Sunday, February 28, 2010

Were the Olmecs Black Africans?

"It is indisputable that in very ancient times the Negro race occupied our territory [Mexico]." -- Vicente Riva Palacio, historian, 1870

"In Aztec mythohistory, the Olmecs were known as ‘the people who lived in the direction of the rising sun’...." -- Victor W. Von Hagen, archaeologist, The Ancient Sun Kingdoms of the Americas, 1957

"Remember that, just like in Egypt, a great [Olmec] civilization flourished and then died. And then people forgot all about it. The pyramids lay under the sand, the sphinx lay under the sand, something stood there like enigmatic witnesses of a glorious past, but many people continued to live for centuries without recovering the majesty of that civilization, without being able to go back to their roots." -- Ivan Van Sertima, historian, 1976

"They didn't believe black Africa was capable of producing high civilization." -- Timothy Kendall, archaeologist, The Nile's Other Kingdom, September 15th 1997

Hayes, F.W., III, The African Presence in America Before Columbus, 1973

Van Sertima, I.A., African Presence in Early America, 1987

Barton, P.A., The Olmecs: An African Presence in Early America, Feb 2001

Barton P.A., Black Civilizations of Ancient America (Muu-Lan), Mexico (XI), 2001

Winters, C., Race and Identity: Ancient Relations Between Africans and Mexicans, 2005

UPDATE: Afro-Olmec cornrows.

Abubakari II

Baxter, J., Africa's 'greatest explorer', BBC, Dec 2000

An African emperor who ruled Mali in the 14th century discovered America nearly 200 years before Christopher Columbus, according to a book to be launched this month.

Abubakari II ruled what was arguably the richest and largest empire on earth - covering nearly all of West Africa.

According to a Malian scholar, Gaoussou Diawara in his book, 'The Saga of Abubakari II...he left with 2000 boats', the emperor gave up all power and gold to pursue knowledge and discovery.

Abubakari's ambition was to explore whether the Atlantic Ocean - like the great River Niger that swept through Mali - had another 'bank'.

In 1311, he handed the throne over to his brother, Kankou Moussa, and set off on an expedition into the unknown.

His predecessor and uncle, Soundjata Keita, had already founded the Mali empire and conquered a good stretch of the Sahara Desert and the great forests along the West African coast.

The book also focuses on a research project being carried out in Mali tracing Abubakari's journeys.

"We are not saying that Abubakari II was the first ever to cross the ocean," says Tiemoko Konate, who heads the project.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

El Caracol: Maya Observatory at Chichen Itza

"Maya astronomy is too important to be left to the astronomers." -- J. Eric S. Thompson, archaeologist, Maya Astronomy, 1974

"Galileo always insisted that the ancients had telescopes." -- Ivan Van Sertima, historian, The Lost Sciences of Africa: An Overview, 1983

"It is a short and simple step to place one lens in front of another to make a telescope, and the chances are it could have happened and many times." -- Hunter H. Adams III, archaeoastronomer, African Observers of the Universe: The Sirius Question, 1983

"Astronomical gods form the core of the Precolumbian pantheon." -- Susan Milbrath, archaeoastronomer, Star Gods of the Maya, 1999

"Only within the last century have we begun to gain a full appreciation of the magnitude and sophistication of ancient New World cultures. Calendrical documents reveal that mathematics and astronomy were among the intellectual hallmarks of the Maya, who emerge as a people thoroughly devoted to these disciplines." -- Anthony F. Aveni, archaeoastronomer, Skywatchers, 2001

"Indeed, astronomy was closely linked with their [Maya] religion. The Sun, Moon, and planets were their gods." -- Michael Guillen, physicist, The Ancient Maya: The Tools of Astronomy, The History Channel, 2010

2.5 Million B.C.

"... he [Solon] asked the priests who were most skilful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old." -- Plato, philosopher, Critias, 360 B.C.

"A long time ago...." -- George Lucas, film producer, Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, May 25th 1977

"It is important to understand this if we are to understand how a science or technology may rise and fall with a civilization, why the destruction of a center could lead to the almost instant evaporation or disappearance of centuries of knowledge and technical skills. Thus a nuclear war could shatter the primary centers of twentieth-century technology in a matter of days. The survivors on the periphery, although they would remember the aeroplanes and the television sets, the robots and the computers, the space machines now circling our solar system, would not be able for centuries to reproduce that technology. Apart from the almost wholesale slaughter of the technocratic class, the interconnection between those shattered centers and the equally critical interdependency between the centers and their peripheries, would be gone forever. It would be like the strands of a web which once stretched across the world, left torn and dangling in a void. A dark age would certainly follow." -- Ivan Van Sertima, historian, 'The Lost Sciences of Africa: An Overview', Blacks In Science: Ancient and Modern, Volume 5, Issues 1-2, 1983

"Fully one third of the [sf] stories in these issues are set in the past...." -- Judith Berman, author, Science Fiction Without the Future, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Volume 13, Number 9, Pages 1, 6-8, May 2001

"... something I’ve been thinking about for a long time: the extent to which fantasy and science fiction (both closely tied to gaming culture) are indebted to history [The Mahabharata, The Bible, The Iliad, The History, The Timaeus, The Statesman, The Republic, True Histories, etc.] for both substance and narrative structure and style—that is, the extent to which fantasy and sci-fi are written as history." -- Tom Scheinfeldt, historian, A Long Time Ago In a Galaxy Far Far Away, Apr 2006

"... events related in the stories need not be in our future." -- Robert Gibson, author, Science Fiction Future Histories: Criteria For Success, 2008

"This whole 'I want my science fiction to be set in the future,' thing isn’t something I can rationalize or support very well." -- Tycho Garen, writer, Some Future in Your Science Fiction, February 12th 2010

"Going back 30,000 years requires you to speculate because we really don't have much an idea what was going on." -- David Morrison, archaeologist, February 26th 2010

Schuster, A.M.H., World's Oldest Stone Tools, Archaeology, Volume 50, Number 2, Mar/Apr 1997

More than 2,600 sharp-edged flakes, flake fragments, and cores (cobbles from which flakes have been removed), found in the fine-grained sediments of a dry riverbed in the Afar region of Ethiopia, have been dated to between 2.52 and 2.60 million years ago, pushing back by more than 150,000 years the known date at which humans were making stone tools.

Excavated between 1992 and 1994 by Rutgers University paleoanthropologists Sileshi Semaw and John W.K. Harris at three sites along the Gona River, the artifacts are similar in type to the 1.8-million-year-old tools found by Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, in the 1960s. Known as Oldowan, the tool type has been found at other East African sites: Omo in southern Ethiopia, Lokalalei in northern Kenya, and Hadar, five miles east of the Gona River study area. Until now the oldest known examples were dated to 2.3 to 2.4 million years ago.

Because no hominid remains were found in association with the tools and they predate the oldest known remains of the genus Homo (see ARCHAEOLOGY, January/February 1997), the find has left the identity of the makers open to speculation. Semaw and his team will return to the field later this year in hopes of answering this question.

Using the argon/argon dating method on a layer of volcanic ash nearly seven feet above the tool-bearing deposit, Paul Renne of the Berkeley Geochronology Center determined that the Gona artifact assemblage was more than 2.52 million years old. A maximum date of 2.6 million years ago was obtained for mineral-rich sediments just below the artifacts using paleomagnetic dating.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cyclopean Ruins of Sacsayhuaman

"....this fortress [Sacsayhuaman/Satisfied Falcon] surpasses the constructions known as the seven wonders of the world. For in the case of a long broad wall like that of Babylon, or the colossus of Rhodes, or the pyramids of Egypt, or the other monuments, one can see clearly how they were, by summoning an immense body of workers and accumulating more and more material day by day and year by year, they overcame all difficulties by employing human effort over a long period. But it is indeed beyond the power of imagination to understand how these Indians, unacquainted with devices, engines, and implements, could have cut, dressed, raised, and lowered great rocks, more like lumps of hills than building stones, and set them so exactly in their places. For this reason, and because the Indians were so familiar with demons, the work is attributed to enchantment." -- Garcilaso de la Vega, historian, 1610

"As told by Huaman Poma [Falcon Puma], five such ages had preceded that in which he lived. The first was an age of Viracochas, an age of gods, of holiness, of life without death, although at the same time it was devoid of inventions and refinements; the second was an age of skin-clad giants, the Huari Runa, or 'Indigenes,' worshippers of Viracocha; third came the age of Puron Runa, or 'Common Men,' living without culture; fourth, that of Auca Runa, 'Warriors,' and fifth that of the Inca rule, ended by the coming of the Spaniards." -- Hartley B. Alexander, historian, The Mythology of All Races, 1920

"Here is a mystery: The [Inca] chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega was born around 1530 [1539], and raised in the shadow of these walls. And yet he seems not to have had a clue as to how Sacsayhuaman was built. ... Surely a few of those 20,000 labourers were still around when Garcilaso was young. Was everyone struck with amnesia? Or is Sacsayhuaman much older than we've been led to believe?" -- WorldMysteries.Com

They Had Indeed Come Themselves From The Stars

"Of such great powers or beings there may be conceivably a survival ... a survival of a hugely remote period when ... consciousness was manifested, perhaps, in shapes and forms long since withdrawn before the tide of advancing humanity ... forms of which poetry and legend alone have caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds...." -- Algernon H. Blackwood, author, The Centaur, 1911

"We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age." -- Howard P. Lovecraft, author, The Call of Cthulhu, 1926

"They worshipped, so they said, the Great Old Ones who lived ages before there were any men, and who came to the young world out of the sky." -- Howard P. Lovecraft, author, The Call of Cthulhu, 1926

"There had been aeons when other Things ruled on the earth, and They had had great cities. Remains of Them . . . were still be found as Cyclopean stones on islands in the Pacific. They all died vast epochs of time before men came, but there were arts which could revive Them when the stars had come round again to the right positions in the cycle of eternity. They had, indeed, come themselves from the stars, and brought Their images with Them." -- Howard P. Lovecraft, author, The Call of Cthulhu, 1926

Cavemen Had a 26 Letter Alphabet

Vinca (6000 B.C.) is no longer the world's oldest alphabet.

"For the past 150 years, early humans have been regarded as inferior to us, unable to create art, think abstractly, or even to speak. In these two papers (Part I being The Graphics of Bilzingsleben), I demonstrate that this picture is not at all accurate and that early peoples such as Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, Neaderthals, and Homo heidelbergensis were just as intelligent as we are in today's modern world. The evidence provided in the two papers shows beyond any reasonable doubt that early people had highly-developed language and even mathematical ability 400,000 years ago." -- John Felix, archaeologist, 2006

Ravilious, K., The Writing on the Cave Wall, New Scientist, Feb 2010

When faced with such spectacular beauty, who could blame the visiting anthropologists for largely ignoring the modest semicircles, lines and zigzags also marked on the walls? Yet dismissing them has proved to be something of a mistake. The latest research has shown that, far from being doodles, the marks are in fact highly symbolic, forming a written "code" that was familiar to all of the prehistoric tribes around France and possibly beyond. Indeed, these unprepossessing shapes may be just as remarkable as the paintings of trotting horses and tussling rhinos, providing a snapshot into humankind's first steps towards symbolism and writing.

Until now, the accepted view has been that our ancestors underwent a "creative explosion" around 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, when they suddenly began to think abstractly and create rock art. This idea is supported by the plethora of stunning cave paintings, like those at Chauvet, which started to proliferate across Europe around this time. Writing, on the other hand, appeared to come much later, with the earliest records of a pictographic writing system dating back to just 5000 years ago.

Few researchers, though, had given any serious thought to the relatively small and inconspicuous marks around the cave paintings. The evidence of humanity's early creativity, they thought, was clearly in the elaborate drawings.

While some scholars like Clottes had recorded the presence of cave signs at individual sites, Genevieve von Petzinger, then a student at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, was surprised to find that no one had brought all these records together to compare signs from different caves. And so, under the supervision of April Nowell, also at the University of Victoria, she devised an ambitious masters project. She compiled a comprehensive database of all recorded cave signs from 146 sites in France, covering 25,000 years of prehistory from 35,000 to 10,000 years ago.

What emerged was startling: 26 signs, all drawn in the same style, appeared again and again at numerous sites (see illustration). Admittedly, some of the symbols are pretty basic, like straight lines, circles and triangles, but the fact that many of the more complex designs also appeared in several places hinted to von Petzinger and Nowell that they were meaningful - perhaps even the seeds of written communication. ...

That suggests we might need to rethink our ideas about prehistoric people, von Petzinger says.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

200,000 Years of Man's Unknown Prehistory

History began when humans remembered to forget.

"... just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves. ...And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word." -- Plato, philosopher, Timaeus, 360 B.C.

"Although man knows that he has lived on this planet for millions of years, he finds a recorded history of only a few thousand years. And even these few thousand years are not sufficiently well known." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, polymath, Worlds in Collision, 1950

"If it were not for the burning of libraries in antiquity, history would not have had so many missing pages." -- Andrew Tomas, author, We Were Not the First, 1971

"It is important to understand this if we are to understand how a science or technology may rise and fall with a civilization, why the destruction of a center could lead to the almost instant evaporation or disappearance of centuries of knowledge and technical skills. Thus a nuclear war could shatter the primary centers of twentieth-century technology in a matter of days. The survivors on the periphery, although they would remember the aeroplanes and the television sets, the robots and the computers, the space machines now circling our solar system, would not be able for centuries to reproduce that technology. Apart from the almost wholesale slaughter of the technocratic class, the interconnection between those shattered centers and the equally critical interdependency between the centers and their peripheries, would be gone forever. It would be like the strands of a web which once stretched across the world, left torn and dangling in a void. A dark age would certainly follow." -- Ivan Van Sertima, historian, 'The Lost Sciences of Africa: An Overview', Blacks In Science: Ancient and Modern, Volume 5, Issues 1-2, 1983

Gobekli Tepe: Rewriting the Fairy Tale of Human Evolution

"All our theories were wrong." -- Ian Hodder, archaeologist, February 19th 2010

Symmes, P., History in the Remaking: A Temple Complex in Turkey that Predates Even the Pyramids is Rewriting the Story of Human Evolution, Newsweek, Feb 2010

The site isn't just old, it redefines old: the temple was built 11,500 years ago—a staggering 7,000 years before the Great Pyramid, and more than 6,000 years before Stonehenge first took shape.
11,500 years ago redefines old? Mmmkay. Except that it doesn't. Plato was talking about the exact same time period in 360 B.C.

The ruins are so early that they predate villages, pottery, domesticated animals, and even agriculture—the first embers of civilization. In fact, Schmidt thinks the temple itself, built after the end of the last Ice Age by hunter-gatherers, became that ember—the spark that launched mankind toward farming, urban life, and all that followed.
Hunter-gatherers? LMAO.

All the circles feature massive T-shaped pillars that evoke the monoliths of Easter Island.
I.e. Atlantean.

Though not as large as Stonehenge—the biggest circle is 30 yards across, the tallest pillars 17 feet high—the ruins are astonishing in number. Last year Schmidt found his third and fourth examples of the temples. Ground-penetrating radar indicates that another 15 to 20 such monumental ruins lie under the surface. Schmidt's German-Turkish team has also uncovered some 50 of the huge pillars, including two found in his most recent dig season that are not just the biggest yet, but, according to carbon dating, are the oldest monumental artworks in the world.

The new discoveries are finally beginning to reshape the slow-moving consensus of archeology. Göbekli Tepe is "unbelievably big and amazing, at a ridiculously early date," according to Ian Hodder, director of Stanford's archeology program. Enthusing over the "huge great stones and fantastic, highly refined art" at Göbekli, Hodder—who has spent decades on rival Neolithic sites—says: "Many people think that it changes everything…It overturns the whole apple cart. All our theories were wrong."

Schmidt's thesis is simple and bold: it was the urge to worship that brought mankind together in the very first urban conglomerations. The need to build and maintain this temple, he says, drove the builders to seek stable food sources, like grains and animals that could be domesticated, and then to settle down to guard their new way of life. The temple begat the city.

This theory reverses a standard chronology of human origins, in which primitive man went through a "Neolithic revolution" 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. In the old model, shepherds and farmers appeared first, and then created pottery, villages, cities, specialized labor, kings, writing, art, and—somewhere on the way to the airplane—organized religion. As far back as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, thinkers have argued that the social compact of cities came first, and only then the "high" religions with their great temples, a paradigm still taught in American high schools.

Religion now appears so early in civilized life—earlier than civilized life, if Schmidt is correct—that some think it may be less a product of culture than a cause of it, less a revelation than a genetic inheritance. The archeologist Jacques Cauvin once posited that "the beginning of the gods was the beginning of agriculture," and Göbekli may prove his case.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Seafaring Cavemen Contradict Evolution

"Today’s obsession with ‘progress’ – a straight line from one accomplishment to another – blinds us to the lost realities of our past. Our research reveals a legacy closer to the ideas of the ancients." -- Rand and Rose Flem-Ath, scholars, 2010

Pringle, H., Primitive Humans Conquered Sea Surprising Finds Suggest, National Geographic, Feb 2010

Prehistoric axes found on a Greek island suggest that seafaring existed in the Mediterranean more than a hundred thousand years earlier than thought. ...

Crete has been surrounded by vast stretches of sea for some five million years. The discovery of the hand ax suggests that people besides technologically modern humans—possibly Homo heidelbergensis—island-hopped across the Mediterranean tens of thousands of millennia earlier than expected.

Many researchers have hypothesized that the early humans of this time period were not capable of devising boats or navigating across open water. But the new discoveries hint that these human ancestors were capable of much more sophisticated behavior than their relatively simple stone tools would suggest.

"I was flabbergasted," said Boston University archaeologist and stone-tool expert Curtis Runnels. "The idea of finding tools from this very early time period on Crete was about as believable as finding an iPod in King Tut's tomb."
UPDATE: Until now, scientists honestly believed boats evolved in 5000 B.C.

Duce, J., 'Oldest Boat' Found In Egypt, BBC, Nov 2000

Lawler, A., Report of Oldest Boat Hints at Early Trade Routes, Science, Volume 296, Number 5574, Pages 1791-1792, Jun 2002

Oldest Boat Unearthed, China.Org, Dec 2002

8,000 Year Old Dug Out Canoe On Show In Italy, Archaeo News, Sep 2005

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Over For the U.S. Economy

Munger, C., Basically It's Over: A Parable About How One Nation Came to Financial Ruin, Slate.Com, February 20th 2010

In the early 1700s, Europeans discovered in the Pacific Ocean a large, unpopulated island with a temperate climate, rich in all nature's bounty except coal, oil, and natural gas. Reflecting its lack of civilization, they named this island "Basicland."

The Europeans rapidly repopulated Basicland, creating a new nation. They installed a system of government like that of the early United States. There was much encouragement of trade, and no internal tariff or other impediment to such trade. Property rights were greatly respected and strongly enforced. The banking system was simple. It adapted to a national ethos that sought to provide a sound currency, efficient trade, and ample loans for credit-worthy businesses while strongly discouraging loans to the incompetent or for ordinary daily purchases.

Moreover, almost no debt was used to purchase or carry securities or other investments, including real estate and tangible personal property. The one exception was the widespread presence of secured, high-down-payment, fully amortizing, fixed-rate loans on sound houses, other real estate, vehicles, and appliances, to be used by industrious persons who lived within their means. Speculation in Basicland's security and commodity markets was always rigorously discouraged and remained small. There was no trading in options on securities or in derivatives other than "plain vanilla" commodity contracts cleared through responsible exchanges under laws that greatly limited use of financial leverage.

In its first 150 years, the government of Basicland spent no more than 7 percent of its gross domestic product in providing its citizens with essential services such as fire protection, water, sewage and garbage removal, some education, defense forces, courts, and immigration control. A strong family-oriented culture emphasizing duty to relatives, plus considerable private charity, provided the only social safety net.

The tax system was also simple. In the early years, governmental revenues came almost entirely from import duties, and taxes received matched government expenditures. There was never much debt outstanding in the form of government bonds.

As Adam Smith would have expected, GDP per person grew steadily. Indeed, in the modern area it grew in real terms at 3 percent per year, decade after decade, until Basicland led the world in GDP per person. As this happened, taxes on sales, income, property, and payrolls were introduced. Eventually total taxes, matched by total government expenditures, amounted to 35 percent of GDP. The revenue from increased taxes was spent on more government-run education and a substantial government-run social safety net, including medical care and pensions.

A regular increase in such tax-financed government spending, under systems hard to "game" by the unworthy, was considered a moral imperative—a sort of egality-promoting national dividend—so long as growth of such spending was kept well below the growth rate of the country's GDP per person.

Basicland also sought to avoid trouble through a policy that kept imports and exports in near balance, with each amounting to about 25 percent of GDP. Some citizens were initially nervous because 60 percent of imports consisted of absolutely essential coal and oil. But, as the years rolled by with no terrible consequences from this dependency, such worry melted away.

Basicland was exceptionally creditworthy, with no significant deficit ever allowed. And the present value of large "off-book" promises to provide future medical care and pensions appeared unlikely to cause problems, given Basicland's steady 3 percent growth in GDP per person and restraint in making unfunded promises. Basicland seemed to have a system that would long assure its felicity and long induce other nations to follow its example—thus improving the welfare of all humanity.

But even a country as cautious, sound, and generous as Basicland could come to ruin if it failed to address the dangers that can be caused by the ordinary accidents of life. These dangers were significant by 2012, when the extreme prosperity of Basicland had created a peculiar outcome: As their affluence and leisure time grew, Basicland's citizens more and more whiled away their time in the excitement of casino gambling. Most casino revenue now came from bets on security prices under a system used in the 1920s in the United States and called "the bucket shop system."

The winnings of the casinos eventually amounted to 25 percent of Basicland's GDP, while 22 percent of all employee earnings in Basicland were paid to persons employed by the casinos (many of whom were engineers needed elsewhere). So much time was spent at casinos that it amounted to an average of five hours per day for every citizen of Basicland, including newborn babies and the comatose elderly. Many of the gamblers were highly talented engineers attracted partly by casino poker but mostly by bets available in the bucket shop systems, with the bets now called "financial derivatives."

Many people, particularly foreigners with savings to invest, regarded this situation as disgraceful. After all, they reasoned, it was just common sense for lenders to avoid gambling addicts. As a result, almost all foreigners avoided holding Basicland's currency or owning its bonds. They feared big trouble if the gambling-addicted citizens of Basicland were suddenly faced with hardship.

And then came the twin shocks. Hydrocarbon prices rose to new highs. And in Basicland's export markets there was a dramatic increase in low-cost competition from developing countries. It was soon obvious that the same exports that had formerly amounted to 25 percent of Basicland's GDP would now only amount to 10 percent. Meanwhile, hydrocarbon imports would amount to 30 percent of GDP, instead of 15 percent. Suddenly Basicland had to come up with 30 percent of its GDP every year, in foreign currency, to pay its creditors.

How was Basicland to adjust to this brutal new reality? This problem so stumped Basicland's politicians that they asked for advice from Benfranklin Leekwanyou Vokker, an old man who was considered so virtuous and wise that he was often called the "Good Father." Such consultations were rare. Politicians usually ignored the Good Father because he made no campaign contributions.

Among the suggestions of the Good Father were the following. First, he suggested that Basicland change its laws. It should strongly discourage casino gambling, partly through a complete ban on the trading in financial derivatives, and it should encourage former casino employees—and former casino patrons—to produce and sell items that foreigners were willing to buy. Second, as this change was sure to be painful, he suggested that Basicland's citizens cheerfully embrace their fate. After all, he observed, a man diagnosed with lung cancer is willing to quit smoking and undergo surgery because it is likely to prolong his life.

The views of the Good Father drew some approval, mostly from people who admired the fiscal virtue of the Romans during the Punic Wars. But others, including many of Basicland's prominent economists, had strong objections. These economists had intense faith that any outcome at all in a free market—even wild growth in casino gambling—is constructive. Indeed, these economists were so committed to their basic faith that they looked forward to the day when Basicland would expand real securities trading, as a percentage of securities outstanding, by a factor of 100, so that it could match the speculation level present in the United States just before onslaught of the Great Recession that began in 2008.

The strong faith of these Basicland economists in the beneficence of hypergambling in both securities and financial derivatives stemmed from their utter rejection of the ideas of the great and long-dead economist who had known the most about hyperspeculation, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes had famously said, "When the capital development of a country is the byproduct of the operations of a casino, the job is likely to be ill done." It was easy for these economists to dismiss such a sentence because securities had been so long associated with respectable wealth, and financial derivatives seemed so similar to securities.

Basicland's investment and commercial bankers were hostile to change. Like the objecting economists, the bankers wanted change exactly opposite to change wanted by the Good Father. Such bankers provided constructive services to Basicland. But they had only moderate earnings, which they deeply resented because Basicland's casinos—which provided no such constructive services—reported immoderate earnings from their bucket-shop systems. Moreover, foreign investment bankers had also reported immoderate earnings after building their own bucket-shop systems—and carefully obscuring this fact with ingenious twaddle, including claims that rational risk-management systems were in place, supervised by perfect regulators. Naturally, the ambitious Basicland bankers desired to prosper like the foreign bankers. And so they came to believe that the Good Father lacked any understanding of important and eternal causes of human progress that the bankers were trying to serve by creating more bucket shops in Basicland.

Of course, the most effective political opposition to change came from the gambling casinos themselves. This was not surprising, as at least one casino was located in each legislative district. The casinos resented being compared with cancer when they saw themselves as part of a long-established industry that provided harmless pleasure while improving the thinking skills of its customers.

As it worked out, the politicians ignored the Good Father one more time, and the Basicland banks were allowed to open bucket shops and to finance the purchase and carry of real securities with extreme financial leverage. A couple of economic messes followed, during which every constituency tried to avoid hardship by deflecting it to others. Much counterproductive governmental action was taken, and the country's credit was reduced to tatters. Basicland is now under new management, using a new governmental system. It also has a new nickname: Sorrowland.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Interesting Paradox

Religion is right, because it is science ... and science is wrong, because it is religion.

