A Brief History and Origin of CCTV Camera Systems

Closed circuit television, or otherwise known as CCTV camera systems, can be seen at present in many shops, stadiums, train stations, offices and even homes and other private venues. A security camera is usually installed in an area to improve the safety of the people by preventing crime or to monitor what happens there. Many people and organisations around the world have learned to take advantage of a CCTV kit and employed it use for various purposes, including research. In fact, it has been decades since men discovered and experienced the benefits of having one. For those who are curious about the history and origin of these monitoring devices, read on.

1940s

Back in 1942, surveillance equipment was used to monitor the taking off of rockets and missiles in Germany, which is primarily a military activity. A well-known German engineer designed the device, backed by Siemens AG. The activity was mainly intended for testing, but at present, rocket and space ship launch sites across the world are still installed with monitoring devices so as to help identify areas for improvement and for further sophisticated research. This is highly important, as scientists or engineers could not get too close to any launch site because of the dangers that it imposes to their health. It was in 1949 when CCTV cameras became commercially available in America from a company named Vericon, an organization known to be a contractor for the government.

1950s to 1960s

The dawn of CCTV systems in the United Kingdom began in 1953 during the coronation of the Queen, a prestigious event and one that put a great mark in the history of Britain. Around the 1960s, Metropolitan Police began to use these surveillance devices as a tool to observe people during rallies or events where the Prime Minister or any member of the Royal Family would appear. It was also during this time when video cameras were installed permanently at a number of streets in London and several more counties in England started experimenting with installation of surveillance devices at city centers. Even the British Railways realised the advantage of putting cameras after a part of the tracks was vandalised. New York in America also started to put circuit television in their streets around this time. Since then, countries across Europe and America began to employ this equipment in various ways.

1970s and 1980s

The use of security cameras continued to rise in popularity during the 1970s up to the 1980s. Major roads in London as well as some of the London Underground Stations began to be monitored during the early to mid 70s. They also started installing CCTV security systems at the soccer match venues. During the late 80s, surveillance systems were installed at parking garages and council estates that the local authorities were running. This was not only used to watch the vehicles on the streets, but also to monitor the main rallying venues used for public protest in London.

1990s to Present

At this time, …

A History of Alfa Romeo Cars

Any car enthusiast worth their salt will know the Alfa Romeo brand, but do you know how they got to be one of the world’s most important car manufacturers? Founded one hundred years ago in Milan, the Alfa Romeo brand has recently celebrated its centenary on June 24th 2010. It all began in 1906 when the French car firm Alexandre Darracq decided to join forces with Italian investors and create the Societa Anonima Italiana Darraca (SAID), the roots of the famous brand. Initially the company planned to manufacture their vehicles in Naples, but the site was changed to Milan and a factory was established there instead. A new company began as an offshoot of the business and the manufacturers created the Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, which would become known as A.L.F.A. The 24 HP was the first break out into the market, designed by Giuseppe Merosi.

With World War I drawing resources elsewhere, the ALFA factory submitted to a cessation in production for three years, recommencing in 1919. Italian entrepreneur and engineer Nicola Romeo became the new director in 1915 and oversaw the war effort, producing munitions in place of motor vehicles. When car production started up once more, Romeo changed the company title to Alfa Romeo and released the first model under this new brand: the Torpedo 20-30. The car company entered a golden age, producing high-class racing cars as well as consumer road vehicles. However, in 1928 Nicola left the firm and Alfa struggled to retain its position.

In 1932, with government assistance, the Alfa Romeo brand was rescued and they took control of the company’s direction. Under the government of Mussolini, Alfa Romeo became the national car manufacturer but in World War II the factory was badly hit by bombers. Previous production of luxury cars turned into mass-production of popular models. But following the war, Alfa Romeo managed to retain pole position as a leading vehicle at the Grand Prix. In the 1960s it developed the GTA (Gran Turismo Allegerita) which won the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans-Am championship. Despite falling into further financial struggles in the 1970s, the Fiat Group created a new company to manage the production of Alfa Romeo under the Alfa Lancia Industriale S.p.A. Since February 2007 the company has been part of this group, but part of the Fiat cohort since 1986.

