“The essence of pleasure is spontaneity”- Germaine Greer
Some catholics gathered yesterday at the Metropolitan Cathedral (in Mexico City). They prayed for the sick people, the government and the rest of the society. Hoping they make "good decisions" against the swine flu epidemic in our country.
The most pupular picture :D since the panic at the web.
"Meerkat" is a loanword from Afrikaans. The name has a Dutch origin but by misidentification. Dutch meerkat refers to the "guenon", a monkey of the Cercopithecus genus. The word "meerkat" is Dutch for "lake cat", but the suricata is not in the cat family, and neither suricatas nor guenons are attracted to lakes; the word possibly started as a Dutch adaptation of a derivative of Sanskrit markaţa मर्कट = "monkey", perhaps in Africa via an Indian sailor onboard a Dutch East India Company ship. The traders of the Dutch East India Company were likely familiar with monkeys, but the Dutch settlers attached the name to the wrong animal at the Cape. The suricata is called stokstaartje = "little stick-tail" in Dutch.
According to African popular belief (mainly in the Zambian/Zimbabwean region), the meerkat is also known as the sun angel, as it protects villages from the moon devil or the werewolf which is believed to attack stray cattle or lone tribesmen.
At the end of each of a meerkat's "fingers" is a non-retractable, strong, 2 cm (0.8 inches) long, curved claw used for digging underground burrows and digging for prey. Claws are also used with muscular hindlegs to help climb the occasional tree. They have four toes on each foot and long slender limbs. The coat is usually fawn-colored peppered with gray, tan, or brown with a silver tint. They have short parallel stripes across their backs, extending from the base of the tail to the shoulders. The patterns of stripes are unique to each meerkat. The underside of the meerkat has no markings but the belly has a patch which is only sparsely covered with hair and shows the black skin underneath. The meerkat uses this area to absorb heat while standing on its rear legs, usually early in the morning after cold desert nights.
Meerkats become sexually mature at about one year of age and can have 1 to 5 pups in a litter, with 3 pups being the most common litter size. Wild meerkats may have up to four litters per year. Meerkats are iteroparous and can reproduce any time of the year but most births occur in the warmer seasons. The female meerkat can have more than one litter a year. The pups are allowed to leave the burrow at three weeks old. When the pups are ready to emerge from the burrow, the whole clan of meerkats will stand around the burrow to watch. Some of the adolescents might try to show off so they can have more attention than the pups.
Reports show that there is no precopulatory display; the male ritually grooms the female until she submits to him and copulation begins, the male generally adopting a seated position during the act. Gestation lasts approximately 11 weeks and the young are born within the underground burrow and are altricial. The young's ears open at about 15 days of age, and their eyes at 10-14 days. They are weaned around 49 to 63 days. They do not come above ground until at least 21 days of age and stay with babysitters near the burrow. After another week or so, they join the adults on a foraging party.
Usually, the alpha pair reserves the right to mate and normally kills any young not its own, to ensure that its offspring has the best chance of survival. The dominant couple may also evict, or kick out the mothers of the offending offspring.
New meerkat groups are often formed by evicted females pairing with roving males.
If the members of the alpha group are relatives (this tends to happen when the alpha female dies and is succeeded by a daughter), they do not mate with each other and reproduction is by group females stray-mating with roving males from other groups; in this situation, pregnant females tend to kill and eat any pups born to other females.
Meerkats are small burrowing animals, living in large underground networks with multiple entrances which they leave only during the day. They are very social, living in colonies averaging 20-30 members. Animals in the same group regularly groom each other to strengthen social bonds. The alpha pair often scent-mark subordinates of the group to express their authority, and this is usually followed by the subordinates grooming the alphas and licking their faces. This behavior is also usually practiced when group members are reunited after a short period apart. Most meerkats in a group are all siblings or offspring of the alpha pair.
Meerkats demonstrate altruistic behavior within their colonies; one or more meerkats stand sentry (lookout) while others are foraging or playing, to warn them of approaching dangers. When a predator is spotted, the meerkat performing as sentry gives a warning bark, and other members of the gang will run and hide in one of the many bolt holes they have spread across their territory. The sentry meerkat is the first to reappear from the burrow and search for predators, constantly barking to keep the others underground. If there is no threat, the sentry meerkat stops signaling and the others feel safe to emerge.
Meerkats also babysit the young in the group. Females that have never produced offspring of their own often lactate to feed the alpha pair's young, while the alpha female is away with the rest of the group. They also protect the young from threats, often endangering their own lives. On warning of danger, the babysitter takes the young underground to safety and is prepared to defend them if the danger follows. If retreating underground is not possible, she collects all young together and lies on top of them.
Meerkats are also known to share their burrow with the Yellow Mongoose and ground squirrel, species with which they do not compete for resources. If they are unlucky, sometimes they share their burrow with snakes.
Like most species, meerkat young learn by observing and mimicking adult behaviour though adults also engage in active instruction. For example, meerkat adults teach their pups how to eat a venomous scorpion: they will remove the stinger and help the pup learn how to handle the creature.
Despite this altruistic behaviour, meerkats sometimes kill young members of their group. Subordinate meerkats have been seen killing the offspring of more senior members in order to improve their own offspring's position.
Meerkats have been known to engage in social activities, including what appear to be wrestling matches and foot races.
A meerkat group may die out because of predator attack, its alpha pair being unable to breed, starvation in a year when the rains fail, or epidemic disease.
A new meerkat group often arises from evicted females meeting and staying with roving males, looking for chances to mate. The litter size is usually 2-5 pups.
The size of the groups is variable. A group which becomes over-large may routinely have to disperse widely to find enough food when foraging. As a result, when suddenly needing to run for shelter, members of the group may choose different holes, resulting in the group fissioning.
Edward James was born August 16, 1907, the only son of William James, an American railroad magnate who moved to England and married Evelyn Forbes, a Scots socialite, who was reputedly fathered by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII). He had four older sisters: Audrey, Millicent, Xandra, and Silvia. James was educated briefly at Eton, and then at Le Rosey in Switzerland, then at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was a contemporary of Evelyn Waugh and Harold Acton. In 1912 he inherited the 8,000-acre (32 km2) West Dean House in Sussex, on the death of his father.
James' first sponsorship of note was in publishing John Betjeman's first book of poems when at Oxford. He worked with Brian Howard on the Glass Omnibus. After Oxford, James had a brief career as a trainee diplomat at the embassy in Rome. He was asked to send a coded message to London that the Italians had laid the keels for three destroyers, but got the code wrong; the message said "300 destroyers". Shortly after this he was sent "on indefinite leave".
In the early 1930s, James married Tilly Losch, an Austrian dancer choreographer, actress and painter. He had several productions created expressly for her, the most notable of which was Les Ballets 1933, which included Kurt Weill, Lotte Lenya and George Balanchine. He and Boris Kochno commissioned that year Brecht and Weill's last collaboration, The Seven Deadly Sins, which Balanchine produced, directed and choreographed.
James divorced Losch in 1934, accusing her of adultery with Prince Serge Obolensky, an American hotel executive; her countersuit, in which she made it clear that James was homosexual, failed. James was in fact bisexual. After the divorce, James joined a social set in England which included the Mitford sisters and the composer Lord Berners.
James is best known as a passionate and early supporter of Surrealism, a movement that was born from the political uncertainty and upheaval between the wars. Rejecting the bourgeois' dominating rationality, surrealists escaped into a world of fantasy and irrationality. He sponsored Salvador Dalí for the whole of 1938 and his collection of paintings and art objects that subsequently came to be accepted as the finest collection of surrealist work in private hands. He also provided practical help, supporting Dalí for about two years and allowing Magritte to stay in his London house to do some paintings.
James appeared in three famous surrealist paintings:
Each suggests an alienated person. In the first, James looks away from the centre; in the second he looks into a mirror which shows the back of his head; in the third James is standing in front of a picture depicting a headless tuxedo with a floating hat, where a head is missing.
As well as Dalí and Magritte, his art collection included works by Bosch, De Chirico, Paul Klee, Leonora Carrington, Pavel Tchelitchew, Pablo Picasso, Giacometti, Max Ernst and Paul Delvaux, amongst others. Most were sold at a well-publicized sale at Christies two years after his death.
His intellectual interest in surrealism is demonstrated by his sponsorship of Minotaure, a lavish Surrealist magazine published in Paris. His refurbishment of Monkton House, in a part of the West Dean Estate, was a Surrealist dream. It was done in collaboration with the pioneering British decorator, Syrie Maugham, and has some of the most iconic Surrealist works on display, including the large sofa to which Dalí gave the form and colour of Mae West's lips, and his Lobster Telephone in white. His most fantastic surrealist creation was realised in the Mexican rain forest, a surrealist Sculpture garden, "Las Pozas" (see below).
Los Pozas ("the Pools") is a sculpture garden built by James, more than 2,000 feet (610 m) above sea level, in a tropical rain forest in the mountains of Mexico. It includes more than 80 acres (320,000 m2) of natural waterfalls and pools interlaced with towering Surrealist sculptures in concrete.
Las Pozas is near the village of Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, a seven-hour drive north of Mexico City. In the early 1940s, James went to Los Angeles, and then decided that he "wanted a Garden of Eden set up . . . and I saw that Mexico was far more romantic” and had "far more room than there is in crowded Southern California.” In Cuernavaca, he hired Plutarco Gastelum, then a young manager of a telegraph office, as a guide. The two found Xilitla in November 1945.
In Xilitia, Plutarco married a local woman and had four children. They all lived with "Uncle Edward", as the children called James, in a house Plutarco had built, a mock-Gothic cement castle, now a hotel - La Posada El Castillo. James owned hundreds of birds and about 40 dogs, and once took his pet boa constrictors to the Hotel Francis in Mexico City.
Between 1949 and 1984, James built thirty-six concrete follies - palaces, temples and pagodas, including the House on Three Floors Which Will in Fact Have Five or Four or Six, the House with a Roof like a Whale, and the Staircase to Heaven.There were also plantings and beds full of tropical plants, including orchids - there were, apparently, 29,000 at Las Pozas at one time - and a variety of small casas (homes), niches, and pens that held exotic birds and wild animals from the world over. Massive sculptures up to four stories tall punctuate the site. The many trails throughout the garden site are composed of steps, ramps, bridges and narrow, winding walkways that traverse the valley walls.Construction of Las Pozas cost more than $5 million. To pay for it, James sold his collection of Surrealist art at auction.
In the summer of 2007, the Fundación Pedro y Elena Hernández, the company Cemex, and the government of San Luis Potosí paid about $2.2 million for Las Pozas and created Fondo Xilitla, a foundation that will oversee the preservation and restoration of the site. There are plans not only to restore the garden to its former glory, but to put it on the world art map. In November 2007, those behind the revival met at the garden to discuss the plans for restoration, and to celebrate the centenary of James's birth.
I have seen such beauty as one man has seldom seen;
therefore will I be grateful to die in this little room,
surrounded by the forests, the great green gloom
of trees my only gloom - and the sound, the sound of green.
Here amid the warmth of the rain, what might have been
is resolved into the tenderness of a tall doom
who says: 'You did your best, rest - and after you the bloom
of what you loved and planted still will whisper what you mean.
And the ghosts of the birds I loved, will attend me each a friend;
like them shall I have flown beyond the realm of words.
You, through the trees, shall hear them, long after the end
calling me beyond the river. For the cries of birds
continue, as - defended by the coretege of their wings -
my soul among strange silences yet sings.
Edward James, Poet 1907 - 1984
The 18th century BCE Akkadian Atra-Hasis epic, named after its human hero, contains both a creation myth and a flood account and is one of three surviving Babylonian flood stories. The oldest known copy of the epic tradition concerning Atrahasis can be dated by colophon (scribal identification) to the reign of Hammurabi's great-grandson, Ammi-Saduqa (1646–1626 BCE), but various Old Babylonian fragments exist; it continued to be copied into the first millennium. The Atrahasis story also exists in a later fragmentary Assyrian version, first having been rediscovered in the library of Ashurbanipal, but, because of the fragmentary condition of the tablets and ambiguous words, translations had been uncertain.
W. G. Lambert and A. R. Millard, Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum, London (1965) published many additional texts belonging to the epic, including an Old Babylonian copy (written around 1650 BCE) which is our most complete surviving recension of the tale. These new texts greatly increased knowledge of the epic and they served as the foundation for the first English translation of the Atrahasis epic in something approaching entirety, by Lambert and Millard (Atrahasis: The Babylonian Story of the Flood, Oxford, 1969). A further fragment has been recovered in Ugarit.
Tablet I contains a creation myth about the Sumerian gods Anu, Enlil, and Enki, gods of sky, wind, and water, "when gods were in the ways of men" according to its incipit. Following the casting of lots, heaven is ruled by Anu, earth by Enlil, and the freshwater sea by Enki. Enlil assigned junior divines to do farm labor and maintain the rivers and canals, but after forty years the lesser ones rebelled and refused to do hard labor. Instead of punishing the rebels, Enki, who is also the kind, wise counselor to the gods, suggested that humans be created to do the work. The mother goddess Mami is assigned the task of creating humans by shaping clay figurines mixed with the flesh and blood of the slain god Geshtu-e, "a god who had intelligence" (his name means "ear" or "wisdom"). All the gods in turn spit upon the clay. After ten months, a specially made womb breaks open and humans are born. Tablet I continues with legends about overpopulation and plagues. Atrahasis is mentioned at the end of Tablet I.
Tablet II begins with more overpopulation of humans and the god Enlil sending first famine and drought at formulaic intervals of 1200 years to reduce the population. In this epic Enlil is depicted as a nasty capricious god while Enki is depicted as a kind helpful god, perhaps because priests of Enki were writing and copying the story. Tablet II is mostly damaged, but ends with Enlil's decision to destroy mankind with a flood and Enki bound by an oath to keep the plan secret.
Tablet III of the Atrahasis Epic contains the flood story. This is the part that was adapted in the Epic of Gilgamesh, tablet XI. Tablet III of Atrahasis tells how the god Enki warns the hero Atrahasis ("Extremely Wise") of Shuruppak, speaking through a reed wall (suggestive of an oracle) to dismantle his house (perhaps to provide a construction site) and build a boat to escape the flood planned by the god Enlil to destroy mankind. The boat is to have a roof "like Apsu" (a fresh water marsh next to the temple of Enki), upper and lower decks, and to be sealed with bitumen. Atrahasis boards the boat with his family and animals and seals the door. The storm and flood begin. Even the gods are afraid. After seven days the flood ends and Atrahasis offers sacrifices to the gods. Enlil is furious with Enki for violating his oath. But Enki denies breaking his oath and argues: "I made sure life was preserved." Enki and Enlil agree on other means for controlling the human population.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Ancient Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literary fiction. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the mythological hero-king Gilgamesh, which were gathered into a longer Akkadian poem much later; the most complete version existing today is preserved on 12 clay tablets in the library collection of the 7th century BCE Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. It was originally titled He who Saw the Deep (Sha naqba īmuru) or Surpassing All Other Kings (Shūtur eli sharrī). Gilgamesh might have been a real ruler in the late Early Dynastic II period (ca. 27th century BCE).
The essential story revolves around the relationship between Gilgamesh, who has become distracted and disheartened by his rule, and a friend, Enkidu, who is half-wild and who undertakes dangerous quests with Gilgamesh. Much of the epic focuses on Gilgamesh's thoughts of loss following Enkidu's death. It is about their becoming human together, and has a high emphasis on immortality. A large portion of the poem illustrates Gilgamesh's search for immortality after Enkidu's death.
The epic is widely read in translation, and the hero, Gilgamesh, has become an icon of popular culture.
The Anglo-Saxons called April Oster-monath or Eostur-monath
Paramotor is a generic name for the propulsive portion of a powered paraglider(PPG). It consists of a frame that combines the motor, propeller, harness (with integrated seat) and cage. It provides two attachment points for the risers of a paraglider wing that allows for powered flight.
The term was first used by Englishman Mike Byrne in 1980 and popularized in France around 1986 when La Mouette began adapting power to the then-new paraglider wings.
Pilots who fly these engage in paramotoring, also known as powered paragliding.
Engines used are almost exclusively small two-stroke types, between 80cc and 350cc, that burn mixed gasoline and oil. These engines are favored for their high output power and light weight. At least one manufacturer is producing a 4-stroke model and electrically powered units are on the horizon. Csaba Lemak created the first electric PPG, flying it first on June 13, 2006. Flight duration for electrics is considerably shorter.
The pilot controls thrust via a hand-held throttle and steers using the paraglider's brake toggles similar to sport parachutists.
Gardens at the Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Maincy, Seine-et-Marne, France (48°34’N, 2°43’E).
"The Turkish carpets"-decorative gardens of boxwood hedges-of the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte have been drawn by the landscaper-architect Achille Duchêne in the erli twentieth century. Designed for Nicolas Fouquet, minister of finance, the château was built in five years by approximately 18,000 workers. The garden, set off by several lakes and fountains, is 8,000 feet (2,500 m) long, which required the destruction of two hamlets. Fouquet invited the young king Louis XIV to visit in 1661; offended by the splendor of his subject’s abode, the king ordered an investigation of Fouquet and had him arrested. Le Nôtre, the gardens architect, was assigned the direction of the royal parks and gardens. He designed other gardens ? la française" for the châteaux of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Cloud, and Fontainebleau, but his masterpiece remains the gardens of Versailles, the palace of the Sun King himself.
The largest plant maze in the world, at Reignac-sur-Indre, Indre-et-Loire Department, France (47°13’N, 0°54’E).
In 1996, the year the largest plant maze in the world was created at Reignac-sur-Indre in Touraine, 85,000 visitors came to admire and lose themselves in the middle of its 4-hectare (10-acre) expanse. Each year, a maze of corn or sunflowers emerges from the ground over the summer, is harvested in the autumn, and then reappears the following year in a different form, thanks to a well-proven technique of sowing and marking out. This site takes its inspiration from an older tradition in the art of landscaping. During the Renaissance, Italian gardens spawned an abundance of mazes in which people could walk, get lost, hatch plots, and exchange gossip. This lightheartedness somewhat dispelled the sacred and sometimes threatening character of the great old labyrinths associated with Gothic cathedrals and with the Minotaur in Greece, or further back still the hundreds of stone labyrinths known as Troy Towns,» which are scattered along the shores of the Baltic. Were they used for sun rituals, for dancing, as Stations of the Cross, for initiation rites? The modern maze retains a little of the symbolic mystery attached to the Streets of Jerusalem» and the Walls of Jericho.»