Friday, August 31, 2007

European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
Political parties Elections
The European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (founded in 1993) is a liberal party, mainly active in the European Union, composed of 49 national liberal and centrist parties from across Europe.
Having developed from a loose confederation of national political parties in the 1970s, the ELDR is now a recognised European political party incorporated as a non-profit association under Belgian law. Despite this legal status, the ELDR Party has yet to achieve significant grassroots involvement and retains much of the character of a mere confederation of national political parties.
As of 2006, the ELDR is the third-largest political party represented in EU institutions, with 62 MEPs and 8 members of the European Commission.
The Party is politically represented in the European Parliament by the ALDE Group, formed in conjunction with the centrist European Democratic Party, which is dominated by ELDR MEPs and led by Graham Watson, a British Liberal Democrat and former leader of the separate ELDR Parliamentary Group.
Nationally, ELDR member parties participate in the national governments of 11 out of the 27 EU Member States, contributing five prime ministers:
The youth wing of the ELDR Party is the European Liberal Youth, which is predominantly based upon youth and student liberal organisations from across Europe but also contains a small number of individual members. LYMEC is led by Spanish politician Roger Alibinyana i Saigi, who was elected to a two-year term as LYMEC President in April 2004, and has a collective membership of over 170,000 young liberal Europeans.

Andrus Ansip (ERP, Estonia)
Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Venstre, Denmark)
Matti Vanhanen (Keskusta, Finland)
Guy Verhofstadt (VLD, Belgium)
Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu (PNL, Romania) Leadership

The day to day management of the ELDR Party is handled by the Bureau, the members of which are:
ALDE Group Leaders
Other Party Officials

Annemie Neyts MEP (VLD, Belgium): ELDR Party President
Sharon Bowles MEP (Lib Dem, UK)
Wilfried Derksen (D66, Netherlands)
Katarina Gloncakova-Golev (ANO, Slovakia) (ANO Vice-President)
Johannes Lebech (RV, Denmark)
Markus Löning MP (FDP, Germany)
Calin Popescu Tariceanu MP (PNL, Romania) (Prime Minister of Romania)
Vesna Pusić MP (HNS, Croatia)
Bas Eenhoorn (VVD, Netherlands)
Graham Watson MEP (Lib Dem, UK): ALDE Group Leader, European Parliament
Matyas Eörsi MP (SZDSZ, Hungary): ALDE Group Leader, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Ivo Opstelten (VVD, Netherlands): ALDE Group Leader, EU Committee of the Regions
Willy De Clercq MEP (VLD, Belgium): Honorary President
Federica Sabatini (Italy): ELDR Party Secretary-General
Alexander Beels (VVD, Netherlands): ALDE Group Secretary-General
Roger Albinyana i Saigi (Convergencia, Spain): President, European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) Bureau
The ELDR Congress is the sovereign body of the ELDR aisbl, usually meeting on an annual basis, and as such its primary purposes are to:
The voting members of the ELDR Congress number around 600-700, and are composed of:
In addition to the voting members of the ELDR Congress, the following are entitled to attend as non-voting members:

Elect members of the ELDR Bureau
Debate, and adopt, resolutions on matters of policy;
Adopt the ELDR Party's electoral manifesto for European Parliament elections
Make amendments to the ELDR Party Statutes
Members of the ELDR Council
A number of representatives nominated by each of the Member Parties based on the number of votes that Party received at the last set of European Parliament elections,
2 representatives nominated by each of the Affiliate Parties, and
10 representatives nominated by the European Liberal Youth.
ELDR members of the European Parliament,
ELDR members of the EU Committee of the Regions,
One delegate nominated by each of the liberal democrat groupings in other European parliamentary assemblies, and
One delegate nominated by Liberal International ELDR Congress
The ELDR Council acts as the ELDR Party's de facto executive committee, meeting in between meetings of the ELDR Congress, and is empowered to:
The voting members of the ELDR Council number around 100-150 members and are composed of:
In addition to the voting members of the ELDR Council, the following are entitled to attend as non-voting members:

Approve the budget of the ELDR Party;
Approve ELDR membership applications; and
Speak and act on behalf of the ELDR Party in between meetings of the ELDR Congress.
Voting members of the Bureau,
Two or more representatives nominated by each of the Member Parties based on the number of votes that Party received at the last set of European Parliament elections, and
One representative nominated by each of the Affiliate Parties, and
One representative nominated by the European Liberal Youth
Non-voting members of the Bureau,
One representative nominated by each of the liberal democrat groups in European parliamentary assemblies (including the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions), and
One representative nominated by Liberal International ELDR Council
In addition to the formal structure of the ELDR Party, there are convened at least two meetings a year of the Political Leaders Meeting in order to exchange views on the items on the agenda of the European Council and more general views on the European political situation.
The members of the Political Leaders Meeting are:

The President and Vice-Presidents of the ELDR Party,
ELDR Members of the European Commission,
ELDR Heads of Government,
The political leaders of ELDR Member Parties,
Other ELDR Ministers,
The President of the European Liberal Youth ELDR Political Leaders Meeting
See also: History of pan-European liberalism
Pan-European liberalism has a long history dating back to the foundation of Liberal International in April 1947. In March 1976, the Federation of Liberal and Democrat Parties in Europe was established, which gradually evolved into the ELDR Party with a group in the European Parliament
At an extraordinary Congress in Brussels held on April 30, 2004 the day before the enlargement of the European Union, the ELDR Party incorporated itself under Belgian law, being the first step towards legal recognition as a European political party.
It originated as the European Liberal, Democrat and Reform party grouping with seats in the European Parliament, but on April 30, 2004 (the day before the enlargement of the European Union) reformed itself as a pan-European political party, although it has yet to organise itself at a grassroots level.
This was followed later that year by the establishment of the ALDE political group in the European Parliament, in collaboration with the newly established EDP Party.

Member Parties

Political parties of the world
Liberal International
European Liberal Youth

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Megatower not only failed to comply with the original design plan, it also breached Metroplan guidelines prohibiting new developments from cutting the ridge-line of Victoria Peak when seen from various key points.

Costly piling repairs were necessary after short-piling of part of the site was discovered by engineers, who found discrepancies in the volume of concrete usage and the volume of concrete actually required.

Short-piling incident
ifc Tower 1 is also known as 1IFC and branded as "Ifc One". Likewise, Tower 2 is also known as 2IFC and branded as "Ifc Two".
1IFC opened in December 1998, towards the end of the Asian financial crisis. Tenants included ING Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, Fidelity Investments, the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority
Through its location, array of big-name retailers, and transport connections, it also aims to attract visitors to the ifc mall, which features a number of top fashion, health & skin care, jewellery and accessory shops, restaurants, and a cinema. The ifc mall houses over 200 different brands. It also features Hong Kong's third c!ty'super store, a high-end supermarket.

Two International Finance Centre ifc as a brand
One International Finance Centre was completed in 1998 and opened in 1999. It is 210 m tall[1], has 38 storeys and four trading floors, 18 high speed passenger lifts in 4 zones, and comprises 784,000 square feet (72,850 m²). The building currently accommodates approximately 5,000 people.

One International Finance Centre
Two International Finance Centre, completed in 2003, is attached to the second phase of the ifc mall. This 415 m tall building is currently Hong Kong's tallest, is quoted as having 88 storeys to qualify as being extremely auspicious in Chinese culture, and 22 high-ceiling trading floors. In actual fact, however, it is short of the magic number, due to the fact that the "taboo floors" like 14th and 24th etc., are omitted as being inauspicious - 14 sounds like "definitely fatal" and 24 like "Easily fatal" in Cantonese.
The highrise is designed to accommodate financial firms. For example, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is located at the 55th floor. It is equipped with advanced telecommunications, raised floors for flexible cabling management, and nearly column-free floor plans. The building expects to accommodate up to 15,000 people. It is one of relatively few buildings in the world equipped with double-deck elevators.
The 55th, 56th and the 77th to 88th floors were bought by the HKMA for US$ 480 million in 2001.

Two International Finance Centre
The Four Seasons Hotel was completed and opened in October in 2005. The 206 m (674 ft), 55-storey waterfront hotel is the first Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong.
The hotel has some 400 rooms, and in excess of 500 serviced apartments. Amenities include what is claimed to be a world-class restaurant and spa.

Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

Financial Times, HSBC, and Cathay Pacific put up an advertisement on the facade from October to November of 2003 that stretched more than 50 storeys, covering an area of 19,000 m² (0.2 million square ft) and a length of 230 m, making it the world's largest advertisement ever put on a skyscraper.
The Two ifc building was featured in the Hollywood movie Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, in which Lara Croft and Terry Sheridan leap off it. Image gallery

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A computer cluster is a group of tightly coupled computers that work together closely so that in many respects they can be viewed as though they are a single computer. The components of a cluster are commonly, but not always, connected to each other through fast local area networks. Clusters are usually deployed to improve performance and/or availability over that provided by a single computer, while typically being much more cost-effective than single computers of comparable speed or availability.

Cluster categorizations
High-availability clusters (also known as failover clusters) are implemented primarily for the purpose of improving the availability of services which the cluster provides. They operate by having redundant nodes, which are then used to provide service when system components fail. The most common size for an HA cluster is two nodes, which is the minimum requirement to provide redundancy. HA cluster implementations attempt to manage the redundancy inherent in a cluster to eliminate single points of failure. There are many commercial implementations of High-Availability clusters for many operating systems. The Linux-HA project is one commonly used free software HA package for the Linux OSs.

Computer cluster High-availability (HA) clusters
Load-balancing clusters operate by having all workload come through one or more load-balancing front ends, which then distribute it to a collection of back end servers. Although they are primarily implemented for improved performance, they commonly include high-availability features as well. Such a cluster of computers is sometimes referred to as a server farm. There are many commercial load balancers available including Platform LSF HPC, Sun Grid Engine, Moab Cluster Suite and Maui Cluster Scheduler. The Linux Virtual Server project provides one commonly used free software package for the Linux OS.

Load-balancing clusters
High-performance computing (HPC) clusters are implemented primarily to provide increased performance by splitting a computational task across many different nodes in the cluster, and are most commonly used in scientific computing. Such clusters commonly run custom programs which have been designed to exploit the parallelism available on HPC clusters. HPCs are optimized for workloads which require jobs or processes happening on the separate cluster computer nodes to communicate actively during the computation. These include computations where intermediate results from one node's calculations will affect future calculations on other nodes.
One of the most popular HPC implementations is a cluster with nodes running Linux as the OS and free software to implement the parallelism. This configuration is often referred to as a Beowulf cluster.
Microsoft offers Windows Compute Cluster Server as a high-performance computing platform to compete with Linux.
Many software programs running on High-performance computing (HPC) clusters use libraries such as MPI which are specially designed for writing scientific applications for HPC computers.

