Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hiawatha: The Holder of the Heavens: Solution to The Great Google Earth Image 34.890653 -83.880198 Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015

The New Year 2015 is soon approaching us and it is now time to publish the solution to The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015 which we began online about a week ago. We hereby declare the year 2015 as "The Year of Hiawatha: The Holder of the Heavens", for so his name is properly attributed when we research Native American sources, as you will see below.

Here is the mystery image found at Google Earth at the GPS coordinates
34.890653 -83.880198. Just plug those coordinates into Google Earth
and you are at the eye of the eagle.

Here is our decipherment of the mystery image found at the GPS coordinates
34.890653 -83.880198:

In the interim, we have published a great deal of material about the ancient petroglyphs of western North Carolina and northeastern Georgia, presumably of Cherokee origin -- or their ancestors, wherever situated, which may include the Iroquois, with European influence not excluded because of Haplogroup X.

Our materials show that these ancient sites were geographically placed by using astronomical orientation pursuant to the hermetic principle, "as above, so below". Earth maps were made as mirror images of the heavens above, a simple system of terrestrial orientation that in fact in ancient days had few other sensible methodological alternatives. Travelers used the ready-made map of the heavens in constructing their maps or "tracks" on Earth.

The Cherokees called their locational system "tracks" and, indeed, the solution to the The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015 is that this unexplained giant figure in the landscape not far from Hiawassee marks the stars of Gemini in the Cherokee "track" system, and also shows surrounding star groups as figures, indeed, even to a greater extent than just the mystery image. The Track Rock Gap Boulder number 4 shows Gemini clearly (our decipherment):

The first online hint that we gave for solution of The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015 was from "The Song of Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, known by many of our readers. We had serious reason for giving that hint. In addition to the famed Hiawatha, there is also a Hiawassee, Georgia and various Hiwassees nearby in North Carolina, terms similar to Hiawatha. Is there a connection? Yes, presumably so.

The commonly accepted "folk" etymologies for Hiawatha, Hiawassee and Hiwassee may not be fully correct. Hiawatha allegedly came from the Iroquois  meaning "creator of rivers" and Hiawassee and Hiwassee allegedly from the Cherokee "ayu-hwa-si", meaning "meadow, savannah". The more correct solution may be found via a Wikipedia excerpt for The Song of Hiawatha:
"[A]ccording to ethnographer Horatio Hale (1817–1896), there was a longstanding confusion between the Iroquois leader Hiawatha and the Iroquois deity Aronhiawagon because of "an accidental similarity in the Onondaga dialect between [their names]." The deity, he says, was variously known as Aronhiawagon [Aron-Hiawagon with Hiawagon = Hiawatha], Tearonhiaonagon, Taonhiawagi, or Tahiawagi; the historical Iroquois leader, as Hiawatha, Tayonwatha or Thannawege. Schoolcraft...."
That same writer, Horatio Hale, author of Hiawatha and the Iroquois Confederation: A Study in Anthropology, wrote in a paper read at the Cincinnati Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, August, 1881, under the title, "A LAWGIVER OF THE STONE AGE, Salem, Massachusetts, August, 1881, p. 18 (original London edition), as follows:
"[A]mong the interminable stories with which the common people beguile their winter nights, the traditions of Atotarho and Hiawatha became intermingled with the legends of their mythology. An accidental similarity, in the Onondaga dialect, between the name of Hiawatha and that of one of their ancient divinities, led to a confusion between the two, which has misled some investigators. This deity bears, in the sonorous Mohawk tongue, the name of Aronhiawagon, meaning "the Holder of the Heavens.""
And so there you have it, Hiawassee as a "field" (but also of the sky) and Hiawatha, as a creator (of rivers, "tracks" and more), "as above, so below" ... it is all astronomy.

Indeed, if you look on Google Earth to the right of "The Great Google Earth Image" mystery image, you might just see "the Great Bear" as marking Ursa Major. Do you see the bear?

