Black

Black

[blak]
Black, Greene Vardiman, 1836-1915, American dentist, b. Scott co., Ill. Professor at Chicago College of Dental Surgery (now part of Loyola Univ.) from 1883 to 1889 and professor (from 1891) and dean (from 1897) at the Northwestern Univ. dental school, he made large contributions to dentistry as teacher, as originator of methods and instruments, and as author. His works include Formation of Poisons by Microörganisms (1884), Dental Anatomy (1891), and Operative Dentistry (1908). The Black method of preparing amalgam alloys for fillings is still in use.
Black, Hugh, 1868-1953, Scottish-American theologian and author. After serving as a pastor in Paisley and Edinburgh, he emigrated to the United States in 1906 to begin a professorship of practical theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. His books include Culture and Restraint (1900), Christ's Service of Love (1907), The New World (1915), The Adventure of Being Man (1929), and Christ or Caesar (1938).
Black, Hugo LaFayette, 1886-1971, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1937-71), b. Harlan, Clay co., Ala. He received his law degree from the Univ. of Alabama in 1906. He practiced law and held local offices before serving (1927-37) in the U.S. Senate. As Senator he ardently supported New Deal measures, conducted Senate investigations of merchant-marine subsidies (1933) and lobbying (1935), and sponsored (1937) the Wages and Hours bill. His appointment to the Supreme Court by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt met strong opposition from the public and in the Senate because of his earlier membership in the Ku Klux Klan. Black was, however, a staunch defender of civil liberties, and he became the leader of the activists on the Supreme Court, consistently opposing congressional and state violations of free speech and due process.

See T. E. Yarbrough, Mr. Justice Black and His Critics (1989); study by V. Hamilton (1972).

Black, James, 1823-93, American temperance leader. A Pennsylvania lawyer, he was active in state and national temperance work. His plan for a National Publication House was adopted by the National Temperance Convention (1865). In 1872, as presidential nominee of the Prohibition party, he gained some 5,000 votes.
Black, Sir James, 1924-, Scottish pharmacologist, M.D. Univ. of St. Andrews, 1946. A professor at Kings College Medical School, he shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with George Hitchings and Gertrude Elion for his contributions to the area of drug treatment. He discovered important drugs that treat angina, gastric ulcers, hypertension, migraines, and other health problems.
Black, Jeremiah Sullivan, 1810-83, American cabinet officer, b. Somerset co., Pa. Admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1830, Black became a successful lawyer. As U.S. Attorney General (1857-60) under President Buchanan he hired Edwin M. Stanton, later his successor, to clear up the involved land-title cases in California. Black was less successful, however, in enforcing unpopular legislation concerning slavery. It was his opinion that although the seceding Southern states could not be coerced, federal property in the South should be protected, and measures taken to resist armed rebellion. He replaced (Dec., 1860) Lewis Cass as Secretary of State and succeeded in persuading Buchanan to send supplies to Fort Sumter; he urged that the federal government take a strong stand against secession. Buchanan appointed him to the Supreme Court in Feb., 1861, but the Senate, with both Democrats and Republicans hostile to Black, refused to confirm him.

See P. G. Auchampaugh, James Buchanan and His Cabinet on the Eve of Secession (1926); biography by W. N. Brigance (1934, repr. 1971).

Black, Joseph, 1728-99, Scottish chemist and physician, b. France. He was professor of chemistry at Glasgow (1756-66) and from 1766 at Edinburgh. He is best known for his theories of latent heat and specific heat. He also laid the foundations of chemistry as an exact science in his investigations on magnesium carbonate, during which he discovered carbon dioxide, which he called "fixed air."
Black, Max, 1909-88, American analytical philosopher, b. Baku, Russia (now Bakı, Azerbaijan), grad. Cambridge, Ph.D. Univ. of London, 1939. He taught at the Univ. of Illinois (1940-46) before going to Cornell (1946). Influenced by Ludwig Wittgenstein, he wrote A Companion to Wittgenstein's Tractatus (1964). His concern with clear language was expressed in Language and Philosophy (1949), Models and Metaphors (1962), The Labyrinth of Language (1968), and Margins of Precision: Essays in Logic and Language (1970).
Black, Shirley Temple: see Temple, Shirley.
or black-legged kittiwake

White oceanic gull (Rissa tridactyla) with pearl-gray mantle, black-tipped wings, black feet, and yellow bill. Kittiwakes nest on narrow cliff ledges along the North and South Atlantic coasts. The red-legged kittiwake (R. brevirostris) is found in the Bering Sea region.

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Dionysus and satyrs, amphora painted in the black-figure style by the Amasis Painter, c. 540 BC; elipsis

Type of Greek pottery that originated in Corinth circa 700 BC. The figures were painted in black pigment on the natural red clay ground. Finishing details were then incised into the black pigment, revealing the red ground. The great Attic painters (mid 6th century BC), most notably Exekias, developed narrative scene decoration and perfected the style. It continued to be popular until the advent of red-figure pottery (circa 530 BC).

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or black-eyed pea

Any of the cultivated forms of the annual legume Vigna unguiculata. The plants are believed to be native to India and the Middle East but in early times were cultivated in China. The compound leaves have three leaflets. The white, purple, or pale-yellow flowers usually grow in twos or threes at the ends of long stalks. The pods are long and cylindrical. In the southern U.S. the cowpea is grown extensively as a hay crop, as a cover or green-manure crop, or for the edible beans.

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Any of several black spiders in the genus Latrodectus with a venomous bite that is rarely fatal to humans. Black widow species are found worldwide, with three living in North America. In Australia it is called the redback. The females are shiny black, usually with a reddish hourglass-shaped design on the underside of the spherical abdomen and with a body about 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. The black widow preys on insects. The male, about one-fourth the female's size, is often killed and eaten by the female after mating (the source of its name).

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In the U.S., a dramatic movement encompassing plays written by, for, and about blacks. The first known play by an American black was James Brown's King Shotaway (1823). After the Civil War, blacks began to perform in minstrel shows, and musicals written, produced, and acted entirely by blacks appeared by circa 1900. The first real success of a black dramatist was Angelina W. Grimké's Rachel (1916). Theatre flourished during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and '30s, and by 1940 the American Negro Theater and the Negro Playwrights' Co. were firmly established. After World War II black theatre grew more progressive and militant, seeking to establish its own mythology, abolish racial stereotypes, and integrate black playwrights into the mainstream. Its strongest proponent, Amiri Baraka, established the Black Arts Repertory Theatre in 1965. In the 1980s and '90s the African American playwrights Charles Fuller and August Wilson won Pulitzer Prizes.

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Any of several species of all-black or nearly all-black snakes. Australian black snakes are in the elapid genus Pseudeschis. The black snake of Australian wetlands (P. porphyriacus) grows to an average length of 5 ft (1.5 m). If annoyed, it expands its neck, cobra fashion. Its venom is rarely fatal. Other Australian black snakes are the mulga snake (P. australis) and the spotted black snake (P. guttatus). North American black snakes include two species in the family Colubridae: the black racer and the pilot black snake (Elaphe obsoleta).

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Accumulation of fragments of durable, usually dark, heavy minerals (those with a density greater than that of quartz). These accumulations are found in streambeds or on beaches where stream flow and wave energy are sufficient to carry away low-density material but not the heavy minerals. Thus, heavy minerals resistant to weathering and abrasion concentrate in these areas, though they may be only minor constituents of inland rocks. Placer mining of such deposits yields magnetite, cassiterite, and zircon, as well as gold, platinum, and other rare metals.

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or pepper

Perennial, woody climbing vine (Piper nigrum) of the family Piperaceae, native to India; also, the hotly pungent spice made from its berries. One of the earliest spices known, pepper is probably the most widely used spice in the world today. It early became an important article of overland trade between India and Europe. The plant is cultivated throughout Indonesia and has been introduced into tropical areas elsewhere. It has broad, shiny leaves and dense, slender spikes of small flowers. The small berrylike fruits are called peppercorns. Seealso pepper.

