Sunday, January 26, 2014

So Close! ASOR Needs More Donors to Meet Challenge by January 31, 2014!

Can you contribute $25?  If you can, I urge you to become one of ASOR's donors to meet the challenge -- it is worth $475,000 to ASOR.  There are only a few more days left, time is running out.  Hell, even I forked over a $25 donation tonight to increase the number of donors.  ASOR (American Schools of Oriental Research at Boston University) needs 300 donors.  Right now they have 250 (not counting me):

ASOR Needs 50 Donors Before January 31st
to Qualify for a Major Legacy Challenge Gift ($475,000)

Campaign Logo
As ASOR moves into the final five months of our Building a Foundation for ASOR Campaign, we are pleased to report that we are close to qualifying for a major legacy gift. An anonymous ASOR trustee has pledged to make a legacy gift that has a current market value of $475,000 and has given ASOR two challenges. We have five days left!
    1. Donor Participation: 300 donors in this fiscal year by January 31, 2014. As of January 26, we have received gifts from 250 separate donors, so we need 50 more people to make a gift of $25 or more to meet this challenge (see graph below).
    2. Total Contributions to ASOR this fiscal year: Receive $200,000 in total gifts and pledges by January 31, 2014. As of January 26, we have received $251,700. We have met and exceeded our challenge goal!

2014 Tata Steel Wink aan Zee

Final standings in Challengers Group (Group B), where two chess femmes competed:

Tata Steel Challengers Wijk aan Zee (NED), 11-26 i 2014cat. XIV (2579)
1.Saric, IvangCRO2637*½½½1½111½11½110.02785
2.Timman, Jan HgNED2607½*½½1½01½1½1½18.52686
3.Jobava, BaadurgGEO2710½½*½011½10½1118.52678
4.Muzychuk, AnnagSLO2566½½½*½½01½11½½18.02666
5.Reinderman, DimitrigNED2593001½*½101011118.02664
6.Bok, BenjaminmNED2560½½0½½*1½½1½01½7.02609
7.Yu, YangyigCHN2677010100*1½0½1117.02600
8.Duda, Jan-KrzysztofgPOL255300½01½0*½11½117.02609
9.Wojtaszek, RadoslawgPOL27110½0½0½½½*1½1117.02597
10.Brunello, SabinogITA2602½01010100*½½1½6.02547
11.Troff, Kayden WmUSA24570½½00½½0½½*½104.52478
12.Zhao, XuegCHN2567000½010½0½½*½14.52469
13.Van Delft, MerijnmNED2430½½0½0000000½*13.02379
14.Goudriaan, EtiennemNED243100000½000½100*2.02294

2014 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

It is that time of year once again.  Someday I should very much like to travel to Gibraltar and enjoy the balmy Mediterranean breezes.  Right now we're being battered with strong winds, yet more snow (6 inches fell last night but fortunately, it was the light fluffy stuff so it only took me an hour and 15 minutes to clear my driveway with a shovel), and overnight and tomorrow windchills down to 45 below zero F.  Yikes! 

Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival (official website)

Checking out the line-up for the Masters (Open) with 244 players, I am trying to pick out chess femmes along with American players and stopped after the first 100, LOL!

  7 2000024Kamsky, GatagUSA2709
33 8601283Zhao, XuegCHN2567
35 14111330Muzychuk, AnnagSLO2566
 37 2021285Lenderman, AleksandrgUSA2562
45 1700030Cramling, PiagSWE2525
49 12801259Cmilyte, ViktorijagLTU2515
51 12400149Hoang, Thanh TranggHUN2511
52 8600031Xu, JungCHN2510
53 14114550Muzychuk, MariyamUKR2503
54 617822Sebag, MariegFRA2501
57 4147855Pogonina, NataliawgRUS2495
60 2902257Stefanova, AntoanetagBUL2486
61 8603642Tan, ZhongyiwgCHN2483
63 8600546Zhu, ChengQAT2481
72 4641833Paehtz, ElisabethmGER2458
73 8604002Guo, QiwgCHN2450
75 14101513Zhukova, NataliagUKR2449
78 5007844Sachdev, TaniamIND2442
79 4900758Munguntuul, BatkhuyagmMGL2438
82 13601458Javakhishvili, LelamGEO2430
89 405094Houska, JovankamENG2415
93 4196872Savina, AnastasiamRUS2402
97 623725Milliet, SophiemFRA2390

Action starts at 8:00 p.m. on January 27th.   GM Irina Krush, reigning U.S. Women's Champion, will be providing commentary along with GM Simon Williams. 

As you can see from the line-up, some of the best female chessplayers in the world will be competing against top level male talent at Gibraltar.  May the hand of the Goddess be upon the chess femmes and bring them all victory! 

This great tournament always attracts top female chess talent because of the prizes.  There are separate prizes awarded to women and they are also eligible to compete for the Open prizes.  Should you win, you take the best and leave the rest on the table for another player.