I rest my case.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Allen Rock Petroglyphs in Habersham County Georgia USA Mark Stars of the Heavens Principally Orion

As deciphered by Andis Kaulins, the petroglyphs on Allen Rock of Habersham County, Georgia, USA, and as pictured online in a photograph by Alan Cressler at https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan_cressler/11559523424/in/photostream/, who otherwise has no connection to our work or research, are part of a previously identified ancient survey ("track") system, and mark stars of the heavens, principally Orion, which was the hermetic location represented by this boulder in this system. Please note that in our decipherment we have turned the rock 90 degrees from Cressler's photo orientation online, which photographs the rock as it is currently found on the ground.

This posting is a follow-up on recent previous postings about the petroglyphs in western North Carolina and northeastern Georgia, USA, which are all part of one ancient hermetic system, "as above, so below", orienting locations on Earth by the stars.

In addition to Orion, also represented on this petroglyphic rock seem to be the stars of Canis Minor, Canis Major, Gemini, Auriga, and Taurus, and possibly Puppis and the star Canopus. This boulder would seem to have a unique identity because it is an ancient sky map on a round rock, indicating the ancients had understanding of the "round" and not flat form of the heavens.

The stars identified are marked on Allen Rock by cup marks, also called "cupules", which are hollowed out roundings in the stone made by ancient peoples, the purpose of which even up to our modern time has not been properly understood by the archaeological community. Our decipherments of these cupmarked stones in ancient America should help to remedy the situation.

We remain uncertain about the dating of the petroglyphs on this rock, which initially seemed to indicate a date of ca. 4500 B.C. if we regard some of the markings on the rock to mark the Vernal Equinox, the ecliptic and the celestial equator. But that still remains up for debate, in view of our later thoughts on the matter.

The more or less "horizontal" transverse line crossing through Gemini would appear to be the ecliptic.
The celestial equator would then appear to be the more or less "horizontal" transverse line crossing just above the upper stars of Orion.

This would give a meeting point in Taurus of the two to mark the Vernal Equinox and that would be more like 3000 B.C. or, the date we often use for megalith cultures, ca. 3117 B.C., viz. -3116 by astronomy.

It is of course also entirely possible that different rocks were carved with petroglyphs in different eras since precession moves the position of Equinoxes and Solstices -- which must therefore periodically always be adjusted over longer time spans to stay in sync with the actual seasons.

Accordingly, the more or less vertically marked lines here could speculatively mark a precessional gap, i.e. an intercalation made, or attempted to be made, because of the forward progression of the seasons through the stars.

However, we have been unable to come to any conclusive result, so that the matter remains completely open, not just for this rock, but all the petroglyphic rocks of Georgia and North Carolina. The dating is still very provisional.

Two Petroglyph Boulders of Northeast Georgia USA near Helen are Astronomy Marking Stars of Canis Minor and Major, Orion, and Taurus

The petroglyphs of northeast Georgia, USA are here alleged to be location markers placed by ancient astronomy in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below". This posting thus follows the related postings that preceded it, here showing how the Hickorynut Track Rock 1 (Boulder 1) of Hickorynut Mountain near Helen, Georgia, principally marks the stars of Canis Major (that identification seems rather certain), and also appears to mark the the stars of Orion (less certain), together with a marker for the Vernal Equinox at time of the making of the petroglyphs, which would appear to go back clear to about ca. 5000 B.C., but this must still be regarded as very speculative, given what I write below about Boulder 2.

In Boulder 1 below, the identification of Canis Minor, Puppis, Taurus, the Hyades and especially the Pleiades is also much less certain than Canis Major or Orion. This "boulder" with its petroglyphs is one of the most beautiful rocks that we have seen out there, so take a look at a photograph by Alan Cressler at https://www.flickr.com/photos/alan_cressler/11618114296/. To see some of the figures better, invert the colors of the rock using a graphics program. Note that the figures thought to be "hands" are actually representations of bright stars either as flames viz. flaming objects or as some kind of flowers. The colored circles and other colored enclosed regions on each graphic below correspond to each other, showing the stars intended.