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U.S. political and social movement aimed at developing economic power and community and ethnic pride among African Americans. It was proclaimed by Marcus Garvey in the early 20th century, when many U.S. black nationalists hoped for the eventual creation of a separate black nation in Africa. In the 1960s and '70s, Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X preached the ideal of black nationalism as an alternative to assimilation into the predominantly white culture of the U.S.

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Epiphyte (Tillandsia usneoides) in the pineapple family, found in southern North America, the West Indies, and Central and South America. It often hangs in large, beardlike, silvery-gray masses from trees and other plants and even on telephone poles, but it is not parasitic or structurally intertwined with its host. It takes in carbon dioxide and rainwater or dew for photosynthesis through tiny, hairlike scales that cover its threadlike leaves and long, threadlike stems. It absorbs nutrients from dust and solvents in rainwater, or from decaying organic matter around its aerial roots. Stalkless yellow flowers appear rarely. Spanish moss is sometimes used as a filler in packing boxes and upholstery, and around potted plants or floral arrangements.

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or black mica

Biotite mica from the district of Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mex.

Silicate mineral in the common mica group. It is abundant in metamorphic rocks, in pegmatites, and in granites and other igneous rocks. Biotite is a layer silicate structure in which aluminum and silicon occur in infinitely extending Si-Al-O sheets that alternate with potassium-rich and magnesium- (and iron-) containing sheets.

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Trading in violation of publicly imposed regulations such as rationing laws, laws against the sale of certain goods, and official rates of exchange among currencies. Black-market activity is common in wartime, when scarce goods and services are often strictly rationed (see rationing). Black-market foreign-exchange transactions flourish in countries where convertible foreign currency is scarce and foreign exchange is tightly controlled.

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or Gothic script or Old English script

Black letter, type as used in the 42-line Bible issued at Mainz, 1456.

Style of alphabet used in handwriting throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. It features uniform vertical strokes that end on the baseline, angular lines instead of smooth curves and circles, and the overlapping of convex forms. Black letter and roman were the dominant letter shapes of medieval typography. The only extant work known to have been printed by Johannes Gutenberg, the 42-line Bible (1450s), was set in black-letter type. Roman type largely superseded it in the Renaissance, though black letter persisted in Germany well into the 20th century. Today black letter is often used for diplomas, Christmas cards, and liturgical writings.

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or plumbago or black lead

Mineral allotrope of carbon. It is dark gray to black, opaque, and very soft. Its layered structure, with rings of six atoms arranged in widely spaced parallel sheets, gives it its slippery quality. It occurs in nature and is used (mixed with clay) as the “lead” in pencils. It is also used in lubricants, crucibles, polishes, arc lamps, batteries, brushes for electric motors, and nuclear reactor cores.

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Humour marked by the use of morbid, ironic, or grotesquely comic episodes that ridicule human folly. The term came into common use in the 1960s to describe the work of novelists such as Joseph Heller, whose Catch-22 (1961) is an outstanding example; Kurt Vonnegut, particularly in Slaughterhouse Five (1969); and Thomas Pynchon, in V (1963) and Gravity's Rainbow (1973). A film exemplar is Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1963). The term black comedy has been applied to some playwrights in the Theatre of the Absurd, especially Eugène Ionesco.

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Cosmic body with gravity (see gravitation) so intense that nothing, not even light, can escape. It is suspected to form in the death and collapse of a star that has retained at least three times the Sun's mass. Stars with less mass evolve into white dwarf stars or neutron stars. Details of a black hole's structure are calculated from Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity: a “singularity” of zero volume and infinite density pulls in all matter and energy that comes within an event horizon, defined by the Schwarzschild radius, around it. Black holes cannot be observed directly because they are small and emit no light. However, their enormous gravitational fields affect nearby matter, which is drawn in and emits X rays as it collides at high speed outside the event horizon. Some black holes may have nonstellar origins. Astronomers speculate that supermassive black holes at the centres of quasars and many galaxies are the source of energetic activity that is observed. Stephen W. Hawking theorized the creation of numerous tiny black holes, possibly no more massive than an asteroid, during the big bang. These primordial “mini black holes” lose mass over time and disappear as a result of Hawking radiation. Although black holes remain theoretical, the case for their existence is supported by many observations of phenomena that match their predicted effects.

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Rare species of marten (Martes pennanti, family Mustelidae) found in northern forests of North America. The fisher is related to weasels and is similarly shaped. It has a bushy tail, tapered muzzle and low, rounded ears. Adults are usually 20–25 in. (50–63 cm) long, excluding the 13–17-in. (33–43-cm) tail, and weigh 3–15 lb (1.4–6.8 kg). Fishers hunt on the ground and in trees, attacking various rodents and other animals; they also eat fruits and sometimes nuts. It has been trapped for its valuable brownish black fur.

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(born Feb. 17, 1890, East Finchley, Middlesex, Eng.—died July 29, 1962, Adelaide, S.Aus., Austl.) British statistician and geneticist. As statistician for an agricultural research institute, he investigated the linkage of genes for different traits. To avoid unintentional bias in selection of materials used in experiments, he introduced the principle of randomization. It states that before an experimental effect can be attributed to a given cause or treatment, the experiment must be repeated on control units of the material and that all material used in experiments must be selected at random from the whole population it intends to represent. He also developed the concept of the analysis of variance, a statistical procedure used to design experiments that answer several questions at once.

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(born Feb. 27, 1867, Saugerties, N.Y., U.S.—died April 29, 1947, New Haven, Conn.) U.S. economist best known for his work in the field of capital theory. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University. As a professor at Yale (1892–1935), he examined the relationship between changes in the quantity of money and the general level of prices. He also promoted the concept of the “compensated dollar”—a dollar of constant purchasing power, defined in terms of an index of commodity prices rather than in terms of a given weight of gold. Seealso price index.

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(born Feb. 17, 1890, East Finchley, Middlesex, Eng.—died July 29, 1962, Adelaide, S.Aus., Austl.) British statistician and geneticist. As statistician for an agricultural research institute, he investigated the linkage of genes for different traits. To avoid unintentional bias in selection of materials used in experiments, he introduced the principle of randomization. It states that before an experimental effect can be attributed to a given cause or treatment, the experiment must be repeated on control units of the material and that all material used in experiments must be selected at random from the whole population it intends to represent. He also developed the concept of the analysis of variance, a statistical procedure used to design experiments that answer several questions at once.

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(born Feb. 27, 1867, Saugerties, N.Y., U.S.—died April 29, 1947, New Haven, Conn.) U.S. economist best known for his work in the field of capital theory. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University. As a professor at Yale (1892–1935), he examined the relationship between changes in the quantity of money and the general level of prices. He also promoted the concept of the “compensated dollar”—a dollar of constant purchasing power, defined in terms of an index of commodity prices rather than in terms of a given weight of gold. Seealso price index.

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(born April 9, 1758, Dedham, Mass.—died July 4, 1808, Dedham, Mass., U.S.) U.S. essayist and Federalist politician. He graduated from Harvard College in 1774 and taught school for five years before turning to the law; he was admitted to the bar in 1781. Supporting the creation of a strong central government, Ames argued for ratification of the new U.S. Constitution at the Massachusetts constitutional convention. He became known for his uncompromising advocacy of the rights of property and his protective attitude toward commercial interests, which he defended in trenchant writing and commanding speech. In 1788 he defeated Samuel Adams for a seat in the first session of the U.S. House of Representatives; he was reelected three times. His eloquent support of the treaty negotiated by John Jay to preserve peace with England (1794) convinced the House to pass an enabling appropriation.

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(born April 9, 1758, Dedham, Mass.—died July 4, 1808, Dedham, Mass., U.S.) U.S. essayist and Federalist politician. He graduated from Harvard College in 1774 and taught school for five years before turning to the law; he was admitted to the bar in 1781. Supporting the creation of a strong central government, Ames argued for ratification of the new U.S. Constitution at the Massachusetts constitutional convention. He became known for his uncompromising advocacy of the rights of property and his protective attitude toward commercial interests, which he defended in trenchant writing and commanding speech. In 1788 he defeated Samuel Adams for a seat in the first session of the U.S. House of Representatives; he was reelected three times. His eloquent support of the treaty negotiated by John Jay to preserve peace with England (1794) convinced the House to pass an enabling appropriation.

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Black fly (Simuliidae)

Any member of the insect family Simuliidae, comprising 300 species of small, humpbacked dipterans found worldwide. Usually black or dark gray, the blackfly has short mouthparts adapted for sucking blood. The females bite and are sometimes abundant enough to kill chickens and even cattle. Some species carry worms capable of causing human disease, including river blindness. In subarctic regions blackflies may be so numerous that human habitation is impossible.

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Laws, enacted in the former Confederate states after the American Civil War, that restricted the freedom of former slaves and were designed to assure white supremacy. They originated in the slave codes, which defined slaves as property. In some states these codes included vagrancy laws that targeted unemployed blacks, apprentice laws that made black orphans and dependents available for hire to whites, and commercial laws that excluded blacks from certain trades and businesses and restricted their ownership of property. Northern reaction to the laws helped produce Radical Reconstruction and passage of the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, as well as creation of the Freedmen's Bureau. Many provisions of the black codes were reenacted in the Jim Crow laws and remained in force until the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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Instrument that records the performance and condition of an aircraft in flight. Regulatory agencies require these devices on commercial aircraft to make possible the analysis of crashes or other unusual occurrences. They are housed in heavy steel within layers of insulation, protecting them against impacts and fires. The recording tape is also protected against inadvertent erasure and contact with seawater. It records airspeed, altitude, heading, vertical acceleration, and aircraft pitch. It also includes a separate device that records voice communication within the aircraft and by radio. Both recorders are carried in the tail of the aircraft.

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Theoretical surface that absorbs all radiant energy that falls on it, and radiates electromagnetic energy at all frequencies, from radio waves to gamma rays, with an intensity distribution dependent on its temperature. Because all visible light falling on such a surface is absorbed without reflection, the surface will appear black as long as its temperature is such that its emission peak is not in the visible portion of the spectrum. Seealso absorption.

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American black bear (Ursus americanus).

Forest-dwelling bear (Ursus americanus) that, despite reductions in population and range, is still the most common North American bear. The adult ranges from 5 to 6 ft (150–180 cm) in length and weighs 200–600 lbs (90–270 kg). It has various colour morphs but always a brown face and usually a white chest mark. It eats animals and vegetation, including pinecones, berries, and roots. It frequently raids campsites and seizes anything edible. Though it may be tamed and taught tricks, it often becomes dangerous when mature.

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Any of about six species (genus Micropterus) of slender freshwater fishes of the sunfish family; found in eastern North America. Two, the largemouth and smallmouth black basses, have been introduced into other countries and are prized as hard-fighting game fishes. Black basses are larger and longer-bodied than sunfishes and more predatory. The largemouth bass may grow to 32 in. (80 cm) long and weigh 22 lbs (10 kg); it lives in quiet weedy lakes and streams. The smallmouth bass, which usually grows to 5–6 lbs (2–3 kg), inhabits clear, cool lakes and running streams.

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or Black Arts movement

Period of artistic and literary development among black Americans in the 1960s and early '70s. Based on the cultural politics of black nationalism, the movement sought to create art forms capable of expressing the varieties of black experience in the U.S. Leading theorists included Amiri Baraka, Houston Baker (b. 1943), and Henry Louis Gates. Don L. Lee (b. 1942), known as Haki R. Madhubuti after 1973, was one of its most popular writers; other notable writers included Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Ntozake Shange (b. 1948). The movement also produced such autobiographical works as The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965; with Alex Haley), Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice (1968), and Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974).

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(born June 14, 1924, Uddingston, Scot.) Scottish pharmacologist. Through studying interactions between receptors on cells and chemicals in the bloodstream that attach to them, Black developed the first of the beta-blocking drugs, to relieve angina pectoris. He used a similar approach to develop drugs for stomach and duodenal ulcers. He shared a 1988 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with George H. Hitchings and Gertrude Elion.

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(born June 15, 1330, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, Eng.—died June 8, 1376, Westminster, near London) Prince of Wales (1343–76). Son of Edward III, he apparently received his sobriquet because he wore black armour. He was one of the outstanding commanders of the Hundred Years' War, winning a major victory at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. He was prince of Aquitaine 1362–72; his rule there was a failure, for which he was largely to blame. He returned sick and broken to England and formally surrendered his principality to his father. He had no successor as prince of Aquitaine. Though the heir apparent, he never became king; his son became Richard II.

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(born June 14, 1924, Uddingston, Scot.) Scottish pharmacologist. Through studying interactions between receptors on cells and chemicals in the bloodstream that attach to them, Black developed the first of the beta-blocking drugs, to relieve angina pectoris. He used a similar approach to develop drugs for stomach and duodenal ulcers. He shared a 1988 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with George H. Hitchings and Gertrude Elion.

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Sea between Europe and Asia. Bordered by Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania, it has a maximum depth of 7,250 ft (2,210 m). The Black Sea proper has an area of 163,000 sq mi (422,000 sq km). It is connected with the Aegean Sea through the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, and with the Sea of Azov by Kerch Strait. It receives many rivers, including the Danube, Dniester, Bug, Dnieper, Kuban, Kinodotzinodotl, and Sakarya. The Crimean Peninsula (see Crimea) extends into it from the north. Created when structural upheavals in Asia Minor split off the Caspian basin from the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea gradually became isolated; salinity is now less than half that of the world's oceans. Though long popular for its resorts, it has suffered severe pollution in recent decades.

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Group of mountains in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, U.S. Occupying about 6,000 sq mi (15,540 sq km), they lie between the Cheyenne and Belle Fourche rivers and rise to a maximum elevation of 7,242 ft (2,207 m) at Harney Peak. Their name refers to the dark appearance that their rounded hilltops and well-forested slopes present at a distance. The Sioux Indians were guaranteed treaty rights to the region in 1868; however, the discovery of gold in 1874 led to an influx of white miners and to the Black Hills War (1876), including the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Tourist attractions include the mining town of Deadwood, Mount Rushmore and Jewel Cave national monuments, Wind Cave National Park, and Custer State Park, all in South Dakota, and Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

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Secret Serbian society formed in 1911 primarily by army officers, which used terrorist methods to promote the liberation of Serbs outside Serbia from Habsburg or Ottoman rule. It conducted propaganda campaigns, organized armed bands in Macedonia, and established revolutionary cells throughout Bosnia. Within Serbia it dominated the army and wielded tremendous influence over the government. It gained its greatest notoriety with the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in 1914. After a trial in 1917, three leaders were executed and more than 200 were imprisoned. The name also referred to several extortion rackets run by immigrant Sicilian and Italian gangsters in the Italian communities of many large U.S. cities circa 1890–1920. Local merchants and wealthy individuals would receive threatening notes printed with black hands, daggers, or other menacing symbols that demanded money on pain of death or destruction of property. It declined with the beginning of Prohibition and large-scale bootlegging.

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Day (Sept. 24, 1869) when plunging gold prices precipitated a U.S. stock-market panic. An attempt by Jay Gould and James Fisk to corner the market in gold and drive up its price depended on preventing the sale of government gold, an arrangement assured through the two men's political influence. When Pres. Ulysses S. Grant heard of the scheme, he ordered the government to sell $4 million in gold, which caused the price to drop and produced a panic selling of other stocks.

