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March 2011  Issue 99

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  2010 Index

INTRODUCTION

Thank goodness February is over!!  It was one very busy and hectic month, as seen by the number of “Events” we had in Akumal.  Scroll down to “Events” on last page.

With, Easter, and Daylight Saving Time (US only) coming in March this year, it looks like March could be just as busy and hectic, albeit without the defined social “Events”.  

MESSAGE FROM THE STAFF

There was a lot going on in February, and quite a few photos have been posted in the Photo Gallery under Events.  You should take some time and go through them all, especially if you were there. 

 We have said this many times, and yet it needs to be repeated over and over again.  If you receive a message about being ‘deleted’, it is not necessary to send an e-mail about being re-instated.  You can go to the SUBSCRIBE box on the top left hand corner of The Akumalian home page (www.theakumalian.com ) and enter your e-mail address yourself.

 Last month we mentioned the death of Jack Horkheimer of “Star Gazer” fame, and this month we report on two deaths.  One is Chris Haas’ dad, and the other is Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, or “DEC”; the Staff worked at DEC for more than 22 years.

 Since many Akumalians have switched over to Canada’s Shaw Direct satellite TV, there has been a lot of discussion about all the hockey games being presented.  Just about everyone understands the basic principle of hockey, get the puck into the net more times than your opponent.  This is a somewhat similar concept to soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and polo (both horse and water), among others, so it is well understood.

However, Shaw Direct is now exposing us to two other sporting events that are not so well understood, and they are curling and darts.  So, The Akumalian has undertaken the task of presenting the ‘basics’ of these two exciting and challenging sports in this issue.  Watch for this further down in the issue.

We just finished with Oscar Night on February 27, and now this week gets March off to a running start, with the CEA Gala Dinner on Thursday, followed by Robin's Best Shirt on Friday.

 And, for additional information about Akumal and Puerto Aventuras, don’t forget to check out Sac-Be and the Pelican Press of Puerto Aventuras.    
 

COLONEL LONNIE ELWYN MARTIN DIED IN NOVEMBER

Most of you have met Chris Haas’ father at one time or another at the Lol Ha Beach Bar.

 Colonel Lonnie Elwyn Martin died Sunday, November 21, 2010 at the age of 98, closer to 99.  Col. Martin was a native of Milledgeville, Georgia.  He was an officer in the United States Air Force for over 30 years, serving at various posts including Australia and England.  He saw combat during World War II in New Guinea.  He also was assigned to three tours of duty at the Pentagon.  After retirement from the military, he was named to the position of Executive Director of the Alabama Association of Realtors, a position he held for fifteen years.  He was active in many civic and social organizations and was an avid golfer, hunter, fisherman, and pilot, holding his pilot's license to the age of 92.

The "Colonel" loved Akumal and often came with, his daughter, Chris, and her husband, Bay.  He especially adored all the friendly people and the warm weather.  It was never TOO hot for him!  He always called Ingrid, "that pretty little German girl".    
 

KEN OLSEN, COFOUNDER OF DEC, DEAD AT 84

Ken Olsen, who cofounded Digital Equipment Corp. and built it into the second-largest computer company in the nation by creating small but powerful machines called "minicomputers," died Sunday, February 6, 2011.  He was 84 and his death was announced by Gordon College in Wenham, for which Mr. Olsen was a longtime trustee and benefactor. The college did not provide a cause of death or information about where Mr. Olsen was living.

Mr. Olsen launched Digital in 1957 in a defunct woolen mill in Maynard with $70,000 in venture capital.  For a time, Mr. Olsen, his partner, Harlan Anderson, and his brother Stanley Olsen were the company’s only employees.  With innovation after innovation, Mr. Olsen and Digital helped create the computer industry, and the company at one point was valued at about $14 billion.

In the 1960S, Digital pioneered the minicomputer, a smaller, less-expensive alternative to the hulking mainframes that then dominated the industry.  Mainframes usually were run by specially-trained operators and were off-limits to everyone else.  Users stood in line, handed over their computing tasks, then waited for minutes or hours for the results.  But minicomputers were so inexpensive that companies could buy several for scientists, engineers, or business managers, then let the workers use the computers themselves.

Digital and Wang Laboratories, along with their spinoff companies, were widely credited with playing a large role in the Massachusetts Miracle, the period of economic growth in the 1980s.

Even when his own net worth was measured in the hundreds of millions, Mr. Olsen looked more like an engineer than an entrepreneur, favoring thick-soled work boots and preferring to drive an early-1960s model Ford Falcon, because he admired its mechanical design and found it easy to maintain.

Under his leadership, Digital endured financial ups and downs, but after the company surged in the mid-1980s, Fortune magazine ran a cover story on Mr. Olsen, calling him ‘‘arguably the most successful entrepreneur in the history of American business.’’  Adjusting for inflation, Fortune said, Digital was bigger than Ford Motor Co. at the death of its founder, Henry Ford, and also larger than US Steel when Andrew Carnegie sold his company, or Standard Oil when John D. Rockefeller stepped aside.  Digital was second to IBM in the computer industry, though it was less than a sixth of IBM’s size.