Alan Cressler has a photograph of the neighboring rock (Boulder 2) which we have deciphered in the interim as showing similar groups of stars as Boulder 1, perhaps having a fertility rite type of character. Moreover, Boulder 2 could date to ca. 2470 B.C. -- a date we assign to the Judaculla Rock sky map as well, so that the 5200 B.C. date for Boulder 1 that we initially suggested above could be in error as a misinterpretation of the baker's peel as an equinox marker.

Here is Boulder 2 (Hickorynut Track Rock 2) deciphered by tracing major lines and cupules:

David Kaufman of the University of Kansas in his document titled Orion, Uaxactun, Izapa, and Creation, writes as follows at
"The Orion constellation is linked with creation and fertility in the mythology and cosmology of both ancient Mesoamerica and North America....  Orion is linked with creation in the mythology and cosmology of the northern Plains.... A similar story ... is told by the Oneidas and other Iroquoian groups in the Northeast."

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Petroglyphs of North Carolina and Georgia Mark Stars of the Heavens

Ancient megalithic and petroglyphic sites having an astronomical character are often part of a system of sites.

When it became clear that Judaculla Rock was a sky map of the heavens, then it was likely that it too was part of some "system" of astronomical orientation in ancient days.

Accordingly, I examined the locations of neighboring petroglyphic sites and discovered that these locations were not randomly placed, but correspond to a system of land survey that used stars as the "technical" guide of orientation, i.e. the hermetic principle, "as above, so below". Astronomy was at the basis of ancient "track" system of human geographic location and movement.

See the images below, which show that the petroglyphs of western North Carolina and northeastern Georgia are all part of the same system of astronomical survey.

These markers (or "tracks" in the Cherokee terminology), run from Canis Major on the left to Aquila on the right, which are the farthest extremities on either side of this section of sky at night. This section of the heavens was used greatly in ancient days. That is also approximately the left-to-right or right-to-left section of stars that fronts the Judaculla Rock.

Judaculla Rock Decipherment 1: Upper Left Corner: The Stars of Scorpio and the Line (Colure) of the Equinoxes

Judaculla Rock Decipherment 1: Upper Left Corner: The Stars of Scorpio

The stars of Scorpio are shown here in my clips from Starry Night Pro.

The Judaculla Rock image section together with the cup marks (cupules) is a clip from a drawing of a tracing at the "official" source for the Judaculla Rock --
the National Register of Historic Places - Registration Form, Supplementary Listing Record, NRIS Reference Number: 13000116, Judaculla Rock, Jackson County, North Carolina at

Update: Click on the image if it is too large for your screen. This should give you the whole image. If not, you can download it and work on it offline.

I myself have only drawn the colored circles (or sections thereof) which show that the cup marks (cupules) in one source (Judaculla Rock) are virtually identical in arrangement to the location of the stars in the other source (Starry Night Pro astronomy software). Otherwise, the drawings come from others -- so that I am not, nor can I, bend things to my liking. I must do with the drawings available.

I do not decide for the world whether this confluence of cupules and stars is true.
The world -- and that is YOU - YOU decide.
I am merely the medium putting these sources together.

I hope you enjoy all the coming postings. Here now are the stars of Scorpio. The same colored circles in one source in the image correspond to the same colored circles in the other source in the image. Cupules correspond to stars. In my opinion, there is absolutely no doubt about this whatsoever. and more images are coming.

The smaller star clipped insert from Starry Night Pro shows more stars in the heavens at that location to better show the correspondence between the stars and the cupules on the Judaculla Rock.

Note that the broad, nearly vertical line drawn at this position on Judaculla Rock thus corresponds to the line (colure) of the Equinoxes, with the Autumn Equinox at the top and the Vernal Equinox toward the bottom (at the meeting of lines) by which the date of the drawing of these cupules can be estimated to great accuracy, as I estimate, e.g., ca. 2470 B.C.

This means that the broad line that runs horizontally but somewhat angled across the Judaculla Rock from left to right (viz. right to left) marks the ecliptic and/or celestial equator, and that the second short vertical line to the right then is probably the Winter Solstice.

See if you can identify the remaining cupules yourself. It is hard work, but doable.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Judaculla Rock: The Decipherment: But First a Thanks to Starry Night Pro: "Somewhere, Something Incredible is Waiting to Be Known": Carl Sagan

In the course of future postings, I will be publishing a decipherment of Judaculla Rock in a graphic form which permits no doubt that the cup marks (cupules) on Judaculla Rock, which number over a thousand by count of the archaeologists, represent stars of the heavens. My proof is so devastatingly clear for this number of cup marks that no "reasonable" observer can possibly doubt this interpretation.

Before I present the first proof, and my entire proof will progress over many postings over coming days, weeks and months, I wish to thank the makers of the astronomy program Starry Night Pro, brilliantly programmed software which allows the user to reproduce stellar (star) positions thousands of years back in time for any location on Earth.

This posting is not an ad. It is my sincere recognition of these people.

The Starry Night website front page currently looks like the image below, which I have clipped online for the record. I hope they do not mind. Thank you.

In the instant case, the incredible "somewhere, something" is not "out there",
but it is here, on our own Earth, albeit using the stars as our discovery guide.

Judaculla Rock, Cherokee "Dividings" and the Great Google Earth Image Mystery: The Beginnings of Serious Research

What led to the Great Google Earth Image Mystery?

Steve Burdic asked me some weeks ago by email whether the petroglyphic Judaculla Rock in Jackson County, North Carolina (near Cherokee, Cullowhee and Sylva) could be ancient astronomy in some form.

Steve (LinkedIn, Facebook) is a University of Nebraska graduate (Beta Theta Pi), former Sustainability Coordinator at the University of Missouri, former President of the Missouri Farmers Union Credit Union, former Energy Conservation and Renewable Grant Manager, Technical Assistance Program-Household Hazardous Waste, Missouri State Parks Grant Manager, and currently Principal Investigator, Resource Management Consultants, Jamestown, Missouri.

In addition to those credits, Steve should also get credit for being the instigator of this specific research. He has long followed my work on the history of civilization at Lexiline and I am thankful that he turned to me with this question.

Science means asking questions. Too many people in the field of archaeology and related disciplines think they know all the answers and have stopped asking the right questions, with the result that their research is often far off the mark.

I have previously been to this geographic area of the U.S. Southeast, having relatives in East Tennessee, and so I have overnighted and dined in Helen, Georgia (alpine "Bavaria" in the USA) and lunched in Clayton, Georgia (the Cherokee "Dividings"). As written at the Wikipedia under Clayton, Georgia: "The area that would eventually become Clayton was called the Dividings because it sat at the intersection of three important Cherokee people trails."

Although I have already fully deciphered Judaculla Rock and surrounding petroglyphic sites, in the interest of interactive participation, I publish only a small decipherment area of Judaculla Rock in the next posting and will go from there to explain not only Judaculla Rock, but also major related petroglyphic sites in the region of Northeast Georgia and Western North Carolina.

For online photos of the Judaculla Rock and area see Tripadvisor.com.

The GPS coordinates for Judaculla Rock are 35.301233°N 83.110142°W, confirmed via Google Earth.

"Official" information and photographs -- I use these for analysis of the Judaculla Rock -- are found at the National Register of Historic Places - Registration Form, Supplementary Listing Record, NRIS Reference Number: 13000116, Judaculla Rock, Jackson County, North Carolina
which is the document NPS Form 10-900-a (Rev . 01/2009) OMB No. 1024-0018 (Expires 5/31/2012), U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Continuation Sheet, Judaculla Rock, Jackson County, North Carolina. I will refer to this record -- NRIS Reference Number: 13000116 -- from time to time. It is most certainly a nice job of recordation, but for the most part, far off the mark in terms of  ultimate -- correct -- analysis.

