Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Glen Roy in the Lochaber area of the Highlands of Scotland is a National Nature Reserve and is noted for the geological puzzle of the three roads ("Parallel Roads"), which are in fact preserved ice-dammed lake shorelines, from a brief (some 900-1,100 years in duration), climatic deterioration, during a much longer period of deglaciation, subsequent to the last main ice age (The Devensian). From a distance they resemble man-made roads running along the side of the Glen, hence the name. The glen runs north from Glen Spean which takes the main A86 trunk road and the railway of the West Highland Line, both running about a further 14 miles southwest to Fort William. Roy Bridge railway station and the village of Roybridge are sited where the River Roy joins the River Spean, and from there a narrow single track road runs north up the glen for almost 10 miles to Brae Roy Lodge.The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, Scottish Highlands, represent a series of ice-dammed lake shorelines produced during the cold climate of the Younger Dryas (GS1). It has been demonstarted by Dawson, Hampton, Harrison, Greengrass and Fretwell (2002) that each lake shoreline exhibits evidence of glacio-isostatic tilting associated with the decay of the last (Late Devensian) ice sheet. The directions of tilting of the three shorelines (in the quadrant between north and east), are at variance with published glacio-isostatic uplift isobases based on marine shoreline data that suggest a pattern of decreased uplift towards the northwest. The gradient of shoreline tilting (between 0.11 and 0.14 m km-1) is similar to measured regional tilts of a well-developed marine shoreline (the Main Rock Platform) considered to have been produced in Scotland during the same period of extreme cold climate. Consideration of the ice-dammed lake shoreline data also points to the former occurrence of two separate episodes of tectonic activity during the Younger Dryas (Greenland Stadial 1 - GS1). In the 19th century, the Parallel Roads attracted the attention of many of the founding fathers of modern geology, including the Reverend William Buckland, James Geikie, Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell and Joseph Prestwich. This interest ensured that the Parallel Roads, and Glen Roy in particular, featured prominently in the development of geological science.
Interest in the Parallel Roads continues to this day, both among earth scientists intrigued by the dramatic geological and geomorphological processes that shaped the landscape, and among modern travellers and tourists attracted by the natural wonder of the landforms. Darwin made his "Gigantic Blunder" by believing that the shorelines were of marine origin, rejecting Agassz's (1840) Glacial theory, postulating shorelines being cut by freeze-thaw processes of lake ice, during the maximum extent of glacial ice in the climatic reversal known as the Younger Dryas / Greenland Stadial 1 or locally the Loch Lomond Readvance. Four decades after his 1839 paper, Darwin conceded that he was incorrect shortly before his death. However, he had conceded that he was embarrassed by "that confounded paper of mine" as early as 1861, in letters to Thomas.F.Jamieson, quoted by Jamieson (1863; 1892).
Posted by iamyrfans at 8:35 AM
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Anne Oldfield (1683 - October 23, 1730), English actress, was born in London, the daughter of a soldier.
She worked for a time as apprentice to a semptress, until she attracted George Farquhar's attention by reciting some lines from a play in his hearing. She thereupon obtained an engagement at Drury Lane, where her beauty rather than her ability slowly brought her into favour, and it was not until ten years later that she was generally acknowledged as the best actress of her time.
In polite comedy, especially, she was unrivalled, and even the usually grudging Cibber acknowledged that she had as much as he to do with the success of the Careless Husband (1704), in which she created the part of Lady Modish, reluctantly given her because Mrs Verbruggen was ill. She also played the title role in Ben Jonson's Epicoene, and Celia in his Volpone. In tragedy, too, she won laurels, and the list of her parts, many of them original, is a long and varied one.
She was the theatrical idol of her day. Her exquisite acting and lady-like carriage were the delight of her contemporaries, and her beauty and generosity found innumerable eulogists, as well as sneering detractors. Alexander Pope, in his Sober Advice from Horace, wrote of her "Engaging Oldfield, who, with grace and ease, Could join the arts to ruin and to please."
It was to her that the satirist alluded as the lady who detested being buried in woollen, who said to her maid "No, let a charming chintz and Brussels lace Wrap my cold limbs and shade my lifeless face; One would not, sure, be frightful when one's dead, And Betty give this cheek a little red." She was but forty-seven when she died on 23 October 1730, leaving all the court and half the town in tears.
