Since ancient times, soldiers have worn special clothing or armor to protect themselves during warfare. Hard materials like leather, wood, shells, and even woven reeds were used to give soldiers extra protection against enemy arrows. Metal started to be used for armor about 3,500 years ago, by warriors in the Middle East. By the time of the ancient Greeks, about 1,000 years later, soldiers were well protected, wearing large pieces of metal on their chests and backs, shin guards, and metal helmets, and they carried metal shields. Soon armored clothing, garments with metal strips and plates attached, began to be made for soldiers. Then chain mail, a type of metal cloth, was developed. Made of small metal rings linked together, chain mail was much more flexible than metal plates, but could not withstand the force of larger weapons, like lances. So full suits of armor made of steel plates, hinged at the knees and the elbows, came into use around the fourteenth century. Soldiers were covered with steel from head to toe, with heavy metal helmets covering their faces, heads, and necks. A warrior could see and breathe through small slits or openings in the helmet’s visor, a movable metal flap that could be lifted up.
(Only important or wealthy warriors could afford this kind of elaborate armor.) Suits of armor weighed so much that the soldiers or knights who wore them usually could not move around in them very well; they wore such armor mostly when they fought on horseback. Even the horses sometimes wore armor. As the methods and weapons of warfare changed, clumsy personal armor was no longer useful. It became far more important for soldiers to be able to move quickly and easily. Today’s soldiers usually wear cloth uniforms, body armor, and steel helmets. But armor is used on war vehicles like tanks, naval vessels, and aircraft. The bulletproof vests that police officers use are also a type of armor.
The governor is responsible for the well-being of his or her state. The details of this job include many hands-on tasks and leadership duties. The governor’s executive powers include the appointment and removal of state officials, the supervision of thousands of executive branch staff, the formulation of the state budget, and the leadership of the state militia as its commander in chief.
Law-making powers include the power to recommend legislation, to call special sessions of the legislature, and to veto measures passed by the legislature. In 43 states, governors have the power to veto (or reject) several parts of a bill without rejecting it altogether. The governor can also pardon (excuse) a criminal or reduce a criminal’s sentence.
Most plants have leaves, even if they do not look like leaves. For example, blades of grass are really leaves. Mushrooms and other fungi do not have leaves, and seaweeds and lichens do not have leaves. Seaweed, a type of algae, also does not have flowers or roots. As an underwater plant, it usually clings to stones, shells, and rocks with its holdfast, a part of the plant that looks like roots. Unlike other plants that feed through their roots, seaweed takes its nutrients from the water in which it grows.
The greenhouse effect describes a warming phenomenon. (In a greenhouse, closed glass windows cause heat to become trapped inside.) The greenhouse effect occurs when a planet’s atmosphere allows heat from the Sun to enter, but refuses to let it leave. A good example of the greenhouse effect can be found on Venus.
There, solar radiation penetrates the atmosphere, reaches the surface, and is reflected back into the atmosphere. The re-radiated heat is trapped by carbon dioxide, which is abundant in Venus’s atmosphere. The result is that Venus has a scorching surface temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit (482 degrees Celsius). The greenhouse effect can also be found on Earth and in the upper atmospheres of the giant planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
As a boy, Benjamin Franklin was sharpening tools in his father’s yard when a stranger carrying an axe came by and praised the boy on how good he was with the grindstone. He then asked Franklin if he would show him how it would work on his own axe. Once his axe was sharpened, the stranger simply laughed and walked away, giving young Franklin a valuable lesson about people with “an axe to grind.”
In the days of feudalism, when noblemen gathered for a meal in the castle, those of higher rank sat at the head of a T-shaped table, and the rest sat in order of diminishing importance away from them.
For such occasions a yard-long loaf of bread was baked, and the honour of making the first cut belonged to the highest-ranking person at the head table, who would then pass the bread down in order of rank, but always keeping for himself the “upper crust.”