۱۳۹۱ اردیبهشت ۱۷, یکشنبه

==== Thrilling Moments of Searching Langerhans ====

In the mid 1950s, while the British government was nationalizing its basic industries, the government of Iran was bust to implement the nationalization of the British interests in the Iranian oil industry. At that time I had finished the elementary school and I was in the second grade of the high school, which was called in Persian as Dabirestaan-e-Rahnama. And I distinctly remember the events on those days I spent at Rahnama. After a light breakfast, I would have left home around seven o'clock in the morning, and would have walked about one mile to reach the school. Then the bell would ring, the principal would make an announcement, and the classes would start. For about four hours, teachers for different sessions would come and go. Around noon, I would have returned home for a tasty and delicious lunch, and would go back to school at two o'clock in the afternoon. Some days I could stay in the school in the lunchtime and had a snack or a small sandwich. In the afternoon, the same story would happen as in the morning, which included listening to the lectures by different teachers, playing out with friends, having some wonderful or terrible moments until the end of the day.
I remember some good stories of my school years. Almost all unforgettable stories have occurred when we were teenagers and young. They most commonly have been happened when we wanted desperately to find a place among our peers:
What can a flame remember?
If it remembers a little less than is necessary, it goes out.
If it remembers a little more than is necessary, it goes out.
If only it could teach us, while it burns, to remember correctly:
George Seferis, “Straits the Sailor Describes a Man”.

This is one of those stories that I try to remember correctly: In the biology class we learned that some parts of Pancreas are called Islets of Langerhans . So, we decided to tease our “geography teacher” who came to the classroom after the ” biology teacher” left. The “geography teacher”, a man of his 40s, tall and slim, talkative, and always very proud of himself, a real narcissist, walked in. He patrolled the room like a bird of prey, circling, circling, and staring at every one of us, until he stood behind his desk to deliver his lecture. Before he could have any chance to bring up a word out of his lips, one of the most promising and clever students raised his hand to get permission to talk. As our clever friend was raising his hand, we were sitting and slouching over our desks with our fingers crossed beneath them, hopelessly attempting to remain cool, and to hide our nervousness. There was a tense moment of silence. Then, as the permission was granted, the clever guy calmly and politely said:
“Sir; before you proceed, we all have a very simple geographical question.” He paused and after turning around and looking at all of us to gain some sorts of energy and powerful assurances, he asked: “We would like to know where are the small islands or islets of Langerhans?”

The teacher, shocked by such unfamiliar question, put the palm of his right hand behind the pinnate of his right ear, pretending that he could not hear, and with a contracting throat said: “What? What did you say? Say it again, please.” And he said all that while his face was turning red and his voice was switching from very high to very low. Our promising classmate, now feeling strong and somewhat superior, slowly and with very pronounced words, repeated his question: “We like to know where are the islets of Langerhans?” After a pause, he quickly added: “And what is the population in those islands and what they are doing down there?”

Full of joy and exited, we were all pleased for what was going on. We all knew the answers completely. And we all were sure that our “geography teacher” did not have a single clue about the Langerhans. We could easily see that not only he was inexperienced and incompetence in that trapped situation, he was also entirely ignorant about those islands. He could not deceive and mislead us. We all knew that he was fighting with himself, pretending that he could find some correct answers for us.
“Long Island, Las Vegas, Florence: Yes. Langerhans: Certainly, not. In what world map these islands are anyway ?” He demanded, as he was walking back and forth in the classroom.

Soon after he responded our question by asking us a question, any one of us got the impression that the teasing period was over. That was the time to close the case. Our bright fellow-student, looked proudly at all of us, and promptly got the message that he should not go further. MAN GOT TO KNOW HIS LIMITATIONS! So he stood up and with a calculated manner he gently began to read these lines from his lecture-notes of biology:
“Well, the Pancreas in our body consists of exocrine tissue that produces digestive enzymes and exports them to the small intestine via the pancreatic duct. Scattered among the exocrine tissue are the islets of Langerhans , clusters of endocrine cells. Each islet has a population of alpha-cells, which secrete the peptide hormone glucagon, and a population of beta cells, which secrete the hormone insulin. Glucagon and insulin are antagonistic hormones that regulate the concentration of glucose or blood sugar.When the mechanisms of glucose homeostasis go awry, there are serious consequences, leading to Diabetes Mellitus. This is about Diabetes Mellitus, Sir. That is why the islets of Langerhans are so important that everybody must know about them , Sir ”!

While our friend was reading about Langerhans, the teacher seemed to be astonished, as he could hardly believe his ears. Sometimes he was also shaking his head with disbelief. At the end, he smiled and started to laugh like a horse. He pondered then and said, “Geography is very important subject in daily life. You see, even in biology you find some signs, forms, or particles which only by geographical means you are able to name them!”
We were happy that he kept his temper, behaving nice and friendly, and he was not angry at all. So all of us praised him by handclapping. Everybody outside our small classroom could hear our applauding, the sound of approval.
Days later, whenever I was coming across the “geography teacher”, he was smiling and saying: “That was a great day. Remember it? You smart kids converted the Geography Class to the Biology Class”!
And he laughed and laughed and laughed.

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD
June 27, 2008 

== First Iranian Wise Men who visited New Born Jesus ==

The Three Wise Men were always a part of the Nativity scene. Here is the story of Bible, as appeared in St. Matthew 2:1, about the visit of wise men to the new born Jesus:
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together the entire chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'" Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another path.
This Bible story does not tell how many wise men actually came from the east nor does it mention their names or their method of travel. It is only assumed they traveled by horse and they could have easily traveled by foot. The Bible doesn't claim these men to be kings. Their identification as kings in later Christian writings is linked to Old Testament prophesies such as that in Isaiah 60:3, Psalm 72:10, and Psalm 68:29, which describe the Messiah being worshipped by kings. This interpretation was however challenged by the Protestant Reformation.
The Conventional Version of the Bible Story
In the conventional version of the Bible story, the three wise men or magi (Magi is a term derived from Greek meaning a Zoroastrian priest) who were named as Gaspar (aka Caspar, Gathaspa, Jaspar, Jaspas), Melchior (aka Melichior, Melchyor), and Balthazar (aka Balthasar Bithisarea, Balthassar) started the gift-giving custom of Christmas by bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child on Epiphany, the day on which the infant was presented. The three magi have been described not only as wise men, but also as Iranian kings or Persian priests or Iranian astrologers. It should be noted that the visit of the Magi is commemorated in most Western Christian churches by the observance of Epiphany, 6 January. The Eastern Orthodox celebrates the visit of the Magi on 25 December.
The Tomb of Three Wise Men in Iran
Marco Polo claimed that he was shown the three tombs of the Magi at Saveh south of Tehran in the 1270s. Marco Polo was a Christian merchant from the Venetian Republic who wrote the book of Il Milione, in which he introduced Europeans to the Middle East, Central Asia and China. In his book, he wrote that, “In Persia is the city of Saba, from which the Three Magi set out and in this city they are buried, in three very large and beautiful monuments, side by side. And above them there is a square building, beautifully kept. The bodies are still interred there, with hair and beard remaining”.
The Bible Story in Persian Poetry
As already noted, according to the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi found Jesus by following his star, which thus traditionally became known as the Star of Bethlehem. In his poem entitled as the Birth of Jesus Christ (in Persian: Milaad-e Isaa Masih), the late Iranian poet Mehdi Hamidi Shirazi (1914-1986) referred to that star the visit of three Wise Men to the new born Jesus. The Persian Text of that poem reads as follows:
میلاد عیسی مسیح و دیدار سه ایرانی
به فرمان خدا از دختر بکر
هویدا گشت نوری ، شادی افزا
درخشان کوکبی از زادن او
به بام آسمان ، برداشت آوا
چو ایرانی بدید آن اختر پاک
فراز چرخ چون خورشید عذرا
دوید آن سو، که آنجا شاد و خندان
بدارد هدیه های خویش اهدا: دکتر مهدی حمیدی شیرازی
Collected and Prepared By
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD
December 23, 2010
Brown, R. E. (1977): The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke. London: G. Chapman, UK
Powell, M. A. (2000): "The Magi as Wise Men: Re-examining a Basic Supposition", New Testament Studies. Vol. 46
Saadat Noury, M. (2010): Various Articles on the History of Iran and First Iranians.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2010): Online Articles on Biblical Magi.