Women's Prizes: If there is a tie for the top women’s prize, the tie is resolved in favour of the woman with the highest performance rating, who will receive the prize of £15,000. All other prizes will not be subject to a tie-break and prize money other than the first prize will be divided equally amongst the players.

Open to all Women
1st Prize
2nd Prize
3rd Prize
4th Prize
5th Prize
6th Prize
7th Prize
8th Prize
9th Prize
10th Prize

Settlement of European Sea Peoples

From Science Daily

Cultural connections with Europe found in ancient Jordanian settlement

January 23, 2014
Source:  University of Gothenburg
Summary:  Swedish archaeologists in Jordan have excavated a nearly 60-metre long well-preserved building from 11000 B.C. in the ancient settlement of Tell Abu al-Karaz.  The building is from an era characterized by major migration.

Reconstruction of the building from 1100 B.C.  Credit: University of Gothenburg
Swedish archaeologists in Jordan led by Professor Peter M. Fischer from the University of Gothenburg have excavated a nearly 60-metre long well-preserved building from 1100 B.C. in the ancient settlement Tell Abu al-Kharaz. The building is from an era characterized by major migration.
New finds support the theory that groups of the so-called Sea Peoples emigrated to Tell Abu al-Kharaz. They derive from Southern or Eastern Europe and settled in the Eastern Mediterranean region all the way to the Jordan Valley.

Dr. Irving Finkel on The Great Flood

I wasn't even going to read this story (yawn...another flood story...) until Irving Finkel's name caught my eye.  He's the real deal.  I first became familiar with his name many years ago in connection with my study of ancient board games.

The Ark Tablet in the hands of its decipherer, Dr Irving Finkel (Benjamin McMahon)                                        
From The Telegraph Online

Irving Finkel: reader of the lost Ark

Tom Chivers meets the man who deciphered a 4,000-year-old blueprint – for the original Noah’s Ark

7:00AM GMT 19 Jan 2014
Four thousand years ago, a millennium and a half before the first Jewish scholars put pen to parchment on the Book of Genesis, a scribe in what is now Iraq carved the story of a great flood on to a clay tablet, in the strange and beautiful script known as cuneiform. The story told of how a god came and warned a great man to build a boat, and to take his family on that boat, and two animals of every kind, because the world was to be cleansed with a flood.
About 30 years ago, one Douglas Simmonds wandered in to the British Museum, and handed the tablet to a man called Irving Finkel, who immediately recognised it as one of the most important archaeological finds of recent years. Dr Finkel, an Assyriologist or student of the civilisations of ancient Mesopotamia, begged Simmonds to leave it with him, but he would do no such thing. It took him until 2009 to convince Simmonds to let him have it; when he did, what he discovered was a piece of the flood story – the Assyrian story of the Ark, centuries before Noah.

They Were Making STEEL in Iron Age Scotland

This is absolutely fascinating, because it is so unexpected (article after break).  I was under the impression that steel manufacturing did not begin until the 800-900s CE.  I know Wikipedia has its critics, but when I want to get some quick information about a subject with which I am not familiar, that is where I go to get initial information, and research from there. 

The section of the Wikipedia entry on "Steel" about its early history is very informative:

Ancient steel

Steel was known in antiquity, and may have been produced by managing bloomeries, or iron-smelting facilities, in which the bloom contained carbon.[15]

The earliest known production of steel is a piece of ironware excavated from an archaeological site in Anatolia (Kaman-Kalehoyuk) and is about 4,000 years old.[16] Other ancient steel comes from East Africa, dating back to 1400 BC.[17] In the 4th century BC steel weapons like the Falcata were produced in the Iberian Peninsula, while Noric steel was used by the Roman military.[18]

Steel was produced in large quantities in Sparta around 650BC.[19][20]

The Chinese of the Warring States (403–221 BC) had quench-hardened steel,[21] while Chinese of the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) created steel by melting together wrought iron with cast iron, gaining an ultimate product of a carbon-intermediate steel by the 1st century AD.[22][23] The Haya people of East Africa invented a type of furnace they used to make carbon steel at 1,802 °C (3,276 °F) nearly 2,000 years ago.[24]

Wootz steel and Damascus steel

Evidence of the earliest production of high carbon steel in the Indian Subcontinent was found in Samanalawewa area in Sri Lanka.[25] Wootz steel was produced in India by about 300 BC.[26]
[not in citation given]

However, the steel was an old technology in India when King Porus presented a Steel sword to the Emperor Alexander in 326 BC[citation needed]. The steel technology obviously existed before 326 BC as steel was being exported to the Arab World at that time. Since the technology was acquired from the Tamilians from South India, the origin of steel technology in India can be conservatively[vague] estimated at 400-500 BC[citation needed].

