Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Imperial Istanbul

Imperial Istanbul


New Ten Major Construction Projects

New Ten Major Construction Projects

* Top universities and research centers
o Goal: to have at least 15 major graduate school ranked number 1 in Asia in 5 years; to get at least one college ranked one of the top 100 colleges of the world in 10 years.

* International arts and popular music centers
o Northern Taiwan: Greater Taipei New Theater (大台北新劇院;計畫興建於板橋新站特定區內)
o Central Taiwan: Taichung Metropolitan Opera House (臺中大都會歌劇院;計畫興建於臺中市七期重劃區內)
o Southern Taiwan: Kaohsiung National Arts Cultural Center (高雄國家藝術文化中心;計畫興建於高雄鳳山衛武營)

* M-Taiwan plan
o Goal: to build a world-class internet service environment, and become the third trillion-dollar communication industrial development.

* Taiwan exhibition
o Goal: to exhibit Taiwan's creativity and vigor, and prompt the development of technology, tourism, and culture.

* 台鐵捷運化:配合高鐵通車,透過增站、增班、高架化、地下化,將台鐵轉型為都會及區域捷運,讓台鐵轉型再生,並帶動沿線都市更新。

* Freeway constructions
o Goal: to develop tourist attraction areas such as Yilan, Hualien, Taitung, and Nantou; to facilitate the everyday life circle; to expand the highway network.

* Kaohsiung Harbor intercontinental container port center
o Goal: to construct a new intercontinental container port for 15,000 TEU container ships; improve the transport ability of the Kaohsiung port.

* Northern, central, and southern metro system
o Goal: to plan and construct a total of 182 km of metro routes; to improve the rapid transit systems in metropolitan areas of northern, central, and southern Taiwan.

* Sewers
o Goal: to improve the living environment; to purify the water; to regain beautiful rivers and ocean.

* 平地水庫海淡廠:揚棄高山水庫,興建平地水庫解決缺水問題,創造水資源、觀光、生態多元使用的人工湖新地景;興建海淡廠解決竹科及離島地區供水缺口嚴重問題。

Enron Corporation

Enron Corporation (former NYSE ticker symbol ENE) was an American energy company based in Houston, Texas. Before its bankruptcy in late 2001, Enron employed approximately 22,000[1] and was one of the world's leading electricity, natural gas, pulp and paper, and communications companies, with claimed revenues of nearly $101 billion in 2000.[2] Fortune named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years. At the end of 2001 it was revealed that its reported financial condition was sustained substantially by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known as the "Enron scandal". Enron has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption. The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices of many corporations throughout the United States and was a factor in the creation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.


Enron filed for bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York in late 2001 and selected Weil, Gotshal & Manges as its bankruptcy counsel. It emerged from bankruptcy in November 2004 after one of the biggest and most complex bankruptcy cases in U.S. history. On September 7, 2006, Enron sold Prisma Energy International Inc., its last remaining business, to Ashmore Energy International Ltd. Following the scandal, lawsuits against Enron's directors were notable because the directors settled the suits by paying very significant sums of money personally. The scandal also caused the dissolution of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, affecting the wider business world.[3]

In early 2007, Enron changed its name to Enron Creditors Recovery Corporation, reflecting its status as a predominantly asset-less shell corporation. Its current goal is to liquidate all remaining assets of the company. For most of 2007, Enron continued to operate under the name Enron Corp. by filing a Doing Business As, or "dba" certificate in Harris County, Texas.

Great Sphinx of Giza

Great Sphinx of Giza

The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a statue of a reclining lion with a human head that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile, near modern-day Cairo, in Egypt. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 m (240 ft) long, 6 m (20 ft) wide, and 20 m (66 ft) high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians in the third millennium BCE.

Origin and identity

The Great Sphinx is one of the world's largest and oldest statues, but basic facts about it, such as who was the model for the face, when it was built, and by whom, are still debated. These questions have resulted in the popular idea of the "Riddle of the Sphinx,"[2] although this phrase should not be confused with the original Greek legend of The Riddle of the Sphinx.

Names of the Sphinx

It is not known by what name the original creators called their statue, as the Great Sphinx does not appear in any known inscription of the Old Kingdom, and there are no inscriptions anywhere describing its construction or its original purpose. The commonly used name Sphinx was given to it in Classical antiquity, about 2000 years after the accepted date of its construction, by reference to a Greek mythological beast with a lion's body, a woman's head and the wings of an eagle (although like most Egyptian sphinxes, the Great Sphinx has a man's head and no wings). The English word sphinx comes from the Ancient Greek Σφιγξ (sphingx), apparently from the verb σφιγγω (sphingo, English: I strangle), after the Greek sphinx who strangled anyone who failed to answer her riddle.

The Great Sphinx in about 1880, partly under the sand
The Great Sphinx partially excavated

The name may alternatively be a corruption of the Ancient Egyptian Shesep-ankh, a name given to royal statues of the Fourth Dynasty (25752467 BCE and later) in the New Kingdom (circa 15701070 BCE) to the Great Sphinx more specifically, although phonetically the two names are far from identical.

In the New Kingdom, the Sphinx was also called Hor-em-akhet (Horus of the Horizon) (Hellenized: Harmachis), and the Pharaoh Thutmose IV (14011391 or 13971388 BCE)[3] specifically referred to it as such in his Dream Stele.

Medieval Arab writers, including al-Maqrīzī, call the Sphinx balhib and bilhaw, which suggest a Coptic influence. The modern Egyptian Arabic name is أبو الهول (transliteration: Abū al-Hūl; English: Father of Terror).

Builder and timeframe

Despite conflicting evidence and viewpoints over the years, the traditional view held by modern Egyptologists at large remains that the Great Sphinx was built in approximately 2500 B.C. by the pharaoh Khafre, the supposed builder of the second pyramid at Giza.[4]

Selim Hassan, writing in 1949 on recent excavations of the Sphinx enclosure, summed up the problem:

Taking all things into consideration, it seems that we must give the credit of erecting this, the world’s most wonderful statue, to Khafre, but always with this reservation that there is not one single contemporary inscription which connects the Sphinx with Khafre, so sound as it may appear, we must treat the evidence as circumstantial, until such time as a lucky turn of the spade of the excavator will reveal to the world a definite reference to the erection of the Sphinx.[5]

The Sphinx against Khafra’s pyramid

The "circumstantial" evidence mentioned by Hassan includes the Sphinx's location in the context of the funerary complex surrounding the Second Pyramid, which is traditionally connected with Khafra.[6] Apart from the Causeway, the Pyramid and the Sphinx, the complex also includes the Sphinx Temple and the Valley Temple, both of which display the same architectural style, with 200-tonne stone blocks quarried out of the Sphinx Enclosure.

A diorite statue of Khafra which was discovered buried upside down along with other debris in the Valley Temple, is claimed as support for the Khafra theory.

The Dream Stela, erected much later by Pharaoh Thutmose IV (14011391 or 1397-1388 BCE), associates the Sphinx with Khafra. When the stela was discovered, its lines of text were already damaged and incomplete, and only referred to Khaf, not Khafra. An extract was translated:

...which we bring for him: oxen ... and all the young vegetables; and we shall give praise to Wenofer ... Khaf ... the statue made for Atum-Hor-em-Akhet.[7]

The Egyptologist Thomas Young, finding the Khaf hieroglyphs in a damaged cartouche used to surround a royal name, inserted the glyph ra to complete Khafra's name. However, the stela offers no indication of the relationship between the Sphinx and 'Khafra' – as its builder, restorer, worshipper or otherwise. When the Stela was re-excavated in 1925, the lines of text referring to Khaf flaked off and were destroyed.

Dissenting hypotheses

Some Egyptologists and geologists have disagreed with the mainstream theories of construction, and have proposed various alternative theories — about the builder or the dating — to explain the Sphinx's construction.

