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Benaki features exhibition on florally inspired art July 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Depicting worlds of ephemeral beauty > A painting by Panayiotis Tetsis and a work by Valerios Caloutsis from the 1970s and a large poster by Giorgos Vakirtzis are among the exhibits.

“Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers and never succeeding,” the painter Marc Chagall once said.

In the eyes of some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, flowers provided unparalleled inspiration. Yet flower paintings also became associated with the outmoded, decorative art of bourgeois sentimentalism.

“Flowers in Contemporary Art,” an exhibition currently on display at the Pireos annex of the Benaki Museum, overturns any such bias and reveals the rich symbolism of flowers in art through a selection of works by more than 40 Greek and international artists. The exhibition – jointly curated by Eleni Kipreos, director of the Nees Morfes Gallery, and Stavros Tsigoglou, a medical doctor who is also a writer on art and a curator – evokes a range of moods and impressions. Introspection and at times even sorrow predominate, yet there are also moments of sheer optical pleasure and carefree happiness. (more…)

Greece struggles to protect sites July 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Much of country’s archaeological wealth neglected due to state’s inability to catalog everything while Greece spends an estimated 0.7 percent of its annual budget on culture, supplementing the maintenance of its archaeological sites with EU funds.

Inhabited for thousands of years, the environs of Athens and other Greek cities are dotted with an archaeological wealth that rarely appears in even the best of guidebooks.

Hidden behind overgrown weeds, apartment blocks or simply lying in a corner of the countryside are the remains of dozens of ancient settlements unearthed by archaeologists and subsequently abandoned, simply because the Greek state lacks the capacity to catalog them all.

«It’s not possible to clean and preserve everything; it would take a lot of money to weed all the sites and fence them off,» says Athina Hadzidimitriou, secretary of the union of Greek archaeologists.

One of those sites is Lamptres, an ancient settlement near Koropi, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Athens. Another is Megalohori, an ancient coastal village 170 kilometers south of the capital that has been left to the elements for the past 30 years, according to local authorities. (more…)

Two years later, tram speeds up July 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Transport Air Sea Land.
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The tram celebrated yesterday its two-year anniversary since its return to Athenian streets, following a four-decade absence, with its operator pledging that it will become speedier by the end of the year.

The Managing Director of Tram SA, Sophocles Psylianos, said that the “green wave,” whereby traffic lights will be regulated so they turn green for the tram when it approaches, will be in effect by the end of the year.

A chief gripe among tram users is that it is too slow but Psylianos insisted that its average speed has increased over the last two years and has now reached 23 kilometers per hour. He said the journey from Syntagma Square to the seaside suburb of Glyfada takes 55 minutes.

Transport Minister Michalis Liapis hailed the tram as safe, punctual, environmentally friendly and cheap to use. “The tram began with some problems and was given a bad reputation,” said Liapis. “But these problems are being solved and people, especially in the southern suburbs, are embracing it.”

Passenger numbers have increased after several initiatives to tempt people onto the tram. Psylianos said that some 60,000 people rode the tram last month. Almost half of the passengers are aged 18-34. But this is still short of the 80,000 that were predicted when the tram went into operation before the Athens Olympics.

Liapis said discussions were continuing about an extension to Piraeus even though locals appear opposed to the idea. He said that feasibility studies would be completed this summer. The minister added that the possibility of building an extension to Keratsini in western Athens was also being examined.

Tram may yet reach Piraeus

The tram could soon be trundling through the streets of Piraeus whether locals like it or not, according to transport officials who said that plans to extend the line to the port are progressing even though the local authority has objected to it.

The Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) issued a statement saying that it had begun a study into the possibility of the tram serving Piraeus and the surrounding areas.

“The process to extend the tram is continuing as part of the project with Tram SA (the operator), a team from the National Technical University of Athens and local authorities, which began a year ago,” said OASA.

Earlier this month, the Piraeus Municipal Council rejected plans to extend the tram line from Neo Faliron to the port. Piraeus Mayor Christos Agrapidis has also added his voice to those opposing the tram extension, saying it would cause more problems than it would solve. Locals fear the tram will clog up the busy streets around the port.

The Greeks give solution to child asthma July 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness, Technology.
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Child asthma solution comes from space and the Greeks

Following a warning from scientists linking asthma in children to indoor swimming pools, Allergy UK awarded its “Seal of Approval” for a new alternative to chlorine.

The award comes as hot tubs, spas, swimming pools and inflatable pools become the “must have” accessory as Britain swelters in the sun.

The technology was discovered by the Greeks, and is used today by NASA for keeping drinking water clean in space. It works by deactivating bacteria, rather than aggressively killing it.

Instead of chlorine, Pristine Blue uses a natural copper sulphate solution at levels permitted for use in drinking water. It has been approved in the US for use in all 52 States, and is used there in 600,000 pools and spas.

It means children can throw away goggles, and the 1 in 3 suffering from an allergy or skin condition can jump in with confidence.

And it’s also easier on the pocket, as running costs are 25 per cent cheaper than traditional chlorine.