I say that as a former employee of the Nebraska State Surveyor's Office,
who understands something about land, surveying, landmarks, etc.
There is much more here than meets the immediate eye. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery Can Begin for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015: THE GPS of the Location

Here is the GPS for the mystery image:
34.890653 -83.880198.

Look around there and you will find the Track Rock Gap archaeological site.

What does it all mean?

Wait and see.

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery Can Begin for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015: THE FOURTH and LAST HINT

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015, as we noted in our first posting, is "G-Rated", having begun with "Gitche Gumee", followed by GEORGIA and GAP, and now ends with a major clue to the meaning of the image, once you have found it, which is "GEMINI".

One now has all the information one needs, should your powers of research and analysis be up to the task, to become as famous as Shakespeare, as it were, though even the Bard may actually have been Marlowe, but, as Patton correctly noted in a "G-Rated" way, "GLORY" is fleeting, so be, rather than not be, it.

If one can not read the handwriting on the wall or other "limited strata", one can scarcely hope to SKYpe all the pretty rock art in North Carolina, now can one?

In case you can not put that all together, relax, be happy and take it easy, CULLO-whee and Juda-CULLA, and hold on to your wampum belt, for I am here -- none other has stepped forth -- and will GUIDE you in future postings as to the meaning of the "Great Google Earth Image Mystery" image.

Stay tuned, and keep abreast of the postings which shall follow.

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery Can Begin for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015: THE THIRD HINT

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015 "rocks", and as we noted in our first posting, is "G-Rated", as the "G" in "gap".

That should bring you on the right "track".

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015: THE SECOND HINT

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015, as we noted in our first posting, is "G-Rated", as the "G" in Georgia.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015: THE FIRST HINT

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water, 
Stood Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
O'er the water pointing westward,
To the purple clouds of sunset.
Fiercely the red sun descending
Burned his way along the heavens,
Set the sky on fire behind him,
As war-parties, when retreating,
Burn the prairies on their war-trail;
And the moon, the Night-sun, eastward,
Suddenly starting from his ambush,
Followed fast those bloody footprints,
Followed in that fiery war-trail,
With its glare upon his features.
And Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
Spake these words to Hiawatha:
"Yonder dwells the great Pearl-Feather,
Megissogwon, the Magician,
Manito of Wealth and Wampum,
Guarded by his fiery serpents....

From "The Song of Hiawatha"
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Great Google Earth Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015: THE IMAGE

Dear Readers,

It has begun! The first "hint" is in the next posting.

The Great "Google Earth" Image Mystery for Christmas 2014 and New Year 2015, which has no affiliation to Google (TM) or to Google Earth (TM), challenges YOU.

Where is the following image from Google Earth located geographically?
We plugged it into Google Image Search but -- thankfully -- found nothing.

What is the meaning and/or significance
of "The Great Google Earth Mystery Image Christmas 2014 New Year 2015"?

Of course, we ourselves know the image location, we think we know what it means, and we think it could be quite astounding. But we could be right or wrong, so we are making this interactive and letting you in on the fun of discovery! It is all G-rated, i.e. intended for "G" = "general audiences". It is "clean" for all. We ask people who live near this site to hold back their enthusiasm and knowledge!

We acknowledge that the image is copyrighted by Google (we have clipped it from Google Earth) but we claim "fair use", for good reason, as you will see.

In any case, should there be problems or in the event the image above does not load properly at the above link for whatever reason, we will reveal its GPS coordinates in a coming posting, and then of course try to explain the image.

The postings that follow
will try to bring
light "from above"
into the darkness below.

Indeed, "as above, so below".

Stay tuned!

Crossposted at LawPundit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Delphi as the Center of the Classical Ancient World?

Delphi (Phocis, Greece) as the center of the classical ancient world?

Alexander Clapp reviews a new book by Michael Scott,

Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World
(Princeton University Press). See

Revisiting Delphi, the center of the ancient world

Probative Evidence Contradicts Archaeology: Modern Technology Electron Beam Points to Other Origins of Teotihuacan Stone Faces

In an article by Josh Fischman at Scientific American in
Electron Beam Points to Origins of Teotihuacan Stone Faces
we find written:
"“Almost everything that has been written about the making of the Teotihuacan masks is untrue,” says Jane Walsh, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

New details about the manufacture of these old and valuable masks are coming to light, thanks to modern technology...."
Probative evidence is thus proving again that a lot of the theories of archaeologists, based on "authority" in the peer-review journals, is simply wrong.

