a new chapter in professional lighting.
The two partners now present the first results of their exploration into kinetic luminaires – a filigree OLED-based fixture named Manta Rhei silently floating in space while continually changing its appearance. Its 1.2m x 2.4m body housing 140 paper-thin Tridonic OLED modules combines light scenes and movement patterns into a series of carefully designed individual choreographies. One such choreography brings to mind the gentle movement of the manta ray. Thanks to the use of custom-built intelligent control technology the overall quantity of light emitted from the fixture remains constant. The result is a fascinating combination of light control and kinetics. The fixture, which will first be introduced to the public during Frankfurt’s Light + Building fair, consists of individual modules and is freely scalable. The user can select from a wide range of pre-programmed choreographies with the help of a tablet PC , so that the light mood can be adjusted to suit any space or occasion. The fixture makes use of minimalistic design language, and as a result the kinetic luminaire gives the impression of light freely hovering in space. By achieving uniform illuminance levels on surrounding surfaces while at the same time borrowing movement patterns from nature the fixture creates a uniquely pleasant luminous atmosphere. Through the interplay of kinetic aesthetics and the dynamics of the light a new world of lighting possibilities is now available. Classical fixture typology is expanded through the integration of mechanical movement, and new directions open up for the use of organic light emitting diode technology. As a next step, and based on the initial concept study Manta Rhei, a family of kinetic luminiaires will be developed.
Meet the Designer @ Light + Building 2012 | Wednesday, 18 th of April, 2pm | Selux Lounge, Hall 3.1, B81
A podium discussion on the kinetic aesthetics of OLED fixture “ Manta Rhei”. In conversation: Professor Joachim Sauter, Creative Director of Berlin-based Design Studio ART + COM , and Klaus-Peter Siemssen, Chairman of the Board, Selux AG .
Hédi Körmendi | Corporate Communications | Selux AG |
Motzener Str. 34 | D-12277 Berlin
Landline: +49 – 30-72001 – 230 | Mobile: +49 – 173-603 69 71 | h.[email protected]selux.de
Danuta Baberowski | Communications Management | ART + COM AG |
Kleiststr. 23 – 26 | D-10787 Berlin
Landline: +49 – 30-21001 – 404 | Mobile: +49 – 176-20149963 | danuta.[email protected]artcom.de
The presentation of the Kinetic Luminaires by members of the competence network Vikora at Light & Building 2012 is government-funded within the scope: “ Gemeinschaftsaufgabe zur Verbesserung der regionalen Wirtschaftsstruktur”( GRW ) by the federal /country commitee.
George Washington, History's Only Six-Star General ( … Sort Of)
The rank of five-star general is an honor bestowed upon very few. In fact, you can name them on one hand: George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry “Hap” Arnold, and Omar Bradley. Hap Arnold was actually general of both the Army and the Air Force, making him the only man to ever hold both titles. But that doesn’t make him the highest-ranking military official. That honor belongs to a man who has been dead for more than 200 years.
On July 4, 1976, the nation’s bicentennial, George Washington was posthumously promoted to General of the Armies of the United States. When Washington actually served in the army, he was a merely a major general—two stars. After his presidency, John Adams promoted him to lieutenant general—three stars. It stayed that way for centuries, with every four- and five-star general who came afterward outranking him.
After his WWI successes, General John J. Pershing was actually the first to be deemed General of the Armies of the United States. Because the five-star rank had yet to be created, however, Pershing remained a four-star general (his four-star insignia was gold rather than the traditional silver, though). The five-star designation was created in 1944, but the War Department specified that Pershing was still to be considered the highest-ranking official in the military.
Until 1976, that is. The exact phrasing of the law passed to promote Washington says [PDF], “Whereas it is considered fitting and proper that no officer of the United States Army should outrank Lieutenant General George Washington on the Army list: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That . . . The President is authorized and requested to appoint George Washington posthumously to the grade of General of the Armies of the United States, such appointment to take effect on July 4, 1976.”
Technically, the law decreeing that no military official could outrank Washington didn’t specifically grant a six-star general designation. But some argue Washington’s ascension to such a rank means exactly that, and newspapers even reported it as such back in 1976.
Either way, of course, the law’s intent is purely symbolic (unless that whole zombie apocalypse thing really happens). But one thing’s for sure: Without Washington, the Fourth of July might just be the fourth of July, and no other military official will ever be able to top that.
Did you know that George Washington didn’t really have wooden teeth? Or that his Mount Vernon estate was left to disrepair until a group of intrepid women vowed to overhaul it in the 19th century? Find out about all of that and more here.