Friday, November 30, 2007

Realm of New Zealand
This article is part of the series: Politics and government of New Zealand
The Realm of New Zealand is the territory in which the Queen in right of New Zealand is head of state. The Realm comprises the Cook Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Tokelau and New Zealand's Ross Dependency in Antarctica. The term "Realm of New Zealand" is described in the Letters Patent constituting the office of Governor-General of New Zealand of 1983 in article I.


  • Queen Elizabeth II

    • Hon. Anand Satyanand
      Executive Council

      • Cabinet

        • Prime Minister

          • Rt Hon. Helen Clark

            • House of Representatives

              • Speaker of the House
                Official Opposition

                • Leader of the Opposition

                  • Electoral system
                    Supreme Court

                    • Chief Justice
                      Court of Appeal
                      High Court
                      Regional authorities
                      Territorial authorities
                      Unitary authority
                      Political parties
                      Political topics
                      Māori politics
                      Foreign relations Governor-General
                      The Realm itself is a collection of former British colonies and protectorates. New Zealand was a British colony formed in 1840 and became a dominion in 1907. The Cook Islands and Niue were former British protectorates which were transferred to New Zealand administration in the early twentieth century. The Ross Dependency was put under New Zealand administration in 1923, and Tokelau was transferred to New Zealand from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony in 1925.

                      Sovereignty within the Realm
                      Both the Cook Islands and Niue are said to be self-governing in free association with New Zealand. The New Zealand Parliament is not empowered to unilaterally pass legislation in respect of these countries. In foreign affairs and defence issues New Zealand acts on behalf of these countries but only with their advice and consent.
                      As the Governor-General is resident in New Zealand, the Cook Islands Constitution provides for the distinct position of Queen's Representative. This individual is not subordinate to the Governor-General and acts as the local representative of the Queen in right of New Zealand. As of 2005 Sir Frederick Goodwin is the Queen's Representative to the Cook Islands.
                      According to the Niue's Constitution of 1974, the Governor-General of New Zealand acts as the Queen's representative.
                      In the Cook Islands and Niue the New Zealand High Commissioner is the diplomatic representative from New Zealand. As of 2005, John Bryan is the New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands and Anton Ojala is the New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue.
                      Despite their close relationship to New Zealand, both the Cook Islands and Niue maintain some diplomatic relations in their own name. Both countries maintain High Commissions in New Zealand and have New Zealand High Commissioners resident in their capitals. In Commonwealth practice, High Commissioners represent their governments, not the Head of State.

                      New Zealand
                      Tokelau has a lesser degree of de jure independence than the Cook Islands and Niue have, and is presently moving toward free association status. New Zealand's representative in Tokelau is the Administrator of Tokelau and has the power to overturn rules passed by the general fono.

                      New Zealand's claim to the Ross Dependency is held in abeyance, per the Antarctic Treaty System. The Governor-General of New Zealand, however, is also the Governor of the Ross Dependency. MFAT Speech of 23-Apr-02, Antarctic Conference The Ross Dependency claim includes McMurdo Station, operated by the United States.

                      Ross Dependency

                      Future of the Realm

                      Dominion of New Zealand
                      Commonwealth Realm

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Married to the Mob
Married to the Mob is a 1988 comedy film. It was directed by Jonathan Demme and starred Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine, Dean Stockwell and Mercedes Ruehl.
A FBI agent, Mike Downey, (played by Modine) is trying to infiltrate a mafia family. He sees a chance when Angela de Marco (played by Pfeiffer) tries to leave the criminal lifestyle after her gangster husband, Frank de Marco (Alec Baldwin), is murdered.
The story is complicated by the mafia boss, Tony "The Tiger" Russo (played by Stockwell), who is romantically pursuing Angela but was also the person who killed her husband Frank over a dalliance with his mistress. The plot is further complicated by the mobster's jealous wife, Connie Russo, (played by Mercedes Ruehl) and her suspicions about her husband. Further complication evolves with Mike Downey's romantic interest in the Angela character. Later an attempted assassination against Tony takes places at a "Burger World" drive-through.
Downey eventually goes out with Angela, though Tony eventually finds out about the FBI sting (and Downey's cover). Oliver Platt plays one of the agents tailing Tony.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 18956 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 11 December 1936 until his death. He was the last Emperor of India (until 1947) and the last King of Ireland (until 1949).
As the second son of King George V, he was not expected to inherit the throne and spent his early life in the shadow of his elder brother, Edward. He served in the Royal Navy during World War I, and after the war took on the usual round of public engagements. He married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, and they had two daughters, Elizabeth (who succeeded him as Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret.
At the death of their father in 1936, his brother ascended the throne as Edward VIII. However, less than a year later Edward expressed his desire to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. For political and religious reasons, the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, informed Edward that he could not marry Mrs. Simpson and remain king. So, Edward abdicated to marry. By reason of this abdication, unique in 2000 years of British history, George VI ascended the throne as the third monarch of the House of Windsor.
Within 24 hours of his accession the Irish parliament (the Oireachtas) passed the External Relations Act, which essentially removed the power of the monarch in Ireland. Further events greatly altered the position of the monarchy during his reign: three years after his accession, his realms, except Ireland, were at war with Nazi Germany. In the next two years, war with Italy and the Empire of Japan followed. A major consequence of World War II was the decline of the British Empire, with the United States and the Soviet Union rising as pre-eminent world powers. With the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, and the foundation of the Republic of Ireland in 1949, King George's reign saw the acceleration of the break-up of the British Empire and its transition into the Commonwealth of Nations.

