Sunday, October 15, 2017

Final Results for the Chess Femmes, Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXVI

[I updated the post at 8:31 AM on October 16th to reflect ALL of the female players in the Open Section (I had somehow managed to leave Megan Chen off the list yesterday, sorry Megan) and to update the percentage calculations for female participation.]

Hola everyone!

It seems the bad weather may have greatly depressed turn-out this year for HCCCXXVI overall, but we had a great turn-out of chess femmes yesterday and I'm thrilled to report their results here.  The Sun is back today (after much needed rain that pleased this gardener), hooray!

FIRST TIME EVER (if my failing memory serves me correctly) - A HALES CORNERS CHESS CHALLENGE HAS BEEN WON BY A CHESS FEMME!!!!!!!  Okay, so I'm over the Moon, LOL.  Anupama Rajendra (2105) won straight up with 4.0 outright, so she took home the HCCC first place prize money as well as an additional $200 of Goddesschess prize money for 4 Ws AND an extra $80 for the Goddesschess perfect score prize in the Open (awarded only to chess femmes).

My chess buddy and a great chess mentor in Sheboygan, WI, Ellen Wanek, who has played in the past several Spring and Fall HCC Challenges, sent me two photos of the chess femmes and there were 12.  Me bad, ladies, sorry - I only know who a few of you are with any certainty so I've left names off:

What a gorgeous group of chess femmes!

A total of 51 players registered (31 in the Open, 20 in the Reserve).  A ratio of 14 chess femmes to 51 total players yields a female player participation rate of 27.45%  Holy Cassia!  That's the best yet, ever ever EVER!

So, without further ado, here is how the chess femmes did (Goddesschess prizes):

OPEN 6/31 = 19.35% chess femme participation rate:

Anupama Rajendra (2105), 4.0.  $280 total - $200 ($50 x 4 Ws) plus $80 for perfect score prize.  She also will receive Goddesschess paid entry fee should she choose to play in HCCC XXVII in Spring, 2018.

Rachel Ulrich (2196), 3.0.  $100.

Susanna Ulrich (1851), 1.5.  $75.

Gauri Menon (1666), 2.0.  $100.

Madeline Weber (1569), 2.0.  $100.

Megan Chen (1673), 2.0.  $100.

RESERVE 8/20 = a whopping 40% chess femme participation rate:

Simran Bhatia (1554), 3.0.  $60.  Also will receive Goddesschess paid entry fee should she choose to play in HCCC XXVII in Spring, 2018. 

Aradh Kaur (1436), 3.0.  $60.

Sandra Hoffman (1428), 2.0.  $40.

Ellen Wanek (1273), 1.0.  $20.

Mansha Ghai (1220), 2.0.  $40.

Radhika Gupta (1100), 2.0.  $40.

Olivia Schaenzer (1164), 2.0. $40.

Runxin He (UNR), 1.0.  $10.

There are photographs from Round 3 at the Southwest Chess Club blog, many showing the chess femmes in action.  Full cross-tables at USCF.

The Don McLean Awards (for male players only in the October Challenges) were won by Anthony Parker (2225, 3.5) in the Open ($100) and Alexander Jentsch (1473, 3.5) in the Reserve ($50).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Archaeologists Perhaps Closing in on Lost Satellite Pyramids of Queen Ankhnespepy II

From Newsweek

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDION FOUND NEXT TO LARGEST OBELISK HINTS AT EXISTENCE OF QUEEN’S LOST CHAMBER

Mata Hari: A NASTY Woman

"Mata Hari" by Isaac Israels, 1915
Kroller-Muller Museum

Many American women (and the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico) are proud to wear tee shirts proclaiming they are NASTY - the kind of woman that scares the pants off of men like Donald J. Trump and the GOP in general (Hillary Clinton; Nancy Pelosi; Michelle Obama).

After reading this review of an exhibit coming in the Netherlands, birthplace of Margaretha Zelle a/k/a Mata Hari, it seems to me that Zelle was reviled and feared by many men (and some women) not because she was a master spy but because she was a NASTY woman: sexually free, independent, capable of supporting herself in style without depending upon ANY male, assertive, intelligent.  She was perceived as a threat by many because she did not conform to the norms of the day.  Zelle was 41 when she was "executed" by a firing squad in France, after having been convicted of being a German spy.

