Secret History


Science historians are re-creating recipes from 400 year old manuscript

© Making & Knowing Project
In the 16th century, encasing living objects and insects in metal was a popular endeavor.
Deep in the national library of France sits a 400-year-old recipe book, its pages jam-packed with handwritten instructions for producing ancient pigments, varnishes, colored metals, and fake gems; for casting coins, cannons, and jewelry; and for doing creative—if disturbing—taxidermy that merges cats with bats. The manuscript is a rarity: Although printed recipe books were relatively common in the 16thcentury, this text was the equivalent of a lab notebook for an ambitious, anonymous French craftsman, someone who didn't just collect useful recipes but actively tinkered with them, obsessively noting observations and protocol improvements in the margins.

"The text is so unruly that you can't really read the manuscript—you have to decipher it," says Pamela H. Smith, a historian of science at Columbia University. Smith launched a project last September to transcribe, translate, and re-create recipes from a digitized version of this chaotic manual, whose banal name, "Ms. Fr. 640," belies its enticing contents. Funded by the National Science Foundation and dubbed the Making & Knowing Project, this venture has Columbia students systematically re-creating the book's recipes as part of their coursework. Over the next few years, the plan is to compile the results of these modern re-creations in an online portal.

Comment: We ignore ancient knowledge at our peril as recent discoveries of recipes from old manuscripts show that they are sometimes more efficacious than our modern medicine: Ancient Anglo-Saxon herbal potion found to kill MRSA


Were the ancient Irish the first to record an eclipse? 5,000-year-old drawings in mysterious cairn show celestial event


It's thought that ancient Irish people were the first to record a solar eclipse 5,355 years ago. This piece of rock art is said to show the celestial event
Stone Age monuments such as Stonehenge suggest our prehistoric ancestors were keen astronomers.

Now archaeologists believe that the ancient Irish were the first to record an eclipse 5,354 years ago.

A geometric carving said to depict the phenomenon lies on the wall of a mysterious mound known as Cairn L outside Kells in County Meath, Ireland, where the landscape is covered in Neolithic ruins.

The etching is one of the main focuses of the cairn and is situated at the back of the chamber, which has seven recesses - three on each side and one at the back, Martin Byrne, author of blog carrowkeel explained.


The image of concentric circles is thought to have been scratched into the rock on November 30, 3340BC, which fits with one of the 2 solar eclipses in history tracked by Irish archaeoastronomer Paul Griffin. This image shows a solar eclipse on August 11 1999
The image of concentric circles and lines is thought to have been scratched into the rock on 30 November, 3,340 BC.

This date fits with the 92 solar eclipses in history tracked by Irish archaeoastronomer Paul Griffin, Irish Central reported.


Experts at Astronomy Ireland surmise the carvings were made on stones by Neolithic astronomer priests and that the eclipse was likely viewed from the cairn, which is perched on top of the hill (shown)


Massive man-made monolith over 10,000 years old found in Mediterranean Sea

A massive monolith over 10,000 years old has been found in the Mediterranean Sea near Italy, scientists say. The block, which was apparently constructed by humans, bears traces of prehistoric civilization.

The 12-meter-long monolith "resting on the sea-floor" was located at a depth of 40 meters, in a shallow bank of the Sicilian Channel, says the report by ocean scientists from Italy and Israel published in July.

"It is broken into two parts, and has three regular holes: one at its end which passes through from part to part, the others in two of its sides."

According to the study, the site was abandoned at about 9,350 ± 200 years BP (Before Present) and the morphological evidence, underwater observations and results of petrographic analysis suggest that the monolith was made by humans.

Eye 2

The psychopathic logic of the U.S. dropping the atom bomb on Japan 70 years later


Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Worst single terror attacks in history
Even if we accept that there was a plausible military imperative to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - to bring about a swift defeat of Japan and thus an end to the Pacific War - the horror of civilian death toll from those two no-warning aerial attacks places a disturbing question over the supposed ends justifying the means.

But what if the official military rationale touted by US President Harry Truman and his administration turns out to be bogus? That is, the real reason for dropping the A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 70 years ago on August 6 and 9, 1945, had little to do with defeating imperial Japan and saving the lives of American troops. What if the real reason was the deliberate and cold-blooded demonstration of raw military power by Washington in order to warn the Soviet Union of America's postwar demarcation of global hegemony?

That leads to the most chilling conclusion - a conclusion far worse than the official American narrative would have us believe. For it means that the act of obliterating up to 200,000 Japanese civilians was an event of premeditated mass murder whose intent was solely political. Or, in other words, an ineffable act of state terrorism committed by the United States.

Comment: See: Nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Nagasaki was unjustified - US experts


Delta Flight 191 crash: 30 years since a 'microburst' caused tragedy at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

© David Breslauer, AP
Delta Flight 191 crashed short of the runway at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Aug. 2, 1985. Twenty-seven people survived the disaster.
DALLAS — Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the crash of Delta Flight 191 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The Lockheed L-1011 jumbo jet was coming in for a landing on a rainy Friday evening Aug. 2, 1985, when it encountered a "microburst" that sent the aircraft careening along the ground north of runway 17L, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The plane struck a car on Texas Highway 114, killing its driver, then broke up in a fireball as it slammed into two large above-ground water tanks.

The crash killed 136 passengers and crew on board plus the motorist; 27 people survived the impact.

The NTSB investigation said although the pilot was experienced and competent, training in dealing with microbursts was lacking. After the crash, pilots were required to train to react to microbursts and quickly take evasive action. Since then, weather forecasting and windshear detection also has improved.

War Whore

A century ago the U.S. invaded and occupied Haiti setting the template for inequality and misrule

On the morning of Wed., Jul. 28, 1915, U.S. Marines landed near Port-au-Prince, beginning a brutal 19-year military occupation of Latin America’s first independent nation that left deep scars on the Haitian population and psyche.
A century ago, American troops invaded and occupied a foreign nation. They would stay there for almost two decades, install a client government, impose new laws and fight insurgents in bloody battles on difficult terrain. Thousands of residents perished during what turned out to be 19 years of de facto U.S. rule.

The country was Haiti, the Caribbean nation that's often seen by outsiders as a metaphor for poverty and disaster. Yet rarely are Americans confronted with their own hand in its misfortunes.

On Tuesday, a group of protesters marched to the U.S. Embassy in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince in commemoration of the grim legacy of the U.S. occupation, which began in July 1915 after President Woodrow Wilson used political chaos and violence in the country as grounds to intervene. Some in Washington feared the threat of competing French and German interests in the Caribbean.

The liberal, democratic values Wilson so famously championed in Europe were not so visible in Haiti, a largely black republic that since its independence from France a century earlier had been regarded with fear and contempt by America's white ruling classes. "Think of it! N------s speaking French," quipped William Jennings Bryan, Wilson's secretary of state, in a chilling echo of the Jim Crow-era bigotry of the time.

It was also a moment where Washington did little to disguise its sense of imperial entitlement in the neighborhood. A number of fledgling governments in the Caribbean and Central America all suffered U.S. invasions and the imposition of policies favorable to American strategic interests and big business. Banana republics didn't just spring up on their own.

Comment: It appears that not much has changed - when the U.S. decides to spread 'freedom and democracy' to further its own political and economic interests, the local population will suffer extreme brutality.


The secret history of Alaska: How Russia was led to sell its American stronghold

© Flickr / Teddy Llovet
There is still a lot of controversy about Alaska's cession to the United States by Russian Emperor Alexander II; some experts call the treaty in question, suggesting that Alaska may hypothetically be returned to Russia.

The real story of the cession of the Russian Possessions in North America — Alaska — by "his Majesty the Emperor of all the Russians" Alexander II to the United States of America is still shrouded in mystery.

The Treaty of Cession of Alaska was inked 148 years ago, on March 30, by Russian and American plenipotentiaries: the Privy Councillor Edward de Stoeckl and US Secretary of State William H. Seward, respectively.

Comment: For more secret history, check out:

Top Secret

Top 10 Secret US Military bases

It should come as no surprise that with an annual military budget of over $610 billion, the United States invests in some gargantuan black ops and top secret facilities. These include warfare testing, nuclear bunkers, chemical experimentation, Continuance of Government (COG) command centers, and a wide variety of both known and unknown contingency preparation. Some of the facilities, like the infamous Area 51, are well-branded into our collective imagination; other are less known and considerably more vexing. It stirs and scares the mind to think about an entire underground network of tunnels connecting giant government facilities. Yet they are out there, down there, controlling this nation's future military responses and engaging in technological and weapons testing that most of us cannot even begin to fathom.

1. The Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Home of NORAD

Early construction inside mountain


Nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Nagasaki was unjustified - US experts

© Agence France-Presse
A photo dated September 1945 of the remains of the Prefectural Industry Promotion Building after the bombing of Hiroshima, which was later preserved as a monument.
Seventy years have passed since the infamous bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States; however, it seems that the historical lesson still remains unlearned.

Seventy years ago, in early August 1945, the United States dropped nuclear bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in so doing became the first and only nation in history to launch atomic weapons of mass destruction against civilians.

"The whole truth of what the Nuremburg tribunal would later help define as an international war crime and a crime against humanity has been heavily censored and mythologized ever since war-weary Americans in 1945 accepted the propaganda that the bombings were necessary to shorten the war and prevent the loss of a million US soldiers during the allegedly planned November 1945 invasion," American researcher Dr. Gary G. Kohls pointed out.

The massive nuclear strike resulted in the death of tens of thousands of peaceful Japanese civilians.

On August 6, 1945 American pilot Paul Tibbets attacked the city of Hiroshima with the atomic bomb "Little Boy." Over 70,000 died immediately, including 16 American prisoners of war. About 200,000 died in agony from the radiation sickness months later.

On August 9 another American B-29 bomber called Bockscar released "Fat Man," the plutonium bomb named after Winston Churchill, over the port city of Nagasaki. About 75,000 Japanese civilians died from the blast, while over 70,000 were seriously wounded.


Iran? What about Israel? JFK tried and failed to demand inspections of Dimona nuclear facility

In July 1963, President Kennedy demanded of the newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister that he allow U.S. inspections of the Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona to make sure that the plant was "devoted exclusively to peaceful purposes." U.S. support for Israel would be "seriously jeopardized" if the U.S. could not get information on doings at the facility, Kennedy said.

Kennedy stated his demands in a letter to Levi Eshkol dated July 5, 1963, less than ten days after Eshkol became prime minister of Israel. The document is in the Israel State Archive, and is online at the National Security Archive, in a section titled Israel and the Bomb. Text below (thanks in part to the Jewish Virtual Library).

Comment: Unfortunately, Israel had no interest in "resolving all doubts" concerning the peaceful intent of Dimona, because there was no peaceful intent. Remember, before a nuclear weapon was but a twinkle in the eyes of Iran's leaders, Israel was stocked up and as belligerent as ever. Iran isn't the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East; Israel is. And they'll take the world down with it, if it comes to that.