Wikinews:Audio Wikinews/News Briefs/Workspace/archive/July12-18
- 1 July 12, 2010
- 2 July 13, 2010
- 3 July 14, 2010
- 3.1 Today on Wikinews
- 3.2 BP: New cap on Gulf of Mexico oil well in place
- 3.3 US hands Iraq high-profile prisoners
- 3.4 Crash data suggests driver error in Toyota accidents
- 3.5 Woman hospitalized after allegedly stabbing daughter to death at Fort MacArthur, California
- 3.6 Tax breaks promised by Australian Prime Minister as election fast approaches
- 3.7 Intel posts best ever quarterly results
- 3.8 Man claims 84 percent ownership of Facebook
- 3.9 Drunken man is surprised crocodile bit him
- 3.10 On This Day In History
- 4 July 15, 2010
- 4.1 Today on Wikinews
- 4.2 United States Senate passes financial overhaul bill
- 4.3 Australian Prime Minister denies striking a deal with predecessor
- 4.4 Same-sex marriage legalized in Argentina
- 4.5 Facebook and UK government clash over tributes to killer
- 4.6 Animal rights protestor found guilty of Oxford arson plot
- 4.7 India approves symbol for currency
- 4.8 Dog's throat cut in Cairns, Australia
- 4.9 Scholastic sued for Harry Potter copyright infringement
- 4.10 On This Day In History
- 5 July 16, 2010
- 5.1 Magnitude 3.6 earthquake shakes Washington, D.C.
- 5.2 US freezes assets of suspected terrorist
- 5.3 West Virginia governor names Carte Goodwin as new Senator
- 5.4 Canada announces $9 billion plan to purchase 65 F-35 fighters
- 5.5 First international flight lands at Delhi airport's new Terminal 3
- 5.6 Researchers discover last common ancestor of apes and monkeys
- 5.7 Robbie Williams rejoins British musical group Take That
- 5.8 This Day In History
July 12, 2010
I'm going to skip the Australian rules football: 2010 Gippsland Football League round 13 - Traralgon defeat Sale story because we are news light and sports heavy for this show.
- I'll keep an eye for for any new stories while I cook dinner and do housework. I'll record the show sometime after 00:00 or 01:00 UTC. Turtlestack (talk) 23:08, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
Today on Wikinews
A bomb blasts in Uganda kill dozens; Spain wins the 2010 World Cup and makes an octopus proud; the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft passes the Lutetia asteroid and, in history, the inventor of money-back guarantees, buy one get one free, and some very fine china is born in 1730.
- Music credit "Moments in Space" by spinmeister (feat. DJ Rkod)
On this day in history
- Music credit Silver Blue Light
The English potter, credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery, Josiah Wedgwood, was born in 1730.
A prominent abolitionist, Wedgwood is remembered for his "Am I Not A Man And A Brother?" anti-slavery medallion. He was also a member of the Darwin-Wedgwood family as he was the grandfather of Charles Darwin and Emma Darwin.
Born in Burslem, Staffordshire, England, he was the twelfth and last child of Thomas Wedgwood and Mary Wedgwood, both of whom were of English Dissenters, Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries who opposed state interference in religious matters.
Josiah survived a childhood bout of smallpox to serve as an apprentice potter under his eldest brother Thomas Wedgwood IV. Smallpox left him with a permanently weakened knee, which made him unable to work the foot pedal of a potter's wheel. As a result, he concentrated from an early age on designing pottery rather than making it.
In his early twenties, Wedgwood began working with the most renowned English pottery-maker of his day, Thomas Whieldon. He began experimenting with a wide variety of pottery techniques, an experimentation that coincided with the burgeoning of the nearby industrial city of Manchester. Inspired, Wedgwood leased the Ivy Works shop in his home town of Burslem. Over the course of the next decade, his experimentation (and a considerable injection of capital from his marriage to a richly-endowed distant cousin) transformed the sleepy artisan works into the first true pottery factory.
Josiah worked in pottery, and his work was of very high quality. It is rumored that if he saw in his workshop an offending vessel that failed to meet with his standards, he would smash it with his stick, exclaiming, "This will not do for Josiah Wedgwood!" He was also keenly interested in the scientific advances of his day and it was this interest that underpinned his adoption of its approach and methods to revolutionize the quality of his pottery. His unique glazes began to distinguish his wares from anything else on the market.
As a burgeoning industrialist, Wedgwood was a major backer of the Trent and Mersey Canal dug between the River Trent and River Mersey, during which time he became friends with Erasmus Darwin. Later that decade, his burgeoning business caused him to move from the smaller Ivy Works to the newly-built Etruria Works, which would run for 180 years. The factory was so-named after the Etruria district of Italy, where black porcelain dating to Etruscan times was being excavated. Wedgwood found this porcelain inspiring, and his first major commercial success was its duplication with what he called "Black Basalt".
Not long after the new works opened, continuing trouble with his smallpox-afflicted knee made necessary the amputation of his right leg. In 1780, his long-time business partner Thomas Bentley died, and Wedgwood turned to Darwin for help in running the business. As a result of the close association that grew up between the Wedgwood and Darwin families, Josiah's eldest daughter would later marry Erasmus' son. One of the children of that marriage, Charles Darwin, would also marry a Wedgwood — Emma, Josiah's granddaughter. This double-barreled inheritance of Wedgwood's money gave Charles Darwin the leisure time to formulate his theory of evolution.
Josiah was also an active member of the Lunar Society, a dinner club and informal learned society of prominent figures of the day who would meet during the full moon, as the extra light made the journey home easier and safer in the absence of street lighting. The members cheerfully referred to themselves as "lunaticks", a pun on lunatics. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1783 for the development of a pyrometer, a device which can be used to determine the temperature of an object's surface.
Wedgwood was a prominent slavery abolitionist. His friendship with Thomas Clarkson - abolitionist campaigner and the first historian of the British abolition movement - aroused his interest in slavery. Wedgwood mass produced cameos depicting the seal for the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and had them widely distributed, which thereby became a popular and celebrated image. The Wedgwood medallion was the most famous image of a black person in all of 18th-century art. The actual design of the cameo was probably done by either William Hackwood or Henry Webber who were modellers in his Stoke-on-Trent factory. From 1787 until his death in 1795, Wedgwood actively participated in the abolition of Slavery cause, and his Slave Medallion, which brought the attention of the public to the horrors of the Slave trade, was very effective in bringing public attention to abolition.
In the latter part of his life, Wedgwood's obsession was to duplicate the Portland Vase, a blue and white glass vase dating to the first century BCE. For three years he worked on the project, eventually producing what he considered a satisfactory copy in 1789.
After passing on his company to his sons, Wedgwood died at home, probably of cancer of the jaw, in 1795. He was buried three days later in the parish church of Stoke-on-Trent. Seven years later a marble memorial tablet commissioned by his sons was installed there.
Wedgwood's company is still a famous name in pottery today (as part of Waterford Wedgwood), and "Wedgwood China" is the commonly used term for his Jasperware, the blue (or sometimes green) china with overlaid white decoration, still common throughout the world.
He is also credited as the inventor of modern marketing, specifically direct mail, money-back guarantees, traveling salesmen, self-service, free delivery, buy one get one free, and illustrated catalogues.
July 13, 2010
Today on Wikinews
A new report states 2010 has been the deadliest year so far in the war in Afghanistan; six H1N1 flu cases appear in the Philippines; Switzerland sets Polish film director Roman Polanski free and, in history, Spain defeats the Netherlands ... in 1573.
- Music credit Test Drive by Zapac
This Day In History
- Music credit Danse Macabre - No Violin
In the Eighty Years' War the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands was put under a bloody siege by a Spanish army that wanted to reclaim the rebellious city for Philip II, the Spanish King.
The city of Haarlem had a moderate view in the religious war that was going on in the Netherlands at that time. The city managed to escape from the Reformed iconoclasm in 1566 that affected other cities in the Netherlands. When the city of Brielle was conquered by the Geuzen revolutionary army on April 1, the Haarlem municipality did not immediately start supporting the Geuzen. Initially, most city administrators -- unlike many citizens -- did not favor open revolution against Philip II of Spain, who had inherited rule of the Netherlands from his father, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. However, after much political debate the city officially turned against Philip II on July 4, 1572.
The ruler of Spain was not pleased, and sent an army up north under command of Don Fadrique (Don Frederick in Dutch), son of the Duke of Alva. On November 17, 1572 all citizens of the city of Zutphen were murdered by the Spanish army, and on December 1 the city of Naarden suffered the same fate.
On December 11, 1572 the Spanish army put Haarlem under siege. The city was not very strong, militarily speaking. Although the city was completely surrounded by citywalls, they were not in a very good shape. The area around the city could not be inundated, and offered the enemy a lot of places the set up a camp. However, the existence of the Haarlemmermeer (a great lake) nearby, made it difficult for the enemy to cut off the transportation of food into the city completely.
In the Middle Ages it was not usual to fight in the winter, but the city of Haarlem was crucial and Don Fadrique stayed and put the town under siege. The first two months of the siege the situation was in balance. The Spanish army was digging tunnels, to reach the city walls and blow them up. The defenders made tunnels to blow up the Spanish tunnels. The situation became worse for Haarlem on March 29, 1573. The Amsterdam army, faithful to the Spanish king, occupied the Haarlemmermeer and effectively blocked Haarlem from the outside world. The hunger in the city grew, and the situation became so tense that on May 27 many (Spanish-loyal) prisoners were taken from the prison and murdered. On December 19 no less than 625 shots were fired at the defensive wall between the Janspoort to the Catherijnebridge. This forced the defenders to put up a completely new wall.
After seven months the city surrendered on July 13, 1573. Usually, after such a siege, there would be a period of time that the soldiers of the victorious army could pillage the city, but the citizens were allowed to buy themselves and the city free for 240,000 guilders.
The written assurances that had been given to the city were respected, but the whole garrison (which included many English, French Hugenots and Germans) was executed with the exception of the Germans. 40 burghers considered guilty of sedition were executed as well; the besiegers having run out of ammunition, many of them were drowned in the Spaarne river.
Although ultimately the city could not be kept for the Prince of Orange, the siege showed other cities that the Spanish army was not invincible. This idea, and the great losses suffered by the Spanish army, helped the cities of Leiden and Alkmaar in their sieges. The latter city would later defeat the Spanish army, a major breakthrough in the Dutch Revolt. In the Sint-Bavo church the following words can still be read:
In this great need, in our uttermost misery, we gave up the city, forced by hunger, not that he took her by storm.
July 14, 2010
I wish everyday was like today where I have plenty of time to record and produce the AW and have it all ready to go before 23:59 UTC. Heck, I may even now have time to go see Predators tonight! Turtlestack (talk) 22:58, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Today on Wikinews
BP's new cap on the Gulf of Mexico oil well is lowered into place; crash data suggests driver error in the recent Toyota accidents; a drunken Australian man is surprised that a crocodile bit him after he climbs into its pen at the Broome Crocodile Parkand, in history, the epicenter of conspiracy theories and alien technology is revealed by the US government to actually exist.
- I'm adding this bit of editorial to this story because I just can't help myself - "Newman says he'll never go near another crocodile again but there's no word on if he'll go near another drink, however."
On This Day In History
- Music credit Spacial Harvest
In 2003, The United States Government admited to the existence of "Area 51", a military base located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large secretive military airfield whose primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.
The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government still barely acknowledges, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.
The base is home to the testing of many famous aircraft, especially those designed by the famed Skunk Works, an alias for Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs which was responsible for the development of the U2 spy plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 NightHawk and the F-22 Raptor. A distinguishing characteristic of all these aircraft is their low radar visibility, called stealth technology, which was tested at the Area 51 site.
Soviet spy satellites obtained photographs of the Groom Lake area during the height of the Cold War, and later civilian satellites produced detailed images of the base and its surroundings. These images support only modest conclusions about the base, depicting a nondescript base, long airstrip, hangars and the lake. The base has seven runways including one that now appears to be closed. The closed runway, 14R/32L, is also by far the longest with a total length of approximately 23,300 feet (7,100 m), not including stopway.
In December 2007, airline pilots noticed that the base had appeared in their aircraft navigation systems' latest Jeppesen database revision with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) airport identifier code of KXTA and listed as "Homey Airport". The probably inadvertent release of the airport data led to advice by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) that student pilots should be explicitly warned about KXTA and not to consider it as a waypoint or destination for any flight even though it now appears in public navigation databases.
Unlike much of the adjoining Nellis Air Force Base range, the area surrounding the lake is permanently off-limits both to civilian and normal military air traffic. Radar stations protect the area, and unauthorized personnel are quickly expelled. Even military pilots training in the NAFR risk disciplinary action if they stray into the exclusionary "box" surrounding Groom's airspace.
