Saturday, April 25, 2009

V Edicion Torneo San Jorge de Ajedrez

(Photo: Round 7, María Crespo and Alejandro Galán attract a crowd of onlookers) Goddesschess receives it's share of mail, as I suspect most chess-related websites do. A few days ago we received an unsolicited email report about a tournament held in Spain. Unfortunately for us, it was entirely in Spanish, a language which none of us speaks! However, with the aid of the many photographs provided at the website of the Club Ateneo Cacereno de Ajedrez and a rough (very rough) Babel Fish translation, I was able to use my incredible powers of deductive reasoning to conclude that it was a report about the V Edicion Torneo San Jorge de Ajedrez scholastic chess event held in Cáceres, Spain, on April 19, 2009. There were 166 participants, although 204(?)registered. The photographs tell the entire story of the event, from start to finish. First, the Club gets its first sight of the venue; then there is all of the hard work to get the space ready for the tournament. The hard-working volunteers from the Ateneo Cacereno Chess Club set up the many tables, chairs and chess sets needed to host such a large event and prepare the site for the tournament. Next, there are photographs of the action as the tournament unfolded, and photographs of the awards ceremony at the end. I was enchanted! Here are the top finishers of the female partipants and the prizes they won: 1º María Crespo (Trofeo + Caja selección Alimentos Extremadura + Fritz 11) 2º Ana Martín Mora Muñoz (Trofeo + Libro ajedrez) 3º Clara Gallego Sosa (Tablero ajedrez y piezas) 4º Irene Valle González (Tablero ajedrez y piezas) 5º Marta Martín Morientes (Tablero ajedrez y piezas) The Club Ateneo Cacereno de Ajedrez is already planning for a bigger and better event next year! Congratulations to all of the winners and participants in the 2009 event, and to all of the people who made it possible with their dedication and hard work. I wish you much success in 2010!

Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation

In addition to holding many other tournaments throughout the year, in 2009 the Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation funded $4,000 in scholarships at four Wisconsin scholastic tournaments. The following information is from the WSCF website: According to WSCF founder and President, Bob Patterson-Sumwalt, “The WSCF is dedicated to promoting scholastic chess as a means to academic achievement. The scholarship funds we are awarding this year are a great way for our organization to meet that objective.” February 28th 2009 The 4th Annual All Girls Tournament. $1000 in total scholarship funds were awarded. We are thrilled to offer this wonderful tournament held at Devine Savior Holy Angels High School, a private “All Girls” school. Click for details. Click for Results (Goddesschess was pleased to make a donation to the 2009 All Girls event). March 7th 2009 WSCF 2009 Grade Level Championships. $500 in total scholarship funds were awarded. Players compete against others within their own grade. The tournament will be held at the Marion Center in St. Francis. Click for details. Click for Results March 28th The 4th Annual March of Champions Tournament. $1000 in total scholarship funds were awarded. At the Mother Katherine Daniel's Center in Milwaukee. Click for details. Click for Results April 18th - 19th The 2nd Annual WSCF State Championship. $1500 in total scholarship funds were awarded. At the Kalahari Water park Resort and Convention center in the Wisconsin Dells. Winners in all 4 sections will be eligible for scholarship awards. Click for details.

2009 Christ Lutheran Academy Chess Tournament

Hola darlings! My favorite scholastic chess organization, the Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation, presents a tournament on May 2, 2009 in Kenosha, Wisconsin:
Christ Lutheran Academy Chess Tournament Saturday May 2nd, 2009
Location: Messiah Lutheran Church (Parish Hall) 2026 22nd Ave, Kenosha, WI 53140 Format: K– 3, K- 6 and K – 12 divisions, Wisconsin-rated, 6 round Swiss, G30. WSCF membership not required. Rounds 1 may be G25. Awards:
K–3: Three Team Trophies. Individual trophies to top three players; and medals to all K–6: Three Team Trophies. Individual trophies to top three players; and medals to all. K–12: Three Team Trophies. Individual trophies to top three players and medals to all. Award Ceremony may begin between 4:00 and 4:30. Entry: $10 per player for advance registration, $15 on site registration Check-in from 7:45 to 8:45. Round 1 begins at 9:30 or before. Players not checked in by 8:45 will begin play in round 2. Please check in as early as possible. For advance registration, register online at before 11 pm on April 30th. Registration fee will be paid at the tournament. Make checks payable to Christ Lutheran Academy. Coaches and parents only at registration table, please. Coaches, please do not register until all of your players have arrived. Lunch: Available for purchase on-site. Supervision: At least one designated adult supervisor must be present at all times during the tournament to oversee your school’s team, or individual participants who are in K through 8th grade. Bring: Pencils, chess sets and clocks if you have them. Chess boards and other chess items will be available for purchase on site. Questions: Contact the tournament host Rev Thomas Chryst at or 262-633- 4831 or WSCF at td or 262-573-5624. Chess Notation: Chess notation required in all USCF divisions and in all WSCF divisions with students over 3rd grade. WSCF and host reserve the right to change or delete divisions and number of awards depending upon entries on day of tournament.
Come, one and all, and join the fun playing in this fab event. Send me your best game in PGN and I'll publish it here, where millions of readers from around the world will see it and analyze it in awe and amazement at your brilliance!!! Well, okay, not millions, thousands. Yes, do not snort, it is not polite. We do get thousands of readers here each week, which we find absolutely amazing but extremely gratifying :)) Send your photos too - we'll have a big ol' party right here online.

The Mystery of the Indus Script

Perhaps one step closer to solving one of linguistics' most enduring mysteries. Story and image from Wired Science: Artificial Intelligence Cracks 4,000-Year-Old Mystery By Brandon Keim April 23, 2009 1:01:09 PM An ancient script that's defied generations of archaeologists has yielded some of its secrets to artificially intelligent computers. Computational analysis of symbols used 4,000 years ago by a long-lost Indus Valley civilization suggests they represent a spoken language. Some frustrated linguists thought the symbols were merely pretty pictures. "The underlying grammatical structure seems similar to what's found in many languages," said University of Washington computer scientist Rajesh Rao. The Indus script, used between 2,600 and 1,900 B.C. in what is now eastern Pakistan and northwest India, belonged to a civilization as sophisticated as its Mesopotamian and Egyptian contemporaries. However, it left fewer linguistic remains. Archaeologists have uncovered about 1,500 unique inscriptions from fragments of pottery, tablets and seals. The longest inscription is just 27 signs long. In 1877, British archaeologist Alexander Cunningham hypothesized that the Indus script was a forerunner of modern-day Brahmic scripts, used from Central to Southeast Asia. Other researchers disagreed. Fueled by scores of competing and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to decipher the script, that contentious state of affairs has persisted to the present. Among the languages linked to the mysterious script are Chinese Lolo, Sumerian, Egyptian, Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, Old Slavic, even Easter Island — and, finally, no language at all. In 2004, linguist Steve Farmer published a paper asserting that the Indus script was nothing more than political and religious symbols. It was a controversial notion, but not an unpopular one. Rao, a machine learning specialist who read about the Indus script in high school and decided to apply his expertise to the script while on sabbatical in Inda, may have solved the language-versus-symbol question, if not the script itself. "One of the main questions in machine learning is how to generalize rules from a limited amount of data," said Rao. "Even though we can't read it, we can look at the patterns and get the underlying grammatical structure." Rao's team used pattern-analyzing software running what's known as a Markov model, a computational tool used to map system dynamics. They fed the program sequences of four spoken languages: ancient Sumerian, Sanskrit and Old Tamil, as well as modern English. Then they gave it samples of four non-spoken communication systems: human DNA, Fortran, bacterial protein sequences and an artificial language. The program calculated the level of order present in each language. Non-spoken languages were either highly ordered, with symbols and structures following each other in unvarying ways, or utterly chaotic. Spoken languages fell in the middle. When they seeded the program with fragments of Indus script, it returned with grammatical rules based on patterns of symbol arrangement. These proved to be moderately ordered, just like spoken languages. As for the meaning of the script, the program remained silent. "It's a useful paper," said University of Helsinki archaeologist Asko Parpola, an authority on Indus scripts, "but it doesn't really further our understanding of the script." Parpola said the primary obstacle confronting decipherers of fragmentary Indus scripts — the difficulty of testing their hypotheses — remains unchanged. But according to Rao, this early analysis provides a foundation for a more comprehensive understanding of Indus script grammar, and ultimately its meaning. "The next step is to create a grammar from the data that we have," he said. "Then we can ask, is this grammar similar to those of the Sanskrit or Indo-European or Dravidian languages? This will give us a language to compare it to." "It's only recently that archaeologists have started to apply computational approaches in a rigid manner," said Rao. "The time is ripe." Citation: "Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script." By Rajesh P. N. Rao, Nisha Yadav, Mayank N. Vahia, Hrishikesh Joglekar, R. Adhikari and Iravatham Mahadevan. Science, Vol. 324 Issue 5926, April 24, 2009. Image: J.M. Kenoyer/

Mystery of Horse Domestication Solved?

