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Tic-tac-toe and crosses, or Xs and Os is a paper-and-pencil game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The player who succeeds in placing three of their marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row is the winner; the following example game is won by the first player, X: Players soon discover that the best play from both parties leads to a draw. Hence, tic-tac-toe is most played by young children, who have not yet discovered the optimal strategy; because of the simplicity of tic-tac-toe, it is used as a pedagogical tool for teaching the concepts of good sportsmanship and the branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the searching of game trees. It is straightforward to write a computer program to play tic-tac-toe or to enumerate the 765 different positions or the 26,830 possible games up to rotations and reflections on this space; the game can be generalized to an m,n,k-game in which two players alternate placing stones of their own color on an m×n board, with the goal of getting k of their own color in a row.

Tic-tac-toe is the -game. Harary's generalized tic-tac-toe is an broader generalization of tic-tac-toe, it can be generalized as a nd game. Tic-tac-toe is the game where n equals 3 and d equals 2. If played properly, the game will end in a draw. Games played on three-in-a-row boards can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where such game boards have been found on roofing tiles dating from around 1300 BCE. An early variation of tic-tac-toe was played in the Roman Empire, around the first century BC, it was called terni lapilli and instead of having any number of pieces, each player only had three, thus they had to move them around to empty spaces to keep playing. The game's grid markings have been found chalked all over Rome. Another related ancient game is three men's morris, played on a simple grid and requires three pieces in a row to finish, Picaria, a game of the Puebloans; the different names of the game are more recent. The first print reference to "noughts and crosses", the British name, appeared in 1858, in an issue of Notes and Queries.

The first print reference to a game called "tick-tack-toe" occurred in 1884, but referred to "a children's game played on a slate, consisting in trying with the eyes shut to bring the pencil down on one of the numbers of a set, the number hit being scored". "Tic-tac-toe" may derive from "tick-tack", the name of an old version of backgammon first described in 1558. The US renaming of "noughts and crosses" as "tic-tac-toe" occurred in the 20th century. In 1952, OXO, developed by British computer scientist Alexander S. Douglas for the EDSAC computer at the University of Cambridge, became one of the first known video games; the computer player could play perfect games of tic-tac-toe against a human opponent. In 1975, tic-tac-toe was used by MIT students to demonstrate the computational power of Tinkertoy elements; the Tinkertoy computer, made out of only Tinkertoys, is able to play tic-tac-toe perfectly. It is on display at the Museum of Science, Boston; when considering only the state of the board, after taking into account board symmetries, there are only 138 terminal board positions.

A combinatorics study of the game shows that when "X" makes the first move every time, the game is won as follows: 91 distinct positions are won by 44 distinct positions are won by 3 distinct positions are drawn A player can play a perfect game of tic-tac-toe if each time it is their turn to play, they choose the first available move from the following list, as used in Newell and Simon's 1972 tic-tac-toe program. Win: If the player has two in a row, they can place a third to get three in a row. Block: If the opponent has two in a row, the player must play the third themselves to block the opponent. Fork: Create an opportunity where the player has two ways to win. Blocking an opponent's fork: If there is only one possible fork for the opponent, the player should block it. Otherwise, the player should block all forks in any way that allows them to create two in a row. Otherwise, the player should create a two in a row to force the opponent into defending, as long as it doesn't result in them creating a fork.

For example, if "X" has two opposite corners and "O" has the center, "O" must not play a corner in order to win. Center: A player marks the center. Opposite corner: If the opponent is in the corner, the player plays the opposite corner. Empty corner: The player plays in a corner square. Empty side: The player plays in a middle square on any of the 4 sides; the first player, who shall be designated "X", has 3 possible positions to mark during the first turn. Superficially, it might seem that there are 9 possible positions, corresponding to the 9 squares in the grid. However, by rotating the board, we will find that in the first turn, every corner mark is strategically equivalent to every other corner mark; the same is true of every edge mark. For strategy purposes, there are therefore only three possible first marks: edge, or center. Player X can force a draw from any of these starting marks.

Satureja thymbra

Satureja thymbra known as savory of Crete, whorled savory, pink savory, Roman hyssop, is a perennial-green plant of the family Lamiaceae, having scented leaves, endemic to Libya, southeastern Europe from Sardinia to Turkey. The dwarf shrub is noted for its dark-green leaves, grows to a height of 20–50 cm. bearing pink to purple flowers which blossom between late March and late May to early June. The semi-shrub grows in Mediterranean woodlands and scrubland, adapting well to higher elevations, but seen on rocky limestone gullies as an undergrowth, alongside dirt roads. In Israel, the plant is found in the Mount Carmel region, south of Haifa, as well as in the mountainous district of Upper Galilee, in Samaria and in the Judean mountains, thriving in areas where the soils are terra rossa and hard limestone, but in chalk; the plant is found along the coastal plains, or in the Jordan valley. The leaves of the aromatic plant Satureja thymbra have numerous glandular trichomes of two morphologically distinct types: glandular hairs and glandular scales.

The leaves are opposite and smooth. The flowers grow in whorls, range from pink to purple, its fruit pods are schizocarps. Satureja thymbra has a fuscous-brown bark, with many erect young shoots, somewhat tetragonal, gland-dotted and pubescent with short downy white hairs, its leaves are sessile extending in condensed clusters of inflorescence, consisting of a pair of sessile cymes arranged around an axis and spaced, with numerous lanceolate bracts measuring about 5 mm long and 2 mm wide. An analysis of the plant's chemical composition reveals that the Satureja thymbra, of the kind grown in Israel, contains a high content of the chemicals γ-terpinene, p-cymene, with the highest concentration being that of carvacrol. Other independent studies revealed the main compounds of the essential oil ranging at varying levels. Air dried aerial parts from S. thymbra collected in Lebanon and which were submitted to steam distillation using a Clevenger-type apparatus to produce the essential oil were tested.

The extracted oil was dried using anhydrous magnesium sulfate and stored at 4°C. Analysis revealed that the Lebanese Satureja thymbra oil is characterized by high amounts of γ-terpinene and thymol; the pesticidal property of the plant's volatile essential oil and other constituents was tested against an adult tick, the result being that high concentrations of this oil resulted in the mortality of the tick. The crushed leaves of this plant have more of a pungent taste and smell than the true hyssop, for which reason it is not used today as a spice, except in Lebanon, where it is still used as a herbal tea in Lebanese traditional medicine. In ancient times, whorled savory was used as a spice in Greece. In Mishnaic times, the whorled savory was called sī'ah in Hebrew, is mentioned in rabbinic literature along with eizov and qurnit, three herbal plants that grew in the wild. In ancient times in Palestine, water in which whorled savory has been steeped was used to flavor meats, skewered and placed over hot coals for roasting.

Dioscorides, in the Third Book of his De Materia Medica, alludes to the plant, bringing down its medicinal uses in his day. In religious usage, although it is related to the biblical hyssop, it was considered a different species, thus invalid to be brought in the purification ritual where true hyssop was used in the preparation of the sprinkling water to purify those defiled by corpse uncleanness, its medicinal use, when concocted into a tea, is said to aid against digestive problems, colic pains, intestinal cramps and anorexia. In Israel, the plant Satureja thymbra has protected status, making it a criminal offence to harvest it. Thymus capitatus

1991 Liverpool Walton by-election

The Liverpool Walton by-election was held on 4 July 1991, following the death of the Labour Party Member of Parliament Eric Heffer for Liverpool Walton, on 27 May. The constituency had become a safe Labour seat under Heffer, known as being on the left of the party and a member of the Campaign Group; the Trotskyist Militant group, using entryist tactics was working within the Labour Party, had gained control of Liverpool City Council in 1982. The city had become a significant base for the group; when Heffer announced his retirement, Lesley Mahmood, a "Broad Left" councillor and a member of Militant, stood for the Labour nomination. Peter Kilfoyle, the Labour Party organiser in the city since 1985, gained the nomination by a narrow margin. Mahmood stood as a "Walton Real Labour" candidate. Several other candidates stood; the Liberal Democrat candidate was Paul Clark, a local councillor, the Liberal Party candidate in the 1987 general election. The Conservatives, who had little support in the constituency, although they had held it until 1964, stood Berkeley Greenwood.

Screaming Lord Sutch stood for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, George Lee-Delisle stood on a platform advocating proportional representation. Kilfoyle was able to win the election, taking a majority of the votes cast, although 11.3% down on Heffer's result in the previous general election. The Liberal Democrats gained from the division in the Labour Party and increased their vote to come second. Mahmood was only able to take a distant third place with 6.5% of the vote. The Conservatives were beaten into fourth, for the first time in Britain since the 1983 Bermondsey by-election, lost their deposit, they did not place fourth in an English by-election again until the 2004 Hartlepool by-election. Kilfoyle held the seat at the 1992 general election and at each subsequent election standing down at the 2010 general election.. Some of Militant's leaders, Ted Grant and Rob Sewell, had remained convinced of the merits of entryism and argued against Mahmood standing; the candidacy was part of the process in Militant's rejection of entryism, or as they saw it, their open turn, the expulsion of Grant leading to a split in the group

Thomas Thomson (advocate)

Thomas Thomson FRSE FSA Scot was a Scottish advocate and archivist who served as Principal Clerk of Session and as secretary of the literary section of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Thomas Thomson was born in Dailly manse on 10 November 1768, the eldest son of Rev Thomas Thomson, minister of Dailly in Ayrshire, his second wife, daughter of Francis Hay. John Thomson was a younger brother. After attending the parish school of Dailly, he entered the University of Glasgow at age 13, where he graduated with an MA on 27 April 1789, he attended classes in theology and law at the University of Edinburghfrom 1789 to 1791. He passed the Scottish bar as an advocate on 10 December 1793, his early Edinburgh address was 19 North Castle Street. Here he was a neighbour and close friend to Walter Scott, at that time a fellow advocate. Thomson acquired a practice at the bar in cases demanding legal learning. Legal and historical antiquities absorbed his attention, his main role was deputy clerk-register of Scotland, a new post to which he was appointed on 30 June 1806.

His work consisted of reforming the system of public registries and the method of the custody of records, in rendering these records accessible to research, in rescuing and repairing old records, in editing the acts of the Scottish parliament and other governmental records under the authority of the Record Commission. In 1807 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, his proposers were Sir James Hall and Thomas Allan. He served as Secretary to the Society from 1812 to 1820. In February 1828 Thomson was chosen one of the principal clerks of the court of session. On the institution of the Bannatyne Club in 1823 he had been chosen vice-president, on the death of Scott in 1832 he succeeded as president. Thomson, was lax on finance. After an inquiry into the accounts of the register office in 1839 he was removed from the office of deputy clerk-register. At this time he was living at 127 George Street in Edinburgh. Thomson died at Shrub Hill House, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, on 2 October 1852.

He is buried in Dean Cemetery in the section known as "Lord's Row". He was succeeded as Principal Clerk of Session by Cosmo Innes. In 1836 he married Anne Reed. For research in the register office Thomson prepared some manuals: "A Continuation of the Retours of Service to the Chancery Office from the Union, A. D. 1707" "An Abbreviate or Digest of the Registers of Sasines and Particular, arranged in Counties with relative Indexes, from the 1st of January 1781" "An Abbreviate of Adjudications from 1st January 1781 to 1830" "An Abbreviate of Inhibitions and Particular, arranged in Counties, from 1st January 1781 to 1830"His various Reports appeared from 1807. Of works published by Thomson for the Record Commission, the major one was The Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, 1424–1707, vols 2–11. Vol. 1, containing the Regiam Majestatem, with the oldest recorded Proceedings and Acts of Parliament, was published last. Other works published under the authority of the Record Commission were: Inquisitionum ad Capellam Domini Regis Retornatarum, quæ in Publicis Archivis Scotiæ adhuc servantur, Abbreviatio, 3 vols Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum in Archivis Publicis asservatum, mcccvi–mccccxxiv The Acts of the Lords Auditors of Causes and Complaints, mcccclxvi–mccccxciv the Acts of the Lords of Council in Civil Causes, mcccclxxviii–mccccxcv Other related works derived from the same sources, were: A Compilation of the Forms of Process in the Court of Session during the earlier periods after its establishment, with the Variations which they have since undergone A Collection of Inventories and other Records of the Royal Wardrobe and Jewel House, of the Artillery and Munition in some of the Royal Castles, 1488–1606 Chamberlain Rolls, vols 1–2, 1326–1406.

3, 1406–1459 Thomson edited the Memoirs of Sir George Mackenzie. A Short Chronicle of the Reign of James the Second, King of Scots. From Asloan's Manuscript in the Auchinleck Library Menu de la Maison de la Royne faict par Mons. de Pinguillon, MDLXII For the Bannatyne Club he edited: Alexander Myln. Vitæ Dunkeldensis Ecclesiæ Episcoporum Discours particulier d'Escosse, escrit en 1559 The History and Life of King James the Sext Memoirs of his own Life by Sir James Melville of Halhill Memoirs of his own Life and Times by Sir James Turner The History of Scotland, by John Lesley, bishop of Ross Collection of Ancient Scottish Prophecies in Alliterative Verse Diurnal of Remarkable Occurrents from the Pollok MS The Ragman Rolls, 1291–1296 The Book of the Universal Kirk of Scotland, 1560–1618, 3 vols A Diary of the Public Correspondence of Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall Munimenta Vetustiora Comitatus de Mortoun, Original Letters and Papers in the Archives of the Earls of Morton In 1800 Thomson was chosen to edit an edition of Lord Hailes's Works.

It never appeared.

Battle of Blackpool Sands

The Battle of Blackpool Sands was the result of an attempted French raid on the port of Dartmouth, South Devon, England, in April or May 1404. Local forces defeated the raiders, taking a number of prisoners and killing the French commander, William du Chastel; the early years of the 15th century were a period of extensive naval activity in the English Channel. In August 1403, William du Chastel led a raid on Plymouth. In October 1403, a fleet organised by John Hawley of Dartmouth and Thomas Norton of Bristol seized seven merchant vessels in the Channel and in November 1403, a revenge raid was launched on Brittany by Sir William Wilford, capturing 40 ships and causing considerable damage ashore. Despite the lateness of the season, the French under Count Waleran of St. Pol launched an attack on the Isle of Wight in December but were beaten off by local forces; the following spring, there were French raids on Weymouth. In April or May 1404, William du Chastel assembled a fleet of 300 ships at St. Malo in Brittany.

He embarked light infantry and crossbowmen. He had the Lords of Chateaubriand and de Jaille. Discipline, was poor and, on the first day after sailing, part of the fleet attacked some allied Spanish wineships. Although order was restored, parts of the fleet broke away, leaving du Chastel to sail on towards his target of Dartmouth with reduced forces. On arriving off Blackpool Sands, a wide beach 3 miles southwest of Dartmouth near the village of Stoke Fleming, he dropped anchor and waited for six days to allow his fleet to reassemble; the period of waiting forced on the French fleet allowed John Hawley, local merchant and former Mayor of Dartmouth, to organise the defence of the town. Local men were joined by troops from inland as well as a number of local women, mustering a force alleged by French sources to number 6000 in total, though Norman Longmate considers this to be "grossly exaggerated", they prepared a fortified position at Blackpool Sands consisting of a water-filled ditch crossed by a narrow causeway and awaited the French assault.

John Hawley does not seem to have taken part in the battle. The commander of the English is unknown. Norman Longmate says that the Earl of Warwick advised Hawley on the defensive preparations but not that he was present at the battle. Juliet Barker states that Sir John Cornwaille was responsible for defeating the French, though she does not seem to have detailed knowledge of the battle as she places it at Blackpool in Lancashire. After six days, the French fleet had not reassembled. Du Chastel and de Jaille conferred and decided to land and attack the English with the men they had at hand, which consisted of only 200 men-at-arms. Du Chastel felt that the English position should be flanked, but de Jaille insisted on a frontal assault, accusing his fellow admiral of being afraid. Insulted, du Chastel ordered an immediate attack; the French formed up to attack. Contrary to their usual practice, they did not deploy an advance screen of crossbowmen and the men-at-arms led the attack; as they advanced, they were shot at by English archers behind the ditch and pelted with stones by local women in the army.

The main assault was made against the causeway but the French could not force the English back. An attempt was made to wade the ditch and, although some drowned, others succeeded in crossing, they were, unable to gain a foothold and were forced back. The French gave up and attempted to retreat to their ships. Du Chastel, refusing to withdraw, was killed. Numbers of French were killed as they fled and a hundred prisoners were taken, including three lords and 22 knights. Among the captured were two of du Chastel's brothers. News of the victory was sent to London and a service of thanksgiving was held in Westminster Abbey, attended by the king. On 25 May, Henry IV asked the Mayor of Dartmouth to send five of the prisoners to Nottingham for interrogation, he had discovered a plot against him by Margaret, Countess of Oxford, which involved a French force being landed and wished to know whether there was any connection with the Dartmouth raid. A Welsh esquire had been captured, so possible connections to Owain Glendower's revolt needed to be investigated.

The battle had no lasting impact. There is an unconfirmed suggestion that Tanneguy du Chastel led a further, more successful, raid on Dartmouth in the year to avenge his brother. Elsewhere on the Channel coast, French raids continued in 1404 and into 1405

The Mare's Nest

The Mare's Nest is a 1964 book by David Irving, focusing on the German V-weapons campaign of 1944–45 and the Allied military and intelligence effort to counter it. The book covers both sides of the story – the Allied arguments over how to interpret intelligence concerning the status and existence of the V-weapons and the German debate over how to deploy the new weapons to make the most of their supposed capacity to reverse the tide of the war. During his research for the book, Irving discovered that the Allies had broken the German Enigma code, over a decade before that became public knowledge, but agreed to keep it secret; the Mare's Nest was well received by reviewers and those involved in Operation Crossbow and has been cited by authors writing about the V-weapons programme after the eclipse of Irving's reputation as a result of his Holocaust denial. The book was Irving's second, published the year after his best-seller The Destruction of Dresden, had its origins in the success of that book.

Irving had intended to return to studying for a degree but abandoned his plans when his publisher proposed that he should write two more books, covering the V-weapons programme and the life of Adolf Hitler. He discovered that Winston Churchill's scientific adviser, Lord Cherwell, had been involved in tracking the V-weapons and that Cherwell's papers were held at Nuffield College, Oxford. Irving was given full access to the archive and made a startling discovery: that the Allies had been reading the German codes, a fact, still regarded as top secret, he began to fear that he would be denied access to the archive if the authorities realised that he had uncovered ULTRA, the Allies' wartime programme of descripting the Enigma machine codes and other German codes and cyphers. As he put it, he resorted to doing "the unthinkable. I began borrowing documents, but I always sedulously returned them."Irving nonetheless worked the secret material into his book, writing an entire chapter about Enigma in the first draft of The Mare's Nest.

When it came to the attention of the authorities, "one night I was visited at my flat by men in belted raincoats who came and physically seized the chapter. I was summoned to the Cabinet Office, twelve men sitting around a polished table, where it was explained to me why was not being released and we appeal to you as an English gentleman not to release." Irving cooperated and withdrew the chapter, but by this time he had copied enough material from Cherwell's archive to furnish several more books. ULTRA remained secret for another decade; the book's title comes from a phrase used by Lord Cherwell to describe the V-weapons. The book was well received at the time by reviewers. Writing in The Economist, William Kimber called it "remarkable" for its coverage of both sides and German, he concluded that the book shows that the British reached the right conclusions, despite errors along the way, while the Germans hindered their own efforts with disputes between the army, air force, SS and civilian ministers.

The Times noted that the book highlighted how the hunt for the V-weapons was punctuated by "conflicts of personality between scientists, intelligence officers, Service leaders", while at the same time conveying "the efficiency of the British Intelligence Services at the lower level" if the higher-level co-ordination was sometimes lacking. The Guardian's Clare Hollingworth noted that the book "provides some excellent quotations from intelligence documents, both British and German, as well as sketches of Peenemünde and of the " and suggested that "perhaps scientists or soldiers engaged in rocketry" would find it useful. William Connor, under his pen-name Cassandra in The Daily Mirror, called it "one of the most fascinating books I have read for a long time". Duncan Sandys, who had chaired the Crossbow Committee responsible for co-ordinating the Allied response to the V-weapons, called it an "authoritative account of the V-weapon offensive" in his review for the London Evening Standard, he commended the author for having "successfully woven together into a coherent narrative, written in a brisk style", though he faulted Irving for having relied too on Lord Cherwell's papers, with the result that he had treated "the problem as one of scientific intelligence and insufficient attention to other more important aspects of the operation."

Nonetheless, Sandys concluded, "students will find in The Mare's Nest a mine of important information, while much wider circles will enjoy David Irving's vivid presentation of a strange story."The book has been cited by authors covering the V-weapons programme. After Irving's reputation was destroyed after his exposure as a Holocaust denier, Michael J. Neufeld of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has described The Mare's Nest as "the most complete account on both Allied and German sides of the V-weapons campaign in the last two years of the war." Irving, David. The Mare's Nest. Archived from the original on 27 May 2007