Friday, December 16, 2016

ISO Express -- Down -- Too Many Hits - December 16, 2016

Just asking: if Russians hacked the election, favored Trump, hurt Hillary, how did Hillary win the popular vote?

Breaking NewsLink here, although at the moment the site is down -- brought to my attention by a reader. This will be an interesting site to follow over the next several days. [It's up now. At 6:00 a.m. electricity rates were around $115/MWh. LMP: locational market pricing or location marketing price.]

The Literature Page


June 4, 2019: from The Bismarck Tribune -- meet the lost Lewis chessmen worth $1 million. Clickbait. It's just a video preceded by a very, very long ad. Here's the "print" story over at BBC.

A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.
They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen - which could now fetch £1m at auction.
The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.
The Edinburgh family's grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.  
Original Post
I first wrote about Nancy Marie Brown's Ivory Vikings back on June 27, 2016

These notes are only from the introduction of this book. 

The book is about "modern chess" based on the Lewis chessmen. "Modern chess" arose somewhere among the Norse in the mid-12th century. The argument is who carved the Lewis chessman and/or where were they carved. The Lewis chessman were found in the early 1800s on a beach on the Isle of Lewis (hence the name of the chessmen) which is among the Hebrides, west Scotland. The argument seems to be whether the chessmen were carved in Iceland or in Trondheim, Norway; and, whether Margret the Adroit was the sculptor of most of the pieces.

The author ends the introduction stating that without a reopening of the dig at Skalholt we will never know the answer: carved in Skalholt, Iceland; or, carved in Trondheim, Norway. 

There are enough chessmen to almost comprise four full chess sets -- I believe the number of pieces lacking for four full chess sets is four.

The chessmen are made from walrus tusk from Greenland (99.999% agreed).

The book explains why the very famous match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in 1972 was held in Reykjavik, Iceland (page 16).

Today, while re-reading the book, I was struck (again) by the number of interesting words used by the author, some I was familiar with, some that were new to me. The words include:
  • Norse netsuke
  • berserk
  • underground cist (ancient burial chamber or coffin; stone or hollowed-out tree)
  • miter, chasuble, crozier
  • fey monarch
  • open fleurs-de-lis-topped crown (a personal connection)
The amount of trivia in this book is incredible. For example, this: "More medieval literature exists in Icelandic than in any other European language except Latin." -- p. 11

  • tafl: translated as "chess"
  • hnefatafl: considered a precursor to "modern" chess; translates as "fist-table" chess
  • skaktafl: Icelandic word for "chess" (modern chess)
Snorri Sturluson (wrote, 1220 - 1241): foster brother of Bishop Pall. Snorri was to Norse mythology that Homer / Hesiod were to Greek mythology.
  • Pall was born in 1155;  great-grandson of King Magnus Bare-Legs of Norway -- who conquered Scotland, the Hebrides, and the Orkney and Shetland Islands; took his nickname from his fondness for wearing kilts
  • elected Icelandic bishop; in 1194
  • Pall was Margret the Adroit's patron
  • Skalholt Cathedral: largest wooden church in all of Scandinavia at the time; southern Iceland; burned to the ground in 1309
Norway and the King Magnus family rules Scotland until 1266 (for about 150 years)
Bottom line: tight relations between Iceland and Scotland; tight relations between Scotland and Norway.

Icelandic timeline:
  • 870: first settlements in Iceland
  • 1000: conversion to Christianity in Iceland
  • 1053: first Icelandic bishop elected
Viking Age: late 8th century to mid-11th century; Vikings regularly associated with Byzantium
  • official begins 793 with the sacking of Lindisfarne Abbey, 793 (late 8th century)
Byzantium (from this post);
The Early Centuries [ -- to 802]
  • from Constantine the Great through Justinian to the Iconoclasm
Part II: The Apogee [802 - 1081] (corresponds with Viking Age)
  • from images restored to Manzikert
Part III: The Decline and Fall [1081 - 1453] (corresponds with Viking Age)
  • from Alexius Comnenus the the Angevin threat to the fall 
Fried Rice

Over the years we've had several woks but for unknown reasons I haven't seen a wok in our small apartment here in north Texas. I finally got around to buying a new wok this past week -- on sale at local Albertson's - and did fried rice for the first time in a long time.

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