The base does not appear on public U.S. government maps; the USGS topographic map for the area only shows the long-disused Groom Mine. A civil aviation chart published by the Nevada Department of Transportation shows a large restricted area, but defines it as part of the Nellis restricted airspace. Although officially declassified, the original film taken by U.S. Corona spy satellite in the 1960s has been altered prior to declassification; in answer to freedom of information queries, the government responds that these exposures (which map to Groom and the entire NAFR) appear to have been destroyed.
Its secretive nature and undoubted connection to classified aircraft research, together with reports of unusual phenomena, have led Area 51 to become a focus of modern UFO and conspiracy theories. Some of the activities mentioned in such theories at Area 51 include The storage, examination, and reverse engineering of crashed alien spacecraft (including material supposedly recovered at Roswell), the study of their occupants (living and dead), and the manufacture of aircraft based on alien technology. Other conspiracy theories state Area 51 has technology leading to the development of means of weather control, time travel and teleportation technology.
Many of the hypotheses concern underground facilities at Groom or at Papoose Lake, 8.5 miles south, and include claims of a transcontinental underground railroad system, a disappearing airstrip (nicknamed the "Cheshire Airstrip", after Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat) which briefly appears when water is sprayed onto its camouflaged asphalt, and engineering based on alien technology. Publicly available satellite imagery, however, reveals clearly visible landing strips at Groom Dry Lake, but not at Papoose Lake.
Several people have claimed knowledge of events supporting Area 51 conspiracy theories. These have included Bob Lazar, who claimed in 1989 that he had worked at Area 51's S-4 (a facility at Papoose Lake), where he was contracted to work with alien spacecraft that the U.S. government had in its possession.
Similarly, the 1996 documentary Dreamland directed by Bruce Burgess included an interview with a 71 year old mechanical engineer who claimed to be a former employee at Area 51 during the 1950s. His claims included that he had worked on a "flying disc simulator" which had been based on a disc originating from a crashed extraterrestrial craft and was used to train US Pilots. He also claimed to have worked with an extraterrestrial being named "J-Rod" and described as a "telepathic translator".
In 2004, Dan Burisch (pseudonym of Dan Crain) claimed to have worked on cloning alien viruses at Area 51, also alongside the alien named "J-Rod". Burisch's scholarly credentials are the subject of much debate, as he was apparently working as a Las Vegas parole officer in 1989 while also earning a PhD at the State University of New York.
Novels, films, television programs, and other fictional portrayals of Area 51 describe it—or a fictional counterpart—as a haven for extraterrestrials, time travel, and sinister conspiracies, often linking it with the Roswell UFO incident. During the 1996 action film Independence Day, the United States military uses alien technology captured at Roswell to attack the invading alien fleet from Area 51. The "Hangar 51" government warehouse of the Indiana Jones films stores, among other exotic items, the Ark of the Covenant and an alien corpse from Roswell.
The famous science fiction television "The X-Files" made numerous references to Area 51 during its nine seasons, including an episode where the main character of Fox Mulder switches bodies with that of a man in black type figure (with humoroes marriage difficulties) who is an operative working on the base.
- Liquid Eyes music que insert
As outlandish as many of the conspiracy theories are, according to political scientist Michael Barkun, conspiracy theories once limited to fringe audiences have become commonplace in mass media. He argues that this has contributed to conspiracism emerging as a cultural phenomenon in the United States of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and the possible replacement of democracy by conspiracy as the dominant paradigm of political action in the public mind.
According to anthropologists Todd Sanders and Harry G. West, "evidence suggests that a broad cross section of Americans today…gives credence to at least some conspiracy theories." Belief in conspiracy theories has therefore become a topic of interest for sociologists, psychologists and experts in folklore.
July 15, 2010
- OK, in an effort to maintain some semblance of brevity, I'm going to have to cut a few stories : The Steinbrenner story (because it really is old news) and the Chile earthquake story (sorry, Diego). Anymore stories that come in will have to go on tomorrows show. Turtlestack (talk) 22:56, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
- By the way, this wouldn't be such an issue if stories didn't sit in the ready to publish section for so long because otherwise I could get to them sooner. I really see no need for good stories to just sit there and then get published with no changes made to them at all. If they are ready to publish, the editors need to publish them. Turtlestack (talk) 22:59, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Today on Wikinews
The United States Senate passes the contentious financial overhaul bill; same-sex marriage is legalized in Argentina; India approves a new symbol for currency; Harry Potter is back in court and, in history, the key to deciphering an ancient language is dug up in the port city of Rashid.