(Image: Herd of horses, Anatolia, circa 6,000 BCE) Hmmm, I don't think so, and I'll tell you why at the end of this article, from Science Daily: ScienceDaily (Apr. 24, 2009) — Wild horses were domesticated in the Ponto-Caspian steppe region (today Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Romania) in the 3rd millennium B.C. Despite the pivotal role horses have played in the history of human societies, the process of their domestication is not well understood. In a new study published in the scientific journal Science, an analysis by German researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, the German Archaeological Institute, the Humboldt University Berlin, the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, in cooperation with American and Spanish scientists, has unravelled the mystery about the domestication of the horse. Based on ancient DNA spanning the time between the Late Pleistocene and the Middle Ages, targeting nuclear genes responsible for coat colorations allows to shed light on the timing and place of horse domestication. Furthermore the study demonstrates how rapid the number of colorations increased as one result of the domestication. As well, it shows very clearly that the huge variability of coloration in domestic horses which can be observed today is a result of selective breeding by ancient farmers. Our modern human societies were founded on the Neolithic revolution, which was the transformation of wild plants and animals into domestic ones available for human nutrition. Within all domestic animals, no other species has had such a significant impact on the warfare, transportation and communication capabilities of human societies as the horse. For many millennia, horses were linked to human history changing societies on a continent-wide scale, be it with Alexander the Great’s or Genghis Khan’s armies invading most of Asia and Eastern Europe or Francis Pizarro destroying the Inca Empire with about 30 mounted warriors. The horse was a costly and prestigious animal in all times, featured in gifts from one sovereign to another as a nobleman’s mark. Journal reference: Arne Ludwig, Melanie Pruvost, Monika Reissmann, Norbert Benecke, Gudrun A. Brockmann, Pedro Castaños, Michael Cieslak, Sebastian Lippold, Laura Llorente, Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, Montgomery Slatkin, and Michael Hofreiter. Coat Color Variation at the Beginning of Horse Domestication. Science, 2009; 324 (5926): 485 DOI: 10.1126/science.1172750 Adapted from materials provided by Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB), via AlphaGalileo.
I believe the 3rd millennium BCE is too late for domestication of the horse. Right on the same page the above-referenced article appeared is a link to a Science Daily article from March 6, 2009 (Archaeologists Find Earliest Known Domestic Horses: Harnessed and Milked), in which well-researched archaeological evidence indicates that horses were first domesticated by the "Botai Culture of Kazakhstan circa 5,500 years ago. This is about 1,000 years earlier than thought and about 2,000 years earlier than domestic horses are known to have been in Europe. Their findings strongly suggest that horses were originally domesticated, not just for riding, but also to provide food, including milk." This earlier date (c. 5,500 years ago) is confirmed by another Science Daily article from November 3, 2006: New Evidence Of Early Horse Domestication, which points to a date of approximately 5,600 years ago.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I LIKE Susan Boyle's "Make-Over"

Oh come on! People are having fits because Susan Boyle went from dowdy caricature to polished. Not much of a make-over, when all is said and done, but what she did packs a positive punch. (Photo from AP - showing SB's new look). She got her hair colored (which she should have been doing all along since she is prematurely grey at 47-48, and the grey frizz made her look like she was 77-78 instead of her actual age), she got a conservative hair-cut that got rid of the frizz and now frames her cheekbones and highlights her eyes in a becoming manner, and she got her formerly excessive eyebrows waxed into a much more flattering shape. The Groucho Marx look is gone, thank goddess! About damn time, Girl! Her outfit in this photo is age appropriate and classy - nice-fitting sleek-styled neutral slacks that lengthen her sillouette, heeled shoes but not spiked heels (which would look ridiculous with her body proportions), a pretty, feminine and fashionably decorated white blouse (one of the "hot" looks this season), and just the right size purse with a must-have shoulder strap; she's not trying to look 30, nor should she. I love her front-on confident stance in this photo, staring straight at the camera, which is also the best angle to minimize a double chin (I know from much practice). I think Ms. Boyle looks great in her "make-over" and I give her kudos for being gutsy enough to undertake such a "transformation" under the glaring public eye! All you people moaning because she doesn't look frumpy anymore, what is your problem? Why wouldn't you want Ms. Boyle to make the most of what she has? In my opinion, she now appears a striking woman - to match that striking voice. I love Susan Boyle's voice. I've listened to her "Les Mis" recording from Britain's Got Talent a few times, and thought it was well-worth the plaudits it has received. And what is this - did I read recently that it has received over 70 MILLION You-Tube hits, and counting. This is some serious business! I've also listened to SB's ten-year old recording of "Cry Me A River" over and over again. I can't seem to get enough of it. Her rendition absolutely blew me away, floored me, knocked me off my bar-stool - take your pick of cliches. I don' know what, exactly, it is about how she sings that song, but something - something - can't describe it, and I'm not even going to try - just reaches out and grabs me. I'd pay good money to listen to the lady sing in person, and pay good money to buy a CD or DVD of SB singing "standards."
Probably like millions of other people, I'm eagerly awaiting her next appearance on You Tube, after her May 23 (I think that's the date) appearance on Britain's Got Talent. What will she sing? What will she wear? Wow - it's probably going to be one of the highest-rated shows on British television of all time!

MacArthur Park Is Melting In The Dark...

Indeed. The iconic song from 1968, sung by then British Hunk, Richard Harris, has proven all too true. Much younger folks may know Harris as the original Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, before his death at the age of 72 in 2002). Alas. Dumbledore was killed, and chess in MacArthur Park has been killed, too. Article from The Los Angeles Times: MacArthur Park chess players struggle for their turf In a crime crackdown, the city removed the tables where they played. Officials say gangs ran blackjack and poker there and charged chess players 'rent.' By Ari B. Bloomekatz April 24, 2009 Tony Flamenco has taken his share of risks when he ends a day at the office with a game of chess at MacArthur Park. Over six years, he's been shaken down and forced to pay $10 "rent" to gang members, witnessed a stabbing and an assault, and seen the everyday transactions of gamblers and drug dealers who linger near South Park View and West 7th streets. But the 50-year-old accountant from San Dimas has continued to ignore his wife's warnings to stay away from the park. For Flamenco, who works nearby, the park remains an oasis among the trees and grassy slopes, a place where he can gather with friends to huddle over chessboards and play games for a quarter or a cup of coffee while he waits out the traffic to go home. He was one of many regular park users who cheered when the Los Angeles Police Department and city officials began a major crackdown in the notorious park and began several projects to make the area more family-friendly. Authorities installed surveillance video cameras in the park in 2004 and redoubled those efforts last year by placing six cameras along the 6th Street corridor. They also boosted patrols and recently opened a police station nearby. But about a month ago, in the name of fighting crime, the city removed the tables Flamenco and his friends used to play chess. City authorities said they pulled out the tables at the request of the MacArthur Park advisory board, the local neighborhood council and the LAPD because gangs were using them in extortion schemes. Flamenco and others say the crackdown has gone too far. "Those tables belong to the public, not the government," Flamenco said. The debate over the tables underscores the tricky balance authorities face between stopping crime in the park and ensuring that park users can enjoy themselves. Jose Maciel, an employee of the Department of Recreation and Parks and senior director for MacArthur Park, said the area where chess players had their matches had become a gambling haven for other games. "According to LAPD, you have kind of gangsters that are in charge of each table. They're putting up blackjack tables, poker tables, they allow that to go on. There's no money that's handled there on the spot, but they have a person taking notes on who's winning or losing," Maciel said. "You also have the bigger gangs, and they're going down there and basically taxing those individuals. . . . They can see a chess game going on and they'll charge anywhere between $10 and $20 a head," he said. Maciel said he has suggested replacing the large tables where park users played chess with smaller tables on which it would be more difficult for large-scale gambling. Still, Flamenco feels that chess players received the short end of the stick. "They've been doing their jobs. A great, beautiful job. This park was considered very dangerous a long time ago. But chess players have always been there and they don't get involved in that kind of stuff," Flamenco said. Located in the heart of the Westlake district, the park thrived in the first decades of the 20th century. Back then, that stretch of Wilshire Boulevard was one of L.A.'s most fashionable addresses, named after the eccentric millionaire Henry Gaylord Wilshire and dotted with fancy department stores such as Bullocks Wilshire. But in recent decades, MacArthur Park became a brazen drug bazaar. Things got worse as the surrounding community saw an influx of large gangs such as 18th Street that began selling drugs and extorting street merchants. "Almost every other day, you'd hear 'pop, pop,' " said Manuel Jiminez, 68, a construction contractor from Hancock Park who has been coming to the park to play chess since 1961. "I've had to dodge bullets," said another player, 36-year-old Henry Castro, a carpenter from the Westlake area who remembers ducking under one of the concrete tables as he heard gunshots and saw a young man firing into the park when he first came there about seven years ago. Mario Cevallos, 58, who lives in North Hollywood and manages an apartment building, said he has been playing chess at the park for 25 years and was so enraged that the tables were taken out, he started a petition he plans to give to the City Council. Since the eight tables were removed, the chess players have shifted their games to other picnic tables or played in the same spot by bringing a plastic folding table. Cevallos said that he's collected about 100 signatures from chess players and others around the park, and that taking the tables is not the answer to the Police Department's problem with gangs. City Councilman Ed Reyes, who represents the area, supported the initial removal of the tables -- arguing that public safety must be the first priority -- and said he still wants to find a way to provide tables for chess. Reyes said that residents should respect efforts to crack down on crime and that violence has greatly decreased. According to statistics from the LAPD, serious crimes in the district that includes MacArthur Park have dropped from 333 in 2004 to 271 in 2008. Aggravated assaults have decreased from 69 in 2004 to 23 in 2008, the statistics show. Reyes said that he thinks residents can win back the entire park, and that he has dedicated himself to the notion that the surrounding community deserves a better day at the park than extortion and violence. In recent years, city officials have allocated about $2.5 million to a renovation plan that will bring artificial turf, a children's playground and better lighting; put aside $350,000 for restrooms; added two maintenance workers and a program manager devoted to the park; spent another $1.7 million renovating the MacArthur Park band shell and started a summer concert series, said Tony Perez, a spokesman for Reyes. Additional plans to make the park more family-friendly include adding a boat house, bringing back the chess tables and building affordable public housing in spaces near the park that were acquired by the city, Reyes said. Flamenco supports the improvements, but said officials should not drive users away. "We love this park," he said. "We appreciate what they've been doing, but this is too far."

Further Explorations of the Word MA

From Barbara Walker's The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets: Tiamat Sumero-Babylonian "Goddess Mother" (Dia Mater), from whose formless body the universe was born at creation; personification of The Deep, or Tohu Bohu. Babylonians later claimed their municipal god Marduk, Tiamat's son, divided her into heavens above and earth below, as did Marduk's imitator, the biblical God. But the original division was made by the Mother herself, as in the ancient Pelasgian myth of her Aegean counterpart, Eurynome.(1) In derivative Hebrew myths, Tiamat became Tehom, The Deep; and this is how she appears in the Bible (Genesis 1:2). [Gen. 1:2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. -- King James Version. And from the Living Bible, which is a paraphrase of the Bible in modern English, Gen. 1:1-2: When God began creating the heavens and the earth, (2) the earth was a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors".] Patriarchal writers forgot that "The Deep" was a personified womb, a Middle-Eastern version of Kali whose being before creation was "formless." [I visualize it as the center "dot" in the "bindu." In Hindu mythology, although it may have older roots, it is from the bindu that all what we know as creation/universes sprung, rather like the "Big Bang" theory, KA-BOOM.] Most creation myths incorporated the idea of formlessness, in the darkness before the birth that brought "light" and the splitting of the Mother's body, so she became both heaven and earth. The Bible's account is based on the same archetype. In Egypt, Tiamat was Temu or Te-Mut, oldest of deities, mother of the archaic Ennead of four female elements: Water, Darkness, Night, and Eternity.(2) [The Ennead consisted of four paired goddesses and gods, each sister and brother, representing the earliest "Netjer" who were - I'm working from memory here so I hope this is right! - the offspring of that primeval creative force, akin to The Great Goddess or, in biblical terms, that Spirit of "God" roving about the face of the waters. Here is an interesting translation of Gen. 1:2 from the Bible used by the Jehovah's Witnesses, which is called The New World Translation: Gen. 1:2: Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the water deep; and God's active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters. I have many different Bibles in my collection :)] She was also Nun, Naunet, or Ma-Nu, the great fish who gave birth to the universe and the gods. [Cf. Jonah inside the great fish's belly for "three" days, only to be "reborn" again by regurgitation]. In repeated cycles of becoming, she periodically swallowed up both gods and universes and gave them rebirth - like Kali.(3) Tiamat's firstborn child seems to have been a duplicate of herself, Mummu, translated either "churning" or "mother." The combination recalled the ancient notion that solid earth was made from "churning" the primordial fluid, like making butter from milk.(4) [Cf. Axis Mundi]. Some myths gave Tiamat a male consort, Apsu, similar to Jupiter Pluvius: a Father Heaven whose job it was to fertilize the Mother's abyss with seminal rain. But he was not her superior, not even her equal. Even in the chaotic conditions before creation, Tiamat was the true source of life. Her consort was subordinate, not even necessary.(5) Various myths said Tiamat alone produced the fluid of creation, which was not semen but her menstrual blood, flowing continuously for three years and three months.(6) Its great reservoir was the Red Sea - comparable to Kali's "ocean of blood"- the eastern shore of which is still called Tihamat by the Arabs. Babylonians said their god Marduk divided his mother Tiamat into two parts, upper waters and lower waters. Likewise, the Jewish God "divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which wre above the firmament" (Genesis 1:7). The Jewish god also divided the Red Sea, which was likened to Tiamat herself. The idea of dividing waters was not original with the Jews. Goddesses did it before gods. The Hindu Goddess Bindumati, "Mother of Life," divided the waters of the Ganges.(7) The Goddess Isis divided the waters of the river Phaedrus, to cross dry-shod.(8) Even an insignificant Egyptian wizard named Zazamonkh divided the waters of a lake to retrieve a courtesan's lost pendant.(9) Yahweh's miracle on behalf of the Israelites was fairly common in contemporary lore. By dividing Tiamat, Marduk established the Diameter (horizon), which was the Greek version of Tiamat's name, meaning Goddess-Mother [Dia Mater]. We still say a diameter divides a whole circle. Though Marduk was supposed to have slain his mother, the Ocean of Blood, he still maintained the menstrual calendar in Babylon, celebrating sabbaths and months of the year according ot the moom's phases.(10) Modern scholars tend to ignore Tiamat's maternal Creatress nature, describing her as nothing more than a "dragon of chaos" slain by Marduk. It is seldom emphasized that this was a myth of matricide, or that the Goddess was the one who created the world. Some traditions indicate that Marduk's murder of his mother may have been motivated by jealousy, like Cain's murder of Abel. Mother Tiamat had overlooked Marduk and chosen another of her sons, Kingu, to be her consort and the king of the universe. [She] exalted among the gods, her sons, that she had borne, Kingu, and made him greatest among them all . . . .placed him on a throne, saying, "By my charm and incantation I have raised thee to power among the gods. The dominion over all the gods I intrusted [sic] to thee. Lofty thou shalt be, thou my chosen spouse; great be thy name in all the world." She then gave him the Tablets of Destiny, and laid them on his breast.(11) Jealous Marduk not only killed Tiamat; he also deposed, castrated, and killed Kingu, and made the first man on earth out of Kingu's blood - which tends to show that Kingu was once the name of the sacrificed god-king, whose blood had the "feminine" power to make life.(12) [Cf. the Christian doctrines related to the sacrifice of Christ's life (blood) and the benefits of "Life's Water" flowing from the resurrected Christ/God.] Kingu was identified with the moon. Chaldeans called him Sin, the Moon-god of Mount Sinai. Apparently he still had the tablets of the Law given him by Tiamat (as Mother Rhea gave sacred tablets of the Law to Minos on Mt. Dicte), for the Old Testament claims he passed them on to Moses. In Southern Arabia, the Goddess was assimilated to Ishtar. The eyes of her idol Tehama wwere said to flow with tears each year as she bewailed the death of Tammuz.(13) Notes: (1) Graves, G.M., 1, 27. (2) Budge, D.N., 211. (3) Neumann, G.M., pl. 91; Erman, 252. (4) Brandon, 22. (5) Stone, 26. (6) Assyr. & Bab. Lit., 301. (7) Rawson, A.T., 74. (8) Budge, G.E., 2, 191. (9) Erman, 40. (10) Hooke, M.E.M., 45. (11) Assyr. & Bab. Lit., 287. (12) Larousse, 54. (13) Baring-Gould, C.M.M.A., 279.

