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Friday, October 28, 2011

It had to be Kumar! Real.life 'slumdog' scoops jackpot


Sushil Kumar, a Bihar commoner 27,  not yet a civil servant

Sushil Kumar earned EUR86 a month working in a government office in the state of Bihar before he gave all the right answers on the popular TV show.Sushil Kumar earned EUR86 a month working in a government office in the state of Bihar before he gave all the right answers on the popular TV show.

A poor government clerk from eastern India has become the first person to win the jackpot on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Sushil Kumar earned €86 a month working in a government office in the state of Bihar before he gave all the right answers on the popular TV show. He won 50 million rupees (€719,400).

The 2008 Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire  was about a man from a poor background who hits the jackpot on the show, which is hugely popular in India. Mr Kumar told show host and Indian movie hero Amitabh Bachchan that he was thrilled he could now afford to pay for a preparatory course so he can take India’s civil service exam. 
He said he also planned to use some of his winnings to build a library in his home town. He also wants to buy a home for his wife and give his brothers money so they can set up small businesses. Mr Kumar’s episode was recorded on Tuesday night and will be broadcast next week.


Monday, October 24, 2011

an uncanny full house theater with bikers ..... and you?


stunts with bikers in cinema

SEP222011
To reinforce the new product Duval Guillaume Modem proposed an original experiment, as Entertainment advertisers are learning that the most engaging video advertising feels like part of the video experience.
In Belgian cinemas some innocent couples were confronted with a theatre filled with not-so-friendly gentlemen and only 2 seats left… 
How will they react? and you?Put yourself in an uncanny (=impossible) situation.You go with your boyfriend to the cinema and the seller tells you that there are only two seats left in the middle of the room.You go and see 148 bikers with bad face staring at you.What would you do? Who would convince who?
Those who were not intimidated, .... got to know.
In the beginning of this year, Carlsberg launched a new global positioning and baseline ‘That Calls for a Carlsberg’. Carlsberg is a well-known brand, but people didn’t necessarily know what the brand stands for. With this global positioning Carlsberg wants to add essence to the brand and tell the Carlsberg story, so every market understands that Carlsberg beer stands for tradition, quality, a great taste … and making the right choices.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

la contra de la vanguardia

TOTES les contra de la vanguardia
Broggi, cirujano y humanista   Vive tu vida hasta el final: ¡aprópiate de tu muerte! (17-10-2011)

¿Qué aconseja a los moribundos?
"No te olvides de vivir", que dijo Goethe. Ved tan inevitable vuestra muerte... como la vida que os queda. Reconcíliate con la vida: entiende que la vida estaba antes que tú y que seguirá sin ti. Nos acostumbramos a vivir... y nos apegamos. Pero la vida no te necesita. Piénsalo. ... ¡Y perdónate! No te juzgues: hiciste lo mejor que pudiste y quédate contento.
¿Qué es lo importante para bien morir?
Sentirte acompañado, mirado, admirado: que haya alguien a tu lado que te vea de verdad. Y para eso suele ser mejor un amigo que un familiar.
¿Conoce alguna muerte ideal?
Rilke dijo: "Señor, da a cada uno su propia muerte". Que tu muerte encaje en lo que ha sido tu vida. Como la de Sócrates... que condenado a morir con cicuta, convoca a sus amigos, charla con ellos, hace salir a los que lloran, bebe y se despide: "Parto hacia la muerte y vosotros hacia la vida: ¡sólo los dioses saben quién tendrá mejor suerte!". Como dijo Quevedo: "Que mi vida acabe y mi vivir ordene".
  Hasta el final, ¡todo es vida! Me impresionó un paciente amigo mío que, moribundo, sacó una botella de vino y me invitó a brindar...