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German Schwarzwald

Mountain region, Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It extends in a fairly narrow strip about 100 mi (160 km) along the eastern bank of the upper Rhine River, from the Neckar River to the Swiss border. Its highest peak is Feldberg, at 4,897 ft (1,493 m). Its name comes from its dark interior, the higher parts being thickly forested with fir and pine. It is the source of the Neckar and Danube rivers. The setting of many of the Grimm brothers' fairy tales, it is famed for the beauty and charm of its villages and rolling hills. Winter sports are prominent in the area, which also has many mineral springs and watering places, including the spa town of Baden-Baden.

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Fierce and widespread outbreak of plague, probably bubonic and pneumonic, that ravaged Europe during the 14th century. The epidemic originated in Asia and was transmitted to Europeans in 1347 when a Turkic army besieging a Genoese trading post in the Crimea catapulted plague-infested corpses into the town. It spread from the Mediterranean ports and ravaged all of Europe between 1347 and 1351. Renewed outbreaks occurred in 1361–63, 1369–71, 1374–75, 1390, and 1400. Towns and cities were more heavily hit than the countryside, and whole communities were sometimes destroyed. Much of Europe's economy was devastated. About one-third of the European population, or a total of 25 million people, died in the Black Death.

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Park, western Colorado, U.S. Comprising a narrow, deep gorge of the Gunnison River, the preserve, established as a national monument in 1933 and elevated to a national park in 1999, occupies an area of 51 sq mi (133 sq km). The canyon derives its name from its black-stained, lichen-covered walls, which accentuate the gloom of the chasm.

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Black is the color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light. Although black is sometimes described as an "achromatic", or hueless, color, in practice it can be considered a color, as in expressions like "black cat" or "black paint".

Color or light in science

Black can be defined as the visual impression experienced when no visible light reaches the eye. (This makes a contrast with whiteness, the impression of any combination of colors of light that equally stimulates all three types of color-sensitive visual receptors.)

Pigments that absorb light rather than reflect it back to the eye "look black". A black pigment can, however, result from a combination of several pigments that collectively absorb all colors. If appropriate proportions of three primary pigments are mixed, the result reflects so little light as to be called "black".

This provides two superficially opposite but actually complementary descriptions of black. Black is the lack of all colors of light, or an exhaustive combination of multiple colors of pigment. See also Primary colors

† various CMYK combinations
c m y k
0% 0% 0% 100% (canonical)
100% 100% 100% 0% (ideal inks, theoretical only)
100% 100% 100% 100% (registration black)

In physics, a black body is a perfect absorber of light, but by a rule derived by Einstein it is also, when heated, the best emitter. Thus, the best radiative cooling, out of sunlight, is by using black paint, though it is important that it be black (a nearly perfect absorber) in the infrared as well.

In elementary science, far Ultraviolet light is called "black light" because, unseen (per se), it causes many minerals and other substances to fluoresce.

On January 16, 2008, researchers from Troy, New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced the creation of the darkest material on the planet. The material, which reflects only .045 percent of light, was created from carbon nanotubes stood on end. It absorbs nearly 30 times more light than the current standard for blackness, and is 3 times darker than the current record holder for darkest substance. Scientists claim that the new material has great potential in the manufacturing of solar panels.

Absorption of light

In keeping with the law of conservation of energy, as a black color surface absorbs the light particles that hit it, the surface's particles are getting excited (excited particles = higher temperature). The color black attracts heat and absorbs it making the object that is black warmer, because the particles have warmed up and are moving faster.

Usage, symbolism, colloquial expressions

Authority and seriousness

Black can be seen as the color of authority and seriousness.

Clothing

Demography

Philosophy

  • In arguments, things can be black-and-white, meaning that the issue at hand is dichotomized (having two clear, opposing sides with no middle ground).
  • In ancient China, black was the symbol of North and Water, one of the main five colors.

Politics

Popular culture

Science

  • Black sky refers to the appearance of space as one emerges from the Earth's atmosphere.
  • The term "black hole" is applied to collapsed stars. This term is metaphorical however, because few properties of black objects or black voids apply to black holes.