۱۳۹۱ اردیبهشت ۱۶, شنبه

===== Most Important Facts about Chocolate =====

Chocolate (in Persian: Shokolaat) is a term referred to a number of raw and processed foods that are made from the seeds of cacao tree (Scientific Name: Theobroma cacao), a tree native to Mexico and the tropical South America. Chocolate is an ingredient used in various snacks and deserts such as cookies, ice cream, pudding, and pie. It can be also a cake, sauce, syrup, or candy, served melted, chilled, sprinkled, and so on. Chocolate may be boxed on Valentine's Day and egged on Easter. It can be also used in cold and hot beverages like Chocolate Milk and Hot Chocolate. In this article the healthy beneficial of chocolate, the list of chocolate festivals, quotations in favor of chocolate, the detrimental effects of chocolate, and a few facts on the chocolate production in Iran are studied and discussed.

HEALTHY BENEFITS OF CHOCOLATE: As a person bites into a piece of dark chocolate, his or her body automatically releases Endorphin that boosts both cardiovascular and mental health of that person. Endorphin is a substance secreted in the pituitary gland to remove pain and to introduce pleasure. In fact, the mere scent of the potent goodness of chocolate can put a person in a good mood and that is really what makes chocolate a magical product. The beneficial health effects of chocolate can be listed as follows:
Antioxidant Effect: Research shows chocolate contains significant amounts of phenols, the same protective agents that are found in red wine. Phenols help to keep and protect the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) from oxidizing. Oxidized LDL is believed to be a key factor in the development of heart disease, so anything that prevents such oxidation can also help to reduce the heart-disease risk. It is also reported that the consumption of a regular low quantity of dark chocolate reduces the possibility of a heart attack. Heart attack is considered to be the result of cholesterol imbalance. The beneficial effects of dark chocolate to the human health as related to heart and the circulatory system have been attributed to the antioxidant activities of Epicatechin which is present in this product.
Chocolate is also a very good source of copper, an essential element in nutrition. "The bean from the cacao tree is naturally abundant in copper. Fortunately, much of the copper is retained when the bean is processed into cocoa or chocolate" noted Carl Keen, Professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at the University of California at Davis. Nancy Betts, Professor of Nutritional Science and Dietetics at the University of Nebraska, wrote that, "The typical American diet is low in copper. The recommended safe and adequate range is 1.5-3.0 mg per day, but the average intake is about 1.2 mg. Copper functions as an antioxidant and helps with wound healing, but its most important function is to work with iron in building blood cells and transporting oxygen".
Anticarcinogenic Effect: Evidences from the laboratory studies have revealed that cacao and dark chocolate flavonoids may possess some anticarcinogenic mechanisms. More research works are however needed to elucidate the role of cacao and dark chocolate in fighting cancer.
Aphrodisiac Effect: In some cultures, chocolate is believed to function as an aphrodisiac, a substance which excites sexual desire. (Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love). It is documented that the ninth Aztec emperor Montezuma (reigned 1502 - 1520) used to drink chocolate syrup before going to his harem. However, the aphrodisiac effect of chocolate is yet unproven.
Other Effects: A study carried out by researcher David Lewis and reported by the BBC indicated that melting chocolate in one's mouth produced an increase in brain activity and heart rate that was more intense than that associated with passionate kissing, and also lasted four times as long after the activity had ended. Chocolate appears to soothe and moisten the throat. According to some research works, chocolate may be effective in preventing the persistent coughing. Theobromine, aka Xantheose, is an alkaloid of the cacao and chocolate. This alkaloid has been found to be almost one third more effective than Codeien, the leading cough medicine. It has been also suggested that the flavonoids present in chocolate may cure diabetes, diarrhea, and other diseases.

CHOCOLATE FESTIVALS: These festivals performed in different occasions which include Valentine's Day, Christmas, New Year, Halloween, Easter, World Chocolate Day (September 4th), etc.

QUOTATIONS IN FAVOR OF CHOCOLATE: Here are some quotations that indicate the healthy benefits of chocolate:
The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain: 3rd US President Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826).
All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then does not hurt! America's Most Endearing Artist Charles M. Schulz (1922 - 2000).
It is not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. Chocolate is, let us face it, far more reliable than a man!  Author and Columnist Miranda Ingram.
After about 20 years of marriage, I am finally starting to scratch the surface of that one. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate: Movie Actor Mel Gibson in What Women Want.
Research tells us 10 out of 14 individuals like chocolate: American Author and Songwriter Sandra Keith Boynton.

DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS OF CHOCOLATE: Chocolate and the candy bars certainly taste good and have potential beneficial health effects in human nutrition. But people should be also advised that eating chocolate in excessive quantities may increase the risk of obesity without a corresponding increase in activity. And obesity itself is a risk factor for many illnesses like cardiovascular diseases. Steve Infanti quoted researcher Bloom who wrote that, "Headaches may be caused by the Phenyl Ethyl Amine (PEA) in chocolate because PEA dilates blood vessels in the brain, a move that can trigger Migraines. It can also promote heartburn by causing a backup of acids from the stomach into the esophagus". Research has also shown that milk consumption can cause acne, including any which is mixed with chocolate. Besides, chocolate has one of the highest lead concentrations that constitute a typical Westerner's diet. This may lead to a mild lead poisoning. Though studied indicate that the lead consumed through chocolate may not all be absorbed by the human body, there is no recognized threshold for the effects of lead on children's brain function and even small amount of lead can cause permanent neurodevelopment deficits such as impaired Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in early life.

FEW FACTS ON THE CHOCOLATE PRODUCTION IN IRAN: Here are a few facts on the production of chocolate in Iran:
A. The first evidence of chocolate consumption in Iran comes from a book written in 1662 by the British court physician Henry Stubbe praising the beneficial qualities of chocolate. At the time, Charles II (1660 - 1685) was the King of England and the seventh king of Safavid Dynasty, Abbas II (1642 - 1666) was the Shah of Iran. On the basis of Dr Stubbe's book, in 1662 chocolate had already spread in the Middle East as far as Turkey and Iran.
B. The first factory to manufacture chocolate in Iran was established by two Russian immigrants in Tabriz, the capital city of Azerbaijan province, in 1920 when Ahmad Shah Qajar was in power in Iran.
C. In Pahlavi era (1925 - 1979), and particularly during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah (1941 - 1979) when industrial activities were rapidly developed in Iran, many companies and factories of confectionary and chocolate were established in different parts of the country.
D. In recent years, the chocolate production has been boosted up in Iran due to the increasing demands by some Muslim countries for the Iranian chocolate. It may be due to the fact that those Muslim countries banned Danish and some European chocolates after the controversy caused by a cartoon printed in some journals and magazines in Denmark.
E. Samples of the various chocolate products manufactured and marketed in Iran are being displayed in the Exhibition of Iranian Biscuit, Confectionary and Chocolate (in Persian: Namayeshgaah-e Biskooeet-o Shirinijaat va Shokolaat-e Iran) which is held annually either in Tehran or in one of the cities in different provinces of the country. The most recent one named as 8th International Exhibition of Biscuit, Confectionary and Chocolate was organized by the Association of Iranian Confectionary Manufacturing Companies and it was held in Tehran from 19 to 22 October 2009.

Research suggests that up to 97 per cent of women and 68 per cent of men experience food cravings, and the chocolate is among the most common craved food. Yet, chocolate should not be a significant source of calories in the daily diet of any person. The bottom-line, as many nutritionists advise, is moderation. And if you got a craving for chocolate, never go overboard since too much of something good  and beneficial can be also bad and harmful!

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

1. BBC Website (2007): Online Report on Chocolate better than Kissing.
2. Brock, W. (2009): Online Note on Chocolate Craving.
3. Casella, E. (2009): Falling in Love with Delicious Chocolate, Luxury Report: Vol.1, No. 3, Page 38.
4. Chocolate World Website (2009): Online List of Chocolate Festivals. 
5. Copper Org Website (2001): Online News on “Valentine’s Day Lovers Delight: Chocolate is Rich in Dietary Copper”, Finding Noted by Carl Keen and Nancy Betts.
6. Hhhh Org Website (2009): Online Article on the History of Chocolate, Notes on the Book authored by Henry Stubbe.
7. Hirsch, S. B. and M. G. Clark (1968): A Salute to Chocolate, ed., Hawthorn Books Publications.
8. Infanti, S. (2009): Online Article on Chocolate.
9. Mwape, B. (2009): Online Article on 17 Popular Quotes about Chocolate.
10. Saadat Noury, M. (1982): Principles of Human Nutrition in Health & Disease (in Persian), ed., Tehran, Iran.
11. Saadat Noury, M. (2008): Various Articles on Human Nutrition.
12. Saadat Noury, M. (2009):  Online Articles on the History of Iran.
13. Science Daily Website (2006): Online Article on Epicatechin: heart-healthy Compound in Chocolate identified.
14. Townsend, R. F. (2000): The Aztecs (2nd edition), Thames & Hudson, London.
15. Various Sources: (2009): Notes & News on Chocolate Production.
16. Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2009): Online Notes on Chocolate (in English & Persian).

============ Camel Milk Products ============

In recent years various camel milk products are prepared and marketed throughout some parts of the world, i.e. Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc. The products like yoghurt, cheese, ice-cream and chocolate made from camel milk are now commercialized in many countries in Asia and Africa and those products are getting their way into the European and American markets very rapidly. In this article some Biological Characteristics of Camel, the Importance of Camel in Different Regions of the World, World Camel Population, Camel Milk Production, Composition of Camel Milk, and the Various Camel Milk Products (Butter, Yoghurt, Cheese, Ice-cream and Chocolate) are studied and discussed.
Some Biological Characteristics of Camel: The average life expectancy of a camel (Scientific Name: Camelus dromedarius) is 40 to 50 years. A fully grown adult camel stands 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) at the shoulder and 2.15 m (7 ft 1 in) at the hump. The hump rises about 30 inches (75 cm) out of its body. Camels can run up to 65 km/h in short bursts and sustain speeds of up to 40 km/h (Wikipedia, 2009).
The Importance of Camel in Different Regions of the World: The camel is an important animal component of the fragile desert eco-system. With its unique bio-physiological characteristics, the camel has become an icon of adaptation to challenging ways of living in arid and semi-arid regions (Bikaner, 2008). The proverbial Ship of Desert (in Persian: Safeeneh-e Sahra) earned its epithet on account of its indispensability as a mode of transportation and draught power in desert but the utilities are many and are subject to continuous social and economic changes.
World Camel Population: On the basis of the 1990 yearbook published by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) the camel population in some countries have been reported as follows: Somalia: 6855000, Sudan: 2800000, India: 1450000, Pakistan: 990000, Mauritania: 820000, Kenya: 810000, Chad: 540000, Niger: 420000, Saudi Arabia: 405000, Afghanistan: 265000, Yemen: 144000, United Arab Emirates: 115000, Iraq: 59000, Iran: 27000, Jordan: 15000, Israel: 10000, and Kuwait: 6000.
As Robert Lacey (1982) noted in order to keep the number of camel in some countries like Saudi Arabia, the country imports those unique beasts. They arrive every week or so in the port of Jeddah, peering curiously over the rails of the steamers from Somalia.
Camel Milk Production: Existing data on the milk yield of camels are numerous but highly variable. According to results from several authors, lactation periods vary from 9 to 18 months, with annual milk yields of between 800 and 3600 liters. Mean daily milk production is reported to range from 2 to 6 liters under desert conditions and up to 12 to 20 liters under more intensive breeding systems. These large differences can be explained by the fact that measurements have often been made under local conditions without taking into account local factors that might influence milk production. Furthermore, camel breeds or individual animals probably exist with significantly different milk-producing potential that has not been fully exploited because the selective pressure of humans on the camel has been minimal compared with other domestic animals (Richard and Gerard, 1989).
Composition of Camel Milk: According to Wilson (1984) the range percentages of various nutrients in a sample of camel milk are as follows: Water: 86.30-87.30, Lactose: 3.30-5.80, Fat: 2.90-5.40, Protein: 3.00-3.90, and Ash: 0.60-0.80.
In his article entitled as One Hump or Two, Chris Mercer (2006) noted that, “Camel’s milk, as well as being low in fat, also contains vitamin B, iron and unsaturated fatty acids. Its nutritional value has led to a range of health claims. One small study, released by the Camel Applied Research and Development Network, found camel's milk could help treat Type 1 diabetes”.
Various Camel Milk Products: Camel milk is a staple food of desert nomad tribes and is richer in fat and protein than cow milk. Camel milk cannot be made into butter in the traditional churning method. It can be made if it is soured first, churned, and a clarifying agent added, or if it is churned at 24–25 degree Centigrade (75–76 Fahrenheit), but times will vary greatly in achieving results. The milk can readily be made into yogurt. Butter or yogurt made from camel milk is said to have a very faint greenish tinge. Camel milk is said to have many healthful properties and is used as a medicinal product in India; Bedouin tribes believe that camel milk has great curative powers if the camel’s diet consists of certain plants. In Ethiopia, the milk is considered an aphrodisiac, a substance which excites sexual desire (in Persian: Maadeh Yaa Daaroy-e Moghavey-e Gharaaez-e Jenssi).
Camel milk, until recently, was impossible to make into traditional cheese rennet, a substance used for thickening milk, especially to make cheese. Under the commission of the FAO, Professor J.P. Ramet of the Ecole Nationale Superieure d’ Agronomie et des Industries Alimentaires was able to produce curdling by the addition of calcium phosphate and vegetable rennet. The cheese produced from this process has low levels of cholesterol and lactose. The sale of camel cheese is limited owing to the low yield of cheese from milk and the uncertainty of pasteurization levels for camel milk which makes adherence to dairy import regulations difficult (Wikipedia, 2009).
An Israeli scientist, Professor Reuven Yagil, reportedly developed a camel milk ice cream in 1999. In 2006 Al Ain Dairy Firm declared that it had launched the first camel milk ice cream in the United Arab Emirates, positioning the product as a healthy alternative to other ice cream products (Mercer, 2006).
On 22 July 2009, Martin Van Almsick, the General Manager of Al Nassma Company in Dubai announced that, “The world’s first chocolate made out of camel milk would be all set to go on sale around the world. All chocolates are produced without preservatives or chemical additives with a range of locally popular spices, nuts, honey, which comes from Yemen, and vanilla from Madagascar” (Hindu, 2009). According to the news reported online, “Al Nassma was formally established in October last year and aims to produce 100 tons of premium camel milk chocolate a year. In partnership with Austrian chocolate maker Manner, Al Nassma manufactures the end product at its Dubai facility. With 3000 camels on its Dubai farm, the company sells chocolates through its farm-attached store as well as in luxury hotels and private airlines. The farm is controlled by the Dubai government” (Bookofjoe, 2009).
It should be noted that Al Nassma, the name of the company behind the chocolate, is derived from the Arabic word of Nassam (in Persan: Nasseem) meaning a cool breeze.

Epilogue: A Bedouin is a member of an Arab tribe living in or near the desert, and the Bedouin name of camel is God’s Gift (Lacey, 1982). The corresponding terms for God’s Gift are Ata Allah in Arabic, and Yazdan-Bakhsh in Persian. The new brand chocolate made from camel milk may be considered as one of the most pleasant parts of that gift!
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

1. Bikaner Website (2008): Online Article on Camel, National Research Center on Camel, Jorbeer, Bikaner (Rajasthan) India.
2. Bookofjoe Website (2009): Online Note on Dubai’s Al Nassma Camel Milk Chocolate.
3. FAO Publication (1990): Production Yearbook of Food and Agricultural Organization: No 44.
4. Hindu Website (2009): Online News on Camel Milk Chocolate Set to Hit World Markets.
5. Lacey, R. (1982): The Kingdom, ed., HBJ Publishers, New York, USA.
6. Mercer, C. (2006): Online Article on One Hump or Two.
7. Ramet, J. P. (2001): Online Document of the Technology of Making Cheese from Camel Milk.
8. Richard, D. and D. Gerard (1989): La production laitiere des dromadaires Dankali, Rev. Elev. Med. Vet.: 42: 97-103.
9. Saadat Noury, M. (2009): Online Article on Facts about Chocolate.
10. Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2009): Online Note on Camel.
11. Wilson, R.T. (1984): The Camel, ed., London, Longman Group Ltd., 233 pp.

۱۳۹۱ اردیبهشت ۱۵, جمعه

========= Some Observations on Secularism =======

There have been many views about the philosophy of secularism. Secular is often defined as meaning “not specifically religious,” but this definition is not complete in understanding secularism as a philosophy. In this article, the term, the most common definitions, and the historic model of secularism, together with the various views on this subject, and some quotations and a few poems about secularism will be briefly introduced and studied.

The Term
The term "secularism" is a derivative of secular. The word ‘secular’ is derived from the Latin word "Saeculum" meaning "present age" or "this world". It was first used in 1648 in the treaty of Westphalia at the end of religious wars in the west. At that time it denoted "the removal of territory or property from the control of ecclesiastical authorities". George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906) was the main exponent of this doctrine and in 1851 he defined it as "well being of mankind in the present life to the exclusion of all considerations drawn from belief in God and a future state" (SikhWiki, 2012). According to Professor Edward Jayne, Secularism may be also described as "Freethought" (Jayne, 2004).

Most Common Definitions
Cambridge Dictionaries Online defines Secularism as "the belief that religion should not be involved with the ordinary social and political activities of a country". Oxford Dictionaries Online refers to Secularism as a derivative of Secular, for which it gives the meaning of "not connected with religious or spiritual matters". Webster Dictionary describes Secularism as the "Belief that religious influences should be restricted, and in particular that education, morality, the state, etc. should be independent of religion". According to the Free Encyclopedia of Wikipedia, the "Secularism is the principle of separation between government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the State from religious institutions and religious dignitaries. In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and the right to freedom from governmental imposition of religion upon the people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief". In Persian, Secularism may be translated as Donyaviyyat, Donya Graaii, Jodaaii-e Deen Az Dowlat, Aazaad Fekri, etc.

The Historic Model of
Here is the historic model of Secularism as suggested by Professor Edward Jayne: The model begins with the achievement of ancient Greece, whose impact lasted perhaps eight hundred years, followed by a thousand-year reaction utterly dominated by Christian sacerdocracy. Then came the Italian Renaissance followed by almost a hundred fifty years of turmoil now identified as the Reformation, and then the French Enlightenment followed by just a few decades of conservative adjustment inspired by Metternichean diplomacy buttressed by German metaphysics. Freethought came alive once again in the late nineteenth century inspired by Darwinism, and today there seems to be a compromise between a large majority of believers and a small intellectually advanced coterie of freethinkers ignore each other as well as possible (Jayne, 2004).
Secularism in the World
The countries that have secular governments are shown with blue colors in the map below
 (نقشه کشورهای جهان که در آنها حکومت بر مبنای سکولاریسم است).

Various Views on  Secularism
1. According to T.N. Madan (1999) the modern ideology of secularism emerged in the late Middle Ages as a result of the conflict between religious faith and human reason. While serious scholars did not reject religion completely, they sought to bind it within the "limits of reason." It was also cast as a call for and a cause of "human emancipation." Madan thus believes that secularism can be defined positively as "a reasonable theory about human agency" rather than just as an "anti-religious ideology." The Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther led to the privatization of religion. What is meant by this is that the individual no longer needed the Church to be his agent for salvation. So, what was a matter of faith, i.e., the individual should be responsible for his/her salvation led to the secular notion of the "perfectability of humankind." This individual responsibility and indeed challenge to seek God did not mean it should result in a "non-religious" less so an "anti-religious" nation/state or body politic. Madan thus says, "Luther and Calvin helped to usher in a modern, secularized age that they themselves would hardly approve of" (Ramesh N. Rao, 1999).
2. Christian apologists argue that "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution, and Jefferson proposed it to keep government out of the church (not the church out of government). Thus, apologists may argue that the vision of secularism is propaganda.
Apologists may argue the term secularism was an idea of the Bible, when coined by a Christian St. Augustine of Hippo, and the separation of church and state also has biblical origins when God would not allow kings to become priests to corrupt the people through the church (although the priests could influence the king). Therefore, secularism was an idea born of the Bible not the Enlightenment. Some apologists go as far as believing that present day secularism between church and state has become a form of totalitarianism, which may will lead to eugenics. This leads apologists to argue that the only way to save secularism is the Church, since they are the ones who came up with it, because once we lose the Christian values and traditions will lead to a world far worse than anything Hitler could have ever conjured (Wiki, 2012).
3. Counter-Apologetics: While it is true that the Constitution does not specifically say "separation of church and state" nor does it say any of the following: God, Jesus, Christ, Bible, Christianity, Trinity, Paul, disciples, etc. Apologists may point to that the Constitution was dated with the words "in the year of our Lord" but the tables can easily be turned by pointing out that the Constitution says Thursday, which is the date of worship for Thor, the god of thunder.
Apologists who make this argument are very unlikely, and perhaps unwilling, to look at history beyond their holy book. This is because they base history and their view of the world through the Bible as an accurate calender and historical text. Ignoring that the Bible was wrong about many historical events (such as Jericho, the consensus, Nazareth, etc) looking further back we can see that secularism did not start with the Bible. Tasmanians, Aetas and Negritos of the Philippines, Yaghans of Tierra del Fuego, the Veddahs of Ceylon, and African Bushmen all lived in secular societies before religion was introduced.
Many eastern societies lived under secular philosophies for centuries before Jesus was born (Wiki, 2012).
4 Secularism and, more comprehensively, modernity itself have sometimes been depicted as the consequence of apostasy from the Christian faith. That was the view of, for instance, the great Swiss Protestant theologian Karl Barth. According to Barth, modern culture has been a revolt against the Christian faith aimed at putting the human being in the place of God. There is much to be said for that interpretation, for the human reality has indeed become basic in modern culture in a manner comparable to the religious foundation of earlier cultures. The concern for human rights is but one aspect, although the politically most important aspect, of modernity's preoccupation with man. Thus it came about that the human individual was seen as the highest value and criterion of good (W. Pannenberg, 1996).
5. Secularism in the Muslim countries refers to the ideology of promoting the secular as opposed to the religion. It is often used to describe the separation of civil/government matters from religious theocracy. Secularism is often condemned by Muslims who do not feel that religious values should be removed from the public sphere, though Muslim theologians have long distinguished between matters of deen, religion, and dawlat the state (Oxford Islamic Studies Online, 2012).
6. The phrase Novus ordo seclorum (Latin for "New Order of the Ages") appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, first designed in 1782 and printed on the back of the United States one-dollar bill since 1935. The phrase also appears on the coat of arms of the Yale School of Management, Yale University's business school. The phrase is also translated as "New World Order" by many people who believe in conspircacy theories; however, it does directly translate to "New Order of the Ages" (Wiki, 2012).
7. Plato's Thoughts On Religion : In the republic, Plato advocates censoring "any story," such as told "by Hesiod and Homer and the other poets," which "gives a bad image of the nature of the gods," portraying them as petty, devious, or "warring and plotting and fighting against each other." The Gods, in Plato's eyes, should only be represented as good, and pious, because it is the nature of divinity to be good.
Plato tells us what how he thinks the universe was created, but he warns us that his story is just a tale, because we being mortals could never understand. He says that the creator, created the universe from his likeness, out of the preexisting chaos (this is different from the Christian view that God created the universe out of void.

Some Quotations about Secularism
"If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern": Mahatma Gandhi
"My people are going to learn the principles of democracy the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will, every man can follow his own conscience provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him act against the liberty of his fellow men": Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
"Some people believe the alternative to bad religion is secularism, but that's wrong. The answer to bad religion is better religion: prophetic rather than partisan, broad and deep instead of narrow, and based on values as opposed to ideology": Jim Wallis
"But the West is trying to weaken Islam from outside and inside. They attack our people and invade our countries from outside, and they weaken us from within with ideas like secularism, liberalism and democracy. This is all designed to contaminate our pure Islam": Abu Bakar Bashir
"I believe that pluralistic secularism, in the long run, is a more deadly poison than straightforward persecution": Francis Schaeffer
"It seems true that the growth of science and secularism made organized Christianity feel under threat": Mary Douglas
"To imply that religious believers have no right to engage moral questions in the public square or at the ballot is simply to establish a Reichian secularism as our state faith": Maggie Gallagher
"Unhappy, let alone angry, religious people provide more persuasive arguments for atheism and secularism than do all the arguments of atheists": Dennis Prager
"Unity and secularism will be the motto of the government. We can't afford divisive polity in India": Manmohan Singh
"Those who use religion for their own benefit are detestable. We are against such a situation and will not allow it. Those who use religion in such a manner have fooled our people; it is against just such people that we have fought and will continue to fight": Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
"In a secularising world, art has replaced religion as a touchstone of our reverence and devotion": Alain de Botton
Listen to more quotations about Secularism: A Short Film by David M. Beadle

Poems about Secularism

What love is and what is hate
What is destiny and what is fate
Think not of such ethereal things
Be carefree and carry on the binge
Of thy heart not of your mind
Live a life of special; kind
If you ponder over your fate
Abhorrence for highs it will create
About your destiny if you think
Animosity for usurpers it will link
Arms and ammunitions of thy emotions
Waste not on the futile notions?
Look around you and find love
Live a happy life like that of a dove : Akram Saqib

First dentistry was painless,
Then bicycles where chainless
And carriages where horseless,
And many laws in-forceless.
Next cookery was fie-less,
Telegraphy was why-less,
Cigars was nicotine-less
And coffee caffeine-less
Soon Oranges where seedless
The Putting Green was weed-less
The college boy was hat-less
The proper diet fat-less
New motor roads are dust-less
The latest steel is rust-less
Our tennis courts are sod-less
Our new Religion is God-less : Unknown Poet

1. It should be noted that quoting various views, remarks, and poems about Secularism, does not necessarily mean that this author agrees with all of them.
2. Here are the links to the Persian Text of the poems composed by this author as related to the topic of this study : 1 and 2
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

Brainy Quote Website (2012): Online Quotations about Secularism
Cambridge Dictionaries Online (2012): Online Note on the Definition of Secularism
Good Reads Website (2012): Online Quotes About Secularism
Jayne, E. (2004): Online Article on A brief History of Secularism
Madan. T. N. (1999): "Secularism in its place": Journal of Asian Studies
Oxford Dictionary (2012): Online Note on the Definition of Secular
Oxford Islamic Studies Online (2012): Online Note on "Islam and Secularism"
Pannenberg, W. (1996): Online Article on How to Think About Secularism
Rao, R. N. (1999): Online Article on Secularism and Its Discontents
Saadat Noury, M. (2012): Online Poems as related to Secularism
SikhWiki Website (2012): Online Article on Secularism
Saqib, A. (2012): Online Poem on Secularism
Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary (2003): Note on the Definition of Secularism
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2012): Online Articles on Secularism, Christianity invented secularism, and Novus ordo seclorum

== Delightful Moments in the Department of Peach ==

The tree of peach (Prunus persica) belongs to the subfamily Prunoideae of the Rosaceae family. Prunus persica bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach (in Persian: Houloo). It should be noted that the peach is also named as the Persian Apple (in Persian: Seeb-e Irani) in many part of the world. The scientific name persica, along with the given name of Persian Apple most likely indicate that peaches were originated in Persia (now Iran), and it is most unlikely to consider China as the origin of this fruit as some documents claim. In this article some Historical Notes on Peach, the Nutritional Values of Peach, and the Pros and Cons for the Peach Consumption are briefly studied and discussed.
Some Historical Notes on Peach
As noted, Peach was originated in the ancient Persian Empire and as a Persian Apple, it was then introduced to India, China and the Mediterranean region along the Silk Road before Christian times. Peaches were mentioned in Chinese writings as far back as the 10th century BC and were a favorable fruit of kings and emperors.
Macedonian Alexander introduced this fruit into Europe after he occupied the ancient Persian Empire in 331 BC. From Europe, it was brought to the North America by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.
Hypothetically, the horticulturist George Minifie brought the first peaches from England to its North American colonies in the early 17th century, planting them at his Estate of Buckland in Virginia. Various American Indian tribes are credited with spreading the peach tree across the United States, taking seeds along with them and planting as they made a journey and wandered the country.
Although the third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) had peach trees at Monticello, the US farmers did not begin commercial production of the peach until the 19th century in Maryland, Delaware, Georgia and finally Virginia.
Nutritional Values of Peach
The nutritional values of peach in terms of the amount of nutrients present in 100 gm of peach may be summarized as follows:
Vitamin A - 880 IU
Vitamin B - 02 mg
Riboflavin - 0.05 mg
Niacin - 0.9 mg
Vitamin C - 8 mg
Calcium - 8 mg
Iron - 0.6 mg
Phosphorus - 22 mg
Potassium - 310 mg
Fats - 0.1 gm
Carbohydrates - 12 gm
Protein - 0.5 gm
Dietary Fiber - 0.6 gm
Sugars - 9 gm
Calories – 46
You can use the following information to decide whether or not to include peach in your diet.
The peach is: Low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium/ High in Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Niacin and Potassium.
The nutritional value and health benefits of peaches means that they are good for: Maintaining good general health/ Losing weight (See below).
Avoid eating peaches if you are interested in: Gaining weight
The Pros and Cons for the Peach Consumption
The Healthy Benefits of Peach may be listed as follows:
1. Peaches help make the skin healthy and also add color to the complexion.
2. It has been seen that consumption of peaches helps in the removal of worms from the intestinal tract.
3. Being rich in Vitamin A, peaches might help prevent cancer in organs and glands with epithelial tissue.
4. Peaches comprise of more than 80 percent water and are a good source of dietary fiber, making them good for those trying to lose weight.
5. Consumption of peaches, on a regular basis, can keep your bowel movements regular and even prevent straining.
6. Researches have suggested that peaches have good to excellent antioxidant activity, some antimicrobial activity and good to excellent tumor growth inhibition activity.
7. Peaches have a small laxative effect and a powerful diuretic effect and thus, are recommended to people suffering from rheumatism and gout.
8. Peach flowers have sedative proprieties and are good for children who are restless, especially when the peach is boiled in water with sugar and honey.
9. Peaches have been found to be beneficial for individuals suffering from the following diseases and disorders: Acidosis, Anemia, Asthma, Bladder and Kidney Stones, Bronchitis, Constipation, Dry Cough, Gastritis, High Blood Pressure, Nephritis, and Poor Digestion.
The Hazardous Effects: As with many other members of the rose family, peach seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides. These substances are capable of decomposing into a sugar molecule and hydrogen cyanide gas.
While peach seeds are not the most toxic within the rose family, that dubious honor going to the bitter almond, large doses of these chemicals from any source are hazardous to human health.
Peach allergy or intolerance is a relatively common form of hypersensitivity to proteins contained in peaches and related fruit (almonds). Symptoms range from local symptoms (e.g. oral allergy syndrome, contact urticaria) to systemic symptoms, including anaphylaxis (e.g. urticaria, angioedema, gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms). Adverse reactions are related to the "freshness" of the fruit: peeled or canned fruit may be tolerated.
The World Peach Production
The world peach production is about 10 million tons, second only after the apple, and the highest concentration of peach orchards is around the Mediterranean. While peach production is decreasing in the USA and is stable in the EU it is increasing in China and in South America, particularly in Chile. The main problems linked to the peach industry evidenced by most countries are: low fruit quality, high production costs, international competition and overproduction.
California today grows 65 per cent of peaches grown for commercial production in the US, but the states of South Carolina, Georgia, and Washington also grow a significant amount. Italy, China, USA, India, Greece, and Iran are the first 6 major world producers of the peaches.
1. Peach in Science: In August 2010, a team of researchers at Clemson University, USA, announced that they successfully sequenced the peach tree genome.
2. Peach in Poetry: Here is a very interesting poem about peach as composed by the American poet Li-Young Lee:
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
3. Peach in Quotes and Sayings: Here are some English Quotes on Peach:
If two or three persons should come with a high spiritual aim and with great powers, the world would fall into their hands like a ripe peach: Ralph Waldo Emerson.
…With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination: Robert Fulghum.
Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie - not perfect but who is complaining? Robert Brault (Read more here).
And here are some Persian Sayings on Peach:
Mesl-e Houloo-ye Poost Kandeh (As a free translation in English: The one who looks like a peeled-off peach, referring to a beautiful person).
Hameen Houloo Hameen Gloo (As a free translation in English: It remains the same, referring to something that cannot be either changed or replaced).
4. An Interpretation for the Term “Peach”: Persian Empire Apple Cultivated Here-in = PEACH.
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD
FAOSTAT Website (2011): Online Report on the “Food and Agricultural commodities production in Iran”.
Fideghelli, C. and others (1997): Online Article on the “Peach Industry in the World”.
Natural Environment Website (2011): Online Note on “Peach Nutrition Facts”.
Saadat Noury, M. (1976): Principles of Experimental Nutrition, ed., (in Persian), Tehran University Publications, Tehran, Iran.
Saadat Noury, M. (1982): Principles of Human Nutrition in Health and Disease (in Persian), ed., Tehran, Iran.
Sosinski, B. and others (2010): Online Report on the Peach Genome Database for Rosacea.
Quote Garden Website (2011): Online Quotes on “Peach”.
Various Sources (2011): Online English and Persian Notes on “Peach”, “Persian Sayings on Peach”, and “Benefits of Peach”.
Website of Gratefulness (2011): Online Poem of “From Blossoms”.
Website of Poetry Foundation (2011): Online Biography of Li-Young Lee.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2011): Online Article on “Peach”.
Read more about the Moments in the Nutritional Department on MISSING MOMENTS

==== Bozorgmehr, the Inventor of Backgammon ====

This article entitled as the First Iranian who Invented the Old Scientific Version of Backgammon was originally published online on February 22, 2009

INTRODUCTION: The board game of backgammon (in Persian: Nard or Takhteh-Nard) is believed to be the oldest recorded game in the world and it has been reported that it was initiated in the ancient Iran, aka Persian Empire. Though the archaeological excavations in Iran show that a form of backgammon was in use as far back as 5000 BC, the reliable research documents reveal that it was Bozorgmehr, the Chancellor of Sassanid King Khosrow Anushiravan (ruled 531-579), who invented the old scientific version of backgammon. In this article the life story of Bozorgmehr together with some various names of modern backgammon and most important facts about backgammon will be studied and discussed

THE LIFE STORY OF BOZORGMEHR: His name was Bozorgmehr, aka Buzarjumehr (in English: Great Sun or Great Mithra), and his nickname was Borzouyeh, aka Burzoe or Borzuy (in English: Of Honor or High). Bozorgmehr was a famous Iranian chancellor, minister (in Persian: Vazir) and physician of the Sassanid Empire (226-651) in the sixth century. Due to his well-known and recognizable literary, political and scientific works he was highly respected in the Muslim World as a man of wisdom and honor even after the Muslims invasion to Iran in the seventh century. It is documented that Khosrow Anushiravan (ruled 531-579) was remarkably eager for the science and medicine and he therefore invited a very large group of scholars and physicians to his capital (See the article on First Iranian Academic Site written by this author). It was by his decree that the physician Bozorgmehr (Borzouyeh) was given a mission to go to India to gather the best minds and sources of knowledge of the day. He also translated the Indian Panchatantra from Sanskrit into the Middle Persian language of Pahlavi. But both his translation and the original Sanskrit version he worked from are lost. Before the loss, however, his Pahlavi version was translated into Arabic by Ibn Mofagha (aka Ibn Moffaqa) under the title of Kelileh-o-Demneh (names of two jackals) and became the Arabs' greatest prose classics.A collection of various advice or the book of Pandnamak-i Vozurg-Mihr-i Bukhtakan (in Modern Persian: Pandnameh-e Bozorgmehr-e Bakhtegan) is another book attributed to Bozorgmehr. The book was preserved in the royal treasury (Ganj-e Shahigan or Ganj-e Shaayegan) of Iran in the Sassanid Empire and has been translated into modern languages. Bozorgmehr was a chess master and created the game of Backgammon in its ancient scientific version. Touraj Daryaee on the subject of the early precursors of backgammon wrote that, "The game of backgammon is first mentioned in Bhartrhari's Vairagyasataka, composed around the late sixth or early seventh century AD"
The rules of the game, however, first appeared in the Middle Persian text Wızarisnı Catrang ud Nihisnı New Ardaxsır (Explanation of Chess and Invention of Backgammon), composed in the sixth century during the rule of the Sassanid King Khosrow. The text assigns its invention to the Persian sage Wuzurgmihr Bozorgmehr, the minister of King Khosrow, as a challenge for the Indian sages
In the 11th century Shahnameh, the famous Iranian poet Ferdowsi credits Borzouyeh or Bozorgmehr with the invention of the table game Nard in the 6th century. He describes an encounter between Borzouyeh and a Raja visiting from India. The Raja introduces the game of chess, and Borzouyeh demonstrates Nard, played with dice made from ivory and teak
VARIOUS NAMES OF BACKGAMMON: Years after the old scientific version of backgammon was initiated by Bozorgmehr in Iran, the game was introduced to many countries around the world and it was called by different names.
Here are some various names of modern backgammon used in different countries around the world

  • Iran - Nard, Takhteh-Nard

  • UK and USA - Backgammon

  • Scotland - Gammon

  • France - Tric-Trac

  • Germany - Puff

  • Spain - Tablas Reales

  • Italy - Tavole Reale

  • Czech - Vrhc-by

  • Israel, Turkey, and Arab Countries - Shesh Besh

MOST IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT BACKGAMMON: 1. Backgammon is a board game for two players in which the playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice. A player wins by removing all of his pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits. Backgammon is a member of the table game family, one of the oldest classes of board games in the world. 2. Although luck plays an important role, there is a large scope for strategy. With each roll of the dice a player must choose from numerous options for moving his checkers and anticipate possible counter-moves by the opponent. Players may raise the stakes during the game. There is an established repertory of common tactics and occurrences 3. Like 
 chess, backgammon has been studied with great interest by computer scientists. Owing to this research, backgammon software has been developed capable of beating world-class human players. 4. Shapour
Suren-Pahlav wrote that, "The world oldest pair of dice was discovered in Dahān-e Gholāmān located in in southeastern Iranian province of Sistan, which date back to Achaemenid dynastic period". 5. In
an article on Backgammon in Shahr-e Sukhteh, it was noted that, "A team of experts from Iran and Italy found a board that they agreed to be the model where backgammon was based. The board was discovered by the team in Shahr-e Sukhtheh, an early civilization in Iran, in December 2004. The members of the team studied the board and found that it was imported by early Iranians from the people in India. The group of archaeologists also found that the material used in creating the board is ebony. Together with the discovery of the board, 60 pieces of pegs that are similar with the checkers used in backgammon were unearthed". These artifacts proved that the game could have been originated in Iran. 6. As 
 Steve Meehan noted there are the following explanations for the devices and the terms used in backgammon: 30 Pieces or 
 Mohreh-haa: 30 days and nights in a month, 24 Houses or Khaneh haa: 24 hours of day and night, 4 Parts of the Board or Bakhsh-haa: 4 seasons in a year. 5 Hands to Play or Dast-haa: 5 periods in day and night (dawn, morning, noon, evening, night. 2 Colors of Black and White or Rang-e Mohtrh-haa: Night and day. 6 Numbers on a dice: (1) - Uniqueness, Praising God, (2) - Sky and Earth, (3) - Good Thoughts, Good Deeds, Good Words, (4) - North, East, West, and South, Five (5) - Sun, Star, Fire, Thunder, Creation, (6) - Six Days of Work
On the basis of above, it follows that there are very close correlations between the explanations and symbols used in the game of backgammon and the Culture of Zoroastrian Iran when the game was invented by Bozorgmehr

EPILOGUE: Some Western scholars assume and claim that the term BACKGAMMON in English has been derived from the word BACK (behind, rear, reverse, support, assist, fund, and posterior) plus the Middle English word GAMEN which means game. Such interpretation sound very odd and dubious.  This author, however, suggest that it may be reasonable to say that in addition to the names of Nard and Takhteh-Nard, the ancient Iranians most likely used to call the game as BAKHTAZMOON. The Persian term of Bakhtazmoon (Bakht = Luck and Azmoon = Test) in English means a Test to see or try the Luck. I only assume it may be true

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, Ph. D

Backgammon-rank Website (2009):  Online Article on Backgammon in Shahr-e Sukhteh, Iran.
Brunner, C. J. (1978): The Middle Persian Explanation of Chess and Invention of Backgammon, the Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University, Vol. 10.
Daryaee, T. (2006) "Backgammon" in Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia ed., pp. 88-89.
Meehan, S. J. (2009): Personal Communication.
Sadat Noury, M. (2005): Online Article on First Iranian Academic Site.
Saadat Noury M. (2009): Various Notes and Articles on the History of Iran.
Shapour Suren-Pahlav (1998): Online Article on Chess, Iranian or Indian Invention?
Wilssens, K. (2009): Online Article on the Origin of Backgammon.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2009): Online Articles and Notes on Backgammon, Bozorgmehr, and Persian Empire

======== Some Observations on Happiness ========

Cambridge Dictionaries Online defines Happiness as the feeling of being happy (in Persian: Shaad bodan, Khosh-Haal bodan, Khorsand bodan, etc.). Oxford Dictionary identifies it as a term meaning the state of being happy. Webster Dictionary describes Happiness as the pleasure mingled in varying degrees, intense happiness, quiet happiness, etc. According to the Free Encyclopedia of Wikipedia, the Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy. In this article, the Happiness in Different Religions and Cultures, the Happy Planet Index, the Human Development Index, and Some Quotations about Happiness are studied and reviewed, and Some Happiness Poems are presented.

Happiness in Different Religions
1. In the Zoroastrian Texts, there are some quotes on Happiness: "Happiness comes to them who bring happiness to others."
"Abiding happiness and peace is theirs who choose goodness for its own sake, without expectation of any reward."
“The goal of our lives is to achieve abiding happiness, spiritual resplendence and peace: humanity at peace with itself and an individual at peace with oneself.”
2. Happiness forms a central theme of Buddhist teachings. For ultimate freedom from suffering, the Noble Eightfold Path leads its practitioner to Nirvana, a state of everlasting peace. Ultimate happiness is only achieved by overcoming craving in all forms. More mundane forms of happiness, such as acquiring wealth and maintaining good friendships, are also recognized as worthy goals for lay people (see sukha). Buddhism also encourages the generation of loving kindness and compassion, the desire for the happiness and welfare of all beings.
3. In Hinduism and Buddhism there are two types of happiness: mundane and supramundane. Mundane happiness is the limited happiness that can be found within samsara (The cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound), such as the happiness of human beings and gods. Supramundane happiness is the pure happiness of liberation and enlightenment.
4. In Christianity, the ultimate end of human existence consists in felicity (Latin equivalent to the Greek term of Eudaimonia), or "blessed happiness", described by the 13th-century philosopher-theologian Thomas Aquinas as a Beatific Vision of God's essence in the next life.

Happiness in Different Cultures
It has been well-documented that happiness and celebrating the joyful events like Mehregan, Yalda, Sadeh, Nowrooz, and Sizgah Bedar have been always a part of Iranian Traditions and Persian Cultures (View the articles on First Iranians and the notes on Missing Moments written by this author). In their research paper on “Are Iranians Happy?” published in 2000, Mahnaz Kousha and Navid Mohseni reported a comparative study on happiness between Iran and the US.
In his article on the Pursuit of Happiness published online in October 2003, the famous English author Thomas Michael Bond noted that, “Different cultures value happiness in very different ways. In individualistic western countries, it is often seen as a reflection of personal achievement. Being unhappy implies that you have not made the most of your life. Latin American countries, which also report high happiness levels, have a similarly high regard for those with an upbeat attitude.
Meanwhile in the more collectivist nations such as Japan, China and South Korea, people have a more fatalistic attitude towards happiness. ‘They believe it is very much a blessing from heavenly sources,’ says Suh. ‘One of the consequences of such an attitude is that you do not have to feel inferior or guilty about not being very happy, since happiness does not reflect your ability.’ Indeed, in Asian cultures the pursuit of happiness is often frowned on, which in turn could lead people to under-report how happy they feel.
What is more, the things that give people happiness, satisfaction and meaning in their lives vary considerably between cultures. Shinobu Kitayama at Kyoto University in Japan and Hazel Rose Markus at Stanford University, California, believe that how satisfied a person is with their life depends largely on how successfully they adhere to their particular Cultural Standard.
In the US, satisfaction comes from personal success, self-expression, pride, a high sense of self-esteem and a distinct sense of self. In Japan, on the other hand, it comes from fulfilling the expectations of your family, meeting your social responsibilities, self-discipline, cooperation and friendliness. So while in the US it is perfectly appropriate to pursue your own happiness, in Japan you are more likely to find happiness by not directly pursuing it. And there is another twist. The happiest nations, mostly western and individualistic ones, also tend to have the highest levels of suicide.”
Maia Szalavitz in an article entitled as “Why the Happiest States have the Highest Suicide Rates?” wrote that, “World wide surveys have consistently ranked the Scandinavian countries with their generous family-leave policies, low crime, free health care, rich economies and, yes, high income taxes as the happiest places on earth. But this happiness has always been accompanied by a paradox: the happiest countries also seem to have the highest suicide rates. Is it the long, dark winters facing Finland and Denmark that cause the problem? Or (it is due to) some kind of Nordic depression gene? Or (may be) none of the above? A new study suggests the problem is not specific to Scandinavia, finding that high suicide rates accompany high rates of happiness in comparisons of US states as well.
Sadly, this may mean that increasing happiness by reducing economic inequality could paradoxically produce more suicides as a Side Effect. But this is one problem we are unlikely to have, as economic inequality is high and rising in the US.”

The Happy Planet Index
This is an index of human well-being and environmental impact that was introduced by the New Economics Foundation in July 2006. The index is designed to challenge well-established indices of countries’ development, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (View below), which are seen as not taking sustainability into account. In particular, GDP is seen as inappropriate, as the usual ultimate aim of most people is not to be rich, but to be happy and healthy. Furthermore, it is believed that the notion of sustainable development requires a measure of the environmental costs of pursuing those goals. Here is the list of top ten countries with the highest Happy Planet Index as reported in 2009
1 Costa Rica 76.1
2 Dominican Republic 71.8
3 Jamaica 70.1
4 Guatemala 68.4
5 Vietnam 66.5
6 Colombia 66.1
7 Cuba 65.7
8 El Salvador 61.5
9 Brazil 61.0
10 Honduras 61.0
Out of 143 countries, Iran ranked 81 with the Index of 42.10 after Iraq and Cambodia indicating that Iranians have not been so happy at the time!

The Human Development Index
This is a composite index measuring average achievement in three basic dimensions of human development: a long healthy life, knowledge, and a decent standard of living; intended to capture the essential dimensions of the quality of human life or human development. According to the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report of 2010, Iran was ranked 70th out of 169 countries in the world

Some Quotations about Happiness
Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it: Fyodor Dostoevsky
The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up: Mark Twain
If you want to be happy, be: Leo Tolstoy
 The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself: Author unknown, commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin
 Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be: Abraham Lincoln
She (Madame Bovary) had that indefinable beauty that comes from happiness, enthusiasm, success, a beauty that is nothing more or less than a harmony of temperament and circumstances: Gustave Flaubert

Some Happiness Poems 
How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And does not care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity:
Emily Dickinson
 He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise
: William Blake
 And here is a part of a poem composed by the famous Iranian poet Hafez as translated in English by Professor Shahriar Shahriari
I said, your sweet and red wine
Granted no wishes of mine
You said, in service define
Your life, and your time spend.
I said, when will your kind heart
Thoughts of friendship start?
Said, speak not of this art
Until it's time for that trend.
I said, happiness and joy
Passing time will destroy.
Said, Hafiz, silence employ
Sorrows too will end my friend

The Full Texts of the poem in English and Persian may be viewed here

  View also these Persian Poems (1, 2, and 3) on Happiness as composed by this author. And let us remember that happiness and celebrating the joyful events like Mehregan, Yalda, Sadeh, Chaarshanbeh Soori, Nowrooz, and Sizdah Bedar have been and will be always a part of Iranian Traditions and Persian Cultures
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

Bartlett, J. and J. Kaplan (2003): Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs Traced to Their Sources in Ancient and Modern Literature (17th Edition)/ Bond, T. M. (2003): Online Article on “Pursuit of Happiness”/ Cambridge Dictionaries Online (2011): Note on the Definition of Happiness/ Kousha, Mahnaz & N. Mohseni (2000): Are Iranians Happy?/ Oxford Dictionary (2011): Note on the Definition of Happiness/ Poetry Website (2011): Online Poems on Happiness/ Quotation Website (2011): Online Quotations about Happiness/ Saadat Noury, M. (2011): Various Articles on Persian Culture/ Saadat Noury, M. (2011): Online Articles on First Iranians and Missing Moments/ Shahriari, Sh. (2011): Online Poems on Happiness / Szalavitz, M. (2011): Online Article on “Why the Happiest States have the Highest Suicide Rates?”/ Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary (2003): Note on the Definition of Happiness/ Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2011): Online Articles on “Happiness”, “Happy Planet Index”, and “The Human Development Index”/ Zoroastrian Heritage Website (2011): Online Article on What is Zoroastrianism
Read more about Joyful Moments of Celebrations on MISSING MOMENTS 

سعادت نوری ها

۱ - حسین سعادت نوری

حسین سعادت نوری تاریخ نگار و پژوهشگر باسابقه ی حوزه ی علم و ادب ایران، به سال ۱۲۸۵ خورشیدی در شهر اصفهان قدم به عرصه ی وجود گذاشت. تحصیلات ادبی و علمی را در مدرسه ی علیه در زادگاه خویش به پایان برد. سپس از مدرسه ی عالی انگلیسها در شهر اصفهان فارغ التحصیل شد و سالی چند در همان مدرسه ی عالی به تدریس زبان انگلیسی ، علوم تاریخ و جغرافیا و ادبیات فارسی پرداخت.
در آن موقع ، حسین سعادت نوری بعنوان یکی از نویسندگان و شاعران مشهور اصفهان شناخته می شد و مقالات و اشعار او در روزنامه های اخگر، اختر مسعود ، عرفان و مجلات ادبی مهر و ارمغان انتشار می یافت. در همان زمان، نامبرده یکی از اعضا ی فعال انجمن ادبی حکیم نظامی بود که ریاست آن را استاد حسن وحید دستگردی مدیر نشریه ادبی ارمغان به عهده داشت.
بین سال های ۱۳۰۷ تا ۱۳۱۴ در خدمت فرهنگ استان کرمان بود و در بسیاری از مدارس کرمان به امر تدریس اشتغال داشت. در مدت اقامت در کرمان، با روزنامه ی بیداری (که به مدیریت نویسنده ی ادیب محمد هاشمی کرمانی منتشر می شد) همکاری داشت. سپس از کرمان به تهران مهاجرت کرد و تا پایان عمر در این شهر زیست. در تهران بنا به دعوت وزیر دارایی وقت، در سال ۱۳۱۴ به خدمت وزارت دارایی در آمد و در سال ۱۳۴۰ بنا به تقا ضای شخصی بازنشسته شد. آخرین سمت دولتی نامبرده ، نماینده ی وزیر دارایی در هییت نظارت بر هزینه ی شهرداری تهران بود. در مدت اقامت درتهران با مجلات مهر، ارمغان، یادگار، یغما ، وحید ، نشریه ی وزارت امور خارجه ی ایران وبسیاری دیگرهمکاری داشت. وی در سوم دیماه ۱۳۵۳ در تهران در گذشت.
بنظر می رسد که یکی ازبرجسته ترین آثار چاپی روانشاد حسین سعادت نوری ترجمه و تحشیه ی تعدادی سفرنامه باشد که توسط برخی مامورین سیاسی انگلیس در ایران در اواخر عصر قاجار و اوایل دوران پهلوی به رشته ی تحریر در آمد و نخستین سفرنامه هایی از این دست ، کتاب های ژنرال سایکس وپرفسور لکهارت بود که بار اول در سالهای ۱۳۱۴ و ۱۳۱۵ چاپ و منتشر شد. نامبرده بعدها سفرنامه ی ویلسن ، یادداشت های کاپیتان هنت ، سفرنامه ی کلنل استوارت ، سفرنامه ی ادونوان و غیره را بین سالهای ۱۳۳۰ تا ۱۳۵۰ ترجمه و تحشیه کرد و صادقانه بر این امر اعتقاد داشت که آگاهی از فعالیت ها و نظریه های مامورین سیاسی انگلیس و نیز شرح دیدار آنان با برخی رجال ایران ، گوشه های تاریک تاریخ گذشته و حال و آینده ی کشور را بهتر روشن خواهد ساخت و بسیاری از دانشجویان و دانش پژوهان را به این امر تشویق می کرد. گر چه پس از شهریور ۲۰مرحوم محمود محمود در مجلدات محققانه ی خود یعنی تاریخ روابط سیاسى ایران و انگلیس در قرن ۱۹، به شکل پراکنده و به اختصار به برخی از سفرنامه ی مامورین سیاسی انگلیس در ایران اشاره نموده است اما قاطعانه می توان گفت که روانشاد حسین سعادت نوری نخستین فردی بود که به ترجمه و انتشار این قبیل سفرنامه ها دست یازید و آثار جاودانی از خود به یادگار گذاشت