As a totally irrelevant aside, I do believe that my given name, "Janet," which under traditional patriarchal interpretations is a derivative from "John," meaning something like "God's Gift [to men] ("Ja" = shortened name for God in Hebrew), is actually a derivative from the much older Naunet -- the "et" syllable denoted a female or the feminine in ancient Egyptian, much as "ette" denotes female or the feminine today in French). Perhaps the older name of "Nanette," which is out of style these days (as is my name, Janet), is an ancient carry-over from the times when the Goddess reigned supreme. Therefore, darlings, I am named after the Goddess of Creation, and not after "St. John." I always thought he was rather wimpy and - well, swishy. Oh, slap my face, I'm a bad girl for saying such a thing :)

Various myths said Tiamat alone produced the fluid of creation, which was not semen but her menstrual blood, flowing continuously for three years and three months.

Is this why the use of red ochre was so predominate in Neolithic times in sacred cave drawings and painted on stone, ivory and bone carvings -- to show life and a link to the Mother Goddess, from whom all life flowed through the sacred menstrual blood? Is this why the color "red" - as in "red blood" is associated with life and living? Is this why the mythical elixir of life, called "Soma" in Sanskrit and "Homa" in Pahlavi, was linked to menstrual blood? And is this why black (blood lacking oxygen from cessation of breathing, is a darkish, sort of black looking color = lack of life) is associated with funereal rites in many cultures to this day? I was going to put up an image of Tiamat with this post, but without exception those that I found were images of ugly beasts - sort of like Lizard-Dragons with huge claws and teeth -- ancestral memories of dinosaurs? Traditionalists would say I'm nuts for even thinking of such a thing, but based on the record -- actually lack thereof, to this point in time -- who's to really say? Wish I could live another 100 years to see what the archaeologists, paleontologists, anthropologists and historians come up with! Er - got sidetracked there for a second - back to finding an image of Tiamat: Since Tiamat is "formless" it occurred to me (duh, Jan!) that all images of her thus far discovered, without exception, were from much later times, after Marduk had "killed her off," and she was thereafter depicted as a monstrous being. As dondelion says, history is (re)written by the victors.

Hales Corners Challenge IX

Hola! I checked my email this morning and received notice from Allen Becker of the Southwest Chess Club that all pre-registration records for the Hales Corners Challenge have been smashed - 78 pre-registered!!!!! The highest previous number of attendees was 70. FABULOSO! There may also be a GM playing - Allen writes "last night GM Mesgen Amanov says he is coming to play." If so, there will be seven masters playing. I am like sitting here in my office typing this, jumping up and down in my chair - good thing no one can see me. I am unable to attend, but as soon as I get my hot little hands on photos they'll be published here, and hopefully I'll be able to bring you question/answer interviews with the winning chess femmes! Good luck to all of the players tomorrow and especially the chess femmes :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chess Femme News

Hola darlings! Here's some news about chess femmes from around the world - enjoy! Hannah Purdy Wins Kansas Girls' Chess Championship (Salina Journal,, April 23, 2009) As the winner, Hannah will represent the state of Kansas in the Susan Polgar National Invitational Girls' Championship in Lubbock, Texas, later this year. A report from the Visayan Daily Star (Philippines) about the women wood-pushers (, April 23, 2009) 2009 NAT’L PRISAAWV women’s chess team eyeing 3rd straight title today BY NIDA BUENAFE With 14 points to its credit after four rounds of competition, the Western Visayas women’s chess team moves closer to clinching its third-straight championship as the national PRISAA Games enter its fourth day in Naga City today. Bannered by standouts from University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, West Negros University and Central Philippine University, the women woodpushers mentored by Ericson Rios, are one point away from keeping the title it first won in the 2007 Iloilo PRISAA and had successfully defended in Zamboanga last year. Closest pursuer Region XI has 11 points and need to sweep all its games today to overthrow Western Visayas while tie at No. 3 is Region III and Region VII with 10 points. “Hopefully, we will be able to nail just one game today to keep the title,” Rios said. The team is composed of UNORians Cherry Gimarangan and Ma. Jennifer Nacion, Wesnecans Stella Mar Gaudiano and Annie Montales, and CPU’s Joyce Marie Mariano. And in a separate report, the winner is . . . Western Visayas: Western Visayas also made their presence felt in chess bagging the men’s and women’s crowns. ... Region 9’s Ma. Fe Serrano sizzled on Board 1 on the women's side and Region 6’s Stella Mar Guadiano, Joyce Marie Mariano and Ma. Jennifer Nacion on Boards 2, 3 and 4, respectively. - GMANews.TV Report from P.K.V Memorial International FIDE Rated Open Chess Tournament (April 17? - ?, 2009 - not sure of the dates) Tamil Nadu’s International Master B.T. Murali Krishnan and FIDE Master V. Vishnu Prasanna emerged joint winners in the P.K.V. Memorial all-India FIDE-rated chess tournament which concluded in Thodupuzha on Tuesday. The two were tied at 7.5 points at the end of the nine-round event and the progressive scores were also equal at 39. With P. Shyam Nikhil and P. Phoobalan taking the third and fourth places, the Tamil Nadu players took the top four positions in the tournament. On 5th place (out of 201 players), and as top woman of the competition, is WIM Kiran Manisha Mohanty. I don't have the time to check names against the FIDE data base to determine which players are M and F (my apologies), so here are the F players I am sure of: 5 WIM Kiran Manisha Mohanty 7 (of 9) 16 WIM Meera Sai 6.5 Please post here if you can provide further information on the final standings of the female chess players in this event. Thank you!

Who Owns the Rain?