Mata Hari in 1914.
Mata Hari, 1914.  Source: rarehistoricalphotos.com
Regal, beautiful, threatening to men.

From The New York Times
Nina Siegal, October 13, 2017

Femme Fatale, Fallen Woman, Spy: Looking for the Real Mata Hari

LEEUWARDEN, the Netherlands — In December 1915, Margaretha Zelle, the woman known to all the world as the exotic dancer Mata Hari, was traveling by ship from one of her lovers in Paris to another in The Hague. The international sex symbol was famous for provocative routines in a nude body stocking with a bejeweled bra and golden headdress. Sometimes she would tell people she was a Javanese princess or the daughter of an Indian temple dancer, but only rarely would she reveal that she was Dutch.

It was the middle of World War I and her circuitous route took her through British waters, where the authorities stopped the boat to question those on board.

After looking at Zelle’s papers, and searching her possessions, they made a note: No evidence of anything had been found on her person, but she was nevertheless a “bold sort of woman who is not above suspicion.” In the charged atmosphere of the war, this was enough for the authorities to call for her arrest if she ever tried to enter the United Kingdom again. A copy of their report was sent to the French secret service, where it landed on the desk of a French military intelligence officer, George Ladoux.

Ladoux, convinced that Zelle was a spy, became determined to catch her in an act of espionage. He recruited her to work for French intelligence, sure that she was a double agent for the Germans.

In early 1917, Ladoux later arrested and interrogated Zelle, and garnered what he took as a confession: She admitted to taking money from the Germans, though she firmly denied having ever provided them with any useful espionage. On Oct. 14, Mata Hari was executed by firing squad. Newspaper reports described her as refusing to wear a blindfold and blowing kisses to the soldiers who raised their rifles against her.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Update: Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXVI

Hola:

Where does the time fly, geez Louise!  The HCCC XXVI is TOMORROW, wow!

I don't have a players' list but I was informed a few minutes ago that there are currently 49 pre-registered players, 11 of whom are chess femmes, YAY!  As of right now, that means our female player partcipation rate is at 22%, which is FAB-U-LOUS, dahlings.  Four are playing in the Open and seven in the reserve.  Good luck, ladies!

The October Challenges are the one event a year where Goddesschess shares the love with male players, in the form of the Don McLean Award.  The highest scoring male in the Open Section wins $100, and in the Reserve $50.  (All Goddesschess prizes are in addition to prizes paid by the tournament organizers).  Don, who was one of the founders of Goddesschess and a primary force behind it from its founding in 1999, passed away five years ago.  He covered some events Goddesschess sponsored in Montreal and loved meeting and mixing with the players.  He was a slightly better chessplayer than I, which is to say - not even good enough to earn the "patzer" title :)  We had some rip-roaring games out on the back deck at my former Maison Newton during the summertime and in front of the fireplace during Christmas holidays.

You can find the flyer here.  Players can still register tomorrow between 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  Four rounds:  10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m. 

I hope there will be a big turnout.  Good luck to all!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXVI

Hola darlings!

It's hard to believe how quickly time has flown by.  Goddesschess started out with a small prize offering for HCCC VIII, and we've been a sponsor of prizes - particularly for female chess players in the Challenges - since then.

After the unexpected and too early passing of our webmaster and one of our founding co-partners, Don McClean, of Montreal, Quebec, in October 2012, in his memory Goddesschess began sponsoring the Don McClean Award for the top finishing male players in each Section, $100 for the Open and $50 for the Reserve.  We chess goddesses wish to share our love on occasion :)  The Don McLean awards are offered only in the October Challenge events.

The HCCC XXVI (Holy Hathor!) will be held on October 14, 2017 at the Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.  You can find all of the details on the online flyer along with an entry form.

FORMAT: Four Round Swiss System - Four Games in One Day - USCF Rated

TIME CONTROL: Game in 60 Minutes; 6 second delay

ENTRY FEE: $40 – Open; $30 – Reserve (both sections $10 more after October 12, 2017) Comp Entry Fee for USCF 2200+: Entry fee subtracted from any prizes won

SITE REGISTRATION: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

ROUNDS: 10 am -- 1 pm -- 3:30 pm -- 6 pm Pairings by WinTD---No Computer Entries---No Smoking

PRIZES OPEN RESERVE:  1st—$325 1st—$100 2nd—$175 2nd—$75 A—$100 D—$50 B & Below—$75 E & Below—$40

GODDESSCHESS PRIZES IN ADDITION TO ABOVE PRIZES: 
Goddesschess prizes for females and males in addition to above prizes: For Females: Open: $50 per win/$25 per draw; Reserve: $20 per win/$10 per draw; Perfect Score Prizes for Females: $80 in Open/$40 in Reserve; Don McLean Award for Top Finishing Male in each Section: $100 in Open/$50 in Reserve

Early registered players for each Section will be listed (updated frequently) at the Southwest Chess Club blog. 

