Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Kingdom Fungi

File:Bleu de Gex.jpg
The Blue Cheese, Bleu de Gex, which is made using the mold Penicillium, a member of the Kingdom Fungi.
The Kingdom Fungi -- the taxonomic Kingdom of the various Fungus species -- is tremendously important to mankind and to the natural world.  Yet, it is rather little know, nor very much liked.  Nevertheless, as Aristotle notes in his Parts of Animals:
"For if some [creatures] have no graces to charm the sense, yet even these, by disclosing to intellectual perception the artistic spirit that designed them, give immense pleasure to all who can trace links of causation, and are inclined to philosophy. Indeed, it would be strange if mimic representations of them were attractive, because they disclose the mimetic skill of the painter or sculptor, and the original realities themselves were not more interesting, to all at any rate who have eyes to discern the reasons that determined their formation. We therefore must not recoil with childish aversion from the examination of the humbler animals."  The emphasis is mine -- and while Fungi are not animals, certainly the principle remains the same!
I present here a brief taxonomy of the Kingdom of these "plants without chlorophyll," if you will, rather well aware that taxonomy is always a matter of some dispute, and rarely more than with the Fungi species!

  • Phylum Chytridiomycota [Chytrid Fungi; Unicellular fungi that lack mycelium, including the parasitic Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis that infects amphibians]
  • Phylum Neocallimastigomycota [Rumen-dwelling fungi similar to the Chytrids]
  • Phylum Blastocladiomycota [Similar group of fungi to the above, marked by varied habitats and alternation of generations, including the Allomyces soil saprophytes of temperate regions]
  • Phylum Zygomycota [Case-like or conjugation Fungi]
      • Class Zygomycetes [Fungi such as Bread Mold, Rhizopus stolonifer, and Mucor molds; also the Dung-dwelling Pilobolus species and the House fly-killing Entomophthora muscae]
      • Class Trichomycetes [Primarily arthropod digestive tract dwelling fungi]
  • Phylum Ascomycota [Sac Fungi]
    • Subphylum Pezizomycotina
      • Class Plectomycetes
        • Order Erysiphales [The plant parasites called Powdery Mildews]
        • Order Eurotiales [Molds, as Penicillium and Aspergillus; False Truffles, Elaphomyces]
      • Class Discomycetes
        • Order Cyttariales [Plant parasites, such as the edible gall-producing Cyttaria]
        • Order Helotiales [Includes Jelly Clubs and Microglossum rufum, an Earth tongue]
        • Order Pezizales [In addition to the Morels and Truffles, this includes the Cup Fungi]
          • Family Morchellaceae [The famous Morels (Morchella)]
          • Family Tuberaceae [Truffles (Tuber)] {Some put in own Order, Tuberales}
      • Class Loculoascomycetes
        • Order Capnodiales [Sooty plant molds, such as Nothofagus of New Zealand]
        • Order Pleosporales [Includes Apiosporina morbosa, Black knob of cherry]
      • Class Pyrenomycetes
        • Order Clavicipitales [Parasitic fungi, such as Claviceps purpurea, Ergot]
        • Order Diaporthales [Includes Cryphonectria parasitica, the Chestnut blight]
        • Order Hypocreales [Includes Lobster Mushroom Fungus, Hypomyces lactifluorum]
        • Order Ophiostomatales [Includes Ophiostoma ulmi, Dutch Elm Disease]
        • Order Sordariales [Fungi species that grow on dung and paper and that grow after fires]
        • Order Xylariales [Flask Fungi, including Xylaria polymorpha, Dead Man’s Fingers]
    • Subphylum Saccharomycotina [These are yeasts, such as Brewer’s Yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae]
    • Subphylum Taphrinomycotina [Variable Fungi, from yeast-like species to plant parasites]
  • Phylum Basidiomycota [Club Fungi]

o    Subphylum Agaricomycotina {The classes below are considered obsolete, but are used for convenience}

§  Class Hymenomycetes

·         Order Agaricales [Gilled; the Mushrooms]

o   Family Amanitaceae [Including Amantina bisporigera, the Destroying Angel]

o   Family Agaricaceae [Including Agaricus bisporus, the Edible Mushroom]

·         Order Aphyllophorales [Non-gilled; includes Coral, Tooth, and Parchment fungi]

o   Family Polyporaceae [Including Shelf Fungi, as Sulfur shelf, Leatiporus]

§  Class Gasteromycetes [Includes Bird’s Nest Fungi and Puffballs, as Calvatia gigantea]

·         Order Phallales [The Stinkhorns]

§  Class Heterobasidiomycetes [Includes Jelly Fungi, such as Tremella mesenterica, witches’ butter]

    • Subphylum Pucciniomycotina [Rusts]
    • Subphylum Ustilaginomycotina [Smuts]

N.B. –The system of classification presented above is, in large part, that of The Kingdom Fungi by Stephenson.
Now for a few video clips to illustrate the great wonder of the kingdom:
First, a series of time-lapse videos of the growth of mushrooms -- the fruiting bodies of the Fungi.
This next video brings out the odd quality of many of the Fungi species, and the purpose of the "fruiting bodies" of the Fungi -- especially the wonderful Stinkhorns!
Finally, in the category of the macabre and bizarre, the story of the parasitic Cordyceps Fungus.
For further reading, an excellent book is The Kingdom Fungi by Steven Stephenson.  Cf.,
Thanks to my student, FA, for reminding me to post this material!
Live well!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Map (historical & topo) Resources

File:Topographic map example.png
A USGS Topographic Map featuring the area around Stowe, Vermont.  The site below has these maps for free by download!

Maps are a splendid overview of the world, or some part of it, in which we live.  They are not only tremendously useful, and packed with information, but they can be impressive cultural expressions and even works of art.

Pondering a move to a new county, this blogger has made quite a study of maps lately, and, in that spirit, wishes to note a couple of excellent resources on the subject:

Old Maps Online,  -- is a magnificient resource.  Easily searchable either by names or on the modern map provided, this will prove an excellent resource for the historian or amateur cartographer!  Here are many of those culturally fascinating and artistically beautiful maps.  This is a treat!

More practically, we have the United States Geological Survey map store:
Certainly there are maps here to be purchased, but so to are free downloads of the topographical quadrant maps that the USGS specializes in.  Seach for what you are looking for, click on the pin, and look for the option to download -- for free -- or to order whatever map you might want.

That USGS site also allows you to see a Google map in "Topo" mode, with topographic maps from the Geological Survey in lieu of the typical Google maps.

Live well!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New Papal Motto & Coat of Arms

File:Pope Francis in March 2013.jpg
His Holiness, Pope Francis.

This last week we had official notification of the motto, coat of arms, and fisherman's ring of the new Supreme Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis.

The motto is that of his time as a bishop: Miserando atque eligendo.  Many sources translate this as "lowly but chosen," but the great Fr. John Zuhlsdorf renders more accurately: "By showing compassion and by choosing."

For an explanation of the motto, you should visit his wondeful blog:

The coat of arms of Pope Francis.

The coat of arms of Pope Francis is an adaptation, once again, of that used during his time as Bishop.  He has simply replaced the cardinal's supporters with those of a Supreme Roman Pontiff, with the Keys of St. Peter.

The blue background recalls the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, as the star also calls to mind.  The "grapes" are actually nard flowers, which are a symbol of St. Joseph.  Finally, the sunburst, a Jesuit symbol, contains the IHS of Jesus Christ, along with the nails of His passion -- thus recalling both the Society of Jesus, and, of course, Our Divine Lord.