She divided her property, for that time a large one, between her natural sons, the first by Arthur Mainwaring (1668-1712) who had left her and his son half his fortune on his death and the second by Lieut.-General Charles Churchill (d. 1745). Mrs Oldfield was buried in Westminster Abbey, beneath the monument to Congreve, but when Churchill applied for permission to erect a monument there to her memory the dean of Westminster refused it.
Posted by iamyrfans at 9:04 AM
Monday, December 3, 2007
The Almohad Dynasty (From Arabic الموحدون al-Muwahhidun, i.e. "the monotheists" or "the Unitarians"), was a Berber, Muslim dynasty that was founded in the 12th century, and conquered all northern Africa as far as Libya, together with Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia).
Between 1130 and his death in 1163, Abd al-Mu'min al-Kumi, a Berber from the Masmuda tribe, defeated the ruling Almoravids and extended his power over all northern Africa as far as Libya, becoming Emir of Marrakech in 1149. Al-Andalus, Moorish Iberia, followed the fate of Africa, and in 1170 the Almohads transferred their capital to Seville. However, by 1212 Muhammad III, "al-Nasir" (1199–1214) was defeated by an alliance of the four Christian princes of Castile, Aragón, Kingdom of Navarre and Portugal, at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in the Sierra Morena. The battle destroyed Almohad dominance. Nearly all of the Moorish dominions in Iberia were lost soon after, with the great Moorish cities of Córdoba and Seville falling to the Christians in 1236 and 1248 respectively. The Almohads continued to rule in Africa until the piecemeal loss of territory through the revolt of tribes and districts enabled their most effective enemies, the Marinids in 121. The last representative of the line, Idris II, "El Wathiq"' was reduced to the possession of Marrakech, where he was murdered by a slave in 1269.
After his return to Morocco at the age of twenty-eight, Ibn Tumart began preaching and heading attacks on wine-shops and on other manifestations of laxity. He even went so far as to assault the sister of the Almoravid (Murabit) amir `Ali III, in the streets of Fez, because she was going about unveiled after the manner of Berber women. Ali III allowed him to escape unpunished.
Ibn Tumart, who had been driven from several other towns for exhibitions of reforming zeal, now took refuge among his own people, the Masmuda, in the Atlas. It is highly probable that his influence would not have outlived him, if he had not found a lieutenant in Abd al-Mu'min al-Kumi, another Berber, from Algeria, who was undoubtedly a soldier and statesman of a high order. When Ibn Tumart died in 1128 at the monastery or ribat which he had founded in the Atlas at Tinmel, after suffering a severe defeat by the Almoravids, Abd al-Mu'min kept his death secret for two years, till his own influence was established. He then came forward as the lieutenant of the Mahdi Ibn Tumart. Between 1130 and his death in 1163, 'Abd-el-Mumin not only rooted out the Murabits, but extended his power over all northern Africa as far as Egypt, becoming amir of Marrakech in 1149. Al-Andalus followed the fate of Africa, and in 1170 the Almohads transferred their capital to Seville, a step followed by the founding of the great mosque, now superseded by the cathedral, the tower of which, the Giralda, they erected in 1184 to mark the accession of Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur. From the time of Yusuf II, however, they governed their co-religionists in Iberia and Central North Africa through lieutenants, their dominions outside Morocco being treated as provinces. When their amirs crossed the Straits it was to lead a jihad against the Christians and to return to their capital, Marrakech.
The Almohad princes had a longer and a more distinguished career than the Murabits (or Almoravids). Yusuf II or Abu Yaqub Yusuf (1163–1184), and Ya'qub I or Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199), the successors of Abd al-Mumin, were both able men. Initially their government drove many Jewish and Christian subjects to take refuge in the growing Christian states of Portugal, Castile and Aragon. But in the end they became less fanatical than the Almoravids, and Ya'qub al Mansur was a highly accomplished man, who wrote a good Arabic style and who protected the philosopher Averroes. His title of al-Mansur, "The Victorious," was earned by the defeat he inflicted on Alfonso VIII of Castile in the Battle of Alarcos (1195).
However, the Christian states in Iberia were becoming too well organized to be overrun by the Muslims, and the Almohads made no permanent advance against them.