Birth and family
As a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, Albert was styled His Highness Prince Albert of York from birth. In 1898, Queen Victoria issued Letters Patent that granted the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales the style Royal Highness. So, at age two, Albert became His Royal Highness Prince Albert of York.
He often suffered from ill health and was described as "easily frightened and somewhat prone to tears".
Queen Victoria died on 22 January 1901, and the Prince of Wales succeeded her as King Edward VII. The Duke of York became the new Prince of Wales. Prince Edward was then second in line for the throne, and Prince Albert was third.

Early life
From 1909, Albert attended the Royal Naval College, Osborne as a naval cadet. He came bottom of the class in the final examination, but despite this he progressed to the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in 1911.

Military career and education
In a time when royals were expected to marry fellow royals, it was unusual that Albert had a great deal of freedom in choosing a prospective wife. In 1920 he met Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the youngest daughter of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck. He became determined to marry her.

On 20 January 1936, King George V died and Prince Edward ascended the throne as Edward VIII. As Edward had no children, Albert was the heir presumptive to the throne until his unmarried brother had any legitimate children, or died. George V had had severe reservations about Edward, saying, "I pray God that my eldest son will never marry and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne."

Reluctant king
Albert assumed the style and title King George VI to emphasise continuity with his father and restore confidence in the monarchy.
In 1945, in an echo of Chamberlain's appearance, the King invited Churchill to appear with him on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the VE Day celebrations.

Empire to Commonwealth
The stress of the war had taken its toll on the King's health, In 2002, the remains of his wife Queen Elizabeth and the ashes of his daughter, Princess Margaret, were interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George's Chapel alongside him.

Illness and death
There are a number of geographical features, roads, and institutions named after George VI. These include King George Hospital in London; the King George VI Highway, including the King George Station, in the Metro Vancouver district of British Columbia; George VI Sound in Antarctica; and the King George VI Chase, a horse race in the United Kingdom.


Titles, styles and honours
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
and, occasionally, outside of the United Kingdom, and with regard to India (until the King ceased to use the imperial title upon India's independence)
Isle of Man:
Islands of Guernsey & Jersey:

1895–1898: His Highness Prince Albert of York
1898–1901: His Royal Highness Prince Albert of York
1901: His Royal Highness Prince Albert of Cornwall and York
1901–1910: His Royal Highness Prince Albert of Wales
1910–1920: His Royal Highness The Prince Albert
1920–1936: His Royal Highness The Duke of York

  • in Scotland: May 1929: His Grace The Lord High Commissioner
    1936–1952: His Majesty The King
    1936–1947: His Imperial Majesty The King–Emperor
    1936–1952: Lord of Mann
    1936–1952: Duke of Normandy Titles
    From his brother's ascension to the throne, on 20 January 1936, until his own accession, on 11 December 1936, Prince Albert held the style His Royal Highness, The Prince Albert, Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killarney.
    His full style as king was, from 11 December 1936, George the Sixth, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India. Following 1948 the style Emperor of India was dropped, and the King was styled George the Sixth, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith.


    Main article: List of the honours and appointments of George VI of the United KingdomGeorge VI Honours

    Notes and sources

    Bradford, Sarah (1989). King George VI. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. ISBN 0297796674. 
    Howarth, Patrick (1987). George VI. Hutchinson. ISBN 0091710006. 
    Matthew, H. C. G. (2004), "George VI (1895–1952)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press)
    Sinclair, David (1988). Two Georges: the Making of the Modern Monarchy. Hodder and Staughton. ISBN 0340332409. 
    Wheeler-Bennett, Sir John (1958). King George VI: His Life and Reign. New York: Macmillan. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Measure for Measure is a play by William Shakespeare, originally classified in the First Folio as a comedy. This is one of the playwright's three problem plays, so-called because they cannot be easily classified by modern editors.

Measure for Measure was written in 1603 or 1604. The play was first published in 1623 in the First Folio.

Measure For Measure Date and text
The earliest recorded performance of Measure for Measure took place on "St. Steven's night", December 26, 1604. During the Restoration, Measure was one of many Shakespearean plays adapted to the tastes of a new audience. Sir William Davenant inserted Benedick and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing into his adaptation, called The Law Against Lovers. Samuel Pepys saw the hybrid play on 18 February 1662; he describes it in his Diary as "a good play, and well performed"—he was especially impressed by the singing and dancing of the young actress who played Viola, Beatrice's sister (Davenant's creation). Davenant rehabilitated Angelo, who is now only testing Isabella's chastity; the play ends with a triple marriage. This, among the earliest and clumsiest of Restoration adaptations, appears not to have succeeded on stage.
Charles Gildon returned to Shakespeare's text in a 1695 production at Lincoln's Inn Fields; he removed Beatrice and Benedick, but he also removed all of the low-comic characters. Moreover, by making both Angelo and Mariana, and Claudio and Juliet, secretly married, he eliminates almost all of the illicit sexuality that is so central to Shakespeare's play. Gildon also offers a partly facetious epilogue, spoken by Shakespeare's ghost, who complains of the constant revisions of his work. Like Davenant's, Gildon's version did not gain currency and was not revived.
John Rich presented a version closer to Shakespeare's original in 1720.
Notable recent productions of Measure for Measure are Peter Brook's 1950 staging at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre with John Gielgud as Angelo, Charles Laughton as Angelo at the Old Vic Theatre in 1933, and a 1976 New York Shakespeare Festival production featuring Meryl Streep as Isabella and John Cazale as Angelo. The play has only been produced on Broadway once, in a 1973 production that featured David Ogden Stiers as Vincentio and Kevin Kline in the small role of Friar Peter.

The Duke The central figure is the Duke, who spends most of his time dressed as a friar, Lodovic, in order to observe what is happening in his absence. He is seemingly unfailingly virtuous, good, and kind-hearted. He has tended to rule a little softly, which is why he has enlisted Angelo's help. In the First Folio, The Duke is listed in the Dramatis Personae as "Vincentio," but this name appears nowhere else in the play.
Isabella, a novice nun, is a virtuous and chaste young woman who faces a difficult decision when her brother is sentenced to death for fornication. Isabella does not approve of her brother's actions, but she pleads for his life out of loyalty, sisterly devotion, and a belief that the punishment is too harsh for the crime. Ultimately she would rather her brother die and go to heaven, than she herself live a life of hell: "more than our brother is our chastity".
Claudio is Isabella's brother, a young man sentenced to death for impregnating an unmarried woman. He was engaged to her by a common-law agreement, but they had sexual intercourse before the legal marriage took place. According to the play, by the letter of the law this was punishable by death, but the more recent sentence had been to force two 'fornicators' to marry.
Angelo is the villain of the play, a man who rules strictly and without mercy. He has his own weaknesses, however, and he is loathsome more for his hypocrisy than for anything else. He presents Isabella with a difficult proposition, to sleep with him in exchange for her brother's life, but then does not hold up his end of the bargain when he believes she has held hers.
Escalus is a wise lord who advises Angelo to be more merciful. He is loyal to the Duke and seeks to carry out his orders justly, but cannot go against Angelo's will. As his name suggests (Scales) he takes a balanced decision to everything, which in turn makes him one of the most wise characters in the play.
Lucio, described by Shakespeare as a "fantastic," is a flamboyant bachelor who provides much of the play's comedy. He is a friend of Claudio, and tries to help him. He is a bawd himself, but would rather die than marry the 'whore' who is pregnant with his child.
Mariana was intended to marry Angelo, but he called the wedding off when she lost her dowry in a shipwreck that killed her brother.
Mistress Overdone runs a brothel in Vienna.
Pompey is a clown who works for Mistress Overdone.
The Provost runs the prison, and is responsible for carrying out all of Angelo's orders.
Elbow is a dim-witted constable who arrests people for misconduct, particularly of the sexual variety. He provides some comic relief through his frequent use of malapropisms in his speech.
Barnardine is a long-term prisoner in the jail, sentenced to be executed. The Duke originally considers him hopeless and therefore dispensable but later changes his mind.
Juliet is Claudio's lover, pregnant with his child.

Monday, November 26, 2007

St. Elizabeth's flood (1421)
The St. Elizabeth's flood of 1421 was a flooding of an area in what is now the Netherlands. It takes its name from the feast day of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary which was formerly November 19.
During the night of November 18 to November 19, 1421 a heavy storm near the North Sea coast caused the dikes to break in a number of places and the lower lying polder land was flooded. A number of villages were swallowed by the flood and were lost, causing either 2,000 or 10,000 casualties. The dike breaks and floods caused widespread devastation in Zeeland and Holland. This flood separated the cities of Geertruidenberg and Dordrecht which had previously fought against each other during the Hook and Cod (civil) wars.
Most of the area remained flooded for several decades. Reclaimed parts are the Island of Dordrecht, the Hoeksche Waard island, and north-western North Brabant (around Geertruidenberg). Most of the Biesbosch area has been flooded since.
The cause of the flood was not a spring tide like in the great flood of 1953 (see North Sea flood of 1953), but water from the storm in the North Sea surged up the rivers causing the dikes to overflow and break through.

See also

St. Elizabeth's flood (1404)
Floods in the Netherlands
list of disasters

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Penal labour or penal servitude is a form of unfree labour. The term may refer to two different notions: labour as a form of punishment and labour as a form of occupation of convicts.

Punitive labour
Convict or prison labour (also called hard labour) is another classic form of unfree labour used in both past and present as an additional form of punishment beyond imprisonment alone.
Convicts subjected to forced labour have often been regarded with lack of sympathy, because of the social stigma attached to people regarded as "common criminals" and a general perception that it must be deserved through the severity of the crime. In some countries and historical periods, however, prison labour has been forced upon people who have been: victims of prejudice, convicted of political crimes, convicted of "victimless crimes", or people who committed theft or related offences because they lacked any other means of subsistence — categories of people for whom compassion is typically called for.
In the UK in the 19th century, for instance, hard labour became a standard feature of penal servitude as penal transportation was phased out. Although it was prescribed for severe crimes (e.g. rape, attempted murder, malicious wounding, per the 1861 Offences against the Persons Act) it was also widely applied in cases of minor crime such as petty theft and vagrancy, as well as victimless behaviour deemed harmful to the fabric of society. Notable recipients of forced labour under British law include Oscar Wilde (after his conviction for gross indecency) and John William Gott (a terminally ill trouser salesman convicted of blasphemy).
The British penal colonies in Australia between 1788 and 1868 are probably the best examples of convict labour, as described above: during that period, Australia received thousands of transported convict labourers, many of whom had received harsh sentences for minor misdemeanours in Britain or Ireland.
Sometimes authorities turn prison labour into an industry, as on a prison farm. In such cases, the pursuit of income from their productive labour may even overtake the preoccupation with punishment and/or reeducation as such of the prisoners, who are then at risk of being exploited as slave-like cheap labour (profit may be minor after expenses, e.g. on security).
The British Penal Servitude Act of 1853 substituted penal servitude for transportation. Sentences of penal servitude were served in convict prisons and were controlled by the Home Office and the Prison Commissioners. After sentencing, convicts would be classified according to the seriousness of the offence of which they were convicted and their criminal record. First time offenders would be classified in the Star class; persons not suitable for the Star class, but without serious convictions would be classified in the intermediate class; and habitual offenders would be classified in the Recidivist class. Care was taken to ensure that convicts in one class did not mix with convicts in another.

Penal labour Non-punitive prison labour

Galley slave
Convict lease
Chain gang

Saturday, November 24, 2007

William Howard School
The William Howard School is a co-educational comprehensive secondary school on Longtown Road (A6071) in Brampton, Cumbria, England for pupils aged 11-18.

Tanzanian Link
The school is named after Lord William Howard (1563–1640), who was the third son to Thomas Duke of Norfolk. He married Elizabeth, the daughter and co-heiress of William Lord Dacres, from whom the Carlisle branch of the Howard Family is descended.
The school used to be known as the Irthing Valley Secondary Modern School. It merged with another school in Brampton called the White House Grammar School situated on Main Street, in 1980 when comprehensive education replaced the selective education system. The newsreader Anna Ford was a head girl of White House Grammar School in 1961.

Friday, November 23, 2007

During his lifetime, he donated $100 million, mostly to the University of Rochester and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (under the alias "Mr. Smith"). The Rochester Institute of Technology has a building dedicated to Mr. Eastman, in recognition of his support and substantial donations. He endowed the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester.
MIT has a plaque of Eastman (the rubbing of which is traditionally considered by students to bring good luck) in recognition of his donation. Eastman also made substantial gifts to the Tuskegee Institute and the Hampton Institute. Upon his death, his entire estate went to the University of Rochester, where his name can be found on the Eastman Quadrangle of the River Campus. His former home at 900 East Avenue in Rochester, New York was opened as the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in 1949. On the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1954, Eastman was honored with a postage stamp from the United States Post Office.
Eastman had a very fine business sense. He focused his company to making film when competition heated in the camera industry. By providing quality and affortable film to every camera manufacturer, Kodak managed to turn all competition into more business.

George Eastman See also

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut* | Delaware* | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts* | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina* | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | WyomingLists of U.S. county name etymologies * Under construction


U.S. state
County (United States)
List of U.S. state name etymologies

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Great Famine of 1315–1322 was the first of a series of large-scale crises that struck Europe early in the 14th century, causing millions of deaths over an extended number of years and marking a clear end to an earlier period of growth and prosperity during the 11th through 13th centuries. Starting with bad weather in the spring of 1315, universal crop failures lasted through 1316 until the summer of 1317; Europe did not fully recover until 1322. It was a period marked by extreme levels of criminal activity, disease and mass death, infanticide, and cannibalism. It had consequences for Church, State, European society and future calamities to follow in the 14th century.

In the spring of 1315, unusually heavy rain began in much of Europe. Throughout the spring and summer, it continued to rain and the temperature remained cool. Under these conditions grain could not ripen. Grain was brought indoors in urns and pots. The straw and hay for the animals could not be cured and there was no fodder for the livestock. The price of food began to rise. Food prices in England doubled between spring and midsummer. Salt, the only way to cure and preserve meat, was difficult to obtain because it could not be evaporated in the wet weather; it went from 30 shillings to 40 shillings. In Lorraine, wheat prices increased by 320 percent and peasants could no longer afford bread. Stores of grain for long-term emergencies were limited to the lords and nobles. Because of the general increased population pressures, even lower-than-average harvests meant some people would go hungry; there was little margin for failure. People began to harvest wild edible roots, plants, grasses, nuts, and bark in the forests.
There are a number of documented incidents that show the extent of the famine. Edward II, King of England, stopped at Saint Alba's on August 10, 1315 and no bread could be found for him or his entourage; it was a rare occasion in which the King of England, the most prosperous nation in Europe, was unable to eat. The French, under Louis X, tried to invade Flanders, but being in the low country of the Netherlands, the fields were soaked and the army became so bogged down they were forced to retreat, burning their provisions where they left them, unable to carry them out.
In the spring of 1316, it continued to rain on a European population deprived of energy and reserve to sustain itself. All segments of society from nobles to peasants were affected, most of all the peasants, who represented 95% of the population and who had no safety nets. To provide some measure of relief, the future was mortgaged by slaughtering the draft animals; eating the seed grain; abandoning children to fend for themselves (see "Hansel and Gretel"); and, among old people, voluntarily refusing food in hopes of the younger generation surviving. The chroniclers of the time wrote of many incidents of cannibalism.
The height of the famine was reached in 1317 as the wet weather hung on. Finally, in the summer the weather returned to its normal patterns. By now, however, people were so weakened by diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and other sicknesses, and much of the seed stock had been eaten, that it was not until 1325 that the food supply returned to relatively normal conditions and the population began to increase again. Historians debate the toll but it is estimated that between 10%–25% of the population of many cities and towns died. While the Black Death (1338–1375) would kill more, for many the Great Famine was worse. While the plague swept through an area in a matter of months, the Great Famine lingered for years, drawing out the suffering of those who would slowly starve to death, face cannibalism, child-murder and rampant crime.

Great Famine of 1315-1317 Great Famine
The famine is called the Great Famine not only because of the number of people who died, or the vast geographic area that was affected, or the length of time it lasted, but also because of the lasting consequences.
The first consequence was for the Church. No amount of prayer seemed effective against the causes of the famine. In a society where the final recourse to all problems had been religion, no amount of prayer was helping and the famine undermined the institutional authority of the Catholic Church. This helped lay the foundations for later movements that were deemed heretical by the Church because they opposed the Papacy.
Second was the increase in criminal activity. Medieval Europe in the 13th century had already been a violent culture where rape and murder were demonstrably more common than in modern times. With the famine even those who were not normally inclined to criminal activity would resort to any means to feed themselves or their family. After the famine, Europe took on a tougher and more violent edge; it had become an even less amicable place than during the 12th and 13th centuries. The effects of this could be seen across all segments of society, perhaps the most striking in the way warfare was conducted in the 14th century during the bloody 100 Years War, versus the 12th and 13th centuries when nobles were more likely to die by accident in tournament games than on the field of battle.
Third was the failure of the Medieval governments to deal with the crisis.
Fourthly, the Great Famine marked a clear end to an unprecedented period of population growth that had started around 1050; although some believe this had been slowing down for a few decades already, there is no doubt the Great Famine was a clear end of high population growth.
Finally, the Great Famine would have consequences for future events in the 14th century such as the Black Death when an already weakened population would be struck again.

The evidence for cannibalism during the Great Famine is ambiguous and controversial for historians. There are reports from Livonia and Estonia, as well as Ireland and most other parts of Europe. Many historians have discounted it as being improbable that, in a time when the Renaissance was just starting and Dante was creating one of the greatest works of literature in history, people in Europe were eating one another. However, perhaps it says more about modern values, which attribute cannibalism to "the other", than about the realities of one's ancestors doing whatever it took to survive.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Big Dig is the unofficial name of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T), a megaproject that rerouted the Central Artery (Interstate 93), the chief controlled-access highway through the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, into a 3.5 mile (5.6km) tunnel under the city. The project also included the construction of the Ted Williams Tunnel (extending Interstate 90 to Logan International Airport), the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge over the Charles River, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the space vacated by the previous I-93 elevated roadway. Initially, the plan was also to include a rail connection between Boston's two major train terminals.
The final ramp opened 13 January 2006. The project's overall completion is at 99%.
The Big Dig has been the most expensive highway project in the U.S.

Historical background
The project was conceived in the 1970s by the Boston Transportation Planning Review to replace the rusting elevated six-lane Central Artery. The expressway separated downtown from the waterfront, and was increasingly choked with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Business leaders were more concerned about access to Logan Airport, and pushed instead for a third harbor tunnel. In their second terms as governor and secretary of transportation, respectively, Michael Dukakis and Fred Salvucci, came up with the strategy of tying the two projects together—thereby combining the project that the business community supported with the project that they and the City of Boston supported..

Early planning
In addition to these political and financial difficulties, the project faced several environmental and engineering obstacles.
The downtown area through which the tunnels were to be dug was largely landfill, and included existing subway lines as well as innumerable pipes and utility lines that would have to be replaced or moved. Tunnel workers encountered many unexpected geological and archaeological barriers, ranging from glacial debris to foundations of buried houses and a number of sunken ships lying within the reclaimed land.
The project received approval from state environmental agencies in 1991, after satisfying concerns including release of toxins by the excavation and the possibility of disrupting the homes of millions of rats, causing them to roam the streets of Boston in search of new housing. By the time the federal environmental clearances were delivered in 1994, the process had taken some seven years, during which time inflation greatly increased the project's original cost estimates.
Reworking such a busy corridor without seriously restricting traffic flow required a number of state-of-the-art construction techniques. Because the old elevated highway (which remained in operation throughout the construction process) rested on pylons located throughout the designated dig area, engineers first utilized slurry wall techniques to create 120 ft.-deep concrete walls upon which the highway could rest. These concrete walls also stabilized the sides of the site, preventing cave-ins during the excavation process.
The multilane interstates also had to pass under South Station's 7 tracks which carried over 40,000 commuters and 400 trains per day. In order to avoid multiple relocations of the train lines while the tunnelling advanced, as had been initially planned, a specially designed jack was constructed in order to support the ground and tracks to allow the excavation to take place below. Ground freezing was also implemented in order to help stabilise the surrounding ground as the tunnel was excavated. This was the largest tunnelling project undertaken beneath railway lines anywhere in the world. The ground freezing enabled safer, more efficient excavation, and also assisted in environmental issues, as less contaminated fill needed to be exported than if a traditional cut and cover method had been applied.
Other challenges included an existing subway tunnel crossing the path of the underground highway. In order to build slurry walls past this tunnel, it was necessary to dig beneath the tunnel and build an underground concrete bridge to support the tunnel's weight.