"Myth is born from science." -- Charles F. Dupuis, polymath, 1795

"Mythology has it's origin in the opera of science." -- Charles F. Dupuis, polymath, 1795

"Diogenes, the Babylonian, traces the whole mythology back to Nature or to physiology." -- Charles F. Dupuis, polymath, The Origin of All Religious Worship, 1795

"... what is myth to-day is often history to-morrow." -- Lewis Spence, translator, The Popol Vuh: The Mythic and Heroic Sagas of the Kiches of Central America, July 1908

"Myths have no point to make. They are, in fact, history." -- Jno Cook, author, Recovering the Lost World: A Saturnian Cosmology, November 2009

"Religion has prevailed! Science has become religion!" -- Halton C. Arp, astronomer, What Has Science Come To?, 2000

"Science ... has adopted the methods of religion." -- Halton C. Arp, astronomer, What Has Science Come To?, 2000

"For me science that violates common sense, uses exotic names and terms, and 'ad-hoc' interpretations so that an average person cannot understand its fundamental premises is not science; it is theology." -- Stavros T. Tassos, seismologist, October 2008

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Magnetic Star Formation

"He [Anaxagoras] asserted that the sun was a mass of burning iron...." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, 3rd century

"The form of the corona and the motion of the prominences suggest that it [the sun] is a magnet." -- George E. Hale, astronomer, 1913

"Gravity has little if anything to do with the processes of star formation." -- Stephen Smith, writer, May 2009

Science Daily: Massive Stars’ Magnetically Controlled Diets.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2010) — A team of astronomers, led by Dr. Wouter Vlemmings at Bonn University, has used the MERLIN radio telescope network centred on the Jodrell Bank Observatory to show that magnetic fields play an important role during the birth of massive stars. Magnetic fields are already known to strongly influence the formation of lower-mass stars like our Sun. This new study reveals that the way in which high-mass and low-mass stars form may be more similar than previously suspected.

The scientists report their work in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Resurrecting the Extinct

"It's difficult [for a scientist] to imagine that ten thousand years ago, right here in North America, there lived giant animals that are now the stuff of legends -- mammoths and mastodons, ground sloths, and saber-toothed cats." -- Leslie Stahl, reporter, Jan 10 2010

"In other words it's [the cell bank] kind of a Noah's Ark." -- Leslie Stahl, reporter, Jan 10 2010

CBS News: Resurrecting the Extinct.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Smallest Motor Evidence of Intelligent Design

"I remember the first time I looked in a biochemistry textbook and I saw a drawing of something called a bacterial flagellum with all of its parts in all of its glory. It had a propeller and a hook region and the drive shaft and the motor and so on. I looked at that and I said that's an outboard motor. That's designed. That's no chance assemblage of parts." -- Michael J. Behe, biochemist, 2002

"In evolutionary terms, you have to explain how you can build this system gradually when there is no function until you have all those parts in place." -- Scott Minnich, molecular biologist, 2002

"In fact, what we have here is irreducible complexity all the way down." -- Jonathan C. Wells, molecular biologist, 2002

Science Daily: Life's Smallest Motor, Cargo Carrier of the Cells, Moves Like a Seesaw.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2010) — Life's smallest motor -- a protein that shuttles cargo within cells and helps cells divide -- does so by rocking up and down like a seesaw, according to research conducted by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Brandeis University.

The researchers created high-resolution snapshots of a protein motor, called kinesin, as it walked along a microtubule, which are tube-shaped structures that form a cell's "skeleton." The result is the closest look yet at the structural changes kinesin proteins undergo as they ferry molecules within cells.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Britain Releases New UFO Files

CNN: Britain releases new UFO files. (Hat tip: Keef Destefano)

London, England (CNN) -- A hovering Toblerone and a silky-white residue join near-misses and strange lights in the British government's latest release of its files on UFO sightings.

Made public Thursday, the files are the fifth collection of records about unidentified flying objects to be released by the Ministry of Defence and The National Archives as part of a project to open the files up to a wider audience.

Thursday's release is the largest so far, totaling more than 6,000 pages of material from 1994 to 2000.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scientists Try to Pass Off Jew-Hatred As Science

"They [the Carthaginians] also alleged that Cronus [Saturn] had turned against them inasmuch as in former times they had been accustomed to sacrifice to this god [planet] the noblest of their sons, but more recently, secretly buying and nurturing children, they had sent these to the sacrifice; and when an investigation was made, some of those who had been sacrificed were discovered to have been supposititious. When they had given thought to these things and saw their enemy encamped before their walls, they were filled with superstitious dread, for they believed that they had neglected the honours of the gods [planets] that had been established by their fathers. In their zeal to make amends for their omission, they selected two hundred of the noblest children and sacrificed them publicly; and others who were under suspicion sacrificed themselves voluntarily, in number not less than three hundred." -- Diodorus Siculus, historian, Library of History, Book XX, 1st century B.C.

"There was in their city [Carthage] a bronze image of Cronus [Saturn], extending his hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit with fire. ... Also the story passed down among the Greeks from ancient myth that Cronus [Saturn] did away with his own children appears to have been kept in mind among the Carthaginians through this observance." -- Diodorus Siculus, historian, Library of History, Book XX, 1st century B.C.

"Again, would it not have been far better for the Carthaginians to have taken Critias or Diagoras to draw up their law-code at the very beginning, and so not to believe in any divine power or god, rather than to offer such sacrifices as they used to offer to Cronos [Saturn]?" -- Plutarch, historian, On Superstition, 1st century

"No, but with full knowledge and understanding they themselves offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan; but should she utter a single moan or let fall a single tear, she had to forfeit the money, and her child was sacrificed nevertheless; and the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums took the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people." -- Plutarch, historian, On Superstition, 1st century

Atheists and unbelievers will say literally anything in order to contradict the Bible -- like Lavoisier and Jefferson said meteorites don't exist because they are in the Bible. Unfortunately for the history deniers, the historical record confirms the Bible and contradicts self-hating Jew Schwartz & Co.

Science Daily: Study Debunks Millennia-Old Claims of Systematic Infant Sacrifice in Ancient Carthage.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2010) — A study led by University of Pittsburgh researchers could finally lay to rest the millennia-old conjecture that the ancient empire of Carthage regularly sacrificed its youngest citizens. An examination of the remains of Carthaginian children revealed that most infants perished prenatally or very shortly after birth and were unlikely to have lived long enough to be sacrificed, according to a Feb. 17 report in PLoS One.
Rogue Classicist makes short work of this pseudoscience and pseudoskepticism fueled by blatant Jew-hatred.

UPDATE: Apparently the history deniers are as well organized as the Holocaust denial movement: Carthage tries to live down image as site of infanticide.

Less welcome to the national consciousness are reminders of Carthage's darker side. The supposed sacrifice of children in macabre religious rituals, says Mr. Fantar, is a stain that must be removed. "This is all propaganda," he says.

Seeking to debunk Carthage's reputed homicidal tendencies, he has written articles, organized seminars and appeared on TV and radio. He is also grooming a new generation of local scholars, including his own son, who similarly deny that the practice of human sacrifices ever occurred. Guides in Carthage are now instructed by the tourism ministry to tell visitors that the sacrifices didn't happen.

Lawrence Stager, a Harvard University archaeology professor and expert on the subject, calls the revisionism a whitewash. He's now editing a book that will include the results of long forensic analysis of charred bones he helped dig up in Carthage in the 1970s. This, says Mr. Stager, will prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Fantar and his followers are wrong. Still, he isn't expecting to win them over. "No one really relishes having ancestors who committed such heinous acts," he says.
Reality Check From Harvard University: YES, The Phoenician/Punic practiced Child Sacrifice.

The thousands of individual burials, the several mass burials and the animal burials all demonstrate that these were sacrifical offerings to the gods.

Lawrence E. Stager and Joseph A. Greene

The evidence that Phoenicians ritually sacrificed their children comes from four sources. Classical authors and biblical prophets charge the Phoenicians with the practice. Stelae associated with burial urns found at Carthage bear decorations alluding to sacrifice and inscriptions expressing vows to Phoenician deities. Urns buried beneath these stelae contain remains of children (and sometimes of animals) who were cremated as described in the sources or implied by the inscriptions.

Still, some scholars like Dr. Fantar deny that the Phoenicians sacrificed their children. They dismiss the texts as tendentious or misinformed, and they ignore the sacrificial implications of the inscribed stelae. The archaeological evidence, however, especially the bones found inside the burial urns, cannot be so easily explained away.

