Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nathan Wolfe: Hunting the next killer virus

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν."

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Heraclitus the Riddler

Sunday, March 22, 2009

toomanytribbles: battlestar galactica of the gaps: a review of the final episode

toomanytribbles: battlestar galactica of the gaps: a review of the final episode

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν."

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Heraclitus the Riddler

Friday, March 20, 2009

the start of the Greek War of Independence 17-03-1821

Petros Mavromichalis 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Petros Mavromichalis (1765-1848).

Petros Mavromichalis (1765-1848) (GreekΠέτρος Μαυρομιχάλης), also known as Petrobey (Πετρομπέης), was the leader of the Maniot people during the first half of the 19th century.

Mavromichalis' family had a long history of revolts against the Ottoman Empire, which ruled most of what is now Greece. His grandfather Georgakis Mavromichalis and his father Pierros Mavromichalis were among the leaders of the Orlov Revolt. The revolt was followed by a period of infighting between the leaders of Mani; soon, young Petros gained a strong reputation for mediating the disputes and reuniting the warring families. During that period he also made an alliance with Napoleon Bonaparte of France, who was fighting in Egypt; Napoleon was to strike the Ottoman Empire in coordination with a Greek revolt. Napoleon's failure in Egypt doomed that plan.

By 1814, the reorganized Maniots again became a threat to the Ottomans, and the sultan offered a number of concessions to Mavromichalis, including his being named Bey, or Chieftain, of Mani - in effect formalizing the de-facto status of autonomy the region had maintained for years. Still, Petrobey continued to organize the Greek capetanei (commanders) of Morea for the revolution that was soon to come. In 1818, he became a member of Filiki Eteria, and in 1819 he brokered a formal pact among the major capetanei families. On March 17, 1821, Petrobey raised his war flag in Areopolis, effectively signaling the start of the Greek War of Independence. His troops marched into Kalamata, and took the city on March 23.

Monument of Petros Mavromichalis in Athens.

After the summer of 1822, Petrobey retired from battle, leaving the leadership of his troops to his sons (two of whom were killed fighting). He continued to act as a mediator whenever disputes arose among the capetanei, and acted as the leader of the Messinian Senate, a council of prominent revolutionary leaders. He also tried to seek support from the West by sending a number of letters to leaders and philhellenes in Europe and the United States.

After the revolution, Petrobey became a member of the first Greek Senate, under the leadership of Ioannis Kapodistrias. The two men soon clashed as a result of Kapodistrias' insistence on establishing a regional administration based on political appointees, replacing the traditional system of family loyalties. Petros' brother Tzanis led a revolt against the appointed governor of Lakonia; the two brothers were invited to meet Kapodistrias and negotiate a solution but, when they showed up, they were arrested. From his prison cell, Petros tried to negotiate a settlement with Kapodistrias; the latter refused. The crisis was then settled by more traditional means: Petros' brother Konstantinos, and son Giorgós Mavromichális, murdered Kapodístrias on October 91831. Petros publicly disapproved of the murder. Kapodistrias was succeeded by King Otto, whose attitude towards the Capetanei was much friendlier. Petros became vice-president of the state council, and later a senator. He died in Athens on January 171848, and was buried with the highest honors.

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν."

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Heraclitus the Riddler

is this just a reload?

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν."

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Heraclitus the Riddler

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sun & Shadow

Mood/Hangulat, originally uploaded by Surtess.

Sun and Shadow

As I look from the isle, o'er its billows of green,
To the billows of foam-crested blue,
Yon bark, that afar in the distance is seen,
Half dreaming, my eyes will pursue:
Now dark in the shadow, she scatters the spray
As the chaff in the stroke of the flail;
Now white as the sea-gull, she flies on her way,
The sun gleaming bright on her sail.

Yet her pilot is thinking of dangers to shun,--
Of breakers that whiten and roar;
How little he cares, if in shadow or sun
They see him who gaze from the shore!
He looks to the beacon that looms from the reef,
To the rock that is under his lee,
As he drifts on the blast, like a wind-wafted leaf,
O'er the gulfs of the desolate sea.

Thus drifting afar to the dim-vaulted caves
Where life and its ventures are laid,
The dreamers who gaze while we battle the waves
May see us in sunshine or shade;
Yet true to our course, though the shadows grow dark,
We'll trim our broad sail as before,
And stand by the rudder that governs the bark,
Nor ask how we look from the shore!

