Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Charles "Bird" Parker, Jr. (August 29, 1920March 12, 1955) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Early in his career Parker was dubbed "Yardbird" (there are many contradictory stories of the name's origin [1]). It was later shortened to "Bird" and remained Parker's nickname for the rest of his life and inspiration for the titles of his works, such as "Yardbird Suite" and "Bird Feathers".

Place in jazz history

Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. He was the only child of Charles and Addie Parker. Charles was often absent because of his alcoholic lifestyle. A persistent myth, repeated by many reputable sources, including the Encyclopædia Britannica, is that Christopher was Parker's second Christian name.
Charlie Parker displayed no sign of musical talent as a child. Parker's father presumably provided some musical influence; he was a pianist, dancer and singer on the T.O.B.A. circuit, although he later became a Pullman waiter or chef on the railways. His mother worked nights at the local Western Union. His biggest influence however was a young trombone player who taught him the basics of improvisation.
Parker began playing the saxophone at age 11 and then at age 14 he joined his school's band using a rented school instrument. One story goes that Parker, having never been taught formally, was terrible, and thrown out of the band. Experiencing occasional discouragements of this sort, at one point Parker broke off his already constant practicing. In 1937 Parker played at a concert that included Jo Jones on drums, who tossed a cymbal at Parker's feet in impatience with his playing, and to remove him from the stand. It is generally believed that after that, exasperated and determined, Parker improved the quality of practicing, learning the blues, "Cherokee" and "rhythm changes" in all twelve keys, and eventually become a virtuoso through sheer hard work. In an interview with Paul Desmond he said he spent 3-4 years practicing up to 15 hours a day.[3] Rumor has it that he used to play the same melodies in all twelve keys. The story, whilst uncited, would help to explain the fact that Parker often played in unconventional concert pitch key signatures, like E (which transposes down to C# for the alto sax). Groups led by Count Basie and Bennie Moten were the leading Kansas City ensembles, and doubtless influenced Parker. He continued to play with local bands in jazz clubs around Kansas City, Missouri, where he perfected his technique with the assistance of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time certainly influenced Parker's developing style. In 1937 Parker joined pianist Jay McShann's territory band,[4] and was able to tour with him to the nightclubs and other venues of the southwest region of the USA, as well as Chicago and New York City.[5][6] Parker made his recording debut with McShann's band.

In 1939, Parker moved to New York City. There he pursued a career in music, but held several other jobs as well. One of these was as a dishwasher, making $9 a week, at Jimmie's Chicken Shack, a restaurant where famous pianist Art Tatum was playing at the time. (Parker's later style was in some ways reminiscent of Tatum's, with dazzling, high-speed arpeggios and sophisticated use of harmony.)
In 1942 Parker left McShann's band and played with Earl Hines for seven months. The early history of bebop is difficult to document because of the strike of 1942-1943 by the American Federation of Musicians, during which there were no official recordings. Nevertheless we know that Parker was one of a group of young musicians who congregated in after-hours clubs in Harlem such as Minton's Playhouse and Clark Monroe's Uptown House. These young iconoclasts included trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Thelonious Monk, guitarist Charlie Christian, and drummers Max Roach and Kenny 'Klook' Clarke. The beboppers' attitude was summed up in a famous quotation attributed to Monk by Mary Lou Williams: "We wanted a music that they couldn't play" — "they" being either the (white) bandleaders who had taken over and profited from swing music and or unwelcome fellow musicians wishing to jam with Parker, Gillespie and others. The group played in venues on the now famous 52nd Street including Three Deuces and The Onyx. In his time in NYC, he also learned much from notable music teacher Maury Deutsch.

By now, Parker was emerging as a leading figure in the emerging bebop scene. According to an interview Parker gave in the 1950s, one night in 1939, he was playing "Cherokee" in a jam session with guitarist William 'Biddy' Fleet when he hit upon a method for developing his solos that enabled him to play what he had been hearing in his head for some time, by building on the chords' extended intervals, such as ninths, elevenths, and thirteenths.
Early in its development, this new type of jazz was rejected and disdained by many older, more established jazz musicians, whom the beboppers, in response, called 'moldy figs'. However, some musicians, such as Coleman Hawkins and Benny Goodman, were more positive about its emergence. It was not until 1945 that Parker's collaborations with Dizzy Gillespie had a substantial effect on the jazz world. One of their first (and greatest) small-group performances together was only discovered and issued in 2005: a concert in New York's Town Hall on June 22, 1945 (now available on Uptown Records).
On November 26, 1945 Parker led a record date for the Savoy label, which was once marketed, during the LP era, as the "greatest Jazz session ever". Although this may have been hyperbole, the Savoy sessions produced an astounding collection of recordings — in spite of Dizzy Gillespie having to deputize on piano for some of the tracks. Among the tracks recorded during this session are "Koko" (based on the chords of "Cherokee"), "Now's the Time" (a twelve bar blues incorporating a riff later used in the late 1949 R&B dance hit "The Hucklebuck"), "Billie's Bounce", and "Thriving on a Riff."
Shortly afterwards, a trip to Los Angeles by the Parker/Gillespie band to fulfill an engagement at Billy Berg's club was less than successful. Most of the band soon decided to return to New York. Parker, though, stayed in California, where his self-destructive lifestyle was to catch up with him.
As a teenager, he had developed a morphine addiction while in a hospital after an automobile accident, and subsequently became addicted to heroin, which was to haunt him throughout his life and to ultimately contribute to his death. Parker's habit was to cause him to miss gigs and to be fired for being high. To continue his "buzz" he frequently resorted to busking on the streets for drug money. Parker's example was typical of the strong connection between narcotics and jazz at the time.
Although he produced many brilliant recordings during this period, Parker's behavior became increasingly erratic. Heroin was difficult to obtain after his dealer was arrested, and Parker began to drink heavily to compensate for this. A recording for the Dial label from July 29, 1946 provides evidence of his condition. Prior to this session Parker drank about a quart of whiskey. According to the liner notes of, Bird on Dial Volume 1 Parker missed most of the first two bars of his first chorus on the track, "Max is making wax". When he finally did come in, he swayed wildly and once spun all the way around, going badly off mic. On the next tune, "Lover Man", Ross Russell was enlisted to hold Parker in place in front of the microphone. On the final track recorded that evening, Parker begins a solo with a solid first eight bars. On his second eight bars, however, Parker begins to struggle, and a desperate Howard McGhee, playing trumpet on the session, shouts, "Blow!" at Parker. McGhee's bellow is audible on the recording. Some, including Charles Mingus, consider this version of "Lover Man" to be among his greater recordings despite its flaws. Nevertheless, Bird hated the recording and never forgave his producer Ross Russell for releasing the sub-par record (and re-recorded the tune in 1953 for Verve, this time in stellar form, but perhaps lacking some of the passionate emotion in the earlier, problematic attempt).
The night of the "Lover Man" session, Parker was drinking in his hotel room. He went down to the hotel lobby stark naked and asked to use the phone, several times. He was refused on each attempt and the hotel manager eventually locked him in his room. At some point in the night he set fire to his mattress with a cigarette, then ran through the hotel lobby wearing only his socks. He was arrested and committed to Camarillo State Hospital, where he remained for six months.
Coming out of the hospital, Parker was initially clean and healthy, and proceeded to do some of the best playing and recording of his career. Before leaving California, he recorded "Relaxin' at Camarillo," in reference to his hospital stay. He returned to New York and recorded dozens of sides for the Savoy and Dial labels that remain some of the high points of his recorded output. Many of these were with his so-called "classic quintet" that included trumpeter Miles Davis and drummer Max Roach. The highlights of these sessions include a series of slower-tempo performances of American popular songs including "Embraceable You" and "Bird of Paradise" (based on "All the Things You Are").
Despite many of the compositions which bear his name being based on earlier pieces from the American songbook, Parker's legacy as a deviser of jazz standards is significant. Such pieces include "Anthropology", "Confirmation", and "Yardbird Suite", which have been performed by numerous other musicians. Like his solos, his compositions are characterised by long, complex melodic lines and a minimum of repetition - generally speaking, an eight-bar segment will not contain any repeated motifs or sequences.