May Mother Nature smile upon us and give us a gorgeous day (and overnight next day if you are staying the night) for Tournament Day in southeastern Wisconsin.  And may Caissa be with you :)  I hope the highest number ever of chess femmes will turn out for this great event.

Monday, September 18, 2017

China Institute is Sponsoring a - FASHION - Contest! Yes, You Read That Correctly

Any Project Runway fans out there?  Well, this isn't Project Runway (which I love and have watched since its inception, now on Lifetime Television that I am able to stream from an internet provider), but for those qualified it offers a chance to get your designs shown in a legitimate fashion show and get a lot of exposure in the fashion center of the United States - New York, NY along with a cash prize of $10,000.00!



2018 Fashion Design Competition
October 6, 2017: Online registration deadline 
October 31, 2017: Design submission deadline
MISSION / PURPOSE
The China Institute Fashion Design Competition supports emerging designers and promotes creativity inspired by China's culture and aesthetics in contemporary, global design.  

ELIGIBILITY  
The Competition is open to: 
* students currently enrolled in a bachelor's or master's degree program in fashion design  
* 2016 and 2017 graduates of a bachelor's or master's degree program in fashion design  

All applicants, if selected as finalists, must provide their own lodging and transportation to New York City for the Fashion Competition. They must also produce, at their own expense, their capsule collection of three outfits for the runway show at this Fashion Competition held at China Institute, 40 Rector Street, New York NY 10006.  

AWARD
All finalists will have their work assessed by a prestigious panel of judges and will be promoted on the China Institute website and through social media. The competition will culminate in a fashion show at China Institute where the winner will be announced. The winning designer will receive a $10,000 award.  

COMPETITION CALENDAR
October 6, 2017: Online registration deadline
October 31, 2017: Design submission deadline 
November 1 - December 31, 2017: Panel of judges review applications 
January 15, 2018: China Institute notifies the top ten finalists by email and announced on the China Institute website.  
April 1, 2018: Deadline for delivery of finalists' capsule collections to China Institute 
April 16, 2018: Collections presented at China Institute Fashion Show and the winning designer is announced. 
May 2018: Winning designer invited to appear as a special guest at China Fashion Gala 2018 co-presented by China Institute and China Beauty Charity Fund. 

SUBMISSIONS 
All applicants must first register online. We encourage applicants to register as soon as possible. After registering, applicants must submit an application package, no later than October 31st 2017*, consisting of the following items: 

* 1 page for the 3 illustrations or plan of collection 
* 1 page for each illustration 
* 1 page for each flats/technical designs 
* 1 page for the fabric and material swatches  
* 1 page for the developed concept or atmosphere or mood board 
* 1 page for the written concept in English and how this is inspired by China (maximum 100 words) 
 1 resume/CV of applicant 
* 1 photocopy of current student ID or degree

Thursday, September 14, 2017

DNA Evidence Reveals Skeleton From 100 Year Old Viking Tomb Was Female Warrior

Unbelievable that we are just getting around now to cleaning up some 19th century GARBAGE conclusions about who was buried in important tombs and why.  We may catch up with it in, oh - say, 100 or so years.  By that time, the conclusions we've reached on some will STILL be proven to have been wrong, because women have always been a force to be reckoned with in the REAL world, whether you want to recognize that or not.  If you think I'm joking about not being recognized as such, please key in on some of the "experts'" comments made in the article! U N B E L I E V A B L E !

From The Washington Post:

Wonder Woman lived: Viking warrior skeleton identified as female, 128 years after its discovery

September 14, 2017, by Amy Ellis Nutt

An 1889 drawing of the Viking warrior grave discovered in Birka, Sweden. For more than 120 years, it was assumed to be the skeleton of a man. (Hjalmar Stolpe)
For more than a century after it was found, a skeleton ensconced in a Viking grave, surrounded by military weapons, was assumed to be that of a battle-hardened man. No more.