The Central Artery/Tunnel Project was managed by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority with design and construction supervised by a joint venture of Bechtel Corporation and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Due to the enormous size of the project—too large for any company to undertake alone—the design and construction of the Big Dig were broken up into dozens of smaller subprojects with well-defined interfaces between contractors. Major heavy-construction contractors on the project included Jay Cashman, Modern Continental, Obayashi Corporation, Perini Corporation, Peter Kiewit Sons' Incorporated, J.F. White, and the Slattery division of Skanska USA. (Of those, Modern Continental was awarded the greatest gross value of contracts, joint ventures included.)
The nature of the Charles River crossing had been a source of major controversy throughout the design phase of the project. Many environmental advocates preferred a river crossing entirely in tunnels, but this, along with 27 other plans, was rejected as too costly. Finally, with a deadline looming to begin construction on a separate project that would connect the Tobin Bridge to the Charles River crossing, Salvucci overrode the objections and chose a variant of the plan known as "Scheme Z". This plan was considered to be reasonably cost-effective, but had the drawback of requiring highway ramps stacked up as high as 100 feet (30 m) immediately adjacent to the Charles River. The city of Cambridge objected to the visual impact of the chosen Charles River crossing design. It sued to revoke the project's environmental certificate and forced the project to redesign the river crossing again. Meanwhile, construction continued on the Tobin Bridge approach. By the time all parties agreed on the I-93 design, construction of the Tobin connector (today known as the "City Square Tunnel" for a Charlestown area it bypasses) was far along, significantly adding to the cost of constructing the U.S. Route 1 interchange and retrofitting the tunnel.
Boston blue clay and other soils extracted from the path of the tunnel were used to cap many local landfills, fill in the Granite Rail Quarry in Quincy, and restore the surface of Spectacle Island in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.
The Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, designed by Swiss designer Christian Menn, is the terminus of the project, connecting the underground highway with I-93 and US 1. The distinctive cable-stayed bridge is supported by two forked towers connected to the span by cables and girders.
The Leverett Circle Connector, a companion bridge to the Zakim, began carrying traffic from I-93 to Storrow Drive in 1999. The project had been under consideration for years, but was opposed by the wealthy residents of the Beacon Hill neighborhood. However, it finally was accepted because it would funnel traffic bound for Storrow Drive and downtown Boston away from the mainline roadway. The Connector ultimately used a pair of ramps that had been constructed for Interstate 695, enabling the mainline I-93 to carry more traffic that would have used I-695 under the original Master Plan.
When construction began, the project cost, including the Charles River crossing, was estimated at $5.8 billion. Eventual cost overruns were so high that the chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, James Kerasiotes, was fired in 2000. His replacement had to commit to an $8.55 billion cap on federal contributions. Total expenses eventually passed $15 billion.

Construction phase
On January 17, 2003, the opening ceremony was held for the I-90 Connector Tunnel, extending the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) east into the Ted Williams Tunnel, and onwards to Logan Airport. (The Williams tunnel had been completed and in limited use for commercial traffic and high-occupancy vehicles since late 1995.) The westbound lanes opened on the afternoon of January 18 and the eastbound lanes on January 19.
The next phase, moving the elevated Interstate 93 underground, was completed in two stages: northbound lanes opened in March 2003 and southbound lanes (in a temporary configuration) on December 20, 2003. A tunnel underneath Leverett Circle connecting eastbound Storrow Drive to I-93 North and the Tobin Bridge opened December 19, 2004, easing congestion at the circle. All southbound lanes of I-93 opened to traffic on March 5, 2005, including the left lane of the Zakim Bridge, and all of the refurbished Dewey Square Tunnel.
By the end of December 2004, 95% of the Big Dig was completed. Major construction remained on the surface, including construction of final ramp configurations in the North End and in the South Bay interchange, and reconstruction of the surface streets. Many impact-mitigation projects (transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and parks) also remain, but some are in danger of cancellation due to cost overruns on the rest of the project.
The final ramp downtown—exit 20B from I-93 south to Albany Street—opened January 13, 2006.
In 2006, the two Interstate 93 tunnels were dedicated as the Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Tunnel, after the former Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts who pushed to have the Big Dig funded by the federal government.

Final phases

Big Dig (Boston, Massachusetts) "Thousands of leaks"
Massachusetts State Police searched the offices of Aggregate Industries, the largest concrete supplier for the underground portions of the project, in June 2005. They seized evidence of faked records that hid the poor quality of concrete delivered for the highway project. In May 2006, six executives of the company, including its general manager, were arrested and charged with crimes related to fraud. Immediately after the arrests, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced he would return $3,900 in political contributions from employees of Aggregate Industries.

Fatal ceiling collapse

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Michaelhouse is the name of one of the former colleges of the University of Cambridge, that existed between 1323 and 1546, when it was merged with King's Hall to form Trinity College. Michaelhouse was the second residential college to be founded, after Peterhouse (1284). Though King's Hall was established earlier in 1317, it did not acquire actual premises until its refoundation by Edward III in 1336.

