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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Micky Mouse and family - cartoons

Marconi Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company, Ltd.,

The Marconi Company Ltd. was founded by Guglielmo Marconi in 1897 as The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company (sometimes presented as Wireless Telegraph Trading Signal Company). It was renamed Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company in 1900 and The Marconi Company in 1963.
As the defence division of GEC since 1968 it was renamed GEC-Marconi in 1987, Marconi Electronic Systems (MES) in 1998, which became part of BAE Systems in 1999. The Marconi Company should not be confused with the Marconi Corporation which was created in 1999 by the renaming of The General Electric Company (GEC), minus the Marconi Electronic Systems business.
Marconi's "Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company" was formed on 20 July 1897 after granting of a British patent for wireless in March of that year. The Company opened the world's first radio factory on Hall Street in Chelmsford in 1898 and was responsible for some of the most important advances in radio and television. These include:
The diode valve in 1904 (Fleming)
Transatlantic testsHigh Frequency tuned broadcasting
Formation of the British Broadcasting Company (later to become the independent BBC)
Formation of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America (later RCA)
Formation of Marconi Marine (1904)
Short wave beam broadcasting
Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Training College was set up in 1901. Along with private entrepreneurs, Marconi company formed in 1924 the Unione Radiofonica Italiana (URI), which was granted by Mussolini's regime a monopoly of radio broadcasts in 1924. After the war, URI became the RAI, which lives on to this day.
In 1939 the Marconi Research Laboratories at Great Baddow were founded and in 1941 there was a buy out of Marconi-Ecko Instruments to form Marconi Instruments.

Operations as EE subsidiary

English Electric acquired The Marconi Company in 1946 which complemented its other operations; heavy electrical engineering, aircraft and its railway traction business. In 1948 the company was reorganised into four divisions:
These had expanded to 13 manufacturing divisions by 1965 when a further reorganisation took place.

The divisions were placed into three groups :

At this time The Marconi Company had facilities at New Street Chelmsford, Baddow, Basildon, Billericay, and Writtle as well as in Wembley, Gateshead and Hackbridge. It also owned Marconi Instruments, Sanders Electronics, Eddystone Radio, and Marconi Italiano. In 1967 Marconi took over Stratton and Company to form Eddystone Radio.Expansion as GEC subsidiary

In 1967 or 1968 English Electric was subject to a takeover bid by the Plessey Company but chose instead to accept an offer from GEC. The computer section of GEC, English Electric Leo Marconi (EELM), merged with Elliott Automation and International Computers and Tabulators (ICT) to form International Computers Limited (ICL). In 1968 Marconi Space and Defence Systems and Marconi Underwater Systems were formed.

The Marconi Company continued as the primary defence subsidiary of GEC, GEC-Marconi. Marconi was renamed GEC-Marconi in 1987. During the period 1968-1999 GEC-Marconi/MES underwent massive expansion.

Acquisitions which were folded into the company and partnerships established include:
Defense operations of Associated Electrical Industries in 1968, AEI had been acquired in 1967.
Ferranti defence businesses in 1990
Ferranti Dynamics in 1992
Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering in 1995
Alenia Marconi Systems in 1998, a defence electronics company and an equal shares joint venture between GEC-Marconi and Finmeccanica's Alenia Difesa.
Tracor in 1998.
Other acquisitions include:
Divisions of Plessey in 1989 (others acquired by its partner in the deal, Siemens AG, to meet with regulatory approval).
Plessey Avionics
Plessey Naval Systems
Plessey Cryptography
Plessey Electronic Systems (75%)
Leigh Instruments
In a major reorganisation of the company, GEC-Marconi was renamed Marconi Electronic Systems in 1996 and was separated from other non-defence assets.

Marconi name today

In 1999 GEC underwent a major transformation. Marconi Electronic Systems was demerged and sold to British Aerospace which then formed BAE Systems.

GEC, realigning itself as a primarily telecommunications company following the MES sale, retained the Marconi brand and renamed itself Marconi plc. BAE were granted limited rights to continue its use in existing partnerships, however by 2005 no BAE businesses use the Marconi name. Major spending and the dot-com collapse lead to a major restructuring of that group, in a debt for equity swap shareholders were given 0.5% of the new company, Marconi Corporation plc.

In 1999 Reltec and Fore Systems were acquired at the height of the "dot-com" boom. With its subsequent collapse the Marconi Corporation got into financial difficulties.

In October 2005 the Marconi name and most of the assets were proposed to be bought by the Swedish firm Ericsson. The transaction was completed on January 23, 2006 effective as per January 1, 2006. The Marconi name will still be used as brand within Ericsson. The rest of the Marconi company was renamed as telent plc.

Baker, W J. History of the Marconi Company 1894-1965. (1970, 1996)
See also
Marconi Scientists - Article about the 25+ defence employees who have died in mysterious circumstances since the early 1980s.
Marconiphone - the company's domestic receiver brand.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Article on Mr.Thales - the Mathematician

Born - Approximately 624 BC, Miletus, Asia Minor. (Now Balat, Turkey)
Died - Approximately 547 BC