In 1212 Muhammad III, "al-Nasir" (1199–1214), the successor of al-Mansur, after an initially successful advance north, was defeated by an alliance of the four Christian princes of Castile, Aragón, Kingdom of Navarre and Portugal, at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in the Sierra Morena. The battle destroyed Almohad dominance. Nearly all of the Moorish dominions in Iberia were lost soon after, with the great Moorish cities of Córdoba and Seville falling to the Christians in 1236 and 1248 respectively.
All that remained, thereafter, was the Moorish state of Granada, which after an internal Muslim revolt, survived as a tributary state of the Christian kingdoms on Iberia's southern periphery. The Nasrid dynasty or Banu Nazari (Arabic: بنو نصر) rose to power there after the defeat of the Almohads dynasty in 1212. Twenty different Muslim kings ruled Granada from the founding of the dynasty in 1232 by Muhammed I ibn Nasr until January 2, 1492, when Sultan Boabdil surrendered to the Christian Spanish kingdom. Today, the most visible evidence of the Nasrids is the Alhambra palace complex built under their rule.
In their African holdings, the Almohads encouraged the establishment of Christians even in Fez, and after the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa they occasionally entered into alliances with the kings of Castile. They were successful in expelling the garrisons placed in some of the coast towns by the Norman kings of Sicily. The history of their decline differs from that of the Almoravids, whom they had displaced. They were not assailed by a great religious movement, but lost territories, piecemeal, by the revolt of tribes and districts. Their most effective enemies were the Beni Marin (Marinids) who founded the next Moroccan dynasty. The last representative of the line, Idris II, "El Wathiq"' was reduced to the possession of Marrakesh, where he was murdered by a slave in 1269.
History of Morocco
History of Algeria
History of Islam
History of Spain
History of Portugal
Posted by iamyrfans at 7:32 AM
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Jura is a department in the east of France named after the Jura mountains (not to be confused with the Swiss canton of Jura).
Jura is one of four departments of the Franche-Comté region and is surrounded by the French departments of Doubs, Haute-Saône, Côte-d'Or, Saône-et-Loire, and Ain, as well as the Swiss canton of Vaud on the east.
The Jura mountains are wooded and rolling, not craggy and rocky like the Alps.
Many lakes can be found throughout the Jura - the largest natural lake being Lac De Chalain, measuring 3km long and 1km wide. Lac de Vouglans was formed after the building of a hydro-electric dam. It is one of the largest man-made lakes in France.
The climate of the Jura varies greatly by elevation. The lower valleys are temperate and pleasant, but the high mountain valleys have bitterly cold winters.
Cantons of the Jura department
Communes of the Jura department
Arrondissements of the Jura department
Posted by iamyrfans at 7:58 AM
Saturday, December 1, 2007
The Elder Statesman is a play in verse by T. S. Eliot first performed in 1958 and published in 1959.
T. S. Eliot once quipped: "A play should give you something to think about. When I see a play and understand it the first time, then I know it can't be much good."
It was a self-adopted method for Eliot to start from the known and the familiar and work his way into the unfamiliar and the unknown. Eliot realized that the modern man, in the daily hustle-bustle of his existence, is unknowingly gasping for breath, looking for an escape from the quagmire of daily life, which is devoid of all meaning. Eliot's drawing room drama The Elder Statesman, is the last of his drawing room plays in which he attempts to give a final expression to his vision of life. In many ways, therefore, The Elder Statesman marks the culmination of Eliot's philosophy of life. Murder in the Cathedral deals with the theme of spirituality. The Cocktail Party deals with the theme of misplaced priorities and skewed spiritual visions. The Family Reunion shows us the process by which a man, pre-disposed to sainthood, is made aware of his destiny. In the last drawing room drama, Eliot shows us how no man is rich enough to buy his past, how no one can escape the memories of things gone by. One cannot flee from a guilt-ridden past and can only gain salvation from the same through admittance, contrition and expiation.
The Elder Statesman, as a play, is not particularly poetic or dramatic. But it's written in powerful verse, which is apt for Eliot's theme and expression. What Eliot wishes to tell us is something profoundly true and important: that we cannot flee the past or 'retire‛ from responsibility. At best, we can off-load it by contrition. And that to find 'the truth that shall set you free‛ you must strip yourself of all pretense, all 'acting‛ and become again, a little child. Eliot also shows us that to enter into reality is only possible through others; so that totally shared love is the supreme road to reality, and that as such, love is capable of being self-sufficient, provided it is love which is founded on true confession, resignation and trust.
Posted by iamyrfans at 8:46 AM