.زنده یاد استاد حبیب یغمائی مدیر مجله ی ادبی یغما ضمن شرح دیدارها و یادگارها و خاطرات خود می نویسد :
" از جمله نویسندگان مجلهء یغما حسین سعادت نوری اصفهانی بود که من اکنون سخت‌ در حیرتم که با این مرد چگونه و در چه مکان و در چه موقع آشنا و دوست شدم و او را به نگارش واداشتم و از اطلاعات و تحقیقات دقیق او به خوانندگان مجله فایده رساندم‌، دقایق اطلاعاتی که پس از قرن‌ها دیگران نخواهند داشت و اکنون یا هر وقت دیگر مجلهء یغما را بخوانید در شگفت می‌شوید.
من آغاز دوستی او را بیاد نمی‌آورم اما فراموش نمی‌کنم که غالبا بخانه او می‌رفتم‌ و خانمش با مهربانی پذیرائی می‌کرد ولی بیاد نمی‌آورم که خانه‌اش کجا بود و خانمش چه‌ نام داشت و چند فرزند داشت،اکنون کجا هستند و چه می‌کنند.بر پیری و فرتوتی و بی‌وفائی و بی‌حافظگی لعنت باد. باری،حسین سعادت نوری نه تنها مترجمی و مؤلفی و مورخی دقیق و با استعداد بود بل در ادب مصاحبت و یکدلی و یک‌رنگی بی‌مانند بود و داستان‌هائی شیرین از زندگی خود نقل می‌کرد"... بیشتر

نویسنده و کتاب شناس معروف دکتر سیف ا لله وحید نیا در مقدمه ی کتاب زندگی حاج میرزا آقاسی نوشت: "حسین سعادت نوری یکی از نخبه محققان و مترجمان معاصر ایران بود و بخصوص در تاریخ قاجاریه و رجال آن دوره تتبع فراوان کرده و آثار جاویدان از خود بیادگار نهاده است ".

حسین سعادت نوری، در دوران اقامت در کرمان با انجمن ادبی این شهر که به ریاست محمد هاشمی مدیر روزنامه ی بیداری تشکیل می شد همکاری داشت. دکتر محمد ابراهیم باستانی پاریزی در بخش نخست کتاب "رجال دوره قاجاریه " تالیف حسین سعادت نوری، ضمن نوشتاری زیر عنوان "رفیق انجمن" به نکاتی پیرامون زندگی مولف پرداخته و با سبک و شیوه ای بسیار شیوا از ماجرا های انجمن ادبی کرمان در ایام گذشته یاد کرده است.

مقالات محققانه ی حسین سعادت نوری بیرون از شمار است و در اینجا فقط به فهرست بخشی از آنها اشاره می شود:
سپهسالارها: یغما- اسفند ۱۳۴۴ شماره ۲۱۲
میرزا محمد خان سپهسالار: یغما- آبان ۱۳۴۵ شماره۲۲۰
مسافرت ناصرالدین شاه به خراسان و مصاحبه او با یک افسر انگلیسی: یغما- خرداد ۱۳۳۷ - شماره ۱۱
حاج میرزا حسین خان سپهسالار و ترکمن های مرو: یغما- بهمن ۱۳۳۷- شماره ۱۲۷
امیر حسین خان شجاع الدوله و مجلس شب نشینی: یغما- خرداد ۱۳۳۸ - شماره ۱۳۱
اعتمادالدوله ها، حسام السلطنه ها، ظهیرالدوله ها: یغما- خرداد ۱۳۳۹ - شماره ۱۴۳
آصف الدوله ها: یغما- آبان ۱۳۴۱ - شماره ۱۷۲
اللهیار خان آصف الدوله: یغما- آذر ۱۳۴۱ - شماره ۱۷۳
محمد قلی خان آصف الدوله: یغما- دی ۱۳۴۱ - شماره ۱۷۴
میرزا عبدالوهاب خان آصف الدوله: بهمن ۱۳۴۱ - شماره ۱۷۵
غلامرضا خان آصف الدوله شاهسون: یغما- اردیبهشت ۱۳۴۲ - شماره ۱۷۸
سخنی چند پیرامون مقالات «رجال عصر ناصری»: یغما- فروردین ۱۳۴۰ - شماره ۱۵۳
درباره ی روزنامه خاطرات اعتماد السلطنه: یغما- خرداد ۱۳۴۶ - شماره ۲۲۷
سرقت جواهرات عباس میرزا نایب السلطنه: یغما- بهمن ۱۳۴۶ - شماره ۲۳۵
زبیده خانم امین اقدس ، اولین بانوی حرمسرای سلطنتی ایران که برای معالجه به اروپا رفت:ارمغان-دوره سی و ششم، تیر۱۳۴۶ - شماره ۴ حاج میرزا یحیی دولت آبادی: ارمغان- دوره سی و ششم، مهر ۱۳۴۶ - شماره ۷
محمد علی مکرم شاعر فکاهی سرای اصفهان: ارمغان- دوره سی و ششم، آبان ۱۳۴۶ - شماره ۸

تارنمای پایگاه مجلات تخصصی نورمگ فهرست تعداد ۷۲ مقاله ی تحقیقی روانشاد حسین سعادت نوری را بدست می دهد و میتوان با ایجاد نام کاربری و رمز عبور ، وارد پایگاه شد و آن مقالات را از نظر گذراند. مقالات ایشان در مجله یادگار بسیار خواندنی است و این عناوین را دارد:
شرح حال مهاتما گاندی : یادگار ، اردیبهشت ۱۳۲۷ - شماره ۳۸
شیخ عبیدالله و ملک آرا : یادگار ، شهریور و مهر ۱۳۲۷ - شماره های ۴۱ و ۴۲
رجال دوره قاجاریه : یادگار، آذر و دی ۱۳۲۷ - شماره های ۴۴ و ۴۵
فهرست بخشی از آثارمنتشر شده ی او به صورت کتاب به شرح زیر است
ترجمه ها: "تاریخ مختصر ایران"نوشته ی ژنرال سرپرسی سایکس - "جنگ انگلیس و ایران بر سر مسألهٔ هرات" نوشته ی کاپیتان هنت انگلیسی - "سفرنامهٔ سایکس یا ده هزار میل در ایران"نوشته ی ژنرال سرپرسی سایکس - "آشنائی مردم آمریکا با اتم یا تاریخ تحولات اتم"نوشته ی گوردن اوانس دین -"شهرهای نامی ایران"نوشته ی پروفسور لکهارت انگلیسی - "سفر نامه ی ویلسن" یا تاریخ سیاسی و اقتصادی جنوب غربی ایران.
تألیفات: "گل‌های ادب" - "زندگی حاج میرزا آقاسی" - "رجال دوره قاجاریه" - "شرح احوال مسعود میرزا ظل السلطان". کتاب گل‌های ادب که نخستین بار در سال ۱۳۱۳ خورشیدی در اصفهان چاپ شد گزیده ای است از سروده های ۷۴ تن ا ز شعرای سراسر ایران.
 تحشیه ها: "تاریخ مشروطهٔ ایران و جنبش وطن پرستان اصفهان و بختیاری" نوشته ی دکتر دانشور علوی مجاهد السلطان.

۲ - منوچهر سعادت نوری