Sunday, May 27, 2007

History of writing in China

  • From the BBC: it looks like Chinese writing may be older than previously thought:
    State media say researchers identified more than 2,000 pictorial symbols dating back 8,000 years, on cliff faces in the north-west of the country. They say many of these symbols bear a strong resemblance to later forms of ancient Chinese characters. Scholars had thought Chinese symbols came into use about 4,500 years ago.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Werewolves in, well, not London

  • 'Do werewolves roam the woods of England?' asks Nick Redfern, over as There's Something in the Woods. He goes on to quote and analyze local newspaper reports from the woods of Cannock Chase. The gist of it is that there have been a rash of sitings such as the following:
    The creature was also apparently spotted by a scout leader walking over the forest land earlier in April. The man, who the Post stated did not want to be named, said he saw what he initially believed was a large dog prowling by the bushes. It was only when he got into his car to drive away that he realised something weird was afoot. He said: "It just looked like a huge dog. But when I slammed the door of my car it reared up on its back legs and ran into the trees. It must have been about six to seven feet tall. I know it sounds absolutely mad, but I know what I saw.”
    The comments to the entry are rather good too.
    The world is perhaps a lot more Buffyesque than commonly thought.

Friday, May 11, 2007


  • Paul Manansala, at blog Quests of the Dragon and Bird Clan, brings us an excellent post on the person of Jonitus, a figure later Christian mythology identifies as the 4th son of Noah. He is also identified with Prester John.
    For centuries, commentators have linked the origin of Prester John's name, Joannes or Johannes in Latin, with that of Oannes, the maritime sage mentioned in the Mesopotamian works of Berossus.
    Various theories find the origin of the name "Oannes" in forms like U-khan-na "Lord of the Fish," or Ea-khan "Ea the Fish" in the Akkadian language. Oannes shares attributes of the fish-like god Ea/Enki and also of the sage Adapa.
    There is some wonderful content in this entry, as in all of Paul's posts.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mandela on the meaning of Ubuntu, and traditional knowledge

  • The Christian Science monitor has a rather nice piece on the increased respect that Australian Aboriginal traditional scientific knowledge is receiving. It starts off
    To white Australians, the flocks of red-tailed black cockatoos which flap above tree canopies are a memorable highlight of any weekend hike. But to Aborigines, the parrots are living, squawking barometers.
    "A month ago when the cockatoos were flocking and the wattle bushes were flowering, we saw that as signs of rain," says Jeremy Clark, chief executive of the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre in the Grampian Mountains of Victoria State. "Sure enough, we've just had two weeks of rain."
    and pretty much carries on in that vein throughout. What I found most interesting, though, was the following little paragraph on the division of the year:
    The Northern Hemisphere pattern of spring, summer, fall, and winter sits uncomfortably with the reality of Australia's climate. Aboriginal tribes, in contrast, recognize up to seven distinct seasons. In the Sydney region, for instance, September and October are known by Aboriginal people as Murrai'yunggoray, the time when the red waratah flower blooms.
    It is followed by Goraymurrai, a period of warm, wet weather during which Aborigines would not camp near rivers for fear of flooding.
  • Nelson Mandela on Ubuntu:

Saturday, May 05, 2007

mtDNA studies, PKD, and JFK.

  • It's a small world: the BBC has an article on the surprise discovery of Native American mitochondrial DNA in the UK:
    DNA testing has uncovered British descendents of Native Americans brought to the UK centuries ago as slaves, translators or tribal representatives.
    Genetic analysis turned up two white British women with a DNA signature characteristic of American Indians.
    An Oxford scientist said it was extremely unusual to find these DNA lineages in Britons with no previous knowledge of Native American ancestry.
    Thanks to Dienekes' Anthropology Blog for the link.
  • The New York Times has a piece on Philip K. Dick. It's rather what you'd expect a New York Times article on PKD to be.
  • Juicy conspiracy theory nibbles from Saint John Hunt, son of E. Howard Hunt. According to the Saint John, his dad was indeed involved in the Kennedy assassination:
    Hunt was first made aware of what his father knew about the events of November 22nd 1963 when he came into receipt of hand-written memos that outlined the birth of the plot to kill JFK in Miami where it was discussed that a coup needed to take place in order to topple Kennedy and save the CIA from being splintered into a thousand pieces, as JFK had promised.
    Saint John then opened his mailbox one January morning in 2004 to discover an unlabeled cassette tape on which his father details the identity of the individuals that were involved in the actual assassination of JFK.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Latin is for the undead

  • Latin is cool. And sexy. And now Maine students are cottoning to that too:
    "It's a zombie language. It's kind of undead," explained Paul Bayley, 16, a Scarborough High School junior who eagerly joined his classmates last week in translating and discussing a battle scene passage from the "Aeneid" by Virgil in a Latin class. "It's awesome. You learn so much."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sumo, babies, and Naxalites

  • The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting piece on the Naxalite (Maoist) uprising in Chhattisgarh State, India.
    The threat posed by the Maoists is widely contested. Like many others, the leader of Salwa Judum, Mahendra Karma, calls them the greatest threat to Indian democracy. But the Naxalites' capabilities are limited. They can carry out quick strikes from their jungle redoubts, experts say, but they cannot take a small district seat like Dantewada, much less Delhi.
  • Those crazy sumo.

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...