LC-333-  Albert Turull, especialista en onomástica  "Si te llamas Arturo García, vienes a ser 'un oso muy oso'"


LC- 28/X - Esteva de Sabrera (Univ. Barcelona) Historiador del medicamento



Cuando no existe un medicamento, el hombre se lo inventa: cure o no. Y algunos causaban más víctimas que curaciones. A mí me fascina, por ejemplo, el emplasto de Paracelso para heridas de espada: se aplicaba sobre la espada y no sobre la herida.
 Magia simpática.
En ella lo similar produce lo similar y las sustancias en contacto se contagian propiedades. Además, creían en otra relación igual de falsa, pero más lucrativa: cuanto más caro y escaso es el remedio, más efectivo.
... Galeno prescribe la triaca, que se elaboraba con carne de víboras hembra no preñadas.
 Magia simpática y arriesgada.
Mucho, porque san Isidoro aconseja que los cazadores de víboras vayan desnudos.
¿Por qué?
San Isidoro sabrá. 
.... Veo que la farmacia tiene pasado –y próspero–, pero no sé si tanto futuro.
.... En fin, las crisis son el modo en que el capitalismo hace su gimnasia.
 ¿Ha sido la Viagra el medicamento más rentable que ha existido?
Lo fue más el guayaco, planta americana, usada como antisifilítico: suponía tales beneficios que, cuando los banqueros Fogger financian a Carlos V como emperador, le exigen a cambio el monopolio del guayaco.
 annex1The Italian scholar Rodolfo Taiani, in Pharmacy through the Ages, considers that  “…Brilliant sales campaign, prompted by the Fuggers, ..This family had the monopoly of this drug, which became extremely valuable and was sold at very high prices.”
annex2Nicolás Monardes (1493-1588)
historia_enfermedades_venereas/libro_monardes
Libro de Monardes con el guayacán
La madera del Guaiacum officinale y del Guaiacum sanctum, árboles de pequeño crecimiento, tiene en su corazón, el Lignum vitae del cual se saca el guayacán. En latín se denomina “Madera de vida’ por sus usos medicinales. Otros nombres son palo santo, madera santa, corazón verde y madera de hierro.53
El primer caso de sífilis curado por el guayacán lo relata Nicolás Monardes, cito textualmente: ‘Dio noticias del a su amo de este manera. Como un español padeciese grandes dolores de bubas, que una india se las había pegado, el indio le dio el agua del guayacán, con que no sólo se le quitaron los dolores que padecía, pero sanó muy bien del mal; (…) y cierto para este mal es el mejor y más alto remedio de cuantos hoy se han hallado y que con más certinidad y más firmeza sana y cura la tal enfermedad.



names: Shah, regina, rook, 8 comyn people; schachorum ludo -ajedrez -chess


The name of the items of the game got adapted to the new lands were it was played: Persia, ISlamic kingdoms, Hebrew medieval wise people and Christian Europeans.
  • alterumque nomen mediaevale quod habetur esse quasi terminus technicus ludi. In enumeratione quae sequitur, nomen purius litteris fortibus scribitur; nomen technicum, litteris fortibus et italicis. Cuique lusori sunt:
  • rex, sive scaccus
  • regina (vel virgo, vel amazon, vel domina), sive dama (unde damicus ludus), vel fercia
  • turres, vel elephantes, sive rochi
  • episcopi (vel satellites, vel signiferi, vel cursores, vel sagittiferi), sive alfīni
  • equites
  • pedites, vel pedini, sive pedones

Rumi's poem dedicated to Shams (circa 1500=)
The Persians took from the Indians the essentials of the game -- the six different figures, the board with sixty-four squares -- and rebaptized the pieces with Persian names. This new nomenclature was to have enduring significance far beyond the East, for shah, the Persian word for "king," ultimately served as the name of the game in several European languages by way of the Latin scacchus: scacchi in Italian, Schach in German, échecs in French, and chess in English, among others.
Even in this “known” history, Yalom can deliver a surprise:
The Persian term shah mat, used in this episode, eventually came down to us as “check mate,” which literally means “the king was dumbfounded” or “exhausted,” though it is often translated as “the king died.”
some of the chess pieces took on Arabic names (al-fil for elephant, baidak for pawn, and firzan, fri or ferz for the general or vizier) while others retained their Persian labels (shah for king, rukh for rook, asp for horse).

In Europe some of the pieces gradually got new names:
  • Fers: "queen", because it starts beside the King.
  • Aufin: "bishop", because its two points looked like a bishop's mitre; In French fou; and others. Its Latin name alfinus was reinterpreted many ways
Retrieved from the excellent Carol Hamill's webpage :
Recreating Medieval Chess:  from schachorum ludo to the queen’s chess
The game spread throughout Europe in the 9th century. The earliest written European accounts are written in Latin, making reference to schachis (chessmen) with various spellings or to schachorum ludo (the game of chessmen). One word of caution, the Romans did not play chess. Their game of ludus latrunculorum is not related to chess and the Latin term schachi can refer to various game pieces including those for draughts and backgammon.
The modern game (called the new chess or the queen’s chess) belongs to the period after 1500 CE.

E = Einsiedelnpoem    CB = Carmina Burana
Table # 2   Comparitive nomenclature within Europe

Medieval Latin
scacchi
scaccarium
various spellings
French
eschès
echecs
Middle English
cheschess
German
schach
Italian
scacchi
scacco


rex
roy
kynge
könig

re



ferzia
femina, regina conjunx CB
then: regina (E)
fierge fierce
dame(1500)
fers   (Chaucer)
quene(Caxton)
dame
regina



alfinus, alphinus
alphicus (leper)
alfiere( standard-bearer)
aificus (‘horned head’) CB
comes, curvus(count or aged one) (E)
Vida’s poem (1547) use of terms for archer
alfin, aufyn(OF)
fou (fool)
alphyn(Caxton)
wise man sitting in chair holding a bo
läufer (runner)
standard-bearer



eques (E) and CB
caballarius
chevalier
(knight)
knyght
springer
(leaper)
cavallo

cus
rochus
Vida’s poem (1547) use of terms for elephant with tower
roc
rook (Caxton)
legat 
of the kynge -  
man on horseback
roch
rocco

pedes
(foot soldier)
pion(pawn)
comyn people(Caxton) in 8 categories
bauer



names in Germany:
Einsiedeln Poem:  Versus de scachis (Verses in Chess) Latin,  written by a German monk in Switzerland, circa 997 CE.  
   king= rex; queen= regina; bishop= comes count or traveller or  curvus aged one or crooked; knight eques; rook= rochus; pawn= pedes      

Carmina Burana Latin. poem of rhymed couplets circa. 1210
The poem indicated that the queen is placed to the right of the king.
rex; 3 names here: femina  - name of original piece - &  regina    - name of ‘queened pawn’ & conjunx (Note: the author avoids the problem of a king having two queens(); alficus "horned head"; eques; rochus & pedes. 

 Medieval Chess as played in France and England - a reconstruction
The chequered board would have been likely black and yellow or black and white.
The terms used would be in French:
     roi (king);  fierce (advisor);  alfin or fou (elephant or fool);  chevalier (knight);  roc (rook) & pion (pawn).      

The evolution of the rook – from chariot to castle
The rook was the most powerful piece on the medieval chessboard. The term ‘rukh’ sounds like roka (boat ) used in the Ganges valley and like rukhkh the Arabic term for "the horseman who is commander of the army" In Persian rukh means war chariot. The abstract curved flat piece used by Arab chess players would have left plenty of room for Europeans to decide for themselves, what the rook represents.
The European rook took many forms. In the Charlemage chessmen set, (circa 1080) the rook is carved as a chariot with driver and horses. The Lewis chessmen of the mid 1100’s have rooks that resemble soldiers each has a helmet, shield and sword. Alfonso X’s The Book of Games (1283) describes the rook as "made wide and stretched because they resemble the ranks of soldiers". Cessolis (circa 1300) calls them "vicars or envoy’s of the king" (Yalom, p.70). In the Latin poem, Scacchia Ludusof 1537, by Vida, the rooks are described as "warring towers borne upon the backs of elephants" (Parlett p.304) By the mid 16th century the rook is represented by the tower alone, (Hammond p. 107).

A French translation of De ludo scachorum by Jacques de Cessoles (various spellings) was done by Jehan de Vignay in 1380. This French translation was used as the basis of Caxton’s very important English translation discussed later. In French the game was called: eschès, and later échecs.
The Latin term scacchi and the term échecs could also be applied to game pieces in general such as in draughts, tables or merels. (Parlett p.300). Caution such be used when reading period documents. Many references that appear to discuss chess could be related to some other game, (this is especially important with reference to Scandinavian sources).
The pieces: roy, roi (king); fierce or fierge (advisor), later dame (queen); alfin, aufyn or fol , in modern French fou (fool ); chevalier (knight); roc by 17th c. this became tour (castle) & pion (pawn)
33. 

