Saturday

Montilla (Spain)


Montilla Geography:
  • Town & municipality of southern Spain.
  • Located in the province of Córdoba.
  • Found 32 miles south of the provincial capital, Córdoba.
Montilla Important Facts:
  • Olive oil is an important product in the area.
  • Flavour of the wine of Montilla which gives its name to the sherry Amontillado.
Montilla History:
Image Credit - by Hameryko Wikipedia PublicDomain

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Saint Francis Solanus (Franciscan Monk) 1549-1610


Francis Solanus Demographics:
  • Name - Francis Solanus (Spanish: Francisco Sánchez-Solano Jiménez) pictured opposite.
  • Born - 10 March 1549 (Montilla, near Córdoba, Spain).
  • Died - 14 July 1610 (Lima, Peru)
  • Occupation - Spanish missionary in South America (Order of Friars Minor, the Franciscans).
  • Parents - Matthew Sanchez Solanus & Anna Ximenes.
Francis Solanus Important Facts:
  • At the age of 20 years, he joined the Franciscan Order at Montilla.
  • Solanus was recorded as performing the 16th century miracle of curing a young virgin Joanna Francisca Hurtado of bubonic plague.
  • He was later sent to the convent of Arifazza (as master of novices).
  • Solanis sailed from Spain to the Americas in 1589.
  • He went to Peru on the Pacific side of the Panamanian isthmus.
  • Solanus was said, in 1610, to have predicted the 1618 earthquake of Trujillo, Peru.
  • Solanus also apparently foretold his own death, which occurred in 1610 at Lima, Peru.
  • He was beatified by Pope Clement X in 1675, & later canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726.
  • Was a talented violinist-musician as well.
Francis Solanus Evangelical Career:
  • Francis Solanus worked at evangelizing the vast regions of Tucuman (present day northwestern Argentina) & Paraguay.
  • Solanus had a skill for languages & succeeded at learning many of the regions' native tongues in a fairly short period of time.
  • He also played the violin frequently for the natives, this helping as an ice-breaker.
  • Later elected to guardian of the Franciscan convent in Lima, Peru.

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Marchione di Coppo Stefani (Florentine Chronicler)

Marchione di Coppo Stefani Demographics:
  • Name - Marchione di Coppo Stefani
  • Birth - 1336 (Florence)
  • Died - not known
  • Residence - Florence, Italy
  • Nationality - Italian
  • Occupation - Chronicler
Marchione di Coppo Stefani Other Facts:
  • Wrote a first hand account about the 1348 Black Death in Florence (in the Florentine Chronicle).
  • The Florentine Chronicle was written in the late 1370's & early 1380's.
  • The account gave valuable information about:
    • What people did during the plague.
    • How they protected themselves.
    • How they survived.
    • How many people died in Florence (96,000).
  • Without the writings of Stefani, and others, we wouldn’t know as much of the detail about the struggles during the plague.
Marchione di Coppo Stefani Quotes:
"In the year of the Lord 1348 there was a very great pestilence in the city and district of Florence. …. Almost none of the ill survived past the fourth day. Neither physicians nor medicines were effective… there seemed to be no cure. …. And it was not just that men and women died, but even ….dogs, cats, chickens, oxen, donkeys sheep showed the same symptoms and died of the same disease."

"Child abandoned the father, husband the wife, wife the husband, one brother the other, one sister the other.…And those who died had neither confessor nor other sacraments. And many died with no one looking after them. And many died of hunger because when someone took to bed sick, another in the house, terrified, said to him: "I'm going for the doctor." Calmly walking out the door, the other left and did not return again."

"Now it was ordered by the bishop and the Lords [of the city government] that they should formally inquire as to how many died in Florence. When it was seen at the beginning of October that no more persons were dying of the pestilence, they found that among males, females, children and adults, 96,000 died between March and October."

"At every church, or at most of them, they dug deep trenches, down to the waterline, wide and deep, depending on how large the parish was. And those who were responsible for the dead carried them on their backs in the night in which they died and threw them into the ditch, or else they paid a high price to those who would do it for them. The next morning, if there were many [bodies] in the trench, they covered them over with dirt. And then more bodies were put on top of them, with a little more dirt over those; they put layer on layer just like one puts layers of cheese in a lasagna."

