Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Je-ju Island Mystery

Je-ju Island
Jeju Island – A Volcanic Island

The Jeju Island, a volcanic island is dominated by Halla Mountain, volcano 1,959 metres high and also the highest mountain in South Korea with the island measuring around 73 km across, east to west and 41 km from north to south.

 This island was formed completely from volcanic eruptions around 2 million years ago during the time extending from the Tertiary to the beginning of the Quaternary period consisting mainly of basalt and lava.

It eruptions occurred during the Cenozoic era and it has a humid subtropical climate which is warmer than that of Korea having four distinct weather seasons.

The winters are cool and dry while the summers are humid, hot and at times rainy. It has a crater lake which is the only crate lake in South Korea.

Mysterious Road/Dokkaebi Road 

The Jeju Mysterious Road also known as Dokkaebi Road is located on a hill at the foot of a mountain connecting two major highways on Jejudo Island. It has received its name due to an optical illusion which makes the downward slopping road appear to rise uphill and cars stopping on the road and left out of gear seem to roll uphill.

The road has a three degree downward slant though it looks to go uphill due to the surround terrain which created the optical illusion. One should take advantage of exploring the Mysterious Road on the Jeju City side of the island, while going through Loveland.

It would be a wonderful experience before driving on the actual road though it will enhance the experience with its optical illusion Technically the Mysterious Road is an optical illusion where the countryside makes the road seems like its travelling uphill while in reality the road is a downward slope.

The gravity of the road makes it an interesting experience and one of the most appealing places to visit and witness the experience.

Optical Illusion 

This is due to the gravity wherein a place where a slight downhill slope may appear to be an uphill slope because of the layout of the surround land creating an optical illusion where water flow uphill or a car left out of gear seems to roll uphill.

There is no charge to visit Jeju Mysterious Road though one would need to hire a taxi or a bus to get there where at the end of the road one will find food tents, gift shops and mini marts or probably a bottle to witness the experience of the mysterious road while visiting this amazing island.

The drive on the mysterious road is a slow process since there are many visitors on the road interested in witnessing this awesome experience. As the drive starts, the car is in neutral and pointed to the upwards motion of the car and keeps driving steadily uphill but without the engine power to aid it.

 The traveller also gets a strange feeling of the gravity pull of going uphill and one will find several types of bottles placed on the road placed by other to witness the scene as the bottles defied gravity and moved uphill.

Rule of Thumb – Procedure or Practice

Rule of Thumb
Rule of Thumb is a procedure or practice which had been developed from experience and common understanding but it had nothing to do with technical or scientific knowledge. It had first been used in 1962 in English and the expression relates to the making of rough estimates of measurement with the use of the thumb, i.e. the distance to the first knuckle which was about an inch.

The origin of the phrase is not known and the earliest knowledge comes from J. Durham’s `Heaven upon Earth’, 1685, wherein he states `Many profess Christian are like foolish builder who build by guess and with the rule of thumb’.

The phrase also existed in various other languages and the plural form is rules of thumb. The phrase is presumed to have been originated with carpenters who utilised the width of their thumbs rather than rulers as a means of measurement for things, cementing its modern use though not precise, but reliable and convenient standards.

The rule of thumb as a unit of measure tends to appear also in Dutch where the word for thumb – duim also means inch and the use of a single word for inch and thumb seems to be common in many Indo European languages. Some examples are: in French: puce inch/thumb, Spanish: pulgada inch, pulgar thumb, Italian: pollice inch/thumb, Portuguese: polegada inch, polegar thumb: Swedish: tum inch, tumme thumb, Sanskrit: angulam inch, anguli finger etc.

Origin derived from Measurement 

Another possibility on the originof the phrase is derived from measurement especially in agricultural fields where the plant is in need of a precise depth to plant the seed properly and whether planted from seed or replanted, the depth was at times estimated with the use of the thumb, which was the rule of the thumb for measurement.

 As per Gary Martin, he states that `the origin of the phrase remain unknown and it is likely that it refers to one of the numerous ways that thumbs have been used to estimate things, judging the alignment of distance of an object by holding the thumb in one’s eye-line, the temperature of brew, measurement of an inch from the joint to the nail to the tip or across the thumb etc.’

He further adds that the phrase joins the whole nine yards as one that probably derives from some form of measurement but which is unlikely ever to be definitively pinned down’.

Financial Rule of Thumb

Yet another version on the phrase `rule of thumb’, is that the coarseness of flour ground, produced by grist mills in Old England, would be assessed when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger by the miller.

The rule of thumb typically developed out of practice and experience instead of the scientific theory or research and investors may find it familiar with a number of financial rules of thumb which may be intended, enabling them to learn, remember whereby they can apply financial guideline inclusive of those that address procedures and methods enabling them to save and invest which would be helpful for retirement.