As Digital’s fortunes foundered when it was slow to enter the burgeoning personal computer market, Mr. Olsen stepped down as president in 1992 and resigned from the board a few months later, severing ties with the company. The company was acquired by Compaq Computer Corp. in 1998.

Mr. Olsen delegated responsibility at the company and was known for creating a decentralized management structure that became fodder for business textbooks.  Gordon Bell, one of the key designers of Digital’s minicomputers, said Mr. Olsen’s style of management generated creativity and fierce loyalty.

Kenneth Harry Olsen was born in Bridgeport, Conn., and grew up in the suburb of Stratford. His father held patents and designed equipment such as a safety-pin machine and one that made universal joints for cars.  Mechanical even as a child, Mr. Olsen read technical manuals rather than comic books. He began studying electrical engineering in the Navy, which he joined in 1944, and continued his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  At MIT, he received a bachelor’s degree in 1950 and a master’s two years later, both in electrical engineering.

Afterward, he worked at Lincoln Laboratories until deciding to start his own company in 1957, getting seed money from the early venture capital firm American Research and Development Corp.  The financial backers did not want the word computer in the company’s name, and Mr. Olsen settled on Digital Equipment Corp., which also was referred to simply as DEC.

They company had sales of $94,000 in its first year.  By 1977, when sales topped $1 billion, Digital had 36,000 employees.
 

IMPORTANT MARCH FACTS

Pisces:  February 19 - March 20

Aries March 21-April 19

 March Birthstone:  Aquamarine
This lovely blue-green crystal is a semi-precious stone and looks terrific wrapped up in silver wire, set in a ring or pendant, or loose in a special display. This March birthstone is big enough to make a display by itself.  Aquamarine is mined primarily in Brazil, Nigeria and Zambia.

 March Flower:  Jonquil
A daffodil is also known as a jonquil or narcissus.  It is a symbol of rebirth - a sign of spring.  It is the flower for March, because that is when the spring equinox begins.

 

 

COSMIC CENSUS FINDS CROWD OF PLANETS IN GALAXY

Scientists have estimated the first cosmic census of planets in our galaxy, and the numbers are astronomical: at least 50 billion planets in the Milky Way.  And, at least 500 million planets in the Milky Way are in the not-too-hot, not-too-cold zone where life could exist.  The numbers were extrapolated from the early results of NASA's planet-hunting Kepler telescope.

Kepler science chief William Borucki says scientists took the number of planets they found in the first year of searching a small part of the night sky and then made an estimate on how likely stars are to have planets.  Kepler spots planets as they pass between Earth and the star it orbits.

So far Kepler has found 1,235 candidate planets, with 54 in the Goldilocks zone, where life could possibly exist.  Kepler's main mission is not to examine individual worlds, but give astronomers a sense of how many planets, especially potentially habitable ones, there are likely to be in our galaxy.  They would use the one-four-hundredth of the night sky that Kepler is looking at and extrapolate from there.

Borucki and colleagues figured one of two stars has planets, and one of 200 stars has planets in the habitable zone, announcing these ratios Saturday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington. And that's a minimum because these stars can have more than one planet and Kepler has yet to get a long enough glimpse to see planets that are further out from the star, like Earth, Borucki said.

For example, if Kepler were 1,000 light years from Earth and looking at our sun and noticed Venus passing by, there's only a one-in-eight chance that Earth would also be seen, astronomers said.  To get the estimate for the total number of planets, scientists then took the frequency observed already and applied it to the number of stars in the Milky Way.

For many years scientists figured there were 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, but last year a Yale scientist figured the number was closer to 300 billion stars.  Either way it shows that Carl Sagan was right when he talked of billions and billions of worlds, said retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran, who praised the research but wasn't part of it.

And that's just our galaxy. Scientists figure there are 100 billion galaxies.

Borucki said the new calculations lead to worlds of questions about life elsewhere in the cosmos. "The next question is why haven't they visited us?"

And the answer? "I don't know," Borucki said.
  

MARCH BIRTHDAYS

There now are five (5) birthdays on March 8.  Most of you know two of them, and a few may know three, but The Staff doubts that if anybody else knows all five.

 Birthdays and Anniversaries    ¡Feliz cumpleanos!
1          Jorge Vera
1          Alma Boada
3          Demetrio
3          Nan Armstrong
5          Bart Smith
5          Bob Doebert
7          Greg & Karen Goudy Anniversary
8          Steve Clouther
8          Rick Tompkins
8          McKinlee Anne DePaola
8          Tony Gonzalez
8          Jana Boettger
12        Paige Clements
12        CeCi Chiosso (Bill McClendon’s sister)
13        Lydia Pontius
13        Karen Goudy
13        Lynn Chase
14        Patricia Murray
 15       Kevin Fredette           
19        Sharon Fredette 
22        Sherwood Anders  BIG ONE!!
23        Kelly Flynn
24        Rhett Schober
25        Rocio Cue Romero
26        Tom & Judy Baxter Anniversary
 27       Lois Radlinsky
27        Christian Li Schober Thai
28        Marisol Danu
 
There must be more than this.  Let’s hear about YOUR birthday before it happens.

