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MindMatters: Ordinary Men: What Makes Normal People Do Monstrous Things

ordinary men
Are killers born or made? Depending on who you ask, you'll get a variety of responses: all humans are good - it's only the 'environment' or 'society' that makes them do bad things; anyone who engages in murder must be a cold-blooded psychopath, born to kill. But simple explanations come from simple minds. It's not a matter of either/or. Some people are born that way, like psychopaths. Some have the strength of character to resist the impulse to conform. But most people are somewhere in between, easily swayed to do the will of whoever is giving the orders.

On today's MindMatters we delve into the hellish depths of World War II and Christopher Browning's excellent but disturbing book, Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. His research confirms what studies like those of Milgram demonstrated in the lab: normal people show a spectrum of responses to the influence of authority. A small minority are very willing to inflict harm to others. Another small minority refuses. But the vast majority go along, even if it makes them sick to the stomach and traumatized for life.

Running Time: 01:24:17

Download: MP3 — 112 MB


Exceptional 23,000 year old "Venus" discovered in Amiens, France

paleolithic venus
This picture taken on December 4, 2019 shows a 4 centimeters high paleolithic statuette named "Venus of Renancourt", in Amiens. A small paleolithic statuette, from the series called "Venus of Renancourt", exceptionally well preserved, was discovered last July in a prehistoric site in Amiens (northern France), constituting a rare testimony of the gravettian art typical of hunters - gatherers, revealed the Inrap on December 4.
The prehistoric site of Renancourt, in Amiens, has been known for many years and long remained one of the few sites providing evidence for human presence in northern France during the Early Upper Paleolithic (35,000 - 15,000). Discovered in 2011, during an Inrap diagnostic operation, the site of Amiens-Renancourt 1 has been under full excavation since 2014. During the 2019 season, an exceptional Gravettian "Venus," some 23,000-years-old, was discovered.

A Paleolithic hunting camp

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Eye 2

George H. Walker Bush: The Bush family and the Mexican drug cartel

George HW Bush

President George Bush wanted to show America what crack cocaine looked like at his first Oval Office address on Sept 5, 1989
Donald Trump has offered to intervene in Mexico, i.e. "to go after the Drug Cartels" following "the brutal killing of an American family in Mexico". The Mexican president has turned down Trump's generous offer.

In a recent interview, President Trump confirmed that his administration is now considering categorizing "drug cartels" as "terrorists", akin to Al Qaeda (with the exception that they are "Catholic terrorists").

They would henceforth be designated by Washington as "foreign terrorist organizations".

What is the intent?

Create a justification for US-led "counterterrorism" (military) operations inside Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America?

Extend the "War on Terrorism" to Latin America? "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P). Go after the "Narco-terrorists".

The unspoken truth is:

1. Al Qaeda and its related terrorist organizations (including ISIS) in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia are creations of the CIA.

2. The CIA protects the multibillion dollar global drug trade as well as the Mexican drug cartels. Moreover, it is estimated that 300 billion dollars (annually) worth of drug money is routinely laundered in casinos across America including Las Vegas and Atlantic City... As well as in Macau. Guess who is the World's richest casino owner.

3. Both American and Latin American politicians are known to have ties to the drug trade.

Flash back to the 1990s: George H. W. Bush, the dad of Bush Junior had developed close personal ties with Carlos Salinas de Gortari (former president of Mexico) and his dad Raul Salinas Lozano who, according to the Dallas Morning News (February 27, 1997) was "a leading figure in narcotics dealings that also involved his son, Raul Salinas de Gortari... And Raul was an intimo amigo of Jeb Bush, (former Governor of Florida) and the brother of George W, Bush.

Comment: Boy oh boy was (and probably still is) the Bush familiy into a lot of high level organized criminal shit:


Ostrich eggshell beads reveal 10,000 years of cultural interaction across Africa

ostrich eggshell beads
© Hans Sell
A string of modern ostrich eggshell beads from eastern Africa.
Ostrich eggshell beads are some of the oldest ornaments made by humankind, and they can be found dating back at least 50,000 years in Africa.

Previous research in southern Africa has shown that the beads increase in size about 2,000 years ago, when herding populations first enter the region. In the current study, researchers Jennifer Miller and Elizabeth Sawchuk investigate this idea using increased data and evaluate the hypothesis in a new region where it has never before been tested.

Review of old ideas, analysis of old collections

To conduct their study, the researchers recorded the diameters of 1,200 ostrich eggshell beads unearthed from 30 sites in Africa dating to the last 10,000 years. Many of these bead measurements were taken from decades-old unstudied collections, and so are being reported here for the first time. This new data increases the published bead diameter measurements from less than 100 to over 1,000, and reveals new trends that oppose longstanding beliefs.

Comment: Outside Africa, ostrich eggshell beads were also unearthed from a woman's grave at the archaeological site Tel Tsaf in the Jordan Valley of Israel, dating from 5100 B.C. to 4600 B.C.


The Habsburg jaw: Facial deformity in royal dynasty linked to inbreeding

King Charles II  of Spain

King Charles II of Spain was the last in the Habsburg line and one of the most afflicted with the facial deformity.
The "Habsburg jaw", a facial condition of the Habsburg dynasty of Spanish and Austrian kings and their wives, can be attributed to inbreeding, according to new results published in the Annals of Human Biology.

The new study combined diagnosis of facial deformities using historical portraits with genetic analysis of the degree of relatedness to determine whether there was a direct link. The researchers also investigated the genetic basis of the relationship.

Generations of intermarriage secured the family's influence across a European empire including Spain and Austria for more than 200 years but led to its demise when the final Habsburg monarch was unable to produce an heir. However, until now no studies have confirmed whether the distinct chin known as "Habsburg jaw" was a result of inbreeding.

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How radar detected prehistoric footprints beneath White Sands National Monument

Modern footprints speckle the Alkali Flat Trail at White Sands—and around the area, oodles of prehistoric footprints are buried beneath the sand.
Today, White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is studded with dune fields, which are constantly being shuffled and sculpted by the wind. Visitors can hike across the soaring, powdery mounds of gypsum, or even barrel down them on a sled. The dunes seem to go on forever: They stretch for hundreds of square miles, and as the sand whips past, it's easy to imagine an infinity of white, rolling humps.

At the end of the last Ice Age, it looked a lot different. Neighboring Lake Otero was beginning to evaporate, leaving behind selenite crystals that eroded into the sands of Alkali Flat. In the waning days of the Pleistocene, a human, a ground sloth, and a mammoth trudged across the eastern side of that disappearing lake. Now, well over 10,000 years later, researchers from Cornell University, Bournemouth University, and the National Park Service are using ground-penetrating radar to study the tracks they left behind.

An animal can only die once, and when it does, there's a vanishingly slim chance that it will become a fossil: Far, far more often than not, an animal's carcass will decay and rot until there's little proof that it ever existed at all. While it's alive, though, a creature can stamp proof of itself all across the landscape. Ichnology is the study of those preserved tracks, burrows, and other "trace fossils" — and it's a way for researchers to visualize an animal's behavior and biomechanics without a body in sight.

Like any other fossils, trace fossils owe their existence to a bit of luck. "You need a surface that is soft enough to deform and leave an imprint, which is true for sand and mud," says Douglas Jerolmack, a geophysicist at the University of Pennsylvania who has worked extensively in White Sands but was not involved in this current research. "To preserve it, you also need the surface to 'lock in' that imprint somehow," he adds. A track might be submerged by other sediment faster than wind or water can obliterate it, for instance, or it may be cemented in place. Jerolmack suspects that's what happened in White Sands. "The upwelling of salt-saturated groundwater in the arid environment there leads to precipitation of salt that builds little bridges among sand grains and binds them together," he says.

Comment: See also: Did archeologists find evidence our ancestors hunted giant sloths?


Elizabeth I revealed as translator of historic Tacitus manuscript

elizabeth I
© Lambeth Palace Library/Getty Images
A manuscript written by Queen Elizabeth I has been discovered after lying unnoticed for more than a century.

A literary historian from the University of East Anglia made the startling find in Lambeth Palace Library in London.

He turned detective to piece together a series of clues to establish that the queen was the author of the writings.

The work is a translation of a book in which the Roman historian Tacitus wrote of the benefits of monarchical rule.

Comment: Elizabeth I's aptitude for translating as well as her interesting milieu is noted in Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article The True Identity of Fulcanelli and The Da Vinci Code:
In the early 1520s, Marguerite became involved in the movement for the reform of the church, meeting and corresponding with the leading reformers of the period. In 1527, apparently by her own choice, (rare in those days) Marguerite married Henri d'Albret, King of Navarre (though most of his kingdom was in Spanish hands). Henri d'Albret was the son of Catherine de Foix, descended from a famous Cathar family.

Around 1531, Marguerite allowed a poem she had written to be published, Miroir de l'ame pecheresse (Mirror of the sinful soul). Marguerite gave a copy of Miroir to one of her ladies in waiting, Anne Boleyn, and it was later translated into English by Anne's 12 year old daughter, Elizabeth later to become the greatest monarch England has ever known. As it happens, Anne Boleyn had previously been the lady in waiting to Margaret of Austria, so the two ladies undoubtedly communicated with one another and shared a Lady in Waiting. It also makes one wonder about the possibility that there was a great mystery surrounding Anne Boleyn?
And check out SOTT radio's: Also available in full on YouTube here.

See also: Long-lost overpainted portrait reveals young Queen Elizabeth I


Ancient Egyptian High Priest hid mummies from grave robbers during Kingdom's decline

The Valley of Kings and Queens is visited by hordes of tourists annually, and it appears there is at least one person to thank for sheltering King Ramses' remains from greedy 10 century BC tomb raiders.

Bettany Hughes' Channel 5 show Egypt's Great Treasure has revealed a stunning story of the so-called TT320 - the ancient Egyptian tomb located in close proximity to Deir el-Bahri, just opposite Luxor.

It is believed to have initially been the last resting place of High Priest of Amun Pinedjem II, his wife Nesikhons, and their close attendants.

Pinedjem II died around 969 BCE - at a time of the Egyptian Kingdom's decline, with grave robbery typical of the period. And it appeared he had done something really cunning and sneaky to secure the remains of legendary Ramses IX.

Comment: See also:

Better Earth

1,400 years ago Bamburgh Castle was center of 'Northumbrian enlightenment', hosting visitors from as far as North Africa


While most of Britain was in the 'Dark Ages' one area was playing host to visitors from across Europe, researchers studying bones uncovered near Bamburgh Castle claim
While most of Britain was in the 'Dark Ages' one area was playing host to visitors from across Europe and having its own local 'enlightenment', researchers studying bones uncovered near Bamburgh Castle claim.

Over the past 20 years, experts from Durham University have been studying the remains of 110 Anglo-Saxons found buried near the Northumberland castle.

They were found between 1998 and 2007 under the dunes just south of the Bamburgh Castle but were likely buried 1,400 years earlier.

Researchers say the remains belonged to people from across the British Isles and particularly western Scotland but were all likely of a high status within the court during what historians call the 'Golden age of Northumbria'.

Comment: It's worth considering that perhaps a 'Dark Ages' did occur, for the great majority, at least, as Laura Knight-Jadczyk in Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls writes:
Until that point in time, the Britons had held control of post-Roman Britain, keeping the Anglo-Saxons isolated and suppressed. After the Romans were gone, the Britons maintained the status quo, living in towns, with elected officials, and carrying on trade with the empire. After AD 536, the year reported as the "death of Arthur", the Britons, the ancient Cymric empire that at one time had stretched from Cornwall in the south to Strathclyde in the north, all but disappeared, and were replaced by Anglo-Saxons. There is much debate among scholars as to whether the Anglo-Saxons killed all of the Britons, or assimilated them. Here we must consider that they were victims of possibly many overhead cometary explosions which wiped out most of the population of Europe, plunging it into the Dark Ages which were, apparently, really DARK, atmospherically speaking.
But following this upheaval, during which there may have been places of refuge, for some, there arose a period quite different to our own, so much so that, even in our age of information and 'diversity', we're still struggling to understand the people of the Middle Ages. R. G. Collingwood in Speculum Mentis writes:
The men of the middle ages, as we look back on them, appear to us half children and half giants. In the narrowness of their outlook, the smallness of the problems they faced, their fanciful and innocent superstition, their combination of qualities and activities which a reflective or critical society would find intolerably contradictory, they are children, and it is difficult for us to believe that human beings could be so simple. But in the solid magnitude of their achievements, their systems of law and philosophy, their creation and organization of huge nation-states, their incredible cathedrals, and above all their gradual forging of a civilized world out of a chaos of barbarism, they seem possessed by a tenacity and a vastness of purpose that we can only call gigantic. They seem to be tiny people doing colossal things.
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The Harappan script: An enigma from the ancient world

Despite the thousands of archaeological artefacts excavated from more than a thousand settlements, a wholesome perspective of the civilisation still remains elusive.
Harappan Script
© Financial Express
In the 1920s, when the Harappan civilisation first came into limelight owing to the efforts of the then leading archaeologists of British and Indian origin, it was little expected that the civilisation would prove to be a mystery for a such a long time.
A standing offer of $10,000 prize money remains open from 2004, donated by an anonymous donor and valid as long as Steve Farmer, a historian, remains alive. This large temptation or let's say motivation to read a text over 50 characters still remains unclaimed. So, the question that naturally comes next is why was this prize money offered and what is the text that is so difficult that it cannot be read? With that question, readers, welcome to the world of Harappan civilisation and its mysterious script. While experts have unlocked the magical door of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the Mayan language, and many other lesser-known scripts, the Harappan script still stubbornly refuses to yield its secrets to the archaeologists, historians, and other experts working in this field.

Of course, there are other scripts that remain elusive to the human minds, such as the texts of the Olmec and Zapotec (Mesoamerican cultures prior to the Mayans taking over), Proto-Elamite (earliest writings of ancient Persia or modern-day Iran), among few others; but the prize money stands only for deciphering the Harappan script. So, if one wants a name in the academic world, and can withstand the constant eagle-eyed surveillance and inspections by the experts of one's works, what can be better than to take up the challenge of reading the scripts of Harappan civilisation!