Ohmygoddess - it's come to this. How well I remember the big hit by Credence Clearwater Revivial "Who'll Stop the Rain?" Long as I remember the rain been comin down. Clouds of mystry pourin confusion on the ground. Good men through the ages, tryin to find the sun; And I wonder, still I wonder, wholl stop the rain. I went down virginia, seekin shelter from the storm. Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow. Five year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains. And I wonder, still I wonder wholl stop the rain. Heard the singers playin, how we cheered for more. The crowd had rushed together, tryin to keep warm. Still the rain kept pourin, fallin on my ears. And I wonder, still I wonder wholl stop the rain. It's an allegory about the political times we were living in back when this song was a megahit. But if taken literally, it represents a situation where unrelenting rain and cold are threatening life on the planet as we know it. These days, lots of people are praying that those big rains will come - no political commentary intended. They want - they NEED - BIG RAIN - right over their county, region, state, country... Who Owns the Rain? Hint: It's Not Always Homeowners Across the country, resourceful homeowners have embraced rainwater capture as a way of conserving community water supplies while maintaining healthy gardens. Unfortunately, rain barrels are sometimes at odds with the law. Facing certain water scarcity, cities and states have begun to wrestle with the conundrum of water rights versus conservation. When it all shakes out, will you own the rain that falls on your own property? By Andrew Moseman Published on: April 22, 2009 ************************************************************************ So - it rains on your quarter acre in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. You have rain barrels hooked up to two of your downspouts to collect rainwater that can be used during dry-spells (which we have been experiencing more often since about 1980) and another downspout is connected to a series of dry-wells feeding a rain garden in your backyard. The fourth downspout still feeds into the storm sewer system. Then, Milwaukee County passes a law saying that everything that was previously done legally under your municipal and the county building code is now illegal, and the County owns each and every raindrop that falls upon your roof, your driveway, and your soft surfaces. Rain barrels are outlawed; dry-wells are outlawed; furthermore, if your connection to your local storm sewer system does not register a certain flow back into the system each month, you are billed for that lack of water that is not going back into Lake Michigan - even if you never used a drop. That charge is on top of what you have always been charged separately for treatment of the sewerage/waste water from your house. In my municipality, sewerage/waste water flows into a separate, dedicated sewer line, but once it joins the City of Milwaukee sewer lines it gets freely mixed into storm water, and therefore ALL has to be treated as contaminated waste water at the two City of Milwaukee-owned sewerage treatment plants. Except, it's not the City of Milwaukee who bills you, because the sewerage treatment plants are run by private enterprise. So, they are free to bill you whatever they want, and the City gets a fixed amount off the contract. As a homeowner, you are screwed, one way or another. As a renter, this just means you pay more and more and more as your landlord gets squeezed every year with higher and higher water bills and sewer bills. Some of this is happening right now in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Think it can't happen where you live? Think again. I live within seven miles of Lake Michigan. Yeah, that's right. The lake that is part of the five great lakes that the water-hungry west is looking for to solve all of their water problems. What do you think is going to happen?

BIG Agribusiness P.O.d at the First Lady

Who will win when BIG AG starts slinging manure at the Obama Administration? From Times Online April 22, 2009 Big Agriculture takes umbrage at Mrs Obama's organic garden America's powerful agribusiness lobby has hit back at Michelle Obama's decision to make her new White House kitchen garden entirely organic, urging her to consider the use of appropriate "crop protection products". ... The kitchen garden is White House's first since Eleanor Roosevelt "dug for victory" in the Second World War, and pictures of the photogenic First Lady getting to work gained massive worldwide coverage. To the anger of Big Ag, however, Mrs Obama has aligned herself with the growing movement of "locavores", people who grow their own fruit and vegetables at home or try to buy only locally-grown food. The principles of organic gardening, which focuses on building healthy soil, mean that she will not be able to use chemical products to tackle pests or give her plants a boost. Shortly after she got to work on the plot, Mrs Obama received a letter from the Mid-America CropLife Association (MACA), which represents the companies producing the pesticides and fertilisers underpinning "conventional" American agriculture. Addressed to "Mrs Barack Obama", the letter congratulated the First Lady on "recognising the importance of agriculture in America". Farming is America's largest industry, generating 20 per cent of GDP and directly or indirectly employing 22 million people. Rest of article.

The Nebra Disc

I haven't seen this beautiful and intriguing Bronze Age artifact in the news for awhile. Some think it's a fake. (I don't). Does it show the Sun, and the Moon in two phases (quarter and sliver)? Or does it show a Full Moon, quarter Moon and sliver Moon, with New Moon implied? One cluster of stars is recognizable - the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters). Where I live, they can barely be discerned because of the background light. Check out The Cabinet of Wonders' videos on the subject!

World Digital Library

The World Digital Library has been launched! Mission statement. It's still in its infancy, and I hope it grows leaps and bounds. We'll see. Here's an example from the East Asia collection: Title: Winds of the Four Directions Description This oracle bone from around 1200 B.C. contains 24 characters in four groups in a vigorous and strong style, typical of the Bin group of diviners in the reign of Wu Ding (circa 1200-1189 B.C.). It records the gods of the four directions and of the four winds. The winds of the four directions reflect the spring and autumn equinoxes, the summer and winter solstices, and the changes of the four seasons. The four winds are the east wind, called Xie; the south wind, called Wei; the west wind, called Yi (second tone in Mandarin); and the north wind, called Yi (first tone in Mandarin). They constitute the independent standard seasonal system devised by the Yin people, and were an important basis for the calendar and the determination of intercalary months. This item is from a collection of 35,651 specimens of plastrons and bones in the National Library of China, constituting one-fourth of all oracle bones discovered to date, and considered to be the finest collection in China. Date Created Around 1200-1180 BCE Place of Publication Anyang, Henan Sheng Language Chinese Title in Original Language 四方风 Place East Asia > China > Henan > Anyang Diqu Time 8000 BC - 499 AD Topic Language > Other languages > Languages of East & Southeast Asia Science > Astronomy > Chronology Additional Subjects Inscriptions, Chinese ; Oracle bones ; Seasons Type of Item Manuscripts Physical Description 1 piece; 26 × 16 centimeters Collection Rubbings of Inscriptions on Metal and Stone Institution National Library of China

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Interesting Rock Found in Ohio: Follow-up

