Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pasta Is Not Originally from Italy

Pasta Is Not Originally from Italy

By Julia - MisconceptionJunction.com - June 3, 2011

Myth: Pasta originally comes from Italy.

Worldwide, pasta has become synonymous with Italian cuisine. Italian immigrants themselves brought pasta everywhere they went. While it is true that the most famous varieties and recipes of cooking pasta really do come from Italy, surprisingly, the actual origin of pasta lies elsewhere!

So how did pasta make its way to Italy? One of the more popular theories was published in the ‘Macaroni Journal’ by the Association of Food Industries. It states that pasta was brought to Italy by Marco Polo via China.  Polo ventured to China in the time of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and the Chinese had been consuming noodles as early as 3000 B.C. in the Qinghai province. There is even some evidence there of 4,000-year-old noodles made from foxtail and broomcorn millet.

Unfortunately, there are problems with this theory, least of which is that the noodles they were making in China aren’t technically considered pasta.  Polo also described Chinese noodles as being like “lagana”, which implies he was possibly already familiar with a pasta-like food before going to China.  Further, in 1279, there was a Genoese soldier that listed in the inventory of his estate a basket of dried pasta.  Polo didn’t come back from China until 1295.  For those who don’t know, Genoa is a sea port in Italy.  Further, the modern pasta like we know it was first described in 1154 by an Arab geographer, Idrisi, as being common in Sicily. So Marco Polo could not have brought pasta to Italy via China.  It was already in Italy at that time.

So how did it get there?  Most food historians believe that Arabs (specifically from Libya) are to be credited for bringing pasta, along with spinach, eggplant and sugar cane, to the Mediterranean basin. In the Talmud, written in Aramaic in the 5th century AD, there is a reference to pasta being cooked by boiling. It is thought, then, that pasta was introduced to Italy during the Arab conquests of Sicily in the 9th century AD, which had the interesting side effect of drastically influencing the region’s cuisine. It also known that by the 12th century, the Italians had learned from the Arabs methods for drying pasta to preserve it while traveling. Further support for this theory can be found by the fact that, in many old Sicilian pasta recipes, there are Arab gastronomic introductions.

Bonus Factoids:

An alternative theory that has fallen out of favor is that pasta came to Italy via Greece, given that the origins of the name “pasta” seems to be Greek.  The word ‘pasta’ itself comes from the Latin ‘pasta’ meaning ‘dough, pastry cake’ which probably came from the Greek word ‘pastos’ – ‘sprinkled with salt’, ‘salted’. Also, in ancient Greek mythology, there is a tale about the god Vulcan pushing dough through a device that converts it into thin, edible threads.

The first documented case of a ‘macaroni’ machine being brought to the U.S. is believed to have been brought by Thomas Jefferson in 1789 when he came back to the U.S. after serving as an ambassador to France. Later, Jefferson also invented his own pasta machine.

Dried pasta is shaped in a variety of ways to fit various types of sauces. Thin and long pasta suits oily, more liquid sauces, and more complicated shapes are better for thicker, chunkier sauces.

The modern word ‘macaroni’ derives from the Sicilian term for making dough forcefully. At that time, pasta dough was often kneaded with the feet for a significant amount of time.

Italian pasta enthusiasts organized a World Pasta Conference in 1995, they celebrate Word Pasta Day every year in October, since 1998.  There is also an Italian Pasta Association and a Pasta Museum in Rome.

Pasta is a term for foods made from an unleavened dough of wheat or buckwheat flour and water. There are two main groups of pasta – fresh and dried. Dry pasta is typically made from durum wheat flour or durum wheat semolina which has high levels of gluten, which gives it the yellow color and also makes the dough easier to work with.

The first industrial pasta factory in the US was built in Brooklyn in 1848 by a Frenchman.


History of pasta

Pasta recipes

National Pasta Association

Did Marco Polo bring pasta from China?

History and Origin of Pasta


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

'Don Giovanni' - San Francisco Opera

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte


Mozart’s bold, beguiling blend of comedy and drama tells the tale of a proud, predatory nobleman and the women who are drawn to him. Music Director Nicola Luisotti conducts a cast of exciting young singers led by Lucas Meachem, whose baritone is “sweet, dark-grained and supple, and insinuating enough to make any woman give at the knees” (Santa Fe New Mexican). The enticing cast also features Ellie Dehn, who mixes “a stunning voice” with “real dramatic authority” (Opera News); Serena Farnocchia, who is “nothing short of spectacular” (Toronto Star); Kate Lindsey, "a powerhouse Zerlina" (Dallas Morning News) and Topi Lehtipuu, “one of the most elegant and musical young lyric tenors to have emerged in a decade” (London Daily Telegraph). Noted Italian film and theater director Gabriele Lavia makes his San Francisco Opera directorial debut.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Approximate running time: 3 hours, 30 minutes including one intermission

Pre-Opera Talks are free to ticketholders and take place in the main theater in the Orchestra section, 55 minutes prior to curtain.

San Francisco Opera production

Don Giovanni: Lucas Meachem
Donna Anna: Ellie Dehn
Donna Elvira: Serena Farnocchia *
Leporello: Marco Vinco *
Don Ottavio: Topi Lehtipuu *
Zerlina: Kate Lindsey *
Masetto: Ryan Kuster
The Commendatore: Morris Robinson *

Production Credits

Conductor: Nicola Luisotti
Director: Gabriele Lavia *
Set Designer: Alessandro Camera *
Costume Designer: Andrea Viotti *
Lighting Designer: Christopher Maravich
Chorus Director: Ian Robertson

* San Francisco Opera Debut

The action, which spans twenty-four hours, takes place in Seville

Late at night, Leporello, the servant of Don Giovanni, is keeping watch while his master attempts to rape the daughter of the Com­mendatore, Donna Anna. She escapes and gives chase, trying to discover the identity of the intruder. The Commendatore rushes to her defense as Don Giovanni slays the old man and flees. Anna returns with Don Ottavio, her fiancĂ©, and the two swear revenge. In the early morning, Donna Elvira, a young woman from Burgos, searches for Don Giovanni; she is one of his jilted lovers. Servant and master spy on her and when they all meet, Don Giovanni talks his way out of trouble and escapes, leaving Leporello to explain his master’s philandering ways. He shows her Don Giovanni’s “little black book.” Around midday, Don Giovanni and Leporello hap­pen upon the rustic nuptial celebration of Masetto and Zerlina. The latter excites Giovanni’s fancy, and he invites everyone to his villa—the better to snare the young girl. The seduction is inter­rupted by Elvira, who denounces him and sweeps Zerlina away. Anna and Ottavio arrive, not yet recognizing Don Giovanni as the murderer. When Elvira interrupts again, Giovanni attempts to pass off her hysterics as madness, but the suspicion is planted. After he leaves to “help” Elvira in her distress, Anna realizes the truth, recounts the events preceding her father’s death, and concludes with a call for vengeance. Ottavio is then left alone to contemplate his love for Anna. Meanwhile, not in the least deterred, Don Gio­vanni orders Leporello to prepare a lavish party for all the neigh­bors. He is reminded to add more names to his famous list—Zerlina’s among them. The guests begin to arrive as daylight wanes. Zerlina vainly tries to soothe a worried, jealous Masetto. Don Giovanni renews his wooing of Zerlina, but her sharp-eyed fiancĂ© intervenes. As Giovanni leads the young couple into the villa, Anna, Ottavio, and Elvira enter wearing masks. They are quickly invited by the master to join the festivities. With the party in full swing, Don Giovanni leads Zerlina into an adjoining room. Her cries, however, bring everyone to her assistance. Don Giovanni tries to make Leporello seem like the offending villain, but no one is taken in. The three guests unmask, and the tone of the party suddenly turns accusatory. Surrounded and condemned, Don Gio­vanni’s adventures seem at an end, but by a sudden intervention he once again escapes his accusers.

Later that evening Don Giovanni, after soothing a disgruntled Lep­orello with some coins, hatches his latest plot, this one aimed at Elvira’s maid; it requires master and servant to exchange clothes. Elvira is lured away by the man she thinks is her beloved and the real Giovanni is left to serenade the maid. Just then an armed Masetto and his followers arrive in search of the fugitive. The supposed Lep­orello sends them off in all directions, personally disarms Masetto, and beats him. Zerlina finds Masetto crestfallen and aching, and she tries to comfort him by offering her own personal remedy. Leporello, still disguised as Don Giovanni, is trying to escape the deceived of Elvira when Anna and Ottavio and, a few moments later, Masetto and Zerlina converge upon him. Believing they have found Don Gio­vanni, they threaten him with a speedy death. Leporello reveals his identity and everyone is dumbfounded; Anna retires. With profuse apologies, Leporello manages to escape. Ottavio asks that Anna be informed of his determination to punish Don Giovanni. Elvira finds that in spite of her outrage, she still feels pity for Don Giovanni.

Later that night Don Giovanni and Leporello have sought refuge in a cemetery. The raucous conversation is interrupted by a ghostly voice from the statue over the Commendatore’s grave. In response to a doomful warning, Don Giovanni invites the statue, through Leporello’s terrified mediation, to come to Don Giovanni’s villa for a pre-dawn supper. To the servant’s horror, the invitation is accepted. The two return to the villa to prepare. Ottavio seeks to console Anna, suggesting marriage. Temporar­ily rejected, he charges Anna with cruelty. Anna protests her love and begs for patience. Don Giovanni eats supper while a wind band serenades him with popular operatic tunes of the day (including a snippet from Figaro). Elvira rushes in resolved to for­give Don Giovanni and tries to persuade him to change his ways. He cruelly taunts her, and she leaves in despair. Moments later, her terrified scream is heard and Leporello rushes out to see what is wrong. He too screams in terror and returns shaken, announcing the arrival of the statue of the Commendatore. In deadly jest, the Commendatore asks if Don Giovanni will dine with him according to the rules of hospitality. Arrogant to the end, Giovanni accepts. Pressing further, the Commendatore demands repeatedly that Don Giovanni repent his sins, but he is refused again and again. Finally, Don Giovanni meets his death.

The other characters return searching for Giovanni, and Lep­orello tells them what has happened. They all point out the moral of the opera:
This is the evil-doer’s end.
And sinners will die just as they have lived.

October 15, 2011 to November 10, 2011


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Federico Faggin

Intel YouTube Channel - September 27, 2011

Federico Faggin visited Intel headquarters in late summer of 2011 to share memories from 40 years ago, when teamed up with Ted Hoff and Stan Mazur to create Intel's 4004 chip, which became the world's first single chip microprocessor.

Faggin talks about the day in January 1971, when he first tested the chip and it worked flawlessly. That was the day the microprocessor was born, he says, and today it is at the heart of the Internet revolution. He says the microprocessor has become the tiny speck of intelligence that converges communication, computing and control capabilities, connecting all of our devices from computers to small smartphones.

He has his eye on quantum computing as the next frontier of computing because of potential is beyond what capable with today's mechanical microprocessors. Yet he believes computing will never rival the complexity and capabilities on human intelligence.

Born in Vicenza, Federico Faggin received a Laurea Degree in physics, summa cum laude, at the University of Padua, Italy. At age 19, after his graduation from technical high school A. Rossi (Vicenza), he took a job at Olivetti, in Italy, where he co-designed and led the implementation of a small computer. After obtaining his university degree he worked at SGS Fairchild in Italy, where he developed SGS's first MOS process technology and designed its first integrated circuits. In 1968 he moved to Palo Alto and worked at Fairchild Semiconductor, where he created the MOS Silicon Gate technology with self-aligned gate, the basis of all modern CMOS computer chips. At Fairchild he produced the world's first commercial integrated circuit using Silicon Gate Technology with self aligned MOS transistors: the Fairchild 3708.

In 1970 he joined Intel where Marcian (Ted) Hoff, with Stanley Mazor and Intel's customer Masatoshi Shima, had formulated a new architecture for a family of Busicom calculators in 1969. Federico Faggin was hired as project leader to implement such architecture, which had been idling for many months. He created a new methodology for random logic chip design using silicon gate technology, and several design innovations that made it possible to fit the microprocessor in one chip. He developed the chip and logic design together with the layout of all the chips of the 4004 family (MCS-4). He built the tester to prove that the 4004 could be used for applications different from calculators, and successfully transferred the first microprocessor to production (1970–1971). During the project development he was assisted only by Masatoshi Shima, who had come from Japan to check on the progress and stayed-on to help, and a couple of technicians. Faggin also convinced Bob Noyce to negotiate the exclusivity clause, in order to open the marketing of the 4004 which originally was a custom design for Busicom.

The design methodology created by Faggin was utilized for the implementation of all Intel’s early microprocessors and later also for Zilog's Z80. The 8008 development was originally assigned to Hal Feeney in March 1970 but was suspended until the 4004 was completed. It was resumed in January 1971 and Hal Feeney did the detailed design under Faggin’s direction and following his new methodology. Faggin developed the architectures and led the development of the 8080 and the 4040 microprocessors. When Faggin left Intel at the end of 1974 to found Zilog with Ralph Ungermann, he was department manager for MOS Research and Development with almost 80 engineers reporting to him and more than a dozen products under development.

Zilog was the first company entirely dedicated to microprocessors while Intel was principally dedicated to memories. At Zilog, Faggin conceived the architecture of the Z80 microprocessor and helped Shima, who had joined the new company, in its design. He was Zilog's President and CEO until the end of 1980. In 1982, he co-founded Cygnet Technologies, Inc., maker of the Cygnet CoSystem personal telecommunications device, and was President and CEO of the company until 1986. In 1986 he co-founded and was CEO of Synaptics a company which produces the most widely used touchpad in the industry. He is presently CEO of Foveon Inc., a company making image sensors with a novel technology.


Apple says the company's co-founder Steve Jobs has died. He was 56. In a brief statement the company said Jobs died Wednesday. He had been battling pancreatic cancer.

San Francisco Chronicle - October 6, 2011

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. fans worldwide mourned the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, paying tribute to the man who changed the way they listen to music, use their mobile phones and play on their computers.

At Apple's headquarters -- located at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California -- flags flew at half-staff and bagpipes sounded to the tune of "Amazing Grace" as people placed flowers around a white iPad with a picture of Jobs, who died yesterday at 56, after a battle with cancer. Mourners flocked to Apple stores from New York to Hong Kong, while a crowd gathered in San Francisco's Mission Dolores Park for an iPhone-lit vigil.

"Part of the narrative that made Apple what it is today goes out with Steve Jobs," said Christopher Smith, 40, a former business development manager in San Francisco who joined the vigil. "I came out to honor the fact that one man with vision, courage and unwavering dedication can still change the world. The way that I communicate and the way that I interact with the world is through things that Steve jobs has created."

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer were among business leaders who expressed admiration for the man who built the world's most valuable technology company. President Barack Obama also issued statements of sympathy and remembrance.

"Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs," Obama said in a statement. "Steve was among the greatest of American innovators -- brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it."

Jobs's Home

Teary-eyed mourners left flowers in front of Jobs's modest home at the corner of Waverly Street and Santa Rita Avenue in Palo Alto, California. Neighborhood children drew hearts with markers and left them on the ground for others to leave messages. Policemen stood watch, barricading the street.

"Here's a guy who's a billionaire and lives in a regular neighborhood, not behind a gated estate with all the security guards," said Bruce Gee, a former Apple employee who drove up to the house from his home a couple miles away. "On Halloween, people go trick or treating there like everyone else."

At the San Francisco Apple store near Union Square, Steve Streza, 24, stood holding an iPad displaying Apple's homepage image of Jobs and the words "Steve Jobs: 1955-2011."

'Regular Guy'

"Macs were the reason I got into product development," said Streza, a developer at readitlater.com who grew up with Mac computers. "If it weren't for Steve Jobs and Macs, my life would probably be in a completely different place right now."

Steve Somerstein, who says he met Jobs several times since 1986, recalled the time when he bumped into Jobs while apartment hunting in Palo Alto.

"He was just a regular guy," said Somerstein, who was at the Palo Alto store. "I congratulated him on the company and hoped it was going to do well. I didn't even own an Apple at that point. He was about 10 years younger than me and just a nice kid."

Ron Kent, a food-truck owner who was at the Palo Alto store, likened Jobs to Michelangelo, the renaissance-era artist who painted the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

"He's the visionary of our time," Kent said.

'RIP Steve Jobs'

Some mourned via social media sites. More than 20 "RIP Steve Jobs" pages sprung up on Facebook within hours of the announced passing of Jobs. News of Jobs's death slowed the mobile websites of CNN and the Washington Post, according to Keynote Systems Inc., which tracks website performance.

"Steve Jobs," the biography written by former Time magazine editor Walter Isaacson, scheduled for release Nov. 21, was the best seller on Amazon.com Inc.'s website.

In New York, Jared and Alexi Roth, 33 and 31, left two red apples by the wall outside the Apple store on Broadway in the Upper West Side.

"We were literally walking by a market on Broadway when Jared got a text saying Steve Jobs died," Alexi said. "We saw the apples and just thought it would be appropriate."