Oliver Wendell Holmes

religious fanatism is the worst !
religious fanaticals are a bunch of perverts!

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν."

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Heraclitus the Riddler

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Freemasonry in Greece: Secret History Revealed

Freemasonry in Greece: Secret History Revealed

A topic insufficiently researched in Greece nowadays is the existence and historical progression of freemasonry in the country. Great debates occur whenever this theme is mentioned, with conspiracy theorists doing their best to blame all of the misfortunes of the Greek state on the existence of the lodges. This article will examine briefly the intriguing and little-known history of freemasonry in the Greek world, as it has unfolded over the past two centuries.
The Early Days: Venetian Influence and the Spirit of Revolution
The first Freemason’s Lodge in Greece was created in 1782 on Corfu. At the time, the island was still under Venetian rule, while most of the rest of Greece was occupied by the Ottomans. The Lodge’s name was “Beneficenza” and was under the direction of the Grand Lodge of Verona, based in Padova, Italy. During that period there were quite a few Greek people residing or studying in Northern Italy, and they were the ones who formed the nucleus of the first Greek lodge; soon they would spread the organizational structure of Freemasonry all around the Greek diaspora in Europe.
In 1790 in Vienna an organization similar in some respects to the Masons was formed by Greek merchants and intellectuals. It was called “Bon Cuisins,” and was presumably associated with the Greek pre-revolutionary intellectual Rigas Feraios, one of the leading figures in spreading revolutionary idea among those Greeks still under the Turkish occupation. This era was one of intellectual ferment, following the American and French revolutions, and thus offered an excellent environment for the dissemination of new ideas. This ideological development would ultimately lead to the dissolution of the world of empires and the emergence of the nation-state.
In the case of Greece, it seems that the lodges became veritable repositories of knowledge, where the information and ideals needed to start an uprising were collected and shared with a select few. Usually, these were Greeks of the diaspora who had the intellectual capacity, as well as the capital, to take the first decisive revolutionary actions.
After 1789, a series of Masonic lodges opened throughout the Heptanisa (“seven islands”) off of the western Greek coast, islands such as Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Ithaka, Zakinthos. At that time, these represented the only area in the Hellenic world in relative peace and prosperity, being as they were under Venetian control.
In 1810, one of the leading figures of Corfu, Dionysios Romas, merged together the two existing local lodges, Filogenia and Agathoergia and thus created the Grand Anatolian Lodge of Hellas and Corfu. After this event, Masonic lodges mushroomed across the Hellenic world so that already by 1812 the Greeks in Moscow were able to organize a formidable secret society. Under the auspices of
Ioannis Kapodistrias, the then-Russian Foreign Minister, a Masonic lodge that encompassed the Greek elite of Tsarist Russia and played an important role towards creating the framework for the forthcoming Greek revolution was created.
Interestingly, it was named the “Phoenix Lodge. The ancient symbol of the Phoenix – the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes – is frequently encountered in Greek mysticism. Ioannis Kapodistrias would become the first head of state in Greece (1827-1831) and was the head of the Phoenix Lodge while still in Moscow. In fact, he even named the first Greek currency ‘phoenix,’ but after his assassination by a Greek clan chief, the famous ‘drachma’ was born.
The grandest Greek secret society of them all, the Philiki Etaireia (“Friendly Society”) used the phoenix as its symbol. Nowadays it is still one of the symbolic emblems of the Freemason Lodges in Greece. Lastly, during the Junta in Greece (1967-1974) the symbol of the regime was the Phoenix again; presumably this owed to the membership of some of its officers in certain Greek Masonic lodges.
One of the most important organizations in modern Greek history, the 
Philiki Etaireia was established on September 14, 1814 in Odessa; it is widely assumed to have been an offshoot of the Phoenix Lodge of Moscow. However, Kapodistrias himself would later voice his opposition to the organization. It was created in order to prepare the Greek populace to rise up against the Ottoman Empire. Its leaders were Nikolaos Skoufas, from the Arta province of Epiros, Emmanuel Ksanthos from Patmos in the Dodecanese, and Athanasios Tsakalov, also from Epirus.

These men had previous connections with secret societies. Ksanthos was a member of the Lodge of Lefkada, while Skoufas’ associate Konstantinos Rados was a devotee of the Italian “Charcoal-burners” Carbonarism movement, an equivalent to the Greek group which sought the unification of Italy. For his part, the much younger Tsakalov had been a founding member of Ellinoglwsso Xenodoxeio (the “Greek-speaking Hotel”), an unsuccessful precursor to the Etairia that was devoted to the same goal of an independent Greece.
It is worthwhile to note that the date of the society’s creation was that of the “Holy Cross,” which in the Greek Orthodox calendar has been associated with the miraculous victory of the Byzantine Empire against a combined Avar-Persian siege in 614 AD. According to hagiographic tradition, Constantinople was in dire danger of falling to the barbarians, until the patriarch of the city ran across the walls, armed with an icon of the Virgin Mary (the icon now resides in the Monastery of Dionysiou on Mt. Athos).
Considering the symbolism and importance of the day for the Greek nation, one can assume that the creators of the Philiki Etaireia chose it in order to highlight to their followers the historical role that this organization planned to play in the future. Indeed, the members of the organization were inevitably high-born and ambitious, and included many Phanariots living in Russia. They firmly believed in the mutual obligation to the Etairia’s secrecy, to the extent that those who revealed its secrets were murdered.
With such severity was the Filiki Etairia able to maintain its cohesion and, in less than seven years, to encompass the length and breadth of Greek populations in Europe, from Alexandria and Antioch to Budapest and Trieste. Most importantly, it created the intellectual foundations upon which a revolutionary uprising could be established.
Freemasonry in Greece after 1830: Philanthropy, Scandal and Schism
During the early years of independence in Greece, there was no notable activity among the Freemasons. Only in 1863, the year that the new Glücksburg royal dynasty came to Greece, was the Panellinio Lodge established in Athens, soon to be followed by numerous others in provisional Greek towns. In 1867, the Grand Orient Lodge of Italy accepted the autonomy of Greek Freemasons and the “Great Orient Lodge of Hellas” was created. The same organization has been known under this name since 1936.
The 19th century saw the Freemasons in Greece engaged in continuous recruitment of new members, despite the fact that it never became fully accepted by Greek society. Freemasonry was often viewed as a heresy by the Orthodox Church, or as a manifestation of unwanted foreign influence in the political sphere. Nevertheless, various philanthropic initiatives were undertaken as a result of Masonic activity. Schools, hospitals, support during wartime, scholarships and so on were the legacy of Greek lodges. These factors explain why, in 1927, the Greek state recognized the Hellenic Lodge as a philanthropic association administered by the Ministry of Public Health.
Unfortunately, during the WWII occupation most of the Greek Masonic archives were destroyed by the Germans. The lodges stopped operating during this turbulent period. In the aftermath of the war, Freemasonry gradually regained its previous influence and spread further in Greek society. Today, a grand building in the centre of Athens attests to the economic affluence of the organization that has managed to retain its veil of secrecy right through the present day.
During the military dictatorship in Greece of 1967-1974, officers involved in the Junta were accused of being Freemasons, something that was decidely bad public relations for the Greek Grand Lodge. In 1980, a Greek journalist, Kostas Tsarouchas, revealed the names and ranks of numerous Greek Freemasons. This revelation created a certain havoc in the Athenian world, because a large number of politicians, judges, academics and other were said to be involved- precisely at a time when political passions in the country were running high, one year before the first socialist government of Andreas Papandreou took power.
Later, in 1993, the
Grand Lodge of Greece was accused by the mother lodge of London of engaging in political activity, supposedly a no-no for Freemasons worldwide. Thus once again was the image of the Greek Lodge tarnished, and as a result a schism began that ultimately brought about the creation of several unrecognized Masonic Lodges in Greece.
However, it should be added that politics and Freemasonry do mix; it would be incomprehensible to expect otherwise from a class of people frequently involved in politics and who exercise political clout. The 1993 argument with the Grand Lodge in London happened, according to rumors, from the different opinions between the Greeks and the British over who had the right to initiate and take under its influence the newly
emerging Masonic lodges of the Balkan states. If true, this would most certainly amount to an act of politics of the higher level. Moreover, the global Freemason movement has always been heavily influenced by its Anglo-Saxon members, and even nowadays the majority of the members worldwide are to be found in Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia. Obviously, the influence they exert is not only spiritual but political as well.
Greek Freemasonry: Some Conclusions
Even though it is difficult to keep track of developments in the Freemason world due to its secrecy, some interesting notes can be made so far as the Greek example is concerned. In our days numerous associations have been active within the Greek society such as the Rotary Club and the Junior Chamber International, and there has been a veritable mushrooming of esoteric societies and other forms of more or less secret fraternities. This proliferation of groups has weakened the traditional supremacy of the Freemasons in Greece.
On balance, the Greek Freemasonry movement has most historical significance in that it was the main procreator of the revolutionary organizations of the early 19th century, chief among them the Philiki Etairia. Similar societies both before and after have drawn from a rich tradition of esoteric customs, symbols and activities. These can be traced ultimately back to the pagan
mystery cults of Greek Antiquity, and the later crypto-Christian groups (when Christians were still being persecuted by the Roman Empire). It can even be argued that the pyramidal, multi-leveled organizational hierarchy of the Philiki Etairia resembles somewhat the neo-Platonic conception of the universal organization of ideality and divinity as laid out byancient authors such as Porphyry and Plotinus.
If all of these are indeed manifestations of the unique Greek passion for convoluted and complex organization, irrational rules and secrecy (the undoing of which would open onto time-honored themes of scandal and betrayal), then one can perceive a continuous historical tradition, in which Freemasonry becomes just one epoch’s manifestation of the seminal impulses and psyche of a people