High-performance computing (HPC) clusters

Main article: Grid computing Grid computing
The TOP500 organization's semiannual list of the 500 fastest computers usually includes many clusters. TOP500 is a collaboration between the University of Mannheim, the University of Tennessee, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. As of November 2006, the top supercomputer is the Department of Energy's IBM BlueGene/L system with performance of 280.6 TFlops.
Clustering can provide significant performance benefits versus price. The System X supercomputer at Virginia Tech, the 28th most powerful supercomputer on Earth as of June 2006[1], is a 12.25 TFlops computer cluster of 1100 Apple XServe G5 2.3 GHz dual-processor machines (4 GB RAM, 80 GB SATA HD) running Mac OS X and using InfiniBand interconnect. The cluster initially consisted of Power Mac G5s; the rack-mountable XServes are denser than desktop Macs, reducing the aggregate size of the cluster. The total cost of the previous Power Mac system was $5.2 million, a tenth of the cost of slower mainframe computer supercomputers. (The Power Mac G5s were sold off.)
The central concept of a Beowulf cluster is the use of commercial off-the-shelf computers to produce a cost-effective alternative to a traditional supercomputer. One project that took this to an extreme was the Stone Soupercomputer.
However it is worth noting that FLOPs (floating point operations per second), aren't always the best metric for supercomputer speed. Clusters can have very high FLOPs, but they cannot access all data the cluster as a whole has at once. Therefore clusters are excellent for parallel computation, but much poorer than traditional supercomputers at non-parallel computation.
JavaSpaces is a specification from Sun Microsystems that enables clustering computers via a distributed shared memory.

MPI is a widely-available communications library that enables parallel programs to be written in C, Fortran, Python, OCaml, and many other programming languages.
The GNU/Linux world sports various cluster software; for application clustering, there is Beowulf, distcc, and MPICH. Linux Virtual Server, Linux-HA - director-based clusters that allow incoming requests for services to be distributed across multiple cluster nodes. MOSIX, openMosix, Kerrighed, OpenSSI are full-blown clusters integrated into the kernel that provide for automatic process migration among homogeneous nodes. OpenSSI, openMosix and Kerrighed are single-system image implementations.
Microsoft Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 based on the Windows Server platform provides pieces for High Performance Computing like the Job Scheduler, MSMPI library and management tools. NCSA's recently installed Lincoln is a cluster of 450 Dell PowerEdge™ 1855 blade servers running Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. This cluster debuted at #130 on the Top500 list in June 2006.
DragonFly BSD, a recent fork of FreeBSD 4.8 is being redesigned at its core to enable native clustering capabilities. It also aims to achieve single-system image capabilities.

See also

Monday, August 27, 2007

For the chain of fast-food restaurants, see Wienerwald (restaurant).
The Vienna Woods (German Wienerwald) is a low, wooded section of the Alps in eastern Lower Austria and Vienna, covering over 1,000 square kilometres and including the northernmost parts of the entire Alpine chain. The Vienna Woods may be defined as that group of hills bounded by the rivers Triesting, Gölsen, Traisen and Danube, and is a favourite outdoor destination for the densely-populated area around Vienna .
It is located at the border between the Mostviertel and the Industrieviertel, two of the four quarters of Lower Austria, and reaches far into the city of Vienna.
The mountain ranges of the Vienna Woods are the transition of the Eastern Alps to the Carpathians, separated by the Danube and some tectonic lines near of Vienna. Its north is part of the Alps' sandstone zone, while its south is part of the Northern Limestone Alps. In the east, its border is the thermal line, which forms a geological break line to the Viennese Basin. The forest in the north consists largely of beeches, oaks and hornbeams, whereas in the south conifers, mostly pines and firs add to the botanical mix. In the latter region the natural park Föhrenberge (pine mountains) is located.
The highest elevation in the Vienna Woods is Schöpfl at 893 m above sea level, on which the Leopold Figl observatory is located. Even though the Vienna Woods is a landscape conservation area, it is threatened by urban sprawl. It is an important recreational area, in which, on the territory of the city of Vienna, the Lainzer Tiergarten (an extensive park populated by wild boar and other woodland animals) and the Schwarzenbergpark were created during the 19th century.
The natural park Sandstein-Wienerwald is located near Purkersdorf, some 20 km west of Vienna.
The Vienna Woods has probably been populated since the 8th century. Under the influence of the Avars, a Slavic population settled here after the Völkerwanderung, which may account for village names such as Döbling, Liesing or Gablitz. The Vienna Woods was a princely hunting ground, but beginning with the 16th century, it gained importance also for forestry. From 1840 onwards, the industrial development encouraged increased settlement of the area. In 1870, plans were brought forward to mostly clear the forest, but this caused widespread public resistance, in which Josef Schöffel was one of the most important figures.Wienerwald In 1987, the governors of the states of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland signed the Vienna Woods Declaration to protect nature in the region.
Important rivers in the Vienna Woods are the Wien, the Schwechat and the Triesting.
There are also some natural caves, such as the Dreidärrischenhöhle ("cave of the three madmen").

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as Quakers, was founded in England in the 17th century as a Christian religious denomination by people who were dissatisfied with the existing denominations and sects of Christianity. Historians generally credit George Fox with being the principal co-founder or most important early leader..

Beliefs and practices of Friends
George Fox and the other early Quaker preachers believed that direct experience of God was available to all people, without mediation (e.g. through hired clergy, or through outward sacraments). Fox described this by writing that "Christ has come to teach His people Himself."

Experiencing God
Quakerism is often termed a mystical religion because of its emphasis on the personal experience of God, however it differs from other mystical religions in at least two important ways:
First, Quaker mysticism is primarily group-oriented rather than focused on the individual. The Friends' traditional meeting for worship (see Unprogrammed worship below) may be considered an expression of that group mysticism, where all the members of the meeting together listen for the Spirit of God, speaking when that Spirit moves them.
Second, Quaker mysticism as it has been expressed after the late 19th century includes a strong emphasis on its outwardly-directed witness. Rather than seeking withdrawal from the world, the Quaker mystic translates his or her mysticism into action. They believe this action leads to greater spiritual understanding — both by individuals and by the Meeting as a whole.