Prior post. From the Expert says turtle boulder is just a rock Rock found on farm near Oregonia By Marie Rossiter Staff Writer Updated 1:51 PM Wednesday, April 22, 2009 A local archeology curator said a turtle-head shaped boulder found near Oregonia is not a sculpture, as claimed by its finder. Dirk Morgan, owner of Morgan’s Canoe and Outdoor Center, said he believes his find is an effigy of a turtle that could date back to the Hopewell Indians who lived in the area more than 1,000 years ago. Bob Genheimer of the Cincinnati Museum Center viewed the 200-pound boulder at Morgan’s home on April 21 and said he found no evidence of shaping or manufacturing. “My strong opinion is that it is an artifact of nature, or an ‘ecofact,’” Genheimer said. “It appears to be an eroded and water formed sandstone glacial erratic. There is no doubt that it appears to be a turtle head, but I believe it’s an artifact of nature, not culture.” Morgan said he appreciated Genhemier’s visit, but disagreed with the assessment. “I’m not going to bury the rock back in the ground based on one opinion,” Morgan said. “I’m going to get more opinions. I feel if I didn’t, I would be doing this find a disservice.” The sandstone boulder was found last week by Morgan on his farm near Oregonia while searching for rocks for his wife’s garden. The rock will be featured as part of Geo Fair at Cincinnati Gardens starting May 2. Terry Huizing, who is a curator of minerals, rocks and meteors at the Cincinnati Museum Center, said when he heard of the rock and saw a picture, he thought it would be a good addition to the annual Geo fair. Huizing said he hasn’t seen anything like this in his 30 years in the field. Experts from around the country will be at the event and will have a chance to study at the rock. “It will be the first step in determining its origins,” said Huizing. “We have simple tools to help identify it.” Rocks like this are not native to southwest Ohio, according to Huizing. He said they typically come from the north as a result of glacier movements. Morgan said he probably walked by the giant rock thousands of times before noticing it. But, when he went out last week, his curiosity finally got the best of him. “Only the top was visible and I knew a big piece of it was buried underground,” said Morgan, owner of Morgan’s Canoe and Outdoor Center. “When it didn’t budge when I tried to kick it, I decided to dig to see exactly how big it was.” Morgan said he clearly saw a pair of eyes and a mouth carved into the sandstone. But, before he jumped to conclusions, he said he ran to get his wife, Lori Morgan, to get her opinion. Morgan said he came to the conclusion it was a turtle head, possibly carved by the Mound Builders who lived in the region more than 1,000 years ago. According to Morgan, the turtle has historical significance. “Legend says Mother Earth lives on the back of a turtle shell,” Morgan said. “The turtle is an important symbol in ancient cultures.” The curiosity factor has drawn friends, neighbors and even strangers to see the rock. “I’m eager to have others see it,” Morgan said. “Having it on display is a great opportunity.” **************************************************************************** The rock is sandstone, which is - relatively speaking - easily weathered over time. Arguendo, if the rock was carved some 1,000 years ago and was exposed to the elements for say 500 years before being covered with earth (however that happened), would it be reasonable to assume that one could, by eye-inspection alone, detect whether the rock's "features" were formed by tooling or carving? Did Bob Genheimer of the Cincinnati Museum Center bring equipment along with him that enabled him to make this determination? While I'm open to the possibility that this rock is a naturally-formed thing that just happens to resemble a turtle head, how was the symmetry of what appear to be two eyes and what look like two ears or ear-holes formed by an accident of nature? I've no idea, but isn't a credo of science this: that the easiest explanation is usually the correct one, i.e., the resemblance and symmetry were formed on purpose by human hands? I hope there is further follow-up on this story. Too often these interesting stories crop up and then disappear forever, and no one knows what happened.

Four Egyptian Temples Discovered in Sinai

This story is very disappointing. It says FOUR temples were discovered in the Sinai in conjunction with the ancient New Kingdom military stronghold, but it only talks about one temple. Bah! Image: This undated hand out picture released Tuesday April 21, 2009, by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities shows Pharaonic King Ramses II, right and Geb, god of earth, carved on a wall at one of four recently unearthed new temples in Qantara amidst the 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortified city that could have been used to impress foreign delegations visiting Egypt, antiquities authorities announced Tuesday April 21, 2009.(AP Photo/Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities) Story from in association with Associated Press New ancient Egypt temples discovered in Sinai By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, Associated Press Writer Hadeel Al-shalchi, Associated Press Writer – Tue Apr 21, 5:21 pm ET CAIRO – Archaeologists exploring an old military road in the Sinai have unearthed four new temples amidst the 3,000-year-old remains of an ancient fortified city that could have been used to impress foreign delegations visiting Egypt, antiquities authorities announced Tuesday. Among the discoveries was the largest mud brick temple found in the Sinai with an area of 70 by 80 meters (77 by 87 yards) and fortified with mud walls 3 meters (10 feet) thick, said Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. The find was made in Qantara, 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) east of the Suez Canal. These temples mark the latest discovery by archaeologists digging up the remains of the city on the military road known as "Way of Horus." Horus is a falcon-headed god, who represented the greatest cosmic powers for ancient Egyptians. The path once connected Egypt to Palestine and is close to present-day Rafah, which borders the Palestinian territory of Gaza. Archaeologist Mohammed Abdel-Maqsoud, chief of the excavation team, said the large brick temple could potentially rewrite the historical and military significance of the Sinai for the ancient Egyptians. The temple contains four hallways, three stone purification bowls and colorful inscriptions commemorating Ramses I and II. The grandeur and sheer size of the temple could have been used to impress armies and visiting foreign delegations as they arrived in Egypt, authorities said. The dig has been part of a joint project with the Culture Ministry that started in 1986 to find fortresses along the military road. Hawass said early studies suggested the fortified city had been Egypt's military headquarters from the New Kingdom (1569-1081 B.C.) until the Ptolemaic era, a period lasting about 1500 years. In a previous find, archaeologists there reported finding the first ever New Kingdom temple to be found in northern Sinai. Studies indicated the temple was built on top of an 18th Dynasty fort (1569-1315 B.C.). Last year, a collection of reliefs belonging to King Ramses II and King Seti I (1314-1304 B.C.) were also unearthed along with rows of warehouses used by the ancient Egyptian army during the New Kingdom era to store wheat and weapons. Abdel-Maqsoud said the fortified city corresponded to the inscriptions of the Way of Horus found on the walls of the Karnak Temple in Luxor which illustrated the features of 11 military fortresses that protected Egypt's eastern borders. Only five of them have been discovered to date.

Ancient Chess - The Website

Hola darlings!

Well, I'm very disappointed this evening. I had $20 worth of "Kohls Cash" which I thought expired tomorrow, plus a $10 Kohls gift card sent to me in the mail (for being a valued customer? Yeah, right...) which became effective today. So, I determined to trek down to Southridge Mall after work tonight and shop for a new pair of shoes for the upcoming New York trip.

Arggghhhh! As the bus headed southwest from downtown, I thought "you'd better check the dates on your Kohls cash again, just to be sure. Well, I'm glad I checked because it sure would have been embarrassing to arrive at the checkout counter only to discover that my Kohls cash expired YESTERDAY. Damn! A free $20 down the drain.

I weighed my options - continue my journey, now armed only with $10 of free money, and pay the rest in cash (I'm off credit cards these days), or forget about it and save my hard-earned cash. I decided to save my hard-earned cash. Using $30 of free money toward the purchase of new shoes on sale is one thing; using $10 of free money is another thing.

But - no new shoes. Boo hoo hoo!

Anyway, earlier this evening I was paging through the April, 2009 edition of Chess Life magazine. I didn't find the contents particularly interesting this month, but perhaps you all thought otherwise. I did think that the three/quarter back cover ad - in beautiful color - for the International Chess Festival in Last Vegas, which also includes the Susan Polgar World Open Chess Championship for Girls and Boys and several other tournaments and special events was absolutely gorgeous! The hotel choice - off-strip. Not cool. I wonder what was the thinking of the organizers was behind that decision?

On page 70 are the Classifieds - two pages from the end of the magazine. I usually do not look at the classifieds. I do not have any idea why I decided to look at them today, but it was interesting! Who, for instance, is the "*Legendary Chess Instructor*" whose website address is printed so tiny I cannot read it even with my magnifying glasses on? And what do those asterisks before and after mean? Are they simply meant to be marks of emphasis? Or are they meant to designate some particularly large footnoted joke?

Then there was an ad for "Chess-Player Scholars" - offering university scholarships to certain qualifying chessplaying high school students. The university is the University of Maryland, Baltimore County - famous for its championship-calibre chess teams.

Then there was an ad for Ancient I said to myself, "Self, you must check this out," because anything with ancient and chess connected together are like an interesting scent to a bloodhound. Okay, not a particularly attractive analogy but heck, it fits. LOL! So, I visited the website. It's primarily a vehicle for selling chess sets on ebay, but I do have to say that I thought the section on "Chess History" was well done. I particularly enjoyed the detail the writer went into about some of the moves of particular pieces in chess as it was/is played in various countries around the world, including China, Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, Korea, etc. It was informative and entertaining without overwhelming one with too many technical details. Good job!

As for the merchandise - well, I'm not in the market and, not being a collector of sets, I only took a quick look at the offerings under a few categories. There are a few sets that are the several hundred dollar range, but also many sets that are more within the price range in which I would consider making a purchase.

