Friday, July 29, 2016

The Cave of John the Baptist near Aenon

Cave of John the Baptist

Hiding Cave of the Baptist at Aenon


In one of the beautiful paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, we find John the Baptist pointing to Heaven with a finger with several debating over the same. However, this symbolic young face does not entirely agree with the representation of John the Baptist as it has been passed down to us. Probably it would seem more appropriate for the character of John the Evangelist having his fingers raised and pointing up to divine existence Presently there is an overall agreement in qualifying the Gospel of John as the most responsive to the call to divine existence, where he gives evidence to have been more concerned in passing down the spirit of the Gospel message than to make a precise report of the historical event.

It is for this reason that at times we tend to find the chronicles of John conflicting with the chronology or with the interpretations of the Synoptic Gospels and we are not attracted in considering it as a vital question. It is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels about the hiding cove of the Baptist at Aenon or his second capture. John is the only evangelist to have attested that the Baptist was in a place known as Aenon.
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Baptizing at Aenon near Salem


It was after this that Jesus and his disciples had gone to the land of Judeo and had remained with them and were baptized. John had been baptizing at Aenon near Salim since there was plenty of water there and the people had come there to be baptized.

Till then he had not been put into prison by King Herod. A discussion had come up between the disciples of John and a Jew over the purification and they came to John asking him `Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordon, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing and all are going to him’. John had replied saying that `no one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven.

You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom, the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease’.

Aenon – Springs


In the writings of Maria Valtorta, few of the pages, mostly in PMG chapters 148, 180.574 are dedicated to the actions of the Baptist and the sad series of events which had ended his life, though no mention has been made of public baptism being performed at Aenon.

The name Aenon is meant to be springs, which is a common name for any place abounding with water and since there was much water there. Hence it is not easy to conclude which is the Aenon that has been named in the Gospel of John.

Archaeologist Dr Shimon Gibson is of the belief that a cave which was discovered in 1999 bears evidence of the presence of Christian during the time of John till the eleventh century. According to legend, an enticing theory is that this seems to be the cave where Elizabeth had sheltered John from the murderous soldiers of King Herod.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Enigma of the Biblical Bath and Volume Measurement during the First Temple

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Biblical Bath – Judahite Storage-Jar


During the First Temple era, there was no prearranged or fixed method of liquid volume measurements prevailing in Judah. The biblical bath that had been assumed to be the basic measurement of the system had not been a measurement at all but a popular vessel, the Judahite storage-jar which was also called the lmlk jar. The other two vessels were the nebel and the kad which were used for other purpose.

The log, hin and the issaron, termed as `measurements’ were considered as part of the system of liquid volume measurements and were really vessels which were part of the official Temple cult all through the Second Temple era and were not part of the First Temple administration and economy.
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The source of the presumed Judahite First Temple era liquid volume measurement system was the bath, comprising of six  or 72 log which also includes the issaron and classified as one-tenth of a bath, as a liquid volume measurement. Three foremost sources had been utilised for reconstructing this liquid volume measurement system – the biblical text, various vessels exposed during archaeological excavations and the epigraphic finds.

Biblical References Testify Fixed Measurements of Liquid Volume


Out of these three sources, the biblical text is said to be the most important for First Temple reality where several of the scholars had presumed that biblical references tends to testify fixed measurements of liquid volume. On close examination of the text it was disclosed that what the scholars had termed as measurements was in reality, vessels that were part of the official cult of the Temple most of which were utilised during the Second Temple age.

The term `log’ has been cited five times in the Bible, all of which is in the same chapter in Leviticus – 14:10, 12, 15, 21 and 24. The `log’ is not a measurement but an oil vessel which can be lifted for waving in the Temple cult or is used for pouring, Leviticus 15 is dated to the post-exilic age with no evidence of using the log within the administration or economy at the time of the First of the Second Temple age.
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The word hin is mentioned in the Bible 22 times and in all cases it is linked with the Temple cult. Just like the `log’, the hin also was not a liquid volume measurement during that period but a vessel.

`Hin’ – Egyptian Loanword for Vessel for Oil/Wine


The name of the vessel, hin could be an Egyptian loanword for a vessel for oil or wine which was utilised for the purpose of the cult. Moreover, the hin does not occur in the Deutronomistic history or in epigraphic sources and hence there is no indication of its use in the administration or the economy of the First or the Second Temple periods.
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In addition, there is no mention for understanding the hin as a sixth of a bath on the foundation of the references in Ezekiel mostly since one can only learn from the texts that the hin had been well-known containing vessels for the use of cult, for offering and for creating ointments.

You could also utilise a half hin, or a third hin or a quarter hin. Based on the fact that there is no confirmation of the use of the hin in the administration or economy it could be guessed that it could be a special, possibly a small and open vessel with restricted use in the cult of the Temple.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Does This Picture Show A Man's Soul Leaving His Body?

Soul

Image of Fatal Accident – Ignited Assertion of Soul Leaving Body


An image of a fatal crash site has ignited assertions that the soul of the victim can be seen leaving his body. Paramedics together with concerned onlookers were seen standing surrounding the victim after he had been involved in an accident on Tuesday in Kentucky. In this weird image something which tends to be a shadow is seen floating above the state trooper’s hat. Witness Saul Vazquez had taken a photograph from a distance, capturing a strange shadow which seemed to be floating above the body of the victim.

The unidentified man had met with an accident on the Bert T Combs Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky and had been rushed to a nearby hospital following the crash where he had been declared dead due to his injuries. Saul had posted on Facebook stating `I took this picture just few minutes ago from the cab of my truck, it was an mishap between Campton and Stanton on the service road just off the Mountain Parkway, zoom in and pay attention to the shadow just off the top of the state trooper hat. All I say is I hope everyone involved is okay’. Saul had captured the strange moment while passing the site of the accident, in his truck.

Captured a Supernatural Moment


Several had commented that it looked like the man’s soul was leaving his body, after he had posted it on Facebook. One person had mentioned that he thinks there’s a person that passed away, looking down on his own body while another commented that in moments of great hardship, there is spirit of soul and that he’s a believer.

 It is said that whenever people tend to meet up with tragedies, in their own lives or in the lives of others, they frequently tend to make sense of it all. Several are of the opinion that a Kentucky man captured a supernatural moment when he had taken a picture of a deadly motorcycle crash earlier in the week. The images seemed to portray the faint outline of a figure hovering over the accident scene and the man involved in the motorcycle crash had breathed his last at the hospital.

Grey Form Seen Rising Above the Scene


Saul had not immediately responded to CNN’s request but had informed CNN affiliate WLEX that the photo had not been altered. The photograph portrays the scene of the crash with the law administrations and paramedics around the scene of accident. Above them and in the midst of two ambulances, an indistinct grey form is seen rising above the scene.

 Television anchors have speculated that it could be a spirit ascending to the next plane or probably an angel which could have been snapped by a lucky traveller as he drove past. But this photograph does not display a spirit or an angel though what is most possible is an erratically shaped piece of dirt which could have been stuck to the lens or the camera’s internal sensor.It is said that dirt or dust on the sensor of a camera adopts a greyish and uncertain appearance in a photograph

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Josephus Problem

Josephus_Problem

Josephus Problem – Theoretical Problem


The Josephus problem in computer science and mathematics is a theoretical problem associated to a definite counting-out game where people tend to be standing in a circle waiting to be executed. Josephus Flavius was the famous Jewish historian of the first century during the era of the Second Temple destruction. It is said that during the Jewish-Roman war, he together with 41 soldiers had been trapped in a cave and surrounded by the Romans.

According to legend the Jews had decided to form a circle and go around it to kill every third remaining person. The counting started at an indicated point in the circle and continued around the circle in a stated direction wherein after a certain number of people had been skipped, the next person was said to be executed.

 This process was repeated with the ones remaining in the circle beginning with the next person and going in the same direction; skipping the same number of individuals till eventually only a single person was left and was freed. In the Jewish rebellion against Rome, Josephus and his companions had been holding out against the Romans in a cave and with defeat impending, they had decided that like the rebels at Masada, they would die rather than be slaves to the Romans.

Highly Addictive Mystery


They had then planned to arrange them in a circle and one person had been designated as number one which proceeded clockwise killing every seventh person. As per the story, Josephus besides other things was an accomplished mathematician and hence he quickly figured out where he should be, in order to be the last to go.

However when the time came, he joined the Roman side instead of killing himself. The Josephus problem is said to be a highly addictive mystery if ever there seemed to be one. A comparatively well-known arithmetical riddle which tends to crop up frequently in general mathematics as well as in computer science, is part of the family of demolition problems.

The historical dimension of the story tends to pique interest and seems complex in resisting the attraction of obtaining more details on how the hero seemed to save his life during those days.
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Medieval Version of Josephus Problem


This historical context enables us to scale the skill of Josephus Flavius in the situation in which he found himself holed in a cave being aware that any flaw would end up in losing his life which is barely favourable to a serene mind in need of solving a cerebral problem which had involved a circle of 41 men.

A Medieval version of the Josephus problem includes 15 Turks together with 15 Christians on board a ship caught in a storm which would sink unless half the passengers were thrown overboard. All 30 of them seemed to stand in a circle and every ninth person is said to be thrown into the sea. In another version the roles of the Turks and the Christian are switched.

In A Foundation for Computer Science, Concrete Mathematics, Graham, Knuth and Patashnik have described and studied a typical variant – Determine where the last survivor tends to stand should there be `n’ people to begin and every second person is removed.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System

EMALS


The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System is said to be a system under development by the United States Navy for launching carrier-based aircraft from aircraft catapult utilising a linear motor drive rather than the conventional steam piston drive.

It utilises computer controlled, solid-state electrics in propelling an armature down a track. The main benefit of the system is that it enables a more graded acceleration encouraging reduced stress on the airframe of the aircraft. Other benefits comprise of lower system weight together with a probable lower cost as well as reduced maintenance needs. Owing to its flexible architecture, the electromagnetic aircraft launch system has the ability to launch a wide variety of aircraft weights and can also be utilised in various platforms with contradictory project structures.

The design is said to include the capability of launching aircraft which tend to be heavier or lighter than the conservative system could accommodate. Besides this, the system needs much less of fresh water thus reducing the requirements of energy-intensive desalination. The age of steam seems to have ended; at least as far as US aircraft carriers are concerned since at Newport News Virginia, the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) had successfully test fired a revolutionary Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System – EMALS.

Higher Launch Energy/More Reliable/Mechanically Modest


This tends to replace the steam catapults since the 1950s, which had been the standard carrier equipment. The test has made a precise splash since it involved an unmanned dead-weight sledge instead of an aircraft that landed around a hundred yards off the bow of the yet under construction vessel. The so called Ford, the first of her class will be the first US navy ship, carrying the electromagnetic launchers and though it would be utilised on all upcoming carriers it would not be retrofitted to existing vessels.

Being under development for more than 25 years and manufactured by General Atomics, EMALS is said to be the first new carrier project technology in 60 years indevelopmentof real-world application.The EMALS has been designed to substitute the steam-powered launch system which had been the standard on strike carrier for a long period.

As per the Navy, EMALS is said to have the potentials of being utilised by a wide selection of aircraft, is near-silent as well as enjoys smoother acceleration together with a much more consistent launch speed. Moreover it also tends to have higher launch energy, seems to be more reliable, mechanically modest and is easy with regards to maintenance.

Substantial Advantages over Present Launch Systems


EMALS has been tested in the first phase of ACT testing which had ended in 2011 and had included 134 operated launches of aircraft, comprising of the F/A-18E Super Hornet, T-45C Goshawk, C-2A Greyhound, and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye together with the F-35C Lightning II. The second phase had seen the launches of the EA-18G Growler and F/A-18C Hornet. Overall 452 operated launches had been piloted.The substantial advantages over present launch systems provided by EMALS comprise of:

  • Reduced operating and life-cycle cost 
  • Reduced thermal signature 
  • Increased launch working capability for operated, un-operated aircraft 
  • Reduced topside weight 
  • Reduced installed volume

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rediscovering Arabic Science

Arabic Science

Saudi Aramco World Magazine – Fascinating Folder on Arabic Islamic Science


The Saudi Aramco World magazine had published in May-June 2007 a fascinating folder on Arabic Islamic science. The folder comprising of 20 pages has many articles exemplified with rich iconography together with informative explanatory captions. From this all-inclusive coverage a long article on Rediscovering Arabic Science has been republished by Richard Covington, a journalist based in Paris who had collaborated with many newspapers and Medias. He had gone through specialized literature making interviews with historians of Islamic science for the purpose of gaining knowledge on the topic.

His production became quite comprehensive covering all the main phases of the scientific as well as the technological tradition of Islam. Readers will get to enjoy the republishing of this piece of scholarship with evidence in an easy readable style regarding one of the most wonderful pages of the civilization of Islam as well as the richest episodes of the history of science.

On probing a case of rare manuscripts, the dapper Lille University professor launched a mini lecture with the rapt group. Nasir al-Din al-Tulsi, the 13th century Persian astronomer and the author of one of the yellowing Arabic language texts, overturned the geocentric Greek view of the universe.
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Medieval Arabs/Muslim Scientists – Ahead of Europe


For most of the westerners, and for several Arabs, the remarkable successes of Arabic language science right from the 8th through the 16th centuries seemed as a surprising detection as though unknown continent had abruptly appeared on the scene. The medieval Arabs as well as Muslim scientists, doctors, scholars and mapmakers were way ahead of Europe in astronomy, mathematics, medicine, optics, cartography, evolutionary theory, physics and chemistry.

Centres for scientific research as well as experimentation occurred across Muslim domains namely in Baghdad, Cairo, Damascus, Bukhara, Samarkand, Shiraz, Isfahan, Toledo, Cordoba, Granada and Istanbul. Generations of science historians had once prohibited Islamic accomplishment and one critic, Pierre Duhem; the French physicist had even accused Muslims of attempting to destroy classical science in his 1914-1916 historic analysis – Le Systeme du Monde (The System of the World). Others had declared that the language of the Arab was not suitable for science, opposes Roshdi Rashed, the dean of the Islamic science in France.
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Ancient Science Come Back to Europe Through Arabic Translation


Rashed, a former fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, professor emeritus at the University of Paris and editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, commented that `otherwise well-respected scholars like Ernest Renan and Paul Tannery excluded even the possibility of an Arabic contribution to science’.

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Most of the ancient science seems to come back to Europe through Arabic translation that was later translated into Latin and other languages. Some important texts such as Ptolemy’s Planisphere, commentary of Galen on Hippocrates’ treatise Airs, Waters, Places and the concluding chapters of the third-century BC mathematician Apollonius’ book on conic sections prevail due to the Arabic translation, since the original Greek manuscripts had all been missing.

However as per astrophysicist Jean Audouze, director of the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris, it is said that the Arabs were not just transmitters of Greek concepts, but were the creators in their own individual right.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dark Web

deep Web

Dark Web – Small Section of Deep Web


The dark web is said to be the World Wide Web content which occurs on darknets, covers networks used by the public Internet but which needs specific software, configuration or authorization for accessing. It tends to form a small section of the deep web, the part of the Web which is not indexed by the search engines. However at times the term `deep web’ seems confusingly used in referring precisely to the dark web.

The darknets that create the dark web comprises of small friend-to-friend peer-to-peer networks together with large popular networks such as Freenet, I2P and Tor which are operated by public organizations as well as individuals. Operators of the dark web tend to refer to the regular web as the Clearnet owing to its encrypted condition. The Tor dark web could be considered as onionland, a reference to the top level domain suffix of the network .onion and the traffic anonymization technique of onion routing.