Evidence from classical authors. Ancient authors, both Greco-Roman historians like Kleitarchos, Diodorus and Plutarch and Church fathers like Tertullian, condemn the Carthaginians for the practice of child sacrifice. Some add lurid but unverifiable details‹sacrifices witnessed by distraught mothers, grimacing victims consumed by flames, human offerings received in the outstretched arms of a brazen statue. On one point these sources are completely in accord: The Carthaginians sacrificed their children to their supreme deities.

To be sure, some historians who wrote about Carthage, such as Polybius, took no note of this practice. Why Polybius failed to mention Carthaginian child sacrifice is a mystery. He was a member of Scipio's staff in 146 B.C., and he must have known the city well. The revisionists seize on such omissions as an excuse to dismiss all reports of Phoenician child sacrifice as pure fabrications arising from anti-Phoenician bias. But this is a non sequitur. The fact that Polybius does not mention Carthaginian child sacrifice does not mean that other testimonies are false; it simply means that he has nothing to say on this point.

Evidence from the Hebrew Bible. The sixth-century B.C. prophet Jeremiah accused syncretizing Judahites of setting up a "high place of Tophet" in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom outside Jerusalem (Jeremiah 7:30-32), where they "burn (sharaf) their sons and their daughters in the fire (b'esh)." This is clearly not a description of sons and daughters "passing through" the fire in some sort of rite of passage from which they emerge singed but not incinerated. These children, both male and female, "burn ... in the fire," that is, they are cremated, according to Jeremiah. This testimony is not from a foreigner who accuses the Judahites of evil ways; it is from one of their own. Any Jerusalemite who thought that the prophet might have been fabricating charges of child sacrifice could have taken a short walk down the valley of Ben-Hinnom and become, like Jeremiah, an eyewitness to the human sacrifices taking place there.

The word "Tophet" can be translated "place of burning" or "roaster." The Hebrew text does not specify that the Judahite victims were buried, only burned, although the "place of burning" was probably adjacent to the place of burial. Indeed, soil in the Carthage Tophet was found to be full of olive wood charcoal, no doubt from the sacrificial pyres. We have no idea how the Phoenicians themselves referred to the places of burning or burial or to the practice itself, since no large body of Phoenician writing‹no Phoenician "Bible," as it were‹has come down to us.

Evidence from Phoenician inscriptions. What have come down to us are thousands of Phoenician inscriptions, the vast majority of which are from the Carthage Tophet. These inscriptions, however, are highly formulaic and tantalizingly laconic. None refers explicitly to child sacrifice, only to vows made to Tanit [Venus] and Ba'al Hammon [Saturn]. For example, an inscription on a stela from the Tanit II period (sixth to third century B.C.) reads: "To our lady, to Tanit ... and to our lord, to Ba'al Hammon, that which was vowed." The placement of such stelae immediately above the jars containing burned remains strongly suggests that these vows had something to do with the cremated individuals, human or animal, inside the jars.

*For more information on the meaning of the word "Moloch," see Lawrence E. Stager and Samuel R. Wolff, "Child Sacrifice at Carthage‹Religious Rite or Population Control? Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1984. (This issue is out of print. To order a photocopy of this article, call us at 1-800-221-4644.) Somewhat unexpectedly, inscribed stelae in the Carthage Tophet occasionally mark jars containing animal remains, incinerated and buried in the same careful fashion as the human victims. In this regard, a second- or third-century A.D. Neo-Punic stela from Cirta (Constantine), in Algeria, is relevant. The stela is inscribed in Latin: vita pro vita, sanguis pro sanguine, agnum pro vikario (Life for life, blood for blood, a lamb for a substitute). This act of substitution is reminiscent of the biblical Akedah, in which Abraham's sacrifice of his son Isaac was forestalled by the miraculous provision of a ram as a substitute (Genesis 22:13).*

Evidence from archaeology. The burned bones found inside jars from the Carthage Tophet provide conclusive evidence for Phoenician child sacrifice. Animal remains, mostly sheep and goats, found inside some of the Tophet urns strongly suggest that this was not a burial ground for children who died prematurely. The animals were sacrificed to the gods, presumably in place of children. It is highly likely that the children unlucky enough not to have substitutes were also sacrificed and then buried in the Tophet.

Moreover, the osteological evidence reveals that most of the victims were children two to three months old, though some were as old as age five. So far no skeleton has shown any signs of pathological conditions that might have caused death. These were healthy children deliberately killed as sacrifices in the manner described in the classical and biblical texts.

The sex of the victims is unclear. We do not know for certain whether they were exclusively males, as some have asserted, or both males and females. Some biblical texts suggest that firstborn males were chosen as the ultimate sacrifice to the deity. For example, during a military engagement between the Moabites and the Israelites, the king of Moab "took his firstborn son who was to succeed him, and offered him as a burnt offering." Upon witnessing this sacrifice, the Israelites retreated and "returned to their own land" (2 Kings 3:27). The prophet Micah lists the sacrifice of the firstborn male as the highest form of offering a human can give to a god‹even better than "calves a year old," rams or "rivers of olive oil" (Micah 6:6-7). Other texts, however, specify that both "sons and daughters" were sacrificed in the Tophet (Jeremiah 7:31 and 2 Kings 23:10).

Infant skeletons are insufficiently developed to allow the determination of sex on the basis of bone morphology alone. Ongoing DNA analysis of bones from the jars, however, may resolve the question of whether the victims were all males or a mix of males and females.

The classical and biblical texts, as well as the archaeology, all indicate that healthy living children were sacrificed to the gods in the Tophet. Our purpose in making this case is not to malign the Phoenicians but to understand them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Redshift Problems

Mel Acheson: Another Fogged Image of Stephan’s Quintet.

This new image of Stephan’s Quintet is befogged with the same obsolete commentary as previous images: the foreground galaxy, collisions, shock waves, and heat.

The foreground galaxy (bottom left) is believed to be in the foreground solely because of the consensus belief that redshift is a measure of distance: The foreground galaxy has a redshift of z=0.0026; the others range from z=0.019 to z=0.0225. The consensual conclusion is that the foreground galaxy is 250 million light-years closer than the others.

This belief in redshift as a cosmic meterstick has been disproved since the 1960s, but facts seldom affect institutionalized belief systems. Unremarked is the fact that the differences in redshift of the background galaxies place them (under consensus belief) farther from each other than the foreground galaxy is from the Milky Way. Does that make the foreground galaxy a member of our Local Group? Apparently, the illusion of foreshortening with distance works on beliefs as well.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Science of Constantine D'Amato

On Prisca Sapientia

"There are few new things in this world, very few. That's why people that are young, if they're smart, try to profit from the experience of an older guy so they won't have to go through all the pain and suffering. But a certain amount of pain and suffering is good because it makes a person think that they've learned." -- Constantine "Cus" D'Amato, boxing trainer, 1985

On Free Will

"No matter what anyone says, no matter the excuse or explanation, whatever a person does in the end is what he intended to do all along." -- Constantine 'Cus' D'Amato, boxing trainer

On Pugilism

"Boxing is entertainment. So to be successful a fighter must not only win but win in an exciting manner. He must throw punches with bad intentions." -- Constantine 'Cus' D'Amato, boxing trainer

"If you can hit your opponent with two punches, you don't hit him with one. Get off with some bad intentions in there. Believe in yourself. A guy can feel it if you don't believe in yourself. Set your mind to make yourself do it." -- Constantine 'Cus' D'Amato, boxing trainer

"Remember, from the side you can let that punch go with the worst kind of intentions...." -- Constantine 'Cus' D'Amato, boxing trainer

"Always keep your chin tucked down into your chest. I don’t care if you are running roadwork or just walking around school or watching T.V. Keep that chin tucked down. And your eyes looking up and out."

"Don’t watch the glove; watch the chest. Wait for the glove to move, you’re dead. When the chest flexes, you bob."

"Stay in constant motion. The head ain’t never again where he last seen it. See, you give him a target here and by the time he swings, it ain’t there anymore. But when he moves, counter. Hap! Fire to the ribs, huh. Hap! Bap! Four-one, upstairs."

"You don’t get hit, you don’t lose. It’s as simple as that. Once you learn to stay low and tuck behind your gloves, in constant motion, no one is gonna be able to land nothing."

"Which brings to the subject of head movement. The slipping, weaving and punching from angles. The effect of that is, when an opponent throws a punch, the D'Amato fighter slips it and counters while the opponent is still open. After that happens a few times, psychologically... the opponent says 'What the hell is happening?... This hasn't happened to me in the gym or in other fights before.' Then suddenly, the opponent stops throwing punches. No one knows why, not the trainers nor the people watching the fight. 'The opponent begins to think, 'I can't hit this guy... If I can't hit him, then I can't win.' Psychologically, he throws in the towel. So, it's more than just head and body movement. It's psychological. -- Steve Lott, historian, November 2005

"If you go to any gym in the world, you'll see a trainer standing next to his fighter... who is hitting the heavy bag hard and with tremendous combinations. He looks good doing it, but the kid never moves his head. They shadow box - never moving their heads. Trainers nowadays don't use those types of training methods. They just tell the kid to go in their and fight. That's why fights are so boring today. The fighters know that when they get into the ring... they're gonna get hit. So, they just peck and peck and peck. In their heart, they KNOW they don't have any defense. So what happens is, they take a position opposite each other... just out of contact range. That's why fans say 'C'mon, lets see some action!' Fighters don't want to get into contact range, nor do they want to initiate, because the moment they do, they get hit. Once in a while you get a tough son-of-a-gun who doesn't care about getting hit and he comes in. He's an exciting fighter. But the object in boxing is to be able to hit your opponent without getting hit yourself. Of course the kids today are tough. They're courageous and they're disciplined, but they're not being shown how to move their heads. Cus' style was distinctive. When you see a kid, with his hands up, chin down, slipping and weaving... you say, 'That's the Cus D'Amato style!' With any other trainer, the fighters all look the same. -- Steve Lott, historian, November 2005

"And, Cus created the 'number system.' In every sport, there is a science involved. -- Steve Lott, historian, November 2005

"Many fighters do not throw punches with bad intentions because they are worried about getting hit. Mike was supremely confident of moving his head so he rarely concerned himself with the other guys' punching power." -- Steve Lott, historian, Feb 2006

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quasars: Massive or Charged?

Steve Smith: Quasars: Massive or Charged?

Consensus theories of the cosmos presume that mass is the fundamental quality with which to explain phenomena. For example, quasars are considered to be massive accretions of matter into supermassive black holes at a galaxy’s nucleus.

Because mass attracts mass, astronomers easily imagine that galaxies attract galaxies and that collisions, mergers, and tidal disruptions are common. Merging galaxies should massively increase the matter accreting into their nuclear black holes, and so astronomers expected to see many binary quasars among the collisions. Until recently, they have been disappointed.

However, a new series of images has found two close quasars in the midst of two close galaxies with distorted tails (image above). The tails could be nothing other than tidal disruptions from the merging of the galaxies, and the quasars are therefore indisputable confirmation of consensus theory. Should anyone have any doubts, a computer simulation of merging galaxies has “corroborated this conclusion.” “The model verifies the merger origin for this binary quasar system,” averred the model-maker.

Consensus, of course, being a massive merger of opinion, seldom takes notice of wisps of dissent. But those who read marginalia will spot a few disagreements. ‘To corroborate’ appears to mean ‘to program a computer with the same assumptions used to interpret observations and to generate features similar to the observations.’ (But what else can you do with an object that’s so far away you can’t stick your thumb in the pie to test it as Jack Horner did?) “The model verifies the merger” is one of those wheels of logic that provides exercise for astrophysical gerbils.

Another comment questions the certainty that “tails…are a sure sign…of an ongoing galaxy merger.” One can be sure of any belief merely by pumping up one’s fervency. But a scientific theory should be instead reliable, which requires alternative theories to be sought out and tested as well: What else could the phenomenon be under other assumptions? The consensus theories appear to produce excuses instead of tests. Readers of this site will likely think of several alternatives that could provide tests for reliability of the “sure signs.”

The Electric Universe is one of several alternative plasma theories that presume charge is the fundamental quality with which to explain phenomena. It takes a hint provided at the end of the press release (first link above) that “the galaxy disks both appear to be nearly face-on to Earth” and “the X-rays from Chandra show no signs of absorption by intervening gas or dust.”

In the Electric Universe, quasars are plasmoids ejected, usually along the spin axis, from a plasma focus mechanism in a galaxy’s nucleus. A face-on disk means that we are looking ‘down the barrel.’ An ejected quasar would appear projected against the galaxy’s core. It would be interesting to obtain a spectrum of the tails apart from the central quasars to see if they have a lower redshift. If they do, this would be another instance of a higher-redshift quasar in front of a lower-redshift galaxy.

Of course, the two quasars may instead be part of a fragmented ejection (from an active galaxy outside the field of view) and are starting to evolve into companion galaxies. After all, they lie on the eastern edge of the Virgo Cluster, where much ejection activity is occurring.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mainstream Science Wrong Again

Thomas Wilson: A Magnetic Problem with “Protogalaxies”.

The accepted "mean-field-dynamo" theory held by establishment astronomers asserts that a magnetic field in a galaxy evolves from a “magnetic seed” and builds over the course of billions of years. Young galaxies have no coherent magnetic fields, but over time, a magnetic field “spins up” that spans the galaxy. The mechanism by which this occurs is not well formulated. However, this model predicts that galaxies observed at sufficient distances should have weak magnetic fields compared to our own galaxy.

This assumes a Universe that is about 13.7 billion years old, so that if we look at galaxies 6 to 8 billion light years away, they are comparatively young. Over the course of 2008 there were two separate reports (one in July, the other in early October) of galaxies 6-8 billion light years away with magnetic fields at least as powerful as that found in our own galaxy. In one report, the magnetic field in the distant “young” galaxy was about ten times the strength of that in the Milky Way. As usual, the reporting scientists expressed surprise at their findings.

The research teams actually used different approaches for measuring the magnetic field strength in the different galaxies. Simon Lilly’s group reporting in July performed analyses on a number of galaxies using Faraday Rotation data derived from the polarization of light from quasars behind the galaxies in question. Lilly used FR quasar measurements generated by Philipp Kronberg from the University of Toronto.

Alternatively, the group led by Arthur Wolfe measured the magnetic field in a single galaxy using the Zeeman Effect, where an absorbing gas in a magnetic field splits absorption lines symmetrically.

Some of Wolfe’s comments are interesting and indicative of a general mindset in the astronomical community. Here are excerpts from the October report:

"Astronomers have made the first direct measurement of the magnetic field in a young, distant galaxy, and the result is a big surprise.

Looking at a faraway protogalaxy seen as it was 6.5 billion years ago, the scientists measured a magnetic field at least 10 times stronger than that of our own Milky Way. They had expected just the opposite.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quasar Clusters

Mel Acheson: Quasar Clusters.

Twenty-one quasars with similar redshifts cluster in a three-degree diameter area of the sky.

The quasar density is nearly six times the density of the nearby areas. At their Hubble distance, which assumes that their distance is proportional to their redshift, they would occupy a region of space over 800 million light-years in diameter. In comparison, the Virgo Cluster of galaxies, the largest nearby cluster, is estimated to be only 9 million light-years across.

Near the apparent center of the cluster lies the relatively nearby active galaxy AM2230-284. According to the Hubble relationship, the cluster is about 13 billion light-years beyond it. Its presence near the center of the cluster is merely a coincidence.

In a recent paper, astronomer Halton Arp and two colleagues analyzed the dispersion of redshifts in the cluster in relation to that of the AM galaxy. They removed the active galaxy’s redshift from that of the quasars, transforming the quasars’ redshifts to the rest frame of the galaxy. In consequence, the quasars’ redshifts fall closely on the most common value of the Karlsson periodicity—1.96.

In the beginning—in the 1960s and 1970s, just after quasars were identified—several astronomers noticed that the redshifts (z) of quasars around bright nearby galaxies tended to occur closely around certain periodic values: 0.60, 0.91, 1.41, and especially 1.96. In the conventional theories of the Hubble relationship, the expanding universe, and the Big Bang, this periodicity would mean that quasars were distributed in shells centered on the Earth.

Such a consequence pushed imagination past the borders of boggled. Fortunately (for convention), as more observations of fainter and higher-z galaxies and quasars were made, culminating in all-sky surveys, the periodicity “washed out” to insignificance. Convention sighed in relief, banished the small circle of dissident astronomers to the margins, and rejected their papers, apparently without reading them.

Unfortunately (for convention), the all-sky surveys misunderstood the proposal (hence the suspicion that conventional astronomers didn’t read the papers), so they failed to find the wrong result: They didn’t identify the quasar clusters associated with active galaxies, and they didn’t transform the z’s to the active galaxies’ rest frames before testing for the Karlsson periodicity. They only proved—unsurprisingly—that not following the method of the proposal will not find the proposed result.

Arp et al. propose that the Karlsson periodicity is an intrinsic quality of quasars due to their being newly created matter that is ejected from active galaxies, often in pairs in opposite directions. The new matter is initially without mass. As it communicates at the speed of light with other mass in the universe, its mass increases in accord with the Machian theory of inertia. As one consequence, its velocity of ejection decreases in accord with conservation of momentum. As a reflection of the quantum conditions of its “birth,” the changes occur in steps rather than continuously.

