Friday, October 30, 2009

This Witches' Stane

It allegedly marks the place at which Marion Lillie, known as the Rigwoody or Ringwoodie Witch, was burnt in 1698, but the area around Spott was notorious for its witch burnings in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Indeed, East Lothian in general was infamous during this period, with towns such as Haddington, Tranent and North Berwick also being involved in some of the more well-publicised witch trials. Many commentaries claim that Lillie was the last witch to be burnt in Scotland, but this is clearly not the case, as can be seen from the Kirk Session Records, as quoted by Rev. John Martin in the late eighteenth century:
1698. The session, after a long examination of witnesses, refer the case of Marion Lillie, for imprecations and supposed witchcraft, to the presbytery, who refer her for trial to the civil magistrate. — Said Marion, generally called the Rigwoody Witch.
Oct. 1705. Many witches burnt on the top of Spott loan.

However, Lillie's association with this tone appears to be of more recent invention, since in 1836, we find the Rev. Robert Burns Thomson quoting the above passage and then continuing thus:
It is generally believed, that the last witch who was executed in Scotland was burnt at Spott; a stone commemorative of the event, and marking the place of execution, is to be seen a little way to the east of the manse.

From this, we can see both that the last witch was not Lillie, and thus the stone was not necessarily associated with her, or at least her alone. It should also be mentioned that almost every parish in the country has a legend about "the last witch burnt in Scotland" being a local!

Witches from MacBeth

The Hag

The hag is astride
This night for to ride,
The devil and she together;
Through thick and through thin,
Now out and then in,
Though ne'er so foul be the weather.

A thorn or a burr
She takes for a spur,
With a lash of a bramble she rides now;
Through brakes and through briars,
O'er ditches and mires,
She follows the spirit that guides now.

No beast for his food
Dare now range the wood,
But hush'd in his lair he lies lurking;
While mischiefs, by these,
On land and on seas,
At noon of night are a-working.

The storm will arise
And trouble the skies;
This night, and more for the wonder,
The ghost from the tomb
Affrighted shall come,
Call'd out by the clap of the thunder.

-- Robert Herrick

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Costume

I am working on my costume of the Minerva McGonagall character tonight from the Harry Potter Movies. I am going to a event where dogs will be dressed up and I am a judge so I thought I would have a little fun. This is the movie photo of the character I am roughly trying to look a bit like.

Song I learned in Kindergarten

Song I learned in Kindergarten from Mrs. Cherry. I sang it at home so many times my Mom told me to shut up.

who's behind the false face?
nobody knows but me
who's behind the false face?
nobody knows but me
I won't tell you
you will have to guess
if your guess is right
i will answer yes.

St Kilda centre location selected

A preferred site has been identified as a possible location for a visitor centre dedicated to St Kilda.

Mangursta, in Uig on the Western Isles, is about 40 miles across the sea from the internationally-protected island archipelago.

Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - has ruled out building on St Kilda because of difficulties reaching it.

Cleitreval in North Uist and Leverburgh in Harris were also considered.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Web portal brings history to life

The website tells the story of Scotland up to modern times

A new online portal has been launched to help pupils, teachers and the general public learn more about Scotland's history.

Scotland's History Online features more than 200 topics ranging from prehistoric times to the modern day.

The story of Scotland and its people is told through a wide range of interactive material alongside links to more than 1,000 other online resources.

The website was developed by Learning and Teaching Scotland.

The organisation worked extensively with a number of prominent historians and education bodies to compile the website, which includes sections on the Scottish Enlightenment, Caledonians and Picts, the history of Gaeldom and Scots and Australia.

The site also features video clips, photos, illustrations, maps, interactive games, downloads and archive materials to help bring the story to life.

Launching the free resource at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh on Tuesday, Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop said Scotland's history had in the past been "neglected" in its schools, which was why it had now been "embedded" in the national curriculum.

She added: "Scotland has a fantastic story to tell from the early people, Wars of Independence, renaissance, reformation and enlightenment through to the modern day.

"From innovations in the fields of medicine, science and industry through to Scotland's place in an evolving European Union, it's essential that our young people develop a strong understanding of Scottish history.

"During our Year of Homecoming and beyond, Scotland's History Online will stimulate interest in our past, present and future.

"Not only will this site be an outstanding resource for pupils and teachers integrated to the new Curriculum for Excellence, it will also help inform all Scots - both at home and abroad - and everyone who shares an interest in learning about our country."

Bernard McLeary, chief executive of Learning and Teaching Scotland, said: "In addition to the materials available freely online, teachers and learners alike can use Glow - the national school's intranet - to share best practice and collaborate together to enhance their experiences and cultivate their interest in the rich history of Scotland."

Tom Monaghan, president of the Scottish Association of History Teachers, said he hoped the resources would help encourage teachers to "start local but think global" when teaching pupils about their past, present and future.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ballade of Autumn

We built a castle in the air,
In summer weather, you and I,
The wind and sun were in your hair, -
Gold hair against a sapphire sky:
When Autumn came, with leaves that fly
Before the storm, across the plain,
You fled from me, with scarce a sigh -
My Love returns no more again!

The windy lights of Autumn flare:
I watch the moonlit sails go by;
I marvel how men toil and fare,
The weary business that they ply!
Their voyaging is vanity,
And fairy gold is all their gain,
And all the winds of winter cry,
"My Love returns no more again!"

Here, in my castle of Despair,
I sit alone with memory;
The wind-fed wolf has left his lair,
To keep the outcast company.
The brooding owl he hoots hard by,
The hare shall kindle on thy hearth-stane,
The Rhymer's soothest prophecy,
My Love returns no more again!


Lady, my home until I die
Is here, where youth and hope were slain:
They flit, the ghosts of our July,
My Love returns no more again!

Andrew Lang (1844 - 1912)

Turn Me to My Yellow Leaves

William Stanley Braithwaite

TURN me to my yellow leaves,
I am better satisfied;
There is something in me grieves—
That was never born, and died.
Let me be a scarlet flame
On a windy autumn morn,
I who never had a name,
Nor from breathing image born.
From the margin let me fall
Where the farthest stars sink down,
And the void consumes me,—all
In nothingness to drown.
Let me dream my dream entire,
Withered as an autumn leaf—
Let me have my vain desire,
Vain—as it is brief.

Gold Leaves

a poem by G.K.Chesterton

Lo! I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold;
Grey hairs and golden leaves cry out
The year and I are old.

In youth I sought the prince of men,
Captain in cosmic wars,
Our Titan, even the weeds would show
Defiant, to the stars.

But now a great thing in the street
Seems any human nod,
Where shift in strange democracy
The million masks of God.

In youth I sought the golden flower
Hidden in wood or wold,
But I am come to autumn,
When all the leaves are gold.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


By J. A. MacCulloch

Samhain, beginning the Celtic year, was an important social and religious occasion. The powers of blight were beginning their ascendancy, yet the future triumph of the powers of growth was not forgotten. Probably Samhain had gathered up into itself other feasts occurring earlier or later. Thus it bears traces of being a harvest festival, the ritual of the earlier harvest feast being transferred to the winter feast, as the Celts found themselves in lands where harvest is not gathered before late autumn. The harvest rites may, however, have been associated with threshing rather than ingathering. Samhain also contains in its ritual some of the old pastoral cults, while as a New Year feast its ritual is in great part that of all festivals of beginnings.

