Archaeologists working in a buried Mayan pyramid in Guatemala have discovered an enormous inscribed frieze richly decorated with images of gods and rulers, the Guatemalan government announced.
Dating to the 6th century, the carving has been hailed by local authorities as “the most spectacular frieze seen to date” and one of the best-preserved pieces of Mayan art ever discovered.
It was found at the pre-Columbian archaeological site of Holmul, in the northern province of Peten, by Guatemalan archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli below a 65-foot-high pyramid which was built over it in the 8th century.
Measuring 26 feet by nearly 7 feet, the 1,400-year-old carvings decorated the outside of a mysterious multi-roomed rectangular building. Found when Estrada-Belli and his team excavated a tunnel left open by looters, the monumental artwork depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers.
“This is a unique find. It is a beautiful work of art and it tells us so much about the function and meaning of the building, which was what we were looking for,” Estrada-Belli, a professor at Tulane University’s anthropology department, said.
Painted in red, with details in blue, yellow and green, the stucco frieze is elaborately descriptive. It shows three human figures wearing bird headdresses and jade jewels. They are seated cross-legged on top of the head of a mountain spirit called witz.
A cartouche on the headdress contains glyphs identifying each individual by name, but only the central figure’s name is now readable. It says: Och Chan Yopaat, meaning “The Storm God enters the sky.”
Below the main character, two feathered serpents emerge from the mountain spirit and form an arch with their bodies. Under each of them is a seated figure of an aged god holding a sign that reads “First tamale.”
In front of the serpents’ mouths are the two additional human figures, also seated on mountain spirit heads.
An inscription of 30 glyphs in a band that runs at the base of the structure reveals the building was commissioned by Ajwosaj Chan K’inich, the ruler of Naranjo, a powerful kingdom to the south of Holmul in the northeast of Guatemala.
According to Alex Tokovinine, a Harvard University Maya epigrapher, the text places the building in the decade of the 590s. It also reveals a power struggle between two rival kingdoms — Tikal and the Snake Lords — fighting for control of the region.
Homul, the city-state where the frieze was found, once belonged to Tikal’s kingdom, but its rulers switched sides. In this view, the frieze would be a tribute to Homul’s defection.
Indeed, in the inscription, Ajwosaj, who was a vassal of the Snake Lords, claims to have restored the local ruling line and patron deities.
“Ajwosaj was one of the greatest rulers of Naranjo. The new inscription provides the first glimpse of the remarkable extent of Ajwosaj’s political and religious authority,” Tokovinine said.
It isn’t the first finding made by Estrada-Belli and his team at the mysterious building. Last year, the archaeologist unearthed a burial in cavity dug into the stairway leading up to the building. It contained the skeleton of an adult male accompanied by 28 ceramic vessels and a wooden funerary mask.
Preserved by large limestone slabs that kept the tomb free of debris, the individual had the incisor and canine teeth drilled and filled with jade beads, while two miniature flower-shaped ear spools were also found nearby.
By the skeleton, the archaeologists also unearthed nine red-painted plates and one spouted tripod plate decorated with the image of the god of the underworld emerging from a shell.
According to Estrada-Belli, the unusually high number of vessels and the jade dental decorations indicate the individual was a member of the ruling class at Holmul.
The archaeologist hopes to return to the area in 2014 to continue exploring the building.
Image: The stucco relief found in the ancient Maya city of Holmul. Credit: Francisco Estrada-Belli.
There can be many reasons why you don’t question everything.
1) Because you have always taken for granted all that is around you is true.
2) Because it is the ‘norm’.
3) Because everyone else does it, or believes it to be true.
4) Because that’s the way it’s always been.
5) Because some “authority” person, be it your parents, a teacher or professor, a doctor or a lawyer, a political figure, a minister, or the television news tells you it’s so.
Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, ‘they’ were wrong?
The majority of people used to believe the world was flat and only a few believed it to be round, and the minority who thought the world was round were laughed at.
Or that the Earth was the center of the Universe – Galileo taught the Sun was the center of the [known] Universe. Following mounting controversy he was tried in 1633, and found “gravely suspect of heresy,” and was sentenced to indefinite imprisonment. This was subsequently commuted to house arrest, under which he remained for the rest of his life – for stating a truth. But we now know what he proposed was absolutely true.
Let’s start with some simple questions
Have you ever asked why the directions on certain shampoo bottles instructs you to shampoo, rinse and shampoo and rinse again? Could it be because you are using twice as much shampoo so you have to buy it twice as often and double the profits of the corporation that is selling the shampoo? Or is it because the shampoo is inadequate, not strong enough to clean your hair the first time?
Why does your tube of toothpaste state you must call Poison Control Center if you swallow more than a toothbrush full of toothpaste? Because it’s poison, that’s why! It has sodium fluoride in it, and that is the poison.
This leads to the next question. Why do the water treatment plants add sodium fluoride to your drinking water if it’s a poison? You were told it would help reduce tooth decay but there are no studies proving that the fluoridation of drinking water prevents tooth decay. None, zilch, nana.
In 1986, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report in which concern was expressed about the incidence of dental problems caused by there being too much fluoride in public drinking water supplies.
To all this we must add the fact that since drinking water supplies already contain a number of chemicals such as nitrates which accumulate because of the use of fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, chlorine and aluminum sulphate which are added deliberately, and lead or copper from the pipes which are used to supply the water to our homes – adding fluoride to the mixture increase the risk of a dangerous interaction between the various chemicals in the water.
Dr. Dean Burk, PhD, with 34 years at the National Cancer Institute said:
“In point of fact, fluoride causes more human cancer than any other chemical.”
Follow that question with this one. Why, and who recommended we drink eight, 8-ounces of water daily? The most commonly cited source for the 8×8 myth is the U.S. government-sponsored Food and Nutrition Board from 1945. And what year did they start putting fluoride in the water? 1945. Coincidence? And is it a coincidence that in 1942-45, the Nazis put fluoride in the drinking water of those in the concentration camps to keeps the prisoners docile?
If a toothbrush full of toothpaste is swallowed and you are warned to contact Poison Control, why are they recommending eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily – that is full of fluoride? Why no warning to call Poison Control when drinking fluoridated water? You’re getting more fluoride in 64 ounces of fluoridated water than you are in a toothbrush full of toothpaste.
It stands to reason that if sodium fluoride is a poison, along with all the other chemicals, the more water you drink, the more poison (fluoride) you bring into your system. Why would a 5’2″ female weighing 107 pounds need the same amount of water as a 6’3″ male weighing 220 pounds? The report doesn’t specify size and weight, just that we should all drink eight x 8-ounces of water per day. Could it be because ‘they’ want you to drink more water so you will get more sodium fluoride (poison) in your system? It has even been recommended that tranquillizers be added to drinking water supplies to calm people down… although I doubt that will ever happen.
Try questioning where the water goes when you take a shower or a bath. The fluoridated water that doesn’t go down the drain is absorbed into your body. Some of you may be thinking, “No, it doesn’t”. But think about it; why would nicotine patches be sold to help you stop smoking or why would the medical profession give you a patch that releases pain medication if it isn’t absorbed into the body through the skin?
Now you are asking yourself:
Now why would ‘they’ want to poison us? Why would ‘they’ do that? And who are “they” anyway.
The ‘why’ is for money, greed, and power. “They” are the huge corporations that are running the world. Let’s talk about Monsanto for example, which is a gigantic corporation. They spent 40 million dollars in preventing the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). You should question why Bill Gates (the Microsoft Gates) purchased 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock.
Now why would a huge corporation spend that amount preventing citizens of the United States and many other countries from knowing what they are eating? Why hide it unless it is something Monsanto doesn’t want you to know.
Did you know that those who produce organic foods MUST purchase an expensive organic certification? Certification is handled by state, non-profit and private agencies that have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Ask yourself why an organic farmer has to pay big bucks for a certification to let people know they are getting organic foods and Monsanto doesn’t even have to label their artificial food?
What’s wrong with this picture? And by the way, “organic” and “natural” labels are not the same. In the U.S., this “natural” label means “minimally processed”.
Let’s step up our questions!
Why do you pay the state to get a marriage license? Because that’s the way it’s done; everyone does it; that’s the way it is.
Ask yourself why you must pay the government/state to get a marriage license to get married. From the beginning of time no one had to get a marriage license to get married, not even ex-presidents such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln had to obtain a marriage license. It wasn’t until 1856 in Shawnee, Kansas that the first person had to ‘purchase’ a license and get ‘permission’ from the government to get married.
Getting a license is the same as getting ‘permission’ from the government to do what we have every God-given right to do in the first place. At one time interracial marriages were not allowed – the government didn’t give them ‘permission’ to marry. Gays cannot marry because the government won’t give them ‘permission’ – won’t issue them a license.
Why is no there no maximum wage? The government gave us a minimum wage but they have not given themselves a maximum wage? They can vote in their own wage. Why are men paid more than women for the same identical job? Why do the citizens of the United States pay into the social security system (whether we want to or not) and collect a small amount when we retire, if we live that long, yet our elected officials don’t pay into social security and can receive their annual income for life when they retire?
Why must we wear a seat belt if we have an airbag? The airbag is released on impact, yet we must wear a seat belt by law and if stopped by the police and you aren’t wearing one, you will get a ticket and fined?
Why must we get ‘permission’ from the government to purchase a license plate for our car, and then renew it every year? Who made that rule up? Who voted on it? Did you get to vote?
Ask why you must purchase a hunting or fishing license from the government/state just to go fishing or hunting. It used to be that anyone could hunt or fish anytime they wanted. Does the government own all the fish and animals in the world? Do they own all the land? And who did they buy the land, the animals and the fish from? God? Who are they to tell us we can’t hunt or fish without their permission? Or that if we do that we must ‘purchase’ a license from them. Ask yourself why you must purchase a dog license from the government.
They are like the school yard bully.
Why must you get a license (permission) from the government to carry a firearm to protect yourself and your family? You have to have a license to sale, to buy, and to repair firearms. The President has secret service men around him at all times (who carry guns) and a bullet-proof vehicle and a private plane. He is well protected but they want everyday citizens to be on our own with no way to protect ourselves unless we get ‘permission’, a license from the government to carry a firearm. Even the Pope has a Popemobile with 3″ bulletproof windows, surrounded by security.