The warrior was, in fact, female. And not just any female, but a Viking warrior woman, a shieldmaiden, like the ancient Brienne of Tarth from “Game of Thrones."

The artifacts entombed with the 1,000-year-old bones and unearthed in 1889 in Birka, Sweden, included two shields, a sword, an ax, a spear, armor-piercing arrows and a battle knife — not to mention the remnants of two horses. Such weapons of war among grave goods, archaeologists long assumed, meant the Viking had been male.

Yet modern-day genetics testing on the DNA extracted from a tooth and an arm bone has confirmed otherwise. The skeleton, known as Bj 581, belonged to someone with two X chromosomes.

"We were blinded by the warrior equipment,” one of the researchers, Anders Gotherstrom, said in an email to The Washington Post this week. “The grave-goods shout 'warrior' at you, and nothing else.

A modern drawing of the same Viking grave, this time depicting the female warrior. (Neil Price)
Gotherstrom, along with nine other scientists from Stockholm and Uppsala universities, announced their results in a paper in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Theirs is the first genetic proof that at least some Viking women were warriors.


True Beauty is Timeless

Ahhhhhh, amore!  I've been thinking about that a lot, lately.  Perhaps I am getting overly sentimental in my old age?  Now piano concertos make me cry -- Mozart Piano Concerto No. 23, 2. Adagio; Chopin Spring Waltz (Mariage d'Amour); Rachmaninov no. 2 Opus Moderato Allegro; the waltz scene from the 2014 French version of "Beauty and the Beast," La Belle et le Bete.

Just dropping in for a short visit, things are super busy here this autumn and I haven't had time to do ANYTHING on the blog.  I was, though, this morning going through my Youtube "History" and came across this wonderful advertisement clip I saved for a perfume, featuring the ever-beautiful Sophia Loren.  It's fabulous, dahlings!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ancient Babylonians Did Trigonometry

This is WAY cool!  From The New York Times:

Hints of Trigonometry on a 3,700-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet

By Kenneth Chang August 29, 2017

Suppose that a ramp leading to the top of a ziggurat wall is 56 cubits long, and the vertical height of the ziggurat is 45 cubits. What is the distance x from the outside base of the ramp to the point directly below the top? (Ziggurats were terraced pyramids built in the ancient Middle East; a cubit is a length of measure equal to about 18 inches or 44 centimeters.)

Could the Babylonians who lived in what is now Iraq more than 3,700 years ago solve a word problem like this?

Two Australian mathematicians assert that an ancient clay tablet was a tool for working out trigonometry problems, possibly adding to the many techniques that Babylonian mathematicians had mastered.

An ancient Babylonian tablet known as Plimpton 322 consists of a table of 60 numbers organized into 15 rows and four columns.CreditAndrew Kelly/University of New South Wales
“It’s a trigonometric table, which is 3,000 years ahead of its time,” said Daniel F. Mansfield of the University of New South Wales. Dr. Mansfield and his colleague Norman J. Wildberger reported their findings last week in the journal Historia Mathematica.

Rest of article.

Sadly, I could not make heads nor tails out of the word problem as I did not think I had enough information to solve what I understood the problem to be asking for.  However, what the article says is that it was a simple calculation of the length of the third side of a right triangle when we had the measurement for the other two sides.  Even I remember how to solve for any side of a right triangle if I have the two other numbers from high school trig, taken eons ago.  Really - that is what the word problem is asking me to solve for?  The way I read this problem, it was asking for the actual length of the ramp as measured on its outermost edge from its beginning (pick a corner, any corner, and go around each level upward from there) up to the point (how do you determine what "point?") just below the peak of the structure.  I did not read this to be a simple solve for "b" in "a squared" + "b squared" = "c squared."  LOL!  Silly me.  No wonder parents can't help their kids with this new math these days, geez!  Its indecipherable!  Who wrote that problem - is English their third or fourth language?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Haunting Image of Eclipse on August 21, 2017

Hola, darlings!

