Author: Martin R
Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two. View all posts by Martin R
Aardvarchaeology – by Dr. Martin Rundkvist
Scandinavian archaeology, history, skepticism, books and music
480 thoughts on “Open Thread For December”
Oh dear. The government might have fibbed a bit.
“Brexit Deal Gives EU Citizens More Rights in UK Than British Citizens. ”
Taking an overview of the brexit deal, otherwise known as the UK EU trade and co-operation agreement, and it is clear that Boris Johnson has given the EU everything that they wanted, as was inevitable if he wanted a deal. It means that many UK based employers would prefer to hire EU workers, over UK workers, because they have more rights and freedoms to travel around Europe now. It is also a deal that gives the EU what it wants on the important trade in goods, and does nothing for the trade in services, which is what’s important to the UK. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Wi1bXeYGW0
In case any reader is interested in digging deeper into the subjects,
this will give you plenty to do before the vaccine arrives!
I copied the text from Jay Smiths 40-minuters post at Youtube, titled
25 Confusing Qira’at Claims, Confronted & Confounded
Dr Jay Smith (24/12 2020 ):
Jay goes through 25 claims Muslims make about the Qira’at and confronts them all, debunking them in this 48-minute video.
1) He begins by confronting the notion that the 10 Qira’at were somehow all early, yet they aren’t, written and created between 736 AD – 1429 AD, which is 100 to 800 years after Muhammad died!
2) The belief that ibn Mujahid (936) approved all the Qira’at is false, as he only approved 7
3) What’s more, Hafs, which is the final Qira’at today is not part of the 7
4) 95% of the Muslim world use Hafs reading, while 3% use Warsh (in North Africa), 1% follow Ibn Aamir (Yemen), .07% follow Qaloon (Libya, Tunisia & Qatar), and .03% read Al Dooree (Sudan & W. Africa)
5) I’jam (dots) and Harakat (vowels) did not exist in the Arabic script in the 7th century, but were introduced in the 8th century
6) Vowels aren’t the only variants found in the Qira’at, as variants also included I’jam (dots). Examples are found in Surahs 2:58, 2:140, 2:219, and 2:271
7) Uthman didn’t omit dots and vowels in 652 AD to accommodate differing readings, since they didn’t exist that early
8) No Muslim seems to know what the ‘al-sab’at ahruf’ really means, with al Suyuti introducing 35 different interpretations
9) Many Muslims confuse the ‘al-sab’at ahruf’ (supposedly revealed to Muhammad) with the ‘Qira’at al-Sab’ (chosen by ibn Mujahid in 936)
10) The first person to even refer to them was the Muwatta of Malik, in 796 AD, which is 60 years after the first Qira’at was written (Ibn Aamir in 736), and 163 years after Muhammad!
11) Muslims don’t understand ‘al-sab’at ahruf’ because they don’t even know what the word ‘Harf’ really means, with around 20 different definitions referenced in their dictionary
12) Is it modes of recitations, or manners of pronunciation, or dialects, or just words, or even letters…no one can say
13) The Qira’at are at times confused with the Ahruf, and Muslims believe Uthman introduced them, yet where is the source for this?
14) Should we suggest that the Ahruf come from Muhammad, with no examples that early, whereas the Qira’at were first introduced by ibn Mujahid, over 300 years later?
15) It’s clear Muslims forget to note that the 10 ‘Best of the Best’ were only chosen by al-Jazari in 1429, which is 800 years too late!
16) ‘Shawadhdh’, or irregular readings were thrown out because they didn’t agree with the earliest Rasm text, but this makes no sense, since we are only talking about dots and vowels, not consonants
17) One cannot compare with any 7th century Rasm Consonantal text, since none exists today, nor has ever existed
18) Consensus is demanded to choose the canonical Qira’at, so where was that consensus when the Hafs was chosen in 1924? [when scholars in Cairo chose to standardise on Hafs, sinking the other Qurans into the Nile, my comment. BJ]
19) If the Hafs Qira’at is now considered the canonical text, why is it not one of the original 7, or even one of the 10?
20) Hafs was considered “unreliable, weak, untrustworthy, containing objectionable materials, with fabricated chains (isnad), a liar, and was thus avoided…so why was his chosen?
21) Hafs comes from Kufa, the city considered by Uthman as corrupted, whose manuscripts he burned in 652 AD
22) Didn’t the Hafs go through minor adjustments between 1924 and 1936, proving that it was manipulated by men?
23) Which of the 30 official Qira’at Qur’ans is the one in heaven, or the one revealed to Muhammad by Jibril, or the one which was written down by Uthman in 652 AD?
24) With all that has been exposed in 2020, so Muslims still believe that the Qur’an we have today is the same “word for word, letter for letter” as that which was revealed to Muhammad in 632, or remains in heaven eternally?
25) Finally, where is this ubiquitous Uthmanic Qur’an Muslims keep talking about, and when can they show us the first complete Qur’anic manuscript (i.e. all 114 Surahs) which is exactly “word for word, letter for letter” like the Hafs Qur’an we have today?
The Midnight Sky (2020): I’d like to say this is a fine effort, because it did work me over emotionally somewhat in places, when I wasn’t bored out of my brain and idly predicting when the next dramatic thing would happen, but the truth is, it’s just not up to scratch, and the storyline doesn’t work. I hate saying that, because it should have been really good, but it isn’t. Don’t let me put anyone off watching it, because it does have its moments, but don’t blame me if you find that it drags in places, because it does, and if it leaves you feeling like it could have been a lot better, because it could have.
One of the things that happened during the Japanese occupation of HK during WWII was that the Japs destroyed all of the official records. The whole bloody lot – everything.
So fast forward to now, and construction workers preparing a site for development have just unearthed an underground reservoir that was constructed more than 100 years ago, that absolutely no one had a clue was there. One of the cast iron pipes has the date 1909 stamped on it – otherwise no one has any idea when it was constructed.
So work has stopped while it is assessed for heritage value. There’s a bit of a problem though – like I said, it’s underground, and it’s not safe for people to go down there. If they decide it must be preserved, I don’t know how they will do that and make it accessible to the public. If it cannot be made accessible to the public, what heritage value does it have? Someone must be able to answer that question, but I wouldn’t have a clue.
In the meantime, obviously quite a few members of the public are going down there anyway, despite the construction workers warning them that it’s not safe. Of course they are.
This would have been a legal problem in Sweden too before 2014, when our heritage protection law got a firm forward end date for the first time: 1849.
HK only became a British colony in 1842. Before then there wasn’t much here at all, aside from some rather elegant walled villages in the New Territories (walled because some of the outlying islands were frequented by some notorious pirates), and a fishing village which hardly existed in form at all because the fisherfolk lived on board their boats.
I should have added that the reservoir has obviously long been disused, but no one knows when it was decommissioned because no one had a clue it was there. Why is it a problem now? Because it includes a series of very high and very elegant masonry arches, and people who have been down there and seen it want it to be preserved (and from some photos taken of the arches, they do have a point).
Why did the builders make it so pretty if it is underground and not visible to anyone on the surface? No idea – those old Victorian Era civil engineers tried to make everything they built look pretty, even things destined to be invisible. A hell of a lot of skilled craftsmanship went into those arches, but those were the days when China had a lot of skilled masons – they built those beautiful arches because they could. And the masons weren’t paid much, so why not? You could call it a bit of a pointless vanity project, I suppose, but it’s there, and no one wants it to be demolished.
It’s head-scratching time.
The first thing is that the antiquities people will need to evaluate it. If they decide it simply must be preserved, which seems quite likely, just because of public pressure if nothing else, I have no idea where they go from there. At the moment it is only accessible through a hole in the ground and down a very high and dodgy old vertical cast iron ladder – which numerous members of the public including one guy in his 70s have been perfectly happy to climb down, and up again, despite urgent pleading by the construction workers trying to guard the site not to risk it.
Having said that, I wouldn’t mind the design job of working out how to safely develop the surface site while making the reservoir publicly accessible and visible underneath. I won’t get it though.
I see to recall the Japanese dynamited the imperial palace of the Korean dynasty they overthrew, and when they took over the German territories in the pacific they tore down the old government buildings. Like Chin Shi Huang Di they wanted to obliterate any traces of the history that preceded them.
Films: It is hard to pull off a long, serious film.
Even The Good, The Bad And The Ugly has some slow parts in the middle, and Sergio Leone was a master.
Bergman could pull it off. So could Tarkovsky. Fellini….. maybe, he was not really my cup of tea.
Apparently, the brain-eating amoeba is still spreading in USA, because, 2020 .
The Chinese local authorities clearly did not like that citizen journalists pointed out the outbreak was worse than the authorities claimed, so one of them was sentenced to prison.
Brit conservative newspapers keep gaslighting the voters by claiming the EU agreement is the bestest ever. The financial sector in London is screwed, but who cares?
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) was this spoof TV series, with a human and some robots on a space station watching the absolutely worst Z-grade films loudly commenting on them, with some minor sketches in between.
It is great fun just going through the plot summaries at IMDB .
(inspired by the films, one robot forces the human to read his film script “Earth Versus Soup”)
A. How to get yourself into trouble in China:
1. If you are at a loose end because you are an out of work lawyer, because you are too lazy to work and are no good at it anyway, travel to a city that has been locked down because it has a major outbreak of a previously unknown highly infectious and potentially fatal disease.
2. Evade the authorities and enter the city illegally.
3. Go to the nearest major public hospital where they are overwhelmed trying to treat people infected with the highly infectious disease, and enter the hospital illegally.
4. Take out your phone and start filming patients being treated, thereby violating their right to personal privacy.
5. When hospital staff ask you to stop filming patients, stop walking around the hospital into areas closed to the public without wearing the necessary personal protective equipment, and leave the hospital immediately, ignore them and keep filming them. Tell the hospital staff that you are a ‘citizen journalist’ and that you are exercising your right to observe and document what the hospital staff are doing, while getting in their way and obstructing them while they are urgently trying to treat critically ill patients.
6. When the hospital staff call security and ask them to remove you from the hospital, ignore the security staff and keep filming. Tell the security staff that you are a ‘citizen journalist’ and that you are exercising your right, etc.
7. When you get bored with that, find a room to rent, pull out your laptop and set up a blog.
8. Have a wanking good time by sitting all day every day spewing out endless false stories you have fabricated about how the authorities are seriously mishandling the situation.
9. Tell people to ignore government orders to stay home, saying that it is perfectly OK to go out and have a wanking good time wandering around without a mask, getting infected and infecting other people.
10. Ignore authorities who tell you to stop spreading false information and misleading people in a serious crisis situation.
11. Get arrested. Go on a hunger strike because your personal rights are being abused. This will have the gratifying result that the international media (aka the Murdoch press) will turn you into an instant martyr.
B. How to get yourself into trouble anywhere else in the world:
1. to 11. as above, except that the international media will ignore you, so you don’t get the gratification of martyrdom.
There has not been much new Swedish COVID19 statistics released since before Christmas, I expect to see much more news Tuesday 14.00.
We could easily get 300+ fatalities reported in one shot.
The meetings around Christmas should result in more cases arriving into hospital, but the report lag time could make the peak invisible until the end of the week.
AstraZeneca have the go-ahead in Britain, still no news from EU.
Sweden has finally the legislation in the pipeline to give the government the right for more intrusive anti-spreading rules. Slooow reaction.
More antifungal medicines developed, courtesy of the intestinal fauna of sea squirts.
So, as an infection control measure, Western Australia closed its border with the rest of Australia. It worked. WA is coronavirus-free, aside from infected seamen taken off board cargo vessels from other countries on humanitarian grounds and isolated in infectious disease wards in hospitals. In WA, ‘old normal’ life goes on, because there is no coronavirus.
But people being people, some people defied the legal order and sneaked across the border. Some have been caught doing it, arrested, charged, convicted, sentenced and imprisoned. In a pandemic, infection control is a very serious business. By sheer luck, none of these people managed to spark a major disease outbreak in WA.
How much attention have the media paid to these people who have been imprisoned? Inside Australia, at most there have been minor headlines and small stories castigating the people concerned for being irresponsible, selfish and putting other people at risk, which have quickly disappeared. Outside of Australia, they haven’t rated a mention.
So currently, WA is paradise. Summer has arrived, people are frolicking in the blinding sunshine on the beautiful white sand beaches sans masks, and infection risk = zero. Don’t try to go there – you can’t. No international flights are permitted to land. If you come from WA and want to go back, hard luck – you will just have to do what Western Australians are long accustomed to doing and Wait Awhile. (After all, as the old joke goes, that is what WA stands for – Wait Awhile.)
Somehow, some of the international media have got it into their heads that this means WA has seceded from the Commonwealth of Australia. It hasn’t. The state’s left wing Premier has been criticised by other state Premiers for inhibiting people’s freedom of movement around the country, and he has responded by telling them to fuck off. (Subsequently, other states have observed how well the WA strategy has worked and have also closed their borders at various times, but on-again off-again doesn’t work – as New Zealand, Vietnam and China demonstrated, you need to lock it down and keep it locked down until you are at corona-zero; then you can open up and your economy can start to recover.)
Zhang Zhan was critical of the early response in Wuhan, writing in February that the government “didn’t give people enough information, then simply locked down the city.”
“This is a great violation of human rights,” she wrote.
How much information is enough information, when you are overwhelmed by an epidemic? Don’t forget that the Wuhan government gave an advance warning that they would be locking down the city, and ¾ of a million people fled out of Wuhan before it was locked down – and international commentators were highly critical of the Wuhan government for giving advance notice and letting people “escape.”
And maybe it was a violation of human rights, but locking down all of the cities in Hubei Province on the eve of the Spring Festival, when everyone normally sets out across country to go to their home villages, prevented the coronavirus infecting the whole of the rest of China, which would have been a major humanitarian disaster which would have spread like wildfire to the rest of the world.
And the lockdown was not forever – it was lifted completely after a couple of months. OK, no doubt they were a really tough couple of months, but today Wuhan is free of the virus, and people are happily walking the streets not even wearing masks.
And Zhang didn’t stop there – she went on and on and on, criticising every single thing that the government did, and trying to disrupt their infection control efforts.
And don’t forget she is not from Wuhan – when it was locked down, being unemployed and having nothing to do, she raced there, entered illegally and inserted herself so that she could what she could to try to disrupt their infection control efforts, all in the name of “human rights.” She deliberately went there to provoke the authorities and try to disrupt their efforts and make trouble for them. To make their already huge task just that much more difficult.
And somehow that makes her a hero? A martyr? What about people’s human right not to get infected and die a premature and horrible death?
Birger, please explain it to me – I am desperate to learn the “right” way, Swedish style.
From my old mate Nury Vittachi: “This column last year made a joke about China extending its jurisdiction to the moon.
This week, an Australian magazine called ASPI Strategist published a totally serious article saying that China left a flag there “to use the flag-planting to justify the extension of its jurisdiction to activities on the lunar surface.”
So there we have it. You can make up literally any wacko fantasy and some China-hater somewhere will send it out as actual news.”
Ummm, those of us old enough to remember the first moon landing distinctly remember Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planting the Stars and Stripes on the moon. It’s still there, along with all of the other American flags planted by subsequent American moon-walkers. I presume the Russians did the same – dunno.
ASPI are the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a far right wing organisation staffed principally by retired Australian military types (you know the ones who murder unarmed Afghans, like cutting the throats of two 14 year old boys and dumping their bodies in a river?) which has dedicated itself to mobilising the free world to overthrow the evil Chinese global hegemony…erm…which doesn’t actually exist, at least not yet.
I was also entertained to read that on Christmas Day, someone called Juliet Samuel reported in the Daily Telegraph (UK rag) that Hong Kong is now “a very large, very hostile prison.” Erm…what? Not true, my wife lets me go outside to play several times every day.
That is going to stop tomorrow. Today I have been basking in glorious sunshine and 25C. Tomorrow the temperature will plummet, and by Thursday it will be 4C. And the good people in Shekou (city just over the border from HK, not to be confused with Shenzhen or any of the other 7 cities in the Greater Bay Area – the Pearl River delta is a bloody big thing, OK? The Pearl is China’s third largest river) are telling me that the cold spell is going to be prolonged, through January and into the first half of February, thanks to La Nina, and it is possible that we could be in for the coldest winter in 60 years. The HK Observatory are not admitting that to anyone, but fortunately I have Shekou to keep me adequately informed of what to expect.
I have already emailed the HKSAR Government to tell them they can forget about getting my vaccination shots ready and give them to someone else – I will be dead from hypothermia before the coronavirus can get me.
“I presume the Russians did the same – dunno.”
As far as we know (though some claim that Hitler is there when not in Antarctica), the have been only 6 people on the moon. The last one was the first scientist, geologist Harrison Schmitt (who is now an AGW sceptic). Whether Soviet probes planted flags, I don’t know.
The USSR did not, so far as I recall, ever send a human beyond low Earth orbit, and Russia’s manned space program has consisted of Mir and the International Space Station. There style was always to do unmanned probes.
As Phillip notes, there were six American manned missions that landed on the moon. Each mission had two people land on the surface while the third remained in orbit about the moon, so there are twelve humans known to have been on the moon.
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Wonder where lunar research would be today if the Apollo programme had kept the funding and skipped the humans. Yes, I know that this could never have happened.
Birger, here is one for you to chase down: The Very Excellent Mr Dundee (2020), starring(?) a very geriatric Paul Hogan, described as “one of the worst things ever made in the history of cinema.”
If WA has seceded, maybe you can put the worst film makers there.
As for China I am limited to…. OK, this is what Chomsky meant with his criticism of the available media favoring the status quo worldview.
Belgium has a very low rate of new infections. In the springtime everyone infected apparently travelled through the country and made sure the infection rate was among the worst.
New hospital admissions are on the same level as before in Stockholm and the two most northerly regions.
205 deaths were added to the total record today.
December 6th the total death toll was 81, so we are approaching springtime death rates.
I am flabbered and gasted by the sudden appearence of a decent snow layer!
Still no news about the Astra Zeneca vaccine approval process.
The pandemic will not be beaten until the most socially active are vaccinated. As they are those who generally are in least danger of dying they will get it last.
After today 2020 has only two days left so… tsunami? Asteroid coming in from an unexpected direction? All the good TV comedians (not many) dying in a freak accident?
No, while the pandemic is on, WA is one of the best areas on earth to be in!
Ha! After new year’s eve, the only English to be one of the official languages of EU will be Irish English. Maybe to be joined by Scottish English.
The Queen’s English… not so much. And there are plenty of people in UN who think there are other countries that are more justified in having a permanent seat at the security council. If Britain should get bumped down for the benefit of India, the gammons will explode.
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That Germany has no such seat and the UK and France do is obsolete.
And China and Russia and the US when the topic is security? Give me a break!
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Not saying everything in China is OK; definitely not the case, there is bad stuff, and some really bad stuff. But Chinese are not aliens from another galaxy, they’re human, and China has good and bad stuff just like every other country. I’m just looking for balance, reality and truth.
So how to know the truth, taking what Chomsky said? Well, that is the very difficult part, because all of the mainstream media are pushing ideology of one sort or another, and that goes doubly for the Chinese media.
The only way I know is to find individual people who are truth-tellers, and talk to them. Of course, no one knows everything, but if you tap into a network of truth tellers, then you can get the main stuff. How can you tell a truth teller? If you talk to someone long enough, it becomes obvious, because they will agree that some things are good and some things are bad; i.e. they will be balanced and grounded.
The last thing you want is to be in an echo chamber. And at present, the Anglosphere mainstream media are a big echo chamber. Beijing is trampling on HK. No it’s not – you know it’s not, because I’m in HK and I can tell you that no one has done anything of the sort. I’m ideologically indifferent and have no reason to lie to you, and every reason to tell you the truth as I see it. But read any msm about HK, and it will tell you the same story, that Beijing is trampling on HK. The echo chamber is so strong, that everyone outside of HK, and China, thinks it simply must be true, because every single Western news outlet is saying the same thing.
That’s OK, not their fault. But what pisses me off is when someone like me tells them it’s all false, and they refuse to believe me. What do they think, that the CCP is paying me 50 cents a word to spread propaganda? I’m not even Chinese. Maybe they think I’m deluded. I’m not. I spend a lot of time striving to discern reality – it’s the most important thing.
Speaking of bias…why am I so concerned about British dying from Bojo mismanagement and less so by Indians dying from Modi mismanagement?
Part of this is familiarity. I feel like a neighbor of inspectors Barnaby, Dalgleish, Morse and Frost. And of Simon Templar (the Roger Moore verson).
Half the black and white films were from Britain; I cheered on the inhabitants of Todday as they salvaged all that whisky from under the nose of the authorities.
USA… part of that is physical distance. And I have been conditioned to expect bad things to happen there, it is like Japan with all the disaster movies. This sounds trivial, but emotions do not follow logic.
Also, we first care about people we know. I know some Americans and hope they will be fine but the other 300 million inevitably become abstract.
Most of the dead are in third world countries. If you have been in a specific country you feel a connection but the rest drown in the diagrams .
Martin Lambie, co-creator of Spitting Image has died at 75.
Gösta Linderholm, singer and musician remembered by those who grew up in the seventies, has died at 79.
“Also, we first care about people we know.” Do we? I feel no such special affinities, myself.
It has mattered greatly to me during my professional career that I have been protecting human lives, and that I have been good at it because I strived to be the best at it that I could be. That most of them are Chinese and anonymous to me has been totally irrelevant to me – they are ‘my people’ because they are mine to protect. They could be Brazilian, African, Indian or Inuit, they would still be mine. Argentines and British mmmaybe not so much. And Dutch, I have never liked them much. Danes. Belgians. Germans are OK.
On the other hand, it wouldn’t bother me that much if Mt Gambier erupted again tomorrow, which it could. Not my job, not my people to protect, not my problem, even though they are supposed to be ‘my people’ – they are not. Of course every death is a tragedy, but not especially more tragic than any other. It last erupted only 5,000 years ago, which befuddles people who think volcanic eruptions only happen on plate boundaries. Some Aboriginal people claim to have oral history of the last eruption, although that is at least somewhat questionable. But it’s possible – a lot of the less decultured Abos still avoid the area. Maybe they are the smart ones.
….there is a volcanic site in Germany, I think it is not far from Aachen. It has not been active for very long, but counting it out is stupid. Evacuating the region in AD 5000 is indeed not my problem.
If I am to have a chance to keep new year’s resolutions, I would have to promise to get even fatter, or more wasteful.
I certainly intended to complain a lot about the way things are. And I will continue to view myself as the center of the universe.
Positive resolutions: no drinking or murdering. Mainly because it is too much trouble.
Latest statistic update: only Scania sees a significant rise in total number of hospitalised COVID cases. Maybe the post-Christmas peak will not show up for a week or two, maybe…. there will not be any?
The Moderna vaccine is expected to be approved by EU authorities January 6th, the Astra Zeneca vaccine will be approved once a big clinical study in USA is done, early February or late January.
From Mano Singham Why this desire to humiliate by the police? https://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2020/12/29/why-this-desire-to-humiliate-by-the-police/#more-62427
Congressman-elect Luke Letlow Dies Of COVID-19 Complications
The 41-year-old Louisiana Republican was set to be sworn in next week.https://www.huffpost.com/entry/congressman-elect-luke-letlow-dead-covid-19_n_5febeb4fc5b66809cb351d3a
This is…unsettling. And we are not even talking about “Deep Time” here.
”Eventually, Everyone We Know Now Won’t Be Known By Anyone”
Jammy bastard animals hibernating! http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2020/12/29/jammy-bastard-animals-hiberating/
Goddammit! Even more selfish bastards in the animal world.
“Torpor: a neat survival trick once thought rare in Australian animals is actually widespread” https://phys.org/news/2020-12-torpor-neat-survival-thought-rare.html
Stars that vary in brightness shine in the oral traditions of Aboriginal Australians https://phys.org/news/2017-11-stars-vary-brightness-oral-traditions.html
The world’s oldest story? Astronomers say global myths about ‘seven sisters’ stars may reach back 100,000 years https://phys.org/news/2020-12-world-oldest-story-astronomers-global.html
The Nashville explosion:
“It was not a terrorist, it was a white man!”
Palatan, the capital of Lombok has been lost underneath the ashes of an eruption 750 years ago.
It would be cool if Etna has preserved Sicilian bronze-age settlements, but I think it is the wrong kind of volcano for “Plinian” volcanism. And Italic bronze-age villages near Vesuvius probably did not have much of a material culture.
I am told the Levant has several volcanoes that have been active within the last ten thousand years. In theory, they might have preserved settlements right at the transition between the mesolithic and neolithic.
Furthermore, the settlements in northern Mesopotamia/Eastern Syria where writing may have emerged could be in the time bracket for local eruptions but it is probably too much to hope for a pseudo-Pompeji of this time slice.
Italic bronze-age villages near Vesuvius probably did not have much of a material culture.
They had roughly the kind of material culture that most Scandinavians enjoyed up to about AD 1200. The kind, that is, I’ve spent most of my life studying. So I would be absolutely thrilled if a BA village was found under a volcanic layer near Vesuvius! We have something almost as good at Must Farm near Peterborough in England.
There is a theory that YHWH was originally a volcano god. “A pillar of smoke by day, a pillar of fire at night,” sounds like a pretty good first-order description of an erupting volcano to me.
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OK, now we need to work out how to spot remnants of settlements under thick layers of tufa. Unusual elements/isotopes seeping upwards from the settlement ruins?
Great quote from MST3K; Legend of the Dinosaurs.
“You would think people would stop setting themselves adrift in the monster-infested waters after the reports of monsters in the monster-infested waters “
Big quick clay slide in southern Norway. With quick clays, it’s really more like collapse and flow than slide.
Those things remain dangerous because there is no obvious marker, no cinder cone, no fault line in the ground. Just clay waiting to be saturated with water once you have built on top of it.
In 2015, 80% of Americans polled said they wanted foods containing DNA to have that information included on the label.
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In the UK, a man has been knighted for driving a car in circles.
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, now Sir Lewis Hamilton, has eclipsed the record of the legendary Michael Schumacher, but does not command the same huge legions of fans world wide that Schumacher had. He’s black (well, sort of), which is admittedly a disadvantage when it comes to global adulation, at least among those who follow the incomprehensible and crushingly boring ‘spectacle’ of motor racing, which was hitherto and still overwhelmingly is a ‘white man’s sport’.
Schumacher still has legions of faithful fans who hang on every word issued about his medical condition. His family have maintained an impenetrable veil of secrecy about him, occasionally issuing misleading statements about his ‘progress’, to conceal the fact, now finally known, that he has actually been unresponsive and in a vegetative state ever since he hit his head while skiing, from which he has never shown any sign of emerging. Why they have maintained this subterfuge defies understanding. Why? Maybe they have been in denial themselves all this time, and have only now admitted the sad truth to themselves – the lights are on, but there is no one home.
A lot of tories have been knighted under Bojo for reasoning in circles…
I do not know much about the virus variant from South Africa, it was identified recently and much of the testimonies are anecdotal but if it is increasing relative the previous variant, it must be easier to catch.
Kamala Harris has taken the vaccine in public to boost confidence in it despite desinformation by the anti-vaxxers.
I should have a shot early! I will hold up a sign saying “If someone as obviously unfit as me can take the vaccine, so can you!”.
Senate elections in Georgia in just one week. Drumpf is making things harder for his own party. If the Republicans lose their majority it is ROTFL time.
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The bomber in Nashville was apparently convinced shape-shifting reptilians run the world.
The idea goes back all the way to mme. Blavatatsky (“dragon men”) and other teosophy thinkers. Robert E. Howard was inspired to write a story on the subject, after which our old aquintance Clark Ashton Smith wrote more along these lines.
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Good old Snake People of Valusia!
The highest death toll so far was at 6th, 10th and 14th December, all roughly 80 fatalities. It just might be the peak….
I find several articles about new or repurposed medicines that can be given to patients already infected, but the disappointment with Remdesivir is in fresh memory. I just hope that *some* of the candidate medicines will work out. The repurposed ones are well known so if one of them works, the rollout will be faster.
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