Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 30 Jul 2016
The World for People who Think

Secret History

Cow Skull

Humans have always been diminutive monsters of death and destruction

© Aaron Ufumeli/EPA
A dead elephant in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, thought to have died after poachers poisoned a salt lick with cyanide.
New research suggests that there was never a state of grace. We have always been the nemesis of the planet's wildlife

You want to know who we are? Really? You think you do, but you will regret it. This article, if you have any love for the world, will inject you with a venom - a soul-scraping sadness - without an obvious antidote.

The Anthropocene, now a popular term among scientists, is the epoch in which we live: one dominated by human impacts on the living world. Most date it from the beginning of the industrial revolution. But it might have begun much earlier, with a killing spree that commenced two million years ago. What rose onto its hind legs on the African savannahs was, from the outset, death: the destroyer of worlds.

Before Homo erectus, perhaps our first recognisably human ancestor, emerged in Africa, the continent abounded with monsters. There were several species of elephants. There were sabretooths and false sabretooths, giant hyenas and creatures like those released in The Hunger Games: amphicyonids, or bear dogs, vast predators with an enormous bite.


Earliest evidence of gigantism-like disease found in 3,800-year-old California skeleton

© Eric Bartelink/Phoebe Hearst Museum
The skull of the man found in the site known as Burial 37 bears the distinct marks of acromegaly, new research finds. The black arrow indicates where the man’s right eye tooth erupted just below his nose.
The remains of a man buried 3,800 years ago in a richly decorated California grave bear some unusual but unmistakable features - a protruding brow, a lantern jaw, thick leg and arm bones, and teeth so crowded together that at one point they erupt in rows three deep.

According to a new study of the ancient skeleton, they are signs of acromegaly, a rare disorder of the endocrine system that's similar to gigantism.

The California man is among the very few examples of acromegaly ever found in the archaeological record, and it's the oldest ever identified, according to Dr. Eric Bartelink, a physical anthropologist at California State University, Chico.

"It is the earliest evidence of this condition in humans, the only documented case from prehistoric California, [and] one of the more complete skeletons documented with this condition," he said in an interview.

Acromegaly has only been identified definitively at two other archaeological sites in North America, Bartelink said: in the remains of a male buried in New Mexico about 600 years ago, and an unsexed 1,100-year-old skull found in Illinois.

The newly found case in California adds to the scant literature of the disorder, he said, potentially improving how acromegaly may be diagnosed in other remains, and also shedding light on the history of the disease, perhaps even how it was interpreted in the ancient past.

The man, believed to have been in his mid-30s at the time of his death, was found in a burial mound with 176 other bodies near the Central Valley town of Elk Grove.

Labeled as Burial 37, the grave was originally excavated in the 1930s and dated to 3,750 to 3,950 years old.

The man was part of a hunter-gatherer culture known as the Windmiller, one of the earliest sedentary societies in the Central Valley, usually identified by its distinct burial practices, Bartelink said.

Windmillers typically buried their dead laying flat and face-down, rather than in a flexed position, with the heads pointing west. The deceased were also often sent off with a fine complement of grave goods, Bartelink said.


The fate of teenagers in medieval Europe

Today, there's often a perception that Asian children are given a hard time by their parents. But a few hundred years ago northern Europe took a particularly harsh line, sending children away to live and work in someone else's home. Not surprisingly, the children didn't always like it.

Around the year 1500, an assistant to the Venetian ambassador to England was struck by the strange attitude to parenting that he had encountered on his travels.

He wrote to his masters in Venice that the English kept their children at home "till the age of seven or nine at the utmost" but then "put them out, both males and females, to hard service in the houses of other people, binding them generally for another seven or nine years". The unfortunate children were sent away regardless of their class, "for everyone, however rich he may be, sends away his children into the houses of others, whilst he, in return, receives those of strangers into his own".

It was for the children's own good, he was told - but he suspected the English preferred having other people's children in the household because they could feed them less and work them harder.