In most cases you even need a license to work, to earn a living. For example, you go to automotive/mechanical school for two years and you learn how to repair vehicles. The school gives you a certificate. Why do you need to go to the government and purchase a license (obtain permission) to work in that field?
Ask yourself why an illegal immigrant mother of seven is given food stamps, meds, housing, and Social Security for 20 years and we have so many people starving and living on the streets here in America? Senior citizens with barely enough to eat, eating cat food, or starving. Can’t afford to pay the electric bill so they freeze during the winter? I’ve seen citizens arrested for feeding the homeless in a park.
Ask why it is illegal to sell raw milk? To grow a garden on your own property? To save rain water in a rain barrel on your own property? Does the government now think they own the rain water? Ask why you must pay personal property tax on your home when the bank actually owns your house until it is completely paid for? If the bank owns your house and can foreclose, why aren’t they paying the property taxes on the house?
Let’s look at one of the worst days in American history – 9/11. Why did Building 7 implode like the Twin Towers when it was not even hit with a plane? Why did the newscaster announce that Building 7 fell 20 minutes BEFORE it actually fell? Why did Larry Silverstein buy all three buildings (The Twin Towers and Building 7) on July 24, 2001 and why did he purchased terrorists insurance a couple of months before the so-called terrorists flew into the Twin Towers? Who in the hell buys “terrorist insurance”?
[Silverstein was interested in acquiring the entire World Trade Center complex, and put in a bid when the Port Authority put it up for lease in 2000. Silverstein won the bid when a deal between the initial winner and the Port Authority fell through, and he signed the lease on July 24, 2001.]
Why were the Twin Towers the only buildings to implode in history, to come crashing down because of the fire. No other building in known history has ever fallen down (imploded) due to a fire. Why did firemen and police say they heard explosions in the Twin Towers before the buildings imploded? Why did engineers state that metal will not melt until it reaches a certain temperature and fire does not cause metal to reach the temperatures high enough to bring down a building?
Why were all the camera’s confiscated from the surrounding buildings and business around the Pentagon and why didn’t we ever get to view those videos? Why were there only fire trucks and no ambulances at the supposed plane crash into the Pentagon? Why were there no plane parts or people or luggage at the supposed plane crash in Pennsylvania on 9/11?
Question “disaster” events
Why do many major explosions, bombings, and massacres happen in and around mid-April?
April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing
April 20, 1999 Columbine High School Massacre
April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre
April 20, 2010 Gulf Oil Spill
April 17, 2013 West, Texas Fertilizer Co. Explosion
April 18, 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings
Take the Columbine High School Massacre. Are you aware that in addition to the shootings, there was a complex and highly-planned attack involving a fire bomb to divert firefights, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and bombs rigged in cars? Ask yourself, did two high school students really do all this? Were they really capable of doing all this? Where did these two high school students get the money to purchase all these bombs, propane tanks sawed-off shotguns, and other incendiary items?
Have you asked yourself why most of the perpetrators of these explosions/bombings/massacres commit suicide at the scene or are captured almost immediately afterwards? With the Boston Marathon bombings one was shot and killed and the other shot in the throat so he can’t speak. Coincidence?
Why has the United States been at war with countries in the Middle East Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and Jordan? They go from one country to another. Why? We are told the other countries have nuclear power. So what, we have nuclear power. We can have nuclear power but other countries can’t? Why are they using drones to kill civilians, women, children, and babies in those Middle Eastern countries? What are our American boys/men going to foreign countries and fighting for? Certainly not for our freedoms because we are losing more and more freedoms on a daily basis. So what are they fighting for?
Why is it that we, the United States, have built 82 military bases in 18 countries? How would you feel if Russia or China came into the United States and built military bases in your neighborhood? You would be outraged (or should be), but we have built military bases in other countries. Ask yourself why we have all those military bases in other countries.
Ask why just a few corporations own and control most of the television and radio stations, major newspapers and magazines If they own the news, they control what information you receive and what you don’t. But they don’t own the internet and that is really the only place you can get alternative news. But they are working to control what you can see or not see on the world wide web. China is already controlling what their citizens may view on the internet with the use of a firewall. Ask yourself why they want to control what you see on the world-wide web? What are they afraid you will find out?
We have not been taught the true history of mankind on Earth. Why not? We have been taught that our world is roughly 6,000 years old. The Koran states 6,000 and yet the Sphinx is much older. How could it have been built before the beginning of mankind?
We now have the accepted evidence that there absolutely had to have been a race of intelligent people on Earth who were highly civilized as early as 10,000 years ago. Most of the ancient history has been destroyed, libraries destroyed, ancient documents destroyed.
The Nag Hammadi Codices were found in 1946, yet a facsimile edition in twelve volumes was not available for all interested parties to study in some form until about 30-40 years later. Why did it take 30 to 40 years to make them available? What were they hiding? What did they change? Did it disagree with the accepted Biblical gospels?
Instead of asking what time that reality show is on, what time the basketball game starts, or what the Kardashians are doing, ask what is happening in your world.
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored
What we are experiencing isn’t new, it’s been happening for thousands of years. It’s just that the internet has brought it to the public’s eyes. That’s another reason why the “powers that be” want to control the internet like they do the television programs (called programs because they are “programming” you), news, newspapers, magazines, movies, the sports and music industry.
Ask yourself… are you really free, living in a free country like you were taugh?
Free to drink raw milk?
Free to get married without the government’s permission?
Free to know what’s in the food and water you are eating and drinking?
Free to go fishing if you wish?
Free to own a firearm to protect your family?
Free to decide if you want to vaccinate your child with over 30 different vaccines before (s)he starts school?
Free to work without being forced to take vaccinations? (Some healthcare workers and nurses have been fired because they refused to be vaccinated)
Ask yourself, is this freedom?
Personally, I am free because I say I am. Government can pass legislation and laws and have the police/military enforce them all they want, but my freedoms are not negotiable. I don’t know about you but my God-given rights are not theirs to take away, or to give me if I pay them a fee.
It was a wild weather night over much of the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday, as tornadoes and an organized complex of severe thunderstorms known as a bow echo brought damaging winds to a large swath of the country. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) logged twelve preliminary reports of tornadoes in Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio, but no injuries or major damage were reported with the twisters. A large area of severe thunderstorms organized into a curved band known as a “bow echo” over Indiana during the evening. The bow echo raced east-southeastwards at 50 mph overnight, spawning severe thunderstorm warnings along its entire track, and arrived in Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland near 9 am EDT Thursday morning. SPC logged 159 reports of high thunderstorm wind gusts of 58 mph or greater in the 26 hours ending at 10 am EDT Thursday morning, and three of these gusts were 74 mph or greater. SPC did not classify this event as a “derecho”, since the winds were not strong enough to qualify. Last year’s June 29, 2012 derecho had 675 reports of wind gusts of 58 mph or greater, with 35 of these gusts 74 mph or greater. Thirteen people died in the winds, mostly from falling trees; 34 more people died from heat-related causes in the areas where 4 million people lost power in the wake of the great storm.
Another round of severe weather is expected over the Mid-Atlantic states Thursday afternoon and evening, and SPC has placed portions of this region in their “Moderate Risk” area for severe weather.
Figure 1. Lightning strikes the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in downtown on June 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Figure 2. An organized line of severe thunderstorms took the shape of a “bow echo” over Indiana last night, triggering severe thunderstorm warnings along the entire front of the bow.
Figure 3. Severe weather reports for the 24 hours ending at 8 am EDT June 13, 2013, from SPC.
Big wind in the Windy City
I watched with some trepidation Wednesday evening as a large tornado vortex signature on radar developed west of Chicago, heading right for one of the most densely populated areas in the country. Fortunately, the storm pulled its punch, and Chicago was spared a direct hit by a violent tornado. But what would happen if a violent, long-track EF4 or EF5 tornado ripped through a densely populated urban area like Chicago? That was the question posed by tornado researcher Josh Wurman of the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder and three co-authors in a paper published in the January 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Their astonishing answer: damage of $40 billion and 13,000-45,000 people killed–the deadliest natural disaster in American history, eclipsing the Galveston Hurricane (8,000 fatalities.)
Figure 4. Tornadoes to affect the Chicago area, 1950-2005. Background image credit: Google Earth. Tornado paths: Dr. Perry Samson.
Huge tornado death tolls are very rare
A tornado death toll in the ten of thousands seems outlandish when one considers past history. After all, the deadliest tornado in U.S. history–the great Tri-state Tornado of March 18, 1925–killed 695 people in its deadly rampage across rural Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. That was before the advent of Doppler radar and the National Weather Service’s excellent tornado warning system. In fact, there has only been one tornado death toll over 100 (the 158 killed in the Joplin, Missouri tornado in 2011) since 1953, the year the NWS began issuing tornado warnings. Chicago has been hit by one violent tornado. On April 21, 1967 a 200-yard wide F4 tornado formed in Palos Hills in Cook County, and tore a 16-miles long trail of destruction through Oak Lawn and the south side of Chicago. Thirty-three people died, 500 more were injured, and damage was estimated at $50 million.
Figure 5. Wind speed swaths for the 1999 F5 Mulhall, Oklahoma tornado if it were to traverse a densely populated area of Chicago. Units are in meters/sec (120 m/s = 269 mph, 102 m/s = 228 mph, and 76 m/s = 170 mph). Winds above 170 mph usually completely destroy an average house, with a crudely estimated fatality rate of 10%, according to Wurman et al.. Insets x, y, and z refer to satellite photo insets in Figure 2. Image credit: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.
Figure 6. Aerial photographs from Google Earth of densely populated area of Chicago (insets x, y, and z from Figure 5) These areas contain mainly single-family homes, with housing units densely packed on small lots. A mixture of three-story apartments and single-family homes is typical across the Chicago metropolitan area and many older cities such as New York City and Detroit. At lower right is a photo of Moore, OK, showing lower density housing like the 1999 Bridgecreek-Moore tornado passed through.