Early Friends believed that Christ, instead of the Bible, is the Word of God; Robert Barclay wrote in his Apology that the scriptures "are only a declaration of the fountain, and not the fountain itself, therefore they are not to be esteemed the principal ground of all Truth and knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners".
Early Friends believed that Christ would never lead them in ways that contradicted the Bible; this belief prevented conflicts between Friends' leadings and their understanding of the Bible.
As time passed, conflicts between what the Bible appeared to teach and how many Friends believed they were being led by the Spirit began to arise. Some Friends decided that in these cases the Bible should be authoritative. Today Evangelical Friends believe the Bible is authoritative, for the Bible is the word of God inspired by God's Spirit and this belief is affirmed in the Richmond Declaration.
Other Friends, partly under the influence of movements such as liberal Protestantism, decided that it was possible to be truly led in ways contrary to scripture, and that in such cases scripture should give way. Still other Friends rejected (or neglected) the Bible altogether; hence in many liberal Friends meetings one might encounter non-Christian Friends or those who question some or all of the traditional doctrines of Christianity. In nearly all cases, modern Friends believe in the necessity of being continually guided by God. Divine revelation is therefore not restricted to the Bible, but rather continues even today; this doctrine is known as continuing revelation.
A common set of practices emerged which spoke of key principles and beliefs held by Friends. These are "Testimonies", for Friends believe these important principles and practices should be expressed (testified as truth) among Friends as well as to others, in both words and deeds. (see Testimonies for a list and description of several testimonies.) Rooted in the immediate experience of the community of Friends, for many Friends these values are verified by the Bible, especially in the life and teachings of Jesus.

The Bible
Generally, Quakerism has had no creed. George Fox dismissed theologians as "notionists", and modern Quakers are generally little concerned with theology, and are more concerned with acting in accord with the leading of the Spirit. Quakers have historically expressed a preference for understanding coming from God's Spirit over the knowledge derived from objective logic or systematic theology.. Doctrinal statements which seek to objectify deity fail to communicate the essence of the "holy spirit", "inner light", or "that of God within us", that "speaks to us" and can also compel "witness".
As a public statement of faith, many Yearly Meetings publish their own version of a book often called Quaker Faith and Practice which expresses their sense of truth and purpose; these documents are generally revised every few years.

Early Friends did not believe in the reliance upon practice of the outward rites and sacraments, believing that holiness can exist in all the activities of one's life—all of life is sacred. They experienced baptism by the Holy Spirit as an inward, transforming experience and knew communion with Christ in the midst of gathered worship in the expectant silence. Thus they did not perform baptism as a rite of membership. These Friends also believed that any meal with others could be a form of communion.
At various times some individuals or small groups of Friends have published corrective cautions against adopting the prohibition of some rite as itself being creedal. The focus should be upon God as Present Teacher, rather than on some human ritual, or the absence of a ritual. Most Friends therefore do not prohibit rites or ceremonies, but they do counsel against allowing these human inventions to take the place of direct experience and leading by God.


For more details on this topic, see Testimony of Simplicity. Plainness

For more details on this topic, see Testimony of Equality. Egalitarianism
Friends have founded many schools and colleges and have never engaged in anti-intellectualism; however Friends have often cautioned against the admission of education credentials as either a form of honoring humans instead of God or as a substitute for a relationship with God.


For more details on this topic, see Testimony of Integrity. Oaths and fair-dealing
a historical term for those Friends born into families that are members of a Friends Meeting. (This term is not always officially recognized by Friends.)
a process undergone to discern the true leading of the Spirit of God, especially in ambiguous or complicated situations. Friends often work with Clearness committees when struggling with a difficult issue.
the only officer of most meetings (as they have no clergy); the person charged with making and keeping the records of the meeting (including the records of births, marriages, and deaths).
Friends believe that anyone may feel called by God. Friends consider carrying out a concern to be a form of ministry. Often there may be a meeting for clearness to test the concern after which the meeting may well support the person in their concern. Many well-known organisations, such as the American Friends Service Committee, Don't Make a Wave Committee (the predecessor organisation to Greenpeace), Oxfam and Amnesty International, have been founded by Friends 'acting under concern'.
a historical term for those Friends who were not born into Quaker families, but who came to Friends because of the Truth of Quaker teaching and practice. The process of deciding to become a Friend is known as "convincement."
A meeting for worship, where those present feel that they were particularly in tune with the leadings of the Spirit.
Older meetinghouses often have benches on a raised platform which face the rest of the congregation where Weighty Friends (see below) who might be expected to speak would sit. Historically (and in some meetings still) these would be the recorded ministers and elders.
To recognize concern in one's self for another person or situation. This is often considered to be synonymous with praying for someone.
(British term) during a meeting for worship for business, when the clerk asks those present if they agree with a minute, Friends will usually say "I hope so" rather than "yes". It is meant in the sense of "I hope that this is the true guidance of the Holy Spirit".
the action properly taken upon a committee, meeting or ministry that is no longer needed; "to lay down" a meeting is to disband it.
a course of action, belief or conviction that a Friend feels is divinely inspired.
the act of speaking during a meeting for worship. (Many Friends use the term more broadly to mean living their testimonies in everyday life). "Vocal" or "proclamational" refer to ministries that are verbal.
A nontheist Friend is one who does not experience or accept belief in a supreme being, the divine or the supernatural, often while engaging in and affirming Silent Meeting, and other Quaker processes and practices.
An unfounded, unspiritual position. (Used by George Fox, often to refer to teachings or doctrines that were expressed but not fully understood or experienced)
to undertake a service or course of action without prior clarity about all the details but with confidence that divine guidance will make these apparent and assure an appropriate outcome.
A person whose vocal ministry (spoken contribution in meeting) — or another spiritual gift — is recognised as helpful and probably faithful to Divine leading, by the body of Friends to which they belong and formally recorded by that body. Not all Friends' organisations record ministers. Other Friends have adopted a defined process prerequisite for "recording."
has to do with proper conduct of a meeting for business. The term is often used in the negative, that is, if someone senses that something about the conduct of the meeting is not proper, they may object that 'this meeting is not in right ordering'.
Commonly used during meetings for business to express that another Friend has spoken what is in the mind of the speaker; used to help add weight to the statements of others.
the belief in the presence of God within all people. Also referred to as the Inner Light.
a Friend, respected for their experience and ability over their history of participation with Friends, whose opinion or ministry is especially valued.

