Taylor Swift

“Just be yourself, there is no one better.” – Taylor Swift

  • American Taylor Swift, is among the most successful and youngest country and pop vocalists, and songwriters that has ever lived.
  • Taylor Swift was born on 13 December 1989 as ‘Taylor Alison Swift’, in Pennsylvania’s West Reading, in the United States, and was brought up on a farm of Christmas trees.
  • Sony’s RCA Records was the first company to work with Taylor Swift, in 2004 when she was 14 years of age, and was the youngest writer to do so; however, the artist was only there for around a year, leaving to pursue a self-constructed career, and later signed with Big Machine Records.
  • Taylor Swift released her first album, self-titled, in 2006, which took one to two years to write, record and produce.
  • Taylor Swift has written songs with themes of romance, fantasy, friends, alienation and her past teenage life, and she uses codes in some of her written lyrics to reveal extra messages.
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Taylor Swift
Image courtesy of Jana Zills/Flickr
  • Taylor Swift endeavours to present a good public image and be a good role model, and she also likes to engage with her most enthusiastic fans by having them selected from audiences to meet with backstage.
  • Taylor Swift is well known for her philanthropy, and her earnings have reached significant millions since 2009, while in 2014 she earned $64 million.
  • When Taylor Swift was young, writing poetry was among her hobbies, and as an adult, writing about life is one of her favourite things to do.
  • Taylor Swift has been the recipient of numerous different awards, and by the end of 2014 had received 7 Grammy Awards as well as 16 American Music Awards, and had sold 27.1 million album copies in the United States.
  • Five albums, that is one every two years, have been produced by Taylor Swift; Taylor Swift in 2006, Fearless in 2008, Speak Now in 2010, Red in 2012, and 1989 in 2014.
Bibliography:
About, 2014, Taylor Swift, http://taylorswift.com/about
Taylor Swift, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Swift
Widdicombe, L, You Belong With Me, 2011, The New Yorker, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/10/10/you-belong-with-me

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Taylor Swift

Military Decoration

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Military decorations look quite prestigious.

  • Military decorations are ornamental items that also represent status or achievement, awarded to and warn by members of the military.
  • Military decorations are often given as a token of recognition for courage, service and bravery during a certain situation, such as participation in a war.
  • Honours and awards, similar to military decorations can be awarded to members of the general public for their bravery and service, notably fire fighters and police.
  • The ancient Romans, Egyptians and Celts awarded military decorations to their soldiers and military leaders.
  • The Polish award named the ‘War Order of Virtuti Militari’, the Latin term for ‘military virtue’, first bestowed in 1792, is among the earliest and most senior military decorations still available for nomination.

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  • Military decorations are sometimes illegally replicated, sold and worn, and the offence can lead to serious consequences like jail.
  • Bravery, campaign and service awards, are common military decorations awarded today, and orders of merit can also be awarded, although they are not necessarily restricted to the military.
  • Military decorations often come in the form of ribbons, badges or medals, and multiple decorations are often worn at a time.
  • Awardees of military decorations are typically nominated by someone not directly related to the recipient, typically submitted to the government’s military department by other military personnel.
  • Military decorations come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, and stars, crosses and circles are common shapes.
Bibliography:
Military Awards and Decorations, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_awards_and_decorations
Military Honours and Awards, n.d., The British Monarchy, http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/Honours/MilitaryHonoursandAwards/MilitaryHonoursandAwards.aspx

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Isaac Newton

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” – Isaac Newton

  • Isaac Newton was a scientist and mathematician who was an important contributor to the field of physics and its discoveries.
  • Isaac Newton was born on Christmas day, the 25th of December, in 1642 (on the Julian calendar) in Woolsthorpe, in England’s Lincolnshire county in Europe, and he did not meet his father, who had died three months earlier.
  • Isaac Newton spent a number of years at The King’s School in Grantham, England, and was discharged by his mother, who wanted Newton to become a farmer, much against the juvenile’s wishes, although he did later return to school.
  • In 1661, Isaac Newton extended his education at Trinity College in Cambridge, England, and earned himself a scholarship in 1664 that continued until the completion of his degree, that was awarded to him in 1669.
  • Isaac Newton was quite knowledgeable on the subject of mathematics, producing many papers, and among many other things, he discovered the visible spectrum through a prism, defined the laws of motion and gravity and created the concept of Newtonian fluid.