Though the rule of thumb could be appropriate for a wide audience, it may not be applicable universally to all individuals and unique set of circumstances.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Whole Nine Yards – A Colloquial American Phrase

The phrase `The whole nine yards’, is a colloquial American phrase which means `everything, the whole lot’, or `all the way’, when used as an adjective. The origin of the phrase is unknown but it has been described as the most prominent etymological riddle of our time. The earliest example ever known with regards to this phrase is from The Mitchell Commercial newspaper in 1907 in a small town of Mitchell, southern Indiana where the expression of the whole six yards is related and used around the same time in Kentucky and South Carolina.

These phrases are variation on the whole ball of wax recorded in the 1880s and were part of a family of expression, where odd sounding item like enchilada, shebang, shooting match or hog was substituted for ball of wax. The number nine option may be related to the expression `to the nines’ – to perfection. Introduction of the phrase to a national audience was done by Elaine Shepard in the Vietnam War navel – The Doom Pussy in 1967 and the use of the phrase become very popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Interest in the phrase’s etymology is attributed to William Safire, New York Time language columnist, who wrote elaborately on this phrase.

Phrase Added to Oxford English Dictionary

Nine Yard Ammuniation
In 1982, William Safire checked with listeners for information on Larry King’s radio show with regards to the origin of the phrase and ended up writing around nine columns pertaining to the subject which is largely responsible for the interest of the content in it. Towards 1986, the phrase was then added to the Oxford English Dictionary together with the earliest citation given as 1970. Various key discoveries for further antedating thephrase had been undertaken by Bonnie Taylor Blake who was a neuroscience researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an amateur member of the American Dialect society, which was an association of professional and amateur linguists and whose mailing list served as forum for word and phrase discoveries. Taylor Blake in 2012 discovered the 1956 and 1957 uses in Kentucky Happy Hunting Ground and later that same year, she together with Fred R. Shapira found the whole six yards examples during the period 1921 – 1921and received good publicity. Towards 2013, Taylor Blake then posted her discovery of the Mitchell Commercial uses from the period of 1907 – 1914.

The Phrase – A Synonym for Stuff

Nine Yards Saree
The phrase cropped up in several contexts since there were many things which could be measured in square, linear, or cubic yards besides yard-arms, steelyards and much more to account for. The early phrase does not infact refer to yards of any specific material but just to a nonspecific measure i.e. yards. The most likely explanation inspite of the inventive theories though frustrating is that the yards in the phrase is not a reference to any particular object but it is merely a synonym for `stuff’. With advancement of the digitisation of text and newspaper, we could find some means of finding earlier example in print that would throw some insight to what the `yards’ probably meant.

Whole Nine Yards – Give it your all – Various Theories 

The phrase `Whole Nine Yards’ means giving it you’re all, to some, while others refer as `try your best’. According to lexicographer Jonathon Green in his examination slang, states that it is unclear from where the whole nine yards come from. On the basis of most suggestions, he states that it involves standard of measurement, from the dimension of a nun’s habit to the capacity of a cement truck and the length of an ammunition belt to that of a hangman’s rope but the few when checked did run to nine yards. The whole nine yards phrase is derived from American airmen during the World War Two in the Pacific where at that time, the ammunitions belts which were loaded into the wings of the fighter aircraft seemed to be nine yards in length and at times a returning pilot while conveying the intensity of the battle to his ground crew and fellow pilots was heard saying `I gave him the whole nine yards’. But according to Nigel from London, he thinks that this phrase came from an earlier machine gun. He believed that it came from the length of the ammunition belt of a Vickers machine gun and when the gun was tested before World War I, the term which was used was `to give them the whole nine yards’.

Nine Yard ammuniation
Nick Mercer’s belief from England considers it as another type of weapon wherein he states that he had often heard it being referred to the length of 50mm ammunition loaded in each cannon on American planes in World War II and when the enemy aviator pursued relentlessly, they would get `the whole nine yards; of a belt of ammunition. While in American football, if a team would be in possession of the football and gain one yard on their first down, they were urged to gain nine more yard in the next three plays in order to receive another first down enabling them to be in possession of the ball in their drive in gaining a goal. Hence when one yard was gained on the first down, their fans would urge the team on a second down with the phrase `get the whole nine yards’. The expression was used in American culture - He got the whole nine yards.

According to M Desai, Sutton, Surrey, he considers that the phrase could be from India, where women wore sari that was nine yards long. The use of the nine yard sari was very popular during the reign of the Raj but has slowly died down and the saris seen presently are five yards long. Nine yard long saris are now only found in remote areas of the country which are worn by elderly women. Steve’s version was that when something was done without paying heed to the expenses, it was compared to a woman using the whole bolt of fabric in making a dress which was associated with the American and Canadian West, where during the early days frugality was the norm.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Treasury of Atreus – Tomb of Agamemmon

Treasury of Atreus
Treasury of Atreus, also known as Tomb of Agamemnon, the legendary king of Mycenae, is the most impressive and the largest of the nine tholos tombs which were built around 1350 to 1250 BC at Mycenae, Greece.