On November 3rd, 1949 Norman Granz arranged for Charlie Parker, a leader of bebop jazz, and a group of professional chamber orchestra musicians to record an album of ballads.

Charlie Parker With Strings
By 1950, much of the jazz world was under Parker's sway. His solos were transcribed and copied; legions of saxophonists imitated his playing note-for-note (in response to these pretenders, Parker's erstwhile bandmate Charles Mingus titled a song "Gunslinging Bird" (meaning "If Charlie Parker were a gunslinger, there'd be a whole lot of dead copycats") featured on the album Mingus Dynasty. In this regard, he is perhaps only comparable to Louis Armstrong: both men set the standard for their instruments for decades, and very few escaped their influence.
In 1953, Parker was invited to perform at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada, where he was joined by Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Bud Powell and Max Roach. Unfortunately, the concert clashed with a televised heavyweight boxing match between Rocky Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott and as a result was poorly attended. Thankfully, for the sake of posterity, Mingus recorded the concert, and the album Jazz at Massey Hall is often cited as one of the finest recordings of a live jazz performance.
One of Parker's longstanding desires was to perform with a string section as he was a keen student of classical music. Contemporaries reported that he was most interested in the music and formal innovations of Igor Stravinsky, and longed to engage in a project akin to what became known as "Third Stream Music"; a new kind of music, incorporating both jazz and Euro-classical elements as opposed to merely incorporating a string section into performance of jazz standards. When he did record and perform with strings, some fans thought it was a "sell out" and a pandering to popular tastes. Time demonstrated Parker's move a wise one: Charlie Parker with Strings sold better than his other releases, and his version of "Just Friends" is seen as one of his best performances. In an interview, he considered it to be his best recording to date.
Parker was known for often showing up to performances without an instrument and borrowing someone else's at the last moment. At more than one venue he played on a plastic Grafton saxophone; later, saxophonist Ornette Coleman used this brand of plastic sax in his early career. On one particular occasion before a concert in Toronto, Canada, he had sold his saxophone to buy drugs, and at the last minute, he, Dizzy Gillespie and other members of Charlie's entourage went running around Toronto trying to find a saxophone. After scouring all the downtown pawnshops open at the time, they were only able to find a Grafton, which Parker proceeded to use at the concert that night. This concert is documented on the album "The Quintet, Live at Massey Hall". The album is considered one of the greatest live recordings in Jazz history.

Parker died while watching Tommy Dorsey on television in the suite at the Stanhope Hotel belonging to his friend and patroness Nica de Koenigswarter. Though the official cause of death was (lobar) pneumonia and a bleeding ulcer, his death was hastened by his drug and alcohol abuse. The 34-year-old Parker was so haggard that the coroner mistakenly estimated Parker's age to be between 50 and 60.
Parker left a widow, Chan Parker, a stepdaughter, Kim Parker, who is also a musician, and a son, Baird Parker; their later lives are chronicled in Chan Parker's autobiography, "My Life in E Flat."
In 1984, Parker was posthumously awarded a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

During his lifetime, tribute was paid to Parker when a new nightclub in New York was named Birdland in his honor in 1949.
Three years later, George Shearing wrote "Lullaby of Birdland," which was named for both Parker and the nightclub.
The legend "Bird Lives" first appeared as graffiti in New York City subways a few hours after Parker's passing. For this, the poet Ted Joans is usually credited.
Charlie Parker has been an inspiration to countless jazz musicians, non-jazz musicians (such as the classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts), painters, poets, and writers throughout the world.

