Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Divination" - Today...

What used to be the domain of shamans, priests, priestesses, oracles, and fey people who did not want the gift of foretelling the future has, unfortunately, created a very active sub-culture of frauds and phoneys today who promise to tell your "fortune" for big bucks!  I just wonder - are these people real "Gypsies" or are they "tinkers" of Irish origin (not descended from the Romany). 

8 charged in alleged $40M Fla fortune-telling scam
AP – 5 hrs ago

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Prosecutors say a South Florida family of gypsies amassed $40 million in a fortune-telling scam, warning victims that if they didn't follow their advice, terrible things would happen to them or their loved ones.

Details spilled out in federal court Friday after eight people were arrested earlier this week.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurence Bardfeld said victims who were going through vulnerable phases forked over cash, gold coins and jewelry. The defendants promised victims they wouldn't spend the money, but then refused to return it.

The Sun Sentinel (http://lb.vg/gLR1E) reports that one victim, a bestselling author, gave an estimated $20 million.

Authorities started investigating in 2007 after a victim complained about losing $3,000. An attorney for one family member said the clan provided counseling for victims who had nowhere to turn.

From story at South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Fortune tellers defrauded bestselling author of $20 million, feds say
By Paula McMahon, Sun Sentinel
8:42 p.m. EDT, August 19, 2011

From storefront businesses in upscale Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods, a family of fortune tellers ran a $40-million scheme that defrauded people from near and far since 1991, federal prosecutors said in court Friday.

Among the victims was a bestselling author who gave an estimated $20 million to the family. The woman, who prosecutors refused to identify, lost her 8-year-old son in a motorcycle accident and was allegedly exploited by at least one of the defendants, Rose Marks, who she considered a friend.

"She was under, for want of a better word, the curse of Rose Marks," Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurence Bardfeld told the judge at the hearing in federal court in West Palm Beach. The fortune teller reportedly told the author that her son was "somewhere between heaven and hell."

Several sources with knowledge of the case said the victim is Jude Deveraux, author of 37 New York Times bestsellers that include romances and tales of the paranormal. Deveraux's real name is Jude Gilliam Montassir.

On her MySpace page, she wrote that she "adopted a son, Sam Alexander Montassir … My son died at age 8 in a motorcycle accident. It was a horrible accident I will never forget in my life. After it happened my books became more about family instead of romance."

Attempts to reach Deveraux, 63, at phone numbers listed for her residences in and outside Florida were unsuccessful Friday evening.

Rose Marks' attorney, Fred Schwartz, said in court she had collaborated with the author, who he did not name, on books about gypsy culture.

Other purported victims of the psychics included a woman with a brain tumor who was told she would receive "positive energy" but is now out of work and in danger of losing her apartment; a person from Japan who gave them $496,000; and a man from Denmark who sent about $186,000 he thought was going to charity work.

While some may scoff that people gave cash, gold coins, jewelry and other valuables to the fortune tellers, Bardfeld told the judge the victims were going through very vulnerable phases of their lives.

"If you understood the severity of what these victims were going through, it makes more sense," Bardfeld said. They were told that if they didn't follow the psychics' advice, terrible things would happen to them or the people they cared about, he said. Many were assured their money or property would be returned to them when the fortune tellers' work was done, but those promises were broken, the prosecutor said.

Among those arrested Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale were Rose Marks, 60, who uses the name Joyce Michael; Cynthia Miller, 33, Rosie Marks, 36; Vivian Marks, 21; Michael Marks, 33; and Donnie Eli, 38. Arrested in New York were Nancy Marks, 42, and her husband Ricky Marks, 39.

Most of those charged are members of the Marks family, a so-called Romanian gypsy clan whose members were born and grew up in the United States. None have known criminal records.

The businesses include Astrology by Nancy, run out of a home in Fort Lauderdale's Coral Ridge neighborhood; Astrology Life, at 2000 E. Sunrise Blvd.; Joyce Michaels Consulting at 1130 S. Federal Hwy.; as well as a Davie psychic shop at 4252 Davie Road Extension.

