Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I like corners

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I like corners of the buildings. Maybe because of the shadow feature they have or the "arrow" shape that they look like, or because of their blue sky background (often gray in Oregon.) I also like bricks.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Celebration for buses return to the Portland Mall

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Starting May 24, bus stops that were temporarily relocated to 3rd and 4th avenues during MAX Green Line construction will move back to the Portland Mall on 5th and 6th avenues.

Changes were designed to provide bus and MAX service with easy access, reliable schedules and convenient transfers for the majority of riders.

Friday, May 22, 2009

ADA

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The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity and access for persons with disabilities. The Federal Transit Administration works to ensure nondiscriminatory transportation to enhance the social and economic quality of life for all Americans. The FTA Office of Civil Rights is responsible for civil rights compliance and monitoring to ensure non-discriminatory provision of transit services.

This is what a disabled Iranian could never imagine. I think we have sort of ADA in our law book but who cares? Almost nothing in Iran cities (like sidewalks, stairs, cross walks, transit and etc) are desgined to serve disabled people. I congratulate Americans for their great civil rights. This is what every nation should learn. What about your city/country? Do you have ADA?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Journey to Present: Today's Iran

I just missed Iran and wanted to share some nice photos from different part of my homeland with you to enjoy. Iran's area roughly equals that of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined (well, almost half of Europe), or slightly less than the state of Alaska. It is one of the world's most mountainous countries, its landscape dominated by rugged mountain ranges that separate various basins or plateaux from one another. Iran's climate ranges from arid or semiarid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast and the northern forests. In less than 2 hours flight one can experience totally different weather. Photos are from Flickr.

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Lahijan, Iran (North)

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Lahijan Aerial Tram, Iran (North)

SANANDAJ_ freedom squre
Sanandaj, Iran (West)

Sanandaj
Sanandaj, Iran (West)

The White Bridge اهواز
Ahwaz, Iran (South)

just quite
Qeshm Island, Iran (South)

Yazd
Yazd, Iran (South - East)

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Maranjab Desert, Iran (East)

Band Darreh (Persian: بند دره ) in Sizdah Be-dar Festival
Birjand, Iran (East)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

The 961st birthday anniversary of Omar Khayyam

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Today is the the 961st birthday anniversary and national day of an eminent Persian poet, astronomer and mathematician, Omar Khayyam of Neyshabur. Iranians are holding ceremonies today in Khayyam's hometown Neyshabour, located in the northeastern province of Khorasan that honor the Persian poet.

People Love Khayyam!

This is Khayyam's tomb and memorial. The unique structure represents a symmetric mathematical form (better to say geometrical) with some of his poems written (calligraphiated) on its surface.

Khayyam's fame as a poet has caused some to ignore his scientific achievements, which are significant. His contributions to mathematical include his Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra, which gives a geometric method for solving cubic equations by allowing a hyperbola to intersect a circle. Following are some of his major works:
  • Theory of parallels
  • Geometric Algebra
  • Binomial theorem and extraction of roots
  • Jalali Calendar
And now I offer you a nice poem of him.

When once you hear the roses are in bloom,
Then is the time, my love, to pour the wine,
Houris and palaces and Heaven and Hell,
These are but fairy-tales, forget them all
Drink wine, for long you'll sleep beneath the soil,
Without companion, lover, friend or mate,
But keep this sorry secret to yourself:
The withered tulip never blooms again.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Journey to The Past to Visit King(s) Darius

Who is King Darius?

Darius is a common Persian male name. Three kings of the ancient Achaemenid Empire of Persia were named Darius:

  • Darius I of Persia or Darius the Great.
  • Darius II of Persia
  • Darius III of Persia
When King Cyrus took Babylon in 539 B.C., he appointed Darius I to rule there as the "governer." Photos are from Flickr.

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This area is called Naqsh-e Rostam, location of the tombs of the great Achemaenid Kings. One of the tombs is explicitly identified by an accompanying inscription to be the tomb of Darius I (r. 522-486 BCE). The other three tombs are believed to be those of Xerxes I (r. 486-465 BCE), Artaxerxes I (r. 465-424 BCE), and Darius II (r. 423-404 BCE) respectively. A fifth unfinished one might be that of Artaxerxes III, who reigned at the longest two years, but is more likely that of Darius III (r. 336-330 BCE), last of the Achaemenid dynasts.

On the far right, the mysterious Kaba or Zoroastrian fire temple juts square out of the ground. This is also another interesting topic itself that I'd like to talk about later.

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This is the tomb of Darius the Great, ruled Persia from 522 to 486BC based in Persepolis.

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This is the tomb of Darius III, great cousin of Artaxerxes III, ruled Persia from 336 - 330BC until defeated by Alexander the Great, and so becoming the last Achaemenid ruler.

Now it's the time to have a look at the Bible and see how Darius is described there. Here is a relativelty long story from the Bible, Daniel 6:1-28 about Darius and Daniel. However, no one is sure which Darius he is.

1 It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, "We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God."

6 So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: "O King Darius, live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den. 8 Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed." 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: "Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions' den?"
The king answered, "The decree stands—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed."

13 Then they said to the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day." 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, "Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed."

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?"

21 Daniel answered, "O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king."

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king's command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land:
"May you prosper greatly!

26 "I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
"For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.

27 He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions."

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus, the Persian.

Naghsh-e Rostam, Shiraz, Iran

Mark Building: Portland Art Museum

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Erected To God And Dedicated To The Service Of Humanity

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Theodore Roosevelt

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I urge you to visit some photos of the 7th International Flower Exhibition of Tehran (in Tehran Daily Photo). Enjoy seeing the flowers and Iranian people. If you are interested to see how Iranian women dress in public; this is a good chance to find many of them in these photos with different types and colors of "Hijab".

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln
Presented to The City of Portland
By
Henry Waldo Col
1928

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy American Mother's Day

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The western (started in America) Mother's Day holiday was created by Anna Jarvis, as a day to honor mothers and motherhood; especially within the context of families, and family relationships. On May 12, 1907, two years after her mother's death, she held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday. She succeeded in making this nationally recognized in 1914. The International Mother's Day Shrine was established in Grafton to commemorate her accomplishment.

Today I was asked another funny question. Do you have Mother's Day in Iran? Excuse me, but when someone asks like this, it implies that he/she is not sure if such a day exists in Iran. Of course it exists, but it's not today. We have our own Mother's Day. It used to be on 25 Azar (December 16) before the revolution but today's Mother's day in Iran is on Prophet Mohammad's daughter, Fatima, Birthday in Islamic Lunar Calender. This year the Mother's Day will be on June, 14 and the Father's Day will be on July, 6. It is worth to mention that Mother's Day in Iran is also the Woman's Day. So a woman should not only be a mother to be honored, but being a woman seems to be enough.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers (and also to all potential mothers) in the world from the east to the west. Well, I will congratulate my mom later on June 14.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Port of Portland

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In memory of John M. Fulton and A.M. "Al" Eschbach
Terminal 6, Port of Portland

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Iranian Salt Men

As part the ongoing tradition of archeological exchange between me (from Iran) and Dina (from Israel) and following her recent pottery post, I'm going to share a series of amazing archeological discoveries recently done in Iran.

From 1993 to December 2005, a series of salt mummies were found in the Chehrabad salt mine near Zanjan in northwestern Iran.

Do not miss this video from National Geographic

men_of_iran

The 1st Salt Man:
This body was accidentally discovered by miners in 1993 in the Chehrabad salt mine. According to the Tehran Times, the man was approximately 35 years old and he "lived over 1700 years ago. He has long white hair and a beard and was discovered wearing leather boots and with some tools and a walnut in his possession." Since only the head and booted left leg were displayed, it may be that a good portion of his body was either not recovered or not well-preserved. A Wikipedia account gives a more complete list of the items found with the body: "three iron knives, a woolen half trouser, a silver needle, a sling, parts of a leather rope, a grind stone, a walnut, some pottery shares, some designed textile fragments, and finally a few broken bones." He was wearing at least one earring.

The 2nd Salt Man:
The second salt mummy, nicknamed the Twin Salt Man, was reported to have been found in November 2004 some 50 yards away from the site where the first salt mummy was discovered. The body seems to have become mostly a skeleton, though some preservation was noted: it still had hair and nails. According to Mehr News, the remains of the second salt mummy's skeleton "are almost perfect, and they include parts of the skull, jaw, both arms, as well as the left and right legs and feet. Several pieces of wool cloth and a piece of a straw mat with a unique style of weaving were also discovered beside the second Salt Man." This description seems to indicate that the first salt mummy may not have been as complete.

The 3rd Salt Man:
In January 2005, the third salt mummy was discovered, buried under a two-ton rock that caused considerable damage to the body (and resulting skeleton). According to mehrnews.ir, the body was accompanied by "[s]everal items such as a leather sack full of salt, a clay tallow burner, two pairs of leather shoes, and two cow horns....[all] in excellent condition." The director of the excavation revealed that 'The...leather sack was full of crystals of salt and was completely tightened. This indicates that the owner was about to carry it out of the mine, but was suddenly crushed by the heavy rock, leaving him no chance to escape."

The 4th Salt Man:
The fourth mummy was discovered in March 2005 and was the most preserved body to date. Researchers conducted X-ray and CT scans on the body and concluded that the mummy was a 15- or 16-year old male. Recent studies indicate that he died about 2,000 years ago.

According to Iran's Cultural Heritage News Agency excavators found a number of possessions with the young person: he wore two earrings and an iron dagger in a scabbard around his waist. Nearby were two pottery vessels (containing oil) that may have been used as lanterns. The teenager was wearing a knee-length quilted garment and thigh-high leggings (or gaiters). Reports appear to indicate that Salt Mummy 4 is in the best and most complete condition, though descriptions of the six mummies are sketchy at best. Reports indicate that the bodies of the other salt mummies are no longer intact, except for Salt Mummy 4.

The 5th Salt Man:
A report from Iran's Cultural Heritage News Agency indicates that a fifth salt mummy was discovered in December 2005, but no information about that mummy was given.

The 6th Salt Man:
Reports from Iranian news agencies in early June, 2007, suggest that a sixth salt mummy has been found. No specific information about the mummy has been provided to date, however. Scientists will not excavate the mummy and remove it from the mine until better preservation techniques have been found. Archaeologists worry that the first five salt mummies are in danger of deteriorating unless better preservation techniques are found. In the meantime, the sixth salt mummy will be left under a pile of salt and dirt until excavators have found a better way to preserved him. A new report states that the sixth mummy dates from the Roman era and is the body of a person buried under rocks during an earthquake. Archaeologists in Iran have contacted scientists at the German Mining Museum in Bochum for help in studying the mummy, the Chehrabad Mine, and the plant life found there

Researchers from Oxford University (Mark Pollard) and York University (Don Brothwell) have been invited by Iran's Archaeology Research Center to study the salt mummies. Additionally, Niels Lynnerup, a mummification expert from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, will be attempting to perform a reconstruction of the face of the fourth salt mummy. To do this, he will use around 1,000 MRI images of the body and face. Finally, excavations by a multinational team of archaeologists will begin in the salt mine to discover perhaps more information, if not more mummies.

Reference: http://www.mummytombs.com/mummylocator/featured/saltmummies.htm

Time for Lunch

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Side Trip to Iran to Visit Serach Bet Asher

Special post for Dina from Jerusalem and all her Jewish friends in Israel and anywhere else including Iran.

According to Hebrew tradition it was Serah, the daughter of Asher and granddaughter of the Jewish patriarch Jacob, who first informed Jacob that Joseph was alive and the ruler of Egypt. Serah, play the harp for him and sing a song with the words "Joseph is alive." It’s believed that out of gratitude for this Jacob asked God to make her immortal and his prayer was granted. Following the legend to the time of Moses, it was Serah who informed Moses where to find the bones of Joseph, so he could carry them back to the promised land as Joseph desired.

The fact of her being the only one of her sex to be mentioned in the genealogical lists seemed to indicate that there was something extraordinary in connection with her history; and she became the heroine of several legends. According to the Midrash Serach was “the wise woman” who caused the death of Sheba ben Bichri. According to another legend she lived until the tribe of Asher was exiled by Shalmaneser V, went with them into exile, and died there. A site in Pir-i Bakran also known as Linjan (or Kukuli) is a village located 30 km southwest of Isfahan, Iran (somewhere between Isfahan and Shiraz) is identified as a notable tomb that attributed to Serah bet Asher and a synagogue in that city is named in her honor.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Missing the Willamette River

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I think you might know about Lewis and Clark expedition. In canoes, they descended the mountains by the Clearwater River, the Snake River, and the Columbia River, past Celilo Falls and past what is now Portland, Oregon. At this point, Lewis spotted Mount Hood, a mountain known to be very close to the ocean. Later near the confluence of the Columbia and the Willamette, an obvious river intersection today but twice missed by Lewis and Clark as they paddled the Columbia.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1st, White-Yellow Flower and Persian Calendar

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Today is May 1st or Ordibehesht 11th. What is Ordibehesht? How much do you know about Persian calendar?

The Iranian calendar or Persian calendar is an astronomical solar calendar and one of the longest chronological records in history and is currently used in Iran and Afghanistan as the main official calendar. Beginning each year on the vernal equinox as precisely determined by astronomical observations from Tehran, this makes it more accurate than the Gregorian Calendar in being synchronized with the solar year, but harder to work out when a particular date would occur before the New Year preceding that date.

The Persian calendar, was introduced on 15 March 1079 by the Seljuk Sultan Jalal al-Din Malik Shah I, based on the recommendations of a committee of astronomers, including Omar Khayyam, at the imperial observatory in his capital city of Isfahan. Month computations were based on solar transits through the zodiac, a system integrating ideas from the Surya Siddhanta (India, 4th century). Later, some ideas from the Chinese-Uighur calendar (1258) were also incorporated. It remained in use for eight centuries.

Throughout recorded history, Persians have been keen on the idea and importance of having a calendar. They were among the first cultures to use a solar calendar, and have long favored a solar over lunar and lunisolar approaches. The Sun has always been a symbol in Iranian culture and closely related to the memory of Cyrus the Great himself. The first calendars based on Zoroastrian cosmology appeared in the later Achaemenian period (650 to 330 BCE). They evolved over the centuries, but month names changed little until now.

Ordibehesht is the second month of the Persian Calendar. Ordibehesht consists of two words of "Ordi" and "Behesht". Regarding "Ordi", its old Persian equivalent is arta-. In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard- and today as ord-. The word is also the proper name of the divinity "Asha", the Amesha Spenta that is the hypostasis or "genius"of "Truth" or "Righteousness". In the Younger Avesta, this figure is more commonly referred to as Asha Vahishta (Aša Vahišta, Arta Vahišta), "Best Truth".The Middle Persian descendant is Ashawahist or Ardwahisht; new persian Ardibehesht or Ordibehesht.

Isn't it nice that "Ordi-behesht" came from an ancient word "Arta-Vahishta" which means "Best Truth"?