 Missed February Birthdays / Anniversary

Nobody!!  Good.
 

U.S. Consul offers web sites full of useful information

Prom the PelicanBrief of Puerto Aventuras
           Posted 2/13/11 by Waco Kid

Residents who missed the recent informational meeting at the Colonos Hall concerning FM3-2 issues can review a previous story by Juanito detailing steps to renew visas by email. Check the archives section in the Pelican Press.  As in other countries, government regulations are always a work in progress and Mexico is no different.  U.S. Consular Agent Samantha Mason of the office in Playa del Carmen, couldn’t use the same power point program on visas used in last year’s informational talk here, because there have been so many changes in the process.  

About renewing passports: It takes about 2 weeks to get a passport, but Samantha said that we should make an office appointment about 4 months before it is to expire.  If you notify them in advance, they will send the forms.  Depending on the type of passport, the cost is around $110 USD.  A representative from the Immigration Office – Mariana Ambrossi – talked about Visas.  She primarily reviewed the current process.  She said there will be more changes coming about April 29.

 And, she did offer the web sites as sources of information for snowbirds and ex-pats. These can be found in MX & US Web Sites.

Some other information Samantha gave us:
·        
Her email: playausca@gmail.com<mailto:playausca@gmail.com   
·        
Her emergency cell: 984-807-8355
·        
Vonage number: 202-370-6708.
·        
The address is Calle 1 Sur between Avenida 15 and Avenida 20. The building has recently been painted red.  Samantha now has an assistant named Ricardo.
 

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING??

 Texas poised to pass bill allowing guns on campus
Texas is preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus,  adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.  More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns.  The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he's in favor of the idea.

Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students.  It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a broad-based law.  Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.

 Alabama Fan Arrested For Killing Auburn Oak Trees
Police have arrested Harvey Almorn Updyke, 62, from Dadeville, Ala., and charged him with criminal mischief for poisoning the Toomer's Corner oaks.

The insanity that is college football in the state of Alabama reached a new nadir this week, as an Alabama fan has admitted to using a powerful herbicide to kill cherished 130-year-old oak trees on the campus of arch rival Auburn.

University officials announced that soil tests had revealed that a "lethal dose" of tebuthiuron had been spread around the live oaks at Toomer's Corner, a popular spot on the Auburn campus where fans often gather to celebrate momentous events, like the Tigers' recent BCS Championship victory last month.

The poisoning was discovered after a Crimson Tide fan called Paul Finebaum's popular sports talk radio show to brag about murdering the beloved oak trees, as revenge for the Tigers' Iron Bowl victory this season.  He ended the call by saying, "Roll Damn Tide."
 

AKUMAL COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING, FEBRUARY 21   

On Monday, the Akumal Council held its Q1FY2011 General Assembly meeting at CEA.  It was quite well attended, and some serious issues regarding the Council; were discussed.  David Poor, the Secretary, sent out an e-mail on February 23rd with comprehensive notes and options.  These have been posted at Akumal Council General Meeting, Feb. 21 for you.

Please read those informal minutes, and send your response to David Poor.
 

ROBIN’S BEST SHIRT AWARD, MARCH 4th

Come one, come all, to the Beach Bar, where we’ll have a ball.

It’s time for another “Best Shirt Award”, which is held on the first Friday of each month during Happy Hour at the Lol Ha Beach Bar. 

This award is based on Robin’s penchant for good, classy Beach Bar shirts, and his sister, Mary, is ready to once again be the judge and jury as she selects the “Best Shirt” for March. 

 Denny Mahan won the contest for February, and those photos are at February Best Shirt.

 

CEA GALA DINNER, MARCH 3rd  

As a festive conclusion to its CEA Festival, CEA is hosting the Gala Dinner on Thursday, March 3rd, at the CEA Center.  Tickets are still available, so come out to the social event of march and be seen with all the other socialites Akumal has to offer.
  

CARNAVAL, MARCH 3 - 9 

Carnaval is an official Mexican holiday that kicks off a five-day celebration of the libido before the Catholic lent.  Beginning the weekend before Lent, Carnaval is celebrated exuberantly with parades, floats and dancing in the streets.  Port towns such as Ensenada, La Paz, Mazatlan, Veracruz Campeche, and Merida are excellent places to watch Carnaval festivities. 

Hosting an array of parades, parties, concerts, culinary festivals, cultural programs and beauty pageants, Mexican coastal cities offer Mardi Gras celebrations comparable to New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro.  Carnival in México has a long tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. Coming from the Latin word Carnavale meaning “goodbye to the flesh”, Carnival refers to the week before Lent (Cuaresma), where carefree abandonment and indulgence are encouraged.

Kick-off begins with the burning of El Mal Humor (Bad Mood), in which an effigy, usually modeled after an unpopular politician of the day, is hung and burned, followed by a flurry of confetti and fireworks. 

Host cities celebrate all sorts of parades daily, depending on the local carnival’s theme, which differs from region to region.  Parades display an array of floats, known as allegorical cars, decoratively inspired by Mexican scenery and normally featuring bright flowers and live entertainment.  Some parades require an entrance fee, and visitors are advised to get tickets to the parade as soon as they arrive via the local tourist office or hotel.

No carnival is complete without pageantry.  Included in the festivities are two major pageants: the crowning of the Reina del Carnaval (Carnival Queen); and the selection of the Rey del Carnaval (Carnival King), who may take on different names, including Rey Feo (Ugly King) and Rey de Alegría (King of Happiness), depending on the city.  Hopefuls compete amongst a handful of contestants in a grand ceremony for the coveted titles, followed by a massive party, featuring performances by regional groups.

Winners are crowned by a local government official and earn the privilege of being part of the major parades, normally held on Sunday and Tuesday during Carnival week.  To culminate the week of festivities, there is yet another symbolic burning.  This time, it’s of “Juan Carnaval", another doll symbolizing all that is impure.  The burning and burial of this character gives a fresh and new beginning to the period of Lent and the spring.
 

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME (DST), MARCH 13th

In the United States, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March.  On the first Sunday in November areas on Daylight Saving Time return to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m.  When Daylight Saving Time begins turn your clocks ahead one hour. When Daylight Saving Time ends turn your clocks back one hour.

The names in each time zone change along with Daylight Saving Time. Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and so forth. Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

In the United States, Under the Uniform Time Act, the Department of Transportation is in charge of time zones in the United States and ensuring that jurisdictions observing Daylight Saving Time begin and end on the same date.

During DST, clocks are turned forward an hour, effectively moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening.

The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight.  We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. 

The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin (portrait at right) during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, "An Economical Project."   Some of Franklin's friends, inventors of a new kind of oil lamp, were so taken by the scheme that they continued corresponding with Franklin even after he returned to America.

The idea was first advocated seriously by London builder William Willett (1857-1915) in the pamphlet, "Waste of Daylight" (1907), that proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes on each of four Sundays in April, and retarding them by the same amount on four Sundays in September.  As he was taking an early morning a ride through Petts Wood, near Croydon, Willett was struck by the fact that the blinds of nearby houses were closed, even though the sun was fully risen.  When questioned as to why he didn't simply get up an hour earlier, Willett replied with typical British humor, "What?" In his pamphlet "The Waste of Daylight" he wrote:

In 2005, President Bush signed into law a new energy policy bill that would extend Daylight Saving Time by 4 weeks beginning in 2007:

In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time).  It begins the last Sunday in March, the 27th, and ends the last Sunday in October. In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.  This year it’s March 27 to October 30.
 

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME IN MEXICO IS DIFFERENT!   

In Akumal, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in April (the 3RD ).  On the last Sunday in October (the 30TH ), areas on Daylight Saving Time fall back to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m.  The names in each time zone change along with Daylight Saving Time.  Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time (CDT), and so forth.  The state of Sonora does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Mexico uses three time zones.  Most of the country uses Central Standard Time.
 

PI DAY, MARCH 14th

Pi, Greek letter π, is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi = 3.1415926535.  Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th.

With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 1 trillion digits past the decimal.  Pi is an irrational number meaning it will continue infinitely without repeating.  The symbol for pi was first used in 1737 by William Jones, but was popular after it was adopted by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1737.

The ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is the same for all circles, and that it is slightly more than 3, was known to ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Indian and Greek geometers.  The earliest known approximations date from around 1900 BC; they are 25/8 (Babylonia) and 256/81 (Egypt), both within 1 percent of the true value.  The Indian text Shatapatha Brahmana gives π as 339/108 ≈ 3.139.  The Books of Kings (600 BC) appears to suggest π = 3, which is notably worse than other estimates available at the time, although the interpretation of the passage is disputed.

Archimedes (287-212 BC) was the first to estimate π rigorously.   He realized that its magnitude can be bounded from below and above by inscribing circles in regular polygons and calculating the outer and inner polygons' respective perimeters.

By using the equivalent of 96-sided polygons, he proved that 223/71 < π < 22/7.  Taking the average of these values yields 3.1419.  In the following centuries, most significant development took place in India and China.  Around 480, the Chinese mathematician Zu Chongzhi gave the approximation π = 355/113, and showed that 3.1415926 < π < 3.1415927, which would stand as the most accurate value for π over the next 900 years.

 The Chudnovskys Brothers found the following formula in 1987 and used it to set several π computing records in the end of the 1980s, including the first calculation of over one billion (1,011,196,691) decimals in 1989.  It remains the formula of choice for π calculating software that runs on personal computers, as opposed to the supercomputers used to set modern records.

 

\frac{426880 \sqrt{10005}}{\pi} = \sum_{k=0}^\infty \frac{(6k)! (13591409 + 545140134k)}{(3k)!(k!)^3 (-640320)^{3k}}\!

  

PI TRIVIA

The Guinness-recognized record for remembered digits of π is 67,890 digits, held by Lu Chao, a 24-year-old graduate student from China.  It took him 24 hours and 4 minutes to recite to the 67,890th decimal place of π without an error.

 On June, 17th, 2009 Andriy Slyusarchuk, a Ukrainian neurosurgeon, medical doctor and professor claimed to have memorized 30 million digits of pi, which were printed in 20 volumes of text.  Although he did not recite the entire 30 million digits that he claims to have memorized, some media claim that he was able to recite ten randomly selected sequences from the printed text of the 30 million digits.

 Pi Day is observed in many schools.  At least one cheer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology includes "3.14159!"

 On November 7, 2005, alternative musician Kate Bush released the album, Aerial. The album contains the song "π" whose lyrics consist principally of Bush singing the digits of π to music, beginning with "3.14"

 In Carl Sagan's novel Contact, pi played a key role in the story and suggested that there was a message buried deep within the digits of pi placed there by whoever created the universe.  This part of the story was left out of the film adaption of the novel.
 

ALBERT EINSTEIN’S BIRTHDAY, MARCH 14th

Albert Einstein, the first child of the Jewish couple Hermann and Pauline Einstein, was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm, Germany.  Einstein learned to speak at a late age, he was considered a slow learner as a child, and he showed no particular aptitude for formal schooling.  In June 1880, his family moved to Munich where Hermann Einstein and his brother Jakob founded an electrical engineering company.  After the failure of his father's business in 1894 the Einsteins moved to Pavia, Italy.  Young Albert remained in Munich to finish school, but moved to Pavia to join his family after completing only one term.  Upon reaching Italy, he renounced his German citizenship, possibly to avoid obligatory military service, and became stateless.  At about the same time, Einstein “renounced his legal adherence to the Jewish religious community."
 

COMINGS AND GOINGS

            Comings:

  • Jim & Jackie Power were back at Jade Bay in early February.
  • Suzie & Jimmy Hudson, Brenda & Jerry Hill, and Judy & John Miles are all from the Harbor Club outside Atlanta, and they were visiting Denny & Diane at Solymar.
  • Macon & Susan Gravlee were back in S. Akumal once again.
  • Steve & Judy Holtz are back in Aventuras Akumal for a spell.
  • Ann DeSalvo was back in town with some friends in mid February.
  • Alice Blatner had her daughters, Melissa and Pamela (with new hubby Andrew), down at different times in February.
  • Mike & Vino McGetrick have returned to Punta Sur after an extended absence.
  • Lyne & Sage Dorsey are back enjoying Casa Luna in North Akumal.
  • Jill and daughter, Julie, were over from the UK visiting Tony & Judy James.
  • Tony, Joan, Cassie and Alex Gonzalez were back for President’s Week.
  • Terry Turner was spotted at the Lol Ha Beach Bar one Friday evening.
  • Jim Farrell has returned once more.
  • Richard Dooley and Kelly Zhuo are back in Playa Caribe.
  • Sam & Sharon Gobi are also back in Playa Caribe.
  • Diane & Jim Gburek, Lois & Larry Miller, and Dale & Ed Fahey are visiting the Mahans at Casa Solymar from the Harbor Club in Atlanta.
  • Sherwood Anders arrived back with no Bob, dogs, or cats.
  • Jana & Steve Boettger are coming to Akumal this month to celebrate Jana’s birthday.
  • Bob Anders will back in early March.
  •  

 Goings:

  • Richard & Arlene Pargot went off to Oxaca for a month.
     

ST. PATRICK’S DAY, MARCH 17th

St. Patrick is revered by Christians for establishing the church in Ireland during the fifth century AD.  The precise dates and details of his life are unclear, but some points are generally agreed: as a teen he was captured and sold into slavery in Ireland, and six years later he escaped to Gaul (now France) where he later became a monk.  Around 432 he returned to Ireland as a missionary and succeeded in converting many of the island's tribes to Christianity.  Late in life he wrote a brief text, Confessio, detailing his life and ministry.  His feast day, March 17, is celebrated as a day of Irish pride in many parts of the world.

A popular folk tale says that St. Patrick chased all snakes from Ireland, but there is no historical basis for this story.  Another folk tale, that he used shamrocks to teach about the holy Trinity, is also generally agreed to be a myth.  In Gaelic the saint's name is Padraig.

The day is the national holiday of the Irish people.  It is a bank holiday in Northern Ireland, and a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Montserrat, and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  In the rest of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and New Zealand, it is widely celebrated but is not an official holiday.

It became a feast day in the Roman Catholic Church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding in the early part of the 17th century, and is a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland.  The date of the feast is occasionally moved by church authorities when March 17 falls during Holy Week; this last happened in 2008 when Saint Patrick's Day was observed on March 15 in order to avoid it coinciding with Palm Sunday.
 

FULL MOON, MARCH 19th 

The Full Worm Moon is on Friday, March 19, at 12:10pm AST.

In this month the ground softens and the earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of the robins.  The more northern tribes knew this as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signals the end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night.  The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation.  This is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full moon of the spring season.  

This will also be the largest full moon of the year, because it will be near perigee, its closest point to the Earth.  So, get out the beach chair and sit by the Caribbean shore to watch this moon rise out of the sea at 6:10pm.  It could/should be spectacular!!
 

EQUINOX, MARCH 20th  

An equinox in astronomy is that moment in time (not a whole day) when the center of the Sun can be observed to be directly above the Earth's equator, and this month it occurs on March 20 at 5:31 AST.

There is either an equinox (autumn and spring) or a solstice (summer and winter) on approximately the 20th day of the last month of every quarter of the calendar year.  On a day which has an equinox, the center of the Sun will spend a nearly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on Earth, and night and day will be of nearly the same length.  The word equinox derives from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night).

In reality, the day is longer than the night at an equinox.  Commonly, the day is defined as the period that sunlight reaches the ground in the absence of local obstacles.  From Earth, the Sun appears as a disc and not a single point of light; so, when the center of the Sun is below the horizon, the upper edge is visible.  Furthermore, the atmosphere refracts light; so, even when the upper limb of the Sun is below the horizon, its rays reach over the horizon to the ground.  In sunrise/sunset tables, the assumed semi-diameter (apparent radius) of the sun is 16 minutes of arc and the atmospheric refraction is assumed to be 34 minutes of arc.  Their combination means that when the upper limb of Sun is on the visible horizon its center is 50 minutes of arc below the geometric horizon, which is the intersection with the celestial sphere of a horizontal plane through the eye of the observer.  These effects together make the day about 14 minutes longer than the night at the equator, and longer still at sites toward the poles.  The real equality of day and night only happens at places far enough from the equator to have at least a seasonal difference in daylength of 7 minutes, and occurs a few days towards the winter side of each equinox.

 The Sun has risen on the spring equinox at Dzibilchaltun.  On this day the temple itself frames the rising Sun through its central doorway.  At other times of the year, the Sun will appear to the right or left, which is either further to the north or south, deviating the furthest from this path we see here on the solstices.

WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN?

AKUMAL

North Akumal Road Committee
     There is a North Akumal Road Committee (NARC), and Russ Motley and Rhett Schober have taken on the responsibility to fix the road.  Apparently, there is $30,000 of seed money from an investor who is looking for matching funds from the North Akumal Community, and according to NARC, about $18,000 has already been committed.  However, NARC wants more than verbal pledges and commitments; it wants money in the bank – “show me the beef”.

            Rumor has it the new road will be called R3.  That’s “Rhett & Russ Road”

            NARC has formulated a Press Release directed at all of you who own or rent in North Akumal, and it can be found at North Akumal Road Project PR

 Belated Christmas News
 
This is a story that unfortunately has been falling through the cracks for the last two months, and now it is finally getting published.  Sorry for the delay Nan.

Nan Armstrong and her Green Eyes Management have a crèche contest every Christmas amongst the properties she manages.  Nan reports, “The maintenance employee on each of the properties we manage constructs a Nativity scene, given only the basic figures and a string of lights.  Dinero prizes are awarded based on the construction of the stable, placement of figures, creativity, effort, and day/night presentation.  This year’s first place winner is Manuel at Half Moon Bay, second place is Rene at Yool Caanal, and third place Armando at Casa Mayanah.  The crèches remained in place until the Twelfth Day of Christmas, so there was plenty of time to see them.

Photos of the crèches can be found in the Photo Gallery for GEM Crèche.

 Valentine’s Day Basket
  
During the Valentine’s Day dinner at Lol Ha, the huge Valentine’s Day basket was raffled off, and Cami Mazzola was the winner.  Looking good.  More photos can be seen at the Lol Ha Valentines Day Photo Gallery.
 

BIRTHDAY OF BENITO JUAREZ, MARCH 21st  

            Know Avenieda Juarez in Playa del Carmen?

March 21st is a National Holiday in Mexico to commemorate the birthday of Benito Juárez, who rose from humble origins to occupy the Presidency of the Republic on several occasions during the turbulent second half of the 19th century.

Benito Pablo Juárez García (March 21, 1806 – July 18, 1872) was a Zapotec Amerindian who served five terms as president of Mexico[1]: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872.  For resisting the French occupation, overthrowing the Empire, and restoring the Republic, as well as for his efforts to modernize the country, Juárez is often regarded as Mexico's greatest and most beloved leader.  Juárez was recognized by the United States as a ruler in exile during the French-controlled Second Mexican Empire, and got their support in reclaiming Mexico under the Monroe Doctrine after the United States Civil War ended.  Benito Juárez was the first Mexican leader who did not have a military background, and also the first full-blooded indigenous national to serve as President of Mexico and to lead a country in the Western Hemisphere in over 300 years.

Today Benito Juárez is remembered as being a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy, equal rights for his nation's indigenous peoples, lessening the great power that the Roman Catholic Church then held over Mexican politics, and the defense of national sovereignty.  The period of his leadership is known in Mexican history as La Reforma (the reform), and constituted a liberal political and social revolution with major institutional consequences: the expropriation of church lands, bringing the army under civilian control, liquidation of peasant communal land holdings, the separation of church and state in public affairs, and also led to the almost-complete disenfranchisement of bishops, priests, nuns and lay brothers.

