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New study says the number zero is 500 years older

© Oxford UK
The zero evolved from a dot used in ancient India that can be seen throughout the Bakhshali manuscript.
New Delhi: The zero, crown jewel of India's rich heritage in mathematics, just grew older by at least 500 years.

A new carbon dating study commissioned on an ancient birch bark manuscript has found that the indispensable digit dates to as early as the 3rd or 4th century - approximately five centuries older than scholars previously believed.

The research was performed on the Bakhshali Manuscript, a mathematical document written on birch bark which was found close to ancient Taxila now near Peshawar in 1881. It has been housed in the University of Oxford since 1902.

The findings mean that the manuscript predates a 9th century inscription of zero on the wall of a temple in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, which was previously considered to be the oldest recorded example of a zero used as a placeholder in India, a report by Oxford's Bodleian Libraries said.

Archaeology

Hunters discover Viking sword in mountains in Norway


The Viking Age sword found in Oppland, Norway.
Four friends were slowly making their way across the high altitude rocky terrain while hunting reindeer in Oppland, Norway. One noticed a rusty object sticking out of the rocks. Curiosity took over and he sped up to reach the spot, where he soon found himself in front of an impressive-looking sword. After releasing the sword from its rocky hold, the friends decided that it didn't look like anything modern, so they headed back down the mountain with their treasure to consult a local archaeologist.
© Secrets of the Ice
Detail of the Viking Age sword found in Oppland, Norway.
That archaeologist, and also another in Dagbladet, confirmed that the sword wasn't made recently. In fact, archaeologist Espen Finstad told Dagbladet news that the sword was a Viking Age relic created in the 900s AD.


Finstad is also the chief editor of Secrets of the Ice, a group of glacier archaeologists working in the same region where the Viking Age sword was found. Realizing the importance to return quickly to the site, the Secrets of the Ice team spoke with the Museum of Cultural History and the National Park authorities.

Eye 2

Bodies of over 400 children discovered in hidden mass grave at Scottish Catholic orphanage

The results of a horrifying investigation into a Catholic orphanage are being released this week. The report revealed the discovery of a mass grave containing the bodies of over 400 orphans - including babies, toddlers, and children.

The investigation, conducted by the Sunday Post and the BBC, looked into the dark secret of the Catholic run Smyllum Park orphanage. While the orphanage - which operated for a century and a half - put headstones on the graves of nuns and staff members, no stone or memorial has ever recorded the deaths of these 402 orphans found buried in a single mass grave.

According to the Sunday Post, the revelation that up to 400 youngsters - and some adults - are buried there today provoked calls for Scotland's ongoing Child Abuse Inquiry to investigate.

As the BBC reports, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, which ran the home, refused to comment on the findings.

Sherlock

Decoded: The mysterious Voynich manuscript has finally been explained


Roughly translated, many parts of the Voynich Manuscript say that women should take a nice bath if they are feeling sick. Here you can see a woman doing just that.
History researcher says that it's a mostly plagiarized guide to women's health.

Since its discovery in 1912, the 15th century Voynich Manuscript has been a mystery and a cult phenomenon. Full of handwriting in an unknown language or code, the book is heavily illustrated with weird pictures of alien plants, naked women, strange objects, and zodiac symbols. Now, history researcher and television writer Nicholas Gibbs appears to have cracked the code, discovering that the book is actually a guide to women's health that's mostly plagiarized from other guides of the era.

Gibbs writes in the Times Literary Supplement that he was commissioned by a television network to analyze the Voynich Manuscript three years ago. Because the manuscript has been entirely digitized by Yale's Beinecke Library, he could see tiny details in each page and pore over them at his leisure. His experience with medieval Latin and familiarity with ancient medical guides allowed him to uncover the first clues.

Comment:

UPDATE from Ars Technica:

Scholars have started to debunk these claims about the Voynich manuscript, noting that the translation "makes no sense" and that a lot of the so-called original findings were done by other researchers.
As soon as Gibbs' article hit the Internet, news about it spread rapidly through social media (we covered it at Ars too), arousing the skepticism of cipher geeks and scholars alike. As Harvard's Houghton Library curator of early modern books John Overholt put it on Twitter, "We're not buying this Voynich thing, right?" Medievalist Kate Wiles, an editor at History Today, replied, "I've yet to see a medievalist who does. Personally I object to his interpretation of abbreviations."

[...]

However, this isn't sitting well with people who actually read medieval Latin. Medieval Academy of America director Lisa Fagin Davis told The Atlantic's Sarah Zhang, "They're not grammatically correct. It doesn't result in Latin that makes sense." She added, "Frankly I'm a little surprised the TLS published it...If they had simply sent to it to the Beinecke Library, they would have rebutted it in a heartbeat." The Beinecke Library at Yale is where the Voynich Manuscript is currently kept. Davis noted that a big part of Gibbs' claim rests on the idea that the Voynich Manuscript once had an index that would provide a key to the abbreviations. Unfortunately, he has no evidence for such an index, other than the fact that the book does have a few missing pages.

The idea that the book is a medical treatise on women's health, however, might turn out to be correct. But that wasn't Gibbs' discovery. Many scholars and amateur sleuths had already reached that conclusion, using the same evidence that Gibbs did. Essentially, Gibbs rolled together a bunch of already-existing scholarship and did a highly speculative translation, without even consulting the librarians at the institute where the book resides.



Archaeology

A student found an ancient village on Canada's west coast that's 10,000 years older than the Pyramids

© Grant Callegari/Hakai Institute
Triquet Island, British Columbia.
For hundreds - perhaps thousands - of years, generations of the Heiltsuk Nation, an indigenous group in British Columbia, have passed down the oral histories of where they came from. The nation claims that its ancestors fled for survival to a coastal area in Canada that never froze during the Ice Age.

A new excavation on Triquet Island, on British Columbia's Central Coast, has now backed up that claim, according to local news outlet CBC.

Archaeologist Alisha Gauvreau, a doctoral student from the University of Victoria and a scholar with the research institute Hakai, led a team that excavated the site in late 2016. They discovered several artifacts from what appears to be an ancient village, including carved wooden tools and bits of charcoal, in a thin horizontal layer of soil, called paleosol.

Dig

2,000-yr-old skeleton of toddler with elongated skull found in Crimea

© archae.ru
The burial place of a 1.5-year-old boy with a deformed elongated skull was unearthed by archaeologists in Crimea. The scientists immediately dubbed the finding an 'alien' due to the unusual structure of the skull.

The remains were found near the village of Yakovenkovo in the eastern part of the Crimean Peninsula, says the Archaeology Fund, a group that organizes digs across Central Russia, Crimea and Northern Africa.

The grave of boy, which dates back to the second century, was a key finding of the recent expedition, according to anthropologists. The boy had an artificially lengthened skull, which is clearly seen in the pictures shared by the group.

Archaeology

New study suggests Vindija Cave Neanderthals much older than thought

© Ivor Karavanic
Vindija Cave in Croatia, which was occupied by Neanderthals more than 40,000 years ago.
An international team of researchers has conducted a new test of Neanderthal remains found at Vindija Cave in Croatia and found them to be older than previous studies indicated. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their dating technique and the possible implications of their findings.

The Neanderthal remains were originally found in the cave approximately 40 years ago and have been tested for age several times. They have also been the subject of much speculation, as it was thought that the remains represented the last of the Neanderthals in that part of Europe and that they existed for a short period of time in close proximity to modern humans. Initial testing suggested the remains were approximately 28,000 to 29,000 years old. More recent tests have put them at 32,000 to 34,000 years old. Both time frames coincide with the arrival of modern humans into the area, keeping alive the theory that the two groups mixed, both physically and socially. But now, using what is being described as a more accurate technique, the group with this new effort has found that the remains are older than thought.

The new technique, called ZooMS involves radiocarbon dating hydroxyproline-an amino acid taken from collagen samples found in bone remains. The team also purified the collagen to remove contaminants. The researchers report that the new technique indicates that the remains-all four samples-were approximately 40,000 years old. This new finding puts the Neanderthal in the cave well before the arrival of modern humans, thus, there could not have been mixing of the two.

Airplane

The Real Smoking Gun on September 11th 2001: WTC Building 7

Whatever your take on the various conspiracy theories surrounding the September 11th 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, there is one piece of evidence that has consistently resisted debunking efforts. 7 World Trade Center, a 47 story skyscraper, collapsed into its own footprint in 7 seconds at approximately 5.20pm. The official explanation claims the building collapsed because of fires in the offices on several floors, yet this would be the first time that a steel-frame skyscraper has ever collapsed due to fire. Skeptics point to the fact that the building did not 'buckle' or collapse to one side but rather feel uniformly downwards into its own footprint. For both the layman and the expert, it is clear that this building was brought down by way of classic controlled demolition.

Airplane

Mossad and Moving Companies: Masterminds of Global Terrorism



June 2, 2003:
The other day I was scanning the news reports and came across a rather mundane item that really got me to thinking.
Cloudcroft chief stops Israelis with suspicious cargo

By Michael Shinabery Staff Writer
Alamogordo Daily News

Cloudcroft, New Mexico -- That they were speeding through the school zone first got his attention.

That they had Israeli driver's licenses and expired passports made him suspicious.

Cloudcroft Police Chief Gene Green stopped the 2-ton van on Thursday, for speeding. Initially, Green thought the truck was commercial because of exterior markings. But when he found it was out of Chicago, he asked for documentation such as logs books and manifests.

"They said this is a U-Haul truck and handed me a rental agreement (for) in-town delivery only in Illinois, (which) had expired two days before," Green said. He called for backup, and Otero County Sheriff's Deputy Billy Anders, who patrols the Sacramento Mountains, arrived, along with Capt. Norbert Sanchez and Det. Eddie Medrano.

"We got them out and started digging a little deeper," Green said, "got permission to search the truck. They claimed they were hauling furniture from Austin to Chicago." When officers advised the men they were not exactly en route from one town to another, Green said the two men claimed they were Deming bound. "But they couldn't give us an address in Deming they were going to," he said. "Once we got into the truck, they had some junk furniture I wouldn't have given to Goodwill."

Also inside the vehicle were, Green said, "50 boxes" they claimed was a "private" delivery, but the men insisted they had no "idea what was in them."

At that point, the officers called for drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs. The men were turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and U- Haul recovered the truck.

Contents of the boxes remain unknown, pending investigation.

War Whore

The Original Pentagon Strike Flash Video: What Hit the Pentagon on 9/11?

Take five minutes to learn all you need in order to know that a Boeing 757 did not hit the Pentagon on September 11th 2001.