Reformation and Dissolution
The parish church of St Michael probably dates back to the foundation of the city of Cambridge itself, though no written records survive prior to a valuation of the living in 1217 (see William E. Lunt ed., The Valuation of Norwich, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926, 218). Substantially rebuilt by Hervey de Stanton in the decorated style, the Church was designed to serve both the parish and the college. The chancel is three bays long, a bay larger than the nave; both chancel and nave have side aisles. In 1324, de Stanton had suggested to the bishop of Ely that the master and fellows, who were all members of the clergy, could provide daily worship for the parish, since they already used the church as their chapel. Consequently, on 18 March 1324/5, the first Master of Michaelhouse, Walter de Buxton was inducted as vicar of St Michael's Church (Trinity Archives MS 25). Until the completion of a chapel for neighbouring Gonville Hall in 1396, both Michaelhouse and Gonville shared in the use of the church.
Michaelhouse clergy contiunued to serve the parish until the dissolution of the College in 1546. Until the completion of Trinity College chapel under Mary Tudor in 1565, the scholars of Trinity continued to use St Michael's Church as its chapel. Indeed, when Trinity College was remodelled between 1708-18, the Tudor scholars' seats were transferred to St Michael's Church where they remain today. As successor of Hervey de Stanton's foundation, Trinity College continues to hold the patronage of the living of St Michael's and, during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, fellows in Holy Orders at Trinity College ministered as clergy (so-called 'chaplains') in St Michael's Church. The present minister retains this title.
From the middle of the seventeenth century until the middle of the nineteenth century, the church was used as a venue of the episcopal and archidiaconal visitations for the Diocese of Ely. Similarly, Diocesan confirmation services would be held at St Michael's rather than in Ely Cathedral. On 11 November 1849, as the congregation was gathering for Sunday worship, the heating system caused the church roof to catch fire, resulting in the careful rebuilding of the roof by George Gilbert Scott the following year. Twenty years later, from 1870-2, George Gilbert Scott Junior designed a fine new East Window and matching altarpiece for the chancel, while the ceiling and walls were painted by F.R. Leach.
Ultimately, the parish was too small to be sustainable. Indeed, from as early as 1550, when it was suggested that it should be united with the parish of All Saints in the Jewry, St Michael's parish was threatened with fusion with neighbouring parishes. It was finally united with that Great St Mary's in 1908. Substantially refurbished in 2001-2002, the church now bears the College's name and serves as a weekday church, community centre, art gallery and a café. The chapel adjacent to de Stanton's grave is named in his memory and now, as then, forms the focal point for daily devotions at the church he built.
Michaelhouse, Cambridge
This article derives some information from an edition of 'Trinity College - An Historical Sketch' by GM Trevelyan, along with information from various individuals associated with the College and the University and Andreas Loewe's 'Michaelhouse: City Church, Cambridge College'.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

There are a number of models regarding the ways in which religions come into being and develop. Broadly speaking, these models fall into three categories:
The models are not mutually exclusive. Multiple models may be seen to apply simultaneously, or different models may be seen as applying to different religions.

Models which see religions as social constructions;
Models which see religions as progressing toward higher, objective truth;
Models which see a particular religion as absolutely true; Religions as social construction
This model holds that religion is the byproduct of the cognitive modules in the human brain that arose in our evolutionary past to deal with problems of survival and reproduction. Initial concepts of supernatural agents may arise in the tendency of humans to "over detect" the presence of other humans or predators (momentarily mistaking a vine for a snake). For instance, a man might report that he felt something sneaking up on him, but it vanished when he looked around.

Development of religion Religion as a Byproduct of Evolutionary Psychology
In this model, held by individuals such as Karl Marx and Bertrand Russell, religion is seen as a tool concocted by the powerful to pacify and oppress the powerless. As Bertrand Russell wrote, "Religion in any shape or form is regarded as pernicious and deliberate falsehood, spread and encouraged by rulers and clerics in their own interests, since it is easier to control over the ignorant." In this model, the development of religion is seen as analogous to the growth of a cancer: and the most "developed" religion would be no religion at all. However, there is some question regarding the meaning of Karl Marx's image due to opium in his time being the only widely available pain killer (which, incidently, he had used). Thus, religion would be likened to a powerful pain killer, an idea that religious people would tend to support but that some of Marx's adepts may have misunderstood.

"Theory of religion" model
In the dogma selection model, religion is a set of beliefs which allow humans to encode useful survival tips and social structures. For example, early populations may not have understood microbes (germs), but thinking of illness as being caused by invisible demons that can hop on nearby people and possess them also supplies a mental model that reminds one to stay away from people that are coughing. The demon is an abstraction or approximation of germs and their infectious nature.
Dogma that increases the survival of a group will spread using a kind of Darwinian selection process (see Natural Selection; meme). The most useful dogmas spread because they keep the population that espouses them alive to bear more children. Over time good ideas may "mutate" as new generations or tribal branches alter them and the best variations spread using the selection process described above. Of course sometimes religious doctrine goes awry and ends up in large numbers of deaths, but it is the net benefits that count in the end.

Dogma selection model
In contrast to the above models, the following models see religion as "progressively true." Proponents of these models state that their models differentiate between major world religions and the cults and false religions which develop in the above ways. Within these models, and in contrast to cults, religions reflect an essential Truth to one degree or another. The development of religion is therefore the course of religions aligning themselves more completely with the Truth, as the benefits of the teachings of each religion take effect within the development of humanity across time and place, as well as dealing with drifts of the religions from their founding principles or standing in need of elaborating the same essential truth in a new specific way - but all in relation to the same mysterious God, that is that this progression is divinely based or directed, rather than simply the occurrence of good people in history.
1) Within these models, religions are developed by prophets and teachers who bring genuine insight to religious thought. This contrasts with the "useful lie" model above, which sees religious thought as merely random changes which spread according to their usefulness.
2) Within these models, prophets such as Jesus and Muhammad are seen as outsiders leading a divine rebellion against the dominant and corrupt power structures to rescue humanity from destruction. Religion is therefore "grass-roots" in origin, rather than "imposed by the powerful." This contrasts strongly with the Opiate of the Masses model which sees religion as originating with the rich and powerful as a means of controlling the powerless.
3) Within these models, prophets are seen as having genuine insight and wisdom. This contrasts with the "Theory of Religion" model, which ascribes religious birth and development to some psychological or moral pathology in religious leaders and believers.