A World That Has Forgotton What Our Skies Look Like Without City Lights

Mankind has in the modern age in many quarters forgotten "the bigger universe" once visible above their heads in the wondrous realm of the stars at night.

John Guida has the story at the New York Times in What Our Skies Would Look Like Without City Lights, citing to French photographer Thierry Cohen and his series Darkened Cities.

As Guida writes:
"Mr. Cohen sees his photographs in a philosophical light: “When a child discovers the stars, he begins to question,” he said. “What is it, who are we, where are we, etc.? As did the first human beings.”"
We write in some of our publications about how ancient man saw the stars in primordial days and how in fact "stargazing" surely led to modern "science".

Through our writings, we often face an academic populace for most of whom the sky is a dark void. Sadly, Thierry Cohen has it right.

Modern man takes himself too seriously,
and his natural environment not seriously enough.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Scientific American Article Writes that Science Research is Deficient and that Stanford University has Founded a New Meta-Research Innovation Center to Study the Problem and Optimize Research Practices

John P. A. Ioannidis at the Scientific American in Science Research Needs an Overhaul writes that he has co-founded a new center at Stanford University -- the Meta-Research Innovation Center at Stanford (METRICS) -- to deal with the costly problem that most mainstream research is wasted, for example, 85% of medical research, according to The Lancet. He writes that the METRICS center:
"[W]ill seek to study research practices and how these can be optimized. It will examine the best means of designing research protocols and agendas to ensure that the results are not dead ends but rather that they pave a path forward. The center will do so by exploring what are the best ways to make scientific investigation more reliable and efficient."
We applaud this development.

We have been confronted for years by gullible, uninformed, and opinionated people in and out of science proclaiming the near infallibility of mainstream ideas and research methods.

Having taught research ourselves at the university level, we know from experience, of course, that exactly the opposite is true.

Most of what is researched in science and published as a result is a costly waste of time and often leads science in the wrong direction.

One main reason for these follies of "scientific research", as we have written time and time again, is that science in the past has been predominantly "authority-based", whereas "evidence-based" research must be given priority.

Outdated memes must be abandoned.

That is our quest.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Natural Shapes of Sandstone Formed By the Vertical Stress of Gravity

At the BBC, Jonathan Webb reports how recent research explains natural sandstone shapes formed by the vertical stress of gravity. Such knowledge is useful to distinguish natural shapes from those made by the hand of man, which is an issue in interpreting megalithic sites.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A New Translation of the Ahmose Tempest Stela as Describing the Santorini Explosion on Thera and the Resulting Need to Reconstruct Egyptian and Biblical Chronology

We are pleased to report that a "new translation" of the Ahmose Tempest Stela by Nadine Moeller and Robert Ritner -- in our opinion correctly -- resurrects the clear and logical connection between that Tempest Stela and the modernly studied mega-eruption of the volcano Santorini on Thera. See Robert K. Ritner and Nadine Moeller, The Ahmose 'Tempest Stela', Thera and Comparative Chronology, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 73, No. 1, April, 2014. 10.1086/675069. Full text at http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/675069.
[For background, see generally also LiveScience.com.]

Ritner writes in the introduction to that article:
"In 1994, the Aegeanist Karen Polinger Foster brought to my attention a presentation delivered by Ellen Davis five years previously. Within her lecture, Davis had introduced the evidence of a unique Egyptian stela into the complex discussions regarding the absolute date of the volcanic eruption at Thera (Santorini). Karen’s question to me was fairly simple: was there anything in the wording of the stela that could justify a link with the Thera event? After reviewing the Davis article and the edited text of the stela, I became convinced that the possibility existed, particularly since the text as translated intentionally suