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Fri, 03 Apr 2020
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Fireball 5

Scientists agree: Younger Dryas impact event wiped out ancient civilization

Meteor
© iStockphoto
The Earth was hit by a fragmented comet around 13,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene Era and scientists are now starting to agree.

A new research paper has been published in Scientific Reports regarding an ancient civilisation in what is modern-day Syria that was wiped out by the cataclysm, as academics finally come round to the idea that yes this event did happen.

Even the sceptic Michael Shermer, who famously debated Graham Hancock on the Joe Rogan podcast has tweeted Graham saying:

"Ok Graham, I shall adjust my priors in light of more research like this, and modify my credence about your theory."


Arrow Up

Pepe Escobar - A meeting of Chinese and Greek/Latin stoicism

Piazza Capitaniato, Padua
© AFP / Roberto Silvino / NurPhoto
Stoics would approve: Following a decree issued by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on March 9, all commercial activities have been required to close after 6 pm with the exception of food shops. The squares of Italian cities have emptied; bars, restaurants, cafes and covered markets are now deserted. Movement is allowed only for business purposes and home deliveries and for close personal reasons. The streets are patrolled by police forces. This photo was taken at Piazza Capitaniato, Padua, on Monday.
Earlier this week a delegation of Chinese medics arrived at Malpensa airport near Milan from Shanghai on a special China Eastern flight carrying 400,000 masks and 17 tons of equipment. The salutation banner the visitors rolled out on the tarmac, in red and white, read, "We're waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden."

In a stance of supreme cross-cultural elegance, this was inspired by the poetics of Seneca, a Stoic. The impact, all over Italy, where people still study the classics, was immense.

The Chinese were consulted in advance and they preferred Seneca to a Chinese saying. After all, for China, a 5,000-year-old civilization-state that has confronted perhaps more than its share of instances of luan ("chaos"), there's nothing more rejuvenating than post-chaos.

China is donating coronavirus test kits to Cambodia. China sent planeloads of masks, ventilators - and medics - to Italy and France. China sent medics to Iran, which is under unilateral, illegal US sanctions - and to Iraq, which the Pentagon is bombing again. China is helping across the (Eurasian) board, from the Philippines to Spain.

President Xi Jinping, in a phone call with Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, pledged in the wake of Covid-19 to establish a Health Silk Road, a companion to the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative.

Thus, finally, there's the Philosophical Silk Road celebrated at an Italian airport, a meeting of Greek/Latin stoicism with Chinese stoicism.

Health

How the Soviet Union defeated a smallpox epidemic in a matter of 19 days

russia smallpox epidemic
© Getty Images, Mikhail Grachev/МАММ/МDF, Archive photo
It took the city emergency services a little more than two weeks to prevent the deadly virus from escaping beyond Moscow and spreading throughout the entire Soviet Union.

On December 23, 1959, a man stepped off an airplane arriving in Moscow from Delhi, who would soon inadvertently place the capital of the USSR in great danger. Artist Alexei Kokorekin could not have imagined that he had brought smallpox from India.

Variola vera, natural or smallpox, was one of the deadliest diseases to have ever affected humankind. It wiped out entire villages, cities and even entire countries. In the 8th century, it killed 30 percent of the population of Japan and in the 16th century, millions of native Americans, who contracted the virus from conquistadors.

MIB

General Smedley Butler and the 'Wall Street Putsch' against President Roosevelt revisited

General Smedley Butler
The upcoming American elections are just around the corner and everyone is wondering if the new president will be named Trump, Biden, Sanders or none of the above.

I can hear the incredulous reader exclaim: Wait, what does "none of the above" mean?? It's certainly going to be one of those three isn't it??

It is often too easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees and in the opinion-packed world of endless talking head commentaries, every leaf and branch is scrutinized by professional opinionators so closely that many forget that the entire forest is on fire. As I've written extensively here and here and here, the reality is that the western financial system is careening towards a crash much worse than anything the world saw in 1929, and the deep state trying to manage this wreck from above would love nothing more than to impose a fascist dictatorship onto a frightened population.

Trump, Sanders and Tulsi: Not Good Fascists

The only reason why so much effort has been expended on attempting to paint Trump, Sanders and Tulsi as "Russian agents" has been the simple fact that neither one of the three individuals would make very willing puppets who would play along with a fascist dictatorship in America under those foreseeable crisis conditions. For all their problems and differences, right wing neocons and left wing Malthusian technocrats despise Trump, Sanders and Tulsi for the crime that they are actual patriotic human beings who genuinely care about their nation. Unlike technocrats or neocons, actual human beings occupying political office may be inclined to spoil a good crisis in order to pass reforms that actually protect the people and revoke the power structures of the shadow government.

Better Earth

Global human genomes reveal rich genetic diversity shaped by complex history

genes dna
© CC0 Public Domain
A new study has provided the most comprehensive analysis of human genetic diversity to date, after the sequencing of 929 human genomes by scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge and their collaborators. The study uncovers a large amount of previously undescribed genetic variation and provides new insights into our evolutionary past, highlighting the complexity of the process through which our ancestors diversified, migrated and mixed throughout the world.

The resource, published in Science (20 March), is the most detailed representation of the genetic diversity of worldwide populations to date. It is freely available to all researchers to study human genetic diversity, including studies of genetic susceptibility to disease in different parts of the world.

The consensus view of human history tells us that the ancestors of present-day humans diverged from the ancestors of extinct Neanderthal and Denisovan groups around 500,000-700,000 years ago, before the emergence of 'modern' humans in Africa in the last few hundred thousand years.

Comment: New Scientist reports:
Many early Americans

Analysis of the new data, which included whole genome sequences from people with Native American ancestry, also hints that there may have been a lot more early humans in the Americas about 15,000 years ago than previously thought. Bergstrom says all of these discoveries demonstrate the enormous value of sequencing DNA from underrepresented populations around the world. "This is not the end of the story," he says. "We need to sequence more."
See also: And check out SOTT radio's: MindMatters: The Meaning of the World's Mythologies


Archaeology

Oldest modern bird fossil discovered, nicknamed the 'wonderchicken'

Asteriornis maastrichtensis oldest modern bird
© University of Cambridge
A 3D life-sized print of the skull of Asteriornis, with lead author Dr Daniel Field, of the University of Cambridge. Photograph:
Experts have discovered a fossil of the world's oldest known modern bird - a diminutive creature about half the size of a mallard duck.

Dubbed the Wonderchicken, the remains were found in rocks dating to about 66.8m to 66.7m years ago, revealing that the bird was active shortly before the asteroid strike that wiped out the dinosaurs 66m years ago.

"This is the oldest evidence of modern birds that we have so far," said Dr Daniel Field, of the University of Cambridge, an avian palaeontologist and co-author of the research.

Modern birds evolved from meat-eating theropod dinosaurs, with creatures such as the 150 million-year-old Archaeopteryx cropping up along the way. In sharp contrast to Archaeopteryx, modern birds have no teeth and tend to lack the bony tails and clawed wings of many of their predecessors.

Christmas Tree

Chaco Canyon: The life and death of one of America's most mysterious trees

Pueblo Bonito

Pueblo Bonito
A majestic ponderosa pine, standing tall in what is widely thought to have been the "center of the world" for the Ancestral Puebloan people, may have more mundane origins than previously believed, according to research led by tree-ring experts at the University of Arizona.

A study published in the journal American Antiquity provides new data that calls into question the long-held view of the Plaza Tree of Pueblo Bonito as the sole living tree in an otherwise treeless landscape, around which a regional metropolis in New Mexico's Chaco Canyon was built.

Combining various lines of evidence, the study is the first to apply a technique called dendroprovenance to a sample of the plaza tree that uses tree-ring growth patterns to trace the tree's origin. The data revealed that the tree did not grow where it was found, and is therefore unlikely to have played a role as significant as various authors have ascribed to it ever since it was discovered in 1924.

Comment: And that wouldn't be the only mystery surrounding Chaco Canyon:


Holly

The legend and the truth about St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day
© AP Photo/John Cogill
A man dressed as Saint Patrick blesses the crowd in Dublin as the parade makes its way through the Irish capital in 1998.
In 1997, my students and I traveled to Croagh Patrick, a mountain in County Mayo, as part of a study abroad program course on Irish literature I was teaching for the University of Dayton. I wanted my students to visit the place where, each July, thousands of pilgrims pay homage to St. Patrick, who, according to lore, fasted and prayed on the summit for 40 days.

While there, our tour guide relayed the story of how St. Patrick, as he lay on his death bed on March 17 in A.D. 461, supposedly asked those gathered around him to toast his heavenly journey with a "wee drop of whiskey" to ease their pain.

The mention of whiskey left me wondering if St. Patrick may have unintentionally influenced the way most of the world celebrates the holiday today: by drinking.

It wasn't always this way. The Festival of St. Patrick began in the 17th century as a religious and cultural commemoration of the bishop who brought Christianity to Ireland. In Ireland, there's still an important religious and cultural component to the holiday, even as it has simply become an excuse to wear green and heavily drink in the rest of the world.

Comment: See also:

Happy St. Patrick's Day: The Irish Holocaust, an untold history lesson


Dig

Long lost ancient Maya kingdom unearthed in a backyard in Mexico

maya tablet
© Stephen Houston (Brown University)/Charles Golden (Brandeis)
Left, drawing of a tablet found at the site. Right, a digital 3D model.
Associate professor of anthropology Charles Golden and his colleagues have found the long-lost capital of an ancient Maya kingdom in the backyard of a Mexican cattle rancher.

Golden, in collaboration with Brown University bioarchaeologist Andrew Scherer and a team of researchers from Mexico, Canada and the United States, began excavating the site in June 2018.

Among their findings is a trove of Maya monuments, one of which has an important inscription describing rituals, battles, a mythical water serpent and the dance of a rain god. They've also found remnants of pyramids, a royal palace and ball court.

Comment: See also:


Colosseum

Mysterious 25,000-year-old circular structure built from bones of 60 mammoths discovered in Russia's forest steppe

mammoth structure
© A. E. Dudin
The purpose of such an elaborate structure remains a big open question. The remains of the newly discovered structure.
A jaw-dropping example of Ice Age architecture has been unearthed on Russia's forest steppe: a huge, circular structure built with the bones of at least 60 woolly mammoths. But exactly why hunter-gatherers enduring the frigid realities of life 25,000 years ago would construct the 40-foot diameter building is a fascinating question.


Comment: It is perhaps (a little) less perplexing when you realise that back then the area wasn't "frigid" at all and in fact its climate was temperate. See Pierre Lescaudron's Of Flash Frozen Mammoths and Cosmic Catastrophes for more.


"Clearly a lot of time and effort went into building this structure so it was obviously important to the people that made it for some reason," says Alexander Pryor, an archaeologist at the University of Exeter (U.K.). He is the lead author of a new study published this week in the journal Antiquity describing the find at Kostenki, a place where many important Paleolithic sites lie clustered around the Don River.

Comment: See also: