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Fri, 31 Mar 2023
The World for People who Think

Secret History

Star of David

New history challenges Israel's hold on western imagination

© Kluger Zultan/Store Norske Leksikon
Soldiers from the nascent Israeli army 8th brigade, Palestine war, October 1948
One of the greatest triumphs of Zionism is to have neutralized reaction to its genocidal expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948, the Nakba. Even after Israel's own "New Historians" exposed the irrefutable facts, in the 1980s, the Western world's fixation on "Israel's right to exist" scarcely budged. Backed by such mantras, Zionists only had to ease back on their beloved version of Israel's "War of Independence" (David versus Goliath, etc.) and make a few concessions to the grim realities of war. They correctly calculated that peoples' hearts were still with the Holocaust survivors, struggling in the fog and fear of a hard-fought war to create a safe haven for the Jewish people. Sensitive souls might shed a few tears over the tragic excesses ("on both sides") but they could cling to Israel's basic goodness and necessity - and still trust it to find a solution to the "plight of the Palestinians."

A good example of this neutralization is Ari Shavit's 2013 book, My Promised Land: The Triumph and the Tragedy of Israel, in which he "courageously" confronts painful facts, such as the war crime expressly ordered by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and executed by future prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to expel the inhabitants of Lydda (now Lod) in 1948. Shavit admits to himself the truth: "If Zionism was to be, Lydda could not be." In a final cri de coeur he declares, "I'll stand by the damned. Because I know that if it wasn't for them, the State of Israel would not have been born." The book received awards, and rapturous reviews as proof of Israeli sensitivity and moral courage.


Steve Bannon and China's deep state

© Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Guo Wengui and Steve Bannon
"I consider Xi Jinping the most dangerous enemy of open societies in the world. -George Soros, 2021

"China has emerged as the greatest economic and national security threat the United States has ever faced" -Steve Bannon, 2019

How to Overthrow the Communist Party of China

On June 4, 2020, purged billionaire deep state operative Guo Wengui (aka: Miles Guo), now operating from New York City, established a new organization called 'The New Federal State of China' with a shiny new flag, constitution and cheesy anthem - devoted entirely to the overthrow of the Chinese government... which will undoubtedly happen any day within Guo's wildest imagination.

When this project was unveiled, Steve Bannon and Guo stood shoulder to shoulder on the Asian millionaire's $28 million yacht in the New York harbor with the statue of liberty featured in the background and planes carrying flags announcing the new Federal State of China flying overhead.

Since escaping arrest from China in 2014, Guo soon partnered up with Steve Bannon, financing his War Room broadcast, and co-founding several media platforms and foundations such as GTV, Gnews, the Rule of Law Foundation and Rule of Law Society.


Possible cave "proto-writing" challenges theory of slow evolution of human consciousness

proto writing cave
© Don Hitchcock, donsmaps.com, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.
La Pasiega Cave: proto-writing by early cave dwellers?
London-based wood carving conservator Ben Bacon has, with academic colleagues, shaken up Ice Age paleontology by demonstrating that the marks on the 20,000-year-old cave paintings of animals found across Europe could be interpreted as a lunar calendar timing reproductive cycles:
Prof Paul Pettitt, of Durham University, said he was "glad he took it seriously" when Mr Bacon contacted him.

"The results show that Ice Age hunter-gatherers were the first to use a systemic calendar and marks to record information about major ecological events within that calendar."

— "Londoner solves 20,000-year Ice Age drawings mystery" AT BBC (JANUARY 5, 2023)

The paper is open access.


Mass production of stone bladelets shows cultural shift in Levantine paleolithic

Stone tools found at the Al-Ansab 1 excavation site are witnesses to the technological change happened 40.000 years ago / publication in the Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology.
unmodified bladelets

Analysis of stone tools attributed to the Ahmarian, the first Upper Palaeolithic culture of the Near East (dated approximately 40,000 to 45,000 years ago) shows that small, elongated, symmetrical objects (bladelets) were mass-produced on-site. Such a standardized production is in line with what archaeologists have already suggested being linked to the bow and arrow introduction. The most typical Ahmarian tool is the el-Wad point, a blade or bladelet made of flint that has an additional, intentional modification, a so-called retouch. They are one of the widespread variants of shaped spear or arrow tips of the early Upper Palaeolithic. The new findings suggest that el-Wad points in Al-Ansab 1 likely resulted from attempts to re-shape bigger, asymmetrical bladelet artefacts to reach quality standards of the unmodified bladelets, which are small, elongated and symmetrical. This is the main result of the analysis carried out by Dr Jacopo Gennai, Marcel Schemmel and Professor Dr Jürgen Richter (Department of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Cologne). The authors propose that the southern Ahmarian had already fully completed the technological and cultural shift to the preferred use of small bladelets, used as spear or even arrow tips. The article "Pointing to the Ahmarian. Lithic Technology and the El‑Wad Points of Al‑Ansab 1" has been published in the Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology.

The site of Al-Ansab 1, located approximately 10 kilometres south of the well-known ruin city of Petra in Jordan, has been excavated since 2009 by a team from the University of Cologne led by Jürgen Richter. The site is important as it is one of the best-preserved pieces of evidence of the Ahmarian technocomplex recorded in an open-air context. The funding to excavate the site and to analyse the material was provided in the framework of Collaborative Research Centre 806 "Our Way to Europe", which was funded from 2009 to 2021 by the German Research Foundation at the Universities of Cologne and Bonn as well as RWTH Aachen University. From 2018 to 2021, a representative part of the excavated material was re-analysed by Jacopo Gennai, the lead author, to understand how the production methods of similar bladelets were within the extent of the early Upper Palaeolithic. Moreover, Marcel Schemmel, a student member of Richter's team, produced a new analysis of the el-Wad point, constraining its definition to more precise typo-metrical criteria.

Blue Planet

Earliest evidence for clothing discovered on bear bones dated to 300,000 years ago

bear skin
© Volker Minkus
Detail of the precise and fine cut marks on the cave bear's foot bone.
Archaeologists in Germany have uncovered some of the earliest evidence of the use of clothing, with newly discovered cut marks on a cave bear paw suggesting the prehistoric animals were skinned for their fur some 300,000 years ago.

The discovery in Schöningen, northern Germany, is exciting because - despite the depictions of cave men and women draped in furs in popular culture - very little is truly known about how early humans clothed their bodies and survived harsh winters.

Fur, leather and other organic materials typically don't preserve beyond 100,000 years, meaning that direct evidence of prehistoric clothing is scant.

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Archaeologists uncovered a kurgan tomb from a previously unknown culture

Shinnoye cemetery,
© Dimitry Vinogradov
Aerial view of the excavation site of a 2,000-year-old tomb, next to Shinnoye cemetery, Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
Archaeologists from the Siberian Federal University have unearthed a kurgan tomb and numerous bronze tools and artifacts from a previously unknown culture.

The discovery was first made when workers bulldozed a small hillock during the expansion of the 19th-century Shinnoye cemetery near the city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, Russia, and unearthed a massive 2,000-year-old tomb containing bronze artifacts from a "newly defined culture."

Researchers from the Siberian Federal University, led by Dr. Dimitry Vinogradov, have been since 2021 excavated the site.

The team discovered the remains of 50 bodies, buried alongside numerous grave goods, in a large rectangular pit lined with timber and carpeted in birch bark. The tomb most likely had a wooden roof, which was destroyed during the land clearance.

The site dates from around 2,000 years ago and belongs to a previously unknown Scythian-type culture.


MIT solves mystery of why Roman concrete was so durable

roman concrete
© Courtesy of the researchers
A large-area elemental map (Calcium: red, Silicon: blue, Aluminum: green) of a 2 cm fragment of ancient Roman concrete (right) collected from the archaeological site of Privernum, Italy (left). A calcium-rich lime clast (in red), which is responsible for the unique self-healing properties in this ancient material, is clearly visible in the lower region of the image.
The ancient Romans were masters of engineering, constructing vast networks of roads, aqueducts, ports, and massive buildings, whose remains have survived for two millennia. Many of these structures were built with concrete: Rome's famed Pantheon, which has the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome and was dedicated in A.D. 128, is still intact, and some ancient Roman aqueducts still deliver water to Rome today. Meanwhile, many modern concrete structures have crumbled after a few decades.

Researchers have spent decades trying to figure out the secret of this ultradurable ancient construction material, particularly in structures that endured especially harsh conditions, such as docks, sewers, and seawalls, or those constructed in seismically active locations.

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A look at how people kept their bottoms clean through the ages

What did people do before toilet paper was invented?
Toilet Paper
© ZME Science
The simple toilet paper is a luxury many of our ancestors didn’t have.
Everyone poops, but not everyone uses toilet paper. It's estimated that over half of the world's population doesn't use toilet paper (most of them use water instead). But what did people do before we had access to toilet paper or modern bidets? Believe it or not, our ancestors used a wide array of approaches to wipe our behinds.

Dark history

Believe it or not, history doesn't seem to focus a lot on how people cleaned up after going "number two." We don't know what people used ten thousand years ago or more, and there's not much historical evidence or written text about this.

But since people in non-industrialized parts of the world (and camping trips) use things like leaves or cobs, that may have been the case in the very-olden days. But whatever the large-scale practices were, they are not well preserved in the archaeological record or in writing before the Greco-Roman times.

Still, some clues remain.

For instance, some cultures today use a 'lota', a type of small, spouted vessel traditionally made of brass or copper to spray clean the booty after the dirty business, and lotas dating back to the 2nd millennium BC have been uncovered. It's probably safe to assume that throughout history, water has been widely used for cleaning, possibly with a cloth towel, fur, or another material used for wiping.

But that only works if you have a hefty supply of water and sewage. Some ancient civilizations had this. Almost every house unit at Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and Lothal (all ancient civilizations older than 3500 years old) was equipped with a private bath-toilet area with drains that could take the dirty water out into a larger drain that emptied into the sewage and drainage system.

It was the Greeks and Romans, however, that designed a type of lavatory that survived, with small modifications, for over 1500 years (until the modern age).


Doomed to fail: How Lenin and Stalin placed a ticking time bomb under the Soviet Union exactly 100 years ago

Soviet Union Flag
The USSR's promotion of national identities left it doomed from the very get-go

Exactly 100 years ago, on December 30, 1922, the largest country in world history was created. At the First All-Union Congress of Soviets, representatives of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) and Belarusian SSR, and the Transcaucasian Federation all signed Declaration and Treaty on the Formation of the USSR.

The huge country left an ambiguous legacy, and most of the Bolsheviks' promises were never fulfilled. However, despite its collapse in 1991, to this day the history of the Soviet Union remains relevant for residents of Russia and the former Soviet republics. In fact, it was the beginning of Bolshevik rule that marked the national revival of minorities and the creation of republics that received not only autonomy, but also the right to secede from

RT recalls how the decision to create the USSR was made and why its structure was determined by a dispute between the "red chiefs" - Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.

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20,000-year-old cave painting 'dots' are the earliest written language, study claims but not everyone agrees

Stone Age dots, lines and Y-shaped marks might represent a type of proto-writing created by hunter-gatherers who lived in Europe at least 20,000 years ago.
Cave Art
© JoJan; Wikimedia Commons; (CC BY 4.0)
A 21,500-year-old cave painting depicting an aurochs, an extinct cattle species, in the Lascaux caves in France. Notice the four dots (within the digital yellow circle), which may have had a special meaning for ice age peoples.
At least 20,000 years ago, humans living in Europe created striking cave paintings of animals that they paired with curious signs: lines, dots and Y-shaped symbols. These marks, which are well known to researchers, might relate to the seasonal behavior of prey animals, making the signs the first known writing in the history of humankind, a new study claims.

Although Paleolithic cave art is better known for its graceful horses and ghostly handprints, there are thousands of nonfigurative or abstract marks that researchers have begun studying only in the past few decades. In a study published Jan. 5 in the Cambridge Archaeology Journal, a team of scholars suggests that these seemingly abstract dots and lines, when positioned near animal imagery, actually represent a sophisticated writing system that explains early humans' understanding of the mating and birthing seasons of important local species.

Other researchers, however, are not convinced by the study's interpretations of these human-made marks.

Melanie Chang, a paleoanthropologist at Portland State University who was not involved in the study, told Live Science in an email that she agrees with the researchers' assessment that "Upper Palaeolithic people had the cognitive capacity to write and to keep records of time." However, she cautioned that the researchers' "hypotheses are not well-supported by their results, and they also do not address alternative interpretations of the marks they analyzed."