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Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton
Image courtesy of Paukrus/Flickr
  • Isaac Newton died at age 84 on 20 March 1726/7, in the capital of England, London, and was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey, and his death may have been caused by mercury poisoning.
  • Isaac Newton is commemorated by a number of statues, including one at Oxford University Museum and one at Westminster Abbey, and he is known officially as ‘Sir Isaac Newton’, as he was knighted in April 1705 by Queen Anne.
  • A tooth that is believed to have been that of Isaac Newton’s, was sold in 1816 for £730 and in 2001 was said to be worth £25,000 or US$35,7000.
  • It is commonly believed and accepted, that Isaac Newton decided to look into gravity after watching an apple fall from an apple tree.
  • Isaac Newton became ‘Master’ of the Royal Mint in the late 1600s, and he calculated that approximately 20% of coins received where fake, and he caught many offenders.
Bibliography:
Isaac Newton, 2014, Biography, http://www.biography.com/people/isaac-newton-9422656
Isaac Newton, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton
Isaac Newton’s Life, 1998, Isaac Newton Institute, https://www.newton.ac.uk/about/isaac-newton/life

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Marilyn Monroe

“We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle.” – Marilyn Monroe

  • Marilyn Monroe was a famous actress, singer and model from America who was born with name Norma Jeane Mortenson.
  • Marilyn Monroe was born in California’s Los Angeles, in the United States, on 1 June, 1926, to Gladys Baker, although it is uncertain who her father was.
  • As a child, Marilyn Monroe had no permanent home, as her mother had mental health issues, so she lived in various foster homes and an orphanage, although at age 16 she was encouraged to marry James Dougherty, a neighbour friend, in 1942, to avoid being in another care situation.
  • Marilyn Monroe started her modelling career in 1945, for The Blue Book Modeling Agency, and was quickly signed up with 20th Century Fox, so that in 1946, Monroe performed in her first films, and her first significant role was in 1947 in Dangerous Years.
  • During her life, Marilyn Monroe was also known as ‘Norma Jean Baker’, ‘Norma Jean DiMaggio’, ‘Norma Jean Dougherty’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe Miller’ and while she was naturally a brunette, she began dying her hair blonde for work purposes.

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Marilyn Monroe
Image courtesy of MTA Photos/Flickr
  • Marilyn Monroe first acted in a more major role in 1948 Ladies of Chorus, for Columbia, and although she performed well, the film was not as successful as hoped and it received negative reviews.
  • Marilyn Monroe is well known for acting in Don’t Bother to Knock (1952), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Niagara (1953), The Seven-Year Itch (1955), Some Like it Hot (1959) and The Misfits (1961), all primarily comedy or romance films.
  • Marilyn Monroe died at 36 years of age, on 5 August 1962, from barbiturate poisoning, said to be a self-induced drug overdose, although much speculation has been made regarding the circumstances.
  • Marilyn Monroe was awarded, in 1960, the Golden Globe Award for her notable acting in Some Like it Hot (1959), and she also received two Golden Globe Awards for female ‘World Film Favourite’ in 1953 and 1962.
  • Marilyn Monroe was married to James Dougherty from 1942 to 1946, Joe DiMaggio whom she married and divorced in 1954, and Arthur Miller from 1956 to 1961, and although she was married three times, she did not have any children.
Bibliography:
A Brief Marilyn History, n.d, Marilyn Monroe, http://marilynmonroe.com/history/
Marilyn Monroe, 2014, Biography, http://www.biography.com/people/marilyn-monroe-9412123
Marilyn Monroe, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Monroe