The mythic Charlie "Bird" Parker

A memorial to Parker was dedicated in 1999 in Kansas City at 17th Terrace and the Paseo, next to the American Jazz Museum featuring a 10-foot tall bronze head sculpted by Robert Graham.
In New York City, Avenue B between 7th and 10th Streets was renamed Charlie Parker Place in 1992. The townhouse in which Parker had lived with Chan and their children, on Avenue B between 9th and 10th streets, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.[7]
Every August, the Tribes Gallery in New York's Lower East Side sponsors a Charlie Parker Festival that includes musical performances, art exhibits, poetry readings, and culminates with a street festival and outdoor concert on August 29 (Parker's birthday) in Tompkins Square Park, which is located on Charlie Parker Place (see above).
Every weekday morning, disc jockey Phil Schaap plays Parker's music on WKCR in New York. His show, called Birdflight, is devoted to Parker's music and has been running since the early 1970s. Memorials and tributes

Lennie Tristano's overdubbed solo piano piece "Requiem" was recorded in tribute to Parker shortly after his death. It begins with a classically-tinged introduction, and then turns into a slow blues that gradually accumulates layers of overdubbing — one of the earliest experiments in jazz with multiple overdubbing.
Deeply touched by Charlie Parker's death, Moondog wrote his famous "Bird's Lament" in his memory. Moondog affirmed that he had met Charlie Parker in the streets of New York and that they had planned to jam together.
The Californian ensemble Supersax has harmonized many of Parker's improvisations for a five-piece saxophone section, which to many listeners bring new life to them, whereas others consider the arrangements as somewhat constructed.
Saxophonist Phil Woods recorded a tribute concert for Parker, and in an interview stated that he thought Parker had said everything he needed to say.
Weather Report's jazz fusion track and highly acclaimed big band standard "Birdland", from the Heavy Weather album (1977), was a dedication by bandleader Joe Zawinul to both Charlie Parker and the New York 52nd Street club itself. The piece featured Jaco Pastorius playing electric fretless bass. (Pastorius had made a name for himself when he included on his debut solo album an astounding rendition of the Charlie Parker and Miles Davis standard "Donna Lee".) The Manhattan Transfer made a vocalese cover version of the composition set to lyrics by Jon Hendricks. Musical tributes

A biographical film called Bird, starring Forest Whitaker as Parker and directed by Clint Eastwood, was released in 1988.[8]
In 1984, legendary modern dance choreographer Alvin Ailey created a piece entitled "For Bird--With Love" in honor of Parker. The piece chronicles his life, from his early career to his failing health.
In 2005, the Selmer Paris saxophone manufacturer commissioned a special "Tribute to Bird" alto saxophone, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Charlie Parker (1955-2005). This saxophone will be built until 2010, each one featuring a unique engraving and an original design.
Parker's performances of "I Remember You" and "Parker's Mood" were selected by Harold Bloom for inclusion on his short list of the "twentieth-century American Sublime", the greatest works of American art produced in the 20th century.
The Oris Watch Company created a limited edition timepiece in Charlie Parker's name. The watch features the word "bird" at the 4 o'clock hour, in honor of Parker's nickname and signifying "Jazz, until 4 in the morning". Other tributes
Charlie Parker has become an icon of popular culture. His name is dropped by rock musicians and he has appeared in comics.

Charlie Parker in popular culture
Here are some of Charlie Parker's most prominent tunes

A biographical song entitled "Parker's Band" was recorded by Steely Dan on their 1974 album Pretzel Logic.
Charlie Parker is mentioned in a 1976 song by Jethro Tull called "From a Dead Beat to an Old Greaser"
The avant-garde trombonist George Lewis released Homage to Charles Parker in 1979, an album that offers a unique combination of electronic music and the blues.
Parker is alluded to in the 1983 Billy Joel song "Christie Lee". In it, the lyric says: "You know the man knew "The Bird" like the Bible/Yes, the man could blow an educated axe/but Christie Lee was more than he knew how to handle/she didn't need another man, all she wanted was the sax".
The Spanish heavy metal band Saratoga's 1999 album Vientos de Guerra contains a song titled "Charlie se fué" ("Charlie has gone"). The song talks about Charlie, who has gone with God on a day of March. Parker died on March 12.
TISM's The White Albun (2004) contains a song titled "Tonight Harry's Practice Visits The Home Of Charlie "Bird" Parker". The song focuses on celebrity resentment and the possibility that taking drugs, like Parker did, will make the otherwise dull celebrities more interesting. The title of the song refers to Australian television show Harry's Practice and, more specifically, the segment where Dr. Harry Cooper would visit a celebrity, in this case, the visit is to Charlie "Bird" Parker's house.
Duane Allman devised a unique slide guitar technique that enabled him to mimic the sounds of chirping birds, stating in at least one interview that this was his tribute to Bird. This can be heard in numerous live recordings, most notably "Mountain Jam" on The Allman Brothers Band's CDs Eat a Peach and The Fillmore Concerts (shortly before the drum interlude). Another, more delicate, version is in the song "Finding Her" on Boz Scaggs' self-titled debut album, first released in 1969.
Phoebe Snow mentions Charlie Parker in her song I Don't Want The Night To End from her 1974 album titled Phoebe Snow.
Scrapple from the Apple
Moose the Mooche
Cool blues
Ornithology Literature

Parker's song "Segment" is featured in the 2006 film Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
A Far Side cartoon entitled "Charlie Parker's private hell" shows him locked in a recording booth while a whistling devil pipes in nothing but new age music.
In an episode of the anime series Cowboy Bebop entitled "Honky Tonk Women", the character Jet Black mentions Parker in a conversation between himself and his partner Spike Spiegel about a dream he had the night before.
Charley Parker, the real name of comic book character Golden Eagle, is a reference to Parker.
In the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley, Dickie Greenleaf (played by Jude Law) named his boat "Bird" in tribute to Parker. Charlie Parker Other
See also Charlie Parker discography
Parker made extensive recordings for three labels — Savoy and Dial best document his early work, while Verve is representative of his later career:
Many live recordings, of varying quality, are also available. A small selection of the many are listed below:
Special mention should be made of the legendary Dean Benedetti recordings, a huge trove of live material recorded by an obsessive fan. Long thought lost or merely mythical, these eventually resurfaced and were released as a set by Mosaic Records.

Savoy (1944-1949)
Dial (1945-1947)
Verve (1946-1954)
Live at Townhall w. Dizzy (1945, first released in 2005)
Bird and Diz at Carnegie Hall (1947)
Bird on 52nd Street (1948)
Jazz at the Philharmonic (1949)
Charlie Parker All Stars Live at the Royal Roost (1949)
Charlie Parker with Strings (1950, first released in 1981)
One Night in Birdland (1950)
Bird at the High Hat (1953)
Charlie Parker at Storyville (1953)
Jazz At Massey Hall (1953) Bibliography

Aebersold, Jamie, editor (1978). Charlie Parker Omnibook. New York: Michael H. Goldsen.
Yamaguchi, Masaya, editor (1955). Yardbird Originals. New York: Charles Colin, 2005. Originally published in 1955.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A chemical bond is the physical process responsible for the attractive interactions between atoms and molecules, and that which confers stability to diatomic and polyatomic chemical compounds. The explanation of the attractive forces is a complex area that is described by the laws of quantum electrodynamics. In practice, however, chemists usually rely on quantum theory or qualitative descriptions that are less rigorous but more easily explained to describe chemical bonding. In general, strong chemical bonding is associated with the sharing or transfer of electrons between the participating atoms. Molecules, crystals, and diatomic gases—indeed most of the physical environment around us—are held together by chemical bonds, which dictate the structure of matter.
Bonds vary widely in their strength. Generally covalent and ionic bonds are often described as "strong", whereas hydrogen bonds and van der Waals' bonds are generally considered to be "weak". Care should be taken because the strongest of the "weak" bonds can be stronger than the weakest of the "strong" bonds.


Main articles: History of chemistry and History of the moleculeChemical bond History

Main article: Valence bond theory Valence bond theory

Main article: Molecular orbital theory Molecular orbital theory
In some respects valence bond theory is superior to molecular orbital theory. When applied to the simplest two-electron molecule, H2, valence bond theory, even at the simplest Heitler-London approach, gives a much closer approximation to the bond energy, and it provides a much more accurate representation of the behavior of the electrons as chemical bonds are formed and broken. In contrast simple molecular orbital theory predicts that the hydrogen molecule dissociates into a linear superposition of hydrogen atoms and positive and negative hydrogen ions, a completely unphysical result. This explains in part why the curve of total energy against interatomic distance for the valence bond method lies above the curve for the molecular orbital method at all distances and most particularly so for large distances. This situation arises for all homonuclear diatomic molecules and is particularly a problem for F2, where the minimum energy of the curve with molecular orbital theory is still higher in energy than the energy of two F atoms.
The concepts of hybridization are so versatile, and the variability in bonding in most organic compounds is so modest, that valence bond theory remains an integral part of the vocabulary of organic chemistry. However, the work of Friedrich Hund, Robert Mulliken, and Gerhard Herzberg showed that molecular orbital theory provided a more appropriate description of the spectroscopic, ionization and magnetic properties of molecules. The deficiencies of valence bond theory became apparent when hypervalent molecules (e.g. PF5) were explained without the use of d orbitals that were crucial to the bonding hybridisation scheme proposed for such molecules by Pauling. Metal complexes and electron deficient compounds (e.g. diborane) also appeared to be well described by molecular orbital theory, although valence bond descriptions have been made.
In the 1930s the two methods strongly competed until it was realised that they are both approximations to a better theory. If we take the simple valence bond structure and mix in all possible covalent and ionic structures arising from a particular set of atomic orbitals, we reach what is called the full configuration interaction wave function. If we take the simple molecular orbital description of the ground state and combine that function with the functions describing all possible excited states using unoccupied orbitals arising from the same set of atomic orbitals, we also reach the full configuration interaction wavefunction. It can be then seen that the simple molecular orbital approach gives too much weight to the ionic structures, while the simple valence bond approach gives too little. This can also be described as saying that the molecular orbital approach is too delocalised, while the valence bond approach is too localised.
The two approaches are now regarded as complementary, each providing its own insights into the problem of chemical bonding. Modern calculations in quantum chemistry usually start from (but ultimately go far beyond) a molecular orbital rather than a valence bond approach, not because of any intrinsic superiority in the former but rather because the MO approach is more readily adapted to numerical computations. However better valence bond programs are now available.

Comparison of valence bond and molecular orbital theory
The 3-dimensionality of atoms and molecules makes it difficult to use a single technique for indicating orbitals and bonds. In molecular formulas the chemical bonds (binding orbitals) between atoms are indicated by various different methods according to the type of discussion. Sometimes, they are completely neglected. For example, in organic chemistry chemists are sometimes concerned only with the functional groups of the molecule. Thus, the molecular formula of ethanol (a compound in alcoholic beverages) may be written in a paper in conformational, 3-dimensional, full 2-dimensional (indicating every bond with no 3-dimensional directions), compressed 2-dimensional (CH3–CH2–OH), separating the functional group from another part of the molecule (C2H5OH), or by its atomic constituents (C2H6O), according to what is discussed. Sometimes, even the non-bonding valence shell electrons ( with the 2-dimensionalized approximate directions) are marked, i.e. for elemental carbon .) indicating the possibility of bond formation.

Bonds in chemical formulas
These chemical bonds are intramolecular forces, which hold atoms together in molecules. In the simplistic localized view of bonding, the number of electrons participating in a bond (or located in a bonding orbital) is typically multiples of two, four, or six, respectively. Even numbers are common because electrons enjoy lower energy states, if paired. Substantially more advanced bonding theories have shown that bond strength is not always a whole number, depending on the distribution of electrons to each atom involved in a bond. For example, the carbons in benzene are connected to each other with about 1.5 bonds, and the two atoms in nitric oxide NO, are connected with about 2.5 bonds. Quadruple bonds are also well known. The type of strong bond depends on the difference in electronegativity and the distribution of the electron orbital paths available to the atoms that are bonded. The larger the difference in electronegativity, the more an electron is attracted to a particular atom involved in the bond, and the more "ionic" properties the bond is said to have ("ionic" means the bond electron(s) are unequally shared). The smaller the difference in electronegativity, the more covalent properties (full sharing) the bond has.