Here is the Vatican Press Office article on the same:

Each pontiff has a particular ring of office -- the fisherman's ring -- which is defaced upon his death or abdication.  Holy Father Francis has received a ring that once belong to Pope Paul VI to be his fisherman's ring.  For more on that, you should read the Vatican Press Office account here:

As a side note, it seems the last pope to bear a name unused by a predecessor was Pope Lando from the 10th century.  Here's hoping for Pope Lando II!

Finally, a couple of useful sources on general papal details:
From the Washington Post, a graphic showing which Popes have been members of religious orders:

From the Telegraph, an interactive program listing all of the popes of history:

Live well!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vernal Equinox -- Spring Begins

Today, at precisely 11:01UT, or 7:01AM, Eastern Daylight Time, we mark the Vernal Equinox.  At that moment, the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its path along the ecliptic.  Of course, this date is critical in determining the date of Easter -- Easter is the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after today's Vernal Equinox.

If the Earth sat directly upright on its axis, the Sun would always be directly overhead at noon on the equator, it would appear to move through the stars along the celestial equator, days would always remain the same length, and every day would be like the two equinox days in Spring and Fall -- every day like today. As it happens, the Earth is tilted at about 23.5 degrees on its axis. Thus, the sun appears to diverge as much as 23.5 degrees from the celestial equator in its apparent path through the stars (the ecliptic), and ends up being directly overhead up to 23.5 degrees north or south of the equator (the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn) on the two solstice days. This is the reason, of course, for our seasons.

So, if we start at the vernal equinox in March, today, the sun is directly overhead at the equator at noon, and night and day are the same length. [Of course, thanks to Daylight savings time, this happens at 1PM, and not Noon.  DST is a fictional time in which we pretend to live further east.] From the Vernal equinox until the summer solstice, the Sun appears to move slowly to the north both in the sky, setting a bit further north of west each day, and in its apparent path through the contellations of the zodiac. This continues until the Sun reaches the solstice, where it stops, being directly overhead at 23.5 degrees north latitude (the Tropic of Cancer) at noon, and sitting about 23.5 degrees north of the celestial equator. From that point, the sun drifts back south until reaching the equator once more at the autumnal equinox in September, on this day, going all the way to 23.5 degrees south at the Winter Solstice.

File:Analemma Earth.png
This chart show the analemma for Earth, showing the relative locations of the Sun at noon at the Greenwich Observatory in England. Notice the change in both altitude and azimuth at the different points of the year.

The reason for all of this is that as the Earth orbits the Sun the two hemispheres of the Earth take turns being tilted toward the Sun. The following diagrams might help to illustrate what I am trying to articulate:

File:Ecliptic path.jpg
In this diagram, the sun appears to move against the background of the stars along the red line, the ecliptic, while the white line marks the celestial equator -- the imaginary line through space that is merely the extension of the Earth's equator. The two points where the red and white lines are at greatest divergence are the solstices, while the two points where the red and white lines cross are the two equinoxes. The yellow line shows what the sun would appear to be in front of from the Earth, the Constellation Pisces, at the vernal equinox.

File:North season.jpg
This diagram shows the positions of the Earth in relation to the sun at those four points -- the Summer solstice on the left, with the Northern Hemisphere tilted toward the Sun, and the Winter solstice on the right, with the Southern Hemisphere facing the Sun more directly, with the two equinoxes between, with the Hemispheres equally oriented to the Sun.

So today, at the Vernal Equinox, the sun shines directly overhead at the equator, and both hemispheres are equally lit!

Live well.

Friday, March 15, 2013

N. Va.: Royals, Proprietors, & Governors

Anyone familiar with the countryside of Northern Virginia is familiar with these four names: Prince William, Lord Fairfax, the Earl of Loudoun, and Lt. Gov. Fauquier.  Many, perhaps, do not know much about these four men that have lent their names to the countryside of the northeastern corner of the state.  To preempt a question about the other county of the region -- Arlington County was named, not for a man, but for a home: the Arlington House of General Robert E. Lee, having previously been named Alexandria County.

File:Cumberland-Reynolds.jpgFile:Map of Virginia highlighting Prince William County.svg
Prince William, 1754, by Sir Joshua Reynolds (L).  Prince William County in Virginia (R)

Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, (+1765) was the son of King George II of Great Britain (and Elector of Hanover).  Born in 1721, Prince William was the third son (second surviving) of the king, and was named Duke of Cumberland at the tender age of but 4 years of age.  He would be the younger brother of Prince Frederick of Wales, father of King George III -- making Prince William the uncle of that monarch during the American Revolution.  Prince William would have a county named for him in Northern Virginia in 1731 (formed from Stafford Co.); no doubt in expectation of accomplishments to come, as he was still only 10 years old.  The Duke of Cumberland pursued a military career, and became quite the villian in Scottish and Catholic history with his crushing defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 during the '45 Scottish rising.  Cumberland County, Virginia, would be named in his honor in 1749 after his victory there.  His performance during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763), known as the French and Indian War, in Europe disgusted his father, however, and he retired from public life, dying, still a bachelor, in 1765.

For more, here is the official page of Prince William County:

File:ThomasFairfax6th.jpgFile:Map of Virginia highlighting Fairfax County.svg
The 6th Lord Fairfax (L).  Fairfax County in Virginia (R).

Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (+1781AD), was the inheritor of a vast proprietary claim that included the colony of Virginia north of the Rappahannock River.  This had been a gift to loyal supporters of King Charles II, and Fairfax's mother, a Culpeper, had come into possession of the the bulk of the territory.  It was this family that employed the Carters as land agents in Northern Virginia.  When Lord Fairfax, born in 1693AD, inherited this holding, he was not a disinterested proprietor, but actually visited Northern Virginia in the 1730s, moved to Belvoir on the Potomac with his cousin in 1747, and established his residence in the Shenandoah Valley at Greenway Court in 1752.  This bachelor peer was a benevolent proprietor who was willing to work with his subjects when it came to their property taxes, at least more willing than the government of the colony.  Fairfax County would be named in his honor in 1742AD (formed from Pr. Wm. Co.).  While he remained loyal to the crown during the Revolution, he was well respected enough to be left alone.  He died in 1781 at a ripe old age.

For more (though nothing about Lord Fairfax):

File:4thEarlOfLoudoun.jpgFile:Map of Virginia highlighting Loudoun County.svg
The 4th Earl of Loudoun, around 1750, by Allan Ramsay (L).  Loudoun County in Virginia (R).

John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun (+1782AD) was a Scottish nobleman who actually served under Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 -- one of the pro-Hanover Campbells.  At the outbreak of the Seven Years War (French and Indian War) in 1756, the Earl of Loudoun was named commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, and Governor of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia.  His tenure was not one of military success or residence in Virginia -- he was, like most of the governors of the 18th century -- an absentee royal governor.  Nevertheless, he retained the title until 1759AD.  In the mean time, a county was named for him in 1757AD, formed from Fairfax Co.  He, like Prince William and Lord Fairfax, was a bachelor.

From the County of Loudoun:

File:Fauquier.jpgFile:Map of Virginia highlighting Fauquier County.svg
Sir Francis Fauquier, ca. 1751 (L).  Fauquier County in Virginia (R).

Sir Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (+1768AD), though born in England, was of French Huguenot ancestry.  He was apparently quite the Renaissance man, like his father. Coming to Virginia in 1758AD as Lieutenant Governor, he replaced Robert Dinwiddie (the man that sent Washington to clear the French out of Ft. Duquesne/Pitt, and for whom a county is named near Petersburg, Va.), and governed a colony which was, by title, under the governorship of the absentee Earl of Loudoun, and later, from 1759, the absentee governor, Sir Jeffrey Amherst.  Thus, despite his title of Lieutenant Governor, Sir Francis Fauquier was the resident representative of royal government in Virginia from 1758 to his death in 1768.  While he generally got along well with the local Virginians, he was forced to dissolve the House of Burgesses in 1765 in the midst of the Stamp Act furor.  A county was named for him, formed from Prince William Co. in 1759AD, soon after his arrival as Lt. Gov.  He is the only one of the four that was not a bachelor!

Here is a good biography of Fauquier:
For more on Fauquier County:

Live well!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The New Pontiff: Pope Francis

"Brothers and sisters good evening.
You all know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone almost to the ends of the earth to get him… but here we are. I thank you for the welcome that has come from the diocesan community of Rome.
First of all I would like to say a prayer pray for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord will bless him and that our Lady will protect him.
Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory to the Father…
And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favour. Before the Bishop blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.

[The Protodeacon announced that all those who received the blessing, either in person or by radio, television or by the new means of communication receive the plenary indulgence in the form established by the Church. He prayed that Almighty God protect and guard the Pope so that he may lead the Church for many years to come, and that he would grant peace to the Church throughout the world.][Immediately afterwards Pope Francis gave his first blessing Urbi et Orbi – To the City and to the World.]
I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I am leaving you. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and I will be with you again soon... We will see one another soon.
Tomorrow I want to go to pray to the Madonna, that she may protect Rome.
Good night and sleep well!"


So began the pontificate of His Holiness, Pope Francis.

With the fifth ballot of the Conclave of 2013AD, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church chose the Cardinal-Priest of S. Roberto Bellarmino, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the Successor of St. Peter and Bishop of Rome on 13 March 2013.  Archbishop Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio took the name Francis, becoming not only the first Pontiff to bear that name, but the first member of the Society of Jesus to be Sovereign Pontiff, the first Pope from the New World, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.

Just as a side note, one does not have a Francis I until you have a Francis II.  It is proper, then, to refer to the Pope as simply Francis, as his name was announced.  Somehow it seems more appropriate, anyway!

Here is the announcement of the same by the Cardinal-Protodeacon, Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran:

In an election filled with firsts, it is certainly worthwhile noting who this new Roman Pontiff is!  Pope Francis was born in 1936 in Argentina to Italian immigrant parents.  He took a degree in Chemistry prior to his entrace into the Society of Jesus -- the Jesuits -- and his ordination to the priesthood in 1969.  He was the Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina from 1973-1979, rector of San Miguel 1980-1986, finally being consecrated an auxiliary bishop for Buenos Aires in 1992.  He became metropolitan Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1998, and received the Cardinal's hat in 2001 from Pope John Paul II.

Here is the Vatican biography of Pope Francis:

This video gives the general biography of the new pontiff [excuse the Francis I line]:

This is his entry at the wonderful Catholic-Hierarchy webpage:

This link is to his biography at the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church page:

Several articles written over the years give some insight into his background and character:
From 2002, written when he was a new Cardinal:

This is an interview with him in 2007:

This link goes to an article from 2010 on the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires:

Here is an interview of the Holy Father with Andrea Tornielli last year, in 2012:

This was written about him by John Allen earlier this month:

This article gives some immediate thoughts and background from Tornielli:

Here is another immediate reaction to Pope Francis, this from Sandro Magister:

This from LifeSite News reports on his trackrecord on life issues:

Some commentary and observations from the great Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:

Finally, some posts and commentary from a more traditional source:

Some counterpoint to some of the concerns on the previous blog:

Pope Francis has, it would seem, chosen his name in honor of the great St. Francis of Assisi, and he has chosen for his Installment Mass to be on 19 March, the Feast of St. Joseph.

May St. Francis and St. Joseph intercede for the latest Successor of St. Peter.

May Almighty God bless His new Vicar -- ad multos annos!