Around 10% of the network known as the Internet is perceptible to the overall public. Unseen beneath the virtual waterline is a tangled as well as a secretive network called the Deep Web. Unindexed by search engines, which is accessible with only special browsers like The Onion Router – Tor, the Deep Web of peer-to-peer connections enables users to share files directly and secretly.

Dark Web

Tough Application to Privacy


It tends to have a tough application to privacy advocates who have taken advantage of the deficiency of tracking in shielding their anonymity from advertisers as well as officials. Edward Snowden, whistle-blower utilised the Deep Web in gathering much of the information which took him in a worldwide debate. Journalists across the globe are coming to terms in relying on it as a more secure choice to the public Web while searching for sensitive or dangerous information.

However the secretive nature of the network has made it a harbour for convicts of different stripes, operating in almost everything right from illegal drugs to child pornography. In 2013, an online market place, The Silk Road, driven by Internet currency Bitcoin, ruled the headlines when authorities succeeded in closing it down. The site had a status as the Internet’s go-to-destination for illegal drug sales and its end produced a crowd-sourced documentary from actor Alex Winter and a multitude of successors anxious to capitalize on the fall of their known sibling.
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Future of Deep Web – Dar as Its Complex Tangles


Companies like the AT&T which is anxious to review; track as well as control activity within its uncertain borders seemed to be working diligently in bringing about light to the corners of the Deep Web. The government officials together with the law enforcement agencies are concerned regarding the piracy; illegal trafficking and the leaks are in the strange position of endeavouring to police the same wild netherworld they tend to depend on for their own secret operations. But the scandals and secrets would be finding their way to the dark parts of the Web and even though the future of the Deep Web tends to be dark as its complex tangles, it would tend to remain a portion of Internet tradition for years.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Astronomy and Astrology of the Medieval Islamic World

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Medieval Period – Scientists’ Contribution to Astronomy


Scientists during the medieval period had made great contribution to the field of astronomy. They had updated methods of measuring and calculating the movements of heavenly bodies while their work was centred on ancient sources from Greece, India and Iran, they continued to progress models of the universe as well as the movements of the planets in it. In the midst of the eighth and tenth centuries, Baghdad had been a main center of study under the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur and al-Ma’mum though the local rulers through the region, in Cairo, Rayy, Isfahan together with the other cities had supported scientific exploration.

Scientists during that time, translated studies in Sanskrit, Pahlavi and Greek into Arabic and Arab Bedouin was recorded for the first time. The Persian Pahlavi and the Indian Sanskrit sources imparted medieval astronomers methods to calculate the position of heavenly bodies as well as in creating tables recording the movements of the sun, moon and the five known popular planets. The Bedouin traditions contain information on fixed stars, the passage of the sun and moon via the zodiacal signs as well as lunar mansion together with the seasons and connected phenomenon.
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Aristotle’s model of Universe – Widely Accepted


The form of information had been refined in section due to the specific needs of Islam, the religion need the skill to determine the time and direction of Mecca for prayer, accurately, the moment of sunrise and sunset for the purpose of fasting during Ramadan. It was also needed for fixing the appearance of the moon which marked the beginning of a new month, leading to the refinement of scientific instruments. This was an improvement in systems in making observations together with the creation of new calendrical methods.

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Another section of study had been led by astronomers interested in a correct understanding of the movements of the planet in reply to the inquiries of Greek in this area. The most influential Greek texts were more concerned in developing a model of the universe and the movement of the heavenly bodies in it. However the literature planned two diverse approaches to this issue. Aristotle’s model of the universe, on the other hand with the earth at its centre and the sun, moon, planets and the fixed stars that rotate around it, in uniformly turning spheres had been widely accepted.
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Astrology – Predicts Influence of Heavenly Bodies on Events on Earth