Other theories have stated that the builder of the Sphinx may have been Khafra's predecessor, Djedefre, at some point in his reign of (2528-2520 BCE). It is thought to have been made in the likeness of his predecessor and father Khufu.[citation needed]

Early Egyptologists

Many of the early Egyptologists and excavators of the Giza pyramid complex believed the Great Sphinx and other structures in the Sphinx Enclosure predated the traditional date of construction (the reign of Khafra or Khephren, 25202492 BCE).

In 1857, Auguste Mariette, founder of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, unearthed the much later Inventory Stela (estimated Dynasty XXVI, c. 678-525 BCE), which tells how Khufu came upon the Sphinx, already buried in sand. Although certain tracts on the Stela are considered good evidence,[8] this passage is widely dismissed as Late Period historical revisionism.[9]

Gaston Maspero, the French Egyptologist and second Director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, conducted a survey of the Sphinx in 1886 and concluded:

The Sphinx stela shows, in line thirteen, the cartouche of Khephren. I believe that to indicate an excavation carried out by that prince, following which, the almost certain proof that the Sphinx was already buried in sand by the time of Khafre and his predecessors [in Dynasty IV, c. 2575-2467 BCE].[10]

In 1904, English Egyptologist E. A. Wallis Budge wrote in The Gods of the Egyptians:

This marvelous object [the Great Sphinx] was in existence in the days of Khafre, or Khephren, and it is probable that it is a very great deal older than his reign and that it dates from the end of the archaic period [c. 2686 BCE].[11]

Modern revisionist scholars

Rainer Stadelmann, former director of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, examined the distinct iconography of the nemes (headdress) and the now-detached beard of the Sphinx and concluded that the style is more indicative of the Pharaoh Khufu (25892566 BCE), builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza and Khafra's father.[12] He supports this by suggesting that Khafra’s Causeway was built to conform to a pre-existing structure, which, he concludes, given its location, could only have been the Sphinx.[9]

Colin Reader, an English geologist who independently conducted a more recent survey of the Enclosure, points out that the various quarries on the site have been excavated around the Causeway. Because these quarries are known to have been used by Khufu, Reader concludes that the Causeway (and thus the temples on either end thereof) must predate Khufu, thereby casting doubt on the conventional Egyptian chronology.[9]

In 2004, Vassil Dobrev of the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale in Cairo announced that he had uncovered new evidence that the Great Sphinx may have been the work of the little-known Pharaoh Djedefre (2528 BCE|2528–2520 BCE|2520 BCE), Khafra's half brother and a son of Khufu. Dobrev suggests that Djedefre built the Sphinx in the image of his father Khufu, identifying him with the sun god Ra in order to restore respect for their dynasty. Dobrev also notes, like Stadelmann and others, that the causeway connecting Khafre's pyramid to the temples was built around the Sphinx suggesting it was already in existence at the time.[12]

Frank Domingo, a forensic scientist in the New York City Police Department and an expert forensic anthropologist,[13] used detailed measurements of the Sphinx, forensic drawings and computer imaging to conclude that Khafra, as depicted on extant statuary, was not the model for the Sphinx's face.[14]

Water erosion debate

R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, a French polymath and amateur Egyptologist, first noticed evidence of water erosion on the walls of the Sphinx Enclosure in the 1950s. Author John Anthony West investigated further and in 1989 sought the opinion of a geologist, Robert M. Schoch, associate professor of natural science at the College of General Studies, Boston University.[15]

From his investigation of the Enclosure's geology, Schoch concluded that the main type of weathering evident on the Sphinx Enclosure walls could only have been caused by prolonged and extensive rain.[16] According to Schoch, the area has experienced a mean annual rainfall of approximately one inch (2.5 cm) since the Old Kingdom (c. 26862134 BCE), and since Egypt’s last period of significant rainfall ended between the late fourth and early third millennia BCE,[17] he dates the Sphinx's construction to the sixth or fifth millennia BCE.[18][19][20]

