Monday, September 9, 2013

History mystery: Pueblo Bonito, A settlement lost in the desert -1

For more than 300 years the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico wrung life from their harsh environment. Beneath the towering cliffs of Chaco Canyon they built their dwelling place – an apartment block of 700 rooms. In 1849 Lieutenant James Simpson of the American army was member of a punitive expedition sent to New Mexico against a group of Navajo Indians. One day he camped neat the ruins of a massive dwelling-a cross between a primitive village and a modern high-rise apartment block. Lieutenant Simpson later described the experience in a journal published in 1852: ‘Two or three hundred yards down the canyon; we came across another old pueblo in ruins called Pueblo Bonito… The circuit of its walls is about 1300ft. Its elevation shows that it has had at least four storeys of apartments. ‘The number of rooms on the ground floor at present discernible is 139…

‘Among the ruins are several rooms in a very good state of preservation, one of them being walled up with alternate beds of large and small stones, the regularity of the combination producing of very pleasing effect. The ceiling of this room is also more pleasant than any we have seen – the transverse beams being smaller and more numerous, and the longitudinal pieces which rest upon them only about in diameter, and beautifully regular. The later have somewhat the appearance of barked willow. ‘The room has a doorway at each end and one at the side, each of them leading into adjacent apartments. The light is let in by a window, 2ft by 8in on the north side.’ Simpson’s discovery of this huge pile of terraced houses aroused a rush of interest, but it was another 50 years before serious excavations began.

 When, toward the end of the 19th century, American archaeologist started to explore Pueblo Bonito, they unearthed a village which in the 12th century AD may have housed 1200 people. Pueblo Bonito (‘pretty village’ in Spanish) is a remarkable monument to a North American Indian culture that flourished 500 years before Columbus set sail for the New World in the late 15th century. Its inhabitants were a Stone Age people who left no written record of their culture, but their story can be read from the shards of broken pottery they left behind. The civilizations of the south-western United States trace their origins to around 7000 BC. At this time, hunter-gatherers started to roam the dust bowl of the Great Basin, mostly in present-day Nevada and Utah. By about AD 100 the Anasazi, or ‘Ancient Ones’, had begun to develop a distinctive culture.

As they became increasingly dependent on cultivated crops, such as maize and beans, they abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and built settlements of underground houses. The Pueblo (village) period began in about AD 700, when houses began to be built above ground. Pueblo Bonito is just one of 13 villages to be found in the Chaco Canyon in north-west New Mexico. At the foot of a cliff, the settlement has the outline of a huge semicircle with the straight side facing south towards the Chaco river. Its 700 rooms rise in terraces around the central courtyard like some great amphitheatre. Access to the pueblo was by ladder over the straight front side. The complex covers an area of 1.5ha (4 acres): it was the largest apartment block in the world until a bigger one was built in New York in 1882. Pueblo Bonito’s first stone was laid in about 850. The walls of the settlement were solidly built around a core of the stone or adobe-mud bricks dried in the sun. They were faced with sandstone flags which fitted together so perfectly that it is difficult to insert the blade of a knife between them.

Friday, September 6, 2013

History mystery: CONSTANTINOPLE the City of the emperor Justinian -4

At the west end was the city’s most splendid entrance, the Golden Gate, set in a defensive wall built by the emperor Theodosius II (408-450) to protect the land side of the peninsula from a threatened attack by the Huns. From the Golden Gate a highway led, via Thessalonica (thessaloniki), to the Adriatic coast. This route across northern Greece was trodden incessantly by merchants, travelers, and soldiers. Known as the Via Egnatia, or Western Road, it was one of the most famous highways of the ancient world. Constantinople was built in terraces on the banked-up slopes of the peninsula’s rocky backbone. The terraces were connected by a network of staircases and steep, narrow streets, climbing and swooping through the hills. Tenement blocks five or six storeys high were squeezed together, crammed full of tenants. Self-contained communities developed within the slumland sprawl. Craftsmen grouped together in districts according to their trades: glassmakers, potters, metal-workers, armourers, and tailors.

 The most crowded districts were those on the waterfront. Constantinople was, above all, a maritime centre, and the coastal districts of the Golden Horn to the north of the city, and Propontis to the south, were strung with harbours. In reclaiming much of the old Roman Empire, Justinian had made the Mideterranean a ‘Roman sea’, opening up markets for Byzantine goods along the coasts of North Africa and Italy as far west as the Strait of Gibraltar. Great Warships and cargo vessels vied for space with little caiques, the characteristic fishing vessels of the Aegean. The Golden Horn offered deep and well-sheltered mornings. Ships entered under full sail to unload their cargoes. An immense class of dockland workers came into existence: sailors, carpenters, caulkers, sail-makers, and porters.

They lived in dark alleys, blocked with carts and rank from the strench of fried fish – part of the staple diet of the people, eked out with bread, vegetables and fruit. For all the people, the street was their front parlour: the place where rich and poor spent most of the day. It was also the stage for a cavalcade of entertainers. Public speakers addressed the crowds from street corners. Jugglers, bearkeepers, and performing monkeys entertained passers-by. The rich rode on horseback, for preference on white steeds richly decked out with elaborate saddlecloths and harnesses. They were escorted by liveried servants, usually armed with cudgels to beat a path through the multitude of pedestrians and the streams of asses, oxen, sheep, pigs, camels, and even elephants being driven through the streets to the market. The noblest figures in the empire were borne in gilded carriages drawn by teams of mules. Though all people might be equal in the eyes of the Lord, social inequality on Earth had been pronounced inevitable – even in Justinian’s perfect state – so the church leaders had condoned slavery. Now and then, shuffling columns of slaves became a feature of the street pageant, along with sinister processions of condemned felons. These prisoners faced death or, more commonly, mutilation; assassins or conspirators were slung onto the backs of donkeys and fogged mercilessly as they passed through the town.

For all the public display of vanity and squaltor, religious feeling ran very deep in the people. That was the paradox of Constantinople. Heated theological discussions were as much a feature of street life as everyday haggling over prices. One major controversy divided Byzantium in Justinian’s time, centering on the person of Christ himself. The orthodox view in the church was that Christ embodied two natures, the human and the divine. A heretical group known as the Monophysites, however, held a different belief which had developed in Alexandria. They maintained that Christ’s divine component was so overwhelming that it obliterated the human element. The Monophysites gained recruits at every social level in Constantinople, but especially among the poor. One Byzantine chronicler wrote: ‘This town is full of craftsmen and slaves who are all deep theologians and preach in the shops and in the streets. If you want a man to change some money for you, he will first teach you in what way the Son differs from the Father; and if you ask the price of bread, he will tell you by way of answer, that the Son is inferior to the Father; and if you want to know if you your bath is ready, the bath attendant will reply that the Son was created from nothing……’ It was the Byzantines, with their passion for argument about religious matters, who brought two Greek words into widespread use – ‘orthodox’ and ‘heretic’. The public disputes reflected the depth of religious feeling. Icons – wooden panels painted with religious motifs – were set up both in churches and in homes. Many people, the poor in particular, venerated them as sacred, even miraculous, objects. It became the practice to carry icons through the city in torchlight processions, for – like almost everything else – the solemn pageantry of religion was celebrated in the streets. The power of the ecclesiastical leader was subservient only to the dictates of the emperor. In the church councils which met to deliberate on key matters of doctrine, any final decision needed the approval of the supreme authority. To Constantinople and its emperor fell the destiny of shaping the world’s first civilization embracing Christianity as a state religion.

5 Expensive Women's Perfume You Never Knew Existed

Expensive Women's Perfume

We love to get ourselves pampered and lavished once in a while, but when is too much enough? Designer names like Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Chanel and Givenchy are best known for their handbags and other leather goods, but what about women’s perfume? Do you think smelling good would cost you thousands of dollars? Bet you didn’t. Find out 5 expensive perfumes for women you never knew existed.

1. Hermes 24 Faubourg

Every woman knows how exquisite Hermes is and with the birth of Hermes’ 24 Faubourg, any lady who dreams of a luscious scent will never forget the first time she sprays 24 Faubourg. The perfume was launched in 1995 and created by Maurice Roucel. The scent is a product of blended jasmine, orange blossoms, ylang ylang, vanilla, patchouli and sandalwood. You will find the regular bottle design elegant while the limited edition Quadrige design, a definite collector’s item. The regular design bottle costs $169 for 3.3 fl. oz. in the Hermes website.

2. Creed Jardin D’Amalfi

The House of Creed is known for their reputation of creating the finest fragrances because only natural ingredients are being used in every creation. Now on its sixth generation, Olivier Creed created Jardin D’Amalfi in 2011 as a limited edition perfume for the Royal Exclusive line. The perfume has a floral musk sensation, bringing in notes of tangerine, Bulgarian rose, French apple, cinnamon and white musk. An ounce of Jardin D’Amalfi costs $225.

3. Caron Poivre

Originally released in 1954, Poivre has the most powerful scent that intrigues both me and women. Caron has been in the perfume industry for over a century and its brand is extraordinaire. Poivre’s main component pepper gives the strong note while it then blends with the soft, sensual notes of jasmine, tuberose, carnation, and geranium rose base. Caron perfumes are extracted through the famous Baccarat crystal fountains which fill the perfume bottles. One tiny bottle of Poivre can cost $2000.

4. Baccarat Les Larmes Sacrées de Thebes

In 1998, a perfume was released in the name of Les Larmes Sacrées de Thebes (The Sacred Tears of Thebes). Packaged in a pyramid-shaped glass bottle in Baccarat crystal with a purple top, anyone who has tried a sample of this perfume would want to try more of it. A rare gem of only 6 limited edition bottles, Les Larmes Sacrées de Thebes is created for the one who has a sensual taste in fragrance. It retails at $1700 for a 0.25 oz bottle.

5. Clive Christian Imperial Majesty

When you visit Clive Christian’s official website, you’ll be surprised to see that it describes itself as “The World’s Most Expensive Perfume”. The idea of owning an exclusive Clive Christian perfume is tempting as only a selected few can have it. Clive Christian released in 2006 Imperial Majesty, which is bottled in Baccarat crystal with a five-carat white diamond plus 18-carat gold. Only ten bottles of 16 oz each were created and 7 out of 10 were already obtained by collectors. Imperial Majesty costs a whopping $435,000 a bottle.

Such perfumes are not ordinary staples – they are eternally meant for those who have the power to buy and collect such beautiful luxuries in life. But don’t worry. You still have every right to smell and feel great without paying a fortune. You can still enjoy the most popular women’s perfume you can find at Beauty Encounter.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

History mystery: CONSTANTINOPLE the City of the emperor Justinian -3

The Hippodrome, next door to the Sacred Palace and connected to if by galleries and staircases, was the venue for lavish spectacles and sporting events, with seating for perhaps 100,000 spectators. It had been restored by Constantine as a slightly scaled-down model of the Circus Maximus in Rome, and embellished by his successors. Near the Hippodrome, the Baths of Zeuxippos provided a fashionable backdrop for socializing. Towering above the other buildings rose the gigantic dome of the cathedral of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), Justinian’s supreme achievement and the masterpiece of all Byzantine architecture. To the historian Procopius, perfect of Constantinople at that time, the vast dome 33m (108ft) across seemed not to be supported by masonry at all, ‘but rather to cover space as though it were suspended from the sky by a golden chain’.

 In fact the weight had been spread across the whole structure by the use of arches, semi-domes, vaulted aisles, and galleries. The basilica was all the more remarkable because of the speed of its construction – it was built by 10,000 workmen between AD 532 and 537. The services held inside were of staggering magnificence. On ceremonial occasions the entire court would crowd into the sanctuary. Before them was a curtain embroidered with 500,000 pearls, veiling a massive gold altar inlaid with precious gems. The interior of the church was illuminated by thousands of candles; smoke rose from incense burners. Crimson-clad musicians accompanied huge male-voice choirs, and the curved surfaces of the dome produced extraordinary effects of resonance.

Much of the original ornamentation in the Hagia Sophia has disappeared, but several examples of Byzantine church decoration have survived elsewhere, such as in the Church of San Vitale in Ravenna. Exquisitely carved marble panels would have served as altar-pieces, walls and domes would have been inlaid with coloured-glass mosaics. One characteristic feature of the Byzantine style was the bold presentation, in simple lines and flat colours, of sacred figures gazing upon the worshippers through wide and penetrating eves – eyes deliberately enlarged to enhance the grandeur and mystery of the Christian faith. IN front of the Hagia Sophia, in the heart of the Imperial District, was the Augustaeon, an impressive forum or marketplace whose shady colonnades were the favourite meeting place of Byzantine high society. People gathered there to market their mark, to chat or argue, to parade in the latest fashions, and to watch the comings and goings of the imperial court. The surrounding area was renowned for its luxury and beauty. There were countless bookshops, serving as meeting places for the city’s aspirant intellectuals. Perfume shops were redolent with the whiff of scandal as well as scent, as gossips met to exchange rumours. Only the wealthiest could afford to live in the area: the land-owing aristocrats, for example, who lived in town palaces, away from their country estates.