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Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA)

LUCA - Important Facts:
  • Also known as the 'Last Universal Ancestor' (LUA); and also cenancestor (from the Greek root cen. together) proposed by Fitch in 1987.
  • The most recent organism from which all living organisms on Earth descend.
  • It is also the 'Most Recent Common Ancestor' (MRCA) of all life on Earth.
  • Estimated to have lived around 3.5 billion - 3.8 billion years ago (Paleoarchean era).
  • New evidence suggests that LUCA may have had a primitive RNA genetic code which would have been more sensitive to increased environmental temperatures compared with DNA. [1]
  • It was only later that DNA was incorporated into the ancestors, perhaps via viruses, allowing cells to survive in more extreme environments.
Was there a LUCA?
  • We do not know.
  • We may never know, because there may not have been a single ancestor.
  • Some experts believe that LUCA may actually be a mess ('cellular mist') of different gene-swapping early cells.
Common Features Found in Living Organisms:
  • Genetic code is based on DNA.
  • Genetic code is expressed via RNA intermediates.
  • Proteins are expressed from the genetic code.
  • The proteins are made from amino acids by translation of an mRNA by ribosomes, tRNA and a group of related proteins.
  • There are only 20 amino acids that are used.
  • ATP is used as an energy intermediate.
  • A lipid bilayer (cell membrane) surrounds the cell.
  • There is a ionic gradient inside the cell for sodium and potassium.
  • The cell can multiply by initially duplicating its contents, followed by cellular division.
References:
  1. Bastien Boussau, Samuel Blanquart, Anamaria Necsulea, Nicolas Lartillot, Manolo Gouy. Parallel adaptations to high temperatures in the Archaean eon. Nature, 2008; 456 (7224): 942 DOI: 10.1038/nature07393

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Alone (Poem by Maya Angelou)


"Alone" Facts:
  • Poem by Maya Angelou (pictured).
  • No human being can live on their own in this world, we all need some other person to share our life with.
  • Maya Angelou, earlier in her life particularly, had to cope with rasicm and other of life's difficulties.
  • This poem reflects about what Maya has learned from her life.
  • She is warning us with the 2 lines 'storm clouds are gathering', and 'the race of man is suffering'.

Alone

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

by Maya Angelou


Alone




Image Credit - by zsrlibrary (cc)

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Kings Play Chess On Funny Green Spaces (Mnemonic)


Kings Play Chess On Funny Green Spaces (KPCOFGS) is another mnemonic for remembering the classification of living organisms. See other Kings Play Chess mnemonics.

Kings - Kingdom
Play - Phylum
Chess - Class
On - Order
Funny - Family
Green - Genus
Spaces - Species

Related Links:

Image - Green Space by Benderish (cc)


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Orange (Citrus Fruit)


Orange Botanical Facts:
  • Name - Citrus aurantium ssp. sinensis, Citrus sinensis
  • Appearance - Small flowering tree.
  • Size - grows to about 10 m tall.
  • Leaves - Evergreen leaves, arranged alternately, of ovate shape with crenulate margins.
  • Fruit - orange fruit is a hesperidium (a type of berry).
  • The fruit of Citrus aurantium ssp. sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange.
Orange History:
  • Now generally believed that oranges originate from Northern or North Eastern India.
  • The orange tree is an ancient hybrid possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata).
  • The first oranges were brought to Europe by the Moors, probably already available in the 9th century, though these were not sweet oranges.
  • The name is thought to have been derived from the Dravidian & Tamil word for the orange tree, after passing through a number of languages.
Orange - Other Names:
  • Chinese (Cantonese) - Chaang
  • Chinese (Mandarin) - Guang gan, Tian cheng
  • Dutch - Sinaasappel "Chinese apple"
  • German - Apfelsine "China's apple"
  • Hebrew - Tapuz, Tappuah zahav
  • Spanish - Naranja, Naranja china
Orange Varieties:
  • Blood orange
  • Navel orange
  • Persian orange
  • Valencia orange

Inage Credit - by gem66 (cc)

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Friday

Greensleeves (Traditional English Folk Song)