Thales, an engineer by trade, was the first of the Seven Sages, or wise men of Ancient Greece. Thales is known as the first Greek philosopher, mathematician and scientist. He founded the geometry of lines, so is given credit for introducing abstract geometry.
He was the founder of the Ionian school of philosophy in Miletus, and the teacher of Anaximander. During Thales' time, Miletus was an important Greek metropolis in Asia Minor, known for scholarship. Several schools were founded in Miletus, attracting scientists, philosophers, architects and geographers
It is possible that Thales has been given credit for discoveries that were not really his. He is known for his theoretical as well as practical understanding of geometry. Thales is acknowledged by a number of sources as the one who defined the constellation Ursa Minor and used it for navigation. Some believe he wrote a book on navigation, but it has never been found.
Two letters and some verses of Thales are quoted by Diogenes Laertius in his Lives of the Philosophers. Much of what we know of Thales as a philosopher comes from Aristotle. Herodotus, who lived approximately sixty years after Thales, also wrote about him, as did Eudemus, the first major historian of mathematics. Proclus, who wrote in about 450 AD, cited Eudemus' History of Geometry, now lost, as his source. Thales is credited with introducing the concepts of logical proof for abstract propositions.
Thales went to Egypt and studied with the priests, where he learned of mathematical innovations and brought this knowledge back to Greece. Thales also did geometrical research and, using triangles, applied his understanding of geometry to calculate the distance from shore of ships at sea. This was particularly important to the Greeks, whether the ships were coming to trade or to do battle. Thales advised Anaximander's student, Pythagoras, to visit Egypt in order to continue his studies in mathematics and philosophy.
While Thales was in Egypt, he was supposedly able to determine the height of a pyramid by measuring the length of its shadow when the length of his own shadow was equal to his height. Thales learned about the Egyptian rope-pullers and their methods of surveying land for the Pharaoh using stakes and ropes. Property boundaries had to be re-established each year after the Nile flooded. After Thales returned to Greece about 585 BC with notes about what he had learned, and Greek mathematicians translated the rope-and-stake methods of the rope pullers into a system of points, lines and arcs. They also took geometry from the fields to the page by employing two drawing tools, the straightedge for straight lines and the compass for arcs. (See Constructions with compass and straightedge). The Greeks named their paper explorations "geometry" for "earth measure," in honor of the Egyptians from whom the knowledge came.
Thales is credited with the following five theorems of geometry:
1) A circle is bisected by its diameter.
2) Angles at the base of any isosceles triangle are equal.
3) If two straight lines intersect, the opposite angles formed are equal.
4) If one triangle has two angles and one side equal to another triangle, the two triangles are equal in all respects. (See Congruence)
5) Any angle inscribed in a semicircle is a right angle. This is known as Thales' Theorem.
The Egyptians and Babylonians must have understood the above theorems, but there is no known recorded proof before Thales. He used two of his earlier findings -- that the base angles of an isosceles triangle are equal, and the total sum of the angles in a triangle equals two right angles -- in order to prove theorem #5. According to Diogenes Laertius, when Thales discovered this theorem, he sacrificed an ox!
Thales bridged the worlds of myth and reason with his belief that to understand the world, one must know its nature ('physis', hence the modern 'physics'). He believed that all phenomena could be explained in natural terms, contrary to the popular belief at the time that supernatural forces determined almost everything. Thales professed it was "not what we know, but how we know it" (the scientific method). His contributions elevated measurements from practical to philosophical logic.
There are many recorded tales about Thales, some complimentary and others critical:
Herodotus noted that Thales predicted the solar eclipse of 585 BC, a notable advancement for Greek science. Aristotle reported that Thales used his skills at recognizing weather patterns to predict that the next season's olive crop would be bountiful. He purchased all the olive presses in the area, and made a fortune when the prediction came true.
Plato told a story of Thales gazing at the night sky, not watching where he walked, and so fell into a ditch. The servant girl who came to help him up then said to him "How do you expect to understand what is going on up in the sky if you do not even see what is at your feet?"
Quotations attributed to Thales
"A multitude of words is no proof of a prudent mind." "Hope is the poor man's bread." "The past is certain, the future obscure." "Nothing is more active than thought, for it travels over the universe, and nothing is stronger than necessity for all must submit to it." "Know thyself."
Congruent and Similar Triangles
Diggins, Julie E. String, Straightedge and Shadow Viking Press, New York, 1965. (Selections here)
Encyclopedia Phoeneciana. Thales of Miletus.
The Gift of Prometheus: Science of Ancient Civilizations.
Green, Nick. Thales of Miletus.
Heath, T. A History of Greek Mathematics. (Dover Publications, Inc., 1981).
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Thales.
Lendering, Jona. Thales of Miletus.
Luecking, Stephen. Introducing Geometry with a Neolithic Tool Kit.
Mathsnet. Ancient Greeks.
Moon, Mary. Geometry Time Line.
O'Connor, J.O. and Robertson, E.F. Thales of Miletus.
Thales of Miletus - University of St Andrews, Scotland
Shape, Space and Measure (Foundation) - Angle Properties.
Tirabassi, Michael. Foundations of Greek Geometry.
Webster's Biographical Dictionary. (G. & C. Merriam Company, 1980).

Pythagoras of Samos - pure mathematician

Pythagoras of Samos was the first pure mathematician. He is an important figure in the development of mathematics yet we know little about him or his mathematical achievments. We have nothing of his writings.
Pythagoras’s father was Mnesarchus, while his mother was Pythais. She was a native of Samos. Mnesatchus was a merchant who came from Tyre, and there is a story that he brought corn to Samos in a time of famine and was granted citizenship as a show of gratitude.
Little is known about Pythagoras’s childhood. All accounts are likely to be fictional except for a description of a striking birthmark on his thigh. It is probable that he had three brothers, possibly four. He was well educated. He might have played the lore, learned poetry, and recited Homer. Three philosophers were said to influence Pythagoras while he was a young man. The most important was Pherekydes who many call the teacher of Pythagoras.
The other two philosophers said to influence Pythagoras and introduce him to his mathematical ideas were Thalas and his pupil Alexander who both lived on Miletus. It is said that Pythagoras visited Thalas when he was 18-20 years old.
In about 535 BC. , Pythagouras went to Egypt. This happened a few years after the tyrant Polycrates lost control of the city of Samos. There’s evidence to suggest that Pythagoras and Polycrates were friends at first and it is claimed that Pythagoras went to Egypt with a letter of introduction written by Polycrates.
In fact Polycrates had an alliance with Egypt and were therefor-strong links between Egypt and Samos at this time.
Pythagras made a journey to Cretes shortly after his return to Samos from Egypt. He went to study the system of laws there. Back in Sambas he founded a school called the semicircle.
Pythagoras left Samos and went to Southern Italy in about 518 BC.
Pythagoras founded a philosophical and religious school in Croton (now called Crotone) that had many followers. Pythagoras was the head of the society with an inner circle of followers known as the mathematikoi. The mathematokio lived permissibly with the society, had no personal possessions and were vegetarians. They were taught by Pythagoras himself and had strict rules enforced.
Of Pythagroras’s actual work nothing is known. His school practiced secrecy and communalism making it hard to distinguish Pythagoras’s work from his follower’s work. Certainly his school made outstanding contributions to mathematics, and it is possible to be fairly certain about some of his contributions to mathematics.