Alfa has long been a respected car model with Alfa Romeos leased and bought the world over and the company continues to stand for quality, elegance and passion.

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Greece, Cultural History and the Financial System

Historical Background

Greece has always had a thriving underground economy. The long history of human civilization there and even the geography of the island nation has created long-standing traditions and deep kin relationships that bypass official governmental channels, which leads to a significant percentage of the economic activity happening outside of the purview of the political powers. This is the way many Greeks have lived for hundreds of generations.

It is important to understand this point. The Greek people are no less hardworking than the French or the English, and if the underground economy is included, the per capita economic production of Greece is not that far off of France or Italy (at least until recently when the EU started choking their economy to death). The truth of the matter is Greece never really joined the rest of Europe in reforming and modernizing its economy in the post-war years.

The whys and wherefores of the situation are complex cultural questions, but it boils down to political will… they didn’t want to and they never had to (until now). The overall effect of a huge underground economy is, of course, that a lot of economic activity occurs (money changes hands) without the government taking its share (as no one involved pays any taxes, fee and so forth). The other overall effect is a general cultural belief that it is OK to cheat the system… I mean my neighbor and my brother are making a lot of money and not paying any taxes, so why should I pay mine and just barely get by… ? And, of course, this attitude about the system comes from the top and spreads from parent to child by cultural transmission… and on one level can even be justified by the fact that the politico-economic system is largely “rigged” with politicians and civil servants almost all making very comfortable salaries.

When you couple this socioeconomic situation with two or three generations of self-serving, inept and increasingly bureaucratic political leadership, and you throw in a major international financial crisis and hard-headed creditors with a different cultural perspective who demand you now play by their rules if you want to stay in the EU, then you have created the “Perfect Storm” that is Greece today.

In fairness to the Greeks, it should be mentioned that they are certainly not the only society in the world (or in Southern Europe for that matter) where underground economies have historically flourished and still exist today. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Albania and Serbia (non-exhaustive list) all have large black markets of various sorts, and therefore a great deal of economic activity occurs in the unofficial economy.

Ramifications of a Greek Debt Default

The issue can be reduced to whether the Greek government should accept the austere terms from the EU for yet another major bailout of their debt, or simply default and start over from scratch. But viewing the situation as a simple dichotomy ignores the elephant in the room… that is, what happens …

Galapagos Islands: Where History Comes Alive

Located just south of the equator in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands is a string of tiny volcanic islands that have for centuries captured the imagination of explorers and naturalists from all over the globe. Visited by the likes of Charles Darwin and Thor Heyerdahl, the Galapagos makes for an incredible vacation destination with its amazing wealth of natural life. Roughly five million years old, these islands sit of the western coast of Ecuador and have been declared a national park by the Ecuadorian Government.

Comprising of 19 islands and a number of islets, the Galapagos are spread out roughly over 50,000 sq km and play host to some of the most rare and endangered animals on the planet. Also home to a number of endemic animal species, the likes of which have been found no where else on earth, these islands have come to play a very important part in the understanding of evolution and the history of the world.

The history of the Galapagos Islands is quite a unique one. Thought to be first discovered by the Inca tribes that lived on mainland South America, these islands were first spotted by Bishop Tomas de Berlanga in 1535, while he was traveling from Panama to Peru. The most amazing discovery of the trip was the giant tortoises or Galapago as they are known in Spanish, which were found on the islands. Often used as a stopover base since its discovery, the Galapagos Islands sheltered buccaneers, pirates, whalers and sealers, who used this region. A great location due to its protected anchorage, the availability of food, fresh water and firewood, these islands soon became a place for scientific discovery in the late 18th century.