Strong chemical bonds

Main article: Covalent bond Covalent bond

Main article: Polar covalent bond Polar covalent bond

Main article: Ionic bond Ionic bond

Main article: Coordinate covalent bond Coordinate covalent bond

Main article: Bent bondChemical bond Bent bonds
In three-center two-electron bonds three atoms share two electrons in bonding. This type of bonding occurs in electron deficient compounds like diborane. Each such bond (2 per molecule in diborane) contains a pair of electrons which connect the boron atoms to each other in a banana shape (shown as a more sharply angled section in the stick model at right), with a proton (nucleus of a hydrogen atom) in the middle of the bond, sharing electrons with both boron atoms. Three-center four-electron bonds also exist which explain the bonding in hypervalent molecules. In certain cluster compounds so-called four-center two-electron bonds also have been postulated.

3c-2e and 4c-3e bonds
Bonds with one or three electrons can be found in radical species, which have an odd number of electrons. The simplest example of a 1-electron bond is found in the hydrogen molecular cation, H2

One- and three-electron bonds

Main article: Aromaticity Aromatic bond

Main article: Metallic bond Metallic bond
There are four basic types of bonds that can be formed between two or more (otherwise non-associated) molecules, ions or atoms. Intermolecular forces cause molecules to be attracted or repulsed by each other. Often, these define some of the physical characteristics (such as the melting point) of a substance.

Intermolecular bonding

Main article: Intermolecular force Permanent dipole to permanent dipole

Main article: Hydrogen bond Cation-pi interaction
Many simple compounds involve covalent bonds. These molecules have structures that can be predicted using valence bond theory, and the properties of atoms involved can be understood using concepts such as oxidation number. Other compounds that involve ionic structures can be understood using theories from classical physics.
In the case of ionic bonding, electrons are mainly localized on the individual atoms, and electrons do not travel between the atoms very much. Each atom is assigned an overall electric charge to help conceptualize the molecular orbital's distribution. The forces between atoms (or ions) are largely characterized by isotropic continuum electrostatic potentials.
By contrast, in covalent bonding, the electron density within a bond is not assigned to individual atoms, but is instead delocalized in the MOs between atoms. The widely accepted theory of the linear combination of atomic orbitals (LCAO) helps describe the molecular orbital structures and energies based on the atomic orbitals of the atoms they came from. Unlike pure ionic bonds, covalent bonds may have directed anisotropic properties. These may have their own names, too, such as Sigma and Pi bond.
Atoms can also form bonds that are intermediates between ionic and covalent. This is because these definitions are based on the extent of electron delocalization. Electrons can be partially delocalized between atoms, but spend more time around one atom than another. This type of bond is often called polar covalent. See electronegativity.
Thus, the electrons in a molecular orbital (or 'in a polar covalent, or in a covalent bond') can be said to be either localized on certain atom(s) or delocalized between two or more atoms. The type of bond between two atoms is defined by how much the electron density is localized or delocalized among the atoms of the bonds

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Encyclopædia Britannica is a general English-language encyclopaedia published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., a privately held company in Chicago, Illinois. The articles in the Britannica are aimed at educated adult readers, and written by a staff of 19 full-time editors and over 4,000 expert contributors. It is widely considered to be the most scholarly of encyclopaedias. Despite these criticisms, the Britannica retains its reputation as a reliable research tool.

Ownership of the Britannica has changed many times, with past owners including the Scottish publisher A & C Black, Horace Everett Hooper, Sears Roebuck and William Benton. The present owner of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. is Jacqui Safra, Swiss billionaire and actor. Recent advances in information technology and the rise of electronic encyclopedias such as Encarta and Wikipedia have reduced the demand for print encyclopedias.

The Britannica has been issued in 15 official editions, with multi-volume supplements to the 3rd and 5th editions (see the Table below). Strictly speaking, the 10th edition was only a supplement to the 9th edition, just as the 12th and 13th editions were supplements to the 11th edition. The 15th edition underwent a massive re-organisation in 1985, but the updated, current version is still known as the 15th edition.
Throughout its history, the Britannica has been devoted to two aims: to be an excellent reference book and to provide educational material for those who wish to study.
In the fifth era (1994–present), digital versions of the Britannica have been developed and released on optical media and online. In 1996, the Britannica was bought from the Benton Foundation by Jacqui Safra at well below its estimated value, owing to the company's financial difficulties. The Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. company split in 1999. One part retained the company name and developed the print version, and the other part, Inc., developed the digital versions. Since 2001, these two companies share a single CEO, Ilan Yeshua, who has continued Powell's strategy of growing Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. by introducing new products branded with the Britannica name.

The Britannica was dedicated to the reigning British monarch from 1788 to 1901 and then, upon its sale to an American partnership, to both the British monarch and the President of the United States.


Critical and popular assessments
Since the 3rd edition, the Britannica has enjoyed a popular and critical reputation for general excellence. Several editors-in-chief of the Britannica are likely to have read their editions completely, such as William Smellie (1st edition), William Robertson Smith (9th edition), and Walter Yust (14th edition).

The Britannica continues to win awards. The online Britannica won the 2005 Codie award for "Best Online Consumer Information Service";

As a general encyclopaedia, the Britannica seeks to describe as wide a range of topics as possible. The topics are chosen in part by reference to the Propædia "Outline of Knowledge".

Coverage of topics
The Britannica has also received strong criticism, especially as its editions become outdated. It is expensive to produce a completely new edition of the Britannica,

Various authorities ranging from Virginia Woolf to academic professors have criticised the Britannica for having bourgeois and old-fashioned opinions on art, literature and social sciences.