French mathematician Henri Cartan dies

Henri Cartan, a mathematician known for meticulous proofs and for inspiring a revival of mathematics in France after World War II, died in Paris on Aug. 13. He was 104.

His death was confirmed by the American Mathematical Society.
"He's a mathematician that contributed in two different ways to the subject," said John Morgan, a professor of mathematics at Columbia University. "There was his own work, which was quite influential. But just as influential were the students that he had, which led to the generation of French mathematicians that, at its high point, were the best in the world."
In the 1930s, Professor Cartan was a founding member of a group of French mathematicians who set out to rigorously write down the foundations of mathematics; the group published papers under the pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki.
Many of France's top mathematicians and scientists had died during World War I.
"We were the first generation after the war," Professor Cartan recalled in an interview with the American Mathematical Society in 1999. Professor Cartan said the Bourbaki group was the beginning of a mathematical renewal.
The group worked to establish the foundations for different areas of mathematics, an approach that was highly influential for decades.
"He liked things to be perfect," said Jean-Pierre Serre, an eminent mathematician who was one of Professor Cartan's graduate students.
Again, after World War II, Professor Cartan, who stayed in Paris while many mathematicians left for other countries, inspired a revival of the study of math in France.
He started a seminar series that ran from 1948 until 1964. Each year, a different topic was tackled in depth and detail.
"Nothing was left in the shadows," recalled Luc Illusie of the University of Paris-Sud, in a tribute published in 2004 for Cartan's 100th birthday.
"There was no 'black box,"' he continued. "The necessary preliminaries and background were presented in detail. The proofs were not simply 'sketched' but presented completely. Cartan was concerned that one should understand, a legitimate concern that is no longer so widespread, it seems to me."
In his research, Professor Cartan worked in several areas, but perhaps most significantly in a field known as homological algebra, which applied the technique of algebra to topological spaces.
Together with Samuel Eilenberg, Professor Cartan wrote the fundamental textbook for the subject. Although it was published in 1956, Morgan said he still taught with it.
Henri Cartan was born in 1904, the son of Elie Cartan, one of the most famous mathematicians of the early 20th century. He received a doctorate in mathematics from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.
Professor Cartan taught at the University of Strasbourg from 1931 to 1940 and at the Ecole Normale from 1940 to 1965.
After World War II, Cartan helped French and German mathematicians re-establish academic connections even though the Germans had executed a younger brother of his, who was a member of the French Resistance.
Professor Cartan later taught at the University of Paris-Sud at Orsay until he retired in 1975.
He received the Wolf Prize in Mathematics in 1960, one of the highest awards in the field.
"All by himself, he put the level of French mathematics much higher," Serre said.
This article appeared on page B - 3 of the San Francisco Chronicle

children story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis. Written in 1950 and set in approximately 1940, it is the first-published book of The Chronicles of Narnia and is the best known book of the series. Although it was written and published first, it is second in the series' internal chronological order, after The Magician's Nephew. Time magazine included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.[1]
Lewis dedicated the book to his god-daughter, Lucy Barfield.

Cover of 1950 first edition (hardcover)
Author - C. S. Lewis
Illustrator - Pauline Baynes
Cover artist - Pauline Baynes
Country - United Kingdom
Language - English
Series - The Chronicles of Narnia
Genre(s) - Fantasy, children's literature
Publisher - Geoffrey Bles
Publication date - 1950
Media type - print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages - 208 (modern hardcover)
ISBN - ISBN 0-06-023481-4 (modern hardcover)
Preceded by - The Magician's Nephew(chronology)
Followed by - Prince Caspian (published)The Horse and his Boy(chronology)
Character list
Peter Pevensie is the oldest of the Pevensie siblings. At first, Peter disbelieves Lucy's stories about Narnia, but changes his mind when he sees it for himself. He is hailed as a hero for his part in the overthrow of the White Witch. He is eventually crowned as High King of Narnia, and becomes known as King Peter the Magnificent.
Susan Pevensie is the second oldest of the Pevensie children. She also does not believe in Narnia until she actually comes there. She is crowned High Queen, and becomes known as Queen Susan the Gentle.
Edmund Pevensie is the third of the Pevensie children. In Narnia he meets the White Witch, who plies him with treats (Turkish Delight) and smooth talk. Tempted by the White Witch's promise of power and seemingly unending supplies of Turkish Delight, Edmund betrays his siblings, but eventually regrets his actions and repents. After he helps Aslan and the good citizens of Narnia defeat the White Witch, he is crowned King of Narnia with his brother, and becomes known as King Edmund the Just.
Lucy Pevensie is the youngest Pevensie child. She is the first of them to discover the land of Narnia when she slips through the magical wardrobe in the professor's house. When Lucy tells her siblings, Peter and Susan refuse to believe her and are convinced that she is just having a game, while Edmund persistently encourages and teases her about it. After the restoration of Narnia, Lucy is crowned Queen with her sister Susan, and becomes known as Queen Lucy the Valiant.
Jadis, the White Witch comes from the city of Charn, in a dying world. In Narnia she proclaims herself queen and through her magic rules with an iron fist. Her spell on Narnia makes it always winter but never Christmas. When provoked she uses her wand to turn opponents to stone. But she fears the fulfillment of a prophecy that "two sons of Adam" and "two daughters of Eve" will come to Narnia and help Aslan to overthrow her.
Aslan, a lion, is the true ruler of Narnia. He sacrifices himself to spare Edmund, but is resurrected in time to aid the citizens of Narnia and the Pevensie children in their battle against the White Witch and her minions.
Mr. Tumnus, a faun, is the first person that Lucy meets in Narnia. Tumnus befriends her, despite the White Witch's standing order to kidnap any human who enters Narnia. After getting to know Lucy, he changes his mind about handing her over to the witch. But he is betrayed accidentally by Edmund, who tells the White Witch, before he knew who she was, that Lucy had met a faun. Tumnus is eventually arrested and turned into stone. He is later restored by Aslan and becomes a close friend of the Pevensies.
Professor Digory Kirke takes the Pevensie children in when they are evacuated from London. He is the only one who believes that Lucy did indeed visit Narnia and tries to convince the others of her veracity. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe hints that he knows more of Narnia than he lets on; The Magician's Nephew reveals that he had been present at Aslan's creation of Narnia.
Mrs. MacReady is the housekeeper for Professor Kirke when the Pevensies come to stay.
Mr. Beaver is a friend of Tumnus. He assists the Pevensies in searching for Tumnus and dethroning the White Witch.
Mrs. Beaver is Mr. Beaver's wife.
The Dwarf is the White Witch's right hand man. Unnamed in the book, he is called Ginnarbrick in the film, where he has a more significant role.
Maugrim/Fenris Ulf, a wolf, is the chief of the White Witch's secret police. She sends him to hunt down the Pevensie children. He is killed by Peter at the Stone Table.
Father Christmas arrives when the Witch's magical hold over Narnia begins to break. He gives Peter, Susan and Lucy gifts, which ultimately will help them defeat the White Witch. (Edmund was with the White Witch at the time.) Mrs Beaver is given a better sewing machine and Mr. Beaver gets his dam completed.
Giant Rumblebuffin is turned to stone by the White Witch and brought back to life by Aslan. He breaks down the Witch's gate and crushes some of her army.
Plot summary
The Second World War has just begun and four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, are evacuated from London in 1940 to escape the Blitz. They are sent to live with Professor Digory Kirke, who lives in a country house in the English countryside with his housekeeper, Mrs MacReady, as well as three servants called Ivy, Margaret, and Betty.
One rainy day shortly after the children arrive, they decide to explore the house. Lucy, the youngest of the children, is curious about the wardrobe in an empty room, but discovers that the door to it is a portal to a snow-covered forest with a gaslight post in the centre. There she meets a faun, who introduces himself as Tumnus and invites her home for tea. He tells her that the land is called Narnia and it is ruled by the ruthless White Witch, who ensures that it is always Winter but never Christmas.
Lucy returns through the wardrobe, having spent hours in Narnia, only to find that just a few seconds have passed in England. She is unable to convince the other children about her adventure, as the wardrobe is now just a wardrobe. Edmund, the next youngest of the four siblings, is particularly spiteful towards Lucy. Several weeks later, having forgotten about Narnia, Lucy and Edmund hide in the wardrobe while playing hide-and-seek. He fails to catch up with Lucy, and is approached by an extremely pale lady on a sledge pulled by a white reindeer, who introduces herself as the Queen of Narnia, and provides him with some magical Turkish delight. She promises to make him a Prince and eventually King of Narnia, and persuades him to bring the other children to her house.
Lucy and Edmund meet in the woods and return together through the wardrobe. During their conversation, Lucy mentions the White Witch and Edmund realizes that she is none other than the lady who has befriended him. When they arrive back in England, Edmund lies to Peter and Susan, claiming that he and Lucy were just playing and that the wardrobe is no more than an ordinary one, leaving Lucy very upset.
A few days later, all four children hide in the wardrobe to avoid Mrs MacReady (who was showing some visitors around the house) and find themselves in Narnia. Lucy guides them to Tumnus's cave, only to discover that Tumnus has been captured just as the White Witch had threatened and his cave ransacked by Maugrim, chief of the White Witch's secret police. The children are sheltered by a pair of talking beavers named Mr Beaver and Mrs Beaver, who recount an ancient prophecy that when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve fill the four thrones at Cair Paravel, the witch's power will fail. The beavers tell of the true king of Narnia — a great lion called Aslan — who has been absent for many years, but is now "On the move again."
Edmund, still in the thrall of the witch, runs off to the White Witch's castle and the others do not notice his departure until it is too late to recall him. Realising that they have been betrayed, the others set off to find Aslan. When Edmund reaches the White Witch, she treats him harshly and, taking him with her, sets off to catch the other children. However, her power is failing and a thaw strands her sleigh. The other children reach Aslan, and a penitent Edmund is rescued just as the witch is about to kill him. Calling for a truce, the witch demands that Edmund be returned to her, as an ancient law gives her possession of all traitors. Aslan, acknowledging the law, offers himself in Edmund's place and the witch accepts.
Aslan is sacrificed by the witch, but comes back to life due to the "Deeper magic", which holds that when someone who has committed no treachery willingly sacrifices himself for a traitor, death is reversed, and the martyr returns to life. During a final battle, the witch is defeated and killed by Aslan. The children become kings and queens, and spend 15 years in Narnia, growing to maturity, before returning to our world, where they find themselves children again, only a short time after they originally left. They could hear Mrs MacReady still talking to the visitors in the passageway, meaning that their years in Narnia had taken up no more than a few minutes of time back on this side of the door.
They explained their adventure to the professor, who believed them straight away and told them that they would definitely get back into Narnia one day, though never again through the wardrobe.
Professor Kirke is based on W.T. Kirkpatrick, who tutored a 16-year-old Lewis. "Kirk," as he was sometimes called, taught the young Lewis much about thinking and communicating clearly, skills that would be invaluable to him later.[2]
Narnia is caught in endless winter that has lasted a century when the children first enter. Norse mythology also has a "great winter", known as the Fimbulwinter that is said to precede Ragnarok. The trapping of Edmund by the White Witch is reminiscent of the seduction and imprisonment of Kay by The Snow Queen in Hans Christian Andersen's novella of that name.
The dwarves and giants are from Norse mythology. Fauns, centaurs, minotaurs, dryads, etc. are all from Greek mythology. Father Christmas, of course, was part of popular English folk lore.
The main story is an allegory of Christ's crucifixion. Aslan sacrifices himself for Edmund, a traitor who deserved death, in the same way that Christ sacrificed Himself for sinners. The cross is replaced by the Stone Table (which was used in Celtic religion), both being pagan symbols, in contrast to Christ. Additionally, the splitting of the Stone Table reflects the veil of the temple splitting at the point of Christ's death. As with the Christian Passion, it is women (Susan and Lucy) who tend Aslan's body after he dies and are the first to see him after his resurrection. The significance of the death contains elements of both the ransom theory of atonement and the satisfaction theory: Aslan suffers Edmund's penalty (satisfaction), and buys him back from the White Witch, who was entitled to him by reason of his treachery (ransom). Christ is also associated with lions.
The freeing of Aslan's body from the stone table by field mice is reminiscent of Aesop's fable of "The Lion and the Mouse." In the fable, a lion catches a mouse, but the mouse persuades the lion to release him, promising that the favor would be rewarded. Later in the story, he gnaws through the lion's bonds after he has been captured by hunters.[3]
The plot device of a magic wardrobe which has no back and which provides to children an entrance to worlds of magic and fantasy appeared in 1931 in Erich Kästner's (otherwise very different) children's book The 35th of May, or Conrad's Ride to the South Seas.
Differences between the British and American editions
Prior to the publication of the first American edition of Lion, Lewis made the following changes.
In chapter one of the American edition, the animals that Edmund and Susan express interest in are snakes and foxes rather than the foxes and rabbits of the British edition.
In chapter six of the American edition, the name of the White Witch's chief of police is changed to "Fenris Ulf" from "Maugrim" in the British.
In chapter thirteen, "the roots of the World Ash Tree" takes the place of "the fire-stones of the Secret Hill".
When HarperCollins took over publication of the series in 1994, they used the British edition for all subsequent editions worldwide.[4]
The story has been adapted three times for television, once with costumes (a series in 1976), once as an animated cartoon (a TV-movie in 1979), and once using animatronic puppets (a series in 1988), and adapted a fourth time for a theatrical film (in 2005). The footage for the first one has been lost, while all the others are available on home video. Only the last two of these were followed by sequels with further Narnia stories.
Multiple audio editions have been released. The best-known consists of the book read aloud by Michael York. However, three audio CDs in the form of "radio plays" with various actors, sound effects, and music have also been released, one by the BBC, one by Radio Theatre, and one by Focus on the Family.
In 1984, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was staged at London's Westminster Theatre, produced by Vanessa Ford Productions. The play, adapted by Glyn Robbins, was directed by Richard Williams and designed by Marty Flood. In 1998 the Royal Shakespeare Company premiered their stage version, adapted by Adrian Mitchell, with music by Shaun Davey.
The 2005 film adaptation was distributed by Disney Pictures.
Further reading
Downing, David C. (2005). Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0-7879-7890-6.
Ryken, Leland; and Mead, Marjorie Lamp (2005). A Reader's Guide Through the Wardrobe: Exploring C. S. Lewis's Classic Story. London: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-3289-0.
Sammons, Martha C. (1979). A Guide Through Narnia. Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers. ISBN 0-87788-325-4.
^ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - ALL-TIME 100 Novels - TIME
^ CS Lewis Institute Resources.
^ Project Gutenberg.
^ Ford, Paul (2005). Companion to Narnia, Revised Edition. San Francisco: Harper. ISBN 0-06-079127-6.
External links