These nobles were forbidden to engage in business. Commerce was the prerogative of an elite class of magnates who controlled the major businesses, trade, and administrative posts, and may also have lived around the Augustaeon. The imperial government shrewdly assembled these merchants in a single area in order to supervise them more easily. Justinian himself had extensive commercial interests, especially in the manufacture of silk. Until the 6th century, the Chinese had monopolized silk manufacture. The fine silk thread had reached Constantinople along the ancient Silk Road from the East.

How the thread was produced remained a mystery in Europe. Justinian was determined to break the secret. Learning that the knowledge he required had reached the Persian Empire to the east of Byzantium, he persuaded two Persian monks to engage in some officially sponsored espionage. They returned to Constantinople with details of the technique and a few silkworm eggs hidden inside a bamboo. Justinian set up looms in the palace to manufacture the cloth: the entire European silk industry dates back to this beginning. All luxury goods were a major source of wealth for Byzantium, and trade in them was concentrated along a short stretch of a great avenue called the Mese.

 This marble highway ran for some 8km (5 miles) from east to west. At its east end, in the Imperial District, it was lined with two-storey arcades, housing stalls and shops of every kind. Prosperous goldsmiths and jewelers traded along the route between the Sacred Palace and the Forum of Constantine – a distance of about 600m (1,970ft). Money-changers plied their trade there too, often operating in the street itself, sitting at tables piled high with bags of gold and silver coins. The Forum of Constantine was the hub of the Byzantine business world. It was overlooked by the Senate and a splendid statue of the first Christian emperor perched at the top of a porphyry column. From the Forum of Constantine, the Mese ran west to the Forum of Theodosius, dominated by a triumphal arch, and thence to the Amastrianum, the cattle market, and the Forum of Arcadius – thus connecting all the city’s principal marketplaces. The highway then crossed what remained of Constantine’s walls and passed through the Psamathia district. With every step away from the smart Imperial District, the shops became shabbier, the people poorer, the buildings more crowded.

Controversy Surrounding Metal Detectors in Schools

Security metal detectors in schools are a topic of interest for many parents, educators and lawmakers.  Yet, this simple concept has a variety of complex problems making it easier said than done.  Some may not understand the concept completely or seem to have an understanding from one perspective.  The following points give more insight on why metal detectors in schools is a tough challenge to tackle.
  • Many educators and lawmakers argue it may take too long when screening each student as they enter through a walk-through detector.  Many schools have a large student body and it could cause concern if educational programs are disrupted due to loss of time.
  • How many security professionals will be needed to monitor, train, and operate metal detectors?  Will the detectors be used during the day and what about after school and events?
  • How often would metal detectors be in use by the school? Meaning, when students are scheduled to be in class, will they only be used at this time? Will any of these people work undercover or do surprise inspections to find concealed weapons? If the metal detectors will not be in use 24/7, people could still bring a weapon on the premises and hid it somewhere within the building.
  • How will students enter the building to be screened? Will detectors be at a designated entrance and will students be required to enter this way only? What about screening students before they enter the building but on school property?  Few accounts of school violence have happened outside of the building.
  • What about students who take the bus to school? Will school buses have metal detectors? This poses an issue with windows at ground-level.  What if a student tries to pass a weapon through an unlocked window?
  • Covering the cost of metal detectors.  This aspect alone has a number of concerns such as the type of detectors to use, how many to purchase, the cost of hiring security personnel to train, maintain, and monitor usage, and would the cost considered a return investment if the measure is implemented to its full ability? What about replacing them in the future? How will the cost of using them be covered: who will pay for it?
  • Will visitors and parents be screened?  What about when other non-school related events occur such as Election Day voting or community meetings, will metal detectors be used on these days? 

Here is the fact of the matter, security metal detectors can be a great help to stop harm coming to our children. But if you asked me if they are the solution to all our problems I would say "no". I think most securiy professionals would have the same opinion. To be frank security metal detectors can help a great deal, and price shouldn't be a huge concern when it comes to protecting our children. I believe our schools will never truely be safe as long as humans are in this state of existance. But with the combined efforts of metal detectors, guns for teachers and security cameras we can make our schools a safer place.
Protective Technologies International manufactures and sells walk through metal detectors to help schools become safer