Newly discovered document reveals former President Nixon wanted 'dirty tricks' to cover up My Lai Massacre

© AP
One of the most shameful chapters in American military history, the 1968 massacre of unarmed Vietnamese civilians by U.S. troops, just got worse

This past week marked the 46th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, in which 504 unarmed Vietnamese civilians were massacred by U.S. troops in 1968. It's one of the most shameful chapters in American military history, and now documents held at the Nixon Presidential Library paint a disturbing picture of what happened inside the Nixon administration after news of the massacre was leaked.

The documents, mostly hand-written notes from Nixon's meetings with his chief of staff H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, lead some historians to conclude that President Richard Nixon was behind the attempt to sabotage the My Lai court-martial trials and cover up what was becoming a public-relations disaster for his administration.

One document, scribbled by Haldeman during his Dec. 1, 1969, meeting with Nixon, reads like a threatening to-do list under the headline "Task force - My Lai." Haldeman wrote "dirty tricks" (with the clarification that those tricks be "not too high a level") and "discredit one witness," in order to "keep working on the problem."

Cloud Precipitation

You think it rains a lot in Ireland now - Wait till you hear about 2345 BC...

New evidence has shown that Ireland experienced 20 years of non-stop rain in 2345BC, around the same time as Noah's great flood.

© Shutterstock
Did you know that Ireland experienced non-stop rain for 20 years?

While our less-than-brilliant weather may make this feel like a very recent event, it actually happened way back in 2345BC.

According to evidence uncovered in this Sunday's 'Secret's of the Irish Landscape' programme on RTÉ One, this period of non-stop rainfall makes it possible that the biblical story of Noah's great flood really did happen.

Professor Mike Baillie from Queen's University in Belfast has proven that the 20-year flood coincided with the traditional date for Noah's flood.

"According to the ancient Annals of the Four Masters, the whole of Ireland had to be evacuated at this time," Baillie said.
We believe this global event was caused by a big explosive volcanic eruption which loaded the atmosphere with dust to reflect the sunlight away and cause widespread cooling at the earth's surface.
Baillie has also discovered that freak weather events such as these tend to happen every thousand years or so.

With Ireland experiencing its last one in 540AD - when it rained for 10 years straight - the downpour to end all downpours is long overdue.

Comment: For more information on Baillie's research, see:

New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection
Justinian Plague and Black death: Review of evidence for comet impact in 536 AD


Justinian Plague and Black death: Review of evidence for comet impact in 536 AD


A global climatic downturn has previously been observed in tree-ring data associated with the years AD 536ȓ545. We review the evidence for the explanation of this event which involves a comet fragment impacting the Earth and exploding in the upper atmosphere. The explosion would create a plume, such as was seen during the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter. The resulting debris deposited by the plume on to the top of the atmosphere would increase the opacity and lower the temperature. We calculate the size of the comet required, and find that a relatively small fragment of only about half a kilometre in diameter could be consistent with the data. We conclude that plume formation is a by-product of small comet impacts that must be added to the list of significant global hazards posed by near-Earth objects.

The Earth is bombarded every day by debris from space. The majority of this debris takes the form of very small particles of dust. These objects are known as meteoroids which, as they run into the Earth's atmosphere, produce meteors − also known as shooting stars. Such objects are rarely hazardous. However, there are also much less frequent collisions with larger objects ranging in size from tens of metres to kilometres across, which may be asteroids or comets. Asteroids are primarily rocky or metallic in composition, whereas comets are composed mainly of a variety of ices with some rock. Objects of this size are generally more of a hazard. In fact, the UK government even set up a Near Earth Object Task Force to evaluate the risks of impacts from such objects (Atkinson et al. 2000). Depending on the size and strength of the material of the meteoroid, it may explode in the atmosphere before reaching the ground. Such an event is known as an airburst. An airbursting object releases energy in the form of a shockwave, which can devastate large areas and trigger forest fires. Airbursts can also produce a high-altitude haze of particles, such as was seen in the 1908 Tunguska event.


Earliest example of human with cancer discovered in northern Sudan

© Press Association
The sternum of the skeleton, believed to have belonged to a man aged between 25 and 35, pictured, shows evidence of cancer, highlighted by the arrows
British archaeologists have found what they say is the world's oldest complete example of a human being with metastatic cancer and hope it will offer new clues about the now common and often fatal disease.

Researchers from Durham University and the British Museum discovered the evidence of tumors that had developed and spread throughout the body in a 3,000-year-old skeleton found in a tomb in modern Sudan in 2013.

Analyzing the skeleton using radiography and a scanning electron microscope, they managed to get clear imaging of lesions on the bones which showed the cancer had spread to cause tumors on the collar bones, shoulder blades, upper arms, vertebrae, ribs, pelvis and thigh bones.

"Insights gained from archaeological human remains like these can really help us to understand the evolution and history of modern diseases," said Michaela Binder, a Durham PhD student who led the research and excavated and examined the skeleton.

"Our analysis showed that the shape of the small lesions on the bones can only have been caused by a soft tissue cancer ... though the exact origin is impossible to determine through the bones alone."

Despite being one of the world's leading causes of death today, cancer is virtually absent in archaeological records compared to other diseases - and that has given rise to the idea that cancers are mainly attributable to modern lifestyles and to people living for longer.


Ancient city of Petra was a 'celestial calendar', says new study

© The Independent, UK
A new study into the ancient Jordanian city of Petra has found that was built to cast the sun’s rays onto sacred sites “like celestial spotlights.”
The Nabateans (Petra's inhabitants) rose and fell in relative obscurity between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD.

Exploiting the trade between its two neighbours', Rome and Assyria, the Nabateans built the buildings popularised in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.'

Yet despite their iconic dwellings, gouged out of mountains in the south of Jordan, not much is known of their culture and habits.

Now, a new study in the 'Nexus Network Journal' is beginning to reveal a little more about the Nabateans and how they lived.

The study shows that Petra's buildings were hewn for more than aesthetics - they double as a celestial calendar, marking the seasons and days of religious significance.

"The facades of Petra are not only beautiful in themselves, but they also show something additional," the study leader Juan Antonio Belmonte, an archaeo-astronomer at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands told National Geographic.

Star of David

Oliver Stone: Jewish control of the media is preventing free Holocaust debate

Outspoken Hollywood director says new film aims to put Adolf Hitler, who he has called an 'easy scapegoat' in the past, in his due historical context.
© AP
"We're going to educate our minds and liberalize them and broaden them. We want to move beyond opinions ... Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated," Stone said.
Jewish control of the media is preventing an open discussion of the Holocaust, prominent Hollywood director Oliver Stone told the Sunday Times, adding that the U.S. Jewish lobby was controlling Washington's foreign policy for years.

In the Sunday interview, Stone reportedly said U.S. public opinion was focused on the Holocaust as a result of the "Jewish domination of the media," adding that an upcoming film of him aims to put Adolf Hitler and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin "in context."

Comment: See also Solzhenitsyn - Banned all over again


Pyramid in Croatia? Secret Dalmatia follows a 1570 map in Zagora

After the Bosnian pyramid, is there a Croatian equivalent? Secret Dalmatia investigates a map dating back to 1570 in Zagora.

While the traditional association with pyramids is Egypt, the alleged discovery of pyramids in Bosnia and Hercegovina a few years ago brought the possibility of their existence in Europe, and a field trip by boutique agency Secret Dalmatia in Croatia on March 10, 2014 has offered up one more intriguing angle to the mystery.

© Alan Mandic
The pyramid.
Specialists in discovering and promoting the many secrets of Croatia and the Dalmatian hinterland, Digital Journal recently reported on how owner Alan Mandic and local adventure specialists Dalmatia Explorer discovered the lost village of Karanovac, and a similar field trip at the weekend investigated a curious feature on a map of the region produced in 1570.