"Greensleeves" Facts:
  • Traditional English folk song & tune.
  • A ballad by this name was registered in 1580 as "A New Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves".
  • There is a belief that Greensleeves may have been composed by Henry VIII (pictured) for his future queen consort Anne Boleyn.
  • Anne's rejection of Henry's attempts to seduce her are referred to in the song, "cast me off discourteously."
  • However, as the work is probably an Elizabethan-Italian based style of composition, it is very unlikely that Henry VIII made any contribution to the song.
  • It has been suggested that Lady Green Sleeves was a promiscuous young woman, perhaps a prostitute.
  • The tune Greensleeves is mentioned in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, (written ~1602).

Greensleeves:

Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.

Chorus:
Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight,
Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
And who but my lady greensleeves.

Your vows you've broken, like my heart,
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity.

chorus

I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave,
I have both wagered life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.

chorus

If you intend thus to disdain,
It does the more enrapture me,
And even so, I still remain
A lover in captivity.

chorus

My men were clothed all in green,
And they did ever wait on thee;
All this was gallant to be seen,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

chorus

Thou couldst desire no earthly thing,
but still thou hadst it readily.
Thy music still to play and sing;
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

chorus

Well, I will pray to God on high,
that thou my constancy mayst see,
And that yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me.

chorus

Ah, Greensleeves, now farewell, adieu,
To God I pray to prosper thee,
For I am still thy lover true,
Come once again and love me.

chorus


"Greensleeves"




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I Loved a Lass (Poem by George Wither)


"I Loved a Lass" Information:
  • This is a famous love poem.
  • It is a poem about a forsaken lover.
  • Written by English poet and satirist George Wither (1588-1667).
  • The poem seems to parallel with "Greensleeves", a traditional English folk song & tune.
  • The term "sack", in the poem, is a wine, similar to sherry.

I Loved a Lass:

I Loved a lass, a fair one,
As fair as e'er was seen;
She was indeed a rare one,
Another Sheba Queen:
But, fool as then I was,
I thought she loved me too:
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

Her hair like gold did glister,
Each eye was like a star,
She did surpass her sister,
Which pass'd all others far;
She would me 'honey' call,
She'd--O she'd kiss me too!
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

In summer time to Medley
My love and I would go;
The boatmen there stood read'ly
My love and me to row.
For cream there would we call,
For cakes and for prunes too;
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

Her cheeks were like the cherry,
Her skin was white as snow;
When she was blithe and merry
She angel-like did show;
Her waist exceeding small,
The fives did fit her shoe:
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

In summer time or winter
She had her heart's desire;
I still did scorn to stint her
From sugar, sack, or fire;
The world went round about,
No cares we ever knew:
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

To maidens' vows and swearing
Henceforth no credit give;
You may give them the hearing,
But never them believe;
They are as false as fair,
Unconstant, frail, untrue:
For mine, alas! hath left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

by George Wither


"I Loved a Lass" by George Wither




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Slaughter (Spelling Mnemonic)


A simple spelling mnemonic.

Slaughter is LAUGHTER with an "S" at the beginning.


Image (oppossite) in Public Domain:
Medieval Pig Slaughter
From
The Medieval Cookbook (scan by Peter Isotalo)

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Thursday

Not Waving but Drowning (Poem by Stevie Smith)


"Not Waving but Drowning" Facts:
  • Poem by British poet Stevie Smith (1902-1971).
  • Published in 1957 as part of a collection of the same title.
  • The most famous of Stevie Smith's poems.
  • The poem describes a man whose animated thrashing in the sea causes onlookers to believe that he is waving to them.
  • The poem also has an accompaning drawing by Smith, showing a female figure.
  • The relationship of the poem to Smith has been analysed in several articles.
  • Smith had been treated for psychological problems, and had also considered suicide at age eight years (her father had abandoned her).
  • Some authors suggest that the drowning man is Smith herself.
  • It has also been suggested that the poem is a cry for help by Smith.

Not Waving but Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

by Stevie Smith


Stevie Smith "Not Waving but Drowning" Poem Movie Animation



The audio track was Recorded at the Edinburgh Festival in 1965 at a time when the Stevie Smith was experiencing a resurgence of interest in her work. She was giving plenty of readings around that time.


