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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha

The museum located in the Doha and designed by architect I. M. Pei., Houses a collection of works gathered since the late 1980s, including manuscripts, textiles and ceramics. It is one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha
The museum located in the Doha was designed by architect I. M. Pei., Houses a collection of works gathered since the late 1980s, including manuscripts, textiles and ceramics. It is one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts...M.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha
Slip painted earthware dish from Iran or central Asia. 9-10 century.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha
Prayers for the 7 days of the week written in ink, pigment and gold on paper. 15 century from Iran.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha
Qur'an page. Ink, pigment and gold on paper. Egypt 14th century.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha
Al-Majmu'at al-Rashidiyya (Theological Treatise). Written by Rashid al-Din Fadlullah, copied by Muhammad ibn Mahmud al-Baghdadi Iran .Dated Sha'ban - Ramadan 711 AH . Ink, pigment & gold on paper.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha
War mask made of steel with gold inlay from Eastern Turkey/ Western Iran. 15 cenutry.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha
The museum located in the Doha was designed by architect I. M. Pei., Houses a collection of works gathered since the late 1980s, including manuscripts, textiles and ceramics. It is one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts...M.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha
Ewer from Afghanistan (Herat). Late 13 - 14th century made of brass, copper, silver, black compound.
Artifacts in the Museum of Islam Art in Doha

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top 10 Myths About The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages spanned roughly from the 5th century to the 16th century – a total of 1,100 years. During the time following the Middle Ages (which is often referred to as the Enlightenment), the previous millennium was criticized and condemned – just as we now condemn the actions of some during the Victorian Period (sexual prudishness for example). Many of the writers of the newly invented Protestant movement harshly attacked the Middle Ages because of its Catholicity. Unfortunately many of the myths and misconceptions that sprung up at the time are still believed today. This list aims to set things straight.
Death Penalty
Myth: The death penalty was common in the Middle Ages
Despite what many people believe, the Middle Ages gave birth to the jury system and trials were in fact very fair. The death penalty was considered to be extremely severe and was used only in the worst cases of crimes like murder, treason, and arson. It was not until the Middle Ages began to draw to a close that people like Elizabeth I began to use the death penalty as a means to rid their nations of religious opponents. Public beheadings were not as we see in the movies – they were given only to the rich, and were usually not performed in public. The most common method of execution was hanging – and burning was extremely rare (and usually performed after the criminal had been hanged to death first).
Locked Bibles
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Myth: Bibles were locked away to keep the people from seeing the “true word”
During the Middle Ages (until Gutenberg came along) all books had to be written by hand. This was a painstaking task which took many months – particularly with a book as large as the Bible. The job of hand-printing books was left to monks tucked away in monasteries. These books were incredibly valuable and they were needed in every Church as the Bible was read aloud at Mass every day. In order to protect these valuable books, they would be locked away. There was no conspiracy to keep the Bible from the people – the locks meant that the Church could guarantee that the people could hear the Bible (many wouldn’t have been able to read) every day. And just to show that it wasn’t just the Catholic Church that locked up the Bibles for safety, the most famous “chained bible” is the “Great Bible” which Henry VIII had created and ordered to be read in the protestant churches. You can read more about that here. The Catholic diocese of Lincoln makes a comment on the practice here.
Starving Poor
Medieval Feast01
Myth: The poor were kept in a state of near starvation
This is completely false. Peasants (those who worked in manual work) would have had fresh porridge and bread daily – with beer to drink. In addition, each day would have an assortment of dried or cured meats, cheeses, and fruits and vegetables from their area. Poultry, chicken, ducks, pigeons, and geese were not uncommon on the peasants dinner table. Some peasants also liked to keep bees, to provide honey for their tables. Given the choice between McDonalds and Medieval peasant food, I suspect the peasant food would be more nutritious and tasty. The rich of the time had a great choice of meats – such as cattle, and sheep. They would eat more courses for each meal than the poor, and would probably have had a number of spiced dishes – something the poor could not afford. Wikipedia has an interesting article here which describes the mostly vegetable and grain diet of the peasants in the early Middle Ages, leading to more meat in the later period.
Thatched Roofs
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Myth: Peasants had thatched roofs with animals living in them
First of all, the thatched roofs of Medieval dwellings were woven into a tight mat – they were not just bundles of straw and sticks thrown on top of the house. Animals would not easily have been able to get inside the roof – and considering how concerned the average Middle Ager was, if an animal did get inside, they would be promptly removed – just as we remove birds or other small creatures that enter our homes today. And for the record, thatched roofs were not just for the poor – many castles and grander homes had them as well – because they worked so well. There are many homes in English villages today that still have thatched roofs.
Smelly People
Myth: People didn’t bathe in the Middle Ages, therefore they smelled bad
Not only is this a total myth, it is so widely believed that it has given rise to a whole other series of myths, such as the false belief that Church incense was designed to hide the stink of so many people in one place. In fact, the incense was part of the Church’s rituals due to its history coming from the Jewish religion which also used incense in its sacrifices. This myth has also lead to the strange idea that people usually married in May or June because they didn’t stink so badly – having had their yearly bath. It is, of course, utter rubbish. People married in those months because marriage was not allowed during Lent (the season of penance). So, back to smelly people. In the Middle Ages, most towns had bathhouses – in fact, cleanliness and hygiene was very highly regarded – so much so that bathing was incorporated into various ceremonies such as those surrounding knighthood. Some people bathed daily, others less regularly – but most people bathed. Furthermore, they used hot water – they just had to heat it up themselves, unlike us with our modern plumbed hot water. The French put it best in the following Latin statement: Venari, ludere, lavari, bibere; Hoc est vivere! (To hunt, to play, to wash, to drink, – This is to live!)