Quaker terminology
Friends treat all functions of the church as a form of worship, including business, marriage, and memorial services, in addition to regular meeting for worship. The two main forms of Quaker worship are often referred to as "programmed" and "unprogrammed".
While the different styles of worship generally reflect the theological splits, with unprogrammed meetings generally being more theologically liberal and programmed Friends churches more theologically conservative, this is not a strict rule. Many meetings hold both programmed and unprogrammed services or other activities. Some "Conservative" meetings are unprogrammed yet would be generally considered to be theologically closer to most programmed meetings.

Quaker worship
Unprogrammed worship is the more traditional style of worship among Friends and remains the norm in Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and parts of the United States and Canada. During an unprogrammed meeting for worship, Friends gather together in "expectant waiting" for divine leadings. Sometimes a meeting is entirely silent, sometimes quite a few people speak. Meeting for Worship generally lasts about an hour.
When they feel they are led by the spirit a participant will rise and share a message (give "vocal ministry") with those gathered. Typically, messages, testimonies, ministry, or other speech are not prepared as a "speech". Speakers are expected to discern the source of their inspiration — whether divine or self. After someone has spoken, it is expected that more than a few moments will pass in silence before further Ministry; there should be no spirit of debate.
Unprogrammed worship is generally deemed to start as soon as the first participant is seated, the others entering the room in silence. The Meeting for Worship ends when one person (usually predetermined) shakes the hand of another participant. All the members of the assembly then shake hands with their neighbors, after which one member usually rises and extends greetings and makes announcements.

Unprogrammed worship
Programmed worship resembles a typical Protestant worship service in the United States. This tradition arose among Friends in the United States in the 19th century in response to large numbers of converts to Quakerism during the national spiritual revivalism of the time. Typically there are readings from scripture, hymns, and a sermon from the pastor. A period of silence (similar in practice to that of unprogrammed meetings, though generally shorter) is included in some Programmed Friends worship services. Most Friends in the southern and central United States worship in this way.
The Friends meetings started in Africa and Latin America were generally started by Friends from programmed elements of the society, therefore most African and Latin American Friends worship in a programmed style.
Some Friends also hold what is termed Semi-Programmed Worship, which brings programmed elements like hymns and readings into an otherwise unprogrammed worship service.

Programmed worship

Main article: Quaker wedding Quaker weddings
Business decisions on a local level are conducted at a monthly "Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Business", or simply "Business Meeting". A business meeting is a form of worship, and all decisions are reached so that they are consistent with the guidance of the Spirit.
Instead of voting, the Meeting attempts to gain a sense of God's will for the community. Each member of the meeting is expected to listen to that of God within themselves and, if led, to contribute it to the group for reflection and consideration. Each member listens to others' contributions carefully, in an attitude of seeking Truth rather than of attempting to prevail or to debate.
A decision is reached when the Meeting, as a whole, feels that the "way forward" has been discerned (also called "coming to unity") or there is a consensus. On some occasions a single Friend will hold up a decision because they feel the meeting is not following God's will; occasionally, some members of the Meeting will "stand aside" on an issue, meaning that these members do not share in the general sense of the meeting but are willing to allow the group to move forward.
Many Quakers describe the search for unity as the gathering of believers who "wait upon the Lord" to discover God's will. When seeking unity, Friends are not attempting to seek a position with which everyone is willing to live (as is often the case in consensual models) but in determining God's will. It is assumed that if everyone is listening to God's Spirit, the way forward will become clear.
The business conducted "in the manner of Friends" can seem time-consuming and impractical. The process can be frustrating and slow, but Friends believe it works well, allowing the group to come to decisions even around the most difficult matters. By the time a decision is recognized, the important issues have been worked out and the group supports the decision; there is no "losing" side.
Many non-Friends express doubts as to whether this process of decision making can work in a large group; although many yearly meetings have successfully employed this practice for generations. Some Quaker-related organizations, such as Haverford College in Philadelphia, also utilize traditional Quaker form practices of governance.

Decision making among Friends
Traditional Quaker memorial services are also held as a form of worship. Friends gather for worship and offer remembrances about the person who has died. Memorial services often last over an hour, particularly if there are a large number of people in attendance. Memorial services give everyone a chance to remember the lost individual in their own way, thus bringing comfort to those present, and re-affirmation of the larger community of Friends.

Memorial services
Like many movements, the Religious Society of Friends has evolved, changed, and split into various smaller subgroups.