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe publication history at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ellis Island - 'The Gateway to America' island that served as the chief immigration centre

Ellis Island, at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor, is the location of what was from January 1, 1892, until November 12, 1954 the main entry facility for immigrants entering the United States; the facility replaced the state-run Castle Garden Immigration Depot (1855-1890) in Manhattan. It is owned by the Federal government and is now part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, under the jurisdiction of the US National Park Service. It is situated in Jersey City, New Jersey and New York City.
Ellis Island was the subject of a border dispute between the states of New York and New Jersey

Ellis Island
Nearest city : Jersey City
Coordinates : 40°41′56.5″N 74°2′22.2″W / 40.699028°N 74.0395°W / 40.699028; -
74.0395Coordinates: 40°41′56.5″N 74°2′22.2″W / 40.699028°N 74.0395°
W / 40.699028; -74.0395
Area : 58.38 acres (0.24 km²) (includes Statue of Liberty NM)
Established : May 11, 1965 (as a national monument)
Visitors : 3,618,054 (includes Statue of Liberty NM) (in 2004)
Governing body : National Park Service
Website :

Originally called Little Oyster Island[1], Ellis Island acquired its name from Samuel Ellis, a colonial New Yorker, possibly from Wales.
TO BE SOLDIt was to be sold by Samuel Ellis, no. 1, Greenwich Street, at the north river near the Jewish Market, That pleasant situated Island called Oyster Island, lying in New Bay, near Powle’s Hook, together with all its improvements which are considerable; also, two lots of ground, one at the lower end of Queen street, joining Luke’s wharf, the other in Greenwich street, between Petition and Dey streets, and a parcel of spars for masts, yards, brooms, bowsprits, & c. and a parcel of timber fit for pumps and buildings of docks; and a few barrels of excellent shad and herrings, and others of an inferior quality fit for shipping; and a few thousand of red herring of his own curing, that he will warrant to keep good in carrying to any part of the world, and a quantity of twine which he sell very low, which is the best sort of twine, for tyke nets. Also a large Pleasure Sleigh, almost new.
—Samuel Ellis advertising in London New York-Packet, 1778