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco
R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
Pater Noster, Ave MariaDeus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Francisco, quem pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quæsumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus præest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Live well!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Recent Papal Names

The Cardinal-Protodeacon, Cardinal Medina, announcing the election of Benedict XVI in 2005.

...qui sibi nomen imposuit [nomen]!

In the last 700 years, a relatively short list of names have been chosen by those elected to be the Successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome.  If the next Sovereign Pontiff takes one of these names he would be (in order of how recently the name was last used noting in brackets the last year a pope who was elected took that name):
Benedict XVII [Last Benedict elected in 2005]
John Paul III [Last elected 1978]
Paul VII [1963]
John XXIV [1958]
Pius XIII [1939]
Leo XIV [1878]
Clement XV [1769]
Innocent XIV [1721]
Alexander IX [1689]
Urban IX [1623]
Sixtus VI [1585]
Marcellus III [1555]
Julius IV [1550]
Adrian VII [1522]
Calixtus IV [1455]
Nicholas VI [1447]
Eugene V [1431]
Martin VI [1417]
Boniface X [1389]
Celestine VI [1294]

Presumably one of these particular names will be used once more.

The first Bishop of Rome to adopt a new name upon his taking the Chair of Peter was Pope John II (533-555), whose birth name was Mercury [cf.,].  The last pope to retain his baptismal name upon election of Pope Marcellus II (1555) for whom Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli is named [].

Speaking of which, here is a recording of the Kyrie from that setting of the Mass:

If you are looking for more information on some of the recent pontiffs (after 1878) -- look no further than here:

Meanwhile, this site gives a complete list with biographies of the popes through the ages:

This site gives a good list of the Bishops of Rome since the 13th century, with some susinct information on their background, titles, and dates:

So, who will the Conclave of 2013 add to the list?

Live well!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Papal Conclave -- 2013AD

With today marking the beginning of the Conclave of 2013, and having reviewed the history of abdications, the conclave, and noted the particular procedures of the Papal Conclave, my post today takes a look at some of the major characters of this Conclave 2013 and some of the details of the offices and origins of the Cardinal-Electors.

First, here is a splendid quotation that seems ever fresh and appropriate with a conclave opening today:

We must pray and pray much; for... no science, no human prudence can furnish a remedy to the evils that desolate the Church: the all-powerful arm of God is needed.
We must pray to Jesus Christ that he may give us as the Head of his Church a man, less remarkable by his science and human prudence, than by his fervor and his zeal for the honor of God; a man, absolutely inaccessible to every intrigue, who is above all human respect. For, if we have the misfortune to have a Pope elected, who is not a man that seeks only the glory of God, the Lord will aid us but little, and in the present state of things all will go from bad to worse.
Prayer, then, is the only remedy.
I have, therefore, written to all the houses of our humble Congregation, and have enjoined upon them to pray with more than ordinary fervor for the election of a new Pope.... Such is the advice that can be given by a miserable man like myself.
–St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
Bishop of S. Agata dei Goti
Letter from Arienzo
24 October 1774

Next, this video gives a good overview and summary with a few good interviews:

This site follows up on that giving the Latin first names of each of the electors:

It is worth noting that for the coming conclave, the smoke will come roughly at 7AM and 2PM (Both Eastern time) after the morning and afternoon ballots, according to the schedule made public today. Of course, if someone is elected on the first ballot of the morning or evening, white smoke could come earlier.  There are, of course, two ballots in the morning and evening -- and if no one is elected in the first ballot, they proceed immediately to the second, and then burn both sets of ballots together at the times mentioned above.  Happily, too, the bells are rung with the white smoke to make it particularly clear.  About an hour after the white smoke and bells, we should have the announcement by the Cardinal-Protodeacon of who has been elected.

This link will take you to an excellent graphic showing the details of the voting procedure:
Wall Street Journal Election Graphic

This site maintained by the Vatican itself is a wonderful source for live video, as the events unfold:

Here is a report of the entrace into the Conclave:

For this Conclave of 2013, there are several website well worth keeping tabs on for news, information, and references.  These include:
Turning then, to some of the key characters and statistics of this Conclave 2013:
*--Not Cardinal-Electors (over 80 years of age)
  • CARDINAL ELECTORS of particular note, all listed in order of precedence, their titular Cardinal Titles, and offices:
    • Order of Bishops (this includes all Cardinal-Electors of that order, 2 total)
    • Patriarchs of Oriental Rites (this includes all Cardinal-Electors of that order, 2 total)
    • Order of Priests (a list of a few of the “Papabile” or other oft-mentioned Cardinal-Electors, out of a total of 81)  
    • Order of Deacons (noting the two Cardinal-Deacons with ceremonial roles in the conclave, and a couple others for good measure, out of 30 total)
      • Jean-Louis Tauran, deaconry of S. Apollinare alle Terme Neroniane-Alessandrine, protodeacon [He will announce who has been elected from the balcony]
      • Robert Sarah, deaconry of S. Giovanni Bosco in via Tuscolana, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum
      • Raymond Leo Burke, deaconry of S. Agata de' Goti, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature and of the Court of Cassation
      • James Michael Harvey, deaconry of S. Pio V a Villa Carpegna, junior Cardinal-Deacon [He will act as Cardinal-Doorman!]

Here, then, are the names of all of the home countries of the Cardinal-Electors with the number from that nation in parentheses, in a list provided by the Holy See Press Office:

"Categorizing the cardinals from area of origin, the 60 European cardinals come from: Italy: 28. Germany: 6. Spain: 5. Poland: 4. France: 4. Austria: 1. Belgium: 1. Switzerland: 1. Portugal: 2. Netherlands: 1. [Northern] Ireland: 1. Czech Republic: 1. Bosnia-Herzegovina: 1. Hungary: 1. Lithuania: 1. Croatia:1. and Slovenia: 1.

The 14 Northern American cardinals come from: the United States: 11. and Canada: 3.

The 19 Latin American cardinals are from: Brazil: 5. Mexico: 3. Argentina: 2. Colombia: 1. Chile: 1. Venezuela: 1. the Dominican Republic: 1. Cuba: 1. Honduras: 1. Peru: 1. Bolivia: 1. and Ecuador: 1.

The 11 African cardinals come from: Nigeria: 2. Tanzania: 1. South Africa: 1. Ghana: 1. Sudan: 1. Kenya: 1. Senegal: 1. Egypt: 1. Guinea: 1. and the Democratic Republic of the Congo: 1

The 10 Asian cardenales are from: India: 4. the Philippines: 1. Vietnam: 1. Indonesia: 1. Lebanon: 1. China [Hong Kong]: 1. and Sri Lanka: 1.

The sole cardinal from Oceania hails from Australia."

For the complete list, with the names of the Cardinals, visit:

Finally, here is a list of the Sees (Archdiocese) and Vatican Offices or Congregations who current Ordinary, Prefect, or President is a Cardinal-Elector.  This list does not include Archdiocese or Offices whose former head, an Archbishop Emeritus, for instance, is still a Cardinal-Elector.
Aparecida, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Congregation for Divine Worship
Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary
México, Federal District
New York, New York, USA
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education
Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints
Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy
Prefect of the Congregation Evangelization of Peoples
Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
President of the Fabric of St. Peter
President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”
President of the Pontifical Council for Culture
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts
President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity
President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity
São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Secretary of the Secretariat of State
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Vicar General of Roma {Rome}, Italy
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

You might note these earlier posts:
First, a word on Papal abdications:
Second, for more on the Papacy and its roots in Scripture and tradition, you might note this post:
Third, on the procedures and situation of the Church during the sede vacante, the interregnum between popes, you might note:
Fourth, on the history of the papal conclave:
Finally, on the current procedure for electing a Superem Roman Pontiff:
Live well!