The paper by Wurman et al., “Low-level winds in tornadoes and the potential catastrophic tornado impacts in urban areas” opens with an analysis of the wind structure of two F5 tornadoes captured on mobile “Doppler on Wheels” radar systems–the May 3, 1999 Bridgecreek-Moore tornado, which hit the southern suburbs of Oklahoma City, and the Mulhall, Oklahoma tornado of the same day, which moved over sparsely populated rural regions. The Bridgecreek-Moore tornado had the highest winds ever measured in a tornado, 302 mph. Winds of EF4 to EF5 strength (greater than 170 mph) are capable of completely destroying a typical home, and occurred over a 350 meter (1150 foot) wide swath along this tornado’s path. The Mulhall tornado had weaker winds topping out at 245-255 mph, but had EF4 to EF5 winds over a much wider swath–1600 meters (one mile).
The F4 to F5 winds of the Bridgecreek-Moore tornado killed 36 people. Given the population of the area hit, between 1% and 3% of the people exposed to these winds died. The authors thought that this number was unusually low, given the excellent warnings and high degree of tornado awareness in Oklahoma’s population. They cited the death rate in the 1998 Spencer, South Dakota F4 tornado that destroyed 30 structures and caused six deaths, resulting in a death rate of 6% (assuming 3.3 people lived in each structure). There are no studies that relate the probability of death to the amount of damage a structure receives, and the authors estimated crudely that the death rate per totally destroyed structure is 10%. This number will go down sharply if there is a long warning time, as there was in the Oklahoma tornadoes. If one takes the Mulhall tornado’s track and superimposes it on a densely populated region of Chicago (Figure 5), one sees that a much higher number of buildings are impacted due to the density of houses. Many of these are high-rise apartment buildings that would not be totally destroyed, and the authors assume a 1% death rate in these structures. Assuming a 1% death rate in the partially destroyed high-rise apartment buildings and a 10% death rate in the homes totally destroyed along the simulated tornado’s path, one arrives at a figure of 13,000-45,000 killed in Chicago by a violent, long-track tornado. The math can applied to other cities, as well, resulting in deaths tolls as high as 14,000 in St. Louis, 22,000 in Dallas, 17,000 in Houston, 15,000 in Atlanta, and 8,000 in Oklahoma City. Indeed, the May 31, 2013 EF5 tornado that swept through El Reno, Oklahoma, killing four storm chasers, could have easily killed 1,000 people had it held together and plowed into Oklahoma City, hitting freeways jammed with people who unwisely decided to flee the storm in their cars. The authors emphasize that even if their death rate estimates are off by a factor ten, a violent tornado in Chicago could still kill 1,300-4,500 people. The authors don’t give an expected frequency for such an event, but I speculate that a violent tornado capable of killing thousands will probably occur in a major U.S. city once every few hundred years.
A powerful new film takes you through 250 years of human history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution in England to the first Earth Summit in 1992.
Globaïa has released a short film titled Welcome to the Anthropocene, that is, the age of large-scale human influence on Earth. This 3-minute film takes you through the last 250 years of human history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution in England around 1750 to the Rio+20 Summit – commonly known as the first Earth Summit – held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The Planet Under Pressure conference, held in London in March 2012, commissioned the film.
… charts the growth of humanity into a global force on an equivalent scale to major geological processes.
And watching it powerfully conveys that idea. It was the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen who popularized the term Anthropocene (Eugene F. Stoermer of University of Michigan coined it) beginning around the turn of the 21st century. These scientists used this term to describe the influence of human behavior on the Earth’s atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. Our geological era is currently officially called the Holocene by scientists, and it’s defined as having begun around 12,000 years ago, as the last major ice age was ending. The word Holocene stems from a Greek words meaning whole or entire and recent. Crutzen and Stoermer suggested Anthropocene instead to convey the idea that our human influence is now so significant as to warrant the start of a new geological era. Read Crutzen and Stoermer’s original proposal to re-name our geological era the Anthropocene.
Many scientists are now using the term Anthropocene to describe our era. For example, the Geological Society of America titled its 2011 annual meeting: Archean to Anthropocene. But many people in the U.S., in particular, still resist the idea that humanity can exert a major influence on Earth. For example, the media debate in the U.S. (it is not a scientific debate, and it is not as heated in other countries as here) over climate change hinges for some on the disbelief that we humans could affect Earth so profoundly as to change its climate. As centuries pass, as humanity moves forward from our time and as our ancestors look back, they might accept the notion of our powerful human influence more readily.
Bottom line: Globaïa’s new short film is titled Welcome to the Anthropocene. It takes you through the last 250 years of human history, from the start of the Industrial Revolution in England to the first Earth Summit in June 1992. The Planet Under Pressure conference, held in London in March 2012, commissioned the film.
Vikings who conquered new lands unwittingly brought with them another sort of invader, a new DNA study says—mice.
Scientists studying the evolution of house mice already knew about a DNA pattern found only in mice in what’s now Norway, a Viking homeland, and northern Britain, which Vikings colonized, said study leader Eleanor Jones, a population biologist at Uppsala University in Sweden.
The finding suggested to Jones and her team that the two populations, despite being separated by the sea, were related and that Vikings had possibly brought the mice to northern Britain.
The new study tested modern and ancient mouse remains from the sites of known Viking colonies and found the same telltale pattern, adding weight to the idea that the mice were brought by Viking colonizers.
Between the eighth and the mid-tenth centuries A.D., Vikings settled new colonies in several regions, including Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Newfoundland, and Greenland.
House mice likely stowed away in grain and hay stores on the big, deep-bellied boats that Vikings used to conquer these new areas, Jones said.
In general, as their name implies, house mice tend to prefer human company and may have even co-evolved to live among people. The first records of house mice living with people come from the Mideast’s so-called Fertile Crescent and date to around 8,000 to 6,000 B.C.
With the new research, we can “we can follow [their] genetic story, which is tied very intimately to our own genetic history,” she said.
For the study, Jones and colleagues first took DNA samples from wild house mice in nine sites in Iceland, one in Greenland, and four near the Viking archaeological site of L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. The team compared this DNA with ancient samples from mouse bones found at four archaeological sites in Iceland and a few in Greenland.
Researchers then zeroed in on a small fragment of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed down by mothers to their offspring. By comparing this fragment to mouse mtDNA from all those different sites, the scientists figured out which mice were related and which weren’t. (Get a genetics overview.)
From this data, the team pieced together a family tree, which showed how house mice spread across Europe over the past few thousand years. That lineage matched with the path of the Vikings’ expansion, she said.
House mice, Jones said, “carry the genetic signature of human history.”
It’s unknown whether the Vikings were aware of their hitchhikers, although there are records that the settlers brought cats on the ship, noted Jones, whose study was published March 19 in the journalBMC Evolutionary Biology.
“Once you get to Iceland and Greenland, there are no other small animal pests—they must be taking cats with them to deal with this mouse pest,” she said.
Once on land, the hardy species would’ve had no problem establishing themselves in the new Viking communities, Jones added.
Viking-Mouse Study “Convincing”
The new study offers a “very convincing application of ancient DNA analysis” of mice to trace how people settle new territories, Fabienne Pigière, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels, said by email.
The research also “opens new perspectives of research for the study of human-settlement history,” said Pigière, who was not involved in the research.
For instance, the team found no evidence of house mice in Newfoundland during the Viking period, which suggests Vikings may have lived in the area for only a short time, she said.
Elizabeth Reitz, an zooarchaeologist at the University of Georgia in Athens, noted that smaller animals such as house mice are often found in archaelogical collections, but “many people ignore them in favor of emphasizing larger, domestic, animals—those used for food, traction, and raw materials.”
“Yet small, incidental animals, such as house mice, can tell us a great deal about the human-built environment,” Reitz said via email. “As this article shows, they can also provide us additional insights into the process of human colonization and trade.”
The study is also a reminder of how people can alter new environments, study leader Jones added.
“As we move around, we unintentionally move animals with us. Once we get to a place, we’re creating a new type of habitat—we’re creating new environments for them to live in.”
On Sunday, most Americans will wake up only to realize they’ve lost an hour of their weekend to daylight saving time — the price we pay for eight months of well-lit evenings.
Unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii, which don’t observe daylight saving, you’re probably used to this routine by now. But the history ofdaylight saving time has been anything but peaceful, from its first wartime introduction to its ongoing controversy today.
Ben Franklin gets credit for thinking up the idea of daylight saving time, albeit with his trademark wit. As ambassador to Paris, Franklin wrote a letter to the Journal of Paris in 1784 of his “discovery” that the sun gives light as soon as it rises, and needling Parisians for their night-owl, candle-burning ways.
Ben Franklin had the basic concept,” said David Prerau, author of “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2005). What Franklin lacked, Prerau said, was a useful way to force everyone into living by the sun’s rules — other than some “humorous ideas” that Parisians surely wouldn’t have found very funny, including shooting off cannons at sunrise every morning.
Others took daylight saving time much more seriously, particularly William Willett, an Englishman who loved his early-morning horseback rides, Prerau told LiveScience; Willett he couldn’t believe that everyone else wanted to sleep in after the sun came up. He also touted the benefits of longer hours of daylight in the evenings.
Willett managed to get the idea of moving the clock forward during the summer months proposed in Parliament in 1908, but it was shot down.
“Willett was a steadfast guy, and so he proposed it again in 1909, 1910, 1911, and Parliament rejected it all those times,” Prerau said.
Willett might have kept this up, but he died in 1915, never to see his beloved daylight saving plan reach fruition.
If Willett couldn’t convince the British populace that daylight saving time was needed, the Germans could. In 1916, with World War I ratcheting up, Germany put itself on daylight saving time to save energy for the war effort. Britain followed a month later.
When the United States got involved in the war in 1918, they too instituted daylight saving time. President Woodrow Wilson even wanted to keep the new system after the war ended. But at the time, the country was mostly rural. Farmers hated the time change, because their jobs were dependent on the sun, and daylight saving time put them out of sync with the city people who sold them goods and bought their products. Congress repealed daylight saving time, Wilson vetoed the repeal, and Congress promptly overrode his veto, a fairly rare occurrence.
“It’s been contentious,” Prerau said.