Those with visible health problems or diseases were sent home or held in the island's hospital facilities for long periods of time. Then they were asked 29 questions including name, occupation, and the amount of money they carried with them. Generally those immigrants who were approved spent from two to five hours at Ellis Island. However more than three thousand would-be immigrants died on Ellis Island while being held in the hospital facilities. Some unskilled workers and immigrants were rejected outright because they were considered "likely to become a public charge." About 2 percent were denied admission to the U.S. and sent back to their countries of origin for reasons such as chronic contagious disease, criminal background, or insanity.[4] Ellis Island was sometimes known as "The Island of Tears" or "Heartbreak Island"[5] because of those 2% who were not admitted after the long transatlantic voyage.
Writer Louis Adamic came to America from Slovenia in southeastern Europe in 1913. Adamic described the night he spent on Ellis Island. He and many other immigrants slept on bunk beds in a huge hall. Lacking a warm blanket, the young man "shivered, sleepless, all night, listening to snores" and dreams "in perhaps a dozen different languages". The facility was so large that the dining room could seat 1,000 people.
During World War I, the German sabotage of the Black Tom Wharf ammunition depot damaged buildings on Ellis Island. The repairs included the current barrel-vaulted ceiling of the Main Hall. During the war, Ellis Island was used to intern German merchant mariners and enemy aliens as well as a processing center for returning sick and wounded U.S. soldiers. Ellis Island still managed to process ten of thousands of immigrants a year during this time, but much fewer than the hundreds of thousands a year who arrived before the war. After the war immigration rapidly returned to earlier levels.[3]
Mass processing of immigrants at Ellis Island ended in 1924 after the Immigration Act of 1924 greatly restricted immigration and allowed processing at overseas embassies. After this time Ellis Island became primarily a detention and deportation processing center.[3]
During and immediately following World War II, Ellis Island served as Coast Guard training base and as an internment camp for enemy aliens - American civilians or immigrants detained for fear of spying, sabotage, etc. Some 7,000 Germans, Italians and Japanese would be detained at Ellis Island.[3]
The Internal Security Act of 1950 barred members of Communist or Fascist organizations from immigrating to the U.S. Ellis Island saw detention peak at 1,500 but by 1952, after changes to immigration law and policies, only 30 detainees were present.[3] In November 1954, Ellis Island was closed and unsuccessful attempts to redevelop the site began until its landmark status was established.
As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, Ellis Island, along with Statue of Liberty, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.
Today Ellis Island houses a museum reachable by ferry from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey and from the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City. The Statue of Liberty, sometimes thought to be on Ellis Island because of its symbolism as a welcome to immigrants, is actually on nearby Liberty Island, which is about 1/2 mile to the south. There is also ferry service between the two islands.Staff
The following is a list of the station's commissioners:
1890-1893 Colonel John B. Weber (Republican)
1893-1897 Dr. Joseph H. Senner (Democrat)
1897-1902 Thomas Fitchie (Republican)
1902-1905 William C. Williams (Republican)
1905-1909 Robert Watchorn (Republican)
1909-1913 William C. Williams (Republican)
1914-1919 Dr. Frederic C. Howe (Democrat)
1920-1921 Frederick A. Wallis (Democrat)
1921-1923 Robert E. Tod (Republican)
1923-1926 Henry C. Curran (Republican)
1926-1931 Benjamin M. Day (Republican)
1931-1934 Edward Corsi (Republican)
1934-1940 Rudolph Reimer (Democrat)
1940-1942 Byron H. Uhl
1942-1949 W. Frank Watkins
1949-1954 Edward J. Shaughnessy
Other notable officials at Ellis Island included Edward F. McSweeney (assistant commissioner), Joseph E. Murray (assistant commissioner), Dr. George W. Stoner (chief surgeon), Augustus Frederick Sherman (chief clerk), Dr. Victor Heiser (surgeon), Thomas W. Salmon (surgeon), Howard Knox (surgeon), Antonio Frabasilis (interpreter), Peter Mikolainis (interpreter), Maud Mosher (matron), Fiorello H. La Guardia (interpreter), and Philip Cowen (immigrant inspector).
Prominent amongst the missionaries and immigrant aid workers were Rev. Michael J. Henry and Rev. Anthony J. Grogan (Irish Catholics), Rev. Gaspare Moretto (Italian Catholic), Alma E. Mathews (Methodist), Rev. Georg Doring (German Lutheran), Rev. Reuben Breed (Episcopalian), Michael Lodsin (Baptist), Brigadier Thomas Johnson (Salvation Army), Ludmila K. Foxlee (YWCA), Athena Marmaroff (Women's Christian Temperance Union), Alexander Harkavy (HIAS), Cecilia Greenstone and Cecilia Razovsky (National Council of Jewish Women).
Noted entertainers that performed for detained aliens and US and allied servicemen at the island included Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Enrico Caruso, Rudy Vallee, Jimmy Durante, Bob Hope, and Lionel Hampton and his orchestra.

More than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. The first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island was Annie Moore, a 15-year-old girl from County Cork, Ireland, on January 1, 1892. She and her two brothers were coming to America to meet their parents, who had moved to New York two years prior. She received a greeting from officials and a $10.00 gold piece.[6] The last person to pass through Ellis Island was a Norwegian merchant seaman by the name of Arne Peterssen in 1954. After 1924 when the National Origins Act was passed, the only immigrants to pass through there were displaced persons or war refugees.[7] Today, over 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who first arrived in America through the island before dispersing to points all over the country.
An inaccurate myth persists that government officials on Ellis Island compelled immigrants to take new names against their wishes. In fact, no historical records bear this out. Federal immigration inspectors were under strict bureaucratic supervision and were more interested in preventing inadmissible aliens from entering the country (which they were held accountable for) rather than assisting them in trivial personal matters such as altering their names. In addition, the inspectors used the passenger lists given to them by the steamship companies to process each foreigner. These were the sole immigration records for entering the country and were prepared not by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration but by steamship companies such as the Cunard Line, the White Star Line (which owned the Titanic), the North German Lloyd Line, the Hamburg-Amerika Line, the Italian Steam Navigation Company, the Red Star Line, the Holland America Line, the Austro-American Line, and so forth.[8] The Americanization of many immigrant families' surnames was for the most part adopted by the family after the immigration process, or by the second or third generation of the family after some assimilation into American culture. However many last names were altered slightly due to the disparity between English and other languages in the pronunciation of certain letters of the alphabet.[9]
Medical inspections
The symbols below were chalked on the clothing of potentially sick immigrants following the six-second medical examination. The doctors would look at them as they climbed the stairs from the baggage area up to the Great Hall. Immigrants' behavior would be studied for difficulties in getting up the staircase. Some only entered the country by surreptitiously wiping the chalk marks off or by turning their clothes inside out.
B - Back
C - Conjunctivitis
CT - Trachoma
E - Eyes
F - Face
FT - Feet
G - Goiter
H - Heart
K - Hernia
L - Lameness
N - Neck
P - Physical and Lungs
PG - Pregnancy
S - Senility
SC - Scalp (Favus)
SI - Special Inquiry
X - Suspected Mental defect
X (circled) - Definite signs of Mental defect