Caxton’s Game and Playe of the Chess: a moral treatise on the duties of life. - first published 1474
The bulk of this work is a translation of the French translation (Jehan de Vignay 1380) of the Latin work
De ludo scachorum by Jacques de Cessoles (various spellings) written in Italy. This is the second non-religious book to be printed in the English language (Golombek p. 63) and it was very popular. At one time two hundred codices could be found in the various public libraries of Europe. It includes a description of how each piece ought to appear an how that class of people ought to behave.
The terms, and descriptions used include:
kynge, sitting on chair, clothed in purple "betokens virgyns and damesels"
quene, (moves on own colour) sitting on chair clothed in gold with fur
alphyn (limited elephant-type moves) "betokenyth wise men" (Caxton) sitting on chair
note: that this is note the same as the standard bearer (Cesssolis) or the fol (de Vignay)
knyght, gentlemen, sitting on horse
rook "vicaires and legats of the king" sitting on a horse same description as used in the original by Cessolis
comyn people each pawn is associated with a category of trades people
1 labourers and workmen 2 smyths 3 notaries, advocates drapers cloth makers 4. merchants money changers 5 physicians apothacaries, 6 tavern keepers 7 guards and "keepers of the city" 8 "ribaulder, disepleyar and currours" - loosely translated as "irregular retainers, and displayers and cursers.
Note that the modern bishop piece called alphyn is described as representing a wise man and the rook represents a legit of the king.

the birth of the queen of chess

Birth of the Chess Queen: A History - by Marilyn Yalom - HarperCollins, 2004
Reviewed by Rick Kennedy

I can summarize Yalom’s Birth of the Chess Queen: 
a) the game of chess we play today has evolved from an earlier game with different rules and pieces; 
b) over time, the eleventh through fifteenth centuries, the Vizier, or advisor to the King, was replaced in Europe by the Queen, which then further morphed from the weakest piece on the board to the strongest one; and c) the transformation of the chess Queen paralleled the rise of various powerful real-life queens.
For many readers, the first part of the tale will be familiar.
Though historians still debate the exact origins of chess, most agree that it emerged in India no later than the sixth century.  In Sanskrit, the game was called chaturanga, meaning “four members,” which referred to the four parts of the Indian army: chariots, elephants, cavalry and infantry.  This fourfold division, plus the king and his general, provided the basic pieces of the game, first in India and then throughout the world.
As people and armies moved in conquest across lands, the game of chess followed.  As people adapted and adopted the ways of new cultures, so did chess.
The Persians took from the Indians the essentials of the game – the six different figures, the board with sixty-four squares – and rebaptized the pieces with Persian names.  This new nomenclature was to have enduring significance far beyond the East, for shah, the Persian word for “king,” ultimately served as the name of the game in several European languages, via Latin.
As the Muslims expanded their empire, in the seventh through eleventh centuries, again, chess traveled with them.
Arabic became the dominant language in many of these conquered lands, and some of the chess pieces took on Arabic names (al-fil for elephant, baidak for pawn, and firzan, fri or ferz for the general or vizier) while others retained their Persian labels (shah for king, rukh for rook, asp for horse).
The stage is set for the entrance of Her Majesty:
We have seen how the chess queen appeared around the year 1000 as a European replacement for the Arabic vizier, taking over his slow, one-step-at-a-time diagonal gait.  Despite slight regional differences, this is the pace she maintained throughout the Middle Ages.
Almost as dramatic as the modern-day pawn being promoted, upon reaching the 8th rank, and changing into a modern-day queen, (although not as instantaneously), over the years the old style queen grew in power and mobility.  Why?  Here we have the crux of Yalom’s thesis:
Yet, from the twelfth century onward, she seems to have acquired special value, far beyond her limited mobility on the board…The heightened authority invested in queenship during the course of the Middle Ages spilled over to the little queen on the board and paved the way for her to become the game’s mightiest piece...It should not surprise us that the queen’s official transformation into the strongest piece on the board coincided with the reign of Isabella of Castile (1451-1504).
From the quotes I have presented, you can see that Birth of the Chess Queen is an accessible work, not the stereotyped dusty and impenetrable “academic” tome.  This style stands Yalom in good stead, and can make her book enjoyable reading for those interested in her slice of early chess days.  At times, though, especially when telling the tales of royalty, the author takes on almost a breathless quality in her writing (one unsympathetic reviewer compared it to People magazine).  One example, of many:
In 1137, the young, elegant princess married Louis VII, when they were fifteen and sixteen years old, respectively.  She left the sunny court of Aquitaine for the murky skies of Paris.  There her lively mind, nourished on lyrical poetry, came in contact with the more earnest theological debates favored by her monkish husband.  There is no doubt that Louis, deeply in love with his stunning young wife, was initially more influenced by her than she by him.  She did her best to recreate in Paris the brilliant court life that had flourished in Aquitaine, replete with troubadours, storytellers, jugglers, and entertainment of every sort, including games of chance and chess…
Also, because history does not record much – and, much less so, of the lives of women – Yalom is left presenting some of the stories she finds, however shaky, as if to get them on the record, lest they be lost again.
Mathilda’s marriage to Ezzo, the count of Palatine, is associated with a chess anecdote that is too good to be left in silence, even if its veracity is questionable.  As the story goes, Mathilda was married to Ezzo, the count Palatine, after her youthful brother, Otto III, acting as her guardian, lost her to the elderly count over a chess match.  It is impossible to determine whether this tale is true, but Otto III is known to have been a quixotic personality, so the decision to marry off his sister in this fashion is not entirely out of keeping with his character.  We do not know the date of the event or even the age of the bride…


