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Analyze this! > Archimides document August 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Stanford Scientists Analyze Ancient Greek Document

Archimedes was the Einstein of his time, an ancient Greek with a brain so brilliant, scientists are still struggling to understand some of what he wrote. Now they’re using an extraordinary device housed at Stanford to decipher the oldest known copy of his work.

Talk about irony. It was the Greek mathematician Archimedes who invented the screw, but he could never have imagined what we saw today. The threads of a screw moving an x-ray at Stanford University, beneath it, an ancient document containing material that he originally wrote.

Dr. William Noel Ph.D., project director: “It was written 2,230 years ago.”

For Dr. William Noel and his team in the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lab, this is the kind of project that bridges ancient history with the present.

Dr. William Noel: “I’m saying it’s the building block of western science. If you look at Newton and Galileo, no one is quoted more than Archimedes.”

They quote the math on this parchment. It is privately owned and the oldest known copy of his research. But here’s the twist. Everything here was erased and covered up beneath other layers of more recent art work and prayers. People commonly did that with parchment in the old days.

Uwe Bergmann, physicist: “They were recycling. In order to write a book you need a flock of sheep. And it’s easier to erase an old text than to get fresh parchment from a flock of sheep.”

Essentially, we are talking about a format change. The equivalent of moving from a 78 record to a CD-rom. In this case, from Papyrus scroll to a book in parchment. They saved only what they thought was important.

ABC7’s Wayne Freedman: “They didn’t know what they had?”

“They had no idea. It was the middle of the dark ages and they were happy to stay among themselves and pray.”

And so an x-ray the width of a human hair, peering through different layers of ink based on the iron it contains. Dr. Keith Knox does the imaging.

Dr. Keith Knox: “It’s just the opportunity to pull out information that is buried in something you can’t see.”

Information that already shows Archimedes delved deeper into math than we ever imagined. Secrets of a great mind from before this millennium, emerging a line at a time.


Greece fights for its lost treasures August 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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An untold amount of Greek heritage has been lost to international smugglers, but now Greece is fighting back, determined to bring its treasures home.

In an exclusive interview for BBC Radio 4’s Crossing Continents, conducted at a secret location, he revealed his insights. Here is the link to BBC’s article > Crossing Continents Greece fights for its lost treasures

On one hand we have Yannis – the name he gives himself – who is a key figure in the international smuggling network.

On the other we have Major Yiorgos Gligoris, the head of the Art Crime Squad of the Greek police, and who is leading the current crackdown. (see recent Getty Museum story).

Then let’s not forget that Greece has at least 3,000 museums and open-air archaeological sites, and about 20,000 shipwrecks. Protecting the antiquities and stopping the looters has always been difficult. Greek laws governing the ownership of antiquities are in fact very strict: everything you find on Greek soil belongs to the state and must be registered. There’s also the 1970 Unesco Convention on Cultural Property, which supports international co-operation on ownership.

But in both cases the problem has been enforcement.

Two recent scandals have focused Greek minds on protecting their property and on pursuing the looters.

Yannis agrees with Gligoris on several points: they both love Greek antiquities and think they should be returned to Greece.

Whom to blame? That’s the question. The state, the looters, the middlemen, whom?

Read the article/interview. If you have comments to make, these are welcomed.

Honey is new secret weapon to fight crime August 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece.
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Greek honey will become a diet staple for police cadets in training at academies as part of an effort by the government and the honey industry to boost the product’s sale.

Honey producers and the Agricultural Development and Food Ministry agreed during talks yesterday that honey will become a regular fixture on the tables of police colleges. Honey is already a regular part of the diet of Greek soldiers.

Officials also agreed that checks for adulterated honey would increase and that some money from the European Union’s Fourth Community Support Framework would be invested in the Greek honey industry.

In an effort to improve the profile of Greek honey, officials agreed that a special event will be held in November to promote the product.

Greece wins fourth bronze at Europeans in Budapest August 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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Niangkouara ends third in 100m freestyle in world record-producing race.

Nery-Madey Niangkouara won a bronze at the European Swimming Championships in the women’s 100-meter freestyle yesterday, a contest that produced a new world record from the winner, Germany’s Britta Steffen. Dutch swimmer Maarleen Veldhuis won the silver medal.

Steffen timed 53.30 seconds to beat the old mark of 53.42 seconds set by Australia’s Lisbeth Lenton earlier this year in Melbourne.

There was a new record for Niangkouara, too, at national level. The Greek bronze medalist’s time of 54.48 seconds broke the previous record of 54.63 seconds, her own, set in the semifinals.

The 23-year-old Niangkouara, who qualified for the final with the second-fastest time, had also won a bronze medal in the same event at the Europeans in Madrid two years ago.