I am still with the world.  I celebrated my 66th birthday on the 19th (sigh), look fabulous, darlings (YAY!) and most importantly, feel great.  The heart is still sputtering but beating otherwise quite soundly, the lungs are working quite well, despite the (I believe) totally proven false diagnosis back in 2012 that I had pulmonary arterial hypertension and had, at the most, a few years to live.  HA! The docs have no idea just how tough (stubborn and single-minded, too) the femmes in my family are...

I have been busy puttering in my gardens and spending an inordinate amount of time chastizing racists, Nazis, KKK wannabes, and white supremacists - generally speaking, just about every political kook in the USA - on various websites in fruitless but extremely witty remarks (even if I do say so myself, and I do), and have actually developed something of a "fan" base for my biting political commentary (and some death threats).  Who knew?

My focus has shifted from chess and the Goddess to mundane U.S. politics - yes, disgusting, I know.  I think I must be going through a second sort of mid-life crisis...

But today, The Washington Post has published a new crop of incredible photographs of the great solar eclipse of August 21, 2017.  I saw this one and just HAD to publish it here:

Aug. 21, 2017
The moon eclipses the sun above the Washington Monument. Jim Lo Scalzo/European
Pressphoto Agency) (URL)
 No - it's not Giza!  It's a close-up of the top of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.  Incredible, isn't it!  The universe's incredible beauty, majesty and mystery on full display for so many Americans to have seen - what a wonderful thing.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Latest Indian Rape Outrage

A 10-year-old Indian girl was raped and impregnated. A court denied her an abortion.

Derek Hawkins, July 20, 2017 5:19 am. (The Washington Post)

court in India on Tuesday ordered a 10-year-old girl whose parents say she was raped and impregnated by her uncle to carry her fetus to term, ruling she is too young and her pregnancy too advanced to have an abortion.

The girl, who has not been identified, is six months pregnant and sought medical attention after her maternal uncle allegedly raped her several times, CBS News reported.

The district court in the northern city of Chandigarh based its decision on an opinion by a panel of doctors from the city’s Government Medical College and Hospital, where the girl was examined, according to the hospital’s medical superintendent.

"If you abort then the risk to life is greater,” the superintendent told The Washington Post in a brief phone interview Wednesday.

1970s law in India known as the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act bars abortions beyond 20 weeks, though courts have made exceptions if the fetus is not viable or if the mother’s life is at risk.

According to CBS, the hospital’s eight-member panel determined that the fetus was viable and could survive even if it was delivered immediately. CBS quoted an unnamed senior doctor on the panel who said abortion was “not an option at this stage."

The hospital told the Times of India on Tuesday: “The victim is six months pregnant, as revealed by her ultrasound reports. We have submitted our medical advice to the court regarding termination of the foetus."

The girl’s parents found out their daughter was pregnant after she complained of stomach pains, according to the Indian Express. She later reportedly told her mother that her uncle had raped her a half-dozen times when he visited the family home. The uncle was arrested, and the parents petitioned the court for an abortion, the Indian Express reported.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Avebury Reveals A Buried Ancient Stone Square Enclosing a Circle

From Live Science

Secret Square Discovered Beneath Neolithic Stone Monument


Hidden beneath the world's largest prehistoric stone circle, archaeologists in England have discovered an even older, secret square-shaped megalithic monument.
"Our research has revealed previously unknown megaliths inside the world-famous Avebury stone circle. We have detected and mapped a series of prehistoric standing stones that were subsequently hidden and buried, along with the positions of others likely destroyed during the 17th and 18th centuries," Mark Gillings, academic director and reader in archaeology in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, said in a statement. "Together, these reveal a striking and apparently unique square megalithic monument within the Avebury circles that has the potential to be one of the very earliest structures on this remarkable site."

The new finds are shocking for such an old site, which has been extensively studied by archaeologists since the 1600s. The Avebury site in Wiltshire, southwest England, is one of the most mysterious ancient monuments in the country. The  Neolithic monument was built largely between 4,850 and 4,200 years ago, according to English Heritage. Along with Stonehenge, Silbury Hill and Windmill Hill, the newfound monuments may have formed a vast sacred landscape that ancient people used for rituals and communal gatherings whose purpose remains shrouded in mystery.
The site of Avebury consists of a vast circular henge — of which all that remains is a 3,270-foot-across (1,000 meters) circular ditch and embankments — and an inner stone circle, which was once composed of nearly 100 massive, upright boulders and two smaller inner stone circles.
In 1939, Alexander Keiller, heir to a marmalade fortune and an amateur archaeologist, noticed that some of the stones in the inner circle seemed to be angular in their alignment. He believed the faint hint of a square may have been the remnants of a medieval cart shed, according to the statement. World War II soon broke out, and Keiller was unable to continue his archaeological surveys.
In the current study, Gillings used a technique called ground-penetrating radar, which maps the resistance of the Earth to the sound waves. He found several interesting features: A number of high-resistance objects (presumably buried stones), as well as lower resistance patches (possibly more deeply buried stones or construction debris), along with low-resistance areas (likely destruction pits). The orientation of these buried stones forms a square, Gillings reported in the study, which has not yet been submitted to a journal for peer review.