second review at The Guardian (2004):

Chequered past of the first lady

Steven Poole surveys the emergence of a new game


Yalom enjoys telling the stories of her favourite queens: Matilda of Tuscany, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Blanche of Castile, Margaret of Denmark and particularly Isabella of Castile, who ruled Spain along with her husband Ferdinand at the time of the chess piece's ascension to superpower status.
These queens, on Yalom's admiring accounts, could do little wrong: they are celebrated for courage and fortitude, and even occasionally fighting in battle themselves. Yalom acknowledges hastily that yes, Isabella drove Jews and Moors from her shores and instituted the Spanish Inquisition, but this just makes Isabella's a "mixed legacy". Well, some legacies are more mixed than others. In a curious little historical irony, chess, among the pursuits banned by the Taliban, was one of the enduring gifts to Europe of the Arabs, whose expulsion by Isabella still rankles among Islamist terrorists today.
Doubtless there is some truth to the idea that examples such as Isabella made the appearance of a kick-ass female monarch on the chessboard more credible. Yalom points out that in Russia, the old vizier did not become the queen or "tsaritsa" until much later, when the historical example of Catherine the Great was available. On the other hand, Yalom's thesis cannot be generalised too much. It is not as though the world had never known powerful female rulers before the early-modern period. And bishops and kings are still as powerful in today's chess as they were five centuries ago, despite their waning influence in the western world.
Meanwhile, Yalom's coyly touted "discovery" of a "hidden relationship" between chess development and the cult of the Virgin Mary is much less persuasive. Where there does not exist a documented link between one of her spunky heroines and chess, moreover, Yalom feels happily inclined to invent it. Thus the pages are littered with phrases of wishful thinking: "On their actual journey to Byzantium, Eleanor and her caravan of noble ladies most probably brought chess sets with them..."; "In all probability, [Adelaide] promoted the game of chess."
Exuberantly, Yalom strays beyond her thesis as narrowly defined, with a chapter on courtly love and the imagery of chess as a metaphor for sex in numerous engravings showing young couples playing, and also examines the rich material for instruction and warning that chess provided to moralists - who, for example, were deeply worried about the implied polygamy of the fact that one side could eventually attain several queens. She writes in a style that combines briskness with a somewhat cloying smell of baking cookies: Eleanor, for example, wore her various royal titles "as easily as the rich textures that adorned her body". And when Yalom laments the fact that a tome entitled The Edifying Book of Erotic Chess "was tragically destroyed" in the firebombing of Dresden, one might reasonably propose that its loss was not among the most tragic results of that catastrophe.