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Mahatma Gandhi

“Where there is love there is life.” – Mahatma Gandhi

  • Mahatma Gandhi was an Indian political activist, a firm believer of nonviolent resistance, and the primary influence of India’s independence and freedom from Britain in 1947.
  • The full name of Mahatma Gandhi is Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, born on the 2 October, 1869, in India’s Porbandar, in Asia, and he has also been known as ‘Bapu’, ‘Gandhiji’, ‘Father of the Nation’, and ‘Father of India’, and the title ‘Mahatma’, meaning ‘great soul’ or similar, was first used in relation to him in 1914.
  • Abiding by Indian tradition, Mahatma Gandhi married the similarly aged Kasturbai Makhanji at age thirteen years, in 1883 by an arranged marriage, and had five children, although only four boys survived, with the first child dying days after birth.
  • Mahatma Gandhi studied law in London, in Europe’s England in 1888, returning to India in 1891 after graduation, but then moved to South Africa to work for an Indian trader group in 1893 as a legal representative, where he remained until moving back to India in 1915.
  • While in South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi observed and experienced violent racism, and as a result rallied for the rights of Indians in the country, and when he returned home to India after more than 20 years, he began to campaign for his country’s independence.
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Mahatma Gandhi
Image courtesy of Nagarjun Kandukuru/Flickr
  • Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by bullet at 78 years of age, on 30 January, 1948, by Nathuram Godse, a representative of a disagreeing Hindu fundamentalist group, in the area of Birla House, New Delhi in India, which was later renamed Gandhi Smriti and was transformed into a museum.
  • While he studied many different religions, Mahatma Gandhi was mostly influenced by Hinduism and Jainism, and during his lifetime he wrote over 50,000 pages of literature, some of which was previously released, although the whole lot was published collectively by the government in India in the 1960s.
  • Despite being nominated five times, Mahatma Gandhi was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize during his lifetime, although the story of his life was adapted into the Academy Award winning film Gandhi (1982), starring Ben Kingsley as the main character.
  • Since 2007, the 2nd October has been celebrated each year as the International Day of Non-Violence, in honour of Mahatma Gandhi, which is the Indian’s birthday, and also a public holiday in India, known as ‘Gandhi Jayanti’.
  • Mahatma Gandhi was the subject of at least five failed assassinations, one of which is said to have been the derailing of a train a year and a half before his death.
Bibliography:
Mahatma Gandhi, 2014, History, http://www.history.co.uk/biographies/mahatma-gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi

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Robin Williams

“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it” – Robin Williams

  • Robin Williams was a prominent actor, comedian, screenwriter and film producer, that started acting in the early 1970s, continuing on until his death in 2014, and a significant component of his work was unscripted and improvised.
  • Robin McLaurin Williams, or ‘Robin Williams’ as he was known, was born in Chicago in the United States state of Illinois, on 21 July, 1951, and he was the great, great grandson of governor Anselm J McLaurin from Mississippi.
  • Robin Williams was nominated for and received numerous awards during his lifetime, gaining two Emmys, five Grammys, four Golden Globes, an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the film Good Will Hunting, and the Golden Globe Cecil B DeMille Award for ‘outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment’.
  • Robin Williams died on 11 August, 2014, in California’s Marin County, in the United States, and despite being a well-loved actor, it is believed he hung himself after suffering from significant depression.
  • Robin Williams attended New York’s Juilliard School and became successfully popular as an alien in 1978 on Happy Days, a television show, that launched his acting career and led to his leading role in the television series Mork and Mindy that ran from 1978 to 1982.
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Robin Williams
Image courtesy of Eva Rinaldi/Flickr
  • Robin Williams has been featured in 80 films, including Popeye (1980), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poet’s Society (1989), Aladdin (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Night at the Museum (2006) and Happy Feet (2006), and also made numerous television appearances.
  • In 1993, Robin Williams had a dispute with The Walt Disney Company, due to the belief that the company broke their agreement of the use of his character, Genie in the marketing of the Aladdin film, in 1992.
  • From the 1970s to 1980s, Robin Williams was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and after years of self-restraint, he resumed drinking alcohol in 2003, although later he attended rehabilitation to overcome his addiction.
  • Robin Williams was married to Valerie Velardi from 1978 to 1988, Marsha Garces from 1989 to 2008 and Susan Schneider from 2011 until his death in 2014, and he had three children named Zachary, Zelda and Cody, born in the years of 1983, 1989 and 1991, respectively.
  • Robin Williams enjoyed playing electronic games and was an avid cyclist and enthusiast, and in 2003 is said to have owned more than 50 bicycles.
Bibliography:
Robin Williams, 2014, Bio, http://www.biography.com/people/robin-williams-9532797
Robin Williams, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Williams

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