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Y-shaped crucifixion depicted in Shroud of Turin

© Camerapress/DDP
THE image of Christ on the cross, arms stretched out to the sides, is seared onto many Christians' minds. But this isn't necessarily how people have imagined it throughout history. A new analysis of the Shroud of Turin, which appears to depict a man that has been crucified, suggests that whoever created it thought crucifixion involved the hands being nailed above the head.

The Shroud of Turin is a piece of linen cloth imprinted with the faint image of a naked man with what appear to be streams of blood running down his arms (seen in the bottom centre of the photo), and other wounds. Some believe it is the cloth in which Jesus's body was wrapped after crucifixion. But reliable records of it only begin in the 14th century, and carbon dating suggests the Shroud is a medieval forgery.

Either way, the Shroud is worth studying, says Matteo Borrini at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK. "If it's a fake, then it's a very interesting piece of art and human ingenuity," he says.

Borrini wanted to know if the "bloodstains" on the left arm, the clearest ones, were consistent with the flow of blood from the wrist of a crucified person. So he asked Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia, Italy, to assume different crucifixion postures, while a cannula attached to his wrist dribbled donated blood down his arm.
Pharoah

"Sky being in storm" and "bodies flowing as skiffs of papyrus": 3,500 year old inscription revealing a 'tempest of rain' could rewrite Egyptian history

© Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art
An inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt may be one of the world's oldest weather reports -and could provide new evidence about the reign of pharaoh Ahmose, the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty (pictured)
An inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt that could be one of the world's oldest weather reports could help rewrite the history of a Pharoah.

A new translation of a 40-line inscription on the 6-foot-tall calcite block called the Tempest Stela describes rain, darkness and 'the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses.'

Two scholars at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute believe the unusual weather patterns described on the slab were the result of a massive volcano explosion at Thera - the present-day island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Sea.

Because volcano eruptions can have a widespread impact on weather, the Thera explosion likely would have caused significant disruptions in Egypt.

The new translation suggests the Egyptian pharaoh Ahmose ruled at a time closer to the Thera eruption than previously thought - a finding that could change scholars' understanding of a critical juncture in human history as Bronze Age empires realigned.

The research from the Oriental Institute's Nadine Moeller and Robert Ritner appears in the spring issue of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies.

The Tempest Stela dates back to the reign of the pharaoh Ahmose, the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty.

His rule marked the beginning of the New Kingdom, a time when Egypt's power reached its height.

The block was found in pieces in Thebes, modern Luxor, where Ahmose ruled.

Comment: Read the following books by Laura Knight-Jadczyk to learn more on the topic:
The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive
The Apocalypse: Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes
Comets and the Horns of Moses

Also read the following forum thread, that deals with a huge amount of material with similar descriptions and cases.

Sherlock

Ancient genes in human DNA linked to fat build-up in Europeans - possibly conferred advantage in colder climates

  • The sharing of genes is mainly seen in Europeans and may have given an advantage to individuals with Neanderthal variants
  • Scientists at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology don't understand the function of the variants
  • But one expert thinks that fatty acids genes were of benefit to Neanderthals and then helped modern Europeans adapt to colder climates
  • The same findings were not seen in Asian people though
Neanderthals might have been extinct for 30,000 years but their genomes live on in modern humans.

And now scientists believe that modern Europeans share a number of genes involved in the build-up of certain types of fat with Neanderthals. The same genes were not seen in people from Asia and Africa, however.

It is though that ancient genes might have helped Europeans adapt better to colder climates, giving them an evolutionary advantage.
neanderthal genes fat
© Ian Tattersall
The modern influence of Neanderthals: Scientists believe that modern Europeans (skeleton pictured right), share a number of genes involved in the build-up of certain types of fat with Neanderthals (skeleton pictured left), but Asians do not
'Legacy' genes from Neanderthals may be to blame for modern diseases

Neanderthals and modern humans are thought to have co-existed for thousands of years and interbred, meaning Europeans now have roughly 2 per cent Neanderthal DNA.

These 'legacy' genes have been linked to an increased risk from cancer and diabetes by new studies looking at our evolutionary history.

However, it is not all bad news, as other genes we inherited from our species' early life could have improved our immunity to diseases which were common at the time, helping us to survive.
Question

Jewish DNA link to Hitler's lover

Eva Braun
© Press Association
Hitler's lover Eva Braun was possibly of Jewish ancestry, according to a TV show.
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler might have married a woman of Jewish descent, according to DNA analysis conducted for a TV documentary.

The Channel 4 programme will claim that Eva Braun, the lover whom the anti-Semitic fuhrer married shortly before they both killed themselves in 1945, was possibly of Jewish ancestry.

The Dead Famous DNA film - to be screened on Wednesday - tested hair samples which are said to have come from a hairbrush used by Braun and discovered at Hitler's mountain retreat.

The German leader, behind the mass extermination of Jews during the Second World War, was 23 years older than his lover - who fell in love with him when she was a teenager - and worried the relationship would affect his image, he kept her largely hidden away at his Alpine residence, the Berghof.

A team of scientists examined the hair - which was sourced by presenter Mark Evans - and they found a particular sequence within the DNA, which had been passed down the maternal line - the haplogroup N1b1 - which the channel said was "strongly associated" with Ashkenazi Jews, who make up around 80% of the global Jewish population. Many Ashkenazi Jews in Germany converted to Catholicism in the 19th century.

Evans said: "This is a thought-provoking outcome - I never dreamt that I would find such a potentially extraordinary and profound result."
Info

Ancient trackway found within 'drowned forest' in Ireland

Ancient Oak Trackway
© Joe O’Shaughnessy
Remains of an oak trackway, estimated to be between 3,500 and 4,500 years old, on the shore near Furbo, Co Galway.
Fragments of an oak trackway suggesting human habitation have been found within the 7,500-year-old "drowned forest" on the north Galway shoreline.

The track could be between 3,500 and 4,500 years old, and may have been built when the sea level was rising and was gradually enveloping the forest that pre-dated Galway Bay.

NUI Galway (NUIG) geologist Prof Mike Williams, who has researched the "drowned forest", comprising a layer of peat and tree stumps uncovered by the winter storms, examined the trackway or "togher" this week.

He was alerted to it by a Spiddal resident, Alan Keogh, who discovered it when walking on the south-east Connemara shore.

Mr Keogh said that he had heard about the drowned forest, recently reported in this newspaper, and recognised the significance of what appeared to be a "symmetrical structure" below a line of peat, about 1.5m by 1m.

"Together with the Bearna canoe, this is the first evidence of human habitation within these forests and lagoons in this area," said Prof Williams.

"It could have been built during the late Neolithic or early Bronze age era, and may have been ceremonial or may have been built across wetland which was decaying forest, forming into bog."
Question

Eruption of Thera recorded in ancient Egypt weather report?

Pyramid
© India Today
If you thought weather prediction was a recent phenomenon, you would be in for a surprise if told that weather prediction was done in ancient Egypt some 3,500 years ago!

A new translation of a 40-line inscription on a six-foot-tall 3,500-year-old calcite block from Egypt - called the Tempest Stela - describes rain, darkness and "the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses".

The inscription could provide new evidence about the chronology of events in the ancient Middle East.

Two scholars at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute - Nadine Moeller and Robert Ritner - believe the unusual weather patterns described on the slab were the result of a massive volcano explosion at Thera - the present-day island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Sea.

"This is important to scholars of the ancient Near East and eastern Mediterranean, generally because the chronology that archaeologists use is based on the lists of Egyptian pharaohs, and this new information could adjust those dates," explained Moeller, an assistant professor of Egyptian archaeology at the Oriental Institute.
Info

Towering ancient tsunami devastated the eastern Mediterranean region 8,000 years ago

© AGU
Maximum wave crests heights predicted by a computer simulation of the ancient event. Blue lines are arrival times of the first tsunami waves.
A volcano avalanche in Sicily 8,000 years ago triggered a devastating tsunami taller than a 10-story building that spread across the entire Mediterranean Sea, slamming into the shores of three continents in only a few hours.

A new computer simulation of the ancient event reveals for the first time the enormity of the catastrophe and its far-reaching effects .

The Mt. Etna avalanche sent 6 cubic miles of rock and sediment tumbling into the water - enough material to cover the entire island of Manhattan in a layer of debris thicker than the Empire State Building is tall.

The mountain of rubble crashed into the water at more than 200 mph. It pummeled the sea bed, transformed thick layers of soft marine sediment into jelly and triggered an underwater mudslide that flowed for hundreds of miles.
Hourglass

World's oldest weather report, Tempest Stela: "rain, darkness and the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses"

A new translation of a 40-line inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt called the Tempest Stela describes rain, darkness and the 'sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses.'
tempest stella
© Malcolm H. Wiener and James P. Allen, 1998
The Tempest Stela of Ahmose. Reconstruction of the face
The Tempest Stela dates back to the reign of the pharaoh Ahmose, the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. His rule marked the beginning of the New Kingdom, a time when Egypt's power reached its height.

Broken pieces of the stela were found in the third pylon of the temple of Karnak at Thebes, modern Luxor, between 1947 and 1951 by French archaeologists.
Blue Planet

Terrabyte Incognita: Africa might not look like you think it does

17th century map of africa

From Willem Janszoon Blaeu's 17th Century map of Africa
There is no such thing as an objective map. This was true of cave paintings, Roman tapestries, and colonialists' charts of Africa. It is also true of Google Maps.

About halfway through Jonathan Swift's boisterously witty epic poem On Poetry: A Rhapsody, the 18th century English satirist briefly turns his attention to maps of Africa, writing:
So geographers, in Afric maps,
With savage pictures fill their gaps,
And o'er uninhabitable downs
Place elephants for want of towns.
In Swift's time, European explorers had only skirted around the coastal edges of Africa and its interior remained, to all intents and purposes, a mystery. But as the poet pointed out, rather than just leave the middle of the continent blank, mapmakers would instead "fill their gaps" with things they thought might reside in such exotic corners of the world, such as strange monkeys, roaming lions, and "elephants for want of towns."
Arrow Down

The true story behind the appalling Tuskegee syphilis experiment

Syphilis Experiment
© Today I Found Out
Controversial research programs, unethical experimentation, and human trials have been part of the medical field for centuries. It doesn't make it any less wrong, but certain scientists with questionable ethics have gotten away with a lot in the name of, well, science. The more (in)famous examples of wayward science include eugenics sterilization, electroshock therapy, ionizing radiation experiments, and the CIA program MKULTRA. But the government sponsored Tuskegee syphilis experiment, a program that ran for forty years in Macon County, Alabama during the mid-20th century, is one of the more appalling and deceitful of the bunch.

In 1932, the medical community still did not know a whole lot about treating syphilis. This was the case despite documentation of the disease dating all the way back to just after Columbus made his famous jaunt across the big blue.

According to the Oxford Journal, syphilis was a "cultural embarrassment" and had many different names that exemplified prejudices of different nationalities. The German and English called it the "French Pox." The Russians referred to it as the "Polish sickness" and the Poles as the "German sickness." The Japanese called it the "Chinese ulcer."

In the 16th century, Europe experienced a syphilis epidemic likely caused by the abundance of sailors traveling from sea port to sea port and doing what sailors do when they come into port. In fact, there is some evidence that points to Columbus and his crew being the ones who brought syphilis back from the new world. Either way, despite the disease being around for at least 450 years (and some evidence points to longer than that), there was no one, true, successful treatment for it. One popular remedy for several centuries was the use of mercury, which is quite poisonous in it's own right, either by ingestion or rubbing it on the skin. This led to the popular saying "a night in the arms of Venus leads to a lifetime on Mercury."

In 1908, Japanese scientist Sahachiro Hata (working in Germany) discovered the drug Salvarsan was somewhat effective as a treatment for syphilis. It was also quite toxic, as it came from the arsenic family. There were instances of patients losing limbs after taking the drug. Eventually, in 1912, Hata and Nobel Prize winner Paul Ehlric developed a easier-to-administer, but still toxic, drug called Neosalvarsan - which became the standard treatment for syphilis until the late 1940s.
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