Federal agents who arrested the eight people who are in custody so far told prosecutors they had never seen anything like the amount of top-end jewelry, fancy cars and gold coins seized from the main family home on Seminole Drive in Fort Lauderdale and safe deposit boxes.

More than 400 rings, many with large diamonds, at least 100 watches and 200 necklaces were seized and may be subject to forfeiture by the government if the defendants are convicted. Detectives said many of the items were from Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Gucci.

Recently retired Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Charles Stack, who worked the case with the U.S. Secret Service, testified Friday that the case began in March 2007 with a complaint from a victim who lost $3,000.

"From the people I've interviewed so far, I've found nobody pleased with their services," Stack testified. He said he had spoken with about 17 people who claimed to have been ripped off at the family's businesses in Broward County and near the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

Norm Kent, who represents Michael Marks, said the family was being wrongly portrayed and had provided counseling and hours of support to people who were suffering anxiety attacks, considering suicide or had nowhere else to turn. "I don't know when fortune telling became a federal crime," Kent told the judge. He said the family had set up legitimate businesses, licensed with the state of Florida and operated with the knowledge of city authorities.

Bardfeld, the prosecutor, said family members committed federal offenses when they conspired together and promised victims they would not spend the money, then refused to return it. They also committed wire fraud, he said.

In the course of the investigation, some clients agreed to record conversations with the family members, at least one agent went undercover and pretended to be a customer and, when officers legally picked through the family's garbage, they found discarded jewelry boxes from high-end stores.

After a more than four-hour hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hopkins decided the six family members in court Friday would be held without bond as flight risks and potential dangers to the community.

As the judge issued his ruling, three of the women began to sob and wail. The defense attorneys vowed to appeal, saying the family is concerned that their young children would be taken into state protective care because practically the whole family locally is in federal custody. They have not formally entered pleas but the lawyers indicated they plan to fight the charges.

If convicted, Rose Marks, who moved to Fort Lauderdale 13 years ago from Virginia, could face as much as 27 years in prison, prosecutors said. The other alleged leaders, Nancy Marks and Cynthia Miller, could receive 14 or more years in prison if found guilty.

Staff Writer Sofia Santana and Researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.

Did Pharaoh Hatsepsut's Facial Lotion Contain Poison?

From dailyjournal.net

German researchers: toxic substance in flask belonging to ancient Egypt's Hatshepsut
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Posted: August 19, 2011 - 7:26 am
Last Updated: August 19, 2011 - 8:30 am

BERLIN — A German university said Friday that researchers have discovered a carcinogenic substance in a flask of lotion believed to have belonged to Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt 3,500 years ago — raising a possibility she may have accidentally poisoned herself.

The University of Bonn said it spent two years researching the dried-out contents of the flask, which is part of its Egyptian Museum's collection and bears an inscription saying it belonged to Hatshepshut.

It said the flask contains what appears to have been a lotion or medicine used to tackle skin disorders such as eczema.

The contents included palm and nutmeg oil, along with fatty acids of the kind that can relieve such disorders. There are known to have been cases of skin diseases in Hatshepsut's family, the university said.

Researchers also found benzopyrene, an aromatic and highly carcinogenic hydrocarbon. "If one imagines that the queen had a chronic skin disease and the ointment gave her short-term relief, then she may have exposed herself to a major risk over the course of a few years," Helmut Wiedenfeld of the university's pharmaceutical institute said in a statement.

Egyptian officials have said that the mummy of Hatshepsut suggests the woman was obese, probably suffered from diabetes, had liver cancer and died in her 50s.

Hatshepsut is believed to have stolen the throne from her young stepson, Thutmose III, who scratched her name from stone records in revenge after her death. [Stolen the throne?  Oh please!That is such a sexist and 1890's take on what we now know is a very complicated subject.]

Her two-decade rule in the 15th century B.C. was the longest among ancient Egyptian queens, at a time of the New Kingdom's "golden age."
********************************************************

So, did Hatsepsut die from liver cancer?  Or did she die from something else? 

Young Generation’s Best Skip a World Title Event

From The New York Times

By DYLAN LOEB McCLAIN
Published: August 20, 2011

[I'm not sure this will work - try it to see if you get the gameboard to play through the game talked about below.]

At the recent World Junior Chess Championship in Chennai, India, Dariusz Swiercz of Poland, 17, won the overall title, and Cori T. Deysi of Peru, 18, captured the girls’ crown.

Twenty years ago, junior champions were considered up-and-comers, possibly future world champions. Swiercz and Deysi are certainly talented, but it is a measure of how much the game has changed that they are overshadowed by some of their contemporaries.

Consider that on the day before the championship ended, Hou Yifan easily won the Women’s Grand Prix in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, a tournament that included 8 of the top 12 women in the world. Hou is 17 — eight months younger than Deysi — and already the women’s world champion.

Swiercz is still not on the list of the top 20 juniors in the world. It does include Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, 20, Fabiano Caruana of Italy, 19, and Anish Giri of the Netherlands, 17, who are also ranked in the top 40 among all players. They did not compete in the World Junior Championship because, well, it was beneath them.

Ray Robson, 16, who was the tournament’s American representative, finished fourth on tie-breakers and has several more years of eligibility as a junior. But as he said in an article on the Web site of the United States Chess Federation, “Hopefully my rating will be high enough so I won’t even want to play in it” next year.

Hou has struggled over much of the summer, but she won six of her first seven games at the Grand Prix. Among her best performances was her victory in Round 6 over Elina Danielian of Armenia.

Against the opening system adopted by Hou, Danielian could have played 3 ... e6, but she chose 3 ... e5, which was more aggressive. Hou could not play 4 de5 because 4 ... Qh4 would have regained the pawn and exposed White’s king to an attack.

Hou did not play 6 de5. After 6 ... Qd1 7 Kd1 Nd7 8 Bf4 Ne7 9 h3 Bf3 10 gf3 Ng6, Black would have eventually regained the pawn, and chances would have been equal.

Instead of the natural 10 ... 0-0, Danielian should have secured the c4 square by playing 10 ... b5. She also made a mistake by playing 12 ... Bg6; 12 ... Bf3 would have been better.

After 14 ... gf6, Danielian’s weakened pawn structure gave Hou a distinct edge.

Danielian sacrificed a pawn with 19 ... c5, hoping to gain some counterplay. But Hou was able to maneuver carefully and hold onto her material advantage.

She missed a way to shorten the game with 33 Rf4, but it did not matter. She wore Danielian down and finally won a piece by 40 Qe1, leading her opponent to resign.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Meet Me In St. Louis!

Hola Darlings!

I apologize for not posting as much as I normally do.  I'm still busy shopping.  Cannot put my hands on a perfect black dress to save my life, arrrgggghhhhh!

Anyway, I am going shopping yet one more time - tomorrow - will be dodging thunderstorms but I a desperate.  After deciding to send the beautiful Dillards dresses back that arrived today (one almost fit, one absolutely did not fit at all, could not even get it zipped!), I decided to sew my own.  Then I had second thoughts, so one last desperate gambit - I will try to assemble a suitable look out of off-the-rack separates.  We'll see if a certain sheer chiffon top with embellished neckline and fluttery long sleeves is still on sale and available in my size.  I've had my eye on that top since I first saw it a few weeks ago, but I couldn't imagine ever wearing such a top!  It is so out of my fashion vision!  But now I see myself teetering along on strappy black high heels, a black pencil skirt that ends just below the knee, a lace-trimmed cami and the chiffon overblouse --  who knows, it could work...

Meanwhile, I just saw this over at Facebook, where I was posting today -- I am an irregular poster at best but made an effort today because I had off for my birthday -- that the National Boy Scouts will be instituting a new merit badge - for CHESS!  That is just wonderful news!!!!! 



More information.  Big doings to launch the new merit badge will be held on September 10, 2011, in conjunction with the Chess Collectors International meeting, the grand opening of the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Kings v. Queens Tournament with international superstar chess players hosted at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis!!!! 

Isis and I are going to be very busy in St. Louis!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Iconic Photograph "American Girl in Italy" Celebrates It's 60th Birthday


American girl in Italy: 60 years later
By Mike Krumboltz
The Lookout – 3 hrs ago

A stunning young woman walks down a street in Florence, her head held high. All around, men playfully gawk at her grace and beauty. Just then the camera shutter snaps. "American Girl in Italy" is among the most popular snapshots of all time, and it's turning 60 years old this month.

The photo, which was shot in 1951, perfectly captures the fun and romance of being abroad. In honor of its birthday, Ninalee Craig, the subject of the photo spoke with the "Today" show about what happened behind the scenes and what the photo really represents.

In her "Today" appearance, Craig spoke about how, despite what some might say, the photo isn't a "symbol of harassment." Craig insists that the image is "a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time."

Craig should know--when the photo was taken, she was a 23-year-old traveling alone through Europe. While staying at a cheap hotel, Craig met photographer Ruth Orkin, who was also touring the continent solo. The two spoke about the fun and challenges of being alone while on the road in Italy--and went on to hatch a plan to take photos highlighting that experience.

For two hours, the photographer and amateur model walked the streets of Florence. Orkin took photos at markets and in cafes. The street-scene photo came about naturally. According to Craig, Orkin shot only two pictures of her walking down the macho street. One of them turned out to be the iconic image commemorated today.

As for whether or not the photo was staged, Craig says no way. "The big debate about the picture, which everyone always wants to know, is: Was it staged? No! No, no, no! You don't have 15 men in a picture and take just two shots. The men were just there . . . . The only thing that happened was that Ruth Orkin was wise enough to ask me to turn around and go back and repeat" the walk down the street.

In the interview, Craig also remarked that she never felt in danger while walking among the admiring men. "None of those men crossed the line at all," she said.

Craig is now a great-grandmother living in Toronto. Orkin, who passed away in 1985, went on to co-write and co-direct the 1956 Oscar-nominated film "Little Fugitive." Of course, both women will be best remembered for one indelible image that, staged or not, captured the public's imagination and never let go.

Photo of Ninalee Craig today: Courtesy Keith Beaty/Toronto Star/GetStock

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Interview with Judit Polgar

Sometimes it seems like yesterday.  It was 1999 and I was just learning that the three most famous female chessplayers in the world were the Polgar sisters.  Half the male chessplaying population seemed to be in love with Judit Polgar, the youngest of the sisters and one of the top 10 players in the world.  Not one of the top 10 women players in the world - one of the top 10 of all chessplayers in the world!  I believe her peak rating was like 2722 or 2724.

Then, Judit got married.  She had a baby, and then a second baby.  We hardly saw her compete in serious chess events, but occasionally she put in appearances at fluff events and simuls.  Still, people were thrilled to see her, no matter what!

She has mounted something of a "come back" since her two children grew past the toddler stage.  This interview presents a well-rounded, well-grounded 35 year old woman:

At Chessbase:
CHESS Magazine: Judit Polgar on life as a Super-GM mom
12.08.2011– When Lars Grahn asked Judit Polgar eleven years ago, as she was about to get married to her boyfriend Gustav, if she thought it was possible to combine family life with a chess career at top level, and she told him she would let me know when she had some experience of it. Eleven years and two children later Judit replied provided the answer in an in-depth interview in CHESS Magazine.

Philippines Proud of Its World U-20 Girls Chess Representatives

The Philippines sent two female players to the World U-20 Girls Chess Championship.  The US, the richest country in the world, did not even send one!

World Jrs Chess: Frayna ends in 22nd place
abs-cbnNEWS.com
Posted at 08/17/2011 9:07 PM | Updated as of 08/17/2011 9:07 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino Woman National Master (WNM) Janelle Mae Frayna finished in a tie for 22nd to 33rd places in the World Junior Chess Championships in Chennai, India.

Frayna's last match against Woman International Master (WIM) Carla Heredia Serrano of Ecuador ended in a draw.

The 14-year-old Frayna, one of only two Filipinos in the 13-round tournament, finished her campaign with 7 points on 6 wins, 2 draws and 5 loses.

After the tie break was applied, Faryna settled for overall 22nd.

Frayna, seeded 58th in the 69-player field, finished 4 points behind eventual champion Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Cori T Deysi of Peru.

In the Open section, Filipino FIDE Master (FM) Mari Joseph Turqueza settled a truce with Sharma Hemant of India to end up in 41st place with 7 points.

Turqueza finished overall 48th place in the 126-player field.

The annual tournament is organized by the All India Chess Federation and sanctioned by the World Chess Federation (FIDE). -- By Marlon Bernardino

The Quest for the Perfect Black Dress

I am pretty sure my story is typical of what a woman my age and with certain - shall we say, figure flaws - goes through in order to find a decent fitting, well-designed dress these days.  A dress that is not for a granny; a dress that is not for a size 0 perpetual 17 year old; a dress that has no fricking spandex in it!

Who is designing clothes for women these days?  Whoever they are, they all seem to think that it is "fashion" to just upsize the junk they sell to 20 years olds for women who are in their 50's and 60's and 50 plus pounds heavier.  Oh please!

After having tried to locate a suitable dress locally and failing, I resorted to the desperate move of ordering clothes online.  I hate doing this because (1) it takes so long (2) return issues (3) you can't tell what a dress really looks like online (4) sizing issues (5) quality issues (cut, feel of material, drape).  But not only did I wade in to ordering clothing online, I ordered SEVEN dresses from four different sources!  I read a blog post at a fashion site that said I should order a ton of clothes and try them all on and send back anything that isn't exactly what I want style, quality and fit wise.  How exhausting!
Today the dresses from Zappo's arrived.  I love Zappo's because they have a great (gigantic!) selection and a great return policy and free shipping to and from, or in this case, from and to because, unfortunately, I will be returning both dresses I ordered.
This dress is by Karen Kane: V-Neck Flower Trim Dress, SKU# 7846612
I really liked the style of this dress and the "flower" ruching around the neckline was lovely and added a greal deal to an otherwise simple dress. Unfortunately, it doesn't really show up in the photo.  There was just a bit of gathering from the empire waist seam underneath the busline so this dress was a bit less clingy than the second one I tried on. I was also happy with the sleeve length - about elbow length. The issues that turned this into a "no buy:"  material too clingy for my taste - showed too many figure flaws! Clothing is supposed to disguise certain things, not accentuate them. I don't go around accentuating my flaws, I try to accentuate what positives I have and neutralize the rest! The neckline was cut too low, the dress was heavy too.  The skirt was too short - I am looking for something that falls just below the knee (good luck, Jan!)  It also took a lot of tugging and pulling to get the dress positioned correctly once I got it on over my head (no zipper).  Because of the heaviness of the material, this dress would probably give me heat stroke in a high humidity climate like St. Louis is apt to be in early September.
I ordered this dress on the basis of the photo because it looked like it had a more generous cut through the middle and would skim over a problematic area, but it turned out to be  Tommy Bahama: Tambour Double Layer Dress, SKU# 7826125

I liked the long sleeves.  That was the only thing I liked.  The neckline was way too low, the dress was too short, and it didn't skim - it clung!  It was also heavier than the Karen Kane dress.

While the cut of the Karen Kane dress showed some promise on my figure, the Tommy Bahama dress did not.  This heavy dress that also had to be tugged relentlessly into place would suffocate me within five minutes of donning it in St. Louis' heat and humidity.  It is a dress that would look great on someone 4 inches taller and 30 pounds lighter than yours truly. 

So, I'm waiting for the next shipment - this one will be from Macy's.  Now that I know I can't wear anything with spandex in it, one of the Macy's dresses probably will be disappointing, but I have some hope for the second dress because it is only polyester, no spandex.  Those dresses ship tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Iceland, Not Trondheim?????

From The New York Times Arts Beat:

August 16, 2011, 12:30 pm
They’re Chess Pieces. They’re Old. O.K. They’re From Norway. Oh, Yeah?
By DYLAN LOEB MCCLAIN
Icelandic piece - the fore-runner of the Lewis chess pieces?
Scholars have long thought that the Lewis Chessmen — eight-century-old chess pieces carved mostly out of walrus tusk that were found on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, in 1831 — were made in Trondheim, Norway.

Last year two chess aficionados in Iceland, Gudmundur G. Thorarinsson and Einar S. Einarsson, set out to prove that the pieces were actually from their country.

Though the two men are not scholars — Mr. Thorarinsson is a civil engineer and a former member of the Icelandic Parliament and Mr. Einarsson is a former president of Visa Iceland — they put up a web site expounding their theory and attended a conference at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh to present their case before leading authorities.

Their quest might have seemed like a knight’s errand (or perhaps a fool’s, which was the original name for the bishop chess piece in much of Europe), but their perseverance may be paying off.

On Friday there will be a symposium in Skalholt, Iceland, where two of the world’s foremost scholars on the pieces, James Robinson of the British Museum and David H. Caldwell of the National Museums of Scotland, will lecture on their possible origin. The Icelandic theory is on their minds. A chess piece made of fish bone that seems to be from roughly the same period as the Lewis Chessmen and resembles the berserkers (or rooks) of the Lewis sets was found recently in Siglunes, Iceland.

In an e-mail on Monday, Dr. Caldwell wrote: “I have an open mind about where the chessmen were made. We said Trondheim when we did our exhibition, but that was really just a guess. Now some colleagues are saying Iceland, and maybe that is the case.” Or maybe not. “I have still to hear incontrovertible evidence for it,” he added.

Peruvian Desert Once a Breadbasket

Once again, evidence of how very fragile some of our ecosystems are...

From Discovery News
Analysis by Tim Wall
Tue Aug 16, 2011 06:06 AM ET

What do the characters in The Grapes of Wrath, Icelandic shepherds in the Middle Ages and ancient Peruvians have in common? They all suffered from the effects of intensive agriculture on sensitive environments.

Throughout human history unsustainable agricultural practices have turned fragile ecosystems into wastelands and left people starving. During the Dust Bowl, American farmers learned the consequences of removing the deep rooted grasses from the Great Plains when the soil blew away in tremendous dust storms. Icelandic shepherds learned that the sheep rearing practices their ancestors used on the European mainland destroyed the thin soils of their island and left them with starving herds and little to eat.

The ancient inhabitants of what is now Peru also learned the unhappy consequences of farming in a delicate ecosystem. The Ica Valley, near the coast of southern Peru and the famous Nazca lines, is now a barren desert, but was once a fertile floodplain, anchored by the roots of the huarango tree.

People were able to raise a variety of crops there for several centuries. But intensive agriculture in pre-conquest times led to ecosystem collapse. The history of the land was recently reconstructed by bioarcheologist David Beresford-Jones of the University of Cambridge by looking at plant remains left in ancient garbage heaps.

Beresford-Jones and a team of archeologists studied plant remains associated with settlement sites spanning roughly 750 B.C. to 1000 A.D. They observed the change as the valley inhabitants went from eating mostly gathered foods, to a period of intense agriculture, then back again to surviving on what they could eke out of nature's diminished bounty.

"The farmers inadvertently crossed an ecological threshold and the changes became irreversible," says Dr. David Beresford-Jones of the University of Cambridge.

Farming the Ica Valley was possible because of the huarango tree woodland, which literally held the floodplain together. The roots of the tree physically anchored the soils and protected the ground from erosion. The trees also maintained fertility by fixing nitrogen from the air and keeping moisture in the soil.

But as more land was cleared for crop production, so much of the woodland was cleared that the huarango's benefits were lost. The land was then exposed to floods from El NiƱo events and strong winds parched the land when it wasn't flooded.

Clearing the land of trees in order to grow crops had inadvertently and ironically made it impossible to grow crops.

Earlier residents of the valley had survived largely on land snails, along with sea urchins and mussels gathered from the Pacific coast, an eight-hour walk to the west. The researchers found no evidence of domesticated crops in the refuse heaps, called middens, left by these early inhabitants.

Things started to change around 100 B.C. Remains from crops, including pumpkins, maize, and manioc tubers, began appearing in the garbage heaps. Within a few hundred years there was more intensive agriculture. People added beans, peanuts, and chili peppers to their menus.

The feast didn't last long though. After about 500 years of agriculture, the domesticated crops disappeared. People once again survived on only snails and seafood with some wild plants.

In less than two thousand years, the people went full circle and ended up eating what their ancestors had, but without the huarango forests. To this day, the land is barren, with only the ghostly outlines of irrigation canals to suggest that the land once supported an agrarian society.

Further evidence of the change is found in the disappearance of the use of a blue dye from the indigofera shrub. The shrub grows only in the shelter of huarango trees along waterways. The peoples of the Ica Valley frequently sported clothes dyed a rich blue between 100 and 400 A.D. But as agriculture increased, the use of the dye decreased, suggesting the indigofera's habitat was also disappearing. Seeds from the shrub also became rare in the archeological record.

The indigofera eventually disappeared from the lower Ica Valley, but other plants became more common. Grasses that thrive in open areas became more common as the trees were cut down. Weeds that sprout in soil disturbed by agriculture also became more common.

The study of land use in the Ica Valley was recently published in the journal Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.

The peoples of the Ica Valley are not the only Peruvians to suffer from the effects of deforestation. The hills around Lima, Peru were once covered in huarango trees as well. The trees captured the fog from the ocean and fed local aquifers. But after the Spanish conquest, the trees were cut and the hills went dry.

