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Fri, 23 Mar 2018
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Magic Wand

Snow White, the inspiration and evolution of a fable

Snow White
© Franz Jüttner/ Public Domain
A 1910 illustration of Schneewittchen (Snow White)
One of the most famous fables of all, variations of Snow White appear in more than 400 versions of fairy tales around the world. The most well-known version is actually called "Snowdrop" and comes from Grimms' Children's and Household Tales. It was later tweaked into a more familiar format by the folklorist Andrew Lang and eventually adapted by Walt Disney.

The Fairest Woman

In this version, the queen wished for a child and a baby girl was born; her hair was as dark as ebony and her skin was so fair and pure that her mother named her Snow White. After the queen died, her father married a woman who was vain and wicked, who would stand in front of a magic mirror asking who was the fairest woman in the land. The mirror always replied "My Queen, you are the fairest one of all", until one day an answer came that threw her into a rage - Snow White was now the fairest woman in all the land.


"As if the Day of Judgement were at hand": The Great Wind of 1362

The Great Wind of 1362
Some of the most vivid accounts we have from the Middle Ages are those that detail calamities and natural disasters. Such was the case when a massive winter storm struck northwestern Europe on January 15, 1362. In England this event would be called 'The Great Wind'.

Among those who would record this event was the Chronicle of Anonymous of Canterbury. The person who wrote it lived in the later part of the 14th century and was likely a monk at Canterbury Cathedral. While he was reporting on the news that a joust would be held in London on January 17th, the chronicler switches his focus to explain what then happened on Saturday, January 15th:

Comment: It wouldn't be the first time extreme weather was equated with the state of society, and there's a lot of evidence for periodic climatic upheaval throughout history For more, check out SOTT radio's: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


What is Ukraine?

German troops in Kiev, 1918

German troops in Kiev, 1918.
The German occupation forces were those who have been the first to create and recognize a short-lived state's independence of Ukraine in January 1918 during the time of their-own inspired and supported anti-Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917−1921. As reoccupied by the Bolshevik Red Army, the eastern and southern parts of the present-day territory of (a Greater) Ukraine joined in 1922 the USSR as a separate Soviet Socialist Republic (without Crimea). According to 1926 Soviet census of Crimea, the majority of its population were the Russians (382.645). The second largest ethnic group were the Tartars (179.094). Therefore, V. I. Lenin has to be considered as the real historical father of the Ukrainian statehood but also and as of the contemporary nationhood.

The territory of the present-day Ukraine was devastated during WWII by the Nazi German occupation forces from 1941 to 1944. During the war the Ukrainian nationalists of S. Bandera (1900−1959) committed a genocide against the Poles, Jews and Russians [on Stepan Bandera, see: Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, Stepan Bandera: The Life and Afterlife of a Ukrainian Nationalist. Fascism, Genocide, and Cult, Stuttgart, ibidem, 2014]. The Jewish holocaust in Ukraine was one of the most terrible in the whole of Europe. For instance, the Ukrainian militia (12,000) directly participated in the 1942 holocaust of some 200,000 Volhynian Jews together with 140,000 German policemen. The Ukrainian mass killers learned their job from the Germans and applied their knowledge as well on the Poles [Timothy Snyder, Tautų rekonstrukcija: Lieuva, Lenkija, Ukraina, Baltarusija 1569−1999, Vilnius: Mintis, 2009, 183].


Researchers say oldest known cave paintings were created by 'sophisticated' Neanderthals

neanderthal art
© H.Collado/ University of Southampton
More sophisticated and closer to modern humans than previously thought, Neanderthals were the world's first artists, according to new research which has uncovered cave art in Spain thought to be some 65,000 years old.

The incredible discovery calls into question previous assumptions about the archaic humans and suggests they may have had an artistic sense similar to our own. Neanderthals have long been dismissed as inferior to humans and it was originally proposed they should be called Homo stupidus - the stupid human.

However, a new study, led by the University of Southampton and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, shows they are more human-like than previously thought. The team of international archaeologists found three caves in different parts of Spain with paintings created more than 64,000 years ago - 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe.


Treasures of Andalusia: The ancient megalithic tombs of Málaga, Spain

Dolmen de Viera Antequera Málaga
© CC BY-SA 3.0
Dolmen de Viera Antequera Málaga
Thousands of years ago, a series of megalithic tombs were built in the breathtaking landscape of Malaga in Spain. The magnificence of the constructions attracts thousands of tourists every year. The stone-made tombs still hide many secrets, including the origins of what is now Antequera province. These prehistoric megalithic constructions allow modern people to step into a unique atmosphere of ancient mystery and intrigue dating back 5,000 years.

The dolmens were officially discovered and recorded between 1903 and 1905 by the brothers Antonio and José Viera from Antequera, a province of Malaga. The distance between the Dolmen of Viera and Dolmen of Menga is only 70 meters (230 ft). Although the two tombs were made during different millennia, the monuments reveal a clear continuation of religious and ritual thought since prehistoric times.

Like most of the tombs dated back to the same period in Iberia, both dolmens are oriented 96° south east. This location is inspired by the summer solstice, but the surprising precision of the technology they used still confounds experts. Moreover, the dolmens from Malaga reveal the heritage of people whose story can only be told by the constructions they left behind.


US extensive use of biowarfare in North Korea exposed in long-suppressed official report

bio weapons
Written largely by the most prestigious British scientist of his day, this official report, containing hundreds of pages of evidence about the use of US biological weapons during the Korean War, was effectively suppressed upon its original release in 1952.

Courtesy of researcher Jeffrey Kaye, INSURGE now publishes the report in text-searchable format for the first time for the general public, with an exclusive, in-depth analysis of its damning findings and implications.

The report provides compelling evidence of systematic violation of the laws of war against North Korea through the deployment of biological weapons - a critical context that is essential for anyone to understand the dynamics of current regional tensions, and what might be done about them.

Download the full report here.

Comment: The US never stopped developing its capacity and intentions to use bioweapons. See also:

Microscope 2

Despite new findings, ancient 'Cheddar Man' Briton may not be dark-skinned

cheddar man
© London Natural History Museum/Handout/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock/Channel 4/Plimsoll Productions
A Briton who lived 10,000 years ago had dark brown skin and blue eyes. At least, that's what dozens of news stories published this month - including our own - stated as fact. But one of the geneticists who performed the research says the conclusion is less certain, and according to others we are not even close to knowing the skin colour of any ancient human.

The skeleton of Cheddar Man was discovered in 1903 in a cave in south-west England where it had lain for 10,000 years.

Until a few weeks ago, he had always been depicted with pale skin. This makes some sense, given that people living at northern latitudes often have paler skins. The explanation may be that it allows more of the weak northerly sunlight into their skin, so they can make enough vitamin D. And it seems our species reached Europe 30,000 years before Cheddar Man lived, so his ancestors would have had plenty of time to evolve paler skins.

But the new DNA analysis suggests that Cheddar Man may have had dark skin. Most news stories said his skin was "dark to black".

Christmas Tree

Wales: 1,000-year-old "pollard" oak tree on Offa's Dyke falls

Wales: 1,000-year-old
© @thetreehunter
The Buttington Oak had stood in a field outside Welshpool for 1,000 years
One of the oldest trees in Wales which was probably planted 1,000 years ago as a boundary marker along Offa's Dyke has fallen down.

The Buttington Oak was spotted collapsed in its field two miles from Welshpool in Powys by a man nicknamed the "tree hunter".

Rob McBride said he was sad to see such a significant tree grounded.

Comment: What is Pollarding? According to Wiki:
Pollarding, a pruning system involving the removal of the upper branches of a tree, promotes a dense head of foliage and branches. In ancient Rome, Propertius mentioned pollarding during the 1st century BCE.[1] The practice has occurred commonly in Europe since medieval times and takes place today in urban areas worldwide, primarily to maintain trees at a predetermined height.[2]
See Also:


2,700-year-old clay seal found in Jerusalem bearing the name Isaiah

2,700-year-old clay seal found in Jerusalem bearing the name Isaiah

A piece of clay dating back to 2,700 years ago and bearing a seal of the name 'Isaiah' has been discovered in Jerusalem.
A 2,700-year-old clay seal found in Jerusalem may bear the 'signature' of the biblical prophet Isaiah.

Researchers believe the Hebrew script impressed into the clay once read 'Belonging to Isaiah the prophet.'

If it did, the clay would be the first direct evidence of the existence Isaiah outside of the Bible.

Archaeologists discovered the damaged clay seal during excavations at the Ophel, and area in East Jerusalem in between the 'City of David' archaeological site and the 'Temple Mount'.

Comment: So while there is absolutely no proof provided in this article that the find is related to any prophet, it is telling how eager they are to assume it could be; and whether this is due to their religious beliefs and political affiliations:


Archaeologists find 7,000-year-old example of one of the world's earliest writing systems

Archaeologists have found a 7,000-year-old example of one of the world's earliest writing systems
© Twitter
Vinča symbols can be seen on the ceramic tile
Archaeologists have discovered a new example of one of the world's earliest writing systems near Nova Zagora, a town in the south-eastern plains of Bulgaria, the Sofia News Agency reports.

In October 2017, researchers from Bulgaria's National History Museum and colleagues found a well-preserved ceramic tile, dating back to the 6th millennium BC, which features inscriptions of a set of symbols known as the Vinča signs.

"This plate is a high form of information transmission and is very complex," said archaeologist Tanja Kaneva.

Comment: See Also: