Secret History

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The Untold History of Modern U.S. Education

© unknown
"Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one's self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half-truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether education is fulfilling its purpose.

A great majority of the so called educated people do not think logically or scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us the objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education.

Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction. The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society.
Blue Planet

'Sweden's Atlantis' at bottom of Baltic Sea: 11,000-year-old settlement uncovered

A team of divers led by Södertörn University archaeology professor Björn Nilsson has uncovered artifacts from what could be the oldest known settlement in the region, dubbed by local publications last week as "Sweden's Atlantis."

The 11,000-year-old objects at the bottom of the Baltic Sea have been preserved exceptionally well because of the gyttja sediment and lack of oxygen. Organic objects, not only stone objects, have been preserved at this rare site near Hanö, off the southern coast of Sweden.

The Stone Age artifacts were left by nomads, and they could be the earliest evidence of a temporary settlement before the more permanent Nordic settlements were established. Nilsson described the artifacts as "world-class" and "one-of-a-kind," in an interview with The Local. One of the most impressive finds, said Nilsson, was a harpoon carved of animal bone. At the site were also the bones of auroch, a cattle-like animal that became extinct in the 17th century.

Evidence shows prehistoric humans used fire 300,000 years ago

© Dimos/Shutterstock
New findings reported in the Journal of Archaeological Science suggest that prehistoric humans were able to control and use fire at their will.

A team of Israeli scientists discovered the earliest evidence of unequivocal repeated fire building over a continuous period in the Qesem Cave. This evidence, found at an archaeological site near present-day Rosh Ha'ayin, dates back to around 300,000 years ago.

The researchers identified thick deposits of wood ash in the center of the cave, and infrared spectroscopy helped determine that there were bits of bone and soil that had been heated to very high temperatures mixed in with the ash. This evidence provides conclusive proof that this had been the site of a large hearth.

Dr. Ruth Shahack-Gross of the Kimmel Center for Archeological Science at the Weizmann Institute tested the micromorphology of the ash by using a microscope, helping her and her colleagues see the composition of the materials in the deposit and reveal how they were formed. This method helped the team find the evidence for a hearth that was used repeatedly over time.

300,000-year-old caveman 'campfire' found in Israel

An arrow points to the Qesem Cave hearth, where hominins may have tended to fires as early as 300,000 years ago.
A newly discovered hearth full of ash and charred bone in a cave in modern-day Israel hints that early humans sat around fires as early as 300,000 years ago - before Homo sapiens arose in Africa. In and around the hearth, archaeologists say they also found bits of stone tools that were likely used for butchering and cutting animals.

The finds could shed light on a turning point in the development of culture "in which humans first began to regularly use fire both for cooking meat and as a focal point - a sort of campfire - for social gatherings," said archaeologist Ruth Shahack-Gross of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. "They also tell us something about the impressive levels of social and cognitive development of humans living some 300,000 years ago," Shahack-Gross added in a statement.

The centrally located fire pit is about 6.5 feet (2 meters) in diameter at its widest point, and its ash layers suggest the hearth was used repeatedly over time, according to the study, which was detailed in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Jan. 25. Shahack-Gross and colleagues think these features indicate the hearth may have been used by large groups of cave dwellers. What's more, its position implies some planning went into deciding where to put the fire pit, suggesting whoever built it must have had a certain level of intelligence.
Book 2

Risible 'Hitler fled to Brazil' book makes headlines

© Screen Capture/YouTube
Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, as seen in 'Hitler's Reign of Terror.'
Adolf Hitler didn't commit suicide in a Berlin bunker in 1945. He escaped to South America, where he lived with his black lover to the age of 95 as a treasure hunter. That's the risible claim in a new book by a Brazilian Jewish journalism student.

The conspiracy theory premise of Simoni Renee Guerreiro Dias's book Hitler in Brazil - His Life and His Death has grabbed international headlines in recent days, and never mind the fact that it's ridiculous.

Hitler shot himself in his Berlin bunker on April 30, 1945, as the Red Army was advancing into the German capital. His body and that of his mistress, Eva Braun, were placed in a bomb crater outside the Reich Chancellory and doused with petrol.

The way Dias tells it, however, Hitler fled to Brazil and lived under the name Adolf Leipzig until he died in 1984. She claims Hitler lived in the small town of Nossa Senhora do Livramento, 30 miles from the Brazilian state capital Cuiaba, and hunted for buried Jesuit gold.

Her "proof"? A blurry photograph of the man she claims is Hitler with his black girlfriend - with whom he shacked up to allay suspicions that he might be the propagator of a racist ideology.
Cow Skull

Australia Day or Invasion Day?

Aborigines in Chains
© Unknown
Australian aborigines in chains.
As an Australian, I have fond memories of Australia Day celebrations. I would sit on my father's shoulders waving my Australian flag as we watched hundreds of boats crowd the harbour. I was always taught that Australia Day was a day to celebrate the beginning of a great country. At school it was the same - I recall colouring pictures of a heroic captain proudly planting a flag in Australian soil. Little did I know at the time, that the beginning of this 'great nation' was the end of another.

26th January - A day to celebrate?

Australia Day is celebrated on 26th January because it is the day that Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet, made up of eleven convict ships, landed at Sydney Cove in Australia and raised the British Flag, marking the beginning of British sovereignty over Australia. Phillip took possession of the land in the name of King George III, a land that had been declared terra nullius (uninhabited by humans).

Renaissance art of the End Times revealed in rediscovered apocalyptic book

© all images from “The Book of Miracles,” courtesy Taschen
“1533 – Dragons over Bohemia”
In 1533, hundreds of dragons were reported to darken the skies over Bohemia, following a 1506 sighting of a blinding bright comet slicing over the sky. Were these foreboding occurrences signs of the apocalypse, or just a lot of Renaissance hearsay? In the 16th century a diligent scribe and artist chronicled these and other portents of woe in a book that was only rediscovered a few years ago.

The book with its 169 pages and vibrant illustrations was surprisingly intact when it went to auction in 2007 in Munich, and after it was sold to James Faber, a London-based dealer, it was revealed to be even more mysterious than previously believed, and about a century older. Now Taschen has recently published an edition of The Book of Miracles, so anyone can brood over its strange contents.
Eye 1

Blue eyes and dark skin, that's how the European hunter-gatherer looked

The genome of a 7,000-year-old individual from the Mesolithic site of La Brana-Arintero (Leon, Spain) has been recovered.
© Pelopanton / CSIC
La Braña 1, the name used to baptize a 7,000-year-old individual from the Mesolithic Period, had blue eyes and dark skin.
La Braña 1, name used to baptize a 7,000 years old individual from the Mesolithic Period, whose remains were recovered at La Braña-Arintero site in Valdelugueros (León, Spain) had blue eyes and dark skin. These details are the result of a study conducted by Carles Lalueza-Fox, researcher from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in collaboration with the Centre for GeoGenetics (Denmark). La Braña 1 represents the first recovered genome of an European hunter-gatherer. The research is published in Nature.

The Mesolithic, a period that lasted from 10,000 to 5,000 years ago (between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic), ends with the advent of agriculture and livestock farming, coming from the Middle-East. The arrival of the Neolithic, with a carbohydrate-based diet and new pathogens transmitted by domesticated animals, entailed metabolic and immunological challenges that were reflected in genetic adaptations of post-Mesolithic populations. Among these is the ability to digest lactose, which La Braña individual could not do.

The personal life of a Nazi: New trove of Himmler documents published

When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the wife of Heinrich Himmler, chief of the Nazi Gestapo and the SS and one of the main orchestrators of the Holocaust, sent him a message: "There is a can of caviar in the ice box. Take it."

On another occasion Himmler's wife, Margarete, received a note: "I am off to Auschwitz. Kisses, Your Heini."

Excerpts from a private collection of hundreds of the Himmlers' personal letters, diaries and photographs were published for the first time this weekend by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot and the German paper Die Welt, providing a rare, if jarring, glimpse into the family life of one of Hitler's top lieutenants while he was busy organizing the mass extermination of Jews.

The mystery of the Peterborough petroglyphs

They could be thousands of years older than experts allow, if only because the extensive weathering of some of the glyphs implies more than 1,000 years of exposure.
The Peterborough Petroglyphs are the largest collection of ancient rock carvings (petroglyphs) in all of North America, made up of over 900 images carved into crystalline limestone located near Peterborough in Ontario, Canada.

Proclaimed a National Historic Site of Canada in 1976, local indigenous people believe that this is an entrance into the spirit world and that the Spirits actually speak to them from this location. They call it Kinoomaagewaapkong, which translates to "the rocks that teach".
The petroglyphs are carved into a single slab of crystalline limestone which is 55 metres long and 30 metres wide. About 300 of the images are decipherable shapes, including humans, shamans, animals, solar symbols, geometric shapes and boats.

It is generally believed that the indigenous Algonkian people carved the petroglyphs between 900 and 1400 AD. But rock art is usually impossible to date accurately for lack of any carbon material and dating artefacts or relics found in proximity to the site only reveals information about the last people to be there. They could be thousands of years older than experts allow, if only because the extensive weathering of some of the glyphs implies more than 1,000 years of exposure.