With each increase in mass, the energy of emitted light increases: the same transition in an atom or particle produces a photon at a higher frequency, that is, shifted toward the blue end of the spectrum. As the matter ages, its light becomes less redshifted. It approaches the redshift of the parent galaxy, whose z is a Doppler effect of the system’s velocity with respect to Earth. Hence arises the necessity of removing the parent’s z in order to discover the intrinsic z of the “babies.”

This intrinsic effect and the Karlsson periodicity apply not just to quasars but to companion galaxies as well. To the southeast of AM2230-284 lies the nearby galaxy NGC 7361, with a z of .004. A large number of companion galaxies with z between .058 and .065 extend for more than five degrees along the line connecting the two galaxies. The transformation to the rest frame of NGC 7361 makes little difference at this low value: the z’s of the companions cluster tightly around the lowest Karlsson value of 0.06. As the paper states: “The implication would be that NGC 7361 had ejected essentially all the low z companions in the pictured field and one of them, AM 2230-284, later ejected the 21 quasars of z = 2.149.”

NGC 7361 is not unique. NGC 7793, also with negligible z, has 49 galaxies within one degree whose z’s are confined to the interval .057–.062. NGC 4063, with a z of .0164, has companions with z of .078. When transformed to the rest frame of NGC 4063, the companion z is .061. The high-z galaxy UM341, with z of .399, has companions with z of .488—which transforms to .064.

A similar relationship holds with the Abell compact galaxy clusters, which tend to have intermediate values of the Karlsson sequence. Objects with intrinsic z’s of .06 tend to be galaxies; those with z’s of 1.96 tend to be quasars. This sequence implies an evolution from ejected quasar to compact cluster to companion galaxy as the matter ages. It groups deep sky objects into families and genealogies of families.

The clue, for those who have a clue, is to look for groupings of objects whose z’s, when transformed to the rest frame of a likely parent, cluster closely around the Karlsson peaks. Likely parents can be sought by looking for pairs of objects on opposite sides of a galaxy whose z’s are slightly above and slightly below the Karlsson peaks, indicating velocities of ejection toward and away from the observer that are superimposed on the intrinsic z.

Arp et al. remark, “Moving the quasars closer than their redshift distance would reduce their physical size towards that of known clusters of bright apparent magnitude galaxies.” Their radiant output also would come more in line with what we know about the radiant properties of nearby matter. An intrinsic redshift universe would not have so many, if any, superluminous objects. The visible part, at least, would be much smaller than the Big Bang universe.

If the quasar cluster around AM2230-284 is at the same distance as that conventionally assigned to the “grandmother” galaxy (NGC 7361), it would be only 3 million light-years across.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Scientists Say Birds Did Not Descend From Dinosaurs

"There are some too who ascribe this heavenly sphere and all the worlds to spontaneity. They say that the vortex arose spontaneously, i.e. the motion that separated and arranged in its present order all that exists. This statement might well cause surprise. For they are asserting that chance is not responsible for the existence or generation of animals and plants, nature or mind or something of the kind being the cause of them (for it is not any chance thing that comes from a given seed but an olive from one kind and a man from another); and yet at the same time they assert that the heavenly sphere and the divinest of visible things arose spontaneously, having no such cause as is assigned to animals and plants. Yet if this is so, it is a fact which deserves to be dwelt upon, and something might well have been said about it. For besides the other absurdities of the statement, it is the more absurd that people should make it when they see nothing coming to be spontaneously in the heavens ...." -- Aristotle, Physics, Book II, 350 B.C.

Scientist now admit that Velociraptors never evolved wings and magically and miraculously flew off into the sunset: Bird-from-Dinosaur Theory of Evolution Challenged: Was It the Other Way Around?.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 10, 2010) — A new study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides yet more evidence that birds did not descend from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs, experts say, and continues to challenge decades of accepted theories about the evolution of flight.
More likely both dinosaurs and birds are descended from fire-breathing dragons.

D.C. Experiences Most Snow In History

Anthropogenic global warming mythology and virtually non-existent atmospheric carbon dioxide have teamed up to produce a most unlikely effect: Baltimore, DC Break Records For Snowiest Winter.

The last time D.C. experienced this much snow was ... never.

STERLING, Va. -- The current storm has put Baltimore and Washington over the top for their snowiest seasons on record.

The National Weather Service said as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, the seasonal snowfall totaled 72.3 inches at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
That's the most since record-keeping began in Baltimore in 1893. The previous record, from 1995-96, was 62.5 inches.

Meanwhile, Washington also reached a seasonal snowfall record on Wednesday. As of 2 p.m., there were 54.9 inches recorded at Reagan National Airport -- a half-inch above the previous record from the 1898-99 season.

Washington Dulles International Airport, broke its seasonal snowfall record on Tuesday with 63.5 inches. The previous record of 61.9 inches was set in the 1995-96 season.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Amygdala

Science Daily: Brain Location for Fear of Losing Money Pinpointed -- The Amygdala.

"A fully-functioning amygdala appears to make us more cautious," explains Ralph Adolphs, the Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. "We already know that the amygdala is involved in processing fear, and it also appears to make us 'afraid' to risk losing money."

"It may be that the amygdala controls a very general biological mechanism for inhibiting risky behaviour when outcomes are potentially negative, such as the monetary loss aversion which shapes our everyday financial decisions," comments Dr De Martino, a visiting researcher from UCL (University College London).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mike Tyson: Philosophy of a Spiritual Warrior

"... Eratosthenes says, as Favorinus quotes him, in the eighth book of his Universal History, that this philosopher, of whom we are speaking [Pythagoras], was the first [Greek] man who ever practised boxing in a scientific manner, in the forty-eighth Olympiad...." -- Diogenes Laertius, historian, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers: Pythagoras, 3rd century

"But you really have to look at the science of the situation." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, May 1st 2002

"Everybody says they believe in God but they don't do God's work. Everybody counteracts what God is really about." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, May 1st 2002

"Cus D'Amato was a physical person like I am. He was impulsive and impetuous like me. If somebody upset him, he would just go after them — even at 75. God, the psychologists would've had a field day with him." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, June 13th 2005

"You can disarm (people) with words. I probably have a 20,000 word vocabulary. I'll match my wits with anyone on literature, science, and the arts." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, June 13th 2005

"Listen, I got a imam, I got a rabbi, I got a priest, I got a reverend — I got 'em all. But I don't want to be holier-than-thou." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, June 13th 2005

"The past is a glorious moment. Isn't it? The past." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, 2007

"Cus was different with me than he was with his other fighters. Cus trained me to be totally ferocious in the ring and out." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, 2008

"Cus D'Amato would watch me for like, he didn't let me box he would just talk to me for like two or three weeks about fighting and the psychology of fighting and what fighting was truely about. Fighting was nothing physical it was all spiritual and he would say if you don't have the spiritual, spiritual warrior in you, you'll never be a good fighter, I don't care how big and strong you are. He explained that to me." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, 2008

"You know when I used to fight I used to look at myself as being some guy that faught some barbarian tribe or something. Some imperial leader. It was just really crazy stuff my mindset back then." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, 2008

"Well listen, I know it's gonna sound crazy but the guys that I most admired are guys like Sonny Liston and Jack Dempsey. Because out of all the fighters I watched them, not necessarily as a fighter, but I watched them when they came to the ring. I watched them. I read about their clippings before they fought. And what they had, and George Foreman did as well, but not like these two guys for some reason and that's why they're tied ... they had the ability to have a guy frozen in fear. Where a guy who was a great fighter could no longer perform at the height of his ability because he was so frozen in fear. And as I got older and I read around and I read these books ... and that's the art of war. Intimidation is the art of war. It's an art: intimidation. In intimidation ... you don't have to be a big guy to be intimidating. It's just a persona. It's a conduct in your character. Persona. How you conduct yourself." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, April 20th 2009

"He [Cus D'Amato] would be very disappointed if I felt some kind of emotion, compassion for somebody, especially if they were somebody with wealth. He said, 'They don't deserve any feelings. They deserve what they get.' ... He was really strange. That household was all about controlling your feelings." -- Michael J. Tyson, philosopher pugilist, October 2009

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Robotics Takes a Giant Leap Backwards

"Thetis of the silver feet came to the house of Hephaistos,
imperishable, starry, and shining among the immortals,
built in bronze for himself by the god of the dragging footsteps.
She found him sweating as he turned here and there to his billows
busily, since he was working on twenty tripods
which were to stand against the wall of his strong-founded dwelling.
And he had set golden wheels underneath the base of each one
so that of their own motion they could wheel into the immortal
gathering, and return to his house: a wonder to look at."
-- Homeros, poet, Iliad, XVIII:369-377, 8th century B.C.

"The programmable self-propelled machine might even go back as far as the 8th century B.C. ... It looks like the search for the earliest programmable robot is far from over." -- Noel Sharkey, computer scientist, July 2007

Robots continue to devolve: NASA, GM Take Giant Leap in Robotic Technology.