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Coldest Place On Earth (Vostok Station, Antarctica) July 21, 1983

The coldest temperature ever measured on Earth was -129 Fahrenheit (-89 Celsius).

This occurred at Vostok Station, Antarctica, on July 21, 1983.



Vostok Station (Antarctica):

[U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]


Related Posts:
Hottest Place On Earth (El Azizia in Libya) September 13, 1922



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Hottest Place On Earth (El Azizia in Libya) September 13, 1922


The Hottest Ever Recorded Temperature:
  • El Azizia in Libya (pictured opposite).
  • Also known as Al 'Aziziyah (Arabic: العزيزية‎).
  • Temperature of 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.8 Celsius) on September 13, 1922.
  • This is the hottest ever measured.
The Second Hottest Ever Recorded Temperature:
  • Death Valley, California, USA.
  • 134 Fahrenheit (57.8 Celsius) on July 10, 1913.
Hottest Average Temperature:
  • Is Dallol, Ethiopia.
  • Warmest place on earth.
  • Average yearly ambient surface air temperature of 34.4°C = 93.92°F.
  • Equivalent of 307.55 kelvin.

Related Posts:
Coldest Place On Earth (Vostok Station, Antarctica) July 21, 1983



Image from Photobucket.com


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Wednesday

Paris Syndrome (French: Syndrome de Paris)


General Features of Paris Syndrome:
  • Paris syndrome (French: Syndrome de Paris)
  • Transient psychological disorder encountered by some people visiting or vacationing in Paris, France.
  • Japanese visitors are especially susceptible.
  • First described in Nervure (French Journal of Psychiatry) by A. Viala, et al. (2004)[1].
Clinical Features of Paris Syndrome:
  • A number of psychiatric symptoms may occur such as anxiety, psychosomatic manifestations (i.e. palpitations, dizziness, sweating), acute delusional states, hallucinations, feelings of persecution, derealization, depersonalization.
  • The clinical picture is thus quite variable.
  • The characteristic feature is that during the trip to Paris, the traveller has to deal with things unfamiliar to them, which they did not anticipate.
  • The symptoms are not present before the trip and they resolve with return to the traveller's normal surroundings.
Triggers:
  • Cultural differences - esp compared with Japanese culture.
  • Exhaustion - ie busy visit with associated jet lag.
  • Idealised image of Paris - not like Paris appears in literature and films.
  • Language barriers - again particularly noticeable with the Japanese.
Similar Conditions:
  • Jerusalem syndrome
  • Stendhal syndrome
  • Voyager syndrome (Syndrome du voyageur)
Differential Diagnosis:
  • Pathological voyage - the psychiatric disorder(s) already pre-exist.

References:

[1] - A. Viala, H. Ota, M.N. Vacheron, P. Martin, and F. Caroli.(2004) - "Les Japonais en voyage pathologique à Paris : un modèle original de prise en charge transcuturelle"

Image Credit - Olivier Ffrench (cc) Eiffel Tower + Sunset + Paris

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Jean Marie Joseph Capgras (French Psychiatrist) 1873-1950

Joseph Capgras Demographics:
  • Name - Jean Marie Joseph Capgras
  • Born - 1873 (Verdun-sur-Garonne)
  • Death – 1950 (Paris)
  • Nationality - French
  • Occupation - Psychiatrist
Joseph Capgras Important Facts:
  • He was a brilliant student at the Montauban lycee where he trained in Medicine.
  • Student of the French Psychiatrist Valentin Magnan.
  • Capras became Chief Psychiatrist at the Maison-Blanche asylum.
  • Popular because of his extreme benevolence.
  • Capgras was very open to the ideas of his young co-workers, even if they expressed views that he did not share.
Jean Marie Joseph Capgras & the Capgras Delusion:
  • Best known for first describing the the Capgras delusion in 1923 together with his assistant Jean Reboul-Lachaux; when they were working at the Sainte-Anne Hospital.
  • The case was first presented at the meeting of the Clinical Society for Mental Medicine (10 January 1923).
  • They described the case of a 53 year old woman whom they wrote had l'illusion des sosies.
  • Sosies is the French word for "doubles".

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