Visited by Darwin in 1835, these islands provided him with a plethora of information that helped him form the basis of his theory of evolution. Claimed by Ecuador in 1832, these islands slowly began to be inhabited and were soon used as penal colonies, the last of which ultimately shut down in 1959. However, by 1934 the government of Ecuador had begun to realize the importance of the Galapagos and a few islands were turned into wildlife sanctuaries. By 1959 after the penal colonies were all closed, these islands became a national park with the Charles Darwin Research Station set up in Academy Bay on Isla Santa Cruz. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO a few years later in 1979, this national park was expanded to include the Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve in 1986.

A completely unique and extraordinary set of islands, the Galapagos takes you back in time to what the earth might have looked like when it was much younger. Considered to be young by geologists, these islands are an ecosystem unto themselves. Therefore, it is key that we protect and preserve this precious habit for future generations, so as understand the world we live in today from an environmental point of view. A wonderful getaway especially for …

Healthcare, History, and Obamanomics

Amazed I was this past week at the legislative events on Capitol Hill, especially the prevailing attitude of the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate regarding the controversial Senate Health Care Bill, which has seemed much less directed at pleasing a majority of the American electorate (the U.S. citizens these politicians supposedly represent) than the questionable Barack H. Obama, the only U.S. President in the history of the nation whose constitutional eligibility to be President has been successfully challenged by lawsuit in a U.S. District Court, but, subsequently, dismissed by a federal judge who obviously cared more about his political future than seeing basic justice done.

Does Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and his cronies, actually believe that the large majority of American voters (Democrats, Republicans, and Independents) want a health care program legislated that will create, in its wake, 111 new Executive branch bureaucracies, expanding the federal government by 30 percent of its current size by the scribble of Obama’s pen? One might wonder who, among the controlling Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives, really cares about the constitutional way the Framers of the American republic intended for the nation to be perpetuated in accordance with limited government. You really don’t have to be a bombastic Republican zealot, but, rather, a reasonable person, in order to detect the obvious economic flaws in the Democratic Party’s spendthrift approach to healthcare.

Historically, it’s really sort of like the way the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was imposed upon the nation. You know, the one that allowed the creation of the federal income tax and all other, subsequent, state income taxes? By all valid historical accounts, and simple common sense, I believe that it is proper to say that the infamous amendment was ratified without the genuine approval of a majority of the U.S. electorate. For what citizen, in her right mind, would have favored an un-apportioned federal tax imposed on a citizen’s income?

Well, until 1913, there was not a federal income tax, and the American nation had done pretty well up to that time in financing federal government with a consistently balanced budget using apportioned taxes. Un-apportioned federal and state taxation on the personal income of U.S. citizens was considered a blatant heresy, and was forbidden by the Founding Fathers in the U.S. Constitution. That’s why an illicit amendment had to be subtly crafted and imposed on the republic during the second decade of the 20th Century by a few powerful federal politicians and private bankers, through sheer Machiavellian chicanery, in order to make it, supposedly, lawful for the federal government to tax the American people by any means available. This was, basically, a pragmatic methodology to implement a secretly contrived agenda for the American republic to have an unlimited, but flawed, credit system in order to provide financial resources to assume an imperialistic Romanesque position in world affairs.

It took money, money, and more money, and a skyrocketing national debt, to incrementally erect over the ensuing …

10 Things You Didn't Know About The History Of Halloween

10. While today's costumes channel an inner fantasy, they started with a much more solemn purpose. One of the earliest examples we have of people donning costumes comes from Hallow Mass, a ceremonial mass dedicated to prayers for the dead. People appealed to their ancestors for everything from happy marriages to fertility, and costumes were a part of that.

It was not the Victorian era that the idea of ​​dressing up really went mainstream, and a lot of that started with the Robert Burns poem "Halloween." Originally, the best costumes were the ones that were creepy, which aren't entirely surprising. The Victorians were obsessed with the idea of ​​spirituality and the afterlife, so pioneering the ghost costume made a lot of logical sense.