Sport

Ambiguity and secrecy

  • A black box is any device whose internal workings are unknown or inexplicable. In theatre, the black box is a smaller, undecorated theater whose auditorium and stage relationship can be configured in various way.
  • A black project is a secretive project, like Enigma Decryption, other classified military programs or operations, Narcotics, or police sting operations.
  • Some organizations are called "black" when they keep a low profile, like Sociétés Anonymes and secret societies.
  • A polished black mirror is used for scrying, and is thought to help see into the paranormal world without interference or distraction.
  • Black frequently symbolizes ambiguity, secrecy, and the unknown.

Beliefs, religions and superstitions

  • Black is a symbol of mourning and bereavement in Western societies, especially at funerals and memorial services. In some traditional societies, within for example Greece and Italy, widows wear black for the rest of their lives. In contrast, across much of Africa and parts of Asia, white is a color of mourning and is worn during funerals.
  • In English heraldry, black means darkness, doubt, ignorance, and uncertainty.
  • In the Maasai tribes of Kenya and Tanzania, the color black is associated with rain clouds, a symbol of life and prosperity.
  • Native Americans associated black with the life-giving soil.
  • The Hindu deity Krishna means "the black one".
  • The medieval Christian sect known as the Cathars viewed black as a color of perfection.
  • The Rastafari movement sees black as beautiful.

Economy

  • Black Friday (shopping) occurs the day after Thanksgiving and is, statistically, the largest shopping day in the US. The idea is that the shopping that begins on this day can put a company into the black (i.e., make a profit) for the year.
  • To say one's accounts are "in the black" is used to mean that one is free of debt.
    • Being "in the red" is to be in debt—in traditional bookkeeping, negative amounts, such as costs, were printed in red ink, and positive amounts, like revenues, were printed in black ink, so that if the "bottom line" is printed in black, the firm is profiting.

Fashion

  • In Western fashion, black is considered stylish, sexy, elegant and powerful.
  • The colloquialism "X is the new black" is a reference to the latest trend or fad that is considered a wardrobe basic for the duration of the trend, on the basis that black is always fashionable. The phrase has taken on a life of its own as a snowclone, and has been stretched and parodied as a rhetorical device and a cliche.

Symbolic dualism with white

  • Black magic is a destructive or evil form of magic, often connected with death, as opposed to white magic. This was already apparent during Ancient Egypt when the Cush Tribe invaded Egyptian plantations along the Nile River.
  • Evil witches are stereotypically dressed in black and good fairies in white.
  • In computer security, a blackhat is an attacker with evil intentions, while a whitehat bears no such ill will. (This is derived from the Western movie convention.)
  • In many Hollywood Westerns, bad cowboys wear black hats while the good ones wear white.
  • Melodrama villains are dressed in black and heroines in white dresses.

Historical events

Expressions

  • A black-hearted person is mean and unloving.
  • A blacklist is a list of undesirable persons or entities (to be placed on the list is to be "blacklisted").
  • Black comedy is a form of comedy dealing with morbid and serious topics.
  • A black mark against you is a bad thing.
  • A black mood is a bad one (cf Winston Churchill's clinical depression, which he called "my black dog").
  • black market is used to denote the trade of illegal goods, or alternatively the illegal trade of otherwise legal items at considerably higher prices, e.g. to evade rationing.
  • Black propaganda is the use of known falsehoods, partial truths, or masquerades in propaganda to confuse an opponent.
  • Blackmail is the act of threatening to reveal information about a person unless the threatened party fulfills certain demands. This information is usually of an embarrassing or socially damaging nature. Ordinarily, such a threat is illegal.
  • If you sink the black eight-ball in billiards before all others are out of play, you lose.
  • The black sheep of the family is the ne'er-do-well.
  • To blackball someone is to block their entry into a club or some such institution. In the traditional English gentlemen's club, current members vote on the admission of a candidate by secretly placing a white or black ball in a hat. If upon the completion of voting, there was even one black ball amongst the white, the candidate would be denied membership, and he would never know who had "blackballed" him.

Pigments

Black pigments include carbon black, ivory black, ebony, onyx and charcoal black.

References

See also

External links

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