Basic divisions and organization
The highest concentration of Quakers is in Africa. The Friends of East Africa were at one time part of a single East Africa Yearly Meeting, then the largest Yearly Meeting in the world. Today, this region is served by several distinct Yearly Meetings. Most of these are affiliated with the Friends United Meeting, practice programmed worship, and employ pastors. There are also Friends meetings in Rwanda and Burundi, as well as new work beginning in Morocco. For more information see Quakers in Kenya.

In Africa
Considerable distances between the colonies, and a low immigration of Quakers, meant that the organization of Friends in Australia was quite dependent on London until the twentieth century. The Society has remained unprogrammed and is constituted as the Australia Yearly Meeting, with local organization around seven Regional Meetings: Canberra (which extends into southern New South Wales), New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia (which extends into Northern Territory), Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. There is an annual meeting each January hosted by a different Regional Meeting over a seven year cycle, with a Standing Committee each July or August.

In Australia
Friends in Britain have maintained a high level of unity throughout the history of the Society. In very recent years, however, small Quaker Meetings have come into existence which are characterised by a more avowedly Christian faith.

In Great Britain
Friends in the United States have diverse practices, though united by many common bonds. Along with the division of worship style (see "Quaker Worship" above) come several differences of theology, vocabulary and practice.
A local congregation in the unprogrammed tradition is called a meeting, or a monthly meeting (e.g., Smalltown Meeting or Smalltown Monthly Meeting). Several local monthly meetings are often part of a regional group called a quarterly meeting, which is usually part of an even larger group called a yearly meeting.
In programmed traditions, the local congregations are often referred to as "Friends Churches". Currently, the largest Quaker church in America is Yorba Linda Friends Church, an evangelical Quaker church located in Orange County, California.

In the United States
Various names have been used for the Friends movement and its adherents. These include:
In the first few years of the movement, Quakers thought of themselves as part of the restoration of the true Christian church after centuries of apostasy. For this reason, during this period they often referred to themselves as simply the "saints". Other common names in the early days were "Children of the Light" and "Friends of the Truth", reflecting the central importance in early Quaker theology of Christ as an Inner light that shows you your true condition.
The name "Quaker" was first used in 1650, when George Fox was brought before Justice Bennet of Derby on a charge of blasphemy. According to Fox's journal, Bennet "called us Quakers because we bid them tremble at the word of God." Therefore, what began apparently as a way to make fun of Fox's comment by those outside the Society of Friends became a nickname that even Friends use for themselves.
The name "Religious Society of Friends" came many years later, in the 18th century. This remains the most widely-accepted name to this day, although often "Quakers" is added in parentheses for the sake of clarity. However, there are some Friends who prefer other names: some evangelical Friends' organizations use the term "Friends Church", and some Friends (usually in unprogrammed meetings) object to the word "religious" and refer to themselves as part of the "Society of Friends". There are some monthly meetings that for this reason do not include "religious" in their name, while most larger Quaker organizations, such as yearly meetings, use the full name.

Children of the light
Friends among friends
Friends of the Truth
Publishers of Truth
Quiet Helpers
Religious Society of Friends
Seekers of Truth
Society of Friends Names

Main article: Quaker history Hicksite-Orthodox split
The Orthodox Friends in America were exercised by a transatlantic dispute between Joseph John Gurney of England and John Wilbur of Rhode Island. Gurney emphasized scriptural authority and favored working closely with other Christian groups. Wilbur, in response, defended the authority of the Holy Spirit, as primary and worked to prevent what he saw as the dilution of Friends tradition of Spirit-led ministry. Wilbur was expelled from his yearly meeting in a questionable proceeding in 1842. Over the next several decades, a number of Wilburite-Gurneyite separations occurred. The Wilburite tradition is carried on today to varying degrees by the conservative yearly meetings of Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina; Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative) is generally considered the most traditional in this regard, retaining more rural Quakers who use the plain language and continue wearing plain dress more than the other two.

Gurneyite-Wilburite split
Joel Bean was an Orthodox Friend who opposed the extreme evangelicalism that was creeping into his branch of Quakerism. He formed a new branch of Quakerism in the western part of the United States when his membership was terminated and his meeting was laid down by Iowa Yearly Meeting.
The "Beanite", or independent, Quakers resemble an amalgam of Hicksite and Wilburite Quakerism. During the 1980s some of them adopted the label "Christ-Centered Universalism".

Quaker testimonies are an expression of "spirituality in action"
Some Friends also include other testimonies, such as Unity, Community, Compassion, Justice, Truth, Stewardship and Sustainability; the environment is regarded by some as an "emerging testimony" in the UK. Children and Friends school students are often taught the acronym SPICE, which stands for Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, and Equality.

Simplicity Testimonies

Main article: Peace Testimony Peace

Main article: Testimony of Equality Equality

Main article: Testimony of Integrity Integrity

Main article: Testimony of Simplicity Simplicity
Throughout their history, Quakers have founded organizations for many causes they felt are in keeping with their faith. There are many schools around the world founded by Friends (see List of Friends Schools). Several organizations centered on education have continued amongst Friends, including Friends Council on Education (FCE) an organization supporting Friends schools (typically primary through secondary, often boarding) and Friends Association for Higher Education (FAHE) which supports Friends post-secondary institutions and those who resonate with Friends' teaching and traditions who serve in higher education.
There are various organizations associated with Friends including: a US lobbying organization based in Washington, DC called the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL); several service organizations like the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the Quaker United Nations Offices, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, Friends Committee on Scouting and the Alternatives to Violence Project.
Additionally Friends have founded organizations to help maintain order and communication within the society. Some yearly meetings belong to larger organizations, the three chief ones being Friends General Conference (FGC), Friends United Meeting (FUM), and Evangelical Friends International (EFI) (in all three groups, most member organizations are from the United States). FGC is theologically the most liberal of the three groups, while EFI is the most conservative. FUM is the largest of the three. Some monthly meetings belong to more than one of these larger organizations, while others are independent, not joining any. Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) is the international Quaker organization which loosely unifies the diverse groups of Friends; FWCC brings together the largest variety of Friends in the world.