The Britannica is occasionally criticised for its editorial choices. Given its roughly constant size, the encyclopaedia has needed to reduce or eliminate some topics to accommodate others, resulting in some controversial decisions. The initial 15th edition (1974–1985) was faulted for having drastically reduced or eliminated its coverage of children's literature, military decorations, and the French poet Joachim du Bellay; editorial mistakes were also alleged, such as an inconsistent sorting of Japanese biographies.

Editorial choices
By modern standards, past editions of the Britannica have been marred by racism and sexism.

Racism and sexism in prior editions
In 1912 mathematician L. C. Karpinski criticised the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition for its many inaccuracies in the articles on the history of mathematics, none of which had been written by specialists in the field. The sentiment is expressed by its original editor, William Smellie.


Present status
Since 1985, the Britannica has had four parts: the Micropædia, the Macropædia, the Propædia, and a two-volume index. The Britannica's articles are found in the Micro- and Macropædia, which encompass 12 and 17 volumes, respectively, each volume having roughly one thousand pages. The 2007 Macropædia has 699 in-depth articles, ranging in length from 2 to 310 pages and having references and named contributors. In contrast, the 2007 Micropædia has roughly 65,000 articles, the vast majority (about 97%) of which contain fewer than 750 words, no references, and no named contributors. Diacritical marks and non-English letters are ignored, while numerical entries such as "1812, War of" are alphabetised as if the number had been written out ("Eighteen-twelve, War of"). Articles with identical names are ordered first by persons, then by places, then by things. Rulers with identical names are organised first alphabetically by country and then by chronology; thus, Charles III of France precedes Charles I of England, listed in Britannica as the ruler of Great Britain and Ireland. Similarly, places that share names are organised alphabetically by country, then by ever-smaller political divisions.

2007 print version
There are several abbreviated Britannica encyclopedias. The single-volume Britannica Concise Encyclopædia has 28,000 short articles condensing the larger 32-volume Britannica. Since 1938, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. has published annually a Book of the Year covering the past year's events, which is available online back to the 1994 edition (covering the events of 1993). The company also publishes several specialized reference works, such as Shakespeare: The Essential Guide to the Life and Works of the Bard (Wiley, 2006).

Related printed material
The Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2006 DVD contains over 55 million words and just over 100,000 articles. Users will be able to send a question via text message, and AskMeNow will search Britannica's 28,000-article concise encyclopedia to return an answer to the query. Daily topical features sent directly to users' mobile phones are also planned.

Optical disc and online and mobile versions

Encyclopedia Britannica Personnel and management
The 2007 print version of the Britannica boasts 4,411 contributors, many of whom are eminent in their fields, such as Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman, astronomer Carl Sagan, and surgeon Michael DeBakey. Roughly a quarter of the contributors are deceased, some as long ago as 1947 (Alfred North Whitehead), while another quarter are retired or emeritus. Most (approximately 98%) contribute to only a single article; however, 64 contributed to three articles, 23 contributed to four articles, 10 contributed to five articles, and 8 contributed to more than five articles. An exceptionally prolific contributor is Dr. Christine Sutton of the University of Oxford, who contributed 24 articles on particle physics.


For more details on this topic, see Staff of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Staff
The Britannica has an Editorial Board of Advisors, which currently includes 14 distinguished scholars:

former Ecuadorian president Rosalía Arteaga,
Physiology/Medicine Nobel laureate David Baltimore,
religion scholar Wendy Doniger,
political economist Benjamin M. Friedman,
Council on Foreign Relations President Emeritus Leslie H. Gelb,
Physics Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann,
Carnegie Corporation of New York President Vartan Gregorian,
Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Zaha Hadid,
American Civil War historian James M. McPherson,
philosopher Thomas Nagel,
cognitive scientist Donald Norman,
musicologist Don Michael Randel,
economist Amartya Sen, and
Stewart Sutherland, Baron Sutherland of Houndwood and a Knight of the Thistle. Editorial advisors
In January 1996, the Britannica was purchased from the Benton Foundation by billionaire Swiss financier and actor Jacqui Safra,

Corporate structure
As the Britannica is a general encyclopaedia, it does not seek to compete with specialised encyclopaedias such as the Encyclopaedia of Mathematics or the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, which can devote much more space to their chosen topics. In its first years, the Britannica's main competitor was the general encyclopaedia of Ephraim Chambers and, soon thereafter, Rees's Cyclopaedia and Coleridge's Encyclopaedia Metropolitana. In the 20th century, successful competitors included Collier's Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia Americana, and the World Book Encyclopedia. Each of these encyclopaedias has qualities that make it outstanding, such as exceptionally clear writing or superb illustrations. Nevertheless, from the 9th edition onwards, the Britannica was widely considered to have the greatest authority of any general English language encyclopaedia, Although the Britannica is now available both in multimedia form and over the Internet, its preeminence is being challenged by other online encyclopaedias, such as Encarta and Wikipedia.

Print encyclopedias
The most notable competitor of the Britannica among CD/DVD-ROM digital encyclopedias is Encarta,

Digital encyclopedias on optical media
Online alternatives to the Britannica include Wikipedia, a freely available Web-based free-content encyclopaedia. Wikipedia receives roughly 450 times more traffic than the online version of the Britannica, based on independent page-view statistics gathered by Alexa in the first three months of 2007.

Edition summary

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Younger Dryas stadial, named after the alpine / tundra wildflower Dryas octopetala, and also referred to as the Big Freeze,
The Younger Dryas (GS1) is also a Blytt-Sernander climate period detected from layers in north European bog peat. It is dated approximately 12,900-11,500 BP calibrated, or 11,000-10,000 BP uncalibrated. An Older Dryas stadial had preceded the Allerød, approximately 1000 years before the Younger Dryas; it lasted 300 years.[2]

Abrupt climate change
Answering this question is hampered by the lack of a precise definition of "Younger Dryas" in all the records. In western Europe and Greenland, the Younger Dryas is a well-defined synchronous cool period.[3] But cooling in the tropical North Atlantic may have preceded this by a few hundred years; South America shows a less well defined initiation but a sharp termination. The Antarctic Cold Reversal appears to have started a thousand years before the Younger Dryas, and has no clearly defined start or end; Huybers has argued that there is fair confidence in the absence of the Younger Dryas in Antarctica, New Zealand and parts of Oceania. Similarly the Southern Hemisphere cooling known as the Deglaciation Climate Reversal (DCR) began approximately 1kyr before the YD, between 14kya and 11.5 kya as noted in the Sajama ice core. The Andean climate returned to LGM conditions with colder temperatures coupled with higher precipitation (high lake stands in the Altiplano). indicates Younger Dryas cooling in the pacific Northwest.
Other features seen include:

Replacement of forest in Scandinavia with glacial tundra (which is the habitat of the plant Dryas octopetala).
Glaciation or increased snow in mountain ranges around the world.
Formation of solifluction layers and loess deposits in Northern Europe.
More dust in the atmosphere, originating from deserts in Asia.
Drought in the Levant, perhaps motivating the Natufian culture to invent agriculture.
The Huelmo/Mascardi Cold Reversal in the Southern Hemisphere began slightly before the Younger Dryas and ended at the same time. Younger Dryas Causes of the Younger Dryas
Measurements of oxygen isotopes from the GISP2 ice core suggest the ending of the Younger Dryas took place over just 40 - 50 years in three discrete steps, each lasting five years. Other proxy data, such as dust concentration, and snow accumulation, suggest an even more rapid transition, requiring a ~7 °C warming in just a few years.

The end of the Younger Dryas
The Younger Dryas is often linked to the adoption of agriculture in the Levant. See the Neolithic Revolution, when hunter gatherers turned to farming.

See also

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This article deals with conservatism as a political philosophy. For other uses (such as national movements or parties), see Conservatism (disambiguation) and/or the navigation bar on the right side of this page.
Conservatism is a term used to describe political philosophies that favor traditional values, where "tradition" refers to religious, cultural, or nationally defined beliefs and customs. The term is derived from the Latin, conservāre, to conserve; "to keep, guard, observe". Since different cultures have different established values, conservatives in different cultures have different goals. Some conservatives seek to preserve the status quo, while others seek to return to the values of an earlier time, the status quo ante.
Conservatism as a political ideology is notoriously difficult to define, encompassing numerous different movements in various countries and time periods; there may sometimes be contradictions between the alternate conceptions of conservatism as the ideology of preserving the past, and the contemporary worldwide conception of conservatism as a right-wing political stance. For instance, as one commentator questions, "who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher?"

Development of thought

Schools of conservatism

Main article: Cultural conservatism Cultural conservatism
Religious conservatives seek to preserve the teachings of some particular religion, sometimes by proclaiming the value of those teachings, at other times seeking to have those teachings given the force of law. Religious conservatism may support, or be supported by, secular customs. In other places or at other times, religious conservatism may find itself at odds with the culture in which the believers reside. In some cultures, there is conflict between two or more different groups of religious conservatives, both strongly asserting that their view is correct, and opposing views are wrong.
Conservative governments influenced by religious conservatives may promote broad campaigns for a return to traditional values. Modern examples include the Back to Basics campaign of British Prime Minister, John Major. In the European Union, a conservative campaign sought to constitutionally specify certain conservative values in the proposed European Constitution.
Because many religions preserve a founding text the possibility of Radical Religious Conservatism arises. These are radical both in the sense of abolishing the status quo and of a perceived return to the radix or root of a belief. They are ante conservative in their claim to be preserving the belief in its original or pristine form. Radical Religious Conservatism generally sees the status quo as corrupted by abuses, corruption, or heresy. One example of such a movement was the Protestant Reformation.
In Islam, the Salafist movement is often politically and socially radical, and is violently repressed by governments and distrusted by the majority of mainstream Muslims for that reason. Salafism seeks to impose, by force if necessary, its vision of a model Islamic society such as existed at the time of Muhammad's passing from this world and for a short time thereafter. It rejects the later developments of Islamic societies, and can therefore be classified as a radical religious conservatism.
Similar phenomena have arisen in practically all the world's religions, in many cases triggered by the violent cultural collision between the traditional society in question and the modern Western society that has developed throughout the world over the past 500 years. Much of what is labelled as radical religious conservatism in the modern world is in fact an indigenous fusion of traditional religious ideals with modern, European revolutionary philosophy, sometimes Marxist in nature.

Religious conservatism
Fiscal conservatism is the economic philosophy of prudence in government spending and debt. Edmund Burke, in his 'Reflections on the Revolution in France', articulated its principles:
...[I]t is to the property of the citizen, and not to the demands of the creditor of the state, that the first and original faith of civil society is pledged. The claim of the citizen is prior in time, paramount in title, superior in equity. The fortunes of individuals, whether possessed by acquisition or by descent or in virtue of a participation in the goods of some community, were no part of the creditor's security, expressed or implied...[T]he public, whether represented by a monarch or by a senate, can pledge nothing but the public estate; and it can have no public estate except in what it derives from a just and proportioned imposition upon the citizens at large.
In other words, a government does not have the right to run up large debts and then throw the burden on the taxpayer; the taxpayers' right not to be taxed oppressively takes precedence even over paying back debts a government may have imprudently undertaken.

ConservatismConservatism Fiscal conservatism
Many forms of conservatism incorporate elements of other ideologies and philosophies. In turn, conservatism has influence upon them. Most conservatives strongly support the nation-state (although that was not so in the 19th century), and patriotically identify with their own nation. Nationalist separatist movements may be both radical and conservative. They appeal to tradition and often emphasise rural life and folkways.

Ideological interaction and influence
Conservative patriotism is sometimes expressed in the words of American naval hero Stephen Decatur, Jr. who said, "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!" The nation or, at an earlier time, the city state, is seen as a major force safeguarding traditional values and preserving the very life and freedom of its citizens.
Value conservatives in Europe appeal to national values. Burkean conservatives value them for their own sake, because they are the result of long experience, but the patriotic impulse also has a strong emotional appeal, as illustrated by the famous Sir Walter Scott quotation, "Breathes there a man, with soul so dead, who never to himself has said, this is my own, my native land!"
Most patriots appeal to national symbolism - the national flag, national historical icons, founders and emblems, the works of national poets and authors, or the representation of the nation by its artists. Conservatives often express admiration of the patriotic values of duty, and sacrifice.
Conversely, some conservatives say that to defend their nation's way of life, they may need to criticize or even oppose the existing regime. For example, G. K. Chesterton responded to Decatur in The Defendant, saying ""My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, sober or drunk." Further, paleoconservatives and others say that in this era of the managerial state, there is no clear consensus on what institutions should be conserved; therefore, the term conservative has little relevant meaning today.

Conservatism and economics
Further information: right-wing and political spectrum
In western democracies, 'conservative' and 'right-wing' are often used interchangeably, as near-synonyms. That is not always accurate, but it has more than incidental validity. Certainly the opposition is in both cases the same: the political left. (Although left-wing groups and individuals may have conservative social and cultural attitudes, they are not generally accepted, by self-identified conservatives, as part of the same movement). On economic policy and the economic system, conservatives and the right generally support the free market, although less so in Europe than in other places. Attitudes on some ethical and bio-ethical issues — such as opposition to abortion — are described as either 'right-wing' or 'conservative'.
Burkean conservatives favour incremental over radical change, even from the right. Most conservatives distrust the xenophobic and even racist sentiments prominent on the political right, just as most socialists distrust the communistic sentiments prominent on the political left. Protectionism and anti-immigration policies may conflict with free-market conservatives' support for deregulation and free trade. Some conservatives oppose military interventionism, inspired by early British conservative thinkers, such as David Hume and Edmund Burke. Burke saw imperialism as interfering with the traditions and organic make-up of the colonised societies.
The overlap between 'respectable' conservatives and the extreme right is determined by the degree of political taboo, rather than inherent ideological incompatibility. In European parliamentary systems, conservatives currently ally with centrist or even leftist groups, rather than with the xenophobic-populist right, although critics have contended that the conservatives are taking in far-right ideas. For example, in December 2005, Le Canard Enchaîné claimed that Nicolas Sarkozy had implemented almost all of the far-right Front National (FN) measures proposed in its election program. All mainstream parties in Belgium cooperated to exclude the Flemish-separatist and xenophobic Vlaams Belang, although some politicians wish to break this 'cordon sanitaire'. And mainstream parties in France sometimes support each others' candidates in run-off elections, to exclude the Front National party. However, in March 1977, and then March 1983, FN was present on RPR-UDF lists at municipal elections; in 1988, RPR and UDF right-wing conservative parties allied with FN in the Bouches-du-Rhône and Var regions. In March 1989, they had common lists in at least 28 cities of more than 9 000 inhabitants. Those alliances were condemned in 1991, but a dozen conservative deputies gained FN's support in 1997.

Conservatism in different countries
Main articles: Conservatism in the United States and Canadian conservatism

North America
Conservatism in the United Kingdom is related to its counterparts in other Western nations, but has a distinct tradition. Edmund Burke is often considered the father of conservatism in Anglo-American circles. Burke was a Whig, while the short name "Tory" is given to the modern Conservative Party. Being an 18th century Whig does not preclude a person from being a major figure in the development of that Party. The modern day Party system cannot safely be traced back before the French Revoluntion and subsequent wars. The views of Burke remain a central tenet of conservative thinking across much of the English-speaking world. As one Australian scholar argues, "For Edmund Burke and Australians of a like mind, the essence of conservatism lies not in a body of theory, but in the disposition to maintain those institutions seen as central to the beliefs and practices of society." both concepts incompatible with the traditional conception of "conservatism" as signifying support for the established order and existing social convention.

British conservatism
Conservatism in Australia is related to British and American conservatism in many respects, but has a distinct political tradition. Like conservatism in many other nations, Australian conservatism is traditionally composed of diverse groups and interests, which are united more by opposition to certain political developments than by a distinct shared ideology; as one scholar argues, "Australian conservatives are more readily characterised by what they reject than by any shared set of values."

Australian conservatism
In other parts of Europe, mainstream conservatism is often represented by the Christian Democratic parties. They form the bulk of the European Peoples Party faction in the European Parliament. The origin of these parties is usually in Catholic parties of the late 19th and early 20th century, and Catholic social teaching was their original inspiration. Over the years, conservatism gradually became their main ideological inspiration, and they generally became less Catholic. The German CDU, its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) are Protestant-Catholic parties.
In the Nordic countries, conservatism has been represented in liberal conservative parties like the Moderate Party in Sweden and the Conservative People's Party in Denmark. Domestically, these parties generally support market-oriented policies, and usually gain support from the business community and white-collar professionals. Internationally they generally support the European Union and a strong defense. Their views on social issues tend to be more liberal than, for example, the U.S. Republican Party. Social conservatism in the Nordic countries are often found in their Christian Democratic parties. In several Nordic countries, right-wing populist parties have gained some support since the 1970s. Their policies have often been focused on tax cuts, reduced immigration, and tougher law and order policies.
Generally, one could claim that European conservatives tend to be more moderate on many social and economic issues, than American conservatives. They tend to be quite friendly to the aims of the welfare state, although concerned about a healthy business environment. However, some groups have been more supportive of a stricter libertarian or laissez-faire agenda, especially under influence from Thatcherism. European conservative groups often see themselves as guardians of prudence, moderation, history and tried experience, as opposed to radicalism and social experiments. Approval of high culture and established political institutions like the monarchy is often found in European conservatism. Mainstream conservative groups are often staunch supporters of the European Union. However, one might also find elements of nationalism in many countries.

One Nation Conservatism
Gaullism See also