2011 World Girls U-20 Chess Championship

Gold Medalist Cori T. Deysi.  Well done!
My top three picks (Cori Deysi, Nazi Paikidze and Padmini Rout) finished in the top 4!  Pretty good.  Here are the final standings:
Rk.NameFEDRtgPts.TB1 TB2 TB3 Rpwwew-weKrtg+/-
1PERWGMCori T DeysiPER237611.02261227622922542118.632.371023.7
2RUSWGMGirya OlgaRUS237110.5226822832300250210.58.462.041020.4
3GEOWGMPaikidze NaziGEO24169.522742290230524349.59.070.43156.4
4INDWGMPadmini RoutIND23489.0222722412254235398.730.27154.1
5TURWIMOzturk KubraTUR22589.0220722312248232397.651.351520.3
6ROUWIMBulmaga IrinaROU22938.522602277229523518.57.351.151517.3
7INDWIMKulkarni BhaktiIND23178.521162124213122118.59.98-1.4815-22.2
8AZEWIMMammadova Gulnar Marfat QiziAZE22948.0219922162237226888.29-0.2915-4.3
9KAZWIMNakhbayeva GuliskhanKAZ22228.0217321862199224187.640.36155.4
10MGLWFMLkhamsuren UuganbayarMGL21638.0210421232145217487.730.27154.1
11VIEWIMHoang Thi Nhu YVIE22048.0209321112131219987.680.32154.8
12SRBWIMEric JovanaSRB22828.02030204320572105810.50-2.5015-37.5
13POLWFMKulon KlaudiaPOL22277.522012220224122377.57.230.27154.1
14RUSWFMSemenova ElenaRUS21757.521912216223222247.56.590.911513.6
15UZBTokhirjanova HulkarUZB21197.521792207223822117.55.861.641524.6
16RUSDogodkina JuliaRUS21937.521632187221321997.57.240.26153.9
17AZEWFMFataliyeva Ulviyya Hasil QiziAZE21077.521522178220321847.56.181.321519.8
18SWEWIMAgrest InnaSWE22207.521222142216521567.58.31-0.8115-12.1
19RUSWGMSavina AnastasiaRUS23987.521152136215021537.510.68-3.1810-31.8
20INDChandika DivyasreeIND21237.521102132215521437.57.060.44156.6
21GEOWGMTsatsalashvili KetiGEO23187.520852107212721627.59.27-1.7715-26.5
22PHIFrayna Janelle MaePHI18757.0215021572166216972.494.5125112.8
23INDNandhidhaa PvIND21017.0214821832217214276.130.871513.1
24INDLasya GIND18987.0214221542167215672.954.051560.8
25ARGMartinez AyelenARG20117.0213821742207213375.081.921528.8
26INDWFMSaranya JIND21217.0212521462167213476.800.20153.0
27BRAWFMTerao Juliana SayumiBRA21687.0210821282152211877.76-0.7615-11.4
28INDPratyusha BoddaIND20647.0209721222150209976.330.671510.1
29ECUWFMRomero Echeverria AbigailECU20717.0208221042127208176.730.27154.1
30FRAForestier CaroleFRA21017.0207320932114208077.31-0.3115-4.7
31VIEWIMVo Thi Kim PhungVIE21417.0206620852105211877.19-0.1915-2.8
32INDWFMBharathi RIND21177.0200120152030200678.68-1.6815-25.2
33ECUWIMHeredia Serrano CarlaECU20727.0199120142036199778.12-1.1215-16.8
34INDMichelle Catherina PIND20526.522032230224221646.54.651.851527.8
35RUSImeeva AisaRUS20946.520572076209620326.57.50-1.0015-15.0
36INDSathya Priya S VIND18426.520402050206120115.52.992.511537.7
37CZEWIMOlsarova KarolinaCZE22826.520192030204320086.510.69-4.1915-62.8
38INDWFMIvana Maria FurtadoIND20126.0214221652192208964.771.231518.5
39AZEWIMKazimova Narmin Nizami QiziAZE22926.0213021532178207969.13-3.1315-47.0
40INDWFMPon NkrithikaIND20756.0209321222147203766.56-0.5615-8.4
41INDShristi J ShettyIND19276.0204920722096199265.240.761511.4
42INDSavetha C HIND19926.0204820732101199566.14-0.1415-2.1
43ARMGevorgyan MariaARM20686.0203620632085198167.43-1.4315-21.5
44INDBala Kannamma PIND19316.0201920482079196254.810.19152.8
45INDMadhurima ShekharIND18546.0201120322053195764.521.481522.2
46INDA AkshayaIND19666.0199820212049194666.35-0.3515-5.3
47CRODeur Saric ZrinkaCRO21166.0198320002017193668.88-2.8815-43.2
48INDSithalatchumi AIND19396.0197819952011193166.22-0.2215-3.3
49GERWFMHannes DianaGER21886.01914192219291874610.83-4.8315-72.4
50INDHema Priya NIND18855.521552168218120574.52.452.051530.8
51INDArunima KalraIND18675.521292144216220555.52.912.591538.8
52BULKrumova AniBUL19615.521032124214720265.54.670.831512.4
53INDSahari JIND19115.520902110212819604.54.000.50157.5
54INDShweta GoleIND19225.520722097211819865.54.620.881513.2
55AUSWIMGuo EmmaAUS20295.519851999201619115.57.56-2.0615-30.9
56BELDegrande MarigjeBEL18905.519842006202718974.54.70-0.2015-3.0
57INDSupriya JoshiIND18295.519721998201218854.53.880.62159.3
58INDWFMMahalakshmi MIND19015.0213421432153203652.962.041530.6
59INDWCMSavant RiyaIND17435.0200020212035187542.351.651524.8
60INDSalini RIND17955.0198919982009189453.481.521522.8
61INDAnjana Krishna SIND18305.0197519972011186754.580.42156.3
62INDWCMTejaswini SagarIND16905.0197219932010184742.151.851527.8
63SVKEdes ZsofiaSVK20675.0192019411961179548.11-4.1115-61.7
64ITABrunello RobertaITA20365.0187018861906174548.45-4.4515-66.8
65INDShetye SiddhaliIND18904.519912009202718624.55.15-0.6515-9.8
66NORHansen Erle Andrea MarkiNOR17704.0195119741997175833.48-0.4815-7.2
67AUSNarenthran SavithriAUS16934.0194819661986175532.570.4300.0
68INDNivedhitha J GIND17433.519101930195316802.53.57-1.0715-16.0
69MEXWCMMejia Salinas Lluvia AngelicaMEX18893.518961915193716662.55.95-3.4525-86.3

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