VILLA & ZAPATA

October 20, 2006 at 11:29 pm | Posted in Books, Globalization, History, Latin America | Leave a comment

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Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution

by Frank
McLynn

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Mexican Revolution began in 1910 and lasted for over a decade, a bloody and
confusing saga of betrayal, corruption, misshapen politics and mislaid trusts that, in the
end, accomplished little for lower- and lower-middle class Mexicans. Historian and
biographer McLynn (Carl Gustav Jung; etc.) reconstructs the revolution through the
biographies of its two most important figures, Francisco (Pancho) Villa, the
bandit-turned-revolutionary, and Emiliano Zapata, whose declaration, "It’s better to
die on our feet than to live on our knees," later became La Pasionaria’s Spanish
Civil War slogan.

Comprehensive almost to a fault, McLynn also devotes many pages to other key players:
the revolution’s first leader, Francisco Madero, who, having defeated President Porfirio
D¡az, stopped short of killing the president and members of the fallen government; and
the ambitious Pascual Orozco, a controversial revolutionary figure believed by some (his
pal Villa later among them) to have been on Diaz’s payroll. Having moved briskly and
clearly
through the disorganization and obfuscation
of one of the bloodiest (and longest) revolutions in history
, the
author makes this informative, insightful study even more compelling with his witty and
fluid prose. In his exhaustive research, McLynn plumbed "the ranks of the
apocrypha," compared conservative histories to liberal ones and accounted for
trends (economic, cultural, agricultural, industrial) concurrent with and pertinent to the revolution. McLynn grasps so completely
and communicates so deftly the nuances of government corruption, the U.S. stance toward a
long succession of Mexican autocrats, infighting between Zapatistas and Villistas, that
this book feels less like a history than a great story, as exciting as a Saturday serial
Western. Three maps, 16 pages b&w photos.

From Library Journal
In a rare accomplishment, McLynn, a biographer of Sir Richard Burton, Carl Jung, and
Napoleon, here presents his topic in a logical and understandable manner for almost every
level of reader while also incorporating the latest research. While claiming to be writing
a dual biography of Mexican rebel-outlaws Franc
isco
(Pancho) Villa and Emiliano Zapata
, McLynn has actually produced a
judicious analytical account of the
Mexican
Revolution of 1910-20
. He discusses the roles of the U.S.
government,
Gen. John J. Pershing’s troops, German secret agents, and corrupt Mexican officials, drawing on a wide reading
of English and Spanish studies and document collections. At the same time, his narrative
is lively and gripping, leading the reader into this thoughtful study. Students and
instructors of Mexican history at all levels will find the bibliographical essay
invaluable. This belongs in all libraries whose patrons have even the most casual interest
in Mexican history.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf; Reprint edition (August 28, 2002)
  • ISBN: 0786710888

RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR & JAMES JOYCE’S VIEW OF GLOBAL HISTORICAL TRENDS

October 20, 2006 at 11:06 pm | Posted in Books, Globalization, History, Military | Leave a comment

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Russo-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese War is occasionally alluded to in James Joyce‘ novel, Ulysses.

In the “Eumaeus” chapter, a drunken sailor in a bar proclaims,

“But a day of reckoning, he stated crescendo with no uncertain voice– thoroughly monopolizing all the conversation– was in store for mighty England, despite her power of pelf on account of her crimes. There would be a fall and the greatest fall in history. The Germans and the Japs were going to have their little lookin, he affirmed.” The prophecy of Japan’s rise as a great land and maritime power vis-à-vis the empires of Europe (first Russia, then presumably England at a future point) is consistent with the novel’s narrative of Western Civilization‘s exhaustion, decline and diminished potential.

This was the first major victory in the modern era of an Asian country over a Western one and a harbinger of a future series of events that would lead to decolonization.

Japan’s prestige rose greatly as it began to be considered a modern Great Power.

Concurrently, Russia lost virtually its entire Eastern and Baltic fleets and slipped in

international esteem. This was particularly true in the eyes of Germany. Russia was

France’s ally, and that loss of prestige would have a significant effect on German plans concerning a potential future war with France.

In the absence of Russian competition and with the distraction of

European nations during World War I and the Great Depression, the Japanese military began

the efforts to dominate China that would lead to the Pacific War of World War II.

In Russia, the defeat of 1905 led in the short term to a reform

of the Russian military that would allow it to face Germany in World War I. However, the

revolts at home following the war and military defeat presaged the Russian Revolution of

1917.

Russo-Japanese War: Date 1904-1905

Location: Manchuria, Yellow Sea

Result:  Japanese victory

Casus belli: Desire for colonies, especially Manchuria

Combatants: Imperial Russia & Empire of Japan

Strength: 500,000 Soldiers 400,000 Soldiers

Casualties: 134,817+ KIA/POW, 170,000 MIA etc. 107,591+ total.

Russo-Japanese War

The Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) was a conflict

that grew out of the rival imperialist ambitions of Russia and Japan in Manchuria and Korea. The major theatres of the war were Port Arthur, the Liaodong Peninsula, and along the railway line from Port Arthur to Harbin. The Russians were in constant pursuit of a warm water port. The Japanese were driven to war through a geostrategic concern to secure their interior lines by stemming Russian interest in Korea.

Origins of the war

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, various Western countries were

competing for influence, trade, and territory in East Asia while Japan strove to transform

herself into a modern great power. Great power status at the time depended in part on

access to colonies which could provide raw materials. Securing colonies in turn depended

on naval power, which required bases for the increasingly large battleships of the era,

and a chain of coal stations for warships to restock the fuel for their boilers.

The Japanese government recognized Korea as the lifeline of Japan, since Korea is

geopolitically close to Japan. Also, in 13th century, Japan was attacked by the Yuan

dynasty of Mongolia, which passed through the Korean peninsula. Korea was traditionally

subordinated to China. At first, the Japanese government wished to part Korea from China,

form Korea into an independent country, and then try to make an alliance with an

independent Korea. However, this did not work, since China strongly stated their

sovereignty over Korea.

There were several conflicts, which finally evolved into the Sino-Japanese War. Japan’s

subsequent defeat of China led to the Treaty of Shimonoseki (17 April 1895), under which

China abandoned its own suzerainty over Korea and ceded Taiwan and Lüshunkou (often

called Port Arthur) to Japan. However, three Western powers (Russia, the German Empire and

the French Third Republic), by the Triple Intervention of 23 April 1895 applied pressure

on Japan to relinquish Port Arthur. The Russians later (in 1898) negotiated a 25-year

lease of the naval base with China, and sent soldiers to occupy it. Meanwhile, Japanese

forces were trying to take over Korea, which had a protection pact with Russia. Russian

forces consequently occupied most of Manchuria and the northern parts of Korea.

Hirobumi Ito started to negotiate with Russia. He decided that Japan was too weak to

evict Russia militarily, so he proposed giving Russia control over Manchuria in exchange

for Japanese control of northern Korea. Instead, Japan and the United Kingdom made an

alliance in 1902, the British aiming to prevent a southward Russian advance.

After failing to negotiate a favorable agreement with Russia, Japan sent an ultimatum

on 31 December 1903 and severed diplomatic relations on 6 February 1904. Three hours prior

to the ultimatum being received by the Russian Government, Japan attacked the Russian Navy

at Port Arthur. Both sides issued a declaration of war on 10 February. Under international

law, Japan’s attack was not considered a surprise attack, because of the ultimatum.

However, after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the 1904 attack on Port Arthur was

frequently cited in retrospect to substantiate an alleged Japanese penchant for surprise

attacks.

War

Campaign of 1904

Admiral Togo at the age of 58, at the time of the Russo-Japanese

War.Port Arthur, on the Liaodong Peninsula in the south of Manchuria, had been fortified

into a major naval base by the Russians. Since it needed to control the sea in order to

fight a war on the Asian mainland, Japan’s first military objective was to neutralize the

Russian fleet at Port Arthur. On the night of 8

February 1904, the Japanese fleet under Admiral Heihachiro Togo opened the war with a

surprise torpedo attack on the Russian ships at Port Arthur and badly damaged two

battleships. These attacks developed into the Battle of Port Arthur the next morning. A

series of indecisive naval engagements followed, in which the Admiral Togo was unable to

attack the Russian fleet successfully as it was protected by the land guns of the harbor

and the Russians declined to leave the harbor for the open seas, especially after the

death of Admiral Stepan Osipovich Makarov on 13 April.

However, these engagements provided cover for a Japanese landing near Incheon in Korea.

From Incheon the Japanese occupied Seoul and then the rest of Korea. By the end of April,

the Japanese army under Kuroki Itei was ready to cross the Yalu river into

Russian-occupied Manchuria.

In counterpoint to the Japanese strategy of gaining rapid victories to control

Manchuria, Russian strategy focused on fighting delaying actions to gain time for

reinforcements to arrive via the long Trans-Siberian railway. On 1 May 1904, the Battle of

the Yalu River, in which Japanese troops stormed a Russian position after an unopposed

crossing of the river, was the first major land battle of the war. Japanese troops

proceeded to land at several points on the Manchurian coast, and, in a series of

engagements, drove the Russians back on Port Arthur. These battles, including the Battle

of Nanshan on 25 May, were marked by heavy Japanese losses from attacking entrenched

Russian positions, but the Russians remained passive and failed to counterattack.

At sea, the war was just as brutal. After the 8 February attack on Port Arthur, the

Japanese attempted to deny the Russians use of the port. During the night of 13-14

February, the Japanese attempted to block the entrance to Port Arthur by sinking several

cement-filled steamers in the deep water channel to the port, but they sank too deep to be

effective. Another attempt to block the harbor entrance during the night of 3-4 May with

blockships also failed. In March, the energetic Vice Admiral Makarov had taken command of

the First Russian Pacific Squadron with the intention of breaking out of the Port Arthur

blockade.

By then, both sides were engaged in a tactical offensive, laying mines in each other’s

ports. This was the first time that mines were used for offensive purposes; in the past,

mines had been used for purely defensive purposes to protect harbors against potential

invaders. The Japanese mine-laying policy proved effective at restricting the movement of

Russian ships outside Port Arthur, when on 12 April 1904 two Russian battleships, the

flagship Petropavlovsk and the Pobeda, struck Japanese mines off Port Arthur. The

Petropavlosk sank within an hour, while the Pobeda had to be towed back to Port Arthur for

extensive repairs. Admiral Makarov died on the Petropavlovsk by choosing to go down with

his ship.

The Russians soon copied the Japanese policy of offensive minelaying. On 15 May 1904,

two Japanese battleships, the Yashima and the Hatsuse, were lured into a recently laid

Russian minefield off Port Arthur, each striking at least two mines. The Yashima sank

within minutes, taking 450 sailors with her, while the Hatsuse sank under tow a few hours

later. On 23 June, a breakout attempt by the Russian squadron, now under the command of

Admiral Wilgelm Vitgeft failed. By the end of the month, Japanese artillery were firing

shells into the harbor.

Russian 500 pound shell bursting near the Japanese siege guns, near Port ArthurJapan

began a long siege of Port Arthur, which had been heavily fortified by the Russians. On 10

August 1904, the Russian fleet attempted to break out and proceed to Vladivostok, but they

were intercepted and defeated at the Battle of the Yellow Sea. The remnants of the Russian

fleet remained in Port Arthur, where they were eventually sunk by the artillery of the

besieging army. Attempts to relieve the city by land also failed, and, after the Battle of

Liaoyang in late August, the Russians retreated to Mukden (Shenyang). Port Arthur finally

fell on 2 January 1905, after a series of brutal, high-casualty assaults.

Campaign of 1905

The Japanese army was now able to attack northward. To finish the

war, Japan needed to crush the Russian army in Manchuria. The Battle of Mukden commenced

at the end of February. Japanese forces progressed step by step and tried to encircle

General Kuropatkin’s headquarters at Mukden (Shenyang). Russian forces resisted, but on 10

March 1905 they decided to retreat. Having suffered massive casualties, the Japanese did

not pursue the Russians. Because the possession of the city meant little strategically, a

final victory would depend on the navy.

Mikasa, possibly the most powerful battleship of

her time, was the Japanese flagship at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905.

Meanwhile, at sea, the Russians were preparing to reinforce their fleet by sending the

Baltic Sea fleet under Admiral Zinovi Petrovich Rozhdestvenski around the Cape of Good

Hope to Asia. On 21 October 1904, while passing by the United Kingdom (an ally of Japan

but neutral in this war), they nearly provoked a war in the Dogger Bank incident by firing

on British fishing boats that they mistook for torpedo boats.

The long duration of its journey meant that Admiral Togo was well aware of the Baltic

Fleet’s progress, and he made plans to meet it before it could reach Vladivostok. He

intercepted it in the Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan, and in the Battle of

Tsushima, 27 May–28 May 1905, the Japanese fleet, numerically inferior but with

superior speed and firing range, shelled the Russian fleet mercilessly, destroying all

eight of its battleships.

Peace

Although Russia still had a larger army than Japan, these

successive defeats had shaken Russian confidence. Throughout 1905, Russia was rocked by

the Russian Revolution of 1905, which posed a severe threat to the stability of the

government. Russia elected to negotiate peace rather than continue the war, so that it

could concentrate on internal matters.

An offer of mediation by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (who earned a Nobel Peace

Prize for this effort) led to the Treaty of Portsmouth, signed in the U.S. Navy facility

at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 5 September 1905. Russia ceded the southern half of

Sakhalin Island to Japan. It was only regained by the USSR in 1952 under the Treaty of San

Francisco following the Second World War. Russia also signed over its 25-year leasehold

rights to Port Arthur, including the excellent naval base and the peninsula around it.

Russia further agreed to evacuate Manchuria and recognize Korea as part of the Japanese

sphere of influence. Japan would annex Korea in 1910 with scant protest from other powers.

This was the first major victory in the modern

era of an Asian country over a Western one and a harbinger of a future series of events

that would lead to decolonization. Japan’s prestige rose greatly as it began to be

considered a modern Great Power. Concurrently, Russia lost virtually its entire Eastern

and Baltic fleets and slipped in international esteem. This was particularly true in the

eyes of Germany. Russia was France’s ally, and that loss of prestige would have a

significant effect on German plans concerning a potential future war with France.

In the absence of Russian competition and

with the distraction of European nations during World War I and the Great Depression, the

Japanese military began the efforts to dominate China that would lead to the Pacific War

of World War II.

In Russia, the defeat of 1905 led in the short term to a reform

of the Russian military that would allow it to face Germany in World War I. However, the

revolts at home following the war and military defeat presaged the Russian Revolution of

1917.

[All above dates are believed to be New-Style (Gregorian, not the Julian used in

Tsarist Russia): for conformity, where there are two, use the one that reads 13 days

"later" than the other.]

Interestingly, A lock of Nelson’s hair was given to the Imperial Japanese Navy from the

Royal Navy after the Russo-Japanese War to commemorate the victory at the Battle of

Tsushima. It is still on display at Kyouiku Sankoukan, a public museum maintained by the

Japan Self-Defense Forces.

Assessment of war results

Japanese soldiers’ corpses in a trench, with Russian soldiers looking on.The conflict

ended in victory for Japan which won most battles of the war, and devastated Russia’s deep

water navy and several Russian armies. However, the feeling of triumph soured drastically

in Japan, leading to widespread riots, when the terms of the peace treaty were announced.

This was compounded by the military and economic exhaustion of both belligerents and the

reluctant and distasteful (to the West) establishment of Japan as a major world power.

Popular discontent in Russia after the defeat led to the Russian Revolution of 1905, an

event Tsar Nicholas II of Russia had hoped to stave off and avoid entirely by taking

intransigent negotiating stances prior to coming to the table at all. The Russian position

hardened further during the days immediately preceding and during the Peace Conference

itself.

The war ended with the Treaty of Portsmouth, mediated by the US in the person of

Theodore Roosevelt who was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize for Peace in 1908. However, there

was “widespread riotous discontent” in Japan when the peace terms were announced

because of the lack of territorial gains and especially at the lack of monetary indemnity

(reparations to Japan). The peace accord led Japanese feelings of distrust toward all

western nations. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Edmund Morris, most

Japanese felt that the honest broker United States had misled them since indemnity was a

precondition they had expected the US to support. Japan also expected that they would

retain all of Sakhalin Island, but they had to settle for half of it after some

Rooseveltian pressure. This outcome began to drive a wedge between Japan and the US and

started a trend of repeated insults and disrespect that culminated in Japan’s decision to

go to war with the United States in 1941. Japan resented the settlement and felt like she

had been treated like the defeated power.

Both Russia and Japan were all but bankrupt after the exhaustive war, and it is hard to

fault Roosevelt for finessing the monetary and territorial demands when both parties had

such diametrically conflicting expectations and preconditions. Since Roosevelt had also

served as honest broker in getting both parties to the peace table, he might have been

less cagey and lowered expectations during the preliminary diplomatic wrangling. However,

it was a very bloody war foreshadowing World War I in many ways.

The defeat of Russia was met with shock both in the West and especially across Asia.

That a non-Western country could defeat an established power in a large military conflict

was inspiring to various anti-colonial independence movements around the world. The

world’s major powers, in the fashion of the times, looking with racist or national

condescension, failed to heed the lesson of how modern technology had transformed land

warfare into a deadly morass. The major powers had also unanimously embraced naval

improvement programs which had the cumulative effect of making future naval battles at

short to moderate ranges, as had occurred in this war, nearly as deadly as charging a

machine gun. Assimilating these lessons would be bought with blood and treasure only nine

years later on the muddy fields of World War I.

In the war, the Japanese army treated Russian civilians and prisoners of war well (the

same cannot be said of Korean and Chinese prisoners), without the brutality and atrocities

that were widespread during World War II.

Japanese historians think this war was a turning point for Japan and a key to

understanding why Japan failed militarily and politically later. The acrimony within

Japanese society went to every class and level, and it became the consensus within Japan

that they had been treated as the defeated power during the peace conference. This feeling

built up by degrees with every perceived slight and condescending act by the Western

powers toward Japan for the next few decades.

List of battles

1904 Battle of Port Arthur, February 8: naval battle Inconclusive

1904 Battle of Chemulpo Bay, February 9: naval battle Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle of Yalu River, April 30 to May 1: Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle of Nanshan, May 25 – May 26, Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle of Telissu, June 14 – June 15 , Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle of Motien Pass, July 17, Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle of Ta-shih-chiao, July 24, Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle of Hsimucheng, July 31, Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle of the Yellow Sea, August 10: naval battle Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle off Ulsan, August 14: naval battle Japan defeats Russia

1904-1905 Siege of Port Arthur, August 19 to January 2: Japan defeats Russia

1904 Battle of Liaoyang, August 25 to September 3: Inconclusive

1904 Battle of Shaho, October 5 to October 17: Inconclusive

1905 Battle of Sandepu, January 26 to January 27: Inconclusive

1905 Battle of Mukden, February 21 to March 10: Japan defeats Russia

1905 Battle of Tsushima, May 27 to 28 May naval

battle: Japan defeats Russia

The Russo-Japanese War in art and literature

  • Russo-Japanese War was covered by dozens of foreign journalists who sent back sketches that were turned into lithographs and other reproducibleforms. Propaganda images were circulated by both sides and quite a few photographs have

    been preserved.

  • The Russo-Japanese War is occasionally alluded to in
  • James Joyce‘ novel, Ulysses. In the “Eumaeus” chapter, a drunken sailor in a bar proclaims,

    “But a day of reckoning, he stated crescendo with no uncertain voice– thoroughly monopolizing all the conversation– was in store for mighty England, despite her power of pelf on account of her crimes. There would be a fall and the greatest fall in history. The Germans and the Japs were going to have their little lookin, he affirmed.”

    The prophecy of Japan’s rise as a great land and maritime power vis-à-vis the empires of Europe (first Russia, then presumably England at a future point) is consistent with the novel’s narrative of Western Civilization‘s exhaustion, decline and diminished potential.

  • Alexei Silych Novikov-Priboy, a sailor on the Russian battleship “Oryol”, wrote an epic documental novel about the journey of the Russian Baltic fleet and battle of Tsushima. It was first published in 1930 in Soviet Union under the name “Tsusima”.
  • Book by Constantine Pleshakov The Tsar’s Last Armada: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima, publisher “Basic Books” 2003. ISBN 0-465-05792-6
  • The Russo-Japanese War acts as a historical marker in Yukio Mishima‘s novel Spring Snow.
  • The Russo-Japanese War is the setting for the naval strategy computer game Distant Guns, developed by Storm Eagle Studios.
  • The Russo-Japanese War is the setting for the first part of the novel The Diamond Chariot in the Erast Fandorin detective series by Boris Akunin.

References

See also

External links

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Japanese_War

ANIMAL ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY: LORENZINI

October 20, 2006 at 11:06 am | Posted in Research, Science & Technology | Leave a comment

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The ampullae of Lorenzini are special sensing organs, forming a network of<br /> jelly-filled canals found on elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) and Chimaera

Ampullae of Lorenzini

The ampullae of Lorenzini
are special sensing
organs, forming a network of
jelly-filled canals found on elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) and Chimaera. Each
ampulla consists of a jelly-filled canal opening to the surface by a pore in the skin and
ending blindly in a cluster of small pockets full of electroreceptor cells. The ampullae
are mostly clustered into groups inside the body, each cluster having ampullae connecting
with different parts of the skin, but preserving a left-right symmetry. The canal lengths
vary from animal to animal, but the electroreceptor pores distribution is approximately
species-specific.
The ampullae pores are plainly
visible as dark spots in the skin. They provide sharks and rays with a sixth
sense capable
of detecting electro-magnetic fields as well as temperature gradients.

Electro-magnetic field sensing ability

The ampullae detects electric fields in the water,
or more precisely the difference between the voltage at the skin pore and the voltage at
the base of the electroreceptor cells. A positive pore stimulus would decrease the rate of
nerve activity coming from the electroreceptor cells and a negative pore stimulus would
increase the rate of nerve activity coming from the electroreceptor cells.

Sharks may be more sensitive to electric fields than any other animal, with a threshold
of sensitivity as low as 5nV/cm. That is 5/1,000,000,000 of a volt measured in a
centimeter-long ampulla.
Since all living creatures
produce an electrical field in
muscle contractions, it is easy to imagine the shark may pick up weak
electrical stimuli from the muscle contractions of animals,
particularly
prey, on the other hand, the electrochemical fields generated by paralyzed prey were
sufficient to elicit a feeding attack from sharks and rays in experimental tanks,
therefore muscle contractions are not necessary to attract the animals. Shark and rays can
locate prey buried in the sand, or DC electric dipoles simulating the main feature of the
electric field of a prey buried in the sand.

The electric fields produced by oceanic currents moving in the magnetic field of the
earth are of the same order of magnitude as the electric fields that sharks and rays are
capable to sense. Therefore, sharks and rays may orient to the electric fields of oceanic
currents, and use other sources of electric fields in the ocean for local orientation.
Additionally, the electric field they induce in their bodies when swimming in the magnetic
field of the earth may give them electric clues about their magnetic heading.

Temperature sensing ability

Early in the 20th century the purpose of the ampullae was not clearly understood and
electrophysiological experiments suggest a sensibility to temperature, mechanical pressure
and maybe salinity.
It was not
until 1960 that the ampullae was clearly identified as a receptor organ specialized in
sensing electric fields. The ampullae may also allow the shark to detect changes in water
temperature. Each ampulla is a bundle of sensory cells containing multiple nerve fibers. These fibers are enclosed in a gel-filled tubule which
has a direct opening to the surface through a pore. The gel is a glyco-protein based
substance with the same resistivity of seawater, and it has
electrical
properties similar to a
semiconductor, allowing it to essentially transduce temperature changes into an electrical signal that the shark may use to detect temperature gradients.

Electronic Shark Repellent

Dr. Graeme Charter and Norman Starkey developed the "POD" (or Protective Oceanic Device), which is the first
successful electronic shark repellent for scuba divers. By
producing an electromagnetic field, the POD
irritates the Ampullae of Lorenzini of a great white
shark
. Shark nets, which traditionally protected divers,
can harm or kill the shark, but these more primitive deterrents may soon be out of date.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampullae_of_Lorenzini"

INSURGENT MEXICO: JOHN REED 1914

October 20, 2006 at 2:34 am | Posted in Books, Globalization, History, Latin America, Literary | Leave a comment

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The 4-months of reporting which resulted in John Reed’s book Insurgent Mexico,<br /> first a series of front-line dispatches to the Metropolitan Magazine and New York World,<br /> was his first foray into the world beyond the borders of the US, and his first attempt

JOHN REED’S 1914 BOOK

INSURGENT MEXICO

http://www.ochcom.org/reed

Villa is one of the most mythologized military-political leaders in Latin American
history, standing alongside such Independence era greats as Bolivar and O’Higgins, and
latter-day heroes including José Martí of Cuba, Sandino of Nicaragua, Benito Juarez, a
predecessor in Mexico, and Villa’s southern Mexican counterpart Emiliano Zapata. Yet in
Mexico, his bandit roots were considered so base, so threatening to even a
post-revolutionary status quo, that Villa wasn’t admitted to the pantheon of the Mexican
Revolution until former Villistas and leftists pushed it through the Mexican Congress in
1966. At that time, a leftist deputy gave Villa his perfect epitaph: “A revolution
has never been made with flowers.” In fact, the Villa’s power continued beyond his
assassination in 1923; three years later enemies entered his crypt and stole away his
head. “There. Now we’re sure he’s gone.”

The 4-months of reporting which resulted in John Reed’s book Insurgent Mexico, first a series of
front-line dispatches to the
Metropolitan
Magazine
and New York
World
, was his first foray into the world beyond the borders of
the US, and his first attempt to measure himself up against “verdaderos hombres
–real men” and their time-honored code of male or macho values. So out of date
today, those values snonetheless defined the territory he was reporting, and a test for
this sickly young man to truly come of age.
This
work begins staking out the claim to his being the father of modern journalism.

Reed was just 26. He got the job due to the fortuitous combination of his verve and
energy,
Lincoln Steffens
recommendation of Reed to editor Carl Hovey of the Metropolitan, and rebel leader Pancho
Villa’s decisive November 1913 victories in Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez on the border next
to El Paso, Texas. Reed left his tearful lover Mabel Dodge behind in New York, stating
over her objections: “I will take you with me in my heart. But we must be free to
live our own lives.” Mabel caught up with him by Chicago, and rode south to El Paso
on the train, celebrating a kind of honeymoon in their compartment. 

Reed describes himself en route: “With me in my bright yellow corduroy suit, and
Mabel in her orange hat and satin-lined tiger-skin hunting jacket –with…an expense
account, and a roll of blankers and 14 different kinds of pills and bandages…we shall
descend upon El Paso.” It was a world of spies, arms salesmen, smugglers, and cow
punchers, secret agents and Texas Rangers…Reed called it “the Supreme Lodge of the
Ancient Order of Conspirators of the World.” His good humor masked a far grimmer
reality. Mexico was being turned upside down by this insurrection, which pitted wealthy
interests on both sides of the border against a history of injustice that had driven brave
women and men to fight for their rights and land on which they could make a living.

Soon after arriving Jack (his contemporaries called him Jack) proposed an interview
with General Mercado, the commanding federal officer. Mexican government officials saw no
value in US coverage, which had generally been unfavorable to the corrupt Díaz regime.
Mercado’s subordinate, General Orozco replied: Esteemed and Honored Sir: If you set foot
inside of Ojinanga, I will stand you sideways against a wall, and with my own hand take
great pleasure in shooting furrows in your back.

Reed “was afraid of death, of mutilation, of a strange land and strange people
whose speech and thought I did not know.” Yet he had “a terrible curiosity…I
felt I had to know how I would act under fire.” Finally, tiring of these initial
impressions, Reed took Mabel for one last look across the border into Juarez. There they
saw some 2,000 dark, Indian looking horsemen, many of them teenagers, members of the
revolutionary army, “nondescript, tattered men, on dirty little tough horses, their
serapes flying out behind, their mouths one wild yell…They had very little discipline
but…what spirit!”

Mabel returned to NYC; Reed went south to meet Pancho Villa in
Chihuahua.

Francisco “Pancho” Villa was born Doroteo Arango June 5, 1878 in the village
of Río Grande in rural Durango state, the eldest of 5 legitimate children born to
Agustín Arango and Micaela Arámbula. It’s not uncommon for Latino boys to have names
derived from a feminine family member or friend. Doroteo became head of his family when he
was a boy, taking care of his mother, two brothers, and two sisters. At the age of 16, one
account has it, defending his 12-year-old sister Martina from the advance of his employer
or patrón Agustín López Negrete, Doroteo was captured after firing shots at López
Negrete, and soon thereafter escaped to the sierra, the mountains which are the
characteristic feature of Northern Mexico. There he transformed himself into Pancho Villa
and began an off-again, on-again life as a bandit and hunted criminal, which he alternated
with brief periods as a butcher, tanner and horse trader, natural careers for a man of his
time and place.

How does this supposedly illiterate man, riding in and out of the sierra, practicing
both banditry and honest professions, become the feared revolutionary, military leader
(John Reed several times compares him to Napoleon in
Insurgent
Mexico
), and more than once he was close to becoming President
of Mexico? In his stimulating book
Pancho Villa
and John Reed
(University of Arizona Press, 1984), author Jim
Tuck gives great credit to Chihuahua intellectual, and briefly governor of that northern
state, Abraham González, a follower of revolutionary and first post-Díaz president
Francisco Madero.

González was a small scale agitator when Villa met him, but he sensed in Villa a true
commitment to social justice, and the iron will needed to bring that about. Madero
essentially was little more than a reformer, whose principal concept was effective
suffrage and no reelection of presidents. Strongmen throughout the Americas used
corruption and fear to be endlessly reelected. It was the essence of democratic window
dressing.

Like Madero, González had broken with early revolutionary Flores Magón who emphasized
the violent overthrow of the Díaz government. But once González had planted the seed of
revolutionary zeal, Villa’s own pent-up violence and the evolution of the revolution made
him one of its most effective leaders and fighters.

Let’s step back a bit. Mexico, like most of its Latin American neighbors, had long
periods of internal turmoil followed by extended reins of caudillos or dictators.
They’re often known as hombres fuerte…strong men. Porfirio
Díaz had ruled Mexico for 35 years, from 1876 through his fall in May of 1911
. As is often the case, he was initially a generally positive influence. In his
first years, Díaz developed a modern, export economy, dredging harbors, building roads,
railroads and telegrams. European interests controlled significant industries, but
Anglo-Americans controlled oil, mining and public utilities. The Rockefeller, Hearst and
Edward Doheny interests were allied with
the great landowners of Mexico in keeping this status quo, and
US Secretary of State Elihu Root called upon the world to
“worship” that hero Porfirio Díaz.

Similar patterns characterized US relations with nearly all of Latin America, which had
become principally a resource feeder for the growing industrial might of our nation.
Whether it was bananas from Central America, black gold from Venezuela and Mexico, or tin
and copper from the high Andes of Columbia south through Chile, we used our Monroe
Doctrine to justify repeated military incursions into these sovereign nations, in some
cases literally occupying a country such as Nicaragua for a decade at a time. It’s no
secret why some of the best talent in our American and National Leagues are named
Hernandez and Alomar. Our soldiers taught the US national game to natives of Cuba, the
Dominican Republic, Panama, etc. And when they departed, employees of United Fruit and
Standard Oil picked up the bats and kept on playing. 

John Reed was born 9 years later than Villa, October 22, 1887,
at the Green Estate above present-day Zupan’s Market at 23rd & Burnside, into a
decidedly prosperous family. His father C.J. Reed was an agricultural implement dealer,
and his mother Margaret Green Reed was the daughter of the 2nd wealthiest family in
Portland. Reed’s grandfather Henry Green owned city utilities. At the time, Portland was
the West Coast’s 2nd city to San Francisco.

A sickly child, John fantasized about a life of adventure, and was regaled with stories
by his mother’s brother Ray, himself “a romantic figure who played at coffee planting
in Central America and mixed in revolutions.”

Such “heroes” were known as filibusters, close cousins of the pirates or
Freebooters who had roamed the Caribbean before them. Some came out of the failed
Confederacy, others were gold seekers who’d already followed the rushes from the Sierra
Nevadas of the 49ers, the mineral frenzies which swept across the Western US, up to the
Klondike, and back south again. The Americas were filled with young, footloose, valiant
men hoping to make their fortune and mixing in revolution whenever the opportunity
presented. Hearing such dashing stories from his own uncle might have pushed young John
into a similar path, had it not been his own father C.J.’s fall from grace.

Portland historian Kimbark MacColl described the NW Timber frauds and trials against
many of Portland and our region’s leading citizens. They led to 33 convictions of 34
indictments. C.J. Reed was made U.S. Marshall by then president Teddy Roosevelt, and the
juries he swore in for the nationally reported trials exposed corruption right up through
the political ranks –mayors, city attorneys, sheriffs, judges, US Attorneys, members of
Congress –unseating among others US Senator from Oregon John Mitchell.

Jack made a hero out of his father –”He was a great fighter…who smashed the
Oregon Land Fraud Ring; which was a brave thing to do in Oregon then.” Back east on
his own, first at Morristown Academy and then Harvard, by the time he reached Greenwich
Village Jack Reed had been groomed for some kind of greatness. His father’s fall out of
the upper classes set John off on a brief, life-long quest to invest his energies in an
adventurous life that had real meaning.

So here he was in Mexico, face to face with the bandit revolutionary Villa, who
nicknamed Reed chatito (pug nose). Reed in turn called Villa: “the most natural human
being I ever saw — natural in the sense of being nearest a wild animal.” He saw this
man of the people as he truly was, with eyes “absolutely hot and steely,” a man
who could and would kill to accomplish his goals.

Villa is one of the most mythologized military-political leaders in Latin American
history, standing alongside such Independence era greats as Bolivar and O’Higgins, and
latter-day heroes including José Martí of Cuba, Sandino of Nicaragua, Benito Juarez, a
predecessor in Mexico, and Villa’s southern Mexican counterpart Emiliano Zapata. Yet in
Mexico, his bandit roots were considered so base, so threatening to even a
post-revolutionary status quo, that Villa wasn’t admitted to the pantheon of the Mexican
Revolution until former Villistas and leftists pushed it through the Mexican Congress in
1966. At that time, a leftist deputy gave Villa his perfect epitaph: “A revolution
has never been made with flowers.” In fact, the Villa’s power continued beyond his
assassination in 1923; three years later enemies entered his crypt and stole away his
head. “There. Now we’re sure he’s gone.”

In his day he was feared and famous, made all the more so by Reed’s bold accounts. Not
content with merely reporting, Reed felt it necessary to paint a picture with his words,
to capture the emotional reality of the land, its people, and the undercurrent of violence
and treachery which he captures in the character of Villa. Robert Rosenstone, in his
quintessential Reed biography
Romantic
Revolutionary
(Albert Knopf, 1975), says of Villa
–”Earthy, passionate, uneducated and a dreamer, he is the perfect symbol of Reed’s
Mexico, the vessel of his inner feelings about the land and its people. What Reed liked
best was that life in Mexico had all the characteristics of youth:” [remember Reed
himself is scarcely 26] “impetuosity, hot blood, heroism, pose, bombast, cruelty,
love, abandon, asceticism, grace, rudeness, warmth.”

Insurgent Mexico is rightly criticized for its clumsy
chronology, which doesn’t jive with Reed’s own notes of his travels in the country, and
for its novelistic touches. Poet Reed had a lifelong ambition to write a major novel, and
though he never had time to produce it, this account stands as an excellent surrogate.
Tuck calls the book “a ‘hybrid’ work, composed partly of fact and partly of
fabrication.”
Walter Lippman, Reed’s Harvard colleague understood Reed’s play of settings and mood: “The
variety of impressions, the resources and color of his language seemed inexhaustible…and
Villa’s revolution, until then reported only as a nuisance, began to unfold itself into
throngs of moving people in a gorgeous panorama of earth and sky.” This was also
autobiography, a tale of one man’s education in an arena of violence, not unlike
Hemingway’s later choice of the bullfight arena as a mirror into his own soul. Rosenstone
calls it “an adventure yarn about how an American poet becomes a man.”

The impact of Reed’s reportage gave Reed a platform and reputation when he returned
that can only be compared to that of top rock and film stars today. The series swelled the
Metropolitan’s
circulation across the US, an effect owing much to the publication’s own efforts to hype
the series. Reed had the ear of not only the American public, which he urged to stand firm
against US intervention in Mexico’s internal affairs. He also was given audiences with a
president (Woodrow Wilson) and former president (Teddy Roosevelt), and their colleagues in
the House and Senate. Talking with Teddy, who had become involved in the
Metropolitan’s editorial decision
making, the two impetuous men found themselves arguing. Eric Homberger’s British biography
John Reed describes the following exchange: “‘Villa is a murderer and a rapist,’
Roosevelt said. ‘What’s wrong with that?’ Reed aggressively asked. ‘I believe in rape.’
‘I’m glad,’ Roosevelt granted, flashing his awesome teeth, ‘to find a young man who
believes in something.’”

Roosevelt of course had been made famous by his charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba in the
early days of the 1898 Spanish American War. Jack had read the Richard Harding Davis
accounts of the Rough Riders. Reed’s Mexican chronicles has nothing of Davis’ racism and
imperialist jingoism. Indeed, Jack’s accounts pull readers into the point of view of the
common soldiers, women and men, and capture their bravery, along with the stupidity which
is a hallmark of any such war. Davis in his earlier reportage and novels followed the
pattern of the day in asserting the superiority of American gentlemen against the
mixed-race lower breeds. In contrast, Reed describes the five Americans he came across in
Jimenez, soldiers of fortune who were “hard, cold misfits in a passionate country,
despising the cause for which they were fighting, sneering at the gaiety of the
irrepressible Mexicans.” Davis also covered the Mexican war, and found Reed’s star
rising. He came to regard Reed, the ‘new’ Richard Harding Davis, with both professional
jealousy and political distaste, Homberger concludes.

Yes it was in with Reed, the chronicler and supporter of a people’s revolution, with
all its rapine violence, disorder and appalling confusion, the hopeful start of something
more promising for the peons and peasants who made up the ranks. It was out with Roosevelt
friend and admirer Davis, whose support and romanticization of earlier imperial adventures
had decayed, by 1914, into the embodiment of militarism and and imperialism.

So why is Reed remembered and generally honored in the Latin America of today? I
maintain that his inside account is nearly unique in the chronicles of US reporting south
of the Río Grande. Heroizing not only Villa but the fighters and followers of the
revolution was a complete break with European and American reporting and novelistic
accounts which proceeded
Insurgent Mexico. Though Reed himself figures prominently throughout the account, the author
admits to fear and resists an American solution for this very Mexican conflict. He
imagines a Mexico free on its own terms, struggling through to its own solutions, which in
fact largely happened for the next 30 years. And of course Reed wrote the definitive
inside account of the Russian Revolution, introduced by Lenin himself,
Ten Days that Shook the World and
founded the American Communist Party in his last two years before dying in Moscow. Left
politics permeate the educational and governmental sectors of most Latin American nations,
so that Reed, so out front with his politics, is appreciated by even moderate socialists.

Finally it is Reed’s powerful, visionary writing which carries the day. After draining
a bottle of tequila to impress the soldiers, Reed says: “I am very fond of Mexico. I
like Mexicans too. And I like sotol, aguardiente, mezcal, tequila, pulque, and other
Mexican customs!” They shouted with laughter.

Captain Fernando leaned over and patted my arm. “Now you are with the men (los hombres). When we win the revolución
it will be government by the men, not by the rich. We are riding over the lands of the
men. They used to belong to the rich, but now they belong to me and the compañeros.”
“And you will be the army?” I asked. “When the revolución is won,”
was the astonishing reply, “there will be no more army. The men are sick of
armies.”


Insurgent Mexico
At noon we roped a steer, and cut his throat. And because there was no time to build a
fire, we ripped the meat from the carcass and ate it raw.
“Oiga, meester,” shouted Jose, “Do the United States soldiers eat raw
meat?”
I said I didn’t think they did.
“It is good for the hombres. In the campaign we have no time for anything but carne
crudo. It makes us brave.”…

…The sharpshooter running in front stopped suddenly, swaying, as if he had run
against a solid wall… He shook his head impatiently, like a dog with a hurt ear. Blood
drops flew from it. Bellowing with rage, he shot the rest of his clip, and then slumped to
the ground and thrashed to and fro for a minute… Now the trench was boiling with men
scrambling to their feet, like worms when you turn over a log.”

America 1918

By my free boyhood in the wide West,
The powerful sweet river, fish-wheels, log rafts,
Ships from beyond the sunset, Lascar-manned,
Chinatown, throbbing with mysterious gongs,
The thunderous Pacific, blaring sunsets,
Black smoking forests on surf-beaten headlands,
Lost beaches, camp-fires, wail of hunting cougars…
By the rolling range, and the flat sun smitten desert,
Night with coyotes yapping, domed with burst of stars,
The grey herd moving eastward, towering dust,
Ropes whistling in slow coils, hats flapping, yells…
By miles of yellow wheat rippling in the Chinook,
Orchards forever endless, deep in blooming,
green-golden orange groves and snow-peaks looming over,
By raw audacious cities sprung from nothing,
Brawling and bragging in their careless youth…
I know thee, America!

This may have been John Reed’s last poem:

A Letter to Louise

Rainy rush of bird-song
Apple-blossom smoke
Thin bells water-falling sound
Wind-rust on the silver pond
Furry starring willow wand
Wan new grasses waking round
Blue bird in the oak…
Woven in my word-song

White and slim my lover
Birch-tree in the shade
Mountain pools her fearless eyes
Innocent all-answering
Were I blinded to the Spring
Happy thrill would in me rise
Smiling half afraid
At the nearness of her

All my weak endeavor
Lay I at her feet
Like a moth from oversea
Let me longing lightly rest
On her flower petal breast
Till the red dawn set me free
To be with my sweet
Ever and forever…

Insurgent Mexico

by John
Reed

In this account of his adventures in the advance to Mexico City with Pancho Villa’s armies, John Reed gives
an excellent account of what it was like to have been there. Luckily enough for him,
historians, and adventure lovers alike, he was on the winning side and survived to tell
his tale. His tale is his aspect of the venture among the soldiers who fought the battles,
rode the trains, suffred the hardships of civil war, and tasted the glow of victories won
on the way to the capitol city. It’s gritty, putrid, rough and tumble and the food isn’t
great but at the end you get a heck of a kick from surviving it all.

John Reed’s writing style is great, July 30, 1999

This book was written over 80 years ago, so as military journalism it is quite dated.
However, the author’s portraits of people and places are so vivid that the characters and
events seem to come alive. The author displays a novelist’s talent for description. It is
a very sympathetic portrait of Pancho Villa. I don’t know how historically accurate it is,
but it is certainly interesting reading.

Classic Work on its Era, July 12, 1999

This book has been notorious since its publication in 1914. The author, a reporter for
the American radical press, did not go to Mexico City riding in relative comfort on the
press train accompaning the Division del Norte
General
Francisco “Pancho” Villa
during rhe successful
Constitutionalist southward campaign against the Federalista forces
of the usurper General
Victoriano Huerta, he who had murdered president Madero and his vice president, and seized power in Mexico City.

Reed, instead in accord with his common man leaning, lived among the
“grunts”, Mexican campesinos who made up the bulk of Villa’s forces.

There are incisive pen portraits of the Constitutionalist leaders, descriptions of the
wretched living conditions of the people, and observations on the siege of Torreon, N.L.. and nearby Gomez Palacio, neighboring key strategic
cities on the railroad south from Juarez to Mexico City.

This is not history or reporting but a collection of impressionistic and justifiably
biased essays. Still very valuable for the feel of the times and has been translated into
many languages. The author later went to Russia and wrote
“Ten Days That Shook the World.” (c.f.)
about the October Revolution.

ALBERT HOURANI

October 20, 2006 at 12:32 am | Posted in Arabs, Globalization, History, Middle East | Leave a comment

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Albert Hourani

(March 31, 1915January 17, 1993)

Albert Habib Hourani (March 31, 1915January 17, 1993) was a prominent scholar of Middle
Eastern
history through much of the 20th century.

He was born in Manchester, England,
the son of immigrants from what is now South
Lebanon
. His family had converted from Greek Orthodoxy
to Scottish
Presbyterianism
and his father was an elder of the local church in Manchester. Hourani
himself, however, converted to Catholicism in
adulthood.

Hourani was educated in Manchester and London before
attending Magdalen College, Oxford, where he
studied Philosophy, Politics and
Economics
(with an emphasis on international
relations
in the politics section of the degree), graduating first in his class in 1936. During World War II, he
worked at the Royal Institute of
International Affairs
and in the office of the British Minister of State in Cairo.
After the war’s end, he worked at the Arab Office in Jerusalem
and London, where he helped prepare the Arab case for the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry.

He began his academic career, which would occupy the rest of his life, in 1948, teaching at Magdalen
College
, St. Antony’s College (where
he created and directed the college’s Middle East Center), and the American University of Beirut among others.
He married Odile Wegg-Prosser in 1955, while teaching at Magdalen
College. He died in Oxford at the age of 77. Mrs. Odile Hourani (b. 1914) died in 2003,
shortly after the tenth anniversary of her husband’s death.

His most popular work is A History of
the Arab Peoples
(1991), a readable introduction to the
history of the Middle East. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1789-1939 (1962) is one of the first scientific attempts at a comprehensive
analysis of the nahda, the Arab revival of the nineteenth
century, and the opening of the Arab world to modern European culture, and remains one of
the major works on this subject. Syria and Lebanon (1946),
Minorities in the Arab World (1947) and are other major
works. He also wrote extensive works on the orientalist
perspective on Middle Eastern cultures through the 18th and 19th centuries.

External links

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