Juárez's famous quotation continues to be well-remembered in Mexico: Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz, meaning "Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace."  It is inscribed on the coat of arms of Oaxaca.

One of the reasons Benito Juárez is seen as representing Mexico is because his indigenous roots and seminary education seem to reflect the national mixture of races and cultures. Indeed, Juárez did much to overcome the prejudice against indigenous heritage, so prevalent in the 19th Century. He was fiercely anti-clerical, believing that the excessive power of the Catholic Church was one of the main obstacles to the development of the country. He led the nation in a struggle against neocolonialism and French intervention, earning the title of "Benemérito de las Américas", or deserving of the Americas’ praise.
 

BASICS OF DARTS

Tournament dart boards
   
Tournament quality bristle dart boards are made of natural sisal rope fiber.  Sisal fiber is made from the leaves of the Agave plant, the same plant species from which tequila is made.  These rope fibers are compressed under tons of pressure and banded with steel, then bonded to a non-warping backboard.

The surface is later sanded smooth and then screen-printed with the appropriate colors. Finally, the wires attached and the number ring attached with clips, to allow easy rotation of worn areas.

The English company NODOR first developed bristle dartboards in the 1930's, and introduced commercially in 1936.  Before that time, dartboards were generally made of elm wood, although the NODOR company also made a plasticene dartboard.

It is a common misconception that dartboards are made of animal hair, such as pig bristles, camel hair, or horse hair.  This is a myth... No such animal fiber boards have ever been made!

A regulation board is 17 3⁄4 inches (451 mm) in diameter and is divided into 20 radial  sections. Each section is separated with metal wire or a thin band of sheet metal.  The best dartboards have the thinnest wire, so that the darts have less chance of hitting a wire and bouncing out.  The numbers indicating the various scoring sections of the board are also normally made of wire, especially on tournament-quality boards, but may be printed directly on the board instead.

In the standard game, the dartboard is hung so that the bullseye is 5 ft 8 in (or 173 cm) from the floor—eye-level for a six-foot (183 cm) person.  The oche (pronounced /ɒki/)—the line behind which the throwing player must stand—is generally 7 ft 9¼ in (or 237 cm) from the face of the dartboard measured horizontally.

Also, the spelling "Bristol Dartboard" is incorrect.  The name "Bristle Dartboard" refers to the sisal rope material that the board is made of, not the city "Bristol".

 Scoring
 
The standard dartboard is divided into 20 numbered sections, scoring from 1 to 20 points, by wires running from the small central circle to the outer circular wire.  Circular wires within the outer wire subdivide each section into single, double and triple areas. 

Various games can be played (and still are played informally) using the standard dartboard. However, in the official game, any dart landing inside the outer wire scores as follows:

·         Hitting one of the large portions of each of the numbered sections, traditionally alternately colored black and white, scores the points value of that section.

·         Hitting the thin inner portions of these sections, roughly halfway between the outer wire and the central circle colored red and green, scores triple the points value of that section.

·         Hitting the thin outer portions of these sections, again colored red or green, scores double the points value of that section.  The double-20 is often referred to as double-top, reflecting the 20's position on the dartboard.

·         The central circle is divided into a green outer ring worth 25 points (known as "outer", "outer bull", or "iris") and a red inner circle (usually known as "bull", "inner bull" or "double bull"), worth 50 points.  The term "bullseye" can mean either the whole central part of the board or just the inner red section.  The term "bull's ring" usually means just the green outer ring.

·         Hitting outside the outer wire scores nothing.

·         Any dart that does not remain in the board after throwing (for example, a dart that hits a wire and bounces out of the board or drops out with the impact of a later throw) also scores nothing; exception should be noted if play is on any electronic board: darts falling out are counted.

·         The highest score possible with three darts is 180, commonly known as a "ton 80" (100 points is called a ton), obtained when all three darts land in the triple 20.

 Games
The game of '01 is the classic game of Darts, played world-wide.  The "01" refers to the fact that the game is played from a certain number of points, always ending in "01".  For example, the common tournament game of 501 (pronounced "Five-Oh-One"), is played from 501 points.  Other variations are 301, 601, 801, 1001.  The higher point games are usually played by teams.

The object of the game is simple, each player starts with the same score (501, for example) and the first to reduce his score to zero wins.

Players take turns throwing three darts each and subtract all points scored from their own beginning score (501).  Each player removes his darts and marks his score before the opponent throws.  Darts that bounce off or miss the board do not score and cannot be re-thrown that turn.

The difficult part of the game lies in the finish, known as "going-out".  To win, you must reach zero before your opponent, but you must also reach exactly zero, and the dart that brings the score down to zero must be a double.  Doubles consist of the numbers in the outside narrow scoring band and the center (small) bullseye which counts as 50 points and is an actual double of the outer 25-point bull.

For instance, if you have 2 points left, you must hit a double-1 to bring the score down to zero.  From 18 points, a double-9 would work.  f you have an odd number left (a number that cannot be divided by 2), then darts must be thrown to reduce the score to an even number, before throwing at a double.  For instance, there is no possible double out from 19, so a way to finish would be to throw a single-3 first, reducing the score to 16.  The 16 can then be "taken-out" by throwing a double-8.

The games of 501, 601, 801, 1001, etc. are all played the same way, except for starting with more points.  The game of 301 is different, however.  Because of the potential for a very short game, 301 has an added difficulty, the game must start with a double.  That is, each player must hit a double (any double) to start scoring.  Each players scoring begins with the score of the first dart that hits a double.

There is a lot more to consider in darts, like material of the darts, the shafts, flights (wings or fins), and the throwing motion.

A LOT more on darts can be found at CYBER/DARTS, among many other sites.
 

BASICS OF CURLING

Laugh if you will, but this is a very strategic and interesting game.

Two four-person rinks (teams) compete, with each rink throwing (sliding) 8 rocks per "end" of play. Teams alternate turns, and each player throws (slides) two stones.  Each end starts with the leads (first players) alternating throws, followed by the seconds, then the thirds (more commonly known as vice-skips) and finally the skips, who throw last, plot strategy, and study how the rocks move on the ice.

Judicious sweeping in front of the moving stones can affect both the distance traveled, and the amount of curling a stone does on its way down the sheet of ice.

Scoring is simple.  The team receives one point for each of their rocks that are within the house and are closer to the center than any of the opposition's stones.  The team that scores throws first in the next end.

A game is typically 8 ends (10 ends in competitions) and last about 2 hours.  The ice sheet is 15 feet wide and 138 feet long from hack to hack (rubber footrests where the curling delivery begins).  The houses at each end are 12 feet in diameter, with rings of 8 feet, 4 feet and one foot (the 'button') painted into the ice.  At the center of the house is the tee.  The stones weigh 42 pounds, and it's also 42 yards from hack to tee.  More curling terms are listed in our glossary.  Detailed rules are available at the World Curling Federation website.  Information on the fundamentals of play are available at the United States Curling Association website.  And, naturally, you can find lots of good info at Wikipedia Curling.
 

THE CURLING STONE

This is fascinating.

The curling stone or rock is made of granite

An old-style curling stone (also sometimes rock, North America) as defined by the World Curling Federation is a thick stone disc weighing between 38 and 44 pounds (17 and 20 kg) with a handle attached to the top.  The maximum allowable circumference is 36 inches (910 mm).  The minimum height is 4.5 inches (110 mm).  The handle is attached by a bolt running vertically through a hole in the centre of the stone.  The handle allows the stone to be gripped and rotated upon release; on properly prepared ice, the stone's path will bend (curl) in the direction the front edge of the stone is turning, especially as the stone slows.  The handles are colored to identify the stones by team.  Two popular colors in major tournaments are red and yellow.  The only part of the stone in contact with the ice is the running surface, a narrow, flat annulus or ring, 0.25 to 0.50 inch (6.3 to 13 mm) wide and about 5 inches (130 mm) in diameter; the sides of the stone bulge convex down to the ring and the inside of the ring is hollowed concave to clear the ice.

Traditionally, curling stones were made from two specific types of granite called "Blue  Hone" and "Ailsa Craig Common Green", found on Ailsa Craig (see photo on left), an island off the Ayrshire coast in Scotland (see photo to right).  Blue Hone has very low water absorption, which prevents the action of freezing and melting water from eroding the stone.  Ailsa Craig Common Green granite is a lesser quality granite than Blue Hone.  In the past, most curling stones were made from Blue Hone; however, the island is now a wildlife reserve and the quarry has closed.  The second location where granite comes from to manufacture curling stones from is in Northern Wales.  This granite is called "Trefor" and comes in shades of blue/gray and red/brown.  The quarry in Wales that supplies the granite to its exclusive curling stone manufacturing company in Canada, Canada Curling Stone Co., is a full and active quarry, and it is not anticipated to ever run out of this granite for making curling stones.  Canada Curling Stone Co. has been manufacturing curling stones since 1992.  The cost of new Trefor granite curling stones is about $600 CAD a stone.

Kays of Scotland has been making curling stones since 1851 and has the exclusive rights to Ailsa Craig granite, granted by the Marquess of Ailsa, whose family has owned the island since 1560.  The last "harvest" of Ailsa Craig granite by Kays took place in 2002.  Kays have said that they harvested 1,500 tons, sufficient to fill anticipated orders through at least 2020.  Kays has been the exclusive manufacturer of curling stones for all three Olympics where curling has been a medal sport.
 

EVENTS

Robin’s “Best Shirt Award on the 4th had lots of company this month with regards to “Events.”  Check out the Photo Galleries for the other Events, which include:

Green Eyes Management Creche Contest in December.

Groundhog Day on February 2.

Super Bowl Party on February 6.

St Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance, February 14.

Harbor Club First Wave, February 14.

CEA Silent Auction on February 24.

Oscar Night on February 27.

 

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