Quaker organizations

Category:Quaker organizations
American Friends Service Committee
Conservative Friends
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Friends World Committee for Consultation
A Quaker Action Group
Quakers in Europe
Quakers in Kenya
Quakers in Latin America
World Gathering of Young Friends
Alternatives to Violence Project
Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade
Movement for a New Society
Peace churches
List of Friends Schools
List of Quakers
List of Quaker businesses
List of pacifist faiths
Abolition of slavery
Friends' Ambulance Unit
Friends meeting house
Nontheist Friends
Pendle Hill
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Quaker Bible
Quaker tapestry
Quaker views of homosexuality
Quaker views of women Religious Society of Friends See also

Further reading

De Angeli, Marguerite Thee, Hannah! ISBN 0-83619-106-4
Turkle, Brinton

  • The Adventures of Obadiah ISBN 0-67010-614-3
    Obadiah the Bold ISBN 1-89310-319-6
    Rachel and Obadiah ISBN 1-89310-318-8
    Thy Friend, Obadiah ISBN 0-14050-393-5 Information on Quakers and Quakerism

    Quakerbooks: Friends General Conference bookstore
    Barclay Press (Evangelical Friends)
    Pendle Hill Press and Bookstore
    Quaker Electronic Archive
    Quaker Heritage Press Online Texts

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Jon Turteltaub
Jonathan Charles Turteltaub (born 8 August 1963) is an American film director and producer. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. On July 6, 2006, he married Amy Eldon, sister of photojournalist Dan Eldon.
He has directed several successful mainstream movies including 1993's Cool Runnings, While You Were Sleeping (1995), Phenomenon (1996), Instinct, The Kid (2000) and 2004's National Treasure. Turteltaub is also slated to direct National Treasure: Book of Secrets for a 2007 release.
Turteltaub also directed the first two episodes of the CBS television series, Jericho - "Pilot" and "Fallout".

Friday, August 24, 2007

During World War II, Operation Carpetbagger was a general term used for the aerial resupply of weapons and other matériel to resistance fighters in France, Italy and the Low Countries by the U.S. Army Air Forces that began on 4 January 1944.

Operation Carpetbagger Operations
In the modern world, the Group has been generally recognized as the ancestor of today's Air Force Special Operations.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is the largest of all toothed whales and is the largest toothed animal alive, measuring up to 18 metres (60 ft) long. The whale was named after the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in its head and originally mistaken for sperm. The Sperm Whale's enormous head and distinctive shape, as well as its central role in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, have led many to describe it as the archetypal whale. Partly because of Melville, the Sperm Whale is commonly associated with the Leviathan of the Bible.
Historically the Sperm Whale has also been known as the Common Cachalot. The word cachalot is originally Portuguese (cachalote), probably coming from cachola, a colloquial term for head. Sperm Whales were hunted until recently in the Portuguese Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. The Sperm Whale is also the state animal of Connecticut.


Main article: Spermaceti Spermaceti
Whales breathe air at the surface of the water through a single, s-shaped blowhole. The blowhole is located on the left side of the front of its huge head. They spout (breathe) 3–5 times per minute at rest, but the rate increases to 6–7 times per minute after a dive. The blow is a noisy, single stream that rises up to 15 m (50 ft) above the surface of the water and points forward and to the left of the whale at a 45° angle.

Spouting, and breathing

Ecology, behaviour and life history
Sperm Whales, along with bottlenose whales and elephant seals, are the deepest-diving mammals in the world.
They are believed to be able to dive up to 3 km (1.9 miles) in depth and 90 minutes in duration to the ocean floor. More typical dives are around 400 m (437 yards) in depth and 30–45 minutes' duration and generally moves in a northerly direction. According to Animal Planet's "The Most Extreme" (Episode:Natural Athletes), sperm whales are ranked the second as athletes. They can dive two miles deep with one gulp of air for two hours. They carry three tonnes of blood which holds enough oxygen to help it achieve its diving depth. That is twenty times deeper than any human can go, according to the show.
They feed on several species, in particular giant squid, octopuses and diverse fish like demersal rays, but the main part of their diet consists of medium sized squid. Almost all that is known about deep sea squid has been learned from specimens found in captured Sperm Whale stomachs.
Stories about titanic battles between Sperm Whales and giant squid which are believed to reach up to 13 m (44 ft) are perhaps the stuff of legend, given alone the fact that even some of the largest giant squid weigh only about 300 kg (660 lb), in contrast to several tons of even the youngest hunting sperm whale. Recently, an immature 495kg Giant Squid was caught by New Zealand fishermen in the Ross Sea. However, white scars on the bodies of Sperm Whales are believed to be caused by squid. The giant squid are considered to be the sperm whales prime diet, as large deep sea fish stocks are becoming depleted by humans. Stealing of Sablefish and Toothfish from long lines has been documented and well known also. It is believed that this trait is learned and passed on to other whales within the pod or offspring.
It is hypothesised that the sharp beak of a consumed squid lodged in the whale's intestine leads to the production of ambergris, analogous to the production of pearls. The irritation of the intestines caused by the beaks stimulates the secretion of this lubricant-like substance. Sperm Whales are prodigious feeders and eat around 3% of their body weight per day. The total annual consumption of prey by Sperm Whales worldwide is estimated to be about 100 million tons — a figure greater than the total consumption of marine animals by humans each year.
The social structure of the Sperm Whales species divides on sexual lines. Females are extremely social animals, a trait believed to derive from their relatively simple evolutionary path. Females stay in groups of about a dozen individuals and their young. Males leave these "nursery schools" at somewhere between 4 and 21 years of age and join a "bachelor school" with other males of a similar age and size. As males grow older, they tend to disperse into smaller groups, and the oldest males typically live solitary lives. Yet mature males have been stranded on beaches together, suggesting a degree of co-operation not yet fully understood.
The Sperm Whale is among the most cosmopolitan species in the world, and is found in all the oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. The species is relatively abundant from Arctic waters to the equator. Populations are more dense close to continental shelves and canyons, probably because of easier feeding. Sperm Whales are usually found in deep off-shore waters, but may be seen closer to shore in areas where the continental shelf is small.

