Saturday, December 21, 2019

l'affaire Epstein PROVED That Rich People Do Not Care About You - AT ALL!!!

medium |  No, I’m not talking about your cousin who drives a Mercedes, has his own insurance business, and always picks up the tab when you go out for beers. I’m talking about super-rich people: the Walton family, the Koch brothers and, yes, the Trumps. I’m talking about people who continue to make money off the backs of the poor while convincing those same people to remain loyal no matter what. But the truth is they are never going to share or trickle down their money to you — regardless of how white you are, how loyal you are, or how much you support their companies or their politicians.

When a family like the Waltons, worth over $50 billion — that’s billion with a “b” — are fine knowing their employees are collecting food stamps to survive and they do nothing about it, that speaks volumes. It says loud and clear: I don’t fucking care about you!

When Donald Trump was willing to close down and bankrupt multiple small businesses because he couldn’t be bothered to pay his bills, all while living in a gilded penthouse and flying around New York City in a helicopter, that screamed: I don’t fucking care about you!

Friday, December 20, 2019

TicTac UAP's at Tonopeh? Cleavon and Cletus, Y'all Muhuggahs Ain't Never Gettin a Ride...,

thedrive |  Tonopah Test Range Airport, located along the northern edge of the sprawling Nevada Test and Training Range, may not get all the pop culture attention that nearby Area 51 gets, but in many ways, it is just as fascinating. It was born out of a program that saw American fighter pilots secretly flying captured MiGs against their fellow aviators. Not long after that program spun-up, the remote installation was greatly expanded to house the F-117 Nighthawk force during the early and deeply classified part of its career. It has since housed the semi-mothballed F-117 fleet following its official retirement more than a decade ago. It was also the original home of RQ-170 Sentinel. Today, the high-security base continues to support a number of secretive programs, as well as testing at the nearby range. Now, highly unusual activity around a dozen hangars at the shadowy installation has been caught on satellite.

The image in question was snapped at around 10:15 AM local time on December 6th, 2019 by one of Planet Labs' PlanetScope satellites that image the vast majority of the earth daily. The three-meter resolution image shows the front row of the southern-most 'canyon' of hangars, which were originally built for the F-117 program, with seemingly identical craft sitting in front or at least protruding out of the hangars. These are also the hangars that appear to house at least one secretive aircraft, which has been spotted peeking out in multiple prior satellite images in the past. But the December 6th image is unique in that we could not find a similar phenomenon after checking hundreds of similar images that span months of time. 

It appears that some program was uniquely active that day with a small fleet that makes up the contents of those hangars being involved. 

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Why Do You Suppose Negroes Were Chosen For Large Scale Human "Trials"?

NIH |  Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have developed a new and improved viral vector—a virus-based vehicle that delivers therapeutic genes—for use in gene therapy for sickle cell disease. In advanced lab tests using animal models, the new vector was up to 10 times more efficient at incorporating corrective genes into bone marrow stem cells than the conventional vectors currently used, and it had a carrying capacity of up to six times higher, the researchers report.

The development of the vector could make gene therapy for sickle cell disease much more effective and pave the way for wider use of it as a curative approach for the painful, life-threatening blood disorder. Sickle cell disease affects about 100,000 people in the United States and millions worldwide.

“Our new vector is an important breakthrough in the field of gene therapy for sickle cell disease,” said study senior author John Tisdale, M.D., chief of the Cellular and Molecular Therapeutic Branch at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). “It’s the new kid on the block and represents a substantial improvement in our ability to produce high capacity, high efficiency vectors for treating this devastating disorder.”

Researchers have used virus-based vehicles for years in gene therapy experiments, where they have been very effective at delivering therapeutic genes to bone marrow stem cells in the lab before returning them to the body. But there’s always room for improvement in their design in order to optimize effectiveness, Tisdale noted. He compared the new virus-based vehicle to a new and improved car that is also far easier and cheaper for the factory to produce.

The study was supported by the NHLBI and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both part of the NIH. It was published online today in Nature Communications.

They said she cooked her own cancers for people who crossed her..., |  Ronald Raines ’80 was first drawn to chemistry and biology as an undergraduate at MIT, where he completed a double major, studying enzymes in a chemistry lab on the first floor of the Dreyfus Building.

Some three decades later, he is back in that same building, gesturing excitedly at protein models arrayed in his office along with books and travel mementos. As he discusses his research, the “Brass Rat” class ring on his hand provides a tangible reminder of where he began. And, it’s clear he is just as interested in chemistry and biology as he ever was.

Raines, who joined the MIT faculty in 2017 after a long career at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, serves as the Firmenich Professor of Chemistry at MIT—a professorship with a distinguished 40-year history. He leads a lab pursuing projects at the interface of both fields that are poised to have a major impact on medicine and society.

“I’ve always liked tangibility, I’ve liked science I could touch, and chemistry and biology are both sciences that I can touch,” Raines explains. “I love projects that span from very fundamental science all the way to a clinical outcome—that’s the goal.”

One such project that has occupied Raines’s lab for the past five years started with a straightforward concept: Proteins are complex molecules that carry out many key tasks in cells, but mutations in the DNA blueprint used to build them may result in dysfunctional proteins—and when these damaged proteins are involved in how cells grow or divide, it can lead to cancer. So, Raines thought, what if you could overcome such cancer-causing mutations by simply replacing dysfunctional proteins with working versions?

Wichita Kansas, Summer of 1982, Omni Magazine, MIND BLOWN!!!!

afrodita | It was hot, the night we burned Chrome. Out in the malls and plazas, moths were batting themselves to death against the neon, but in Bobby's loft the only light came from a monitor screen and the green and red LEDs on the face of the matrix simulator. I knew every chip in Bobby's simulator by heart; it looked like your workaday Ono-Sendai VII, the 'Cyberspace Seven,' but I'd rebuilt it so many times that you'd have had a hard time finding a square millimeter of factory circuitry in all that silicon.

We waited side by side in front of the simulator console, watching the time display in the screen's left corner. 

"Go for it," I said, when it was time, but Bobby was already there, leaning forward to drive the Russian program into its slot with the heel of his hand. He did it with the tight grace of a kid slamming change into an arcade game, sure of winning and ready to pull down a string of free games. 

A silver tide of phosphenes boiled across my field of vision as the matrix began to unfold in my head, a 3D chessboard, infinite and perfectly transparent. The Russian program seemed to lurch as we entered the grid. If anyone else had been jacked into that part of the matrix, he might have seen a surf of flickering shadow roll out of the little yellow pyramid that represented our computer. The program was a mimetic weapon, designed to absorb local color and present itself as a crash-priority override in whatever context it encountered. 

"Congratulations," I heard Bobby say. "We just became an Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority inspection probe..." That meant we were clearing fiberoptic lines with the cybernetic equivalent of a fire siren, but in the simulation matrix we seemed to rush straight for Chrome's data base. I couldn't see it yet, but I already knew those walls were waiting. Walls of shadow, walls of ice. Chrome: her pretty childface smooth as steel, with eyes that would have been at home on the bottom of some deep Atlantic trench, cold grey eyes that lived under terrible pressure. They said she cooked her own cancers for people who crossed her, rococo custom variations that took years to kill you. They said a lot of things about Chrome, none of them at all reassuring.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

This year’s gene-write with “ready for space” focus

gpwrite-2019  |  P23. Genetic Engineering of Human Cells for Radiotolerance Craig Westover, Sherry Yang, Sonia Iosim, Deena Najjar, Daniel Butler, Daniela Bezdan, Christopher E. Mason. Weill Cornell, New York, New York, United States Space flight has been documented to produce a number of detrimental physiological effects as a result of cosmic radiation. Space radiation is about 100 times higher than the average effective dose per year from natural radiation on earth and has the ability to produce DNA double stranded breaks leading to increased chromosomal aberrations. The harsh environmental effects of space on organisms have also been studied on the molecular level and as such have shed light on some of the underlying mechanisms that give rise to space induced alterations of cellular functions such as proliferation, differentiation, maturation, and cell survival. Our lab was recently involved in the NASA Twin Project where we analyzed Scott Kelly’s genome, transcriptome, and corresponding epigenetic modifications in response to 1 year of space flight. With this information in mind we are now moving on to genetically engineering HEK293 cells to survive ionizing cosmic radiation.

P28. Detecting evidence of genetic engineering Yuchen Ge, Jitong Cai, Joel S. Bader Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States Detecting evidence of genetic engineering is important for biosecurity, provenance, and intellectual property rights. The need for monitoring and detection is growing with contemplated release of gene drive systems. We describe results of a computational systems designed to detect engineering from DNA sequencing of biological samples, including automated identification of host strains, detection of foreign gene content, and detection of watermarks. Our results demonstrate near perfect identification of foreign gene content in blinded samples, but less ability to detect more subtle engineering associated with watermarks that blend in with natural variation. We describe plans for future improvements.

GP-Write: Quest for the Synthetic Human Genome |  In the 15 years since the Human Genome Project was declared finished in 2003, the cost of reading a whole human genome has plummeted to about $1,000. Scientists estimate that writing a full human genome with today’s DNA synthesis technology could cost upward of $100 million. That number was the group’s declared fundraising goal in 2016, but it still doesn’t have centralized funding dedicated to the task. This year, some GP-write participants suggested that patenting the ultrasafe cell line or technologies developed along the way could encourage financial support from investors.

“It may be essential,” said Kristin Neuman, executive director for biotechnology licensing at the patent firm MPEG LA. “Some of the scientists want to see everything open access. Others recognize the importance of intellectual property protection to incentivize private investment,” she observed. During the meeting, Neuman encouraged the group to consider patents for cells and technology developed by the group while still making the ultrasafe cell line available to researchers doing basic science.

GP-write cofounder Nancy Kelley said a systematic fundraising effort will begin soon. “A couple years ago we had a rocky beginning, and we really needed to do some work on straightening out the message,” she said. “I now believe we have something serious to talk about.”

Church added that more than 100 research groups involved in GP-write have their own significant funding. “I don’t think we are underfunded at this point; I think we just need to execute,” he said. Teams can now begin signing up for a chromosome, or part of a chromosome, to recode or help with technology development. “There are plenty of things for people to do today.”

At the end of the GP-write meeting, the group’s goals seemed at once more focused and much broader. Church said the group is not backing down from synthesizing a full human genome and that the ultrasafe cell line gives the consortium an immediate task with a clear payoff. But in the end, the GP-write story may be less about completing a project and more about uniting a multidisciplinary cohort of scientists behind something big.

“Our goals aren’t fixed in stone yet,” Church said. “Hopefully they won’t be fixed in stone even at the finish line.”.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

General Kwast in Outer Space

thedrive |  Recently retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Steven L. Kwast gave a lecture last month that seems to further signal that the next major battlefield will be outer space. While military leadership rattling the space sabers is nothing new, Kwast’s lecture included comments that heavily hint at the possibility that the United States military and its industry partners may have already developed next-generation technologies that have the potential to drastically change the aerospace field, and human civilization, forever. Is this mere posturing or could we actually be on the verge of making science fiction a reality?

As we’ve reported previously, there have been hints of radical new technologies under development by the military and, just as in Kwast’s speech, Chinese advances have been cited as the reason why these technologies are needed. China has been rapidly expanding its presence in space in recent years, placing a lander on the far side of the moon in late 2018 in what some say was a push to scout natural resources with which to develop a permanent lunar manufacturing center. China has also been developing “mothership” aircraft from which to rapidly and unpredictably launch spaceplanes and other payloads into space. The country has also launched several eyebrow-raising satellites in recent years which some analysts claim could be used in anti-satellite warfare. Beyond all this, they have been investing heavily in a traditional space program that includes many facets of manned and unmanned space technologies that rivals, and in some ways, exceeds our own. 

 Around the 12:00 mark in the speech, Kwast makes the somewhat bizarre claim that the U.S. currently possesses revolutionary technologies that could render current aerospace capabilities obsolete:
"The technology is on the engineering benches today. But most Americans and most members of Congress have not had time to really look deeply at what is going on here. But I’ve had the benefit of 33 years of studying and becoming friends with these scientists. This technology can be built today with technology that is not developmental to deliver any human being from any place on planet Earth to any other place in less than an hour."
Kwast’s comment is only one of several curious comments made by military leadership lately and they do seem to claim that we could be on the precipice of a great leap in transportation technology. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Why the Interest in Eclipses?

mega-what |  The prehistoric people of north-west europe watched the rising and setting positions of sun and moon against the horizon very closely. They developed techniques for fitting the shape of the landscape to celestial cycles. Their monuments were built in places where the earth was in harmony with heaven in a very practical way. 

Lunistice positions on the horizon as measured by the Prehistoric Lunar Calendar are an indirect pointer to the position of the nodes of the lunar orbit and thus to the time of year at which a lunar eclipse may be expected to occur, as measured by the Prehistoric Solar Calendar.
Luni-Solar Cycle Correspondence
In this schematic diagram:
  • The 18.6 year lunar nodal cycle is repre­sented by the outer circle and reads clock­wise. Each of its divisions is centred on the appropriate lunar event and represents a period of 1.16 tropical years, about 14 months.

  • The annual solar cycle is repre­sented by the inner circle and prog­resses anti-clock­wise.

  • During any lunar period, visible lunar eclipses may be expected to occur only in the months centred on the events at either end of the adjoining solar axis.

  • The fact that the "eclipse months" of the Prehistoric Solar Calendar overlap by a quarter-month at each end is an important feature that allows the system to generally produce the correct answer even though the natural cycles do not reconcile neatly.

Simple really! Observe lunistice rise / set positions to understand the time of year when eclipses can happen. 

Ancient observers, having solved the problem of knowing when a lunar eclipse might occur, would know from experience that there must either be a total eclipse, a partial eclipse or no visible eclipse. Could they have known which was most likely? Not completely impossible for, timing aside, on study of the data it would appear that eclipses occur in semi-regular patterns of fairly short duration. The typical, underlying, pattern seems to be two seasons of non-visible penumbral eclipses followed by two partials, two totals and then two more partials to end the sequence. Occasionally the penumbrals extend to three seasons in a row or reduce to one. The sequence of six visible eclipses sometimes reduces to five and may contain one, two or three totals, though it always begins and ends with a partial. 

The main problem for a naked-eye observer with no theoretical knowledge is that not all visible eclipses can be seen, because they will sometimes occur when the moon is below the horizon. It must be said though that in any sustained period of observation and certainly several times in a human lifetime, eclipses would be observed that had started before the moon rose or were not completed before it set. 

Therefore it would be possible to deduce that eclipses can happen when the moon is below the horizon. It was an essential part of these people's methodology that one can change the time and place of a rise or set by changing one's position on the earth's surface and, if desired, the same event may be observed repeatedly at different times from different places. So, while they could not be certain that an eclipse would actually be visible, they probably had a good idea of what to expect and they certainly knew when to expect it. Their methodology could not predict every eclipse perfectly but the overall pattern was mapped very well and it may be that their observational experience would have given better performance than seems immediately obvious to us. 

Gobekli Tepe and Rapa Nui

starmythworld |  The preceding post discussed George Orwell's powerful depiction of the fact that control over the narrative of history is an extremely important weapon in the arsenal of those who seek to exercise a form of tyrannical mind control over others.

This can be demonstrated to be taking place regarding certain important events in the recent past -- evidenced quite plainly in the reprehensible termination of the teaching career of tenured Professor James Tracy at Florida Atlantic University for his efforts to examine and discuss evidence that undermines the official narrative of certain traumatic events portrayed in the news media in the United States.

However, as that previous post mentions, a parallel can also be drawn to the control over the narrative of humanity's ancient past. Those who have had the temerity over the past hundred or hundred or so years to have discussed the abundant evidence which seems to call into question the conventional outline of the ancient past can attest to the often withering scorn and other forms of social and professional approbation that is unfailingly leveled at any dissenting voices who call into question the official narrative.

And yet, just as in Orwell's masterful 1984, there are many who (like Winston in the novel) have personally seen evidence which completely upends the conventional narrative, and who realize that something is seriously amiss with the official storyline.

The volume of evidence has continued to mount over the past few decades, to the point that it is threatening to collapse the entire edifice upon which the conventional outline of human history has been built.

For instance, as discussed in Graham Hancock's latest work, Magicians of the Gods (which ties together many facets spanning the arc of his many previous explorations and books up to this point), the ancient site often referred to by its Turkish name of Gobekli Tepe has been dated to around 11,600 years before present, based on readings of the material used to fill in around the massive and precisely-planed stone pillars (over two hundred of which appear to have been buried at the massive site, many of them in the range of twenty tons of rock), which means that the pillars themselves are at least that old but may in fact be even older (20). 

Many of these massive and precisely-worked megaliths feature beautiful and graceful artistic relief renderings of stylized animals, many or all of which may represent astronomical constellations (a point Graham Hancock makes in his book). Furthermore, archaeologists studying the site (which has only been under excavation since the late 1990s) admit that, based on their analysis, the finest stonework and artistic work appears to be found on the oldest of the stones, a puzzling piece of information according to the conventional theories of ancient human history.

In fact, conventional views of history are tremendously undermined by the discoveries at Gobekli Tepe. The development of such high and sophisticated skill at stone working, at such a remote period, threatens to completely upend the official narrative which continues to be so confidently taught in schools beginning at the very earliest grades and going through undergraduate and graduate college and university courses (and reinforced by numerous additional "history channel"-style videos and shows for the benefit of those who are no longer exposed to history classes in classroom environments).
It is simply not easy to accumulate the extremely advanced technological, artistic, and engineering skill sets required to erect twenty-ton stone pillars on such a massive scale, and the undeniable evidence showing such abilities at a date that is as far back (or, indeed, much further back) in time from ancient Egypt than ancient Egypt is far back in time from us in the year 2016 is simply a devastating shock to the conventional timeline that proposes very "primitive" subsistence-style wandering in the millennia prior to the first-known civilizations (which themselves appear to have simply "materialized out of nowhere," already possessing incredible engineering and artistic skills, as John Anthony West documents in his essential Serpent in the Sky).

Further, as Graham Hancock also points out in this latest book in his corpus of research and analysis, many of the massive pillars at Gobekli Tepe feature human arms along their sides, with long-fingered hands folded in such a way that the fingertips almost touch -- in a manner which is irrefutably reminiscent of the exact same artistic details on many of the enormous moai of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

You can see the arms (but not the hands -- those are hidden by the "cow tail" grass near the ground-level, and by the soil itself) along the side of one megalith from Gobekli Tepe in the Wikimedia image here (there are better photographs in Graham Hancock's book). You can see the same stylized arms with nearly-touching fingers in many images of moai available on the web, such as the two shown below (there are even better ones in the book Easter Island: the Mystery Solved by Thor Heyerdahl -- an excellent book and well worth owning, although much as I admire Thor Heyerdahl I must argue that the "mystery" of Rapa Nui is by no means completely "solved" at this point).

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Every Day I'm Hustle-in, Every Day I'm Hustle-in...,

cultofthebloodmoon |  The Evolution of Faith - Göbeli Tepe bridges a large gap between humanity's earliest ideas on religion in the ice age, and the major religions of the world today, showing, for the first time, an evolution of faith that just might cross tens of thousands of years.

Below, each section of the book has been broken up to make things easier to manage, but only certain documents will be available for now.  The rest will be rolled out through 2019-2020, whether public or password-protected.  AVG012 - Pillar 33 contains special evidence, available now for academics to argue over and yell at me about.  Just remember, it's supposed to be a genealogy report for everyone!

To be clear, Part One has speculation about other sites up to the end of the ice age, but there's little to no speculation in Part Two.  Göbekli Tepe is what it is.  Part Three explores the supernova after agriculture and domestication took root, right up to the invention of the telescope, which ended a way of thinking about the sky that could, just maybe, have been held by the majority of humans for over a hundred thousand years.

Part One - On The Potential for a Common Root Religion
  • AVG001: Introduction, and a look at some key capabilities of early humans.
  • AVG002: Persistence hunting compared to lunar tracking, plus the human tendency to link things together, like the moon to tides, water and shells, leading to gratitude, perhaps, with the moon being a major helper while South Africa was a desert during the last ice age, over a hundred thousand years ago.  And one interpretation of the Blombos Cave ochre etching, dated around 70,000 BCE.
  • AVG003, AVG004, AVG005: Race for the Danube. The evolution of social sky watching in Europe and some new interpretations of famous ice age art, partly inspired by new findings from Göbekli Tepe.
  • AVG006, AVG007: Coming out of the ice age (Kebaran/Natufian/Epigravettian), and the evolution of mobile art.  Two pebbles are considered as possible pocket almanacs.
Part Two - Göbekli Tepe
  • AVG008, AVG009:  Pillar 43 as being like the welcome sign at a big theme park.  Alpha and omega for one particular serpent.
  • AVG010, AVG011, AVG012, AVG013:  Full tour of every pillar in Enclosure D, and the incredible evidence on Pillar 33 that makes this entire book plausible.
  • AVG014:  The central pillars and their potential relationship to the cult of Cybele and other hermaphroditic gods, and sky fathers everywhere.
  • AVG015:  Highlights from the remaining enclosures, and special snakes.
Part Three - Supernova
  • AVG016:  Supporting evidence from other sites, circa 9000 BCE, and further interpretations of Göbekli Tepe's cultural output as what led to gods like Uranus, Gaia, Namma, Tiamat, Cybelle, An, and more.
  • AVG017:  The case for the Göbekli Tepe region as the mythical Garden of Eden.
  • AVG018:  Gorgon Generation, Jericho
  • AVG019:  The founding of Catalhoyuk, and Memories of Göbekli Tepe
  • AVG020:  Lepenski Vir, Seated Goddess
  • AVG021:  Bird Feet, circa 6200 BCE
  • AVG022:  A Beheading, circa 5800 BCE
  • AVG023:  Founding of the first Mesopotamian cities, circa 5500 BCE.
  • AVG024:  The Gods Must Be Crazy, circa 5000 BCE
  • AVG025:  Ninurta Gets the Ball, 4333 BCE
  • AVG029:  Uruk, Predynastic Egypt, etc.
  • AVG030:  Symbols turn into writing, after 3500 BCE
  • AVG031:  Anzu Rips the Sky
  • AVG032:  The mysterious Asag demon, and Ninurta vs Adad vs Teshub
  • AVG033:  Between the Primordial and Patriarchal, circa 2000 BCE
  • AVG034:  Baal, Zoroastrianism, more birds
  • AVG035:  El, Yahweh, Thoth
  • AVG036:  Good News
  • AVG037:  The Vine
  • AVG038:  The Vine
  • AVG039:  A Philosophical Theory-of-Everything, After 1600 CE

What Did the Ancient Messages Say?

technologyreview |  In 1886, the British archaeologist Arthur Evans came across an ancient stone bearing a curious set of inscriptions in an unknown language. The stone came from the Mediterranean island of Crete, and Evans immediately traveled there to hunt for more evidence. He quickly found numerous stones and tablets bearing similar scripts and dated them from around 1400 BCE.

Linear B deciphering
That made the inscription one of the earliest forms of writing ever discovered. Evans argued that its linear form was clearly derived from rudely scratched line pictures belonging to the infancy of art, thereby establishing its importance in the history of linguistics.

He and others later determined that the stones and tablets were written in two different scripts. The oldest, called Linear A, dates from between 1800 and 1400 BCE, when the island was dominated by the Bronze Age Minoan civilization.

 The other script, Linear B, is more recent, appearing only after 1400 BCE, when the island was conquered by Mycenaeans from the Greek mainland.

Evans and others tried for many years to decipher the ancient scripts, but the lost languages resisted all attempts. The problem remained unsolved until 1953, when an amateur linguist named Michael Ventris cracked the code for Linear B.

His solution was built on two decisive breakthroughs. First, Ventris conjectured that many of the repeated words in the Linear B vocabulary were names of places on the island of Crete. That turned out to be correct.

His second breakthrough was to assume that the writing recorded an early form of ancient Greek. That insight immediately allowed him to decipher the rest of the language. In the process, Ventris showed that ancient Greek first appeared in written form many centuries earlier than previously thought.

Ventris’s work was a huge achievement. But the more ancient script, Linear A, has remained one of the great outstanding problems in linguistics to this day.

It’s not hard to imagine that recent advances in machine translation might help. In just a few years, the study of linguistics has been revolutionized by the availability of huge annotated databases, and techniques for getting machines to learn from them. Consequently, machine translation from one language to another has become routine. And although it isn’t perfect, these methods have provided an entirely new way to think about language.

Enter Jiaming Luo and Regina Barzilay from MIT and Yuan Cao from Google’s AI lab in Mountain View, California. This team has developed a machine-learning system capable of deciphering lost languages, and they’ve demonstrated it by having it decipher Linear B—the first time this has been done automatically. The approach they used was very different from the standard machine translation techniques.

First some background. The big idea behind machine translation is the understanding that words are related to each other in similar ways, regardless of the language involved.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Or Prehistory Decoded?

cosmictusk |  Any follower of Catastrophism the last few years has enjoyed extraordinary confirmations of ancient cosmic cataclysm and novel contributions to our way of thinking.

To the Tusk, three revelations have characterized the period: The discovery of an impossibly youthful late Pleistocene crater in Greenland; a series of popular, comprehensive and unrefuted major journal articles with exquisite hard evidence for the Younger Dryas impact catastrophe; and the singular contribution of Dr. Martin Sweatman in his fabulous book, Prehistory Decoded.

Dr. Sweatman has done our planet and history a tremendous favor by writing Prehistory Decoded. By employing the hard science of probability, he has managed to demystify the world’s very earliest and most ‘mysterious’ art.

Prehistory Decoded begins by documenting Sweatman’s initial discovery, reported worldwide in 2017, of an empirical method for decoding the world’s first art using pattern matching and statistics.
Guess what? The code is a memorial and date stamp for our favorite subject here: the Younger Dryas Catastrophe, and its associated Taurid meteor traumas.

Sweatman has managed to produce a synthesis explanation for the previously indecipherable succession of artistic animal figures at Gobekeli Tepe in Turkey, Chauvet Cave in France, Lascaux Cave in France, and Çatalhöyük in Turkey, among others. Unsurprisingly to the open minded, the ancient artists are communicating using a universally handy and persistent reference set: Stars.
Or, more precisely, the appearance of constellations as adjusted over time according to earth’s precession. (Don’t you love the internet? One hyperlink and no need to explain all that!)

Incoherent Catastrophism?

skepticink |  It happens now and then a perfectly good scientist takes hold of a crank idea and plunges headlong into pseudoscience. Olaus Rudbeck discovered the lymphatic system and wrote hefty tomes arguing that Plato’s Atlantis was located in Uppsala, Sweden. Velikovsky was an accredited psychiatrist. Several Young Earth Creationists have genuine scientific degrees from respected institutions. Anatoly Fomenko, creator of the lunatic New Chronology, is an eminent mathematician at Moscow University. Etc.

Martin Sweatman, a chemical engineer at Edinburgh University, is earning a place on that list with his “decoding” of ancient art as a form of astronomical notation. In a couple of peer-reviewed papers co-authored with Dimitrios Tsikritsis and Alistair Coombs, plus a number of blog posts and now a book, Sweatman claims statistical validation of his claims so powerful that no other interpretation has any chance of being correct. Any of us who quibble, according to him, simply don’t understand science.

Now, I have quibbled quite a bit already: an initial critique of his Gobekli Tepe paper, a response to his rebuttal, a parody paper applying his analytical method to a different database (Looney Tunes characters) with similarly dazzling success, and some lively discussion in the comments of both our blogs. At the risk of seeming obsessive, I’m taking up Sweatman’s challenge to critique his second paper, which extends his grand hypothesis forward to Catal Huyuk and backward to Paleolithic art, as far back as 40,000 years ago. As his second paper builds on the results from the first, however, it is necessary to cover some old ground.

Recap: Pillar 43 at Gobekli Tepe is the cornerstone of the analysis. Sweatman interprets some of its engravings as a constellation-map and some as solstice and equinox constellations, the two combining to form a “date-stamp” for 10,950 BC, the presumed date of the (highly controversial) Younger Dryas Impact. Applying a basic probability calculation, he concludes that his assumptions have been verified, and no other interpretation is possible.

What he actually demonstrates is how thoroughly a competent scientist can be seduced by wishful thinking. The paper is a dense pudding of circular reasoning, data taken out of context, and speculations that are subsequently treated as fact, all of which are clear markers of pseudoscience; errors and inconsistencies that Sweatman dismisses as irrelevant; and an overall amateurism with regard to the archaeology and iconography that is honestly beyond a joke. I’ve pointed some of these out in previous critiques, but there are points to add, and some that bear repeating.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Does the Symbolism at Gobekli Tepe Correlate with Asterisms? |  A team of researchers with the University of Edinburgh has found what they describe as evidence of a comet striking the Earth at approximately the same time as the onset of the Younger Dryas in carvings on an ancient stone pillar in southern Turkey. The group has published their findings in the journal Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry

Prior evidence based on ice cores taken from Greenland has suggested that a strike by a may have led to the onset of the Younger Dryas—a period of Earth cooling that lasted for approximately 1000 years. Other evidence also suggests that the cooling period caused groups of people to band together to cultivate crops, leading to the development of agriculture, which in turn led to huge leaps in technological innovations and societal developments, i.e. Neolithic civilization. In this new effort, the researchers describe evidence they found on a stone pillar at Gobekli Tepe (the oldest known temple site) that aligns with the findings—that a comet struck the Earth in approximately 10,950BC.

The pillar was created by the people of Gobekli Tepe and now appears to have served as a means of commemorating a devastating event—perhaps a comet breaking up and its remnants crashing into the Earth, causing an immediate environmental impact around the globe and possible loss of life (one of the characters on the pillar was of a headless human.) The team fed likenesses of the images carved onto the pillar (known as the vulture stone) into a computer to determine if they might be linked with constellations. Doing so revealed associations between characters on the pillar and astronomical symbols in the sky for the year 10,950 BC. The fact that the people took the time and considerable effort to create the characters on the pillar suggests something very important must have happened during the same time period that the Greenland ice core suggests a comet struck, approximately 10,890BC.
We have interpreted much of the symbolism of Göbekli Tepe in terms of astronomical events. By matching low-relief carvings on some of the pillars at Göbekli Tepe to star asterisms we find compelling evidence that the famous 'Vulture Stone' is a date stamp for 10950 BC ± 250 yrs, which corresponds closely to the proposed Younger Dryas event, estimated at 10890 BC. We also find evidence that a key function of Göbekli Tepe was to observe meteor showers and record cometary encounters. Indeed, the people of Göbekli Tepe appear to have had a special interest in the Taurid meteor stream, the same meteor stream that is proposed as responsible for the Younger-Dryas event. Is Göbekli Tepe the 'smoking gun' for the Younger-Dryas cometary encounter, and hence for coherent catastrophism? 

Gobekli Tepe is MUCH Larger Than You Think It Is...,

dainst |  Since recently there has been renewed interest in the results of geophysical survey undertaken at Göbekli Tepe in the years 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2012 we put together this short overview on these works and their results – which helped to understand the extension of the Neolithic site and its monuments even in those parts of the tell not yet excavated.

Without a doubt, the most widely known features of the Göbekli Tepe archaeological site are the monumental buildings, which, due to their ‘outstanding universal value’, were recently inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Notably, since the very early years of excavations, one of the most pressing questions has been whether these structures, with their characteristic T-pillars, were restricted to certain parts of the mound (where revealed through excavation and suggesting a unique agglomeration of this particular building type) or whether they existed all over the tell.

Archaeological survey methods have changed significantly over the last years. One innovation which has dramatically changed the way field archaeologists work are ground-based physical sensing techniques (for a short introduction into this technology and its application see, e.g. here [external link]). This technology provides us with images of possible archaeological features beneath the surface without even taking a shovel to hand. In 2003, a geophysical survey was undertaken at Göbekli Tepe with the help of GGH – Solutions in Geoscience GmbH. In a first step, large parts of the tell were subjected to extensive magnetic prospection, and later selected areas were studied using georadar and geoelectric tomography.

As already noted by Klaus Schmidt in his 2003 field report which was published the same year (Schmidt 2003, 5), first results already provided a better understanding of the site and served to confirm earlier observations:

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Juxtaposition and Superimposition Show What Became of the Original Americans...,

Not a repeat - it starts at a specific part of the video - so just click it. |  What’s more, a flickering flame in the cave may have conjured impressions of motion like a strobe light in a dark club. In low light, human vision degrades, and that can lead to the perception of movement even when all is still, says Susana Martinez-Conde, the director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. The trick may occur at two levels; one when the eye processes a dimly lit scene, and the second when the brain makes sense of that limited, flickering information. 

Physiologically, our eyes undergo a switch when we slip into darkness. In bright light, eyes primarily rely on the color-sensitive cells in our retinas called cones, but in low light the cones don’t have enough photons to work with and cells that sense black and white gradients, called rods, take over. That’s why in low light, colors fade, shadows become harder to distinguish from actual objects, and the soft boundaries between things disappear. Images straight ahead of us look out of focus, as if they were seen in our peripheral vision. The end result for early humans who viewed cave paintings by firelight might have been that a deer with multiple heads, for example, resembled a single, animated beast. A few rather sophisticated artistic techniques enhance that impression. One is found beyond the Hall of Bulls, where the cave narrows into a long passage called the Nave.

High on the Nave’s right wall, an early artist had used charcoal to draw a row of five deer heads. The images are almost identical, but each is positioned at a slightly different angle. Viewed one at a time with a small circle of light moving right to left, the images seem to illustrate a single deer raising and lowering its head as in a short flipbook animation. 

Marc Azéma, a Paleolithic researcher and filmmaker at the University of Toulouse in France, has studied dozens of examples of ancient images that were meant to imply motion and has found two primary techniques that Paleolithic artists used to do this. The first is juxtaposition of successive images—the technique used for the deer head—and the second is called superimposition. Rather than appearing in sequence, variations of an image pile on top of one another in superimposition to lend a sense of motion. Superimposition can be seen in caves across France and Spain, but some of the oldest examples come from Chauvet cave in France’s Ardèche region. Burned wood and charcoal streaks along Chauvet’s walls indicate that campfires and pine torches lit the cave.

What Does Cave Art Have to do with Animation?

awn |  The first thing that strikes me when looking at the many reproductions (I have yet to see an original) is that there are no stories, at least so far as I understand a graphic story to be. Instead what appears are images of local fauna in full view, mid-view, and close-up.

Even though these paintings were created more than 10,000 years ago, the drawing style is highly accomplished. There's a strong sense of 3D form translated onto a 2D surface, the coloration is finely tuned, and the animals breathe life. So these artists could have told a story if they had chosen to.

But nothing is chronicled in the way that we structure narrative, with a beginning, middle, and end. Instead the artists have chosen to present these huge images (the bulls at Lascaux are 20 feet wide) singly or sequentially, on the rock wall deep inside these safe chambers well below the earth's surface.

Sequentially? What are sequential images doing on a cave wall painted tens of thousands of years ago? As an animator I recognize them immediately to be like the key frames of an animation.

It's one thing to enter a cave and be confronted with a huge still image, but how much more dramatic would be an image that reads as an animal in motion.

What finer way than this to present shock and awe from a safe vantage point. Perhaps the artists were seeking to recreate and thereby control these near overwhelming sensations, feelings certainly experienced above ground and probably often in dangerous if not deadly circumstances.

Did these artists want to recreate them in a controlled way so that while the audience's experience was akin to the real thing, the real dangers remained above ground and well outside the cave?

Think of experiencing a huge thunderstorm from the safety of a cozy cottage, or watching a horror film from the security of a movie theater. There's something deeply satisfying about being awed or terrified while knowing one is safe.

Were these paleolithic men and women our film artist ancestors?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Here Go Your Ancient Aliens Original Global UR Civilization...,

ancientnews |  Gobekli Tepe offers compelling evidence for an advanced civilisation that fell foul to a forgotten catastrophic event. They also see obvious links between the dating of Göbekli Tepe and the Younger Dryas climate events. Briefly, the Younger Dryas period is marked by sudden intense cooling 12,800 years ago followed by equally sudden and intense warming 11,500 years ago. Archaeological evidence suggests that at both ends of the Younger Dryas global cataclysms occurred that led to mass extinctions.

Certainly, the megalithic builders responsible for Göbekli Tepe lived through the collapse of their civilisation and decided to bury their work. It is evident their culture went into rapid retreat, and today it only remains in the region of origination – Australasia.      The stones of Göbekli Tepe speak, but only if one knows their language. These mighty megaliths bear the signature of the Australian Aboriginal traditions from which they emerged. The fingerprints of this culture remain across much of northern Australia, but lest anyone raise the accusation of regional cherry-picking, the focus here will be almost entirely in one area, Arnhem Land.

Arnhem land is no arbitrary selection for investigation. Situated on the closest point to the Indonesian islands, Arnhem Land was once part of lands that extended much further out into the Timor Sea and the Arafura Sea. Migrants moving towards Southeast Asia would have passed through what is now Arnhem Land.

It is not only at Göbekli Tepe that we find this Aboriginal Australian symbolism. Contained in the greater body of research work is a far broader picture. After the cataclysms, new sprouts of civilisation emerged from cultural seeds planted by a lost Aboriginal Australian global culture. Aboriginal Australasians have carried the hidden history of this first culture through comet impacts, solar storms and deliberate genocide. Today we owe them an enormous debt. The sacred art of Aboriginal Australians provides a final few cultural connections between the builders of Göbekli Tepe and Aboriginal Australia. In these photographs, we see an exact match between a symbol on an Aboriginal elder’s chest and one on a pillar at Göbekli Tepe (see page 65). The meaning of this is often suggested to be of two people sitting to share knowledge.  On a central pillar in enclosure D, we find a set of symbols normally reserved for the most sacred artefacts of the Australian Aboriginals, churinga stones. A modern example of a churinga stone is shown on page 65. The only difference from the symbol on the pillar is that the two lines do not merge with the central circle. Churinga stones are regarded as receptacles for spiritual energy associated with creator beings, sky heroes that came down to Earth. Incredibly, the full pillar on which this churinga symbol appears is itself described as a stylised representation of a humanoid deity. We see the mysterious being’s arms folded just above the belt (see image on page 65).10

How Old is Original Human Civilization?

holdmyark |  Located in south-western Arnhem land Australia is a stone monument that was created by the aboriginal Australians 50,000 years ago. A part of Jawoyn country, Nawarla Gabarnmung is an incredible example of engineering a rock shelter not seen elsewhere at this period of time in ancient history. Meaning, “hole in the rock”, “passageway”, or “valley open from the centre” by the Jawoyn people, Nawarla Gabarnmung is a sacred and protected site. Jawoyn Elder, Margaret Katherine, has the responsibility of safe guarding this very special place today. The Jawoyn people have only allowed ‘Gabarnmung’ to be studied in recent years. Margaret explains how sharing knowledge with blackfullas, and whitefullas is important.

The work completed at Gabarnmung by these ancient engineers may not have required the precise mathematics to build a great pyramid, but still valued math and the intelligent knowledge of working with stone for a great length of time. The shelter was constructed by tunneling into a naturally eroded cliff face. The roof is 1.75m to 2.45m above floor level, supported by 50 pillars created by the natural erosion of fissure lines in the bedrock. 36 pillars were painted. Some pre-existing pillars were removed, some were reshaped and some moved to new positions. In some areas ceiling slabs were removed and repainted by the ancient Jawoyn people who used the shelter.

This [hole in the wall] ‘monument’ contains a historical gallery of rock art and some of the oldest full paintings in the world. Also a historical recording of human history like many other sites in the Arnhem Land area of Australia. The Artwork at Gabarnmung rivals the paintings found in France and Spain. Noting that most dates for Rock Art are questionable, so are those greater dates now suggested for France and Spain[65,000 years]

The significance of the Gabarnmung rock art is in the amazing detail. These mystifying and intriguing images demonstrate the experience of the Jawoyn Artists. The people and culture still being here today to help tell the story is what makes the works of art much more alive. The many examples found in rock painting across Australia over the past 200 years explains how the Original people have been painting since the earliest times in human History. A few years ago Smithsonian wrote an article making these comparisons of Gabarnmung:
If science can offer something to the Jawoyn, the Jawoyn have something to offer science. “We don’t have anyone to explain Chauvet Cave to us. In France, these are sites with no memory, no life. With Gabarnmung, we are lucky. There is the living culture, the memories. The Jawoyn can help us build a new knowledge.” Jean-Michel Geneste
“ Like the Sistine Chapel, the ceiling of the expansive rock shelter was a mural of breathtakingly vivid and bold works of art – hundreds of them. And the paintings extended up and down 36 remarkable sandstone columns that, like the pillars of a temple, appeared to support the cave”