“I’ve remained steady in third place in Europe, in a very difficult event. The good thing is that I’ve reduced my times considerably, even though I was aiming to do even better. I would have been happier with a time of about 54.20 seconds, but that doesn’t mean I’m not satisfied,” she said.

It came right on time for the 23-year-old swimmer who had considered quitting competition last year after finishing seventh at the Worlds in Montreal. Following yesterday’s final, when she was asked whether retirement was still a possibility, Niangkouara responded: “I’m the type of person that looks as far as short-term objectives. If all goes well, we’re now looking at the World Championships in Melbourne next year, and then we’ll think about the Beijing Olympics.”

A second Greek finalist competing yesterday, Yiannis Kokkodis, ended fifth in the men’s 200-meter medley final. He was the sixth-fastest qualifier.

“Considering the conditions, fifth place is satisfying, and the time was good,” noted Kokkodis, who said he was involved in a minor motorcycle accident less than a month ago that interrupted his training schedule for a week.

Greece has now tallied four bronze medals at Budapest’s Europeans in swimming and synchronized swimming. Prior to yesterday’s triumph by Niangkouara, Greece won two medals in synchronized swimming last weekend, in the solo and duet events, and another on Tuesday with Aris Grigoriadis capturing third place in the 100-meter backstroke.

Grigoriadis, the world champion in the men’s 50-meter backstroke, will be looking for a second medal in Budapest in today’s backstroke over the distance of 50 meters. He has high hopes for gold. The 21-year-old swimmer, who feels that this is his strongest event, was the fastest qualifier for today’s final with a time of 25.32 seconds in last night’s semifinals.

Yiannis Drymonakos, another Greek finalist competing today, will do battle in the men’s 200-meter butterfly final. He, too, is a medal contender. Drymonakos goes in as the third-fastest qualifier with a time of 1:56.99, a new national record set by the swimmer in his semifinal heat yesterday.

A country with minimal tradition in competitive swimming, Greece won its first ever medal at the Europeans in Berlin in 2002, a bronze medal produced by the men’s 4×200 freestyle team. Niangkouara repeated the success two years later with bronze in the 100-meter freestyle.

Theseus ring is authentic August 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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A gold ring dating from the 15th century BC which was allegedly found near the Acropolis during building work some 60 years ago is a genuine artifact, Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) said yesterday.

Experts spent six months studying the signet ring, which weighs some 20 grams, amid fears that it was a fake. The artifact has become known as the “Theseus ring” as it has an engraving of a leaping bull, recalling the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.

The Culture Ministry confirmed yesterday that the majority of experts thought the ring was genuine and, as a result, its owner will be paid 75,000 euros so that the ancient piece of jewelry can be put on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

The owner of the ring said it was discovered by her father-in-law but he kept it hidden until his death.

Pierides to pay back loan with art August 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News.
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The founder of the Pierides Foundation will pay off his £1.3 million loan to the Bank of Cyprus (BoC) in the form of works from his collection, reports said yesterday.

Politis newspaper, which broke the story of the loan to Demetris Pierides, who was also a member of the BoC board, said the money would be paid back through the acquisition of works from the Foundation.

Pierides, a member of the board since 1992, tendered his resignation last week on the same day Politis reported the story. Pierides is a prominent name in Cyprus’ cultural circles: he is a distinguished art collector with a string of cultural foundations and museums bearing the family name.

In 1995, he reportedly took out two separate loans with the bank. A sum of £950,000 was personally given to him, with the rest loaned to his cultural foundation.

He is believed not to have kept up with his repayments over the last year.

According to the initial reports it was decided, after top-level negotiations, that Pierides would pay back the money using funds he would receive from the sale of several pieces in his art collection.

The Central Bank of Cyprus was also asked for its input on the matter. They reportedly gave the green light to the proposed settlement through the art works but at least until last week, it had not materialised.

Foreign airlines re-arrange flights to Israel August 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in News Flights.
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A number of foreign airlines have made arrangements for crew overnights outside Israel until the weekend in light of the escalation in fighting in the north.

Air France’s Paris-Tel Aviv flights through August 5 will include a crew layover in Cyprus. The company has not reduced its two-flights-a-day schedule despite a reduction in traffic, in preparation for a projected influx of religious French Jews after today’s Tisha B’Av holiday.

KLM continues to stop in Cyprus to switch crews on its flights from Amsterdam. Air crews for Spanish national airline Iberia are staying overnight in Athens.

Alitalia, Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian airlines have rescheduled flights to allow crews to fly in and out of Israel on the same day, avoiding any overnights or layovers.

However, British Airways, Cyprus Airways, Continental, Delta and Air Canada crews continue to stay overnight in Israel despite the war in the north.