from the world's big
Gagauzia: A Country That's Just 3 Towns in Size?
Yes, but are they christianised Turks, or turkified Bulgars?
If the saying is true that a language is a dialect with an army and a navy, then landlocked, frigate-less Moldova is only halfway there. The Eastern European republic, celebrated for its obscurity, has struggled with its national identity ever since breaking free of the Soviet bear-hug in the early 1990s.
Formerly known as the Soviet republic of Moldavia, Moldova shares its language with neighbouring Romania (1), but insists on calling it Moldovan rather than Romanian. This doesn’t half annoy the Romanians, who would like to see the matter rectified before Moldova joins them in the European Union (2).
But while the Moldovans were busy maintaining that they are not Romanian, some of their countrymen were keen to stress that they are not Moldovan. As with most post-soviet national identities, Moldova’s was based on the dominant ethnicity, leaving minorities wondering what they were doing in a state run by Moldovans and for Moldovans. This spurred two separate autonomist movements.
The mainly Russian region of Transnistria has seceded with support of the Russian army, and is maintained by it in in a state of phantom-nationhood. Its obscure history – and especially its strange shape – has been described on entry #311 of this blog. Another, more amicable path towards autonomy was achieved by the Gagauz, a tribe of Turkish-speaking orthodox Christians whose homeland, in the south of Moldova, received a degree of autonomy – and the promise of independence, if Moldova chooses to (re)unite with Romania.
Where the Gagauz came from, is unclear. Local historians have listed over 20 different theories on their origins. There is even uncertainty about the origin of the ethnonym itself. ‘Gagauz’ might mean ‘straight nose’, it possibly refers to the Oghuz tribe, or it could be a reference to Kaykaus II, a Seljuk Sultan who settled in the area. Wrapping this riddle in a mystery is the fact that, before they migrated from Bulgaria to areas vacated by the Nogai tribe in present-day Moldova, Gagauz referred to themselves as “old Bulgars” or “true Bulgars”. The question whether the Gagauz are turkified Bulgars or christianised Turks is hardly trivial – we are, after all, in the Balkans – but very difficult to answer.
During the 20th century, the Gagauz have been independent twice, albeit very briefly. In 1906, a peasant uprising led to the Republic of Komrat, which collapsed after either 5 or 15 days (sources vary). In August 1990, Gagauzia proclaimed its autonomy, mainly in reaction to Moldova’s adoption of Moldovan as its official language. On 18 August 1991, the day of the Moscow coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev, Gagauzia proclaimed its independence. Transnistria would follow its example in September 1991. Both declarations were annulled by the Moldovan government.
The most detailed map of Gagauzia you're ever iikely to see - or need.
While Transnistria and Moldova are still at odds with each other, Gagauzia came back into the fold. On 23 December 1994, the Moldovan parliament approved Gagauzia’s current special status. The size of the region was determined by referendum, three towns and 27 villages wanting to be included. The Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (3) consists of four separate areas in the southern part of Moldova, near the border tripoint with Romania and Ukraine. The largest, northern area contains the region’s capital, Komrat.
The names of all localities on this map are marked in the region’s three official languages, Romanian/Moldovan, Gagauz and Russian (here transcribed in the Latin alphabet), and to some comic effect when the names are exactly the same (Avdarma/Avdarma/Avdarma). The region’s official names are Găgăuzia (in Moldovan/Romanian), Gagauz-Yeri (in Gagauz) and Гагаузия (in Russian).
Location of Gagauzia within Moldova.
Information about Gagauzia is scarce, apart from the most basic statistics. The area’s total surface is 1,832 km2, its population hovers around the 150,000 mark, 83% of which is Gagauz. The capital Komrat is home to 23,000 people, and its main industries are rugs, butter and wine. A National Museum of Gagauz People and History is located in the town of Besalma (“Five Apples”). About 40% of the Gagauz are city-dwellers, and of those, 18% has a phone (in comparison to only 8% of rural Gagauz). The Gagauz elect their own Governor (Guvernator in Moldovan/Romanian, Bashkan in Gagauz), at present Irina Vlah.
This map found here on Wikipedia.
Strange Maps #415
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Itself formerly known under the slightly more menacing-sounding moniker of Rumania. See also Belarus, formerly known as Belorussia. These countries not only dropped ‘Soviet’ and/or ‘socialist’ from their titulature, but found it necessary to modify their proper name.
(2) A dispute reminiscent of the one between Greece, which sees itself as the sole custodian of all matters Macedonian, and the Former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, which on Greece’s intransigent insistence still has to circumspectly describe itself on international fora with the acronym FYROM. It might yet catch on, and the proud Fyromans will then have a toponym all of their own to defend.
(3) Or ATUG. Cf sup.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.