In sum, I think the website is well put-together and worth a visit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hales Corners Challenge IX

Hola darlings! The HCC IX, April 25, 2009, has gone international with publicity on the Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information blog, popular world-wide! The HCC IX is worth 10 Grand Prix points in the national GP sponsored by World Chess Live, with cash and merchandise prizes totally $25,000 for the 2009 cycle! Goddesschess "adopted" the Southwest Chess Club last year, and sponsored some prizes in the Hales Corners Challenge VIII. We're pleased to be back this year for the HCC IX, with an emphasis on encouraging all you chess femmes out there to come and play in this fantastic regional event. To that end, we're sponsoring prizes just for you. I was informed earlier today that there are already 60 pre-registered players - including 9 chess femmes! Way to go! (HCC VIII had 65 players total, including pre-registered and day-of registrations). Goddesschess particularly hopes that chess femmes will come out for this event! Can we get a couple more of you to come out and play in the Open Section??? (Psssst, the more chess femmes who come out this year will just encourage us to make our prize sponsorship larger for the HCC X). The Wyndham Milwaukee Airport Hotel (formerly known as the Four Points Sheraton), is a very nice hotel and has comfortable, first-class facilities for hosting the HCC IX. I've visited there many times for various events over the years and can say with confidence that the surroundings are very nicely decorated, clean, spacious, and the staff is gracious and top-notch. You'll be very comfortable playing at the Wyndham Milwaukee Airport Hotel. Who knows? Maybe I'll put in an appearance - I'll be that mysterious dark-haired woman of a certain age going crazy taking photos with her digital camera...

O2C Doeberl Cup 2009

Canberra, Australia April 9 - 13, 2009 There were several different sections for this tournament. Website. These are the final standings (after R9) for the Premier Event (76 players): Rank Seed Name Rating Score 1 8 IM Sengupta, Deep 2466 7 (won on tie-breaks; 2 other players also scored 7/9) 15 20 WIM Nadig, Kruttika 2361 5.5 16 21 WGM Karavade, Eesha 2359 5.5 21 26 WGM Mohota, Nisha 2304 5.5 22 24 WGM Swathi, Ghate 2330 5.5 32 41 WIM Caoili, Arianne B 2172 5 38 39 WFM Pon, Nkrithika 2180 4.5 (scored WIM norm) 61 75 Guo, Emma 1845 3

Monday, April 20, 2009

More on Austen

I watched "Lost in Austen" over the weekend. I thought it was great fun. Some amazing plot twists occur when Lizzie Bennet isn't around to keep things on track. Unfortunately, the Darcy character was really nasty to 21st century Amanda Price - who ended up swapping places with Elizabeth Bennet, much to Amanda's chagrin. If I'd been Amanda and Darcy said some of those things to me he said to her, he'd be stooped over permanently from a damaged scrotum. That they fall in love is absolutely improbable; no one could ever love this Darcy. He was gorgeous in a wet shirt, though. I see a new review too, by Mark Bostridge (Literary Review) on yet another Austen-related book: AUSTENMANIA Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World By Claire Harman (Canongate 342pp £20)

Climate Change Endangers Archaeological Treasures

Archaeology Magazine online profiles several archaeological sites and heritage areas in danger of being destroyed by climate change. It seems likely their destruction is inevitable, and scientists and archaeologists are racing against time in an attempt to recover and preserve as much as possible: the retreating Swiss glaciers; thawing Scythian tombs; Channel Islands erosion; Greenland's melting sea ice; desertification, etc. Climate Change: Sites in Peril Volume 62 Number 2, March/April 2009 by Andrew Curry

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Interesting Rock Found in Ohio

Is it a 1,000 year old North American rock carving of a turtle head? Or is it just a fluke that owes nothing to man's hand? From Could this boulder be an ancient carving? By Sheila McLaughlin April 17, 2009 Dirk Morgan has always fancied himself a modern day Indiana Jones. Adventure is his business. He runs a family-owned canoe livery near Morrow. With a serious interest in Native American artifacts -- and, growing up on the banks of the Little Miami River where they are easily found -- he has long dreamed that one of the fossils or arrowheads he has unearthed would be an important archeological find. Now, Morgan thinks he has found something significant -- a sandstone boulder that appears to be carved into the shape of a turtle's head, complete with gaping mouth, a tapered beak and eyes on both sides. He found the object while digging up a rock to place in his wife’s garden. He estimates it weighs about 200 pounds. “For me, it’s kind of the find of my lifetime,” Morgan said. Morgan said he thinks the stone could be a carving, possibly by the ancient Mound Builders that once called Ohio home. “Mother Earth was said to be riding on the back of a huge-mouthed turtle in Indian lore,” Morgan said. He has contacted the Ohio Historical Society to evaluate the piece. Brad Lepper, curator of archeology for the Ohio Historical Society, has looked at photos sent to him by Morgan. He hasn’t reached a conclusion. It could be just an odd rock formation. Or it could be a rock that was found and carved by Fort Ancient Indians more than 1,000 years ago to resemble a turtle. If so, that would be a “remarkable” archeological find, he said. It’s just too early to tell. “My first reaction was ‘Wow. It looks like the head of a snapping turtle,’” Lepper said. “But after looking at it more closely, I was bothered by a number of things.” The eyes don’t appear to be symmetrical. They are in slightly different locations and of different sizes, he said. Even so, the rock may still be an artifact. Lepper has asked an archeologist at the Cincinnati Museum Center to take a look. “It’s also possible that it was a natural broken stone that Native Americans recognized looks a lot like a turtle and perhaps made some very slight modifications to it to bring that resemblance out,” Lepper said. “That’s consistent with tribal peoples all over the world.” Morgan’s excitement hasn’t lost any steam. He also has e-mailed images to National Geographic, but hasn’t heard anything back. If it turns out to be just another cool rock, well… Morgan says it will take a place in the garden behind his house.