Sperm whale Feeding, behaviour and diving
The Sperm Whale is one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus in 1758 in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae; he recognised four species in the Physeter genus.

Taxonomy and naming

See also: Whaling
The total number of Sperm Whales throughout the world is unknown. Crude estimates, obtained by surveying small areas and extrapolating the result to all the world's oceans, range from 200,000 to 2,000,000 individuals. Although the Sperm Whale was hunted for several centuries for its meat, oil and spermaceti, the conservational outlook for Sperm Whales is brighter than that for many other whales. Although a small-scale coastal fishery still occurs in Indonesia, they are protected practically worldwide. Fishermen do not catch the deep-sea creatures that Sperm Whales eat, and the deep sea is likely to be more resistant to pollution than surface layers.
However, the recovery from the whaling years is a slow process, particularly in the South Pacific, where the toll on males of a breeding age was severe.

Sperm whale Population and hunting
See also: Whale watching
Sperm Whales are not the easiest of whales to watch, due to their long dive times and ability to travel long distances underwater. However, due to the distinctive look and large size of the whale, watching is increasingly popular. Sperm Whale watchers often use hydrophones to listen to the clicks of the whales and locate them before they surface. Popular locations for Sperm Whale watching include the picturesque Kaikoura on New Zealand's South Island, where the continental shelf is so narrow that whales can be observed from the shore, Andenes and Tromsø in Arctic Norway and at the Azores where it can be seen throughout the year as opposed to other whales that are only seen during migration. Dominica is believed to be the only Caribbean island with a year-round residential pod of females and calves.

Watching Sperm Whales
In July 2003 a huge blob of white flesh was found washed up on a beach on the coast of southern Chile. The 12-metre (40 ft) long mass of gelatinous tissue

In the news

Main article: Exploding whales Exploding whales
In March 2007, a Japanese fisherman drowned after his boat was capsized by a panicked Sperm Whale he was trying to rescue. The whale had wandered into the relatively shallow waters in a bay in Shikoku.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hone Heke
Hone Wiremu Heke Pokai (1810? - August 6, 1850) was a Māori chief and war leader in New Zealand. He is considered the principal instigator of the Flagstaff War.
Born at Pakaraka south of Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands, Heke was a member of the Ngā Puhi tribe but also had connections to Rāhiri which added to his mana and gave him significant influence within the tribe. He grew up in the Kaikohe area, scarcely surviving the vicissitudes of tribal warfare. As a youth, he attended the mission school at Kerikeri and came under the influence of the missionary, Henry Williams. Subsequently he, his wife and children were converted to Christianity and Hone became a lay preacher.
However, it was as a warrior that Hone Heke established his reputation. He took part in the first battle of Kororareka in 1830, in Titore's expedition to Tauranga, and fought with Titore against Pomare II in 1837.
There are conflicting reports of when Heke signed the Treaty of Waitangi. It may have been with the other chiefs on February 6, 1840.
Heke's doubts about signing the treaty were well grounded. The capital of the new colony was shifted from Kororareka to Auckland with the corresponding loss of revenue for the Bay of Islands. The imposition of customs duties, the banning of the felling of kauri trees and government control of the sale of land all contributed to an economic depression for the Māori. Furthermore it became clear that the British considered the authority of the chiefs to be subservient to that of the The Crown although the treaty promised equal partnership.
As a signal of his discontent, Hone Heke chopped down the flagpole carrying the British flag that flew over Kororareka. The British interpreted this as an act of rebellion and soon the two peoples were at war. In the time space of 6 months Hone Heke actually chopped the flagpole down three times. To prevent this from happening yet again, the Crown ordered in a battalion of British soldiers to defend it. Heke created a diversion with the help of Kawiti and, whilst the soldiers were fighting on the beach, Heke and a few others crept towards the flagpole and cut it down for the fourth time. This was the beginning of the Flagstaff War.
Heke took an active part in the early phases of the conflict, but he was severely wounded during the Battle of Te Ahu Ahu and did not rejoin the fighting until the closing phase of the Siege of Ruapekapeka some months later. Shortly afterwards, Heke and his ally, Kawiti met with their principal Māori opponent, Tāmati Wāka Nene and negotiated a ceasefire, which they then imposed upon the British. This did not prevent the governor, George Grey from presenting it as a British victory. Despite this, Heke and George Grey were reconciled at a meeting in 1848.
Hone Heke retired to Kaikohe where he died of tuberculosis two years later. He is still regarded as a great leader by the Ngā Puhi and many of the Māori people. To this day, his burial place remains a secret known only to a few people although this is subject to considerable speculation.
Pākehā Māori Frederick Edward Maning wrote a near contemporaneous account of Hone Heke in A history of the war in the north of New Zealand against the chief Heke, although it was written primarily with an aim to entertain rather than with an eye to historical accuracy.