Extract the facts, turning words into pictures

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In the two paragraphs below, highlight a swath of text. You can start with "The aardvark," and release the mouse somewhere in the 2nd paragraph. The most frequent words will be formatted in larger fonts - to give a quick idea of the focus of the text. To try it again, refresh the page.

The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) (afer: from Africa) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata, although other prehistoric species and genera of Tubulidentata are known.

It is sometimes called "antbear", "anteater", or "Cape anteater" (after the Cape of Good Hope). The word "aardvark" is famous for being one of the first entries to appear in many encyclopaedias and even abridged dictionaries. The name comes from the Afrikaans/Dutch for "earth pig" or "ground pig" (aarde earth/ground, varken pig), because of its burrowing habits (similar origin to the name groundhog). The aardvark is not related to the pig; rather, it is the sole recent representative of the obscure mammalian order Tubulidentata, in which it is usually considered to form a single variable species of the genus Orycteropus, the sole surviving genus in the family Orycteropodidae. The aardvark is not closely related to the South American anteater, despite sharing some characteristics and a superficial resemblance. The closest living relatives of the aardvark are the elephant shrews, along with the sirenians, hyraxes, tenrecs, and elephants. Together with their extinct relatives, these animals form the superorder Afrotheria.

Acton Demographics

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According to the census of 2000, there were 20,331 people, 7,495 households, and 5,540 families residing in the town. The racial makeup of the town was 88.4% White, 8.6% Asian, 0.7% African American, 0.1% Native American, >1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races.

Click in the paragraph below, and you should see a bar char

Of the 7,495 households, 43.1% had children under the age of eighteen living with them, 65.1% were married couples living together, 6.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.1% were non-families. 21.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.19.

The age distribution of the population was 29.5% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.2 males. For every 100 females age eighteen and over, there were 94.2 males.

For those age 25 years or older in Acton during the 2000 census, 97.8% had a high school degree or higher, 69.3% had a bachelor's degree or higher, and 33.9% had a graduate degree or higher. Also, 98.0% were employed with a mean commute time of 31.0 minutes.

Acton History 

Click in the paragraphs below, and you should get a timeline that plots the various events and dates mentioned. The timeline has two bands (century and decade), and is scrollable.

Colonization Era through Revolutionary Era

Concord was the first colonial town that was settled in this area. The first colonial residents moved to Acton in 1639. Acton was established as an independent town on July 3, 1735. Acton has held annual town meetings since 1735, the records of which are held at Acton's Memorial Library.

Acton residents participated in the growing hostility with by sending a list of grievances to King George III on Oct. 3rd, 1774. The anniversary of this day is celebrated in Acton as Crown Resistance Day.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, on April 19, 1775, a company of minutemen from Acton responded to the call to arms initiated by Paul Revere (who rode with other riders, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott, with Prescott the only one of the three who was able reach Acton itself) and fought at the North Bridge in Concord as part of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The Acton minutemen were led by Captain Isaac Davis. When a company was needed to lead the advance on the bridge which was defended by the British regulars, Captain Davis was heard to reply, "I haven't a man who is afraid to go." The Acton men led because, unlike other militias there, they were fully equipped with bayonets.

Industrialization and Civil War

On October 1, 1844 the railroad came to Acton. In 1874, the population of the town was almost 1700. In 1890, the Memorial Library was completed and given to the town by William A. Wilde as a memorial to the Acton soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

W. R. Grace Superfund Site

In the early 1950s, W. R. Grace and Company established a manufacturing facility in South Acton to produce concrete additives, organic chemicals and other industrial materials. W. R. Grace disposed of industrial waste from this facility in unlined impoundments (lagoons) through 1980.

In 1978 vinylidene chloride and other industrial contaminants were detected in two of the town wells, Assabet 1 and Assabet 2, which were closed. In 1983 the Acton W. R. Grace site was placed on the list of United States Environmental Protection Agencyā€ˇ (EPA) Superfund sites as a National Priority for cleanup.

In August, 2006, W. R. Grace and the EPA reached agreement on a scope-of-work pact that describes the work necessary to clean up the site.

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