9 – When Halloween Became Sexy

Halloween is supposed to be scary, so when did we start dressing up as sexy nuns and sexy cops?

Dressing up allows people to push boundaries. There was virtually no such thing until the 1970s, and it all started with a convergence of the flamboyant cultures of the gay community, feminism and female empowerment, and the Halloween parades that capitalized on this newfound freedom. Halloween was the day you could get away with things that were in no way acceptable on any other day, and we've never looked back.

8 – Halloween And Poisoned Candy

We've already talked about how poisoned Halloween candy being handed out to unsuspecting kids is nearly a complete myth, but Halloween of 1950 did see countless kids get sick. After that fateful October night, scores of children started experiencing gastrointestinal issues, welts, and rashes. So many got sick that it was brought to the attention of the FDA, who finally traced the problem to Orange Dye No. 1. Even though it had already been approved by the government in 1906, more research found that the orange dye (and six other types of food dye) used products resulting from the processing of coal and contained the toxic chemical benzene. It was not Halloween that enough children ate enough of the dye and got sick enough that it got the attention of the FDA.

Tests confirmed that it was, in fact, the dye that was causing the illness and that it did not even take much of it to kill rats. The dye was banned, and FDA regulations were amended to include colors additives on the list of food ingredients that needed to be disclosed on labels.

7 – National Youth Honor Day

Today, the "trick" part of trick-or-treating is mostly harmless, but that was not always the case. In Omaha in the 1920s, there was so much vandalism going on that 500 teenage boys received a badge for one night only, in the hopes they would help stop the destruction. In 1938, Boston gave awards to the school districts that had the least damage. In 1948, one Long Island doctor's home was vandalized to the tune of $ 100,000 in today's money, and that was just one …

National Debt History

Introduction

The United States has a long history of carrying public debt, dating back to the Revolutionary War. In fact, ever since Alexander Hamilton proclaimed “a national debt, if not excessive, will be to us a national blessing,” the US has only been debt-free for one year, between 1834 and 1835. Recently, the national debt has exploded, raising concerns that our country’s budget deficits are unsustainable.

In this article we discuss the United States’ public debt and the factors that contributed to its accumulation. We then compare the US to other heavily indebted countries such as Japan and post-World War II UK.

There are many parallels and a few differences between how the nations accumulated their very substantial debt loads. We review how Japan and the UK dealt with their situations and discuss the implications for the US.

United States

Deficit spending during World War II brought the ratio of total outstanding US national debt to the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio to 121%, its highest level in history. The Debt to GDP ratio is a common way to measure the indebtedness of a country relative to the size of its economy.

From the 1950s to the early 1980s, modest budget deficits increased the national debt more slowly than inflation and productivity gains raised the GDP. As a result, the Debt to GDP ratio declined to a post-war low of 40% in 1982 and increased to about 60% in the late 1990s.

Over the past eight years, large deficits have become the norm as spending on the Iraq War, entitlement programs, and financial bailouts effortlessly outpaced tax revenues. The proposed health care reform and other new spending measures will almost certainly add to our budget deficit and therefore to our national debt.

Neither war spending nor health care reform and bailout packages are likely to be productive investments that will put our economy on a more solid footing. While some of these spending measures may have been necessary, there is virtually no chance that these investments will generate sufficient returns, either through higher future tax revenues or profitable asset sales, to pay off the debt incurred to finance them. We will see that this is a common theme when we look at Japan and the UK.

The most recent estimates put the Debt to GDP ratio at about 84%. This ratio is expected to increase to 100% by 2011. The US currently spends nearly 14% of the national budget in interest payments. Any significant debt issuance or interest rate increase will make the interest payments the largest expense in the US budget, surpassing military spending for the top spot.

The US currently enjoys a historically low cost of borrowing, especially for long-dated bonds. Two broad groups buy virtually all of the US government debt and they are willing to accept very low yields for different reasons.

The single largest buyer of Treasury Bonds is the Social Security Trust Fund, which holds, together with other government entities, about 50% of …