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν."

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Heraclitus the Riddler

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Watching the Skies at the Ares Rocket Parachute Test (NASA, 3/4/09)

NASA and NASA engineers watch the skies during the Ares I drogue parachute test at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz., on Feb. 28, 2009.

Image credit: NASA/ATK

More about the test:

More about the Ares rockets:

Monday, March 9, 2009

ILIAD the best epic story

The Iliad (Greek: Ἰλιάς [iliás] (Ancient), Ιλιάδα [ili'aða] (Modern)) is, together with the Odyssey, one of two ancient Greek epic poems traditionally attributed to Homer. However, the claim of a single author is disputed, as the poems show evidence of a long oral tradition and hence, possible multiple authors.

Many scholars believe the poem to be the oldest extant work of literature in the ancient Greek language. For most of the 20th century, both the Iliad and the Odyssey have been commonly dated to the late 9th or 8th century BC.
Most still hold this view, notably
Barry B. Powell (who has proposed a link between the writing of the Iliad and the invention of the Greek alphabet), G.S. Kirk, and Richard Janko. However a few others, such as Martin West and Richard Seaford, now prefer a date in the 7th or even the 6th century BC.

The poem concerns events during the ninth year of the Trojan War, the siege of the city of Ilion or Troy, by the Greeks. The plot centers on the Greek warrior Achilles and his anger toward the king of Mycenae, Agamemnon, which proves disastrous for the Greeks. It provides many of the events that the later poems of the Epic Cycle build on, including the death of the Trojan captain Hector.

Written in dactylic hexameter, the Iliad comprises 15,693 lines of verse. Later ancient Greeks divided it into twenty-four books or scrolls, a convention that has lasted to the present day with little change.

The word Iliad means "pertaining to Ilios" (in Latin, Ilium), the city proper, as opposed to Troy (in Greek, Τροία, Troía; in Latin, Troia, Troiae, f., in Turkish Truva), the state centered around Ilium.


"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν."

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Heraclitus the Riddler

Colour Harmony

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν." "We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not." Heraclitus the Riddler

Spiga di grano

Spiga di grano, originally uploaded by ^_^ David La Tache ^_^.
Orthoepy (/'ɔːθəʊiːpɪ/ or /ɔː'θəʊɪpɪ/) means the correct use of words, from the Greek orth- + -epos, correct + word, speech.
The English meaning of orthoepy is correct pronunciation, or the study of pronunciation and how it is used in sentences. This is the only sense in English acknowledged by the OED and Webster's Dictionary. In this sense, its opposite is barbarism.
However, in ancient Greek, orthoepeia generally had the sense of "correct diction" (cf. LSJ ad loc., or the etymology in the OED); the archaic English term for this subject is orthology, and in this sense its opposite is solecism. The study of orthoepeia by the Greek sophists of the fifth century BC, especially Prodicus (c. 396 BC) and Protagoras, also included proto-logical concepts. Protagoras criticized Homer for making the word for "wrath" feminine (Aristotle, Sophistic Refutations 14) and for praying to the Muse with an imperative (ibid. Poetics 19). Plato depicts Protagoras criticizing the poet Simonides for contradicting himself, and then shows Socrates and Prodicus arguing to the contrary that Protagoras has conflated the senses of the words "be" and "become" (Protagoras 339a-340c). Euripides and Aeschylus bicker over orthotes epeon in Aristophanes' comedy The Frogs.