Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Academic blogs, Roman imperial sceptres, and early Europeans

  • As the Beano lads used to say when faced with something tasty: Sloo! At least, I think that's what they said. It's been a while. Anyway... check out the Academic Blog Portal. Yum.
  • From the Telegraph: the only Roman imperial sceptre found thus far is going on display.
    The sceptre, which is topped by a blue orb that represents the earth, was discovered at the end of last year and is believed to have been held by Emperor Maxentius, who ruled for six years until 312AD.
    It was found at the base of the Palatine hill, carefully wrapped in silk and linen and then placed in a wooden box. Alongside it were other boxes holding two other imperial battle standards and ceremonial lance heads. The depth of the burial allowed archaeologists to date the find to Maxentius' rule.
  • Going much further back, a study has just been published that confirms that Neolithic Europeans were unable to digest milk:
    The first direct evidence that early Europeans were unable to digest milk has been found by scientists at UCL (University College London) and Mainz University.
    In a study, published in the journal 'PNAS', the team shows that the gene that controls our ability to digest milk was missing from Neolithic skeletons dating to between 5840 and 5000 BC. However, through exposure to milk, lactose tolerance evolved extremely rapidly, in evolutionary terms.
    (I first saw the story at Dienekes' Anthropology Blog.)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Vanishing dialects

  • Got this via the languagehat blog. The Telegraph reports that:
    A rare dialect that is only spoken by two elderly brothers is to be recorded for posterity before it disappears.
    Bobby Hogg, 87, and his brother Gordon, 80, are believed to be the last fluent speakers of the "Cromarty fisher dialect".
    It is said to be the most threatened dialect in Scotland and is to be recorded for an internet-based cultural archive.
    I wonder how many other dialects or whole languages will in future be preserved only through sound recording. A hell of a lot better than not being preserved at all, I suppose.
    Here's a list of extinct languages for your edification. Most are ancient, but many are recent ones that have died out. (e.g. there are many Native American languages in the list.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New JFK video, why I keep the sound down, social networking, and Quests of the Dragon and Bird Clan

  • A new video of JFK's assassination surfaces. From the BBC:
    Amateur photographer George Jefferies held onto the film for more than 40 years believing it was unimportant.
    And on the possible implications:
    ...the president's jacket was riding high on his back, the entry wound in his body did not appear to match the expected position in his coat, which would add fuel to claims that more than three shots were fired.
  • This is why I keep the sound low:
    WAUKESHA - An Oconomowoc man who thought he heard a woman being raped allegedly busted through a neighbor’s door, carrying a sword, only to find the neighbor watching pornography.
  • Not dead yet: although everybody seems to be on Myspace or Tribe, my Friendster account is being to see a lot of action again. No Orkut invite yet. Huh, looks like they have opened up Orkut up to general use. Just created a basic profile.
  • I realize that I just wrote about this yesterday, but Paul Manansala's 'Quests of the Dragon and Bird Clan' blog is quite brilliant. Take a look at his post regarding the Sambatyon River:
    The first mention of a river of sand and stones connected in some way with the "lost tribes" actually occurs in Islamic literature. A group known as the "people of Moses" is mentioned in the Quran, and the commentator Muqatil bin Sulayman (767 CE) associates them with the lost tribes. He further places the people of Moses, numbering 70,000, beyond a river of sand in China. Several hadith tell of how the people of Moses dug a tunnel from the Temple Mount to or beyond China where they lived pious lives, and where Muhammed introduced them to Islam during his "night journey."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Extreme alarm clock and the King of the East

  • An alarm clock that I really don't want
    The Sonic Bomb Clock has an adjustable volume alarm with a maximum loudness of 113 decibels (just for reference, a jackhammer is about 100 decibels!) And the bed shaker does just that. Slip it under your mattress and your ears will bleed and your bed will shake, and there is no way you will oversleep.
    Jesus Christ. That's one Thinkgeek gadget I'm not coveting.
  • Another very tasty blog: Quests of the Dragon and Bird Clan. Take this post on the King of the East as an instance:
    Jewish, Zoroastrian, Christian and to a lesser extent Muslim traditions all possess a theme of the "King of the East" as a key player in apocalyptic times.
    Concepts of cyclic change that began at least by the Middle Kingdom in Egypt appear to have contributed to Egyptian millennarianism in the first few centuries before the era among gnostic and Jewish apocalyptic sects. Interestingly at about the same time in China to the East, ideas of a future millennarian age initiated by a reincarnationa of Laozi also come to fore. This was at about the same time that the Fangshi wizards preached the wisdom of venturing to Penglai, the isle of immortals. During this period, there is evidence of contact between East and West both overland via the Silk Road and by sea via the maritime spice routes.

    Concepts of both a savior king and a destructive king of the "antichrist" type are clearly present during this period.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

UFOs, black dogs, and lots of flickr

  • At UFOMystic, Nick Redfern writes of the connection between UFOs and the large black dogs common in British cryptozoological lore. After relating one quite gripping story, he asks
    ...this raises deep and important questions about both Ufology and Cryptozoology, such as: how many of the still-elusive things that we pursue are flesh-and-blood entities, and how many may - in reality - originate in realms far stranger than we can possibly imagine?
  • I've downloaded a few more old snapshots, from the 1988 Cape Town castle excavations: CT Castle Excavation1 Stoneware with Toothbrush
  • A flickr slideshow of some very sweet casemods.
  • And here is a flickr photo from my Northern Illinois University days, currently no. 200 in my viewed list: DeKalb Street

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Vultures - and whining

On a personal note, I gotta say that starting work at 3 AM fucking sucks. But enough boring personal stuff. First off:

  • More exciting news from Cryptomundo. A species of vulture once thought extinct has been found in Cambodia:
    The vulture colony was discovered in January 2007, in the rainforests east of the Mekong River in Cambodia’s Stung Treng Province, according to Michael Casey’s Associated Press Bangkok-based dispatch for February 7, 2007. The slender-billed vultures were believed extinct throughout Southeast Asia, including Thailand and Cambodia, and only having been found in northern India recently.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Library in Mogadishu, UFO music

  • The Washington Post has a short article on the Mogadishu City library entitled 'In the Heat of War, a literary refuge' After reading it I found myself wondering if there was a way to get donations to them. A little googling found that indeed there is, via the Zaylai Foundation.
  • Take me to your leader! Over at UFOmystic, Greg has been bringing us UFO-related music from his personal collection (which is pretty impressive, and I bet it has even grown apace since I last saw it.) They're available for download.

Stuff I Collect - Militaria

Stuff I Collect - Militaria WW2 WWII First 1st Allied Airborne pin OPA ration token (1 blue) WW1 U.S. Shipyard Voluntee...