Pulse Rate August 2010

The just-opened Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the tallest manmade structure in the world; it has 160 stories and is 2,717 feet high—which is a little more than half a mile.

The Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is in the form of a helical spiral. The iconic architect claimed that the structure would make the Metropolitan Museum of Art look like a “Protestant barn.”

One theory as to the origin of the name of the notorious “anti-art” movement Dada is that it is the Romanian equivalent of the sarcastic expression “yeah, right.”

Though there are subtle variations from locale to locale, for the most part, in order to write formal characters used in modern-day China, Japan and Korea, command of 8 basic strokes and 29 complex strokes applied in a strict order are required.

The month of August in the English-speaking world and many countries is named after Roman emperor Augustus. However, many Asian countries, in their respective languages, simply call it “Eighth Month.”

Legendary English scientist Sir John Herschel created the word “photograph” in 1839. It comes from the Greek photos meaning “light” and graphein meaning, “to draw.” Thus: “to draw with light.”

Archaeologists have been finding what could be considered the first abstract art ever created in Australian, New Guinea and European caves. The works are called “finger fluting” and are non-representative lines and patterns that were drawn by Stone Age humans with the fingers in naturally occurring soft precipitate.

The 17-story, 197-foot-tall Monadnock Building in Chicago, completed in 1893, is widely considered to be the world’s first skyscraper. One half is made with load-bearing walls of limited strength and height and the other half is made with a sturdy steel frame, the same technique used in modern skyscrapers thousands of feet high.

Scientists have claimed that Washoe, a now-deceased chimpanzee that resided at the University of Nevada in Reno was taught a vocabulary of 250 American Sign Language gestures.

An unknown woman living in East Africa between 150-200,000 years ago is surely one of the most important humans who ever lived. She is called “Mitochondrial Eve” by geneticists and she is the common ancestor of every human being on Earth, past, present and future.

The erotic artwork of the buried city of Pompeii shocked its first discoverers in 1599. Excavator and architect Domenico Fontana promptly reburied the frescoes, his prudishness overshadowing any realization as to the import of his discovery, the first evidence of a soon-to-be legendary archaeological site.

At the time it was completed in 1889 as the entrance to the World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower’s status was far from its present renown. A widely published letter from French intelligentsia referred to its presence over Paris as a “black blot” and “the odious shadow of the odious column.” It was to be torn down in 1909, until its value to communication was discovered.

Several astronomical phenomena have been posited to be in the sky in Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night. These include the planet Venus and the M51 Whirlpool Galaxy.