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The Dagda

The Dagda is an important god in Irish mythology. One of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Dagda is portrayed as a father-figure and druid, he is associated with fertility, agriculture and strength, as well as magic and wisdom. He can control the weather and crops, as well as time and the seasons, he is described as a large bearded man or giant wearing a hooded cloak. He owns a magic staff, club, or mace which kills with one end and brings to life with the other, a cauldron which never runs empty, a magic harp which can control men's emotions and change the seasons, he is said to dwell in Brú na Bóinne. Other places associated with or named after him include Uisneach, Grianan of Aileach, Lough Neagh; the Dagda is said to be husband of the lover of Boann. His children include Aengus, Bodb Derg, Cermait and Midir; the Dagda's name is thought to mean "the good god" or "the great god". His other names include Ruad Rofhessa and Dáire; the death and ancestral god Donn may have been a form of the Dagda, he has similarities with the harvest figure Crom Dubh.

Several tribal groupings saw the Dagda as an ancestor and were named after him, such as the Uí Echach and the Dáirine. The Dagda has been likened to the Germanic god Odin, the Gaulish god Sucellos, the Roman god Dīs Pater; the name Dagda is believed to come from Proto-Celtic: *Dagodeiwos, "the good god" or "the great god" but may be derived from the Proto-Indo-European *Dhagho-deiwos "shining divinity", the first element being cognate with the English word "day", a byword for a deification of a notion such as "splendour". This etymology would tie in well with Dagda's mythic association with the sun and the earth, with kingship and excellence in general. *Dhago-deiwos would have been inherited into Proto-Celtic as *Dago-deiwos, thereby punning with the Proto-Celtic word *dago-s "good". The Dagda has several other epithets which reflect aspects of his character. Eochu or Eochaid Ollathair Ruad Rofhessa Dáire Aed Fer Benn Cera, Cerrce Easal EogabalThe name Eochu is a diminutive form of Eochaid, which has spelling variants of Eochaidh and Echuid.

The death and ancestral god Donn may have been a form of the Dagda, sometimes called Dagda Donn. Tales depict the Dagda as a figure of immense power, he is said to own a magic club or mace which could kill nine men with one blow. It was called the lorg anfaid, his magic cauldron was known as the coire ansic and was said to be bottomless, from which no man left unsatisfied. It was said to have a ladle so big. Uaithne known as "the Four Angled Music", was a richly ornamented magic harp made of oak which, when the Dagda played it, put the seasons in their correct order, he possessed two pigs, one of, always growing whilst the other was always roasting, ever-laden fruit trees. The Dagda was one of the kings of the Tuatha De Danann; the Tuatha Dé Danann are the race of supernatural beings who conquered the Fomorians, who inhabited Ireland prior to the coming of the Milesians. The Mórrígan is described as his wife, his daughter was Brígh, his lover was Boann, after whom the River Boyne is named, though she was married to Elcmar.

Prior to the battle with the Fomorians, he coupled with the goddess of war, the Mórrígan, on Samhain in exchange for a plan of battle. Despite his great power and prestige, the Dagda is sometimes depicted as oafish and crude comical, wearing a short, rough tunic that covers his rump, dragging his great penis on the ground; such features are thought to be the additions of Christian redactors for comedic purposes. The Middle Irish language Coir Anmann paints a less clownish picture: "He was a beautiful god of the heathens, for the Tuatha Dé Danann worshipped him: for he was an earth-god to them because of the greatness of his power."The Dagda has similarities with the harvest figure Crom Dubh. The Dagda is said to be husband of the Morrígan, called his "envious wife", his children include Aengus and Aed, Brigit and Bodb Derg. He is said to have two brothers and Ogma, but this may be an instance of the tendency to triplicate deities. Elsewhere the Dagda is linked with Ogma, the two are called "the two brothers."

In the Dindsenchas, the Dagda is given a daughter named Ainge, for whom he makes a twig basket or tub that always leaks when the tide is in and never leaks when it is going out. The Dagda's father is named Elatha son of Delbeath. Englec, the daughter of Elcmar, is named as a consort of the Dagda and the mother of his "swift son". Echtgi the loathesome is another daughter of the Dagda's named in the Banshenchas. Before the Second Battle of Maig Tuired the Dagda built a fortress for Bres called Dún Brese and was forced by the Fomorian kings Elatha and Tethra to build raths. In the lead up to the Second Battle of Maig Tuired, when Lugh asks Dagda what power he will wield over the Fomorian host, he responds that he " will take the side of the men of Erin


The Diavolezza is a mountain viewpoint above the Val Bernina in Graubünden. It is located between Munt Pers and Piz Trovat. At the top station, there is a restaurant with a panoramic terrace, as well as a hotel offering both hotel-class and bunk-style accommodations; the Diavolezza is one of the ski areas of the Upper Engadine. The skiing area is connected to that of Piz Lagalb; the two areas are promoted as one, called Diavolezza-Lagalb. The Diavolezza-Lagalb area is known for its difficult slopes, all red and black, as well as the good snow conditions lasting as long as May. Popular is the difficult 10 kilometres slope down the Morteratsch Glacier to the Morteratsch railway station; each month at full moon, there is moonlight skiing in the evening. “La Diavolezza” – The beautiful she-devil Once upon a time, many years ago, there lived on high a magnificent mountain fairy-queen. She lived in her mountain stronghold high up between Chapütschöl and Munt Pers, a place where, among towering crags and vast expanses of rocky scree, a deep-blue lake set among a flower-strewn mountain pasture mirrors the sunlight, where herds of sprightly chamois gambol around and graze on the lush green grass, where grouse and moorhen cluck and cackle, take flight and elegantly glide to the ground to feed and cackle some more, where wide-eyed mountain hare daydream suddenly start and dash in a long-limbed gallop.

Hunters spotted this magnificent she-spirit – and only fleetingly – but when they did, they gazed fondly as she moved across the rock faces of the Munt Pers to the Lej da la Diavolezza to bathe in its refreshing waters. With time the young huntsmen became quite besotted, indiscreet, they followed her, protected as she always was by her herd of chamois, across the rocky cliffs to her fortress of stone. No-one knows what happened then. One hunter after the other disappeared; such was the fate of a handsome youth from the village, who never returned from the hunt. They searched for him high and low, yet in vain, in the end forced to assume he had fallen into a glacier crevasse on Munt Pers or plummeted to his death. Indeed, anyone thereafter who at nightfall still lingered among Bernina Massif could hear the wailing voice of the Diavolezza borne on the drifting wind, calling: mort ais Aratsch; this story has been told from one generation to the next and, in time, the beautiful alpine meadow in the caldera of the Bernina group was named Alp Morteratsch.

But still the Diavolezza would not rest, not until the glacier had inched its way down and covered the entire mountain alp with ice and scree, right down to the valley. Only did she leave the region, lamenting davent dal Munt dal Pers – and was never seen again. Swisstopo maps Diavolezza Current weather and forecasts for the Diavolezza

Road surface

A road surface or pavement is the durable surface material laid down on an area intended to sustain vehicular or foot traffic, such as a road or walkway. In the past, gravel road surfaces and granite setts were extensively used, but these surfaces have been replaced by asphalt or concrete laid on a compacted base course. Asphalt mixtures have been used in pavement construction since the beginning of the twentieth century; these roads are of unmetalled roads. The metalled roadways are made to sustain vehicular load, so these type of roads are made in the places where a lot of vehicles cross daily. Unmetalled roads are the roads which are rough and are known as gravel roads; these roads are not metalled and so they can't sustain a lot of weight. So, the reason that these roads have bumps. Road surfaces are marked to guide traffic. Today, permeable paving methods are beginning to be used for low-impact walkways. Pavements are crucial to countries such as US and Canada, which depend on road transportation.

Therefore, research projects such as Long-Term Pavement Performance are launched to optimize the life-cycle of different road surfaces. Asphalt, sometimes called flexible pavement due to the nature in which it distributes loads, has been used since the 1920s; the viscous nature of the bitumen binder allows asphalt concrete to sustain significant plastic deformation, although fatigue from repeated loading over time is the most common failure mechanism. Most asphalt surfaces are laid on a gravel base, at least as thick as the asphalt layer, although some'full depth' asphalt surfaces are laid directly on the native subgrade. In areas with soft or expansive subgrades such as clay or peat, thick gravel bases or stabilization of the subgrade with Portland cement or lime may be required. Polypropylene and polyester geosynthetics have been used for this purpose and in some northern countries, a layer of polystyrene boards have been used to delay and minimize frost penetration into the subgrade. Depending on the temperature at which it is applied, asphalt is categorized as hot mix, warm mix, or cold mix.

Hot mix asphalt is applied at temperatures over 300 °F with a free floating screed. Warm mix asphalt is applied at temperatures of 200–250 °F, resulting in reduced energy usage and emissions of volatile organic compounds. Cold mix asphalt is used on lower-volume rural roads, where hot mix asphalt would cool too much on the long trip from the asphalt plant to the construction site. An asphalt concrete surface will be constructed for high-volume primary highways having an average annual daily traffic load greater than 1200 vehicles per day. Advantages of asphalt roadways include low noise low cost compared with other paving methods, perceived ease of repair. Disadvantages include less durability than other paving methods, less tensile strength than concrete, the tendency to become slick and soft in hot weather and a certain amount of hydrocarbon pollution to soil and groundwater or waterways. In the mid-1960s, rubberized asphalt was used for the first time, mixing crumb rubber from used tires with asphalt.

While a potential use for tires that would otherwise fill landfills and present a fire hazard, rubberized asphalt has shown greater incidence of wear in freeze-thaw cycles in temperate zones due to non-homogeneous expansion and contraction with non-rubber components. The application of rubberized asphalt is more temperature-sensitive, in many locations can only be applied at certain times of the year. Study results of the long-term acoustic benefits of rubberized asphalt are inconclusive. Initial application of rubberized asphalt may provide 3–5 decibels reduction in tire-pavement source noise emissions. Compared to traditional passive attenuating measures, rubberized asphalt provides shorter-lasting and lesser acoustic benefits at much greater expense. Concrete surfaces are created using a concrete mix of Portland cement, coarse aggregate and water. In all modern mixes there will be various admixtures added to increase workability, reduce the required amount of water, mitigate harmful chemical reactions and for other beneficial purposes.

In many cases there will be Portland cement substitutes added, such as fly ash. This can improve its physical properties; the material is applied in a freshly mixed slurry, worked mechanically to compact the interior and force some of the cement slurry to the surface to produce a smoother, denser surface free from honeycombing. The water allows the mix to combine molecularly in a chemical reaction called hydration. Concrete surfaces have been classified into three common types: jointed plain, jointed reinforced and continuously reinforced; the one item that distinguishes each type is the jointing system used to control crack development. One of the major advantages of concrete pavements is they are stronger and more durable than asphalt roadways, they can be grooved to provide a durable skid-resistant surface. A notable disadvantage is that they can have a higher initial cost, can be more time-consuming to construct; this cost can be offset through the long life cycle of the pavement. Concrete pavement can be maintained over time utilizing a series of methods known as concrete pavement restoration which include diamond grinding, dowel bar retrofits and crack sealing

Church of Sts. Simon and Jude (Prague)

The Church of Sts. Simon and Jude, situated next to the Brutalist Hotel InterContinental on U Milosrdných Street in the Old Town of Prague, dates back to 1354, when a hospital was founded on the site; the building was adjoined by a chapel, sanctified by bishop Arnošt of Pardubice, a close friend of Emperor Charles IV. In 1615–1920 the chapel was enlarged to a hall construction with galleries and chapels, windows in the Late Gothic style were added. In 1620 the new church, a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles, was erected by members of the Protestant sect Bohemian Brethren, was consecrated on July 14 of that year, after Battle of White Mountain, was entrusted as a Christmas gift by Emperor Ferdinand II to the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God, who to this day own the complex. About a century Sts. Simon and Jude was remodelled in the High Baroque style, apparent to this day in its interior decorations—altars, the pulpit, tromp d’oeil murals and marquetry, in the loft was installed a pipe organ by Andreas Wambetsser of north Bohemia, which in combination with the sanctuary's acoustics would attract W. A. Mozart and J. Haydn to perform there.

Among artists involved were Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff, Josef Hager and V. V. Reiner, author of the main altar piece; the read author Alois Jirásek, whose works would be coopted by the Communist Party and reissued as required textbooks, wrote about the Church of Sts. Simon and Jude and the hospital to which it is adjoined in his 5-volume historical novel F. L. Věk. In 1847, per Jirásek's account, a medical surgeon named Celestine Opitz performed the world's first operation under anesthesia at St. Francis enabling the hospital and church to draw support from Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, Edvard Benes and Pope Pius XI. Among Opitz' colleagues at St. Francis was the surgeon/composer Jan Theobald Held, a musical figure made famous by his patriotic characterization in F. L. Věk. C. 1950 the church was deconsecrated. Over the next four decades the structure served as a warehouse. In 1989–1993, with the fall of communism, the city of Prague endeavored to restore Sts. Simon and Jude, including the installation of floor heating to facilitate comfortable use year-round.

The church was never reconsecrated, the maintenance of Sts. Simon and Jude was handed over to Prague Symphony Orchestra in exchange for its use as a concert hall. In 2000 the historic pipe organ was overhauled by organ builders Jaroslav Tůma and Vladimir Slajch, the improved instrument was unveiled at an inaugural concert by Michal Novenko. "The sound is clearer more lively, thanks to the new old-fashioned bellows," Novenko told Prague Post. "The organ master needs to think in the spirit of the original organ builder. It's a solitary job, much more difficult than building a new organ."Nowadays, chamber and organ concerts are held throughout the year

2000 Finnish presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Finland on 16 January 2000, with a second round on 6 February. The result was a victory for Tarja Halonen of the Social Democratic Party, who became the country's first female President. During the elections Halonen was the incumbent Minister for Foreign Affairs. President Martti Ahtisaari had indicated in January 1999 that he would accept the Social Democratic Party's nomination for the 2000 presidential elections, but only if no presidential primary was held. However, Jacob Söderman announced his candidacy at the start of April 1999, during the final week of that month, Ahtisaari announced that he would not seek the Social Democratic presidential candidacy. In his memoirs, Ahtisaari claims that Tarja Halonen badly wanted to become President, a claim that Halonen has denied. There were three other female presidential candidates in 2000: Riitta Uosukainen of the National Coalition, Elisabeth Rehn of the Swedish People's Party, Heidi Hautala of the Greens. Halonen's popularity rose during the last few months before the first round of the 2000 presidential elections, while Uosukainen's and Rehn's popularity declined.

Former Prime Minister Esko Aho, the Centrist presidential candidate, emerged as the second most popular candidate. Halonen received votes from women across party lines, she was helped by her lack of a major left-wing opponent, by her reputation as a tolerant, human rights-oriented person; the election was decided by over 100,000 votes, the voter turnout was much higher than in the 1996 municipal elections or in the 1999 parliamentary elections

Lester Abram

Lester C. Abram, Jr. is an American basketball player. Abram was named team captain during his senior year at University of Michigan, making him the Wolverines' first three-time captain, he has made quite a profile throughout Michigan. Playing in 120 career games, he tied for No. 18 all-time. He started 106 career games, he scored 1,274 career points, shot 82.93 percent for career on free throws, had 345 free throws made. As well, he set sophomore records for free-throw percentage in a season, he has played a career of the twelfth of all time. Abram was coached by Robert Rogers. In his prep career, he averaged 19.0 points per game and came in third for the 2002 Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award. Abram missed only one career game. Additionally, he was a two-year captain, playing four different positions. During his freshman year, he averaged 14.1 points and led Pontiac Northern to the Michigan Class A State semifinal game. As a sophomore, he led Pontiac Northern to a 17 -- 5 record; as a junior, he averaged 20.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists and led Pontiac Northern to the Class A State Championship title.

