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Sat, 22 Jul 2017
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Secret History


Ancient DNA study shows how cats used humans to conquer the world

© Grigorita Ko/Shutterstock
Ancient DNA from 209 cats over 9,000 years tell the story of their dispersal

Sometime around the invention of agriculture, the cats came crawling. It was mice and rats, probably, that attracted the wild felines. The rats came because of stores of grain, made possible by human agriculture. And so cats and humans began their millennia-long coexistence.

This relationship has been good for us of course—formerly because cats caught the disease-carrying pests stealing our food and presently because cleaning up their hairballs somehow gives purpose to our modern lives. But this relationship has been great for cats as species, too. From their native home in the Middle East, the first tamed cats followed humans out on ships and expeditions to take over the world—settling on six continents with even the occasional foray to Antarctica. Domestication has been a fantastically successful evolutionary strategy for cats.

Microscope 2

Ancient site in China shows human sacrifice victims faced slavery before they were killed

© Christina Cheung
The royal cemetery in Yinxu, China, contains both royal burials and more than 2,500 sacrificial pits.
At an ancient site of human sacrifice in China, war captives may have been kept as slaves for years before they were killed, a new study finds.

Archaeologists have previously uncovered evidence of ritual human sacrifice in many ancient societies, including the ancient Greeks, the Vikings, the ancient Maya, and the Aztecs and the Incas, as well as in ancient China.

Prior worked revealed an extraordinary number of ritual human sacrifices were conducted during the Shang dynasty, which spanned from the 16th century B.C. to the 11th century B.C. It is the earliest dynasty in China for which archaeologists have evidence. For instance, sacrificial pits are common across the entire site of the last Shang capital, Yinxu, which researchers discovered in 1928 in central China's Henan Province. Scientists have estimated that over the course of about 200 years, more than 13,000 people were sacrificed in Yinxu, usually males ages 15 to 35, and that on average, each sacrificial ritual there likely claimed at least 50 human victims. The biggest sacrifice found so far killed at least 339 people.

Amazing sacrificial site

Yinxu is also home to the earliest known writing in China, in the form of oracle bone inscriptions. Diviners carved these questions on turtle shells or ox bones, addressing the king's concerns and ranging from personal issues such as unsettling toothaches to state matters such as crop failures. These inscriptions also recorded the king's ritual activities, such as human sacrifices to the ruler's ancestors or the gods.


Former Russian President Yeltsin's second term rigged by Clinton - Communist Party won 1996 election

Boris Yeltsin's victory at the 1996 election was the direct result of American political consultants, and personally of Bill Clinton, says World Socialist Web Site.

Not only did they supervise the election program of the Russian president, and followed the ratings, but some evidence suggests that the elections were indeed rigged. The real victory belonged to Gennady Zyuganov, Communist Party leader, explains the author.
"The US electoral system is one that legally allows super-rich financial oligarchy to bribe candidates, parties and elections," - he writes. So, for example, in the disclosed correspondence of the Democratic Party National Committee, it is clear that they were trying to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders, by the manipulation of the electoral process.

"If we are talking about manipulation of elections in other countries, the US ruling elite, its media and political puppets know very well what they are doing. The United States is the world leader in the intervention in elections in other countries", - says the author of the article, citing research data. In the period from 1946 to 2000, the United States 81 times interfered in the electoral process in other countries.

Comment: The flip side to this is that if the US hadn't messed with Russia's election in 1996, Yeltsin would not have been around to help select Vladimir Putin as his successor. History is funny that way.

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The Truth Perspective: Hidden History of US Disaster in Asia: Interview with James Bradley

The history of US intervention in East Asia is crucial background to understanding world events and the balance-of-power today. This week on The Truth Perspective we're going back in time to explore some of that history with James Bradley, a New York Times #1 bestselling author of four books about US involvement in East Asia.

These are, in chronological order: Flags of Our Fathers, co-written with Ron Powers, Flyboys, a True Story of Courage, The Imperial Cruise, A Secret History of Empire and War, and The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia.

His books can be found via his website at JamesBradley.com. Bradley has also spoken to audiences, appeared on TV and radio across the US and China, Russia, Japan, and Europe, and penned op-eds in major US newspapers.

Join us today for a conversation with the author, from 4 - 6pm UTC (12 - 2pm EST, 6-8pm CET).

Running Time: 01:37:17

Download: OGG, MP3

Listen live, chat, and call in to future shows on the SOTT Radio Network!


Fudging the data - Eroding time

© WazzaMan/Wikipedia
In the last 35 years the storage capacity of personal computers has grown exponentially.

The common kilobyte became the magnificent megabyte and this was superseded by the glorious gigabyte.
The ZX Spectrum was launched on 23 April 1982, priced at £125 for the 16 KB RAM version and £175 for the 48 KB version.
In 1984, IBM introduced the IBM Personal Computer/AT (more often called the PC/AT or AT) built around the Intel 80286 microprocessor. This chip was much faster, and could address up to 16MB of RAM but only in a mode that largely broke compatibility with the earlier 8086 and 8088.

© Malaga Bay
These technological advances follow in the footsteps of the Gradualist Geologists who have [in theory] exponentially elongated the Age of the Earth from an anaemic "few millennia" to a blistering 4.54 billion years old.


Renaissance mom: Historians identify Leonardo Da Vinci's mother

© Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Leonardo da Vinci circa 1510.
The identity of Leonardo da Vinci's mother has eluded historians for years, but now one scholar said he's found the woman behind the Renaissance man.

After digging through overlooked records in Italy, Martin Kemp, a leading Leonardo expert, claimed that the artist was born to Caterina di Meo Lippi, a 15-year-old orphan, on April 15, 1452.

From existing documents, historians already knew that Leonardo was mostly raised by his father, a lawyer named Ser Piero da Vinci. Scholars also knew that Ser Piero was not married to Leonardo's mother, and there was some indication that her name was Caterina.

The gaps in knowledge among these details have led to a somewhat obsessive speculation about Caterina's identity. Sigmund Freud even weighed in with a psychoanalytical interpretation of Leonard's childhood. Freud claimed that the enigmatic smile in the 'Mona Lisa' must have reminded Leonardo of (you guessed it) his mother, which is why the painting captures both "the promise of unlimited tenderness and sinister threat."


A secret of the swamp - The USS Liberty

Survivor testimony by Richard Larry Weaver. This is newly published video for the 50th anniversary. He believes that the single torpedo that hit the USS Liberty was fired by a US submarine because all the French-built Israeli torpedoes missed. Never Forget. We are four days past the 50th anniversary of this false flag attempt. This is part of the swamp that Trump needs to drain.

Control Panel

Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: The visionary architect vs. the FBI

© Dirk Bakker, Allen Memorial Art Museum.
Usonian House, Oberlin, Ohio
Frank Lloyd Wright once boasted that he didn't design his buildings to last for more than a century. It's not something you hear from many architects. But that doesn't mean Wright was being humble. Indeed, there's a hefty element of hubris to this admission. With Wright, you always get the sense that the conception, as realized in his beautiful drawings, was more important than the structures themselves.

Then again it was true. While most of Wright's homes have stood up pretty well over the years, a few of his better designs began to crack and crumble soon after they were erected. Usually, this was a result of Wright trying to build on the cheap, often by using local sand as a source for the reinforced concrete that became a signature of his later buildings, such as La Miniatura, the house in the Hollywood Hills that looks like a compact Mayan temple. (Of course, it took the giant temples of Tikal 600 years to acquire the characteristics of a ruin and La Miniatura only a decade.)

It's also an idea that Wright swiped from the Japanese, whose traditional houses were temporal structures, built to last for only for a few years. Characteristically, Wright didn't credit them, though he did admit to a fondness for Japanese art, especially the woodblock prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai.


The Origins of Modern Economics: Meet the Arab Scholar Who Beat Adam Smith by Half a Millennium

Ibn Khaldun
In one of the most seminal works in the field of history of economic thought (History of Economic Analysis, 1954), Joseph Schumpeter argued that there is a "Great Gap" in the history of economics. The concept justifies the general ignorance in economics curricula towards economic thinking between early Christian and Scholastic times, emphasizing the lack of relevant positive ("scientific") economic thinking in this period.

Thanks to this self-created gap the most outstanding islamic figure of the Middle Ages, the Andalusian scholar and politician Ibn Khaldun is neglected in mainstream textbooks (Screpanti and Zamagni 2005, Roncaglia 2005, Rothbard 2006, Blaug 1985). Several of these works often misleadingly start to identify the roots of modern theories with discussing the mercantilists or the Scottish Enlightenment.

The truth is that these weren't the beginning of economic thinking at all.


Mysterious monument in England predates Stonehenge by 800 years

© Historic England
An aerial view of the site where two massive wooden palisades once stood of the landscape. Archaeological excavations have revealed that around 3300 B.C., ancient people built huge wooden enclosures, then burnt them down to the ground, near what is now Avebury, England.
A massive, wooden, eyeglass-shaped monument in Avebury, England, that was set alight in ancient ceremonies may be 800 years older than it was thought to be, new research suggests.

The monument, which consists of two huge, circular enclosures — each outlined by tall, wooden posts — is about 5,300 years old, meaning the structure predates the first stones erected at nearby Stonehenge by about 800 years, the study found.

Though the exact purpose of the Avebury monument is still shrouded in mystery, archaeologists think the two wooden circles were used for only a short time for a ceremony or festival before burning to the ground.

"It's much too large to be a stock enclosure; it's got to be a ceremonial enclosure," said study co-author Alex Bayliss, a statistical archaeologist with Historic England. "It's completely unlike anything we've ever found in the British prehistory."

Comment: It seems that for archaeologists, anything they don't understand is written down to "ceremonial"