17th Century Parish Records of Crime and Punishment

This article was fascinating. Can you guess what appealed to me most? Story from the Edinbourgh News: Ancient court record shows thieves faced hangman's whip Published Date: 15 April 2009 By LAURA CUMMINGS EVEN for those who accuse modern judges of being too soft on crime, it's a punishment that probably goes a little far. A whipping at the hands of the local hangman was the kind of treatment thieves in Musselburgh could expect 500 years ago however, according to newly uncovered records.Hundreds of historic documents have been unearthed by council workmen during a clear-out of Musselburgh Town House. The earliest records date back to 1545 and experts say they are providing a unique glimpse into what life was like in the East Lothian town almost 500 years ago. One of the most significant finds was a selection of Musselburgh Baillie Court books spanning 450 years and detailing offences committed by citizens of the burgh, and subsequent punishments. These included a whipping by the town's hangman for a criminal found guilty of breaking into a warehouse in the 17th century. Ruth Fyfe, an archivist for East Lothian Council, said: "Most of the people were being brought before the Musselburgh Baillie Court because they owed money for goods such as ale, leather and cloth. "However, we did come across a man who broke into a warehouse and was sentenced to a whipping by the hangman." She added: "This is a very exciting find because it is rare for such a large collection of documents to come to light. They will offer a fantastic insight into the life of the town over a span of about 450 years." The court books also contained information on the "Shoot for the Musselburgh Silver Arrow" – an annual competition for the Royal Company of Archers which still takes place to this day. The documents state that on September 8, 1647, Robert Dobie of Stainyhill won the silver arrow for the third time and was allowed to keep it. However, he gave it back to the people of Musselburgh for "love of the borough". Council wage books were also found in the basement of the Town House, revealing that – on average – workers in the cleaning, carting and lighting departments earned £1 for six days' work in 1898. [So the average yearly wage for these workers was £52 a year, because most average workers did not take a week's vacation back then -- it was unpaid and they could not afford to go without the wages.] Shipping records listing the cargoes imported and exported from Musselburgh Harbour were also unveiled from 1635-1649. The cargo usually consisted of wood or barley, with the ships travelling from other parts of Scotland and even Norway. George MacKenzie, the Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said: "The recent discovery of many of the older records of Musselburgh, long given up for lost, is exciting and will enrich the history both of the town and the county." The oldest documents uncovered were Sasines books dating back to 1545, which detailed land transactions in Musselburgh. The documents are currently being kept at the East Lothian archive store but will be relocated to the John Gray Centre in Haddington when it opens in 2011. STEP BACK IN CRIME June 21, 1660 James Waterstone confessed to breaking into a warehouse in Musselburgh which belonged to David Ross and stealing cloth. He was kept in the town's tolbooth from the day of his confession and was sentenced to a whipping by the hangman in an attempt to make him name his accomplices. He later attempted to break free from the tolbooth, risking his life by climbing over the roof. November 22, 1654 James Hog brought an action against William Merstein, who stole one of Mr Hog's horses which was carrying food to the army at the Battle of Dunbar. The documents state: "Bags of meal were thrown off the horse and the horse was taken violently." The court ordered Merstein to return the horse and pay 20 shillings expenses. July 19, 1659 Richard Gibsone – an "indweller in the Brigend" was ordered to pay David Thomson the 50 pounds that he owed him for "aill". July 9, 1861 Thomas Gilmoire was ordered to pay 50 shillings which he owed for cloth to John Richardone.
Okay - this is what caught my fancy: July 19, 1659 Richard Gibsone – an "indweller in the Brigend" was ordered to pay David Thomson the 50 pounds that he owed him for "aill". I interpret "indweller in the Brigend" to mean that poor Richard was imprisoned - either in debtors' prison or in the parish jail. He owed David Thomson the enormous sum of 50 pounds - nearly a year's wages for some workers. The question is - what was the debt for? Was it for "ale," in which case it seems that Richard was likely to die shortly from liver failure, or was it for "all?" -- which I take to mean those items necessary to someone in debtors' prison (or possibly in the parish jail) for the basics of life: food and water, fuel for warmth, and light (candles or whale oil for lanterns). Either way - not a pleasant prospect. That Dickens was writing about just such a subject nearly 200 years later in "Little Dorrit" shows how little the justice system in England had changed. Speaking of which, a PBS showing of "Little Dorrit" from the BBC is currently being broadcast on Masterpiece Theater. Oh my! I just had the most overwhelming feeling of deja vu'. Did I write about this topic recently???

Tourist Visits to Greece Decline

A story from Yahoo News on April 13, 2009: Greece sees fall in visits to ancient sites Well - duh! I wonder why!!! A lousy economy worldwide is one thing - but weeks of reports of riots in the streets by THUGS that were unchecked by the Greek authorities no doubt played their part, too. I mean, come on, guys! There were reports of burning cars, torched businesses, assaulted police officers, the cessation of vital services such as public transportation, businesses closed, absolute anarchy reigned. Would a tourist in her right mind want to pay good money just to be caught up in that kind of mess? Geez! Once again evidence is provided that the world is mostly populated by frigging idiots, who cannot add 2 plus 2 together to arrive at the correct answer of 4.

Important Historical Diary Found

Wow! 2009-04-15 15:34 200- year- old Egypt journal found Work is an exceptional find for Egyptologists (ANSA) - Pisa, April 15 - The 200-year-old travel diary of an Italian adventurer who explored Egypt and later guided the founders of Egyptology to key sites has been uncovered in this Tuscan city. The journal, accidentally unearthed during research into a groundbreaking historical expedition, was written by a Siena-born doctor, draughtsman and explorer named Alessandro Ricci, who set out for Egypt in 1817. Ricci's journal covered a five-year period until 1822, describing his adventures and experiences in detail. The document is particularly important as Ricci was a key figure in a later Franco-Tuscan expedition, led jointly by the French philologist who deciphered hieroglyphs, Jean-Francois Champollion, and a leading Italian Egyptologist Ippolito Rosellini. ''This is an exceptional find for the field of Egyptology,'' commented Marilina Betro, the professor heading the Pisa University team researching the Franco-Tuscan expedition. ''Ricci describes and draws those sites that had already been completely destroyed just a few years later, at the time of the Champollion-Rosellini expedition, which he was also part of. ''But as well as the monuments, he also describes the customs and habits of the people he met, the fighting strategies of armies, the condition of women and even the treatment of animals''. After leaving Siena in 1817, Ricci travelled to Egypt, exploring widely. He spent some months in Alexandria before journeying south to the area of Nubia, where he was eventually forced to turn around due to fighting in the area and the hostility of the local governor. He travelled to Cairo and in 1820 joined a military expedition organized by the Viceroy Muhammed Ali of Egypt to the Siwa Oasis. Here, he painstakingly copied inscriptions he found on the walls of the temple of Amun and mapped out the entire area around the oasis. Later that year he travelled to Suez and from there to Mount Sinai, where he spent some time at St Catherine's Monastery. In 1821, he returned to southern Egypt, joining another military expedition, this one led by the viceroy's son Ibrahim Pasha. He was eventually forced to cut short this trip as well, owing to the poor health of Ibrahim, whose doctor he had become. In 1822, Ricci returned to Italy and set to work organizing the drawings he had made and writing up his journal. Both would later be used by Champollion and Rosellini when they embarked on their Egyptian travels in 1828, accompanied by Ricci. Although the fact Ricci had written a diary was no secret, its whereabouts have been a mystery for decades. Ricci gave his journal to Champollion in 1827, prior to the Franco-Tuscan expedition, apparently believing the French expert would publish it. Champollion died in 1832, followed by Ricci two years later. Although Rosellini asked French authorities to return the journal in 1836, it remained in France. The diary then vanished for several decades until resurfacing in 1928, when an Italian architect working for King Fuad I of Egypt discovered the manuscript by accident in an ancient Cairo bookshop. He immediately bought it and showed it to the Italian Egyptologist Angelo Sammarco, who recognized its value and was keen to organize its publication. Sammarco published a synopsis of the diary in 1930 but never took the project any further. After he died in 1948, all trace of the journal vanished until it was rediscovered in Pisa University by researcher Daniele Salvoldi. ''Now, two centuries after it was written, our goal is to get this book published,'' said Betro. Betro and Salvoldi's determination, combined with Italy's commitment to Egyptology, with the world's largest collection of artefacts outside Egypt stored in Turin, mean that Ricci's dream could finally come true.

Sydney International Open

This event was held in Sydney, Australia April 15 - 19, 2009 (101 players). There was a four-way tie for first place and the co-winners shared the $10,000 first prize: Rk. Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3 1 GM Johansen Darryl K AUS 2452 7,0 41,5 52,5 39,50 2 IM Xie George Wendi AUS 2402 7,0 41,0 50,5 37,75 3 GM Kunte Abhijit IND 2513 7,0 40,0 50,5 38,75 4 GM Jones Gawain C B ENG 2550 7,0 39,5 50,5 37,75 Several chess femmes participated in this event - here are their final standings - I hope I did not miss any: (Photo: Top female finisher at the 2009 Sydney International Open, Eesha Karavade; photographed as the winner of 2008 National "B" Open, India) 11 WGM Karavade Eesha IND 2359 6,0 39,0 49,5 32,00 13 WGM Mohota Nisha IND 2304 6,0 39,0 49,5 30,00 29 WGM Swathi Ghate IND 2330 5,0 41,0 52,0 27,50 36 WFM Pon Nkrithika IND 2180 5,0 34,0 43,0 20,25 41 Cunanan Kimberly Jane PHI 1991 5,0 30,0 37,5 16,75 54 WIM Jule Alexandra AUS 1928 4,5 26,5 35,0 15,25 74 Guo Emma AUS 1845 3,5 29,5 37,0 12,50 76 Anton Sarah AUS 1718 3,5 28,5 37,0 11,75 83 WFM Milligan Helen NZL 1985 3,0 30,5 38,5 11,00 93 Yu Sally AUS 1819 2,5 25,0 31,0 6,00
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...