It turned out that the angular setting of stones that Keiller had discovered formed a stone square that enclosed a circular feature known as the Obelisk. While circular monuments from the late Neolithic period are common, square monuments were oddities at that time, the researchers noted.
The findings could shed light on why the Avebury monument was built — one possibility is that the square demarcates the boundaries of a first house or settlement in the area, which was then used as the center of the inner circle, the researchers speculate in the study.
"The completion of the work first started by Keiller in the 1930s has revealed an entirely new type of monument at the heart of the world's largest prehistoric stone circle, using techniques he never dreamt of.  And goes to show how much more is still to be revealed at Avebury if we ask the right questions," Nick Snashall, National Trust archaeologist at Avebury, said in the statement. 


******************************
Hola, darlings!  I thought this was a pretty interesting discovery, especially after all this time, Holy Hathor.  It appears that the ideas of ancient man, which archaeologists often say we "do not understand or know the purpose of..." blah blah blah, were actually well understood and adopted/adapted throughout the world in various cultures, often very early on.  So either diffusion spread some ideas like wildfire or independent origination of similar concepts were arising, often nearly simultaneously, in different cultures around the globe, or maybe there was one originating civilization from which concepts were carried away across the globe as mankind spread out.  Hmmm...  Only the Shadow Knows.

I was reminded of a couple of different, but related, concepts regarding circles and squares.  The first is very ancient and is Chinese - the square within the circle.  Briefly generalizing, in Chinese thought the Earth is "square" and the Heavens are "round" (a sphere encompassing the square plane of the Earth, or a dome [half of a sphere] hovering over it. The older buried square shape within the larger circle of Avebury certainly fits this description.  Here's a classic example from China - embodied in a coin:

Introduced by Emperor Wang Mang circa 9CE -
"HSIAO-CH'UAN CHIH-YI" (small coin value one).
Source: Calgary Coin.
The concept of the square Earth and the "round" Heavens, however, dates back to the mid-4th millennium BCE.  

Both Orthodox and Roman Catholic tradition also uses the symbolism of the square "Earth" and the round "Heavens."  A nice summary of Orthodox traditions can be found in this 2014 article from the Orthodox Arts Journal.  Here's a classic example in Byzantine architecture, the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (f/k/a Constantinople), built in :

Hagia Sofia Greek Orthodox Basilica, Byzantine, built 532-537 CE.
Source.  You can see the outline of the original basilica, a square
(four corners) with a large circular dome over the center of the square.
The minarets are from the mosque(s) added later when Constantinople
was conquered by the Muslims.  This photo also contains a round
fountain enclosed within a square park (entire park not shown in photo).
Interesting, n'est ce pas?  More about the circle within the square below.

The other use of the circle and square symbolism is claimed by the Masons as part of their mystical tradition. It is perhaps best embodied in the Vitruvian Man:

The image above is from Richard Cassaro's website.  The first depiction is Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (1487).  He also shows other "Vitruvian Men" drawn by other artists during the 11th to 16th centuries CE.  Cassaro stated: "Note how da Vinci draws The Vitrivian Man inside a squared circle: he understood the implications of the Masonic doctrine."  Essentially, the square represented the human condition or the human body (the "Earth") and the circle represented the Divine within us (the "Heavens").  

Before leaving the topic of circle within a square and square within a circle symbolism, let's just look at a representation of circle within a square in Roman Catholic architecture - often embodied in basilicas, cathedrals and churches all around the world:
Florence Cathedral.  Sourcehttp://www.aviewoncities.com/gallery/showpicture.htm?key=kveit2757.  
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.  Source.  
Orvieto Cathedral, Italy.  Source.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

New Study of Mitochondrial DNA in Neanderthal Bones Reveals More About Our Origins

They're getting closer and closer and closer...to the truth.  I made a few notes, denoted in brackets within the text.