Along with their original methods of forging steel, the Chinese had also adopted the production methods of creating Wootz steel, an idea imported into China from India by the 5th century AD.[27] In Sri Lanka, this early steel-making method employed a unique wind furnace, driven by the monsoon winds, capable of producing high-carbon steel.[28]

Also known as Damascus steel, wootz is famous for its durability and ability to hold an edge. It was originally created from a number of different materials including various trace elements. It was essentially a complicated alloy with iron as its main component. Recent studies have suggested that carbon nanotubes were included in its structure, which might explain some of its legendary qualities, though given the technology available at that time, they were produced by chance rather than by design.[29] Natural wind was used where the soil containing iron was heated by the use of wood. The ancient Sinhalese managed to extract a ton of steel for every 2 tons of soil,[28] a remarkable feat at the time. One such furnace was found in Samanalawewa and archaeologists were able to produce steel as the ancients did.[28][30]

Crucible steel, formed by slowly heating and cooling pure iron and carbon (typically in the form of charcoal) in a crucible, was produced in Merv by the 9th to 10th century AD.[26] In the 11th century, there is evidence of the production of steel in Song China using two techniques: a "berganesque" method that produced inferior, inhomogeneous steel and a precursor to the modern Bessemer process that used partial decarbonization via repeated forging under a cold blast.[31]

Luxor Tourism Down 99% from Normal

Oh my.  This is so sad.  I have great sympathy for the Egyptian people in Luxor and other areas so dependent upon tourism to make their livings.  What is the answer to getting the tourists back?  Stability - and a feeling that they will be safe.  Will Egypt see stability any time soon?  And will tourists ever feel safe?

Personally, it grieves me that at one time I contemplated making a trip with Mr. Don -- a boat trip down (up?) the Nile River, stopping at places like Luxor. Oh, how he wanted to go to Egypt!  But our budgets just would not allow. And then, that dream went pouf with the Revolution and consequent unrest and open warfare among various factions trying to take (or regain) power.  Now, with  Mr. Don passed away, well - that's just one trip I would never make by myself.  So I will never see Egypt.  I feel like crying.

Tourism: Egypt: the slow agony of Luxor and the Nile Valley

Governor, alternatives like agriculture, industry necessary

22 January, 12:25

(by Cristiana Missori) (ANSAmed) - LUXOR, JANUARY 22 - With the tourism industry in deep crisis in Upper Egypt, it is hard not to encounter people including street vendors, boat, taxi or carriage drivers ferrying tourists along the Nile in Luxor or to visit archaeological sites not begging visitors to buy something.

'Please, I am hungry, buy something, you decide the price', they say. Western tourists walking through Luxor are few although clashes and casualties registered between the two souls of Egypt - Morsi supporters and opponents - are relatively far from here.

'Here in Luxor we have taken to the streets at two historic times: on January 25, 2011 and in July 2013', said Boutros, a Coptic trader. Luxor residents chose to demonstrate for the ouster of two presidents, Mubarak and Morsi, as well as others across the country. 'However we are not interested in politics.

We only want to work', said Gamal from a nearby spice store smelling of cinnamon and cardamom with an old radio playing verses from the Koran.

Almost everything is sold at half price or on sale at markets as well as big hotels. A number of luxury hotels even offer Spa services with 50% off. The Art Museum, a three-storey bazaar selling products made by local artisans and spices which used to be open from 9 am until 10 pm, is empty. So retailers have decided to open only once a week.

'Only if a hotel or travel agent calls we open', said the manager. All products are half price or cost even less. The worst year, according to many, was 2012 under the government of the Muslim Brothers.

And the new governor of Luxor, Tarek Saad El Din, who took over the post last August, has far from an easy job. Four governors have filled the post since 2011 and the problems are still there.

About '70% of people here in Luxor work in tourism and my top objective is to attract again foreign and Egyptian visitors to this region', El Din told ANSAmed.

As a consequence, he started meeting ambassadors of France, Italy, Great Britain, Russia, Japan and Egypt, asking them to come check the situation on the ground. In Luxor, recalled El Din, 'nothing has ever happened. No violence'.

Numbers however show a harsh reality. 'In August, the rate of visitors was 1%. In the past few days it has risen to 28%'. A significant impulse, said the governor, was given by the visit of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

In order to confront the emergency and literally feed the starved tour operators in Luxor, 'the government of Cairo has allocated 3 million liras for guides and 2.5 for carriage drivers (and their horses)and all those working with feluccas all year', said El Din.

While waiting for the negative trend to stop, it is necessary to aim high. 'There are no factories here', said the governor. 'With the industry minister, we have decided to start two projects to develop food and beverage industries in the areas of Bogdadi and Esna. All this respecting the environment'.

The governor's idea is to develop renewable energies, in particular solar energy.

'So far we have installed panels on three different public buildings in the city', he said. Before becoming governor, El Din was executive director of the authority to develop Egyptian tourism. 'The agency has 1,74 million dollars in investments, 72% of which are in the hands of local entrepreneurs. We have confidence mostly in Egyptian investors'.

(ANSAmed) © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...