Colin Reader agrees that the evidence of weathering indicates prolonged water erosion. Reader found, inter alia, that the flow of rainwater causing the weathering had been stemmed by the construction of 'Khufu's quarries',[21] which lie directly "upstream" of the Sphinx Enclosure, and therefore concludes that the Sphinx must predate the reign of Khufu (25892566 BCE), and certainly Khafra, by several hundred years. Reader however disagrees with Schoch's palaeometerological estimates, and instead concludes that the Sphinx dates to the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-2686 BCE).[9]

David Coxill, a geologist working independently of both Schoch and Reader, concludes from the evidence of weathering in the Enclosure:

the Sphinx is at least 5,000 years old and pre-dates dynastic times [before 3100 BCE].[2]

Most Egyptologists, dating the building of the Sphinx to Khafra's reign (2520-2492 BCE), do not accept the Water Erosion Theory. Alternative explanations for the evidence of weathering, from Aeolian processes and acid rain to exfoliation, haloclasty, thermal expansion, and even the poor quality limestone of the Sphinx, have been put forward by Egyptologists and geologists, including Mark Lehner,[15] James A. Harrell of the University of Toledo,[22] Lal Gauri, John J. Sinai and Jayanta K. Bandyopadhyay,[23] Alex Bordeau,[24] and Lambert Dolphin, a former senior research physicist at SRI International.[25]

The chief proponents of the Water Erosion Theory and others have rejected these alternative explanations. Reader, for example, points to the tombs dug into the Enclosure walls during Dynasty XXVI (c. 600 BCE), and notes that the entrances of the tombs have weathered so lightly that original chisel marks are still clearly visible. He points out that if the weathering on the Enclosure walls (up to a metre deep in places) had been created by any of the proposed alternative causes of erosion, the tomb entrances would have been weathered much more severely.[26] Similarly, Schoch points out that the alternative explanations do not account for the absence of similar weathering patterns on other rock surfaces in the complex.[19]

Fringe hypotheses

The Sphinx attracts many theories which are generally not accepted by mainstream Egyptologists or are not supported by scientific evidence.

[edit] Orion Correlation Theory

This theory by popular authors Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval[27] is based on the proposed exact correlation of the three pyramids at Giza with the three stars ζ Ori, ε Ori and δ Ori, the stars forming Orion's Belt, in the relative positions occupied by these stars in 10 500 BCE. The authors argue that the geographic relationship of the Sphinx, the Giza pyramids and the Nile directly corresponds with Leo, Orion and the Milky Way, respectively. Sometimes cited as an example of pseudoarchaeology, the theory is at variance with mainstream scholarship; Bauval and Hancock in turn say that archaeologists are engaged in a conspiracy to ignore or suppress evidence contradicting the established scholarly consensus.[28][29][30]

[edit] Racial characteristics

The face of the Sphinx has been damaged over the millennia, making conclusive racial identification difficult. However, several authors have commented on its apparent "Negroid" or Ethiopian characteristics.[31][32] This issue has become part of the Ancient Egyptian race controversy, with respect to the ancient population as a whole.[33]


After the Giza Necropolis was abandoned, the Sphinx became buried up to its shoulders in sand. The first documented attempt at an excavation dates to c. 1400 BCE, when the young Thutmose IV (1401 BCE|1401-1391 BCE|1391 or 1397 BCE|1397-1388 BCE|1388 BCE) gathered a team and, after much effort, managed to dig out the front paws, between which he placed a granite slab, known as the Dream Stela, inscribed with the following (an extract):

The Great Sphinx undergoing restoration, 26 December 1925

...the royal son, Thothmos, being arrived, while walking at midday and seating himself under the shadow of this mighty god, was overcome by slumber and slept at the very moment when Ra is at the summit [of heaven]. He found that the Majesty of this august god spoke to him with his own mouth, as a father speaks to his son, saying: Look upon me, contemplate me, O my son Thothmos; I am thy father, Harmakhis-Khopri-Ra-Tum; I bestow upon thee the sovereignty over my domain, the supremacy over the living ... Behold my actual condition that thou mayest protect all my perfect limbs. The sand of the desert whereon I am laid has covered me. Save me, causing all that is in my heart to be executed.[34]

Later, Ramesses II the Great (1279-1213 BCE) may have undertaken a second excavation.