The work of Ptolemy instead pursued a purely theoretical, geometrical representation of the universe centred on accurate observation even though it differed with the ideal Aristotelian model of stars and planets.Astrology tends to seek in predicting the influence of the heavenly bodies on events on earth, depending on understanding the movement of the planet together with the skills to calculate their position in the near future.
Astronomy



This way, astrology had been considered as a branch of astronomy with serious scientist like Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi, al-Biruni and Nasir al-Din al-Tusi who wrote astrological treatises. The amount of medieval theologians, jurists and philosophers who had written anti-astrology tract tends to indicate that it was controversial and not accepted universally as a scientific or ethical practice.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

History Mystery: The Hammam, the Ancient Bathing Culture of Middle East


Hammam – Public Bath – Vital Social Institution


Before the arrival of modern plumbing, in any Middle Eastern city, the public bath or hammam had been a vital social institution, though presently bathing is considered as a private activity. Hammam seemed to play a significant role in encouraging hygiene and public health, but they also served as a meeting place where individual could relax and mingle. The history of Hammam in the Mediterranean can be traced to Roman thermae where the baths were common, in a geographic range all throughout the Roman Empire, extending from Europe to North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.

The Roman baths usually had a reception room or apodyterium that led to a hot room known as caldarium – a warm room or tepidarium as well as a cold room called a frigidarium. The visitors moved around through these rooms where the temperature seemed to change stimulating the flow of blood, boosting the body to sweat out the impurities. Eventually some of the baths comprised of areas where the bathers could exercise. As the tradition of the public baths became popular under the Romans, it gradually died out in the West and continued over several centuries in the eastern Mediterranean.


Public Baths – Important Part of Community Life


Byzantine baths in the region followed many of the same traditions of the earlier Roman baths inclusive of the trends in decoration like the intricate mosaic floors. The Umayyad caliphs had constructed mostly lavish private baths as a needed section of their imperial palaces or qusur. Qusayr `Amra’ in Jordon, an eighth-century complex is probably the best known of these, where the walls of the baths are covered with elegant paintings, comprising of scenes showing women bathing.

But Umayyad baths differ to some extent from their predecessors, where the cold room has been removed, reception rooms seems larger, the bath chambers smaller and the layout much more complex. Scholars suggest that the imperial Umayyad baths had been settings for courteous entertainment and period literature relates stories of drinking parties held at the qusur. All through the medieval period, public baths were an important part of community life and the quality and number of baths, were accounted among any city as the most attributes of the country.

Hammams Altered – Progress in Plumbing


The authors of medieval period have mentioned in their description that the hammams alongside mosques, madrasas and gardens are beautiful and prosperous cities. For instance, Hilal al-Sabi projected that at its height,Baghdad had 60,000 bathhouses while al-Sabi could have been overstated. Though the hammams all over the Middle East tend to look like each other, with regards to their basic outlines, the expression of the structure of the bath together with its decoration were locally specific.

Hammam

 The hammams had also fascinated the western visitors. Though most of the studies of hammams concentrated on their architecture and decoration, the objects used in the bath were also taken into account. The hammams were usually single-sex with separate bathhouses or bathing times provided for men and woman. Present day hammams have been altered since progress in plumbing have reduced several of the services as out-dated. While people would regularly go to the public bath for cleansing, presently prefer the convenience of the home bathroom causing the widespread decline of the bathhouse.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Nuremberg

Nuremberg

Nuremberg Undeclared Capital of Holy Roman Empire


Nuremberg city is placed on the river Pegnitz and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in German state of Bavaria in the administrative region of Middle Franconia and is around 170 km north of Munich. It is said to be the second largest city in Bavaria after Munich and the largest in Franconia. It is the unofficial capital of Franconia and is an active place where the nightlife is strong and the beer is as dark as coffee. The town is also the Centre of the Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg.

It is alive with visitors all through the year particularly during the remarkable Christmas market. Nuremberg had been the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire for eras and also the preferred residence of most of the German kings who had kept their crown jewels at this place. Being rich and full with architectural wonder, it is said to be a magnet for well-known artists and the most renowned of them all was Albrecht Durer who was born here. Nuremberg is well-known by its medieval architecture inclusive of the fortifications and stone towers of its Altstadf – Old Town. Towards the northern edge of Altstadt surrounded by red –roofed building is the Kaiserburg Castle.

19th Century – Powerhouse in Industrial Revolution of Germany


The central square – Hauptmarkt comprises of the Schoner Brunnen, the gilded beautiful fountain having tiers of figures and a 14th century Gothic church – Frauenkirche. Martin Luther had said that `Nuremberg shines throughout Germany like a sun among the moon and stars. Towards the 19th century, the city became a powerhouse in the industrial revolution of Germany. When the Nuremberg Chriskind tends to open the christkindlesmarkt every year, on a Friday, before the first Sunday in Advent, the atmosphere gets charged with excited anticipation together with reverent silence.

Though the opening has been the same for years, you will find thousands waiting impatiently on the Main Market Square to hear the familiar words which tend to opens `her’ market. The opening ceremony has been the same over the decades though the festive introduction had been rewritten many times in 1950s and 60s. Nuremberg in Advent is a destination to cherish with friends and family and experience the happiness which comes in with Christmas since Nuremberg is said to be Germany’s Christmas City.

Nurnberg Card – Free Admission to 49 Museums/Free Public Travels


There are endless reasons to love Nuremberg during Christmas time. For some it could be the pleasing smell of unusual spices in the popular Nuremberg gingerbread while for the others it could the Christmas Market where one will find shiny Christmas ornaments, hand-made gold-foil angels, prune men or wooden nativity figures together with nutcrackers are very appealing to the eye. Exclusive boutiques together with shops having rare gift ideas tend to draw you to shop where one can enjoy the Children’s Christmas Market and Sternenhaus theatre and music centre for children.

A visitor spending at least a night in Nuremberg, Erlangen, Fluerth or Schwabach can purchase the `Nurnberg Card which comprises of free admission to 49 museums together with attractions and free travel on all public transport services in Nuremberg and Fluerth. Moreover, a 10 to 15% discounts on purchases in several shops is also offered.Seven theatres varying from children’s theatre to cabaret to charade shows tend to offer attractive 10 to 20% discounts. One of the largest IMAX cinemas of Europe in the CineCitta Nuremberg provides the most current shows with lowered entrance price.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

New Evidence Suggests 9th Planet Lurking at Edge of Solar System

9th Planet

New Evidence of Giant Icy Planet – Solar System


Recently the astronomers at the California Institute of Technology had revealed that they have found new evidence of a giant icy planet prowling in the darkness of our solar system way beyond the orbit of Pluto, known as `Planet Nine’. Their paper which had published in the Astronomical Journal assess that the mass of the planet as five to 10 times that of the Earth. However, the authors, astronomers Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin had not noticed the planet directly.

On the contrary they had inferred its existence from the motion of lately learned about dwarfed planets as well as other small objects in the outer solar system. These small bodies seem to have orbits which look to be subjective to the gravity of hidden planet – a `massive perturber’. The astronomers propose that it could have been thrown into deep space long ago by gravitational force of Jupiter or Saturn.

Telescopic searches on at least two continents are on, for the object which on an average is 20 times beyond the eighth planet, Neptune. If the `Planet Nine seems to exist, it could be big around two to four times the diameter of the Earth and that would make it the fifth largest planet after Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
9th planet

New Horizons of NASA – Revealed World of Atmosphere/Weather….


However at such great expanses, it could reflect very little sunlight that it could have gone unnoticed by even the most powerful telescopes. On validation of its existence, the models of the solar system could be reconfigured. Pluto which was discovered in 1930 had spent three quarters of a century as the iconic ninth planet and then a decade ago, Pluto had received a debated demotion in large portion due to Brown.

As per his observation of the outer solar system, he had recognized several small worlds, some close to the size of Pluto and had urged the International Astronomical Union of reconsidering the definition of a planet. The IAU had elected to change the classification of Pluto to `dwarf planet’ a decision which was ridiculed constantly last summer when probe of New Horizons of NASA flew past Pluto, revealing a world with an atmosphere, weather together with a volatile as well as vigorously reworked surface.

Other Explanations for Observed Motion of Small Bodies in Solar System


Brown who tends to tweet under the handle @plutokiller and had written the book `How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming’, mentioned that now could be the time to rewrite the textbooks yet again’. Jim Green, director of planetary science of NASA, warned that there could be other explanations for the observed motion of the small bodies in the outer solar system.He referred the well-known statement from Car Sagan that `extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence’.

He further added `The Sagan Rule applies – If it is there, find it, I challenge you. Somebody out there ought to find it’. He mentioned that he was excited regarding the new research and commented that `what an era we are in, where we’re discovering new things about our solar system that we never thought possible even a handful of years ago’.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Shakuntala Railway - A Railway Ride into History

loco
Picture Courtesy: Rogier Koops

Shakuntala Railway - Century Old Operational Train Line


India seemed to have a century old operational train line, till 2014 that had not been in possession of the Indian Government. Several of the people were of the opinion that the rail assets inclusive of trains and tracks were the possession of the Indian Railways. However there seems to be a railway network known as Shakuntala Railway which was retained by a private British company and till recently- 2014, it was said that each year the British company netted revenue of around 1 crore from this set apart rail network.

The said rail network built during the time of the British rule by a British company in 1903 is known as Killick, Nixon and Company – KNC, for transporting cotton from Vidharba – Maharashtra, to Bombay, to be shipped to Manchester. The British owned company received the royalty from the Indian Railways for running the passenger train – Shakuntala Express on its narrow gauge route which runs in the remote-cotton growing locations of Achalpur earlier known as Ellichpur, under the division of Amravati which is the birthplace of President Pratibha Patil.Set up in 1857, Killick, Nixon and Company had created the Central Provinces Railway Company to act as its agents.

Political Issue to be Kept Alive


Moreover, the company had also built narrow gauge line in 1903 in order to carry cotton from Yavatmal to the main line to Mumbai which was then shipped to Manchester in England. Built in 1921 in Manchester, a ZD-steam engine dragged the train for over 70 long years after it was put in service in 1923.On April 15, 1994, it had been withdrawn to be replaced by a diesel engine which tends to pull carriages presently.

Shakuntala Railway

In 1913, the ancestor of present day Indian Railway, The Great Indian Peninsula Railway had started utilising the tracks and trains of Shakuntala Railway to transport passengers and on using the assets of a private company, paid royalty to KNC. Unlike several of the rail lines which tend to be broad gauge line, Shankuntala railways tend to use a narrow gauge line, still. The main train in this network had been Shakuntala Express transporting passengers to Yavatmal to Murtijapur. It would cover around two dozen villages daily that had no connectivity of roads between them, which made the train life a benefit for hundreds of the villagers as well as a political issue to be kept alive.

Killick-Nixon – Agent for Own Group Company


In 1910, it was a period of private railroad companies when the British company floated the Central Province Railway Company, a joint venture with British Indian government in laying the railways tracks which could be utilised in transporting cotton from Vidarbha and eventually to Manchester in England. The tracks had the trains running by 1916 and shortly was utilised in transporting passengers also. The trains which were operated in Central Indian were run by Great Indian Peninsular Railway. This deal seems to continue even after the GIPR became Central Railway post-independence and in the entire process, Killick Nixon seemed to be the agent for its own group company.

Presently the track tends to fall under the Bhusawal division of Central Railway. But no one in the railways and Killick Nixon has the knowledge of why the track is not nationalized yet. An official has mentioned that ‘All the British companies were taken over like GIPR became Central Railway; East India Railway Company was made Eastern Railway and so on. But the erstwhile companies’ contract with private firms like CPRC seems to continue. We do not know what the decision makers thought at that time. Maybe nobody bothered since the affairs seems to be running smoothly then’.