New fire was brought into each house at Samhain from the sacred bonfire, itself probably kindled from the need-fire by the friction of pieces of wood. This preserved its purity, the purity necessary to a festival of beginnings. The putting away of the old fires was probably connected with various rites for the expulsion of evils, which usually occur among many peoples at the New Year festival. By that process of dislocation which scattered the Samhain ritual over a wider period and gave some of it to Christmas, the kindling of the Yule log may have been originally connected with this festival.

Divination and forecasting the fate of the inquirer for the coming year also took place. Sometimes these were connected with the bonfire, stones placed in it showing by their appearance the fortune or misfortune awaiting their owners. Others, like those described by Burns in his “Hallowe’en,” were unconnected with the bonfire and were of an erotic nature.

The slaughter of animals for winter consumption which took place at Samhain, or, as now, at Martinmas, though connected with economic reasons, had a distinctly religious aspect, as it had among the Teutons. In recent times in Ireland one of the animals was offered to S. Martin, who may have taken the place of a god, and ill-luck followed the non-observance of the custom. The slaughter was followed by general feasting. This later slaughter may be traced back to the pastoral stage, in which the animals were regarded as divine, and one was slain annually and eaten sacramentally. Or, if the slaughter was more general, the animals would be propitiated. But when the animals ceased to be worshipped, the slaughter would certainly be more general, though still preserving traces of its original character. The pastoral sacrament may also have been connected with the slaying and eating of an animal representing the corn-spirit at harvest time. In one legend S. Martin is associated with the animal slain at Martinmas, and is said to have been cut up and eaten in the form of an ox, as if a former divine animal had become an anthropomorphic divinity, the latter being merged in the personality of a Christian saint.

Other rites, connected with the Calends of January as a result of dislocation, point also in this direction. In Gaul and Germany riotous processions took place with men dressed in the heads and skins of animals. This rite is said by Tille to have been introduced from Italy, but it is more likely to have been a native custom. As the people ate the flesh of the slain animals sacramentally, so they clothed themselves in the skins to promote further contact with their divinity. Perambulating the township sunwise dressed in the skin of a cow took place until recently in the Hebrides at New Year, in order to keep off misfortune, a piece of the hide being burned and the smoke inhaled by each person and animal in the township. Similar customs have been found in other Celtic districts, and these animal disguises can hardly be separated from the sacramental slaughter at Samhain.

Evils having been or being about to be cast off in the New Year ritual, a few more added to the number can make little difference. Hence among primitive peoples New Year is often characterized by orgiastic rites. These took place at the Calends in Gaul, and were denounced by councils and preachers. In Ireland the merriment at Samhain is often mentioned in the texts, and similar orgiastic rites lurk behind the Halloween customs in Scotland and in the license still permitted to youths in the quietest townships of the West Highlands at Samhain eve.

Samhain, as has been seen, was also a festival of the dead, whose ghosts were fed at this time.

As the powers of growth were in danger and in eclipse in winter, men thought it necessary to assist them. As a magical aid the Samhain bonfire was chief, and it is still lit in the Highlands. Brands were carried round, and from it the new fire was lit in each house. In North Wales people jumped through the fire, and when it was extinct, rushed away to escape the “black sow” who would take the hindmost. The bonfire represented the sun, and was intended to strengthen it. But representing the sun, it had all the sun’s force, hence those who jumped through it were strengthened and purified. The Welsh reference to the hindmost and to the black sow may point to a former human sacrifice, perhaps of any one who stumbled in jumping through the fire. Keating speaks of a Druidic sacrifice in the bonfire, whether of man or beast is not specified. Probably the victim, like the scapegoat, was laden with the accumulated evils of the year, as in similar New Year customs elsewhere. Later belief regarded the sacrifice, if sacrifice there was, as offered to the powers of evil—the black sow, unless this animal is a reminiscence of the corn-spirit in its harmful aspect. Earlier powers, whether of growth or of blight, came to be associated with Samhain as demoniac beings—the “malignant bird flocks” which blighted crops and killed animals, the samhanach which steals children, and Mongfind the banshee, to whom “women and the rabble” make petitions on Samhain eve. Witches, evil-intentioned fairies, and the dead were particularly active then.

Though the sacrificial victim had come to be regarded as an offering to the powers of blight, he may once have represented a divinity of growth or, in earlier times, the corn-spirit. Such a victim was slain at harvest, and harvest is often late in northern Celtic regions, while the slaying was sometimes connected not with the harvest field, but with the later threshing. This would bring it near the Samhain festival. The slaying of the corn-spirit was derived from the earlier slaying of a tree or vegetation-spirit embodied in a tree and also in a human or animal victim. The corn-spirit was embodied in the last sheaf cut as well as in an animal or human being. This human victim may have been regarded as a king, since in late popular custom a mock king is chosen at winter festivals. In other cases the effigy of a saint is hung up and carried round the different houses, part of the dress being left at each. The saint has probably succeeded to the traditional ritual of the divine victim. The primitive period in which the corn-spirit was regarded as female, with a woman as her human representative, is also recalled in folk-custom. The last sheaf is called the Maiden or the Mother, while, as in Northamptonshire, girls choose a queen on S. Catharine’s day, November 26th, and in some Christmas pageants “Yule’s wife,” as well as Yule, is present, corresponding to the May queen of the summer festival. Men also masqueraded as women at the Calends. The dates of these survivals may be explained by that dislocation of the Samhain festival already pointed out. This view of the Samhain human sacrifices is supported by the Irish offerings to the Fomorians—gods of growth, later regarded as gods of blight, and to Cromm Cruaich, in both cases at Samhain. With the evolution of religious thought, the slain victim came to be regarded as an offering to evil powers.

This aspect of Samhain, as a festival to promote and assist festivity, is further seen in the belief in the increased activity of fairies at that time. In Ireland, fairies are connected with the Tuatha De Danann, the divinities of growth, and in many folk-tales they are associated with agricultural processes. The use of evergreens at Christmas is perhaps also connected with the carrying of them round the fields in older times, as an evidence that the life of nature was not extinct.

Samhain may thus be regarded as, in origin, an old pastoral and agricultural festival, which in time came to be looked upon as affording assistance to the powers of growth in their conflict with the powers of blight. Perhaps some myth describing this combat may lurk behind the story of the battle of Mag-tured fought on Samhain between the Tuatha De Danann and the Fomorians. While the powers of blight are triumphant in winter, the Tuatha Dea are represented as the victors, though they suffer loss and death. Perhaps this enshrines the belief in the continual triumph of life and growth over blight and decay, or it may arise from the fact that Samhain was both a time of rejoicing for the ingathered harvest, and of wailing for the coming supremacy of winter and the reign of the powers of blight.

MacCulloch, J. A., 1868-1950

Scottish Halloween

by Susan Campbell

Did you know that many of the most famous Halloween traditions have ancient Scottish origins? The Celtic festival Samhain is one of the four quarter festivals, and the first day of the Celtic new year? This transition between old and new year was a time of fire festival. Halloween, All Hallows E�en, is the night where lanterns (Gaelic: samhnag) and Hallowfires were supposed to scare wandering souls or spirits away before All Saints Day on 1st November. In Gaelic, Samhuinn means hallow-tide or season, and Samhuinn is used in Gaelic for the entire month of November.

Samhain was a Celtic harvest festival marking the end of summer and celebrating the old New Year at the turn of the season into winter, and many of the traditional activities were connected with food. The ancient Scots invented many practices to appease the spirits which they thought were on the roam at this time. For example, the �spirits� would be offered parcels of food. This was the origin of the practice of guising, a word which comes from �disguising�, or travelling around in costume. Traditional customs are documented in the famous poem �Halloween� by Scotland�s national bard, Robert Burns. When the Romans arrived in Scotland they adopted the Celtic practices as their own. But in the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into other Roman celebrations that took place in October, such honouring Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.