Peasant Life
Myth: Peasants lived a life of drudgery and back-breaking work
In fact, while peasants in the Middle Ages did work hard (tilling the fields was the only way to ensure you could eat), they had regular festivals (religious and secular) which involved dancing, drinking, games, and tournaments. Many of the games from the time are still played today: chess, checkers, dice, blind man’s bluff, and many more. It may not seem as fun as the latest game for the Wii, but it was a great opportunity to enjoy the especially warm weather that was caused by the Medieval Warming Period.
Violence Everywhere
Tax Of Violence Jr
Myth: The Middle Ages were a time of great violence
While there was violence in the Middle Ages (just as there had always been), there were no equals to our modern Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. Most people lived their lives without experiencing violence. The Inquisition was not the violent bloodlust that many movies and books have claimed it to be, and most modern historians now admit this readily. Modern times have seen genocide, mass murder, and serial killing – something virtually unheard of before the “enlightenment”. In fact, there are really only two serial killers of note from the Middle Ages: Elizabeth Bathory, and Gilles de Rais. For those who dispute the fact that the Inquisition resulted in very few deaths, Wikipedia has the statistics here showing that there were (at most) 826 recorded executions over a 160 year period – from 45,000 trials!
Oppressed Women
Myth: Women were oppressed in the Middle Ages
In the 1960s and 1970s, the idea that women were oppressed in the Middle Ages flourished. In fact, all we need to do is think of a few significant women from the period to see that that is not true at all: St Joan of Arc was a young woman who was given full control of the French army! Her downfall was political and would have occurred whether she were male or female. Hildegard von Bingen was a polymath in the Middle Ages who was held in such high esteem that Kings, Popes, and Lords all sought her advice. Her music and writing exists to this day. Elizabeth I ruled as a powerful queen in her own right, and many other nations had women leaders. Granted women did not work on Cathedrals but they certainly pulled their weight in the fields and villages. Furthermore, the rules of chivalry meant that women had to be treated with the greatest of dignity. The biggest difference between the concept of feminism in the Middle Ages and now is that in the Middle Ages it was believed that women were “equal in dignity, different in function” – now the concept has been modified to “equal in dignity and function”.
Flat Earth
Myth: People in the Middle Ages believed the earth was flat
Furthermore, people did not believe the Earth was the center of the universe – the famous monk Copernicus dealt a death blow to that idea (without being punished) well before Galileo was tried for heresy for claiming that it proved the Bible was wrong. Two modern historians recently published a book in which they say: “there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference.”
Crude and Ignorant
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Myth: People of the Middle Ages were crude and ignorant
Thanks largely to Hollywood movies, many people believe that the Middle Ages were full of religious superstition and ignorance. But in fact, leading historians deny that there is any evidence of this. Science and philosophy blossomed at the time – partly due to the introduction of Universities all over Europe. The Middle ages produced some of the greatest art, music, and literature in all history. Boethius, Boccaccio, Dante, Petrarch, and Machiavelli are still revered today for their brilliant minds. The cathedrals and castles of Europe are still standing and contain some of the most beautiful artwork and stonework man has been able to create with his bare hands. Medicine at the time was primitive, but it was structured and willing to embrace new ideas when they arose (which is how we have modern medicine).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gunners news: Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa

Cazorla leaves it late to ease pressure on Wenger

The Spaniard had given the Gunners an early lead before Andreas Weimann levelled on 68 minutes, but popped up again to score a late winner with just minutes remainingEPL - Arsenal v Aston Villa, Santi Cazorla 

The visitors, meanwhile, were still without skipper Ron Vlaar but welcomed Gabriel Agbonlahor back into the line-up as a left winger.

From the off, it was all Arsenal. The hosts controlled possession with palpable ease and created the first chance of the game after just two minutes, with Jack Wilshere forcing an early save from Brad Guzan.

And the Gunners did not have to wait long to open the scoring as Cazorla found possession minutes later, tucking away an easy finish at the second time of asking. Nathan Baker had blocked the Spaniard’s initial attempt at a cross but Cazorla showed no hesitation in reacting first to convert.

But Villa responded instantly, mustering their first chance of the game after nine minutes as Charles N’Zogbia fed Agbonlahor on the edge of the box, only for the 26-year-old to fire his shot straight at Wojciech Szczesny.

After the Gunners’ emphatic start, a cricket score had looked a possibility but Villa were the side looking more and more likely to score. Close to the half-hour mark, the visitors enjoyed their best chance yet as N’Zogbia was first denied by Szczesny before Andreas Weimann then had his shot cleared by Per Mertesacker.

Theo Walcott curled a left-footed shot over the bar minutes later, before Giroud was then denied by Guzan once again as half-time approached.
But while the Gunners were playing like a side chasing Champions League qualification, the visitors were counterattacking with the hunger typical of a side fighting for vital points to keep them in the Premier League.

And on 68 minutes, Villa made their sharpness on the break tell as Weimann ended a fantastic move with a strike from range – all of which started from an Arsenal corner. Szczesny could have done better between the sticks but it was the speed at which the visitors broke that really caught the home side off-guard.

With the equaliser came tension at the Emirates. The home crowd were anxious and Wenger knew they would settle for nothing less than a win.

The Frenchman responded by replacing Jenkinson with Lukas Podolski in an extremely attacking move. Yet it was Cazorla who again made the difference late on as the Spaniard found himself unmarked on the penalty spot after a Monreal cross to fire home the winner for his side.
The Spaniard had given the Gunners an early lead after five minutes, before Andreas Weimann equalised for the visitors mid-way through the second-half.

But Cazorla was at the ready to slot home with just minutes to go as the Gunners closed the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham to one point, extending Villa’s miserable run to just one win in 10 games.

Wenger made four changes from his side’s 3-1 humbling at the hands of Bayern Munich on Tuesday, with Nacho Monreal returning at left-back and Carl Jenkinson replacing the injured Bacary Sagna. Giroud was also re-installed to lead the line, while Abou Diaby came in for Aaron Ramsey.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekend Diversion: Triangles, a Puzzle, and Beauty

Sierpinski pyramid by Solkoll
Sierpinski pyramid by Solkoll
“Arithmetic! Algebra! Geometry! Grandiose trinity! Luminous triangle! Whoever has not known you is without sense!” -Comte de Lautréamont

When you think about it, it’s amazing that our physical Universe makes sense at all. The fact that we can observe what’s happening, determine the laws that govern it, and predict what will happen under the same or similar circumstances is the most remarkable power that science has. If that’s what you’re doing in any aspect of your life, congratulations, you are a scientist. But that doesn’t tell us, fundamentally, what the Universe is like at its most basic level. Are we made up of point-like particles? Or are they geometric constructions? Are we ripples in the Universe itself? In a way, They Might Be Giants might be pondering exactly this in their song that I present to you this weekend,
At the root of all of this is mathematics, which is in its own way beautiful, elegant, and happens to be our foundation for making sense of the Universe. And in what appeared to be a simple puzzle, I saw an image similar to this one floating around the internet and making the rounds on facebook.
How many triangles? How many triangles are in this image? 92.6% of Americans get this question wrong!
It’s pretty straightforward: an equilateral triangle with three extra lines coming out of two of the vertices, along with a question of “how many triangles?” can be found in this image.
Try solving it yourself, if you like, before reading on, where I’ll explain for you the correct answer, and show you a fun and beautiful math pattern that’s in there, too.
As can be expected, I saw a large number of attempts at answering this, including some fairly sophisticated erroneous ones.
First attempt Image credit: source unknown, retrieved from Irena Haj.
It makes sense to try and construct triangles from each of the points where lines intersect, but you have to be careful not to double-or-triple count triangles. The number here is too high, as the answer isn’t seventy.
How many triangles here Image credit: Patryk Solarczyk.
This one was particularly bothersome, because — spoiler alert — 64 is the right answer, but this diagram is totally wrong, missing some triangles that are actually there, and counting a number of triangles twice. (For example, look at the fifth row, at the red triangle in the first column, and how that’s the same as the green triangle in the sixth row, second column.)
When someone gets the right answer for the wrong reason, it’s particularly aggravating, because it takes multiple mistakes to make that happen. So I’d like to show you a foolproof method for showing you all the unique triangles in this diagram, and when we’re finished, we’ll see a pattern and get a formula to learn something fun and beautiful.
All sixteen points All of the points of intersecting lines within our triangle.
We’re going to start at the bottom of the triangle, with the two base vertices. As we move up the diagram, we’ll progressively run into points where two lines intersect, labeled above in the order we’ll run into them.
Each time we do, we’ll count all the new unique triangles by using the new, intersecting point and one (or both) of the two base vertices at the bottom of the triangle. In order to avoid double-counting, we’ll only create triangles using points below our current point, ensuring that we’ll never count the same triangle twice. You’ll also notice that some points — labeled 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 6 and 7, 9 and 10, 11 and 12, and 14 and 15 — are mirror-reflections of one another, so those sets better give us the same numbers of triangles.
Let’s go through these points, from 1 to 16, and see what we get.
Point 1 Point #1 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
For the first point we come to, there’s only one possible triangle using the points below it: there are three points in a triangle and this triangle uses all of them.
Easy enough, so it’s on to the next one(s) up.
Points 2 and 3 Points #2 and #3 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
As you can see, each of those new points can make two new triangles, one using both base vertices and one using our intersecting point #1, which is now an option in making a triangle. This pattern will continue as we continue to move upwards, as all lower points now become fair game.
So let’s move up to points 4 and 5.
Points 4 and 5 Points #4 and #5 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
There are three new triangles we can construct for each of those, as you can see. This is pretty straightforward, as are points 6 and 7, below.
Points 6 and 7 Points #6 and #7 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
Four new triangles apiece, using all of the allowable, lower points as possible vertices. So far, so good: no double-counting, and no missed triangles. And moving up one more, to intersecting point #8, finally gets a little interesting.
Point 8 Point #8 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
Why is this — point #8 — interesting as compared to the others? Because, for the first time, we can build successful, new, unique triangles that connect to either one of the base vertices, something that we’ll have to keep in mind for all of our subsequent points.
Let’s move on up, and hit points 9 and 10.
Points 9 and 10 Points #9 and #10 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
Points 9 and 10 give us four new, unique triangles each, connecting to either (or both) base vertex (or vertices), as appropriate.
Points 11 and 12 Points #11 and #12 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
And for points 11 and 12, we get five each. Feel free to check: all of these triangles, so far, are unique, and encapsulate all of them. We’ve only got four intersecting points left, so let’s take them all down!
Point 13 Point #13 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
Five more for intersecting point #13…
Point 14 and 15 Points #14 and #15 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
Six each for points #14 and 15, and for the final, uppermost point…
Point 16 Point #16 as a necessary vertex in each triangle.
Seven! All told, we can add these up, and get 1 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 3 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 4 + 4 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 6 + 6 + 7 = 64, and so there are, in fact, 64 unique triangles here.
Now, 64 is an interesting number: it’s a perfect square (82 = 64), it’s a perfect cube (43 = 64), and you might wonder if it’s related to the number of extra lines coming out of those two base vertices. Well, it is, but the pattern is really fantastic. Let’s show you what we get if we count the number of new triangles we were able to create — using each new point as a necessary vertex — as we moved up the triangle.
All points, with the number of triangles on each Number of triangles created at each new vertex, going upwards.
Now, that’s a beautiful pattern, and it happens to be very closely related to the number of lines — in this case, 4 — coming out of each base vertex of the triangle.
If we only had one, we’d only have the lowest line from each vertex, meaning we’d only get 1 triangle.
If we only had two, we’d have the two lowest lines from each vertex, getting a total of 8 triangles: 1 x 1 + 2 x 2 + 3 x 1 = 8.
If we only had three, we’d get the three lowest lines from each vertex, for a total of 27 triangles: 1 x 1 + 2 x 2 + 3 x 3 + 4 x 2 + 5 x 1 = 27.
And as you can see, for four, we get 64: 1 x 1 + 2 x 2 + 3 x 3 + 4 x 4 + 5 x 3 + 6 x 2 + 7 x 1 = 64.
And, as you may have noticed, 13 = 1, 23 = 8, 33 = 27, and 43 = 64, so that’s how the pattern goes! So go ahead and draw a triangle with an arbitrary number of lines coming from each vertex; you’ll not only now know the pattern, including how many triangles you can generate as each vertex as you move upwards, but you now know an awesome way to generate the perfect cubes of numbers! What a fun and beautiful little bit of math, and I hope it helps bring you not only a great weekend, but peace of mind, and closure to this epic triangle riddle!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Canyon de Fer Troyes in Madagascar

Trois de Fer - one of the most exciting attractions in La Reunion, a French island, which lies about 650 kilometers from the east coast of Madagascar near Mauritius. This majestic canyon depth of 300 meters between two huge rocks, and along its bottom river flows Bras de Cavern.

Gorge Trois de Fer is divided two parts - a large crater, six waterfalls, as well as the narrow part of the canyon at the exit of the gorge. The river originates Bras de Cavern are high in the amphitheater on a hillside at an altitude of 210 meters. Usually there is little water, but in the rainy season is filled with a roaring mouth of streams and waterfalls come to life.

Passing 3.5 kilometers, the river flows in the Riviera du Mat, which flows into the Indian Ocean. Trois de Fer was discovered in 1989 and has since become a frequently visited tourist attraction. It is also very often held sporting event.

Because the canyon de Fer, created by volcanic fault, it is very difficult to cross, the center of Reunion Island was protected from human intrusion. Here you can watch this Tumult, with tropical forests, giant ferns and lichens. The forests in the more accessible, low latitudes, have been converted to agricultural land and disappeared from the face of the Earth in the past four hundred years. Expansion of towns and cities here leads to the disappearance of fragile ecosystems and closed only at the very heart of the island's life is governed exclusively by nature and is a natural way.

We already wrote about the many beautiful places in Madagascar, in the course advise you to visit the article on the stone forest of Madagascar in a nature reserve Tsinzhi du Bemaraha.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Free fall from the stratosphere

Felix Baumgartner - skydiver and BASE jumper from Austria went on a specially designed balloon to a height of nearly 36 miles and took a step into the void!
He has already glorified by numerous colorful BASE jumping. He jumped from the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and a skyscraper in Taipei, 101 storeys high. He also became the first man to cross the English Channel in freefall with wings made of carbon material.

1. This event was preceded by almost a year of preparation and creation as a means of lifting to a height, and special equipment for the jump.

2. Dietrich Mateschitz, the founder and owner of Red Bull, has invested in this project more than 50 million euros. And in the Austrian newspaper Österreich wrote that Felix in about 35 seconds after the jump overcome the sound barrier!

5. Felix Baumgartner, rose to a height 38.9 meters above sea level, and then jumped to the ground. After 48 seconds, the speed of its free fall was 1173 km / h
The site has been published live broadcast jump, millions of visitors have followed him. Here is a per-minute statistics views
19:25 Connect commentators, shooting from a helicopter. Rushed!
19:30 capsule off the ground.
19:58 Height - 10 km. More than 2 million viewers on Youtube.
20:37 Height - 20 km. More than three million viewers on Youtube.
21:15 Height - 30 km. More than 4 million viewers on Youtube.
21:58 Height - 38.9 km. More than 6.7 million viewers on Youtube. Baumgartner hovered at this altitude for about 20 minutes and begins to equalize in the capsule.
22:07 Height - 39 km. About 8 million viewers on Youtube. Baumgartner jumps!