- Music credit "summertime instrumental 1" by cdk
- This went live about 1 min before 00:00 UTC Thursday and, besides, we already have a Facebook story for Wednesday, so this will get done for today. Turtlestack (talk) 00:01, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
On This Day In History
- If ever there was a time I wish I could use a clip from Cosmos, today would be the day :)
- I'm recycling some music I've used in past segments since today's TDiH turned out to be so much longer than I imagined (nearly 14 min long) and I really don't want to find something "new". Also, looking forward to next year when I'm running short on time and can just do a repeat episode of TDiH lol Turtlestack (talk) 18:57, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
- Music credit Old Arabic Music
In the year 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte had begun his ill-fated campaign in Egypt and Syria to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain's access to India. Accompanying the expeditionary army was a corps of 167 technical experts known as the Commission of the Sciences and Art and was comprised of mathematicians, astronomers, artists, architects and other scientists.
A year into the campaign as French soldiers under the command of Colonel d'Hautpoul were strengthening the defenses of Fort Julien, a couple of miles north-east of the Egyptian port city of Rashid (also known as Rosetta), Lieutenant Pierre-François Bouchard spotted a slab with inscriptions on one side. Immediately recognizing that this slab was unique, the find was announced to Napoleon's newly-founded scientific association in Cairo, the Institut d'Égypte. In a report by Commission member Michel Ange Lancret, he noted that it contained three inscriptions, including Greek and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, and rightly suggested that the three inscriptions could be versions of the same text.
- End Music Cue
The stone itself is made of black granite measuring 45 inches high, 28.5 inches wide, 11 inches thick, weighs 1,700 lbs and is classified as a Ptolemaic-era stele, objects which are tall, slender stone monuments, often with writing carved into its surface.
Owing to its damaged state, as it is actually a fragment of a larger stele, all three texts are incomplete. The Greek text contains 54 lines, of which the first 27 survive in full; the rest are increasingly fragmentary due to a diagonal break at the bottom right of the stone. The demotic text has survived best: it has 32 lines, of which the first 14 are slightly damaged on the right side. The hieroglyphic inscription has suffered the most damage. Only the last 14 lines of the hieroglyphic text can be seen; all of them are broken on the right side, and twelve of them on the left.
- Music credit Biomythos
The Rosetta stele bears an inscription recording a decree, known as the Memphis decree, that was issued on March 27, 196 BCE by a congress of Egyptian priests in honor of 13-year-old King Ptolemy V and establishing the worship of the new ruler as a god. The Decree records that Ptolemy V gave a gift of silver and grain to the temples, adding that in the eighth year of his reign during a particularly high Nile flood, he had the excess waters dammed for the benefit of the farmers. In return, the priesthood pledged to celebrate the king's birthday and coronation days annually, and that all of the priests of the land are to serve him along with the other gods.
A portion of the stone reads "and his priesthood shall be entered upon all formal documents and private individuals shall also be allowed to keep the feast and set up the aforementioned shrine, and have it in their houses, performing the customary honors at the feasts, both monthly and yearly, in order that it may be known to all that the men of Egypt magnify and honor the God Epiphanes Eucharistos the king, according to the law."
- End Music Cue
The stele is a relatively late example of a class of "donation stelae", which depicts the reigning monarch granting a tax exemption to the resident priesthood. Donation stelae had been erected by pharaohs over the previous 2,000 years, the earliest examples dating from the Egyptian Old Kingdom.
Using the Rosetta stone to decipher Egyptian glyphs was, in hindsight, a relatively straight forward affair.
- Music Clip Gregorian chant
At the time, Egyptian hieroglyphs were undeciphered and there had been no understanding of the ancient Egyptian language since shortly before the fall of the Roman Empire. By the 4th century A.D., few Egyptians were capable of reading hieroglyphs, and the myth of allegorical hieroglyphs was ascendant. Monumental use of hieroglyphs ceased after the closing of all non-Christian temples in 391 AD by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I and the last known inscription is from Philae, known as The Graffito of Esmet-Akhom, from 396 AD.
Efforts to translate the glyphs date back as far as the fifth century when Horapollo wrote the Hieroglyphica, a spurious explanation of almost 200 glyphs. Considered authoritative yet largely false, the work was a lasting impediment to the decipherment of Egyptian writing. Later attempts at deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs were made by Arab historians in medieval Egypt during the 9th and 10th centuries. Dhul-Nun al-Misri and Ibn Wahshiyya were the first historians to be able to at least partly decipher what was written in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, by relating them to the contemporary Coptic language used by Coptic priests in their time.
- End Music Cue
The study of hieroglyphs continued centuries later, when various modern scholars attempted to decipher the glyphs, notably Johannes Goropius Becanus in the 16th century, Athanasius Kircher in the 17th, and Silvestre de Sacy, Johan David Åkerblad and Thomas Young in the early 19th century, each making important steps toward the solution but failing to find it.
The discovery on July 15, 1799 of what has become known as the Rosetta Stone would provide the critical missing information which would eventually allow the French scholar Jean-François Champollion, to discover the nature of the script by 1822.
- Music credit
Ancient Greek was widely known to scholars, but the details of its use in the Hellenistic period as a government language in Ptolemaic Egypt were not so familiar: large scale discoveries of Greek papyri were a long way in the future. Thus the earliest translations of the Greek text of the Stone show the translators still struggling with the historical context and with administrative and religious jargon.
Hubert-Pascal Ameilhon produced in 1803 the first published translations of the Greek text, in both Latin and French to ensure that they would circulate widely (this work was then further refined by Christian Gottlob Heyne) and at Cambridge, Richard Porson worked on the missing lower right corner of the Greek text.
At the moment of the Stone's discovery in Egypt, the Swedish diplomat and scholar Johan David Åkerblad was working on a little-known script of which some examples had recently been found in Egypt, the script known today as Demotic. He called it "cursive Coptic" because, although it had few similarities with the later Coptic script, he was convinced that it was used to record some form of the Coptic language (the direct descendant of ancient Egyptian).
When the French Orientalist Silvestre de Sacy recieved a lithograph of the Rosetta stone he realized that the middle text was in this same Demotic script so together with Åkerblad, they set to work on the middle text of the stone, assuming that the script was alphabetic. They attempted, by comparison with the Greek, to identify within this unknown text the points where Greek names ought to occur. Then in 1802, Silvestre de Sacy reported that he had successfully identified five names ("Alexandros", "Alexandreia", "Ptolemaios", "Arsinoe" and Ptolemy's title "Epiphanes"). However, de Sacy and Åkerblad could not identify the remaining characters in the demotic text, which, as is now known, included ideographic and other symbols alongside the phonetic ones.
Silvestre de Sacy eventually gave up work on the Stone, but he was to make another contribution. In 1811, prompted by discussions with a Chinese student about Chinese script, Silvestre de Sacy recalled a suggestion made by Georg Zoëga in 1797 that in Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions foreign names might be written phonetically; he also recalled that as long ago as 1761 Jean-Jacques Barthélemy had suggested that the characters enclosed in cartouches in Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions were proper names. Thus, when Thomas Young, foreign secretary of the Royal Society of London, wrote to him about the Stone in 1814, Silvestre de Sacy suggested in reply that in attempting to read the hieroglyphic text Young might look for cartouches that ought to contain Greek names, and try to identify phonetic characters in them.
Young did so, with two results that together paved the way for the final decipherment. He discovered in the hieroglyphic text the phonetic characters "p t o l m e s" that were used to write the Greek name "Ptolemaios". He also noticed that these characters resembled the equivalent ones in the Demotic script, and went on to note as many as 80 similarities between the hieroglyphic and demotic texts on the Stone, an important discovery because the two scripts were previously thought to be entirely different from one another. This led him to deduce correctly that the demotic script was only partly phonetic, also consisting of ideographic characters imitated from hieroglyphs.
In 1814, Young first exchanged correspondence about the Stone with Jean-François Champollion, a teacher at Grenoble who had produced a scholarly work on ancient Egypt. Champollion, in 1822, saw copies of the brief hieroglyphic and Greek inscriptions of the Philae obelisk, on which William John Bankes had tentatively noted the names "Ptolemaios" and "Kleopatra" in both languages. From this, Champollion identified the phonetic characters "k l e o p a t r a". On the basis of this and the foreign names on the Rosetta Stone, he quickly constructed an alphabet of phonetic hieroglyphic characters, which appears, printed from his hand-drawn chart, in his famous "Lettre à M. Dacier", addressed at the end of 1822 to Bon-Joseph Dacier, secretary of the Paris Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and immediately published by the Académie. This "Letter" marks the real breakthrough to reading Egyptian hieroglyphs, not only for the alphabet chart and the main text, but also for the postscript in which Champollion notes that similar phonetic characters seemed to occur not only in Greek names but also in native Egyptian names. During 1823, he confirmed this, identifying the names of pharaohs Ramesses and Thutmose.
- Music credit DayNight
The stone itself currently resides in the British Museum, and in July of 2003, Egypt first requested the return of the Rosetta Stone. Zahi Hawass, the chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, asked that this piece be repatriated to Egypt, as one of several key items belonging to Egypt's cultural heritage.
By 2005, Hawass was negotiating for a three-month loan, with the eventual goal of a permanent return. In November 2005, the British Museum sent him a replica of the stone.
In December 2009, Hawass said that he would drop his claim for the return of the Rosetta Stone if the British Museum loaned the stone to Egypt for three months, for the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza in 2013.
It is unlikely that the British Museum will hand over the Rosetta Stone permanently to Egypt. In response to repeated Greek requests for repatriation of the Elgin Marbles and similar requests to other museums around the world, in 2002 over 30 of the world's leading museums—including the British Museum, the Louvre, the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City—issued a joint statement declaring that "objects acquired in earlier times must be viewed in the light of different sensitivities and values reflective of that earlier era" and that "museums serve not just the citizens of one nation but the people of every nation".
July 16, 2010
This Day In History
- I was going to do the Trinity test of the first nuclear explosion, but all the TDiH segments this week have been huge and I kind of want to do an easier one today. Besides, I did produce a song and publish it on my blog to mark the occasion - you can check it out [here]. Turtlestack (talk) 22:18, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
In 1948, the Miss Macao, a Catalina seaplane, owned by Cathay Pacific Airways and operated by a subsidiary, became the victim of the first ever hijacking of a commercial aircraft. The hijacking was carried out by four men including Huang Yu, a rice farmer, Chiu Cheong, and Mexican born Chiu Tok, who led the group as he knew how to operate an airplane after training in the Philippines.
The men had decided that piracy might afford them a better lifestyle since the Pearl River Delta was very much a lawless zone rampant with piracy and kidnappings for ransom, and so the men pooled their resources to put together the operation.
This particular flight was chosen because it was known to carry wealthy passengers between Hong Kong and Portuguese Macao. Dressed in western style business suits, the men boarded the plane and immediately after takeoff, Chiu Tok, who had been seated behind the pilot, demanded that he surrender the controls. Though three of the hijackers were armed, the pilot, Dale Warren Cramer, refused to surrender as the co-pilot, the Australian Ken McDuff, attacked one of the intruders with a flag-post rod.
In the confusion, Cramer was shot dead, and collapsed onto the flight controls sending the plane into an uncontrolled dive where it crashed into the Pearl River Delta. Twenty-five of the twenty-six people aboard died in the crash, one of whom was the millionaire bullion dealer Wong Chung-ping who had actually been carrying a substantial quantity of gold in his luggage.
The sole survivor actually turned out to be one of the hijackers, Huang Yu, who was found unconscious in the water by a couple of fishermen who witnessed the crash from their boat and took him to the hospital. Initially, Huang Yu remained silent about what had happened, but when another body was found in the water, this one with a bullet wound in it, piracy became the prime theory. However, because of Huang Yu's silence, police hid audio recording equipment in his hopsital room to record conversations he had with family members. Baed on these tapes, the police were able to piece together the true narrative and Huang Yu's involvement in the events.
Upon his arrest, he was brought to court by the Macau police, but a strange twist occurred. The Macau court suggested that the prosecution should actually be brought in Hong Kong since the plane was registered in Hong Kong and most of the passengers were from there. However, the British colonial government in Hong Kong stated that the incident happened over Chinese territory in which the British have no jurisdiction. Since no state claimed authority to try him, Huang was released without trial from a Macau prison three years afterwords on June 11, 1951, and was then deported to China - never to be heard from again.
- Additional reference material from High Seas