Halloween moved to America in the nineteenth century with Scottish and Irish emigrants, only to return to Europe towards the end of twentieth century. Its growing economic importance as a source of merchandising and even of tourism-related activities is increasingly in evidence. In Scotland and Ireland, turnips were used for Jack-O-Lanterns, but when the tradition was taken over to America pumpkins were used because they were easier to hollow out than the neep!!!! And that is the origin of the pumpkin lantern. It is interesting to note that vintage American Halloweeen cards actually depict Scottish symbols such as the thistle and tartan, and Scottish poetry. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Parade on Halloween evening in Edinburgh

Parade on Halloween evening in Edinburgh, Scotland that ran down the Royal Mile.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Although the last day of October is celebrated in many different countries and cultures, the modern day festivities surrounding Hallowe'en are distinctly Celtic in origin.

From dooking for apples to going guising (or trick and treating as it is known outside Scotland) the customs now associated with October 31 stem from the ancient celebrations of the Celtic New Year.

Samhain, as it is known in Gaelic, marks the end of summer and the onset of the long dark nights of winter. It was at this time of year that the last harvest took place and fires were extinguished and then relit.

In ancient Celtic belief the turn of the year was the most magical of times when the veil between this world and the next was at its thinnest and the dead could return to the earth and futures could be foreseen. It was also regarded as a time of mischief and trickery when pranks would be played and roles reversed.

Many of these practices were considered with suspicion and fear by the early Christian Church and in an attempt to put a stop to such ungodly goings on the church created its own festivals to take place at the same time of year as Samhain.

As a result October 31 became all Hallows Eve or Hallowe'en and November 1 became All Hallows Day, All Saints Day and All Souls Day, a time of remembrance and celebration not a million miles away from its pagan predecessor.

Although Hallowe'en has become the favoured modern day title for the festivities the Celtic influence is still prominent in many of the games and traditions carried out at this time of year.

Hallowe'en lanterns, for example, were originally a means of lighting the dark nights and keeping travellers safe from wandering spirits and fairies while "dookin" for apples may have been a form of predicting the future.

This Hallowe'en favourite, which challenges participants to retrieve apples from a basin of water with their hands tied behind their backs, is believed to have once been used to foretell coming marriages. Being the first person to bite an apple out of the basin was considered a sign of impending nuptials.

Predicting the future with lucky charms is another ancient tradition which has survived in the form of special Hallowe'en cakes and mixtures containing coins, thimbles and miniature horseshoes.

Guising too derives from Celtic tradition. The pagan Celts would leave gifts for the fairyfolk they believed wandered the countryside at Samhain and it was customary for people to go round their neighbours asking for donations for the New Year feasting.

Add to this the belief that the world was in a state of chaos at the turn of the year and capers and carryings on were commonplace and it is not too difficult to spot the influences on modern day guisers and trick or treaters.

Even the habit of dressing up in costumes and organizing fancy dress parties at Hallowe'en can be traced back to pagan times when participants in the new year festivities would disguise themselves as the ghosts, fairies and spirits who were believed to be present at that time of year.

Although the traditions are centuries old their appeal still endures with parties, films, cakes, toys and recipes all devoted to Hallowe'en. However, despite many of the traditions having strong Scottish and Celtic roots the celebration of Hallowe'en has become more popular outside Scotland, particularly in countries like the USA.

In Scotland itself the bonfires that used to be lit to herald the start of the new Celtic year have made way for the fires and fireworks marking the downfall of Guy Fawkes and his doomed attempt to destroy the English Parliament in 1605.

But many of the other customs remain and with two celebrations inside a week it's perfect preparation for the modern day festive season of Christmas and the new Scottish New Year.

I would like to see Hallowe'en over take Guy Fawkes and become the main bonfire night in Scotland myself!

Headless Horseman #6

Friday, October 23, 2009

Knitting strung along Skye bridge

Volunteers attach a length of knitting to the Skye bridge

Knitting and needle work has been strung along the length of the Skye bridge as part of the year-long Homecoming Scotland celebrations.

Stitches on the Bridge will run until Monday, when the items will be removed.

Local groups leading the project asked for help making and then attaching the materials.

Items were sent from all over the world to be hung from the bridge, which takes traffic from the mainland to the island.

Volunteers have included staff at NHS Highland, who learned to knit in their lunchtimes to provide knitted squares for the project - and as a way of staying healthy.

There is growing evidence that knitting has health benefits, such as helping to lower stress levels and reducing the risk of memory loss.

Golden Maple

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Societies don't have to be secular to be modern

Wed Oct 21,
Author Francis Fukuyama spoke with Global Viewpoint editor Nathan Gardels on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Nathan Gardels: In 1989, you wrote an essay, later developed into a book, that stated your famous "end of history" thesis. You said then:

"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

What mostly holds up in your thesis 20 years on? What doesn't? What changed?

Francis Fukuyama: The basic point – that liberal democracy is the final form of government – is still basically right. Obviously there are alternatives out there, like the Islamic Republic of Iran or Chinese authoritarianism. But I don't think that all that many people are persuaded these are higher forms of civilization than what exists in Europe, the United States, Japan, or other developed democracies; societies that provide their citizens with a higher level of prosperity and personal freedom.

The issue is not whether liberal democracy is a perfect system, or whether capitalism doesn't have problems. After all, we've been thrown into this huge global recession because of the failure of unregulated markets. The real question is whether any other system of governance has emerged in the last 20 years that challenges this. The answer remains no.

Now, that essay was written in the winter of 1988 or '89 just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. I wrote it then because I thought that the pessimism about civilization that we had developed as a result of the terrible 20th century, with its genocides, gulags, and world wars, was actually not the whole picture at all. In fact, there were a lot of positive trends going on in the world, including the spread of democracy where there had been dictatorship. Sam Huntington called this "the third wave."

It began in southern Europe in the 1970s with Spain and Portugal turning to democracy. Then – and later – you had an ending of virtually all the dictatorships in Latin America, except for Cuba. And then there was the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the opening of Eastern Europe. Beyond that, democracy displaced authoritarian regimes in South Korea and Taiwan. We went from 80 democracies in the early 1970s to 130, or 140, 20 years later.

Of course, this hasn't all held up since then. We see today a kind of democratic recession. There have been reversals in important countries like Russia, where we see the return of a nasty authoritarian system without rule of law, or in Venezuela and some other Latin American countries with populist regimes.

Clearly, that big surge toward democracy went as far as it could. Now there is a backlash against it in some places. But that doesn't mean the larger trend is not still toward democracy.

Gardels: The main contending argument against the "end of history" was offered by Sam Huntington. Far from ideological convergence, he argued, we were facing a "clash of civilizations" in which culture and religion would be the main points of conflict after the cold war. For many, 9/11 and its aftermath confirmed his thesis of a clash between Islam and the West. To what extent was his argument valid?

Fukuyama: The differences between Huntington and I have been somewhat overstated. I wrote a book called "Trust" in which I argue that culture is one of the key factors that determines economic success and the possibilities of prosperity. So I don't deny the critical role of culture. But, overall, the question is whether cultural characteristics are so rooted that there is no chance of universal values or a convergence of values. That is where I disagree.