This surviving architectural structure of the Mycenean period is a pointed dome which has been built up of overhanging or corbeled blocks of conglomerate masonry, cut and polished, giving the impression of a true vault.

Treasury of Atreus
The Mycanaean tholos, which is the ancient Greek word for a round building tomb, comprises of an entrance leading to a circular burial chamber which has been roofed over with corbel vault in the shape of an old fashioned beehive.

The nine tholos found at Mycenae have been divided into two sections by a long hill, the Panagia ridge, where four tombs are on the east side of the hill which have been romantically named like the Tomb of Aegisthus, the Lion Tomb, the Treasury of Atreus and the Tomb of Clytemnestra.

Treasure House of Atreus

Treasury of Atreus
The `Treasury of Atreus’ was so called because the travel writer, Pausanias in the 2nd century AD thought that the structure had been the treasure house of Atreus, one of the legendary kings of Mycenae, Of the four tholos, three seem to be set close together besides the acropolis hill though the Treasury of Atreus stands approximately 500 metres away from the other three and the tomb is placed halfway towards the eastern slope of the Panagia ridge and the location of the Atreus Tomb has fascinated archaeologist for several years and has given cause for speculation.

The other five tombs are located on the west side of the ridge and it has been observed that the tombs on the east side were more ornate, larger and closer to the acropolis than the ones on the west side and are presumed to have been built by ruler of Mycenae while the other five could have been built by the aristocratic members of the Mycenae.

Vaulted Tomb of Stone

Treasury of Atreus
The Treasury of Atreus is a vaulted tomb built of stone and a small path of 36 metres gives way to the entrance of the tomb. 

 It has a triangle lintel heavy stone over the doorway weighing about 120 tons, while the interior of the tomb has the effect of creating echo and the ceiling is vaulted.

The Treasury of Atreus, which was constructed around 1250 BC is 13.5 metres high with a diameter of 14.5 metres and is the tallest dome for many centuries till the Pantheon construction in Rome.

Treasury of Atreus
The interior of the tomb was decorated with red porphyry and green alabaster which is a very rare painting colour during that time. Small side chamber made out of rock contained the burials while the main chamber could have been kept for the purpose of rituals.

Two engaged columns which are presently in the British Museum of the Minoan type were made of green limestone, decorated with zigzag pattern and secured to the façade. This was approached by a ceremonial passage or dromos, protected with cyclopean blocks of masonry which was open to the sky.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jardin des Tuileries with a History Behind it

Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most visited gardens in Paris due to its central location between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, bordered by the Seine.

It is also a part of a grand central axis which leads from the Louvre all the way to La Defense which is the city’s business centre.

Tuileries Palace encloses the western area of the Louvre and the seventeenth century gardens which makes up the centre most parks in Paris.

These tranquil gardens have a bloody history behind it, where Louis the XVI and Marie Antoinette, the famous personalities were held captive in the palace during the French Revolution after they were routed from Versailles and the siege at the Tuileries by the Parisian mob.

This was at the close of the revolution in 1893 which left many of the people dead. Moreover the palace was looted and also burned during the Paris Commune.

Recent renovation of the gardens has however incorporated them into the extended Louvre and Grand Axis vista.

Garden Re-designed by Andre Le Notre

Jardin des Tuileries
The Tuileries Garden got its name from the tile factories which had previously stood at the site when in the year 1954; Queen Catherine de Medici had built the Palais des Tuileries.

The famous gardener of King Louis XIV, Andre Le Notre, had re-designed the garden in 1564 giving it its current French formal style garden which separates the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde which is best known for the design of the gardens at the Versailles Palace.

He built a terrace along the riverbank which opened at a central axis. Three years later, he extended it with the creation of the Champs-Elysees.

Jardin des Tuileries
It also has a cultural walking area for Parisian as well as tourists where one will find Maillol statues standing along with Rodin or Giacometti while the two ponds in the garden are a perfect spot for relaxing.

Tourist can have the opportunity of admiring the works of Monet, the Musee de l’Orangerie, which is located south-west of Tuileries. Free tours are organized in French from March to December and for couples in love, rides, thrills and candyfloss can be enjoyed at the Fete des Tuileries from June to August.

A World Heritage List of UNESCO

The Jardin des Tuileris was one of the first parks to be opened to the public and soon became a place to be visited.

Even in the 18th century, the park seemed to feature amenities like the cafes, deck chairs, public toilets and kiosks.

Since 1991, the site of Jardin des Tuileries has become a part of the World Heritage list of UNESCO.

 Tuileries cover an area of around twenty five hectares of land where the entire garden has been carefully arranged to enhance important element to the park with bedhautiful terraces and several artificial ponds which are well maintained.

 Most of them are hidden by the shadows of the old elm and chestnut tree, making it a perfect blend of serenity and peace.

In addition to the smaller ponds, the park also has two larger lakes, namely Bassin Octogonal and the Bassin Rond.

Most of the tourists visit this site every year from all locations of the world and though the garden area is small, it is amazingly decorated with fountains and sculptures which has an historical importance.