Across the ocean, Charanis Chiu, walked in front of the Apple store in Hong Kong to place a sunflower, the logo of the photo-viewing application on the iPhone.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Mussolini/Fascist issue

Our folk have been historically known for political extremism. Fascism, Communism, Anarchism, etc. These concerns have been successful because they are correct on a handful of issues. I usually don't like the term "extremism," because anyone can use the word to belittle anyone they wish; even while supporting types of extremism themselves. However, Fascism was basically a dictatorship in which the state oversaw and largely controlled industry. It is the opposite, or "opposame," of Fabianism in which transnational financial and economic concerns largely control, or at least have undo influence upon, the governmental apparatus of nations; sort've like "International Socialism."

Benito Mussolini was of Emilian descent, which means that he was a member of our folk. However, he was an "Italian nationalist" who cared very little about common people. For example, he, in an apparent attempt to show off his power to the National Socialists, got his country involved in wars of which they were ill-prepared for. This was done in the name of a modern type of "Roman Imperialism." Although the Italian Fascists had limited success, conquering Libya and Ethiopia, the plan was brutal and disastrous even for their own country and people.

The plan was for neo-Rome to conquer the Balkans, North Africa, and other places; and set up a Roman-style imperialist system. In the Balkans, they actually tried to change people's family surnames. For example, a family with the name "Bradovich" would be forced to take a name like "Columbo," even though they didn't not speak Italian at all. They wanted to colonize most of the Mediterranean region with people from Italy, and it was mostly people from the north who colonized North Africa. Italians in general would have some type of high racial status in these colonies. For example, I recall reading once that in colonial Libya, where was a law, with a penalty of eight years in prison, for "touching a white woman." Of course, I don't believe that they should have been in Libya at all. It was almost like Mussolini was showing off for Hitler. At least that's the impression that I always had. Small populations of Jews and Black Africans in Libya were more-or-less forced to go away, and the common Libyans were to be given some type of status as long as they went along with the Fascist dictatorship.

[Left: Libyan resistors being taken to a concentration camp; on the left of the image, two Libyan colonial soldiers, traitors to their people; unfortunately, treason is part of the human character]

Ethnic and linguistic differences, within the Italian peninsula, were even more repressed then before. The Italian Fascists force-migrated people from Southern Italy into the ethnic-German South Tyrol. Also, they were trying to force the Tyroleans to speak standard Italian and change their names. Mussolini, though his own statements, believed that the Langobards were everywhere in the peninsula and that it somehow meant that every Italian was an Aryan-Italian. No regionalism. All were to take the identity of Fascist Lombardo-Romans. From any type of Padanian/Cisalpine folkish way of thinking, Mussolini was a traitor to his own people.

Like the Communists and Fabianists, theirs was a dark world view. Although they defeated the Italian Communists, the results were just as bad as what may have occurred otherwise. Both denied our people freedom, or even a self-identity, as does the Fabianist EU Plutocracy today. We need to finally break away from this right-left Hegelian dialectic, and make our own way. I call this paradigm "the grinder." Throw in a legitimate issue or concern, and out it comes, stripped of all truth or worth. Neatly packaged under a false right or left label; to be put back up on the shelf with all of the other dead issues that the Fabianist power structure doesn't want to trouble itself with.

The fact that we are forced to the right, is a direct consequence of the rise of Fabian Socialist Plutocracy and it's Monopoly Capitalist and Social Marxist minions who today have almost the entire globe in a political straitjacket. I can't see how anyone of our concern could really consider Mussolini or the Fascists as any type of political ideal or icon. The Romans destroyed the Etruscans and Gauls, and the process keeps being recycled over and over again. Remember that bully in the sixth grade? He just absolutely would not stop... until someone literally, physically STOPPED him. We are all still subject to the "law of the jungle."

A very important point to remember. "All wars" were not fought over nationalism or religion; "All wars" were started by bankers, industrialists, and dictators who merely USED nationalism or religion as effective propaganda tools.

[10-25-12 ADDITION

Reader/Contributor Etrusco-Umbro-Gallic pointed out the following:

Speaking of the Rumagnols, you erred once in calling Mussolini an Emilian. He was a Forlivese Rumagnol. Rumagnols are a different folk, culturally and genetically. There are perhaps analogous to Bresans, being more masculine, robust and better built, while Emilians are more like Western Lombards.]