Notable immigrantsEllis Island immigrants attaining success in America include: gangster Lucky Luciano, comedian Bob Hope, composer Irving Berlin, football coach Knute Rockne, painter Ben Shahn, painter Arshile Gorky, actress Pola Negri, actress Anna Q. Nilsson, actress Claudette Colbert, Chef Boyardee (Ettore Boiardi), director and actor Erich von Stroheim, actor Bela Lugosi, comedian Karl Dane, actor Antonio Moreno, jurist Felix Frankfurter, Father Flanagan, painter Joseph Stella, composer Jule Styne, comedienne Irène Bordoni, bodybuilder Charles Atlas, novelist Isaac Asimov, Rafaela Ottiano, the Trapp Family Singers, opera singer Ezio Pinza, author and illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, billionaire John Kluge, Annie Moore, tenor and opera singer John McCormack, aviator Hubert Julian, novelist Anzia Yezierska, comedian Sig Ruman, imposter and restaurateur Michael Romanoff, dancing studio legend Arthur Murray, cosmetologist Max Factor, and nutrition and diet guru Gayelord Hauser.
A bridge connects Ellis Island with Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It was built during the restoration of the island and heavy trucks went across it. In 1995 proposals were made either to open it to pedestrians or to build a new bridge for pedestrians. They were defeated by two vested interests: the City of New York and the private operator of the only boat service to the island, the Circle Line. The supposedly inadequate bridge is still in use but closed to the public.[11]
There is a "Wall of Honor" outside of the main building. A myth that it lists all of the immigrants processed there. It is actually a wall giving people the opportunity to make a donation to honor any immigrant into the United States.
Boston based architecture firm Finegold Alexander + Associates Inc, together with the New York architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle, designed the restoration and adaptive use of the Beaux Arts Main Building, one of the most symbolically important structures in American history. A construction budget of US$150 million was required for this significant restoration. The building was opened to the public on September 10, 1990.
As part of the National Park Service's Centennial Initiative, the south side of the island will be the target of a project to restore the 28 buildings that have not yet been rehabilitated.[12]
In film
Ellis Island attracted the imagination of filmmakers as long ago as the silent era. Early films featuring the station include Traffic in Souls (1913); The Yellow Passport (1916), starring Clara Kimbell Young; My Boy (1921), starring Jackie Coogan; Frank Capra's The Strong Man (1926), starring Harry Langdon; We Americans (1928), starring John Boles; Ellis Island (1936), starring Donald Cook; Gateway (1938), starring Don Ameche; and Exile Express (1939), which starred Anna Sten.
More recently, the island was a scene used in Hitch, a motion picture starring Will Smith. He and Eva Mendes take a jet ski to the island and explore the building. The 2006 movie Golden Door culminates with scenes on the island.
The IMAX 3D movie, Across the Sea of Time, about the New York immigrant experience, incorporates both modern footage and historical photographs of Ellis Island.
Ellis Island as a port of entry to the United States of America is described in detail in Mottel the Cantor's Son by Sholom Aleichem. It is also the place where Don Corleone was held as an immigrant boy in The Godfather Part II, where he was marked with an encircled X.
In the film X-Men, a UN summit held on the island is targeted by Magneto, a former immigrant who attempts to artificially change all the delegates present.
The opening scene of Brother From Another Planet takes place on Ellis Island.
The 2006 Italian movie, The Golden Door, (directed by Emanuele Crialese) takes place largely at Ellis Island.
A documentary on the hospital at Ellis Island was created by Lorie Conway.
Federal jurisdiction and state sovereignty dispute
According to the United States Census Bureau, the island, which was largely artificially created through landfill, has an official land area of 129,619 square meters, or 32 acres, more than 83 percent of which lies in the city of Jersey City. The natural portion of the island, lying in New York City, is 21,458 square meters (5.3 acres), and is completely surrounded by the artificially created portion. For New York State tax purposes it is assessed as Manhattan Block 1, Lot 201. Since 1998, it also has a tax number assigned by the state of New Jersey.
On October 15, 1965, Ellis Island was proclaimed a part of Statue of Liberty National Monument, which is managed by the National Park Service. The island is on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. During the colonial period, however, New York had taken possession, and New Jersey had acquiesced in that action. In a compact between the two states, approved by U.S. Congress in 1834, New Jersey therefore agreed that New York would continue to have exclusive jurisdiction over the island.
Thereafter, however, the federal government expanded the island by landfill, so that it could accommodate the immigration station that opened in 1892 (and closed in November 1954). Landfilling continued until 1934. Nine-tenths of the current area is artificial island that did not exist at the time of the interstate compact.
New Jersey contended that the new extensions were part of New Jersey, since they were not part of the previous cession. New Jersey eventually filed suit to establish its jurisdiction, leading New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani dramatically to remark that his father, an Italian who immigrated through Ellis Island, never intended to go to New Jersey.[13]
The dispute eventually reached the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled in 1998 that New Jersey had jurisdiction over all portions of the island created after the original compact was approved. This caused several immediate problems: some buildings, for instance, fell into the territory of both states. New Jersey and New York soon agreed to share claims to the island. It remains wholly a Federal property, however, and none of this legal maneuvering has resulted in either state taking any fiscal or physical responsibility for the maintenance, preservation, or improvement of any of the historic properties.

What is the Witching Hour (Midnight)?

The witching hour is a time of night when supernatural creatures are believed to be particularly active, making it a prime time of night for witchcraft. Many people think of midnight specifically as the witching hour, while others more generally associate it with the dead of night, the dark hours when few people are awake and about. The association of darkness and supernatural activity is quite ancient, although the term “the witching hour” itself only dates back to around the early 1800s; terms like “the witching time of night” were used prior to this period.

Darkness has had mystical associations in many human cultures, perhaps because it is difficult to see at night, causing skewed perceptions of the world. In the middle of the night, people are also presumably more tired, and therefore potentially susceptible to events which may feel supernatural. Traditional witch doctors, shamans, and other supernatural practitioners have often worked at night, belying the idea that only dark magic is practiced at night.

Many people historically believed that the witching hour marked a period of greater activity by witches, demons, ghouls, and other creatures who are not of this world. In some regions of the world, people still try to avoid going out at night during the witching hour, while people who are interested in supernatural events may make a deliberate effort to be out and about at midnight or thereabouts. While belief in the supernatural is generally on the fringes of many modern societies, even pragmatic people have been known to comment that the depths of the night do sometimes feel a bit eerie and mysterious, especially during a new moon.

Members of the neopagan community may perform ceremonies at a late hour to take advantage of the belief that the connection between the supernatural world and the real world is stronger during the witching hour. The witching hour also crops up in many fantasy books, and people may jokingly refer to it in the context of a late night out. In many societies, people who are out late at night are often viewed with suspicion, due to centuries of superstition about the things that happen late at night.

One certainly need not be superstitious to believe in the witching hour. The late hours of the night often do seem to have a different quality than the early evening and the daytime, perhaps because of the lack of people and the darkness. The witching hour often reveals lots of creatures you never see during the day, such as owls, bats, and other nocturnal animals, and this perhaps explains their traditional association with witchcraft in many cultures.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Facts About The Dead Sea - Saltiest Water Body In The World

It is referred to as Al-Bahr Al-Mayyit in Arabic and Yam Ha-Melah in Hebrew. It is a landlocked saltwater lake in southwestern Asia, lying between Israel and Jordan. Its shore, which averages about 400 meters below sea level, is the lowest place on the Earth’s surface. It is the saltiest body of water in the world; about nine times as salty as the ocean. We are referring to the Dead Sea.
Physical featuresThe Dead Sea, whose Hebrew name means "Salt Sea", lies between the hills of Judaea to the west and the Transjordanion plateaux to the east; it lies in the Ghor, a deep fault or break in the Earth’s crust. The lake covers an area of about 1040 square kilometers. It is about 18 kilometers wide at its widest point and about 80 kilometers long.
The peninsula of Al-Lisan (the “tongue”) divides the lake on its eastern side into a large northern basin and a smaller southern basin. The northern basin encompasses about three-fourths of the lake’s total surface area. The deepest part of the lake lies in this area; the lake bottom lies about 400 meters below the surface and about 799 meters below mean sea level. The southern basin is shallower, with a depth of less than three meters on an average.
Climatic conditionsThe Dead Sea lies in a desert where rainfall is scanty and irregular. The region receives less than 4 inches of rain annually. Winters too are mild, averaging 170 C in January at Sedom and 140 C at the northern end. Summers are hot, with the temperature ranging around 340 C in August at Sedom. There has been a recorded maximum of 510 C. Evaporation of the lake’s waters often creates a thick mist above the lake and is averaged at about 55 inches annually. Atmospheric humidity varies from 45 per cent in May to about 62 per cent in October.
Lake breeze is a common phenomenon, in which the breeze blows outward from the lake in all directions during the day. It then reverses direction to blow inward toward the centre of the lake at night, in the form of land breeze.
How it was formed In the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods, about 208 to 66.4 million years ago, the Mediterranean Sea covered extensive areas of Syria and Palestine. The upheaval of the seabed in the Miocene Epoch, about 23.7 to 5.3 million years ago, resulted in the formation of the upfolded Transjordanion highlands and the central range of Palestine, causing fault lines that formed the Dead Sea depression.
The Al-Lisan peninsula as well as Mount Sedom was formed as a result of movements in the earth’s crust. Strata of clay, marl, soft chalk and gypsum, interbedded with sand and gravel are features common to both, the peninsula and the western side of the Dead Sea Valley. It is thus possible to conclude that the uplifting of Mount Sedom and Al-Lisan formed a southern escarpment for the Dead Sea. The water broke through the western half to form the shallow southern end of the Dead Sea.
Its historical significance The Dead Sea has been associated with biblical history since the time of Abraham and the destruction of the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which once stood near the lake. It is believed that these cities, destroyed by fire from heaven because of their wickedness, are now possibly submerged in the southern part of the Dead Sea. It has been referred to in the Bible as the "Salt Sea".
Columns of salt rock on the shore may have the basis for the Biblical story of Lot’s wife who was turned into a pillar of salt as punishment for disobeying God. Ancient manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves near the Dead Sea. Most of these scrolls date from about 100B.C. to about A.D.70.
The water in the Dead Sea The salty waters of the Dead Sea appear smooth and sparkling. Rocky, barren lands surround the lake while steep, brightly colored cliffs rise above its eastern and western banks. With the exception of a few plants and brine shrimp, the lake is devoid of any other form of life and this is why the lake is also called the Dead Sea. The salty soil around the lake too makes it ill suited for the growth of plants. The extreme salinity prohibits the existence of any form of life except bacteria and a few halophytes (plants that grow in salty or alkaline salt).
SourceThe River Jordan and several other smaller streams pour relatively fresh water into the lake, which then mixes with the salt water at the surface. Thermal sulphur springs are another source of water for the Dead Sea. The extreme heat in the area causes this water to evaporate rapidly. As a result, the Dead Sea never grows less salty.
SalinityThe salinity of the water can be attributed to the presence of large amounts of minerals occurring in the form of sodium chloride, bromine, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, hydrogen sulphide and various other sulphates and bicarbonates. The concentration of the salt gradually increases toward the bottom. At a depth of 130 feet, the salinity is less than 300 parts per 1000. It then passes through a transition zone where the water temperature is uniform and the salinity is approximately 332 parts per 1000. The deep waters are saturated with sodium chloride and are fossilized and therefore remain permanently at the bottom; the upper waters date from a few centuries after biblical times.
The Dead Sea constitutes an enormous salt reserve, which is exploited on a small scale by a number of companies.
The saline water of the Dead Sea has a high density. It provides great buoyancy, enabling swimmers to float with ease. Some people believe that bathing in the Dead Sea is healthful because of its high mineral content. Several health resorts in the area provide facilities for bathers.