Huntington's argument was that democracy, individualism, and human rights are not universal, but reflections of culture rooted in Western Christendom. While that is true historically, these values have grown beyond their origins. They've been adopted by societies that come out of very different cultural traditions. Look at Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia.

Societies rooted in different cultural origins come to accept these values not because the US does it, but because it works for them. It provides a mechanism for government accountability. It provides societies with a way to get rid of bad leaders when things go wrong. That is a huge advantage of democratic societies that someplace like China doesn't have. China, at the moment, is blessed with competent leaders. But before that they had Mao. There is nothing to prevent another Mao in the future without some form of democratic accountability.

Problems of corruption or poor governance are much easier to solve if you have a democracy. For enduring prosperity and success, institutionalized, legal mechanisms of change and accountability are essential.

Gardels: In an earlier book, "Political Order in Changing Societies," Huntington argued that Westernization and modernization were not identical. He thought modernization – an effective state, urbanization, breakdown of primary kinship groups, inclusive levels of education, market economies, and a growing middle class – were quite possible without a society becoming Western in terms of a liberal secular culture or democratic norms.

We see this today from Singapore to China, from Turkey to Malaysia and even Iran. Any observant visitor to China these days can see that beneath the logos of Hyatt and Citigroup the soul of old Confucius is stirring, with its authoritarian bent. In Turkey, we see an Islamist-rooted party running a secular state, battling to allow women to wear head scarves in public universities.

In other words, isn't "non-Western modernization" as likely a path ahead as Westernization through globalization?

Fukuyama: For me, there are three key components of political modernization. First, the modernization of the state as a stable, effective, impersonal institution that can enforce rules across complex societies. This was Huntington's focus. But there are two other components of modernization in my view. Second, the rule of law so that the state itself is constrained in its actions by a preexisting body of law that is sovereign. In other words, a ruler or ruling party cannot just do whatever he or it decides. Third is some form of accountability of the powers that be.

Huntington would have said that rule of law and accountability are Western values. I think they are values toward which non-Western societies are converging because of their own experience. You can't have true modernization without them. They are in fact necessary complements to each other. If you have just political modernization defined as a competent state, you may only have a more effective form of tyranny.

What you can certainly have is effective state building and a certain amount of prosperity under authoritarian conditions for a time. That is what the Chinese are doing right now. But I am convinced that their prosperity cannot in the end endure, nor can Chinese citizens ever be secure in their personal progress, without the rule of law and accountability. They can't go to the next stage without all three components that comprise modernization. Corruption and questionable legitimacy will ultimately weigh them down, if not open unrest.

Gardels: Modernization has usually also meant the growing secularization of society and the primacy of science and reason. Yet, in a place like Turkey today, as I mentioned, we see modernization and growing religiosity side by side. That certainly departs from the Western-oriented trajectory charted by Ataturk.

Fukuyama: I agree. The old version of the idea of modernization was Euro-centric, reflecting Europe's own development. That did contain attributes which sought to define modernization in a quite narrow way. Most importantly, as you point out, religion and modernization certainly can coexist. Secularism is not a condition of modernity. You don't have to travel to Turkey to see that. It is true in the United States, which is a very religious society but in which advanced science and technological innovation thrive.

The old assumption that religion would disappear and be replaced solely by secular, scientific rationalism is not going to happen.

At the same time, I don't believe the existence, or even prevalence of cultural attributes, including religion, are so overwhelming anywhere that you will not see a universal convergence toward rule of law and accountability.

Gardels: Still, must accountability entail the same democratic, electoral norms of Europe or the United States?

Fukuyama: You can have nonelectoral accountability through moral education, which forges a sense of moral obligation by the ruler. Traditional Confucianism, after all, taught the emperor that he had a duty to his subjects as well as himself. It is not an accident that the most successful authoritarian modernization experiments have all been in East Asian societies touched by Confucianism.

In the end, though, that is not enough. You cannot solve the problem of the "bad emperor" through moral suasion. And China has had some pretty bad emperors over the centuries. Without procedural accountability, you can never establish real accountability.

Gardels: Some top Chinese intellectuals today argue that when China arises again as the superior civilization in a post-American world, the "tired" global debate over autocracy versus democracy will yield to a more pragmatic debate over good governance versus bad governance. I doubt you would agree.

Fukuyama: You are right, I don't believe that. You simply can't get good governance without democratic accountability. It is a risky illusion to believe otherwise.

Francis Fukuyama is the director of the International Development Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. He is the author of "The End of History and the Last Man."

© Global Viewpoint/Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Haunted Dog

Demon possessed dog splits in two.

The Ghostly Black Dog

The ghostly black dog of British folklore.

There have been some attempts at classification; the folklorist Theo Brown divided the black dog phenomena into three separate types A, B and C. (A) Being a shape-shifting demon dog; (B) being a dark black dog calf sized with shaggy fur; and (C) a dog that appears in time with certain ancient festivals in specific areas of the country. Katherine Briggs, the renowned folklorist, splits these further into demon dogs, the ghosts of human beings and the ghosts of dogs in their own right.

In local traditions the black dogs sightings are seen as death portents, especially those seen in ancient churchyards in the form of the Church or Kirk Grim (Kirk being the Scottish word for Church), which is thought to represent a folk memory of a sacrifice. The black dog that used to haunt Peel castle and a nearby graveyard on the Isle of Man, is one such grim, it is said to have scared a sentry to death. Other sightings from the South of England, have been related to coincidental sudden deaths.

A black dog is the name given to a being found primarily in the folklores of the British Isles. The black dog is essentially a nocturnal Apparition, often said to be associated with the Devil, and its appearance was regarded as a portent of death. It is generally supposed to be larger than a normal dog, and often has large, glowing eyes.

It is often associated with electrical storms (such as Black Shuck's appearance at Bungay, Suffolk), and also with crossroads, places of execution and ancient pathways.

The origins of the black dog are difficult to discern. It is impossible to ascertain whether the creature originated in the Celtic or Germanic elements in British culture. Throughout European mythology, dogs have been associated with death. Examples of this are the Cŵn Annwn, Garmr and Cerberus, all of whom were in some way guardians of the underworld. This association seems to be due to the scavenging habits of dogs. It is possible that the black dog is a survival of these beliefs.

Black dogs are almost universally regarded as malevolent, and a few (such as the Barghest) are said to be directly harmful. Some, however, like the Gurt Dog in Somerset and the Black Dog of the Hanging Hills, are said to behave benevolently.Contents

1 Black dogs by locale
1.1 England
1.2 Channel Islands and Isle of Man
1.3 Wales
1.4 Cornwall
1.5 Latin America
2 Notes
3 References
4 See also
5 External links

Black dogs by locale

Some of the better-known black dogs are the Barghest of Yorkshire and Black Shuck of East Anglia.

Various other forms are recorded in folklore. Other names are Hairy Jack, Skriker, Padfoot, Churchyard Beast, Shug Monkey, Cu Sith, Galleytrot, Capelthwaite, Mauthe Doog, Hateful Thing, Swooning Shadow, Bogey Beast of Lancashire, Guytrash, Gurt Dog, Bargheust of Troller's Gill, and Catalan Dip.


Black Dogs have been reported from almost all the counties of England, the exceptions being Middlesex and Rutland.
On Dartmoor, the notorious squire Cabell was said to have been a huntsman who sold his soul to the Devil. When he died in 1677, black hounds are said to have appeared around his burial chamber. The ghostly huntsman is said to ride with black dogs; this tale inspired Conan Doyle to write his well-known story The Hound of the Baskervilles.
In Lancashire the black hound is called Barguist, Gytrash, Padfoot, Shag, Trash, Striker or Skriker.
In Tring, Hertfordshire, a fierce-looking black hound with red eyes is said to haunt the middle of the road in the area where the gibbet once stood. Locally it is known as Lean Dog, and is the spirit of a chimney sweep executed for murder. When approached, the lean dog sinks into the ground.
The Gurt Dog ("Great Dog") of Somerset is an example of a benevolent dog. It was said that mothers would allow their children to play unsupervised on the Quantock Hills because they believed that the Gurt Dog would protect them. It would also accompany lone travellers in the area, acting as a protector and guide.
Stories are told of a Black Dog in Twyford, near Winchester.
In Wakefield, the local version of the legend is known as "Padfoot".
A black dog has been said to haunt the Newgate Prison for over 400 years, appearing before executions. According to legend, in 1596, a scholar was sent to the prison for witchcraft, but was killed and eaten by starving prisoners before he was given a trial. The dog was said to appear soon after, and although the terrified men killed their guards and escaped, the beast is said to have haunted them wherever they fled.

Galley Hill in Luton, Bedfordshire, is said to have been haunted by a black dog ever since a storm set the gibbet alight sometime in the 18th century.
Betchworth Castle in Surrey is said to be haunted by a black dog that prowls the ruins at night.
In Norfolk, Suffolk and the northern parts of Essex a black dog, known as Black Shuck or Shug is regarded to be relatively benign and said to accompany women on their way home in the role of protector rather than a portent of ill omen.

The Earth Is The Lord's, And The Fullness Thereof

The Earth Is The Lord's, And The Fullness Thereof
Psalm 24:1
The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

New York State Sheep and Wool Festival on this weekend

Sweet calm sunshine of October

"The sweet calm sunshine of October, now
Warms the low spot; upon its grassy mold
The pur0ple oak-leaf falls; the birchen bough
drops its bright spoil like arrow-heads of gold."
- William Cullen Bryant

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trade would suffer if Megrahi had died in jail, admits Miliband

Published Date: 13 October 2009
By David Maddox
FOREIGN Secretary David Miliband last night insisted that British interests "would be damaged, perhaps badly" if Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi had been allowed to die in a Scottish jail.
His comments were the closest the British government has yet come to formally endorsing the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

In a statement to the Commons, Mr Miliband said: "Notwithstanding that any decision on release was for Scottish ministers and the Scottish judicial system, the UK government had a responsibility to consider the consequences of any Scottish decision.

"Although the decision was not one for the UK government, British interests, including those of UK nationals, British businesses and possibly security co-operation would be damaged, perhaps badly, if Megrahi were to die in a Scottish prison, rather than Libya.

"Given the risk of Libyan adverse reaction, we made it clear to them both that, as a matter of law and practice, it was not a decision for the UK government, and as a matter of policy we were not seeking Megrahi's death in Scottish custody."

He added that the government made "no apology" for its part in improving relations with Libya over the past decade, but insisted a prisoner-transfer deal signed with Tripoli was not an agreement to release the convicted mass murderer.

The statement follows hints by Prime Minister Gordon Brown that he supported the controversial release in August by Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill of the only man convicted of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie on 21 December, 1988, which claimed 270 lives.

Former foreign minister Bill Rammell also confirmed that he gave the Libyans the same message in meetings running up to the decision.

And Mr Miliband's statement last night appeared to have left the Scottish Labour leader, Iain Gray, who opposed the release, further isolated.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "All of the evidence supports the justice secretary's decisions to reject the prisoner transfer application and grant compassionate release to Mr Al-Megrahi to be sent back to Libya to die.

"The UK Labour position played no role whatever in the justice secretary's decisions to reject prisoner transfer and grant compassionate release.

However, in response to Mr Miliband, Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who was Scottish secretary at the time of the Lockerbie bombing, accused the UK government of paying more attention to Libya than to the US.

Sir Malcolm said: "Never for a moment did I expect the person convicted of murdering 200 people to be released and sent home, after serving only eight years of a 27-year minimum sentence."

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight

The Headless Horseman rides tonight
Through stark and starless skies,
Shattering the silence with
His otherworldly cries.
He races through the darkness
On his alabaster steed,
The Headless Horseman rides tonight,
Wherever the fates would lead.

And he rides upon the wind tonight,
He rides upon the wind,
Galloping, galloping, galloping on
Out of the great oblivion,
Galloping till the night is gone.
He rides upon the wind, tonight,
He rides upon the wind.

The Headless Horseman rides tonight
Beggared in robes of black,
To bear a being from the earth,
Never to bring him back.
He’s evil, foul, and bottoming,
With laughter on his breath.
The Headless Horseman rides tonight,
The minister of death.

And he rides upon the wind tonight,
He rides upon the wind,
Galloping, galloping, galloping on
Out of the great oblivion,
Galloping till the night is gone.
He rides upon the wind, tonight,
He rides upon the wind.

The Headless Horseman rides tonight,
He rides the wind alone.
Beneath his arm he tightly tucks
His head of gleaming bone.
His voice is harsh and hollow,
It is horrible to hear.
The Headless Horseman rides tonight
To fill the earth with fear!

And he rides upon the wind tonight,
He rides upon the wind,
Galloping, galloping, galloping on
Out of the great oblivion,
Galloping till the night is gone.
He rides upon the wind, tonight,
He rides upon the wind.

The Headless Horseman rides tonight
Upon his fateful trip,
With silvery stiles of steely death
Held fast in boney grip.
He sweeps it swiftly forth and back
As over the earth he glides,
And none in the world is safe tonight,
For the Headless Horseman rides.

And he rides upon the wind tonight,
He rides upon the wind,
Galloping, galloping, galloping on
Out of the great oblivion,
Galloping till the night is gone.
He rides upon the wind, tonight,
He rides upon the wind.

by Jack Prelutsky
Painting by Chris Rawlins

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jim Reid: Folk singer who celebrated the culture of north-east Scotland

Jim Reid was a singer and songwriter whose music had a strong flavour of his native Dundee and the Angus region. He sang, played guitar and mouth organ, and was particularly drawn to the traditional songs of Scottish travellers, (many of which he learned from the Stewarts of Blairgowrie) and also adapted numerous poems by the renowned Scottish poet Violet Jacob. A founder member and initially the leader of Arbroath's Foundry Bar Band, he eventually embarked on a solo career.

"He had quite a distinctive sounding voice, very warm, what I would call a traditional Scottish voice, and he sang very much in the Dundee and Angus dialect. He made no pretensions of being anything else other than a Dundonian," recalls Ian Green, founder of Greentrax records, the leading Scottish folk label for whom Reid made his final album.

Reid went to school in Dundee before working as a mechanic at Stobswell's Garage, a successful business owned by his father. This was interrupted by two years' National Service in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

On returning to Dundee, he worked for the soft drinks manufacturer Robb Brothers. By the late 1960s he had begun to cut his musical teeth with local band the Shifters, after which he formed the Taysiders, a duo with Jim Craig on melodeon. In 1971, they were joined by the multi-instrumentalist Ken McKay, previously of the folk band the Livingstones. It was during this period that Reid got to know Green, who sometimes booked them for "Fuzzfolk", the police folk club he ran in Edinburgh.

Reid then relocated to Arbroath to work for the Irn-Bru manufacturers A.G. Barr. During his lunch breaks he began to meet some of the musicians frequenting the Foundry Bar. In 1976, Reid and a number of these regulars played at the Kinross Festival, entering and winning the ceilidh band competition. Their success spurred them to form the Foundry Bar Band, which soon allowed Reid to pursue music full-time. Their marches, jigs, reels and songs proved popular at weddings, ceilidhs and clubs throughout Scotland over the next few years, and they became regulars at the traditional music festivals at Keith, Kirriemuir and Auchtermuchty.

Reid recorded three albums with them (all for the Springthyme label), The Foundry Bar Band (1981), On the Road With the Foundry Bar Band (1983) and Rolling Home (1988). In 1984 he released his first solo album, I Saw The Wild Geese Flee (also Springthyme), the title track of which was his most well-known song, based on a Violet Jacobs poem.

In 1990 Reid teamed up with the versatile accordionist John Huband for Freewheeling Now (Springthyme, 1990), and he established his own label, Greylag Music, to release The Better O' A Sang (1996) and Eh'm fae Dundee (meaning "I'm from Dundee") in 1999. After years of gentle chivvying from Green, he made his final solo album Yont the Tay for Greentrax in 2005.

The year before, he had published a book, also titled The Better O' A Sang, which included songs, tunes and stories he had collected over his life, and celebrated the culture of Scotland's north-east.

Reid also contributed to four of the 12 volumes of The Complete Songs of Robert Burns (Linn Records) and appeared on several albums by other artists, including the fiddler Paul Anderson's The Journey Home (1997) and A' The Bairns O' Adam (2003) an album made in tribute to the Scottish poet Hamish Henderson

In December 2005, he won "Scots Singer of the Year" at the Scots Trad Music Awards. Upon accepting his award, he appeared to have no comment, but when prompted, uttered the pithy pronouncement: "Nae afore time!"

He is survived by his partner Julia, his children Linda and Craig and grandchildren Craig, Megan and Kirsty.

Jon Lusk

James Crighton Reid, singer and songwriter: born Dundee 30 May 1934; one daughter, one son with partner; died Kirriemuir, Scotland 6 July 2009.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Norland Wind.

"Oh tell me fit was on yer road, ye roarin Norland wind?
As ye come blawin frae the land that's never frae ma mind.
Ma feet they traivel England but I'm deein for the North."
"Ma man, I saw the siller tides rin up the Firth o Forth."

"Aye wind, I ken them weel eneuch an fine they fa and rise,
And fain I'd feel the creepin mist on yonder shore that lies.
But tell me as ye pass them by, fit saw ye on the way?"
"Ma man, I rocked the rovin gulls that sail abin the Tay."

"Bit saw ye naethin leein wind afore ye come tae Fife?
For there's muckle lyin 'yont the Tay that's mair tae me nor life."
"Ma man, I swept the Angus braes that ye hivna trod for years."
"Oh wind, forgie a hameless loon that canna see for tears."

"And far abin the Angus straths I saw the wild geese flee,
A lang, lang skein o beatin wings wi their heids toward the sea,
And aye their cryin voices trailed ahint them on the air."
"Oh wind, hae mercy, haud your wheesht for I daurna listen mair."

Poem by Violet Jacob

Scots Words:
The poem is written in the Angus dialect of Scots. fit - what, frae - from, deein - dying, traivel - travel, eneuch - enough, muckle - much, mair - more. "Haud yer wheesht" in the last line is an expression you would use to a friend or child, telling them to be quiet/stop talking about something as it is too upsetting or painful for the listener to continue to hear

7th October 2009 “I Dreamed a Dream” Tracklisting Revealed!

“I Dreamed a Dream”

Susan Boyle

Released: Monday 23rd November 2009 UK
Tuesday 24th November 2009 USA

Inspirational and breathtaking, “I Dreamed a Dream” is the highly anticipated album from a global phenomenon whose dream has become reality.


1. Wild Horses
2. I Dreamed A Dream
3. Cry Me A River
4. How Great Thou Art
5. You’ll See
6. Daydream Believer
7. Up To The Mountain
8. Amazing Grace
9. Who I Was Born To Be
10. Proud
11. The End of The World
12. Silent Night

She captured the hearts of millions and became a worldwide YouTube phenomenon with over 300 million hits. An inspiration for those who have a dream, the talented Susan Boyle presents her stunning debut album.

Susan surprised the world with her powerful, heart stopping voice when she walked onto the Britain’s Got Talent stage. Now with a beautiful and diverse album she will, once again, defy preconceptions.

I Dreamed a Dream, the album, crafted by world acclaimed producer Steve Mac, demonstrates Susan Boyle’s extensive musical ability. Featuring her signature songs, ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ & ‘Cry me a River’ the album also includes a haunting rendition of Rolling Stones “Wild Horses”, Madonna’s ‘You’ll See, The Monkees ‘Daydream Believer’ and “Who I Was Born To Be” an original recording written specially for Susan.

Susan enthused; “It was my greatest ambition to release an album and I have finally achieved it. This amazing journey has helped me find my own identity and fulfill my wish. There is happiness out there for everyone who dares to dream.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another Great Boyle in the News!

Willard Boyle

Willard Sterling Boyle, one of the Fathers of Digital Photography Born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, he was the son of a medical doctor and moved to Quebec with his father and mother Beatrice when he was three. He was home schooled by his mother until age fourteen, when he attended Montreal's Lower Canada College to complete his secondary education. Boyle attended McGill University, but his education was interrupted in 1943, when he joined the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. He was loaned to the Britain's Royal Navy, where he was learning how to land Spitfires on aircraft carriers as the war ended. He gained a BSc (1947), MSc (1948) and PhD (1950) from McGill University. After receiving his doctorate Boyle spent one year at Canada's Radiation Lab and two years teaching physics at the Royal Military College of Canada. In 1953 Boyle joined Bell Labs where he invented the first continuously operating ruby laser with Don Nelson in 1962, and was named on the first patent for a semiconductor injection laser. He was made director of Space Science and Exploratory Studies at the Bell Labs subsidiary Bellcomm in 1962, providing support for the Apollo space program and helping to select lunar landing sites. He returned to Bell Labs in 1964, working on the development of integrated circuits.

In 1969, Boyle and George E. Smith invented the charge-coupled device (CCD), for which they have jointly received the Franklin Institute's Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1973, the 1974 IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award, the 2006 Charles Stark Draper Prize, and the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Boyle was Executive Director of Research for Bell Labs from 1975 until his retirement in 1979. In retirement, he settled in Wallace, Nova Scotia, and helped launch an art gallery with his wife Betty, a landscape artist.

Boyle and Smith will share the prize!

The day Boyle and Smith invented the CCD sensor

(AFP) – 9 hours ago

STOCKHOLM — The CCD sensor, the digital camera's "electronic eye" which earned inventors Willard Boyle and George Smith the Nobel Physics Prize on Tuesday, was drawn up in a few hours in October 1969.

It was 8:30 am, 40 years ago, and Willard Boyle was sitting in his office at Bell Laboratories in the US state of New Jersey. The videophone rang, and it was Jack Morton, Boyle's boss, according to an account on the Canadian website cited by the Nobel committee.

"What are you semiconductor guys doing? The heck with transistors. Try and come up with something different. I'll call tomorrow."

After lunch, Boyle was joined by his colleague George Smith, and together they worked on "an idea for handling little pockets of charge in a silicon matrix," the website explained.

The pair "fiddled with some math and drew some sketches on the blackboard," with Boyle declaring: "Okay, this looks pretty good," after about an hour and a half of brainstorming.

"We should name it something," suggested Smith.

"Well, we've got a new device here. It's not a transistor, it's something different," replied Boyle.

"It's got a charge. And we're moving the charge around by coupling potential wells," said Smith.

"Let's call it a charge coupled device," said Boyle.

"Sure,'CCD'. That's got a nice ring to it," Smith agreed.

The CCD was at that point only a theory, explained the website, which was quoted in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' press release announcing Tuesday's Nobel laureates in physics.

Boyle and Smith decided to take their invention one step further, and took the plans to the workshop down the hall to see if the CCD could be made.

"Some months later it was made, and it worked exactly as expected," the website said, noting that CCDs can, in addition to their use as image sensors, be used as computer memory, electronic filters and signal processors.

"As imaging devices, they have revolutionised astronomy; virtually every large telescope... uses CCDs because they are about 100 times more sensitive than photographic film and work across a much broader spectrum of wavelengths of light," said the website, run by a non-profit society based in western Canada.



Willard Boyle

N.S. resident, father of digital photos, shares 2009 Nobel Prize in physics

Tue Oct 6, 6:04 PM

By Michael Macdonald, The Canadian Press

HALIFAX, N.S. - Willard Boyle was born in a small town in Nova Scotia and spent most of his childhood in a rough-and-tumble logging community in northern Quebec, where his mother home-schooled him in a log cabin.

His nickname was Butch.

It was an unlikely beginning for a man who would later help invent a complex gizmo that would lead to the birth of digital photography, earning him the 2009 Nobel Prize in physics.

Boyle, who learned of winning the prestigious award Tuesday at 5 a.m., said much of the credit for his groundbreaking work should go to his mother, who always inspired him to do great things.

"She liked to read about science and then ask me to explain to her how this worked ... 'How did they do this?' " the 85-year-old Halifax resident said in an interview.

"She felt I could do no wrong ... I knew differently, but that didn't bother her. She was convinced that I was the brightest thing on two legs. That helped, really."

When he was 14, he was sent to Lower Canada College, a private school in Montreal, where one teacher challenged him to excel at physics. He went on to earn a PhD in physics at Montreal's McGill University.

He was a fighter pilot during the Second World War and later spent one year at Canada's Radiation Lab and two years teaching physics at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.

He joined Bell Labs in New Jersey in 1953.

"There were many times when we stayed up late in the lab ... nine o'clock, 10 o'clock at night," he recalled. "We might have had a beer at the end. That was it."

He co-invented a type of laser, worked on the Apollo space program, and in 1969 helped develop an image sensor, later hailed as a scientific breakthrough.

The charge-coupled device or CCD, developed with the help of American scientist George Smith, transforms light into a large number of digitized image points, or pixels, in a split second.

Today, the device is used in most digital cameras and camcorders, including the tiny, delicate ones found in operating rooms and the heavy-duty versions inside massive telescopes.

The stunning deep-space images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Mars Rovers came from CCDs.

"Digital cameras are big and everyone has one," Boyle said Tuesday. "It's having a tremendous effect on how we live and how we do things."

He said the CCD enabled people to handle light in the same way the transistor allowed them to handle sound.

"That's something you couldn't do with plain film," he said. "Before that, with good old Kodak films, you had to wind them up, put them in the baths and all the rest of it."

In its citation, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said: "CCD technology makes use of the photoelectric effect, as theorized by Albert Einstein and for which he was awarded the 1921 year's Nobel Prize."

The academy said the CCD "revolutionized photography, as light could now be captured electronically instead of on film."

But Boyle, who retired in 1979 and spends most of his time at his cottage in Wallace, N.S., remains humble about his accomplishment.

"These things come and go," he said, adding that he still enjoys dabbling in digital photography.

"It's like lady's fashions. Everybody's all excited about a certain technology ... and in a few years, a lot of the stuff we have today will be superseded in some way or other."

Boyle said he knew the Nobel Prize was about to be awarded but thought it was taking too long and he had written off any chance of winning.

"You know how it feels when the phone rings at 5 a.m.," said Betty, his wife of 62 years. "You think emergency or wrong number."

Boyle, who was born in Amherst, N.S., was incredulous when he heard a woman with a Swedish accent tell him he had won.

"I thought, 'Oh, God. Not that same old joke ... And then in the sweetest voice she said, 'I'm in Stockholm and I want to tell you about the Nobel Prize.' "

The award's US$1.4-million purse will be split between the three men who shared the prize Tuesday.

Boyle and Smith will get US$350,000 each. American scientist Charles K. Kao gets US$700,000 for his breakthrough involving the transmission of light in fibre optics.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Boyle and his colleagues on receiving the Nobel Prize in physics, calling it "a remarkable accomplishment."

"Thanks to the work of Dr. Boyle, people in Canada and around the world benefit in their everyday lives and the boundaries of science have been expanded," Harper said in a statement.

The prize ceremonies will be held in Stockholm on Dec. 10, and Boyle plans to attend.

Boyle is the second graduate of McGill to receive a Nobel Prize this week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


According to tradition, St. Bernard's Well near Stockbridge in Edinburgh was re-discovered by three Heriot's school boys while fishing in the Water of Leith in 1760. Legend has it that it was originally discovered by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the founder of the Cistercian Order, in the 12th Century. After being poorly received at court, and suffering from a sickness, he went to live in a cave near the Water of Leith. There, he was attracted to the spring by the birds which visited it and he drank its healing waters until his strength returned.

In September 1760 the mineral spring was covered by a small wellhouse. 'Claudero' (James Wilson), the contemporary poet, composed a eulogy for the occasion:

'This water so healthful near Edinburgh doth rise which not only Bath but Moffat outvies. It cleans the intestines and an appetite gives while morbfic matters it quite away drives.'

Chemical analysis revealed that the water was similar to the sulphur springs at Harrogate in Yorkshire. The mineral well soon became a popular resort for those afflicted by the fad for 'taking the waters'. By 1764, the well was so great an attraction that accommodation in the Stockbndge area was at a premium during the summer season. It seems that habitual drinkers of the waters must have had cast iron constitutions, for one later visitor likened the flavour of the water to 'the washings of foul gun barrels'.

In August 1788, the well was bought by Lord Gardenstone, who claimed he had derived great benefit from drinking the waters and, in 1789, the present construction, a circular Roman Temple was commissioned by him. This elegant architectural structure in the form of a Doric rotunda is inspired by the Temple of Vesta at Tivoli in Italy. Under the lead dome stands a marble statue of Hygieia, Goddess of Health.

In 1885, the well and grounds were purchased by the publishers Thomas Nelson & Sons. After restoration, it was left to the City of Edinburgh. The pump-room was refurbished in lavish Victonan style. The interior was designed like a celestial vault sparkling with sequin-like stars when sunlight strikes through the stained glass windows. The white marble pedestal is inscribed BIBENDO VALEBIS (By Drinking You Will Be Well).

The revitalised well remained popular until its closure in 1940, following the outbreak of war. Remarkable claims continued to be made for its medicinal properties, ranging from the efficacy of a regular morning glass as a tonic for the system to a complete cure-all for rheumatism and arthritis. The temple then resembled a continental cafe with 'little tables where regulars chatted with friends'. Aerated water from the well was even bottled and marketed for a short while.

Well set to spring back to new life
Published Date: 07 October 2009
THE striking Roman temple was erected by an eccentric Edinburgh judge with a fondness for pet pigs and a taste for spring water.
Lord Gardenstone was so convinced by the restorative powers of a natural spring discovered by the banks of the Water of Leith in the 18th century that he had a monument built in its honour.

His well, inspired by the Temple of Vista in Tivoli and featuring a statue of Hygeia, the
Greek goddess of health, is believed by experts at Edinburgh council to be the "hidden gem" of the capital's 200 monuments.

That is set to change under plans to open the well to the public properly for the first time in more than 50 years – and even start serving its water again.

It is expected to become the latest of Edinburgh's weather-beaten monuments to receive a makeover, following similar projects involving the likes of the Nelson and Burns monuments on Calton Hill.

The revamp of St Bernard's Well, expected to cost about £100,000, will also see its long history – and the myths it helped inspire – brought to life for a new generation.

The circular temple is currently only opened to the public for occasions such as the Doors Open Day and events organised by the Dean Village Association. It is now hoped that guided tours, storytelling sessions, poetry readings, drama events and even weddings will become regular fixtures. Visitors will hear how three pupils from George Heriot's School discovered the spring in 1760 and how it swiftly became a popular visitor attraction for "taking the waters".

Lord Gardenstone, a wealthy Court of Session judge, commissioned the celebrated artist Alexander Nasymth to design the monument in 1789.

Almost 100 years later, the well and its grounds were bought by the publisher Thomas Nelson & Sons, which paid for a major refurbishment and additions to its striking roof, including a lavish pump room and stained glass windows. It was only closed down at the outbreak of the Second World War.

It is hoped the restoration, being jointly pursued by the city council and Edinburgh World Heritage, will get underway next year, subject to funding being secured. A spokesman for EWH said: "St Bernard's Well is a real treasure of the Water of Leith.

"Given its intricate stone carving and statuary, any conservation work will require specialist craftsmen. We'll be working with the council on a fundraising effort to help preserve this well-loved landmark."

Paul McAuley, keeper of monuments at the council, said: "Although St Bernard's Well is pretty well known to people living in the area, it's the real hidden gem of the city's monuments and few people know about the discovery of the spring, how the temple ended up being built or who was behind it."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wool and Fiber News!

Deal knits together Scots and German fashion in '£100m' Borders boost

Published Date: 05 September 2009
By Robert Fairburn and ALASTAIR DALTON
A BORDERS knitwear firm has signed a multimillion-pound contract that could make it one of Europe's biggest brands.
Peter Scott & Co – famous for its stag logo – has joined forces with German company Peek & Cloppenburg, which has more than 140 fashion department stores across Europe. It has been described as a cross between John Lewis and Harrods.

Ken Pasternak , the Scottish
knitwear firm's managing director, said he hoped the deal would lead to an increase in its 200-strong workforce and new machinery for the 130-year-old company's mill in Hawick.

He said: "There hasn't been a bigger deal of more significance for this mill since we secured the contract to provide the British Army with underwear in 1914."

Peek & Cloppenburg has paid to have the Peter Scott name on its range of clothing, from underwear to shoes, ties and suits.

Knitwear is a key part of the deal, which will continue to be manufactured in Hawick. Other items will be manufactured elsewhere in the EU but will be co-designed by staff in Hawick and Germany.

Peter Scott will also be able to market and sell the clothing line to its own customers worldwide.

Mr Pasternak, who is also chairman of the Scottish Cashmere Club, said he hoped the Peter Scott brand would grow its turnover into £100 million within the next five to ten years.

He said: "I have no doubt that we will become the biggest knitwear brand in Scotland. We want to see our staffing numbers increase.

"This will not only swing Peter Scott around and create a brilliant future for us but it will also have a significant impact on the future of Hawick."

Peek & Cloppenburg was founded in Holland in 1863 and moved to Germany in 1900. It has more than 20,000 staff.

A spokeswoman for Scottish Enterprise said: "This is a fantastic development and will have a significant impact for both the company and the Borders economy.

"Peter Scott is a company which has a strong Scottish heritage but is not afraid to look at new opportunities overseas such as this one.

"This is the kind of attitude we want to instil in more Scottish companies to help them identify new opportunities, to help them through the recession.

Binge Drinking

BBC Scotland's Health Correspondent Eleanor Bradford travels to Sweden to discover how the Swedish government has tackled binge drinking and looks at the impact it has had.

All alcohol stores in Sweden are owned by the government

Over recent months there's been a steady stream of stories about the damage caused in Scotland by widespread alcohol abuse. But what's the solution?

Perhaps we should look north-east, to a country very similar to our own, but with far fewer alcohol-related problems: Sweden.

Research has shown that, given the opportunity, both Scots and Swedes binge drink. Yet the average Swede consumes 9 litres of pure alcohol per year, compared with 12 for the average Scot.

I arrive on an important night. The Swedish football team is playing Hungary in the World Cup qualifier.

The pubs are packed, and I ask one fan how much he intends to drink. "Tonight I will have one, or maybe two pints," he says, "but my friend will drink two, I swear!"

I tell him that a football fan in a Scottish pub will probably drink eight pints or more. "You know, just before this match I was watching a documentary about the UK," he says, " was called 'hooligans'." Swedes have grown used to a system of heavy state intervention which controls both the price and availability of alcohol

So why does a football fan here seem perfectly happy with one pint? Swedes have grown used to a system of heavy state intervention which controls both the price and availability of alcohol.

Next stop is central Stockholm. All liquor stores here are owned by the government. I meet Sven Andreasson who is a practising doctor and leads the Swedish government's department of public health.

"Our own research indicates that the 'Systembolaget' monopoly reduces consumption by 25-30%," he tells me. "As a consequence it also reduces alcohol related problems."

What immediately strikes me is the huge range of alcohol on offer.

The government is not allowed to discriminate against any producer, so it stocks nearly everything. That range is available whether you live in central Stockholm or the far reaches of the north.
The range of alcohol on offer in Sweden is extensive

Wine and beer is only a few pounds more expensive than in Scotland - although spirits are significantly more.

"Ten years ago the majority of people in Sweden wanted to do away with the Systembolaget," Mr Andreasson tells me. "That has changed, and now it's the reverse. There's a general perception that this is good for public health, and the Systembolaget provides good service."

The next day I take a train and travel 170 kilometres north of Stockholm. Just outside the town of Gavle is Sweden's first whisky distillery. Government controls have brought advantages and disadvantages for "Mackmyra" Whisky.

"We have tastings but we cannot sell our bottles here," explains marketing manager Lars Lindberger. "We can sell only books, glasses, T-shirts and merchandise."

'Political skill'

Mackmyra is lobbying the government to relax the restrictions on distilleries selling their own product.

Other than that, the Systembolaget has played a significant part in making this young company successful. "We sell to one person and he controls 400 stores and nine million customers, so for us it works really really great," Mr Lindberger adds.

The Swedish system is not a complete solution.

I spot a group of alcoholics waiting for the Systembolaget store to open at 10am, and even the average Swede is drinking more.

However, the streets are quiet at night, and I feel far safer walking home.

"It takes political skill and motivation to control alcohol problems," Sven Andreasson tells me. "But our policies are based on research which shows the most powerful tools to control alcohol problems in a nation involve price and availability."

I don't think we will see this kind of government involvement here in the USA in my lifetime. Crime and poor health is what binge drinking gives society. What a sad thing this kind of drinking is. It certainly has nothing to do with socializing like having a friendly pint once did. To make it worse the women drink as hard as the men. Both of my Brothers nearly lost their lives to drinking. Both no longer will take a drink. I still like a drink once in awhile. I don't find getting pissing drunk fun and never have.

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