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TheTsarCannonJuly2004.jpg

A cannon is a type of artillery, usually large and tubular, that uses gunpowder or other explosive-based propellants to launch a projectile over a distance. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. First used in China, cannon were among the earliest forms of gunpowder artillery, and over time replaced siege engines—among other forms of aging weaponry—on the battlefield. The first cannon in Europe were probably used in Iberia, during the Islamic wars against Spain. During the Middle Ages, cannon became standardized, and more effective in both the anti-infantry and siege roles. After the Middle Ages, most large cannon were abandoned, in favor of greater numbers of lighter, more maneuverable pieces. In addition, new technologies and tactics were developed, making most defenses obsolete; this led to the construction of star forts, specifically designed to withstand bombardment from artillery. Cannon also transformed naval warfare: the Royal Navy, in particular, took advantage of their firepower. As rifling became more commonplace, the accuracy of cannon was significantly improved, and they became deadlier than ever, especially to infantry. In World War I, a considerable majority of all deaths were caused by cannon; they were also used widely in World War II. Most modern cannon are similar to those used in the Second World War—including autocannon—with the exception of naval guns, which are now significantly smaller in caliber.

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Panorama of the Five Fingers Peak of Huangshizhai
Credit: Chensiyuan

Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Hunan Province, China designated in 1992. It's noted for more than 3,000 quartzite sandstone pillars and peaks across most of the site, many over 200 metres (660 ft) in height, along with many ravines and gorges with attractive streams, pools and waterfalls. It features 40 caves, many with large calcite deposits, and two natural bridges, Xianrenqias (Bridge of the Immortals) and Tianqiashengkong (Bridge Across the Sky).

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Yuanwang 2 in Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand on October 27, 2005.

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