Mark Lehner, an Egyptologist, originally asserted that there had been a far earlier renovation during the Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2184 BCE),[35] although he has subsequently recanted this "heretical" viewpoint.[36]

In 1817 CE, the first modern archaeological dig, supervised by the Italian Captain Giovanni Battista Caviglia, uncovered the Sphinx’s chest completely. The entire Sphinx was finally excavated in 1925.

English Channel

English Channel

The English Channel (French: La Manche, "the sleeve") is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about 560 km (350 mi) long and varies in width from 240 km (150 mi) at its widest, to only 34 km (21 mi) in the Strait of Dover.[1] It is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe, covering an area of some 75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi).


Map of the English Channel

The length of the Channel is most often defined as the line between Land's End and Ushant at the (arbitrarily defined) western end, and the Strait of Dover at the eastern end. The strait is also the Channel's narrowest point, while its widest point lies between Lyme Bay and the Gulf of Saint Malo near the midpoint of the waterway.[1] It is relatively shallow, with an average depth of about 120 m (390 ft) at its widest part, reducing to a depth of about 45 m (150 ft) between Dover and Calais. From there eastwards the adjoining North Sea continues to shallow to about 26 m (85 ft) in the Broad Fourteens where it lies over the watershed of the former land bridge between East Anglia and the Low Countries. It reaches a maximum depth of 180 m (590 ft) in the submerged valley of Hurds Deep, 30 mi (48 km) west-northwest of Guernsey.[3] The eastern region along the French coast between Cherbourg and the mouth of the Seine river at Le Havre is frequently referred to as the Bay of the Seine (French: Baie de Seine).[4]

Several major islands are situated in the Channel, the most notable being the Isle of Wight off the English coast and the British crown dependencies the Channel Islands off the coast of France. The Isles of Scilly off the far southwest coast of England are not generally counted as being in the Channel. The coastline, particularly on the French shore, is deeply indented. The Cotentin Peninsula in France juts out into the Channel, and the Isle of Wight creates a small parallel channel known as the Solent.

The Channel is of geologically recent origins, having been dry land for most of the Pleistocene period. It is thought to have been created between 450,000 and 180,000 years ago by two catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods caused by the breaching of the Weald-Artois Anticline, a ridge which held back a large proglacial lake in the Doggerland region, now submerged under the North Sea. The flood would have lasted several months, releasing as much as one million cubic metres of water per second. The cause of the breach is not known but may have been caused by an earthquake or simply the build-up of water pressure in the lake. As well as destroying the isthmus that connected Britain to continental Europe, the flood carved a large bedrock-floored valley down the length of the English Channel, leaving behind streamlined islands and longitudinal erosional grooves characteristic of catastrophic megaflood events.[5][6] The Celtic Sea forms its western border.

For the UK Shipping Forecast the English Channel is divided into the areas of (from the West):

Tehri Dam

Tehri DamTehri Dam

Tehri Dam is the primary dam of the Tehri Development Project, a major hydroelectric project centered near Tehri Town in the state of Uttaranchal state in India. Located on the Bhagirathi River, the principal tributary of the sacred River Ganges, the Tehri Dam has a height of 855 feet (261 m), making it the 5th tallest dam in the world.

Tehri Dam

Tehri Dam
Impounds Bhagirathi River
Locale Uttaranchal, India
Height 260 metres (853 ft)
Construction began 1978
Construction cost 1 Billion U.S. dollars
Power generation information
Installed capacity 2400 MW
Geographical Data
Coordinates 30°22′40″N 78°28′50″E / 30.37778°N 78.48056°E / 30.37778; 78.48056Coordinates: 30°22′40″N 78°28′50″E / 30.37778°N 78.48056°E / 30.37778; 78.48056
Maintained by Tehri Hydro Development Corporation

Narmada Dam Project

Narmada Dam Project

The Narmada Dam Project is a project involving the construction of a series of large hydroelectric dams on the Narmada River in India. The project was first conceived of in the 1940s by the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The project only took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity.

Of the thirty large dams planned on river Narmada, Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is the largest multipurpose project involved in the construction. With a proposed height of 136.5 m, it's also high on discord between the planners and the Narmada Bachao Andolan. The multi-purpose project will irrigate more than 18,000 square kilometres, most of it in drought prone areas like Kutch and Saurashtra. Critics maintain that its negative environmental impact outweights its benefits.

Suggested benefits of the Sardar Sarovar dam

The expected benefits of the dam as listed in the Judgement of Supreme Court of India are:

  • Irrigation: 17,920 km² of land spread over 12 districts, 62 talukas and 3393 villages (75% of which is drought-prone areas) in Gujarat and 730 km² in the arid areas of Barmer and Jalore districts of Rajasthan.

Height issues

The dam undergoing height-raise in 2006.
  • In February 1999, the Supreme Court of India gave the go ahead for the dam's height to be raised to 88 metres from the initial 80.
  • In October 2000 again, in a 2 to 1 majority judgement in the Supreme Court, the government was allowed to construct the dam up to 90 metres.
  • In May 2002, the Narmada Control Authority approved increasing the height of the dam by another five metres.
  • In March 2004, the Authority allowed another raise, this time to 110 metres.
  • In March 2006, the Narmada Control Authority gave clearance for the height of the dam to increased from 110.64 metres to 121.92. This came after the Supreme Court of India had refused to stay the height of the dam again in 2003.



The Narmada dam is India's most controversial dam project and its environmental impact and net costs and benefits are widely debated. The World Bank was a initially a funder of the SSP, but withdrew in 1990. The Narmada Dam has been the centre of controversy and protest since the late 1980s. One such protest takes center stage in Spanner Films's documentary Drowned Out (2002), which follows one tribal family who decide to stay at home and drown rather than make way for the Narmada Dam. An earlier documentary film is called A Narmada Diary (1995) by Anand Patwardhan and Simantini Dhuru. The efforts of NBA to seek social and environmental justice for those most directly affected by the Sardar Sarover Dam construction feature prominently in this award winning film (Best Documentary 1996 Filmfare).[citation needed]

The figurehead of much of the protest is Medha Patkar, a leader of the "Narmada Bachao Andolan," the "Save Narmada Movement." The movement was cemented in 1989, and was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1991.[1]

Support for the protests also came from Indian author Arundhati Roy, who wrote the extended essay "The Greater Common Good" in protest of the Narmada Dam Project;[2] the essay was reprinted in her book The Cost of Living. In that essay, Roy states:

Big Dams are to a Nation's 'Development' what Nuclear Bombs are to its Military Arsenal. They're both weapons of mass destruction. They're both weapons Governments use to control their own people. Both Twentieth Century emblems that mark a point in time when human intelligence has outstripped its own instinct for survival. They're both malignant indications of civilisation turning upon itself. They represent the severing of the link, not just the link - the understanding - between human beings and the planet they live on. They scramble the intelligence that connects eggs to hens, milk to cows, food to forests, water to rivers, air to life and the earth to human existence.

The Supreme Court decision

Despite popular protest, the Supreme Court gave clearance for the height to be increased to 121.92 m (400 ft), but in the same judgment Mr. Justice Bharucha gave directions to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra (the Grievance Redressal Authorities of Gujarat) that before further construction begins, they should certify (after inspection) that all those displaced by the raise in height of 5 metres have already been satisfactorily rehabilitated, and also that suitable vacant land for rehabilitating them is already in the possession of the respective States. This process shall be repeated for every successive 5-metre increase in height.