Religions as progressively true
To a lesser degree of "progression in religion" is true within most of the religions - Judaism accepts a series of Prophets, progressively leading the Jews, from Abraham down through Moses down to Malachi: see the Nevi'im. Christianity accepts the same and adds Jesus. Islam accepts those of Judaism and Christianity and adds Muhammad. Hinduism identifies a series of Avatars, to use their own terminology, from Brahma through to Krishna. Buddhism identifies a separate series of earlier Buddhas. Zoroastrians also delineate earlier Saviors, or Saoshyants, who came progressively leading the people forward. There are other examples. However this is a minor recognition because the figures referred to are accepted within the religion, or are partial because their references to other religions are not systematic

Minor Progression
In the Bahá'í view, religion develops through a series of divine interventions from God, in the form of a Manifestation of God. Bahá'ís believe that God has sent a number of messengers in different times and cultures to bring divine revelation to humanity. Each of these messengers taught the truth of God, but later messengers provided more information to humanity, because humanity was ready to receive the more subtle teachings. Bahá'ís believe in Adam, the Jewish prophets, Jesus, and Muhammad, among others, as messengers of God. Bahá'í teachings also extend that progression indefinitely into the future. A particularized form of this is often present in other religions. The Abrahamic religions have a certain heritage and disputed progression among them (clearly if Judaism accepted Christianity as the right progression then it wouldn't stay Judaism as we know it for example - the same is true for most of the religions we have today.) The Dharmic religions similarly have a certain heritage and disputed progression. While often categorized as an Abrahamic religion, the Bahá'í faith claims to be a member of the progression of both Dharmic and Abrahamic categories and that other possible divine teachers may have appeared directly among other cultural traditions as among the Native Americans and Australian aboriginal peoples. For all culturally based categories of religions, Bahá'ís believe Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of Bahá'í Faith, has brought the latest revelation from God.
In summarizing this view, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith stated:
"The fundamental principle enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh, the followers of His Faith firmly believe, is that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the nonessential aspects of their doctrines, and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society." (Shoghi Effendi in The Promised Day Is Come, preface) [1]
See Progressive Revelation for more information

Bahá'í prophecy model
In A Study of History, Arnold J. Toynbee argues that as civilizations decay, they experience a "schism in the soul," as the creative and spiritual impulse dies. In this environment of spiritual nadir, a few prophets (such as Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, and Christ) are given to extraordinary spiritual insight, born of the spiritual decay in the dying civilization. He describes such prophets as "surveyors of the course of secular civilization who report breaks in the road and breakdowns in the traffic, and plot a new spiritual course which will avoid those pitfalls."
Thus, he argues, the "high points" in secular history coincide with the "low points" in spiritual history, and vice versa. He notes that the call of Abraham followed the defiance of God by the self-confident builders of the Tower of Babel; that the mission of Moses was to rescue God's chosen people from the fleshpots of Egypt; that the prophets of Israel and Judah were inspired to preach repentance from the spiritual backslidings into which Israel lapsed in its 'land flowing with milk and honey' which Yahweh had provided for them; and that the Ministry of Christ, whose passion reflected the anguish of the Hellenic Time of Troubles, was the intervention of God Himself for the purpose of extending to the whole of Mankind the covenant he had made with Israel.
While these new spiritual insights allow for the birth of a new religion and ultimately a new civilization, they are ultimately impermanent. This is due to their tendency to deteriorate after being institutionalized, as men of God degenerate into successful businessmen or men of politics. He describes the worst corruption of all, however, as "idolizing the terrestrial institution in which the Church Militant on Earth is imperfectly though unavoidably embodied. A church is in danger of lapsing into this idolatry insofar as she lapses into believing herself to be, not merely a depository of truth, but the sole depository of the whole truth in a complete and definite revelation."
Of the possibility that a new religion may arise in Western civilization to finally establish a permanent kingdom of heaven, he concludes that it is unlikely or impossible. "The manifest reason is exhibited by the nature of Society and the nature of Man. For Society is nothing but the common ground between the fields of action of personalities, and human personality has an innate capacity for evil as well as for good. The establishment of such a single Church Militant as we have imagined would not purge Man of Original Sin. This World is a province of the Kingdom of God, but it is a rebellious province, and, in the nature of things, it will always remain so."

A Study of History model
In the following models, religions are seen as absolutely and unchangingly True. They contrast with both the first group of models (which held religion to be false), and the second group (which held religion to develop over time).

Religions as absolutely true
Traditional Judaism teaches that God relates to humanity through a series of covenants, which are initiated by him, and in which God promises to perform certain acts on the condition that humans "keep their side of the bargain." Jews believe that they are bound by the Mosaic law, which includes the Ten Commandments and additional teachings, especially those found in Leviticus and the later Sanhedrin. All non-Jews are under the Noahide Laws, established by God after the global flood which wiped out antediluvian civilization. Those who fulfill their part of the covenant are granted the afterlife.

Jewish model
Many religions which claim an exclusive revelation from God assert that theirs is the "One True Religion," and all others are false, because they do not originate from the same source. Exclusivism can be seen in many religions, particularly in certain branches of Christianity and Islam. In such a model, the development of "True Religion" is inexorably tied to a single prophet and/or holy book, and all other religions are described as "non-religion," in that they originate either from human ignorance, or from the evil influence of deceivers, false prophets, or even Satan. However, Judaism is alone in its belief that both the written and oral Torah, the basis of Judaism, was in fact received by the whole Jewish nation, not a single prophet, on mount Sinai by God himself.

Exclusivist models
Many religions have been deeply influenced by charismatic leaders, such as Jesus, Martin Luther, Saint Francis of Assisi, John Calvin, Joseph Smith, etc. These leaders are either the central teacher and founder of the religion (e.g. Muhammad, Jesus, or Gautama) or reformers or prominent persons. Failed or violent new religions were also founded by charismatic leaders, such as Jim Jones.
There is some similarity to the role played by charismatic figures in politics. See list of charismatic leaders.

Development of religion See also