When World War II hit, daylight saving time came back into vogue, again to save energy for the war effort. The U.S. instituted daylight saving time less than a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Prerau said. This time, though, America’s increasingly industrialized population wasn’t as keen on losing their post-work daylight after the war ended. So when the national law requiring the time switch was repealed, some towns stuck with daylight saving.
It was chaos. One 35-mile bus ride from Moundsville, W.Va., to Steubenville, Ohio, took riders through no less than seven different time changes, Prerau said. At one point, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul were on different clocks, creating confusion for workers who lived in one city and commuted to the other.
“The suburbs didn’t know what to do at all,” Prerau said.
This every-town-for-itself system couldn’t last long. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time act of 1966, specifying that states didn’t have to get on the daylight saving bandwagon, but that if they did, the whole state had to comply. And the federal government would determine the days of “springing forward” and “falling back,” the law stated, eliminating the problem of towns and cities setting their own daylight saving dates.
Expanding daylight saving
Since that time, Congress has expanded the length of daylight saving time three times, once in the 1970s during the country’s energy crisis, once in the 1980s, when April got brought under the daylight saving umbrella, and finally in 2007. Today, daylight saving time encompasses March into November.
The reasoning given for each of these changes was to save energy, Prerau said, but there are other benefits to springing forward. Fewer cars on the road on dark evenings mean fewer traffic accidents. And more daylight means more outdoor exercise for the after-work crowd.
On the other hand, expanding daylight saving time to encompass any more of the year might cause trouble. Russia shifted their clock to permanent daylight saving time in 2011, which worked fine until the depths of winter. Suddenly, the sun was rising at 10 a.m. in Moscow and 11 a.m. in St. Petersburg, Prerau said. People aren’t fond of starting their days in the pitch-black, he said, and now there’s talk of reversing the decision.
Known as the best-selling non-fiction author of books such as “The Sign and the Seal”, “Fingerprints of the Gods”, and “Supernatural”, Hancock explains how he accidentally began his career as an explorer of the unexplained in rural Ethiopia, why ancient maps provide troubling news for the strict evolutionary worldview, and why most mainstream historians refuse to investigate the mounting evidence that ancient megastructures such as the Great Pyramid and The Sphinx are dated incorrectly by thousands of years.
Standing in front of the steaming Roman Baths of Bath, Hancock says to Turbowolf at the end of Episode 1, “I can’t help feeling that there’s something missing from the story…” This video provides a quick and powerful reminder that we still have much to acknowledge and integrate from our past if we are to create wise global myths in our current time.
I do have some personal information, that I was personally involved in, that had to do with stargates and looking glass and more, specifically the 2012 problem and those projects. I guess, popular opinion of what is there out right now was that project was shut-down because there was a problem when we approach 2012. I heard it described in number of ways but to my knowledge, (the) problem is that the timelines
converge at that point in time. And when you know enough about the Stargate project and Looking Glass project to know how things works and how the possibility works, how making one choice down here does not necessarily mean that the other choice could not exist at the same time.
But, once you wrap your brain around the subject, you find out that at the end of 2012, in an easy way to put it, the choices that we make become less and less consequential to the future. And eventually we are pushed in to this bottleneck of time, no matter which choice we make. And that is important to the people who had access to the Looking Glass because they would use the Looking Glass choices that they would make and the future would pop-up. Big mistake was coming up with possibility of the future.
When we started to use the computer, they said, well if we make this choice that is 79% possible that this scenario happens, 23% possible, whatever, that this scenario would happen.
Sex, Beer & Politics: Riddles Reveal Life of Ancient Mesopotamians
Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 26 January 2012 Time: 03:09 PM ET
At the time the tablet was written, more than 3,500 years ago, Babylon (shown here as seen in 1932) Babylon was one of the most important cities in southern Mesopotamia, controlling an empire in the region. It’s possible the writer of the tablet’s riddles lived within this kingdom. The tablet’s current location is unknown.
CREDIT: G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, in public domain
Millennia before modern-day Americans made fun of their politicians or cracked crude jokes over a cold one, people in ancient Mesopotamia were doing much the same thing.
The evidence of sex, politics and beer-drinking comes from a newly translated tablet, dating back more than 3,500 years, which reveals a series of riddles.
The text is fragmentary in parts and appears to have been written by an inexperienced hand, possibly a student. The researchers aren’t sure where the tablet originates, though they suspect its scribe lived in the southern part of Mesopotamia, near the Persian Gulf.
The translation, by Nathan Wasserman, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology, and Michael Streck, a professor with the Altorientalisches Institut at Universität Leipzig, is detailed in the most recent edition of the journal Iraq.
The text was written in Akkadian, using cuneiform script. It was a language commonly used by the Babylonians, along with other ancient kingdoms in the Middle East.
“This is a relatively rare genre — we don’t have many riddles,” Wasserman told LiveScience in an interview, referring to riddles written in the Akkadian language.
Unfortunately, researchers are not certain where the tablet is presently located. In 1976, it was housed in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. At that time, a scholar named J.J. van Dijk published a copy of the Akkadian inscription, which the researchers used for their translation.
Since 1976, Iraq has been through three wars and, during the 2003 invasion, the museum was pillaged. “We tried to figure out where the tablet is now, [but] I don’t know,” Wasserman said. He added that the tablet is small and not very impressive-looking, something that a looter may take a pass on, “I very much hope that it is still there,” Wasserman said. [10 Battles for the Control of Iraq]
Some of the decoded riddles are crude and sexual, while others are complex and metaphorical. One of them reveals what appears to be a bit of political humor, albeit with a dark, violent twist.
He gouged out the eye:
It is not the fate of a dead man.
He cut the throat: A dead man (-Who is it?)
The answer is a governor.
“This riddle describes the power of a governor namely to act as a judge who punishes or sentences to death,” write Streck and Wasserman in the journal article.
Wasserman has seen examples in other Akkadian texts of people criticizing their leaders. “We have some interesting traces of political criticism, and [I] might say even say political anger,” he said. “It could be a kind of political humor expressed in this governor riddle.”
While the governor riddle reflects a sort of gallows’ humor, others are much lighter.
In(?) your mouth and your teeth (or: your urine)
constantly stared at you
the measuring vessel of your lord (-What is it?)
The answer, it appears, is beer.
Crude and lewd
Politics and beer were not the only things the scribe commented on. Two of the riddles, now in a fragmentary state, are sexual, crude and difficult to understand.
One of them, whose translation is uncertain, reads:
The answer, strangely enough, appears to be “auxiliary forces,” a group of soldiers that tend not to be reliable.
Wasserman said that the meaning of this riddle eludes him. “I don’t understand what is really going on,” he said, adding that auxiliary forces are often below-average soldiers, “and they are not really trustworthy, sometimes they run away in the middle of the battle.”
Another riddle, this one even more fragmentary and whose translation is uncertain, is also very crude.
… of your mother
is by the one who has intercourse (with her) (-What/who is it?)
The researchers aren’t sure of the riddle’s solution since the answer has been lost.
One of the riddles appears to rely on metaphor to get its point across.
The tower is high
it is high, but nonetheless has no shade (- What is it?)
Crusader’s Arabic Inscription No Longer Lost in Translation
Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor
Date: 14 November 2011 Time: 06:24 PM ET
The 800-year-old inscription was created with special Arabi characters, making it tricky to translate. CREDIT: courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
A rare Arabic inscription from the Crusades has been deciphered, with scientists finding the marble slab bears the name of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, a colorful Christian ruler known for his tolerance of the Muslim world.
The 800-year-old inscription was fixed years ago in the wall of a building in Tel Aviv, though the researchers think it originally sat in Jaffa’s city wall. To date, no other Crusader inscription in the Arabic language has been found in the Middle East.
“He was a Christian king who came from Sicily, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and he wrote his inscription in Arabic,” said Moshe Sharon, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, adding that it would be like the U.S. president traveling to a region and leaving an inscription in that area’s language.
Until now, others who had examined the inscription had suggested it came from a 19th-century gravestone, not realizing the date in the last line referred to the Christian calendar, according to Sharon.
“It’s not so easy to read Arabic inscriptions, and particularly this one, which was written in an unusual script, and it is on stone and it is 800 years old,” Sharon said of the difficulty in translating the engraving.
Though Frederick II, who was known to have a deep familiarity with Arabic, may not have directly engraved the stone, “it was written by an artist and this artist decided to create a special script for this royal inscription and it took us a very long time until we were able to find out that, in fact, we were reading a Christian inscription,” Sharon said during a telephone interview.
Sharon and Hebrew University colleague Ami Shrager are preparing to submit a manuscript describing the work to the scientific journal Crusades.
“The emperor gives his name, and he lists all the countries in which he rules, which is not usual in inscriptions, although we find it in literary sources,” Sharon said.
A peaceful crusader
The Crusades were religious wars whose goal was to restore Christianity to holy places in and near Jerusalem, with the First Crusade beginning in 1095 and the Seventh and Eighth Crusades ending in 1291.
Frederick II led the Sixth Crusade, and succeeded without resorting to violence, it seems.
“Basically, the emperor went as a crusader to the Holy Land in 1228 in order to conquer that part of the Holy Land,” Sharon told LiveScience, “but instead of fighting they discussed things and in the end of the story the sultan of Egypt ceded to the emperor all these territories including the city of Jerusalem, which was fantastically unusual.”
Before signing the agreement, the emperor fortified the castle of Jaffa, and, it now appears, left in its walls two inscriptions, one in Latin and the other in Arabic. The small bit of the Latin inscription that remains was previously attributed to Frederick II, Sharon said.
In the Arabic inscription, Frederick II refers to himself as the king of Jerusalem, suggesting that although Pope Gregory IX had excommunicated him for not starting the Crusade earlier, Frederick II came to power with consent from the sultan, Sharon said.
“It was all diplomacy, which is very interesting,” Sharon said, adding, “Although he got the home of Jerusalem, what he didn’t get or want was a temple mount, he thought it was a Muslim sanctuary and should remain in the Muslim hands.”
As for Frederick II’s colorful personality, Sharon said that in addition to opening a zoo and a university, the ruler had a harem that included a Muslim woman.