The top award from Allergy UK follows a review of scientific studies showing Pristine Blue is a safe alternative to chlorine treatments and will prevent skin and respiratory irritation. Pristine Blue also avoids any damage to hair, costumes, and even pool liners and equipment associated with traditional water treatment.

The Allergy UK award follows recent notification from the European Chemical Bureau of Pristine Blue’s active copper sulphate ingredient as a biocide disinfectant.

Allergy UK’s Business Development Director, Jules Payne, said it could transform the lives of millions of families across the UK, particularly during the extra hot summer.

She said, “We are very excited to present this award to such a groundbreaking and innovative product. The benefits to allergy suffers are immense, and as families prepare for their summer holidays the demand for a chlorine alternative is at its highest.

“With a link now established between chlorine and the aggravation of asthma, we hope that more public pools and schools will invest in new technology to provide safer, inclusive swimming to a much wider audience.”

Pristine Blue founder Mohsen Hawary said: “Until now, there has been no real alternative to conventional water treatments for swimming pools and spas, so owners have been left with ‘sledgehammer’ chemistry to deal with bacteria, and often harsh, volatile chemicals to handle at home.

“Now pool and spa owners, as well as holiday makers and parents, have the choice about what their families swim in, supported by scientific trials and the UK’s leading allergy charity.”

For more information, visit www.allergyuk.org or call the helpline on 01322 619898.

For additional information, visit www.pristineblue.co.uk

Inventing Intelligence: A Social History of Smart July 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life.
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Book Traces the Meaning of Intelligence from the Early Greeks to Today

Arizona State University Professor Paul Michael Privateer says that if you ask a group of expectant mothers what traits they want their babies to possess, intelligence will always be at the top of the list.

Undeniably, the concept of intelligence is rooted as a core value in modern culture, but why is that and how did that happen? Just what is intelligence and what does it mean to possess it? Why is intelligence important to us and what ideological role does in play in our world?

These are questions Privateer, associate professor of English, explores in his new book, Inventing Intelligence: A Social History of Smart (Blackwell, 2006.). By charting the history of intelligence from its earliest forms in Greek culture to postmodern artificial intelligence, he illustrates that intelligence cannot be so easily defined. In fact, it has had diverse social and cultural significance over time.

“Is intelligence measurable, like gravity?” says Privateer, whose research interests include the relationship between culture and biology. “Some scientists think it is, but I believe it’s a problematic science. What do intelligence tests show? Do they measure compassion? Do they measure a person’s ability to suspend ideas to seek other information? What does the IQ number of 102, for instance, really refer to?”

In his book Privateer traces the evolution of the concept of intelligence for more than 2,800 years in Western culture. Individual chapters recount the spheres of divine celestial intelligence imagined by Plato and Aristotle, and the Medieval/Christian period, when “the astrological became religious” and Christ/God became the measure of divine intelligence. (more…)

Copies of Einstein’s letters donated to Greece July 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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Ten copies of letters exchanged between Albert Einstein and noted Greek mathematician Constantinos Karatheodoris that are held at the Einstein Museum in Israel were presented to Greece recently.

Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Evripides Stylianides said the cultural exchange signaled the desire of both countries to communicate and highlight the aspects that brought them closer together.

Greece had officially requested copies of the 47 letters exchanged between the two men, as well as some of the original letters.

Stylianides noted that the letters were historic and highly valuable mementos of a friendship and cooperation that had helped the world progress.

“These findings, as well as others that are held in European and American Universities, concerning the private life and work of Karatheodoris are destined for a Museum bearing his name in Komotini, where he was born,” the Minister revealed.

Karatheodoris was born in 1873 and died in 1950, having achieved distinction at major German Universities. Among his achievements were the foundation of the University of Izmir and the modernization of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki.

Greece’s seas: The looters’ next destination July 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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When it was first proposed, it seemed like a good idea: open up the Greek seas to divers and create a paradise for tourists underwater. Those who backed the law never thought of it as a windfall for looters, nor did it occur to them that it might put the acquisition policies of museums under further scrutiny.

But the Greek parliament’s unprecedented recent step to allow divers access to the once forbidden coastline has raised fears that archaeological riches preserved in an untouched world will be taken by ruthless thieves.

“There are treasures in our seas,” says Dimitris Athanasoulis, president of the Archaeologists’ Association. “This will open the floodgates to smugglers. It’ll serve to encourage them at a time when evidence shows the trafficking of antiquities is on the rise.”

Last month, as Athens announced legal action against California’s Getty Museum to reclaim an array of antiquities whose rightful owners, according to authorities, died at least 2,000 years ago, the row reached a new pitch.

At issue are thousands of shipwrecks believed to be buried in the Mediterranean. Greece is thought to host most of these submerged gems, with an undisclosed number, say experts, dating to the golden age of the 5th century BC. And, like later vessels from the Roman, Byzantine and early modern periods, those ships sank with priceless cargoes intact.

“If you think of at least one ship going down a year then there would be at least 6,000 of them down there now,” says Katerina Delaporta, who heads the department of marine antiquity at the ministry of culture. (more…)