Engineers and scientists from NASA and GM worked together through a Space Act Agreement at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston to build a new [sic] humanoid robot capable of working side by side with people. Using leading edge control, sensor and vision technologies, future robots could assist astronauts during hazardous space missions and help GM build safer cars and plants.

The two organizations, with the help of engineers from Oceaneering Space Systems of Houston, developed and built the next iteration of Robonaut. Robonaut 2, or R2, is a faster, more dexterous and more technologically advanced robot. This new [sic] generation robot can use its hands to do work beyond the scope of prior humanoid machines. R2 can work safely alongside people, a necessity both on Earth and in space.

"This cutting-edge robotics technology holds great promise, not only for NASA, but also for the nation," said Doug Cooke, associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "I'm very excited about the new [sic] opportunities for human and robotic exploration these versatile robots provide across a wide range of applications."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Laughter of the Gods

"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods." -- Albert Einstein, mathematician, 1953

The gods laugh at universal gravitation and General Relativity.

"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision." -- Psalm 2:4

"The LORD shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming." -- Psalm 37:13

"But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision." -- Psalm 59:8

"I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;" -- Proverbs 1:26

"But among the blessed immortals uncontrollable laughter
went up as they saw Hephaistos bustling about the palace."
-- Homeros, poet, Iliad, Book I: 599-600, 8th century B.C.

"Uncontrollable laughter broke out among the blessed gods...."
-- Homeros, poet, Odyssey, Book VIII: 326, 8th century B.C.

"The gods too are fond of a joke." -- Aristotle, philosopher, 350 B.C.

"And to their foes a laughter; for in view
Stood ranked of Seraphim another row ...."
-- John Milton, poet, Paradise Lost, Book VI, 1667

"Jupiter only smiles, the other gods laugh out." -- Alexander Pope, poet, Iliad, 1718

Friday, February 5, 2010

Most Detailed Images of Pluto Since Hesiod

"Hades [Pluto] trembled where he rules over the dead below, and the Titans under Tartarus who live with Cronos [Saturn] ...." -- Hesiod, poet, Theogony, 8th century B.C.

"After the capture of Elis he [Mars] marched against Pylus and having taken the city he slew Periclymenus, the most valiant of the sons of Neleus, who used to change his shape in battle. And he slew Neleus and his sons, except Nestor; for he was a youth and was being brought up among the Gerenians. In the fight he also wounded Hades [Pluto], who was siding with the Pylians." -- Apollodoros, historian, The Library, Book II, 2nd century B.C.

Science Daily: New Hubble Maps of Pluto Show Surface Changes.

ScienceDaily (Feb. 5, 2010) — NASA has released the most detailed set of images ever taken of the distant dwarf planet Pluto. The images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show an icy and dark molasses-colored, mottled world that is undergoing seasonal changes in its surface color and brightness.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


William B. Stoecker: Abiotic.

Decades ago, some maverick researchers, most of them in the old Soviet Union, proposed that the fossil fuel theory is incorrect, and that most oil and gas is of abiotic origin, formed from methane and other carbon compounds trapped in the Earth when it was formed. They suggest that there is no “peak oil,” but that vast amounts of oil and gas are slowly rising from Earth’s mantle and the lower crust, enough to last us for thousands or even millions of years. Dmitri Mendeleev, a chemist, was one of the Soviet proponents of abiotic origin; many of the others were geologists. French chemist Marcellin Berthelot and American astronomer Thomas Gold were among the first Westerners to agree with them. Gold even convinced Swedish authorities to drill a test well in granite with no organic sediments over, under, or in it, and small amounts of oil were found. Oil and gas have been found elsewhere when wells penetrated below all the sediments, but skeptics claim that the oil somehow leaked down from overlying sediments, or that the rock layers had so folded and twisted that the igneous basement rocks were now above some sediments.

In the mud on ocean bottoms, vast amounts of methane are trapped in frozen hydrates or methane clathrates, far exceeding all the gas ever produced or found in proven reserves. Found at depths over 300 meters, the methane molecules, due to cold and pressure, are trapped in a kind of cage of water molecules and mixed with the sediments. The methane trapped in one small area off the coast of the Carolinas could, if we could extract it, supply the US with over fifty years of natural gas…and this is but a small part of the worldwide supply of clathrates. We may or may not be able to develop safe and economical ways of tapping this resource, but the sheer volume of the gas is hard to explain with the biological theory. The carbon alone in the clathrates is estimated at twice the total amount of carbon in all other “fossil fuel” deposits, and these include coal, which is mostly carbon.

Helium gas is found in some gas wells, enough to make it profitable to extract it. This light and inert gas, because it cannot burn, is used in balloons and airships. Being inert and non-reactive it cannot form compounds, including organic compounds. So everyone is forced to admit that helium is abiotic; it was trapped inside the Earth when our planet was formed. So if helium was trapped, why not methane?

Interstellar gas and dust clouds contain a variety of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds, obviously not formed from marine algae, compounds such as methane, formaldehyde, acetylene, ethylene, ketene, methanol, and benzene. In addition, the atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan is mostly methane, and no one seriously believes that oceans of liquid water and marine organisms exist on Titan, which is far from the Sun and colder than dry ice. So if methane and other hydrocarbons form in space and can be trapped on Titan, obviously some must have been trapped in the early Earth. In addition, some meteorites, called carbonaceous chondrites, contain kerogen, the supposed residue of marine organisms which is converted into petroleum…but there are no marine organisms in space, largely because there are no oceans. Currently accepted theory holds that the Earth was formed by the accretion of meteors, asteroids, and comets, so, along with the methane, significant amounts of kerogen had to have been trapped in our planet at its birth.

So it is virtually certain that much oil and gas (but probably not all of it) is of abiotic origin, and the amounts remaining are likely to far exceed all that we have tapped so far.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ballistic Cosmic Rays

Mel Acheson: Ballistic Cosmic Rays.

The European Space Agency announces that cosmic rays are caused by supernova shock waves.

A recent press release from the European Southern Observatory announces that “a unique ‘ballistic study’” proves that cosmic rays are caused by supernova shock waves bumping particles to near light speed.

One author of the study noted that astronomers have thought that for a long time, raising the question among skeptics whether the study proves instead the bias of belief: one tends to see (and to prove) what one believes. The author concludes: “that proves it.” Upon critical examination, “proves it” is found to mean that it’s allowed by my theory, so if I exclude all other possible theories mine has to be true.

One has to wonder: if these particle accelerators in the Milky Way are so “very efficient,” the particle physicists at the Large Hadron Collider should replace their inefficient electromagnetic device with one based on the new ballistic laws of electromagnetism. The particles can be accelerated by directing shock waves from explosions to bump them to high velocities. Farther down the ballistics totem pole, dentists can replace their inefficient x-ray machines that generate x-rays by accelerating electrons with electric fields, substituting the new machines that work with tiny but powerful shock waves. Your next x-ray won’t just buzz, it’ll bang.

The efficiency of transfer of energy from shock waves to particles and the number of particles so affected can only be determined by counting the number of cosmic rays and guessing the number of supernovae that could produce them. The theory must take as its initial assumption the conclusion it is said to prove, hence proving that tautologies are…tautologous.

Filaments. Pairs of filaments. Pairs of filaments spiraling around each other. Pairs of pairs of twisting filaments. Anyone familiar with plasma will immediately recognize them (in the image above, as in almost any image of a so-called supernova remnant) as Birkeland currents. Only an astronomer in intellectual free-fall with his eyes squeezed shut could fail to see plasma. And so astronomers see “gas” and “ballistics” where plasma researchers see electric currents, double layers, and electric fields. It’s probably significant that the press release uses the term “particles” exclusively, never “charged particles,” despite mentioning that they are protons.

When these twisted structures were first discovered, some astronomers tried to explain them with a physics of twisted shock waves. They never mentioned Birkeland currents. The physics was more twisted than the shock waves, and the astronomers moved on to more tractable problems. Now a few astronomers are beginning to refer to Birkeland currents but only with the assumption that they “don’t do anything.”

But Birkeland currents do “do things.” The study’s author is correct to note that “the energy that is used for particle acceleration is at the expense of heating” but is mistaken to append “the gas, which is therefore much colder than theory predicts.” It’s not gas, it’s plasma, and the study is using the wrong theory.

Birkeland currents are also known as field-aligned currents because the electric field of the current is aligned with the magnetic field. Charged particles are therefore accelerated in the direction of the field. Their random motion—which is what temperature measures—is reduced; therefore the plasma which they make up appears “colder” than would be expected from their being bumped by a shock wave in gas.

Perhaps it’s not the cosmic rays that have gone ballistic but the astronomers.