His senior year, he averaged 10.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocks. Abram led Pontiac Northern to a 23–4 record and the Class A State title, where he earned co-Most Valuable Player honors. In 2000, Abram made the Detroit News Class A All-State as an honorable mention, All-Metro honorable mention, All-North second team, Detroit Free Press Class A All-State honorable mention, USA Today's Michigan “Players to Watch”. Moreover, he was selected as a member of the following teams: Top 100 selection for the McDonald's All-American Team Detroit News Dream Team All-Metro first team All-North first team Detroit Free Press Dream Team All-Metro first team All-North first team Oakland Press Oakland County Dream Team Associated Press Class A All-State first team Abram won U-M's 2003 Iron Man Award and U-M's 2003 Award for Outstanding Free Throw Shooting, he played in all 30 games. Following an 0 -- 6 start, he helped U-M to third place in the Big Ten, he helped his team win at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion December 28, 2002.

Next, Lester helped U-M break an eight-game losing streak against Michigan State on January 26, 2003. His first collegiate game and start was against St. Bonaventure at the Paradise Jam Tournament on November 23, where he had 11 points, 3 rebounds and one block. Abram set U-M's freshman record shooting 85.6 percent on free throws. During one 18-game stretch, he never missed a shot from the free throw line, he scored in double figures in 16 games. He had one game scoring 20 or more points, with a season-high 20 points against IUPUI on January 4, 2003. Abram was the highest scorer in six games. In all, he averaged 4.4 rebounds per game. His season-high nine rebounds was in a game against Iowa on, he played 32.1 minutes per game. Abram was a member of 2004 all-Big Ten, third team, he won U-M's 2004 Bill Buntin Most Valuable Player Award, U-M's 2004 Travis Conlan Sportsmanship Award, U-M's 2004 Award for Outstanding Free Throw Shooting, U-M's 2004 Iron Man Award, CBS Player of the Game against Wisconsin on February 22, 2004.

His next honors were Four-time ESPN-Plus Player of the Game. He missed three games after suffering a left shoulder injury in a collision with Iowa's Greg Brunner in the Big Ten Tournament. Abram came back with 17 points, five rebounds, two steals in a game against Hawaii on March 24, 2004; this injury caused Abram to snap a streak of playing in 58 consecutive games. Abram lead his team in scoring 12 games. On January 27, 2004, vs. Northwestern, he scored a career-high 27 points. Abram tied UM All-American Cazzie Russell for U-M sophomore shooting record 84.3% on free throws. He averaged 4.2 rebounds per game. Abram next had a career high of 10 rebounds against Iowa State on February 14, 2004, he led the UOM in rebounding for six games. This rewarded him 13 points and 10 rebounds. Total, Abram had 41 assists, nine blocks, 31 steals. Abram was voted this season one of three team captains. Abram missed 28 total games of the 2004–05 season following surgery to left shoulder on December 16, 2004. Abram played in three games averaging 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 28.7 minutes.

And Shooting 90.9 percent on free throws. Abram helped the University of Michigan to its first top 25 poll in eight years, he led them to back-to-back wins over top 25 teams for the first time since 1994. Honorably, he was voted as one of four team captains. Abram was ESPN-Plus Player of the Game against Northwestern on January 18, he started 18 of 21 games. His return was in the first round of the Big Ten Minnesota, he played thirteen minutes, received two points, three rebounds, two resists