From The New York Times, July 4, 2017, by Carl Zimmer:

In Neanderthal DNA, Signs of a Mysterious Human Migration

With fossils and DNA, scientists are piecing together a picture of humanity’s beginnings, an origin story with more twists than anything you would find at the movie theater.

The expert consensus now is that Homo sapiens evolved at least 300,000 years ago in Africa. Only much later — roughly 70,000 years ago — did a small group of Africans establish themselves on other continents, giving rise to other populations of people today.

To Johannes Krause, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Human History in Germany, that gap seems peculiar. “Why did people not leave Africa before?” he asked in an interview. After all, he observed, the continent is physically linked to the Near East. “You could have just walked out."

In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, Dr. Krause and his colleagues report that Africans did indeed walk out — over 270,000 years ago.

Based on newly discovered DNA in fossils, the researchers conclude that a wave of early Homo sapiens, or close relatives of our species, made their way from Africa to Europe. There, they interbred with Neanderthals.

Then the ancient African migrants disappeared. But some of their DNA endured in later generations of Neanderthals.

"This is now a comprehensive picture,” Dr. Krause said. “It brings everything together."


Friday, July 7, 2017

Sotheby's Presents: Identifying the Subject of a Portrait

Very interesting.  I wasn't even sure that WAS a woman in the portrait.  Hmmm...

"When this painting by Jan Sanders Van Hemessen arrived at Sotheby’s, specialists had trouble identifying the strangely dressed sitter. In this episode of The Costumist, Jonquil O’Reilly introduces court performer Elizabet and discusses her unusual garments and jewellery – clues that led to the discovery of her identity. This exceptional artwork soared past its estimate and sold for £2.16 million at Sotheby’s  Old Masters sale in London on 5 July 2017."



Link.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Sacred Cow and Her "Singing" Crow

From The Washington Post:

In my imagination, I can hear the crow singing, and as this sacred cow in a sanctuary in India listens, she could be Isis, reminiscing of the freedom and the millions of worshippers She used to have, before the patriarchal war gods took over the world and ruined it for all of us.  The poignancy of this photograph deeply touched my heart.

Important 5,200 Year Old Pictoral Symbols Discovered in Elkab Desert Region of Egypt

A rock panel featuring depictions of a bull’s head on a short pole followed by two back-to-back saddlebill storks with a bald ibis bird above and between them.MINISTRY OF ANTIQUITIES
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN WRITING: NEW SYMBOLS REVEAL DEVELOPMENT OF HIEROGLYPHICS The elegant pictorial writing system of the ancient Egyptians—known as hieroglyphics—has fascinated generations of archeologists. Its precise origins are uncertain. One ancient Egyptian legend holds that the god Thoth handed the gift of writing to a few chosen scribes. A more prosaic modern theory suggests that they derived from rock pictures produced by prehistoric hunting societies wandering the desert.
Now, a new discovery may hold some clues as to how carved images evolved into a formal writing system. According to a Facebook post by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, a new rock inscription site discovered around 60 km south of Luxor in the village of El-Khawy “helps in understanding the development of a system of graphic communication that sets the stage for the appearance of true hieroglyphic writing.”
Now, a new discovery may hold some clues as to how carved images evolved into a formal writing system. According to a Facebook post by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, a new rock inscription site discovered around 60 km south of Luxor in the village of El-Khawy “helps in understanding the development of a system of graphic communication that sets the stage for the appearance of true hieroglyphic writing.”
The inscriptions date back around 5,200 years and each individual sign is about half a meter in height. “This is the first time that anyone has seen them on such a massive scale,” Darnell said. He said the team was “absolutely flabbergasted” by the size of the discovery.

According to Yale, they are significant not only for their unique size, but also because they show that even in its very earliest phases, the use of hieroglyphic writing was widespread and not confined to the offices of dusty bureaucrats as some had previously argued.
“This also suggests that there is a much more expansive use of the early writing system than is indicated from other surviving archeological material,” Darnell said.

The researchers found the inscriptions in the northern desert landscape of Elkab. This area, along with a city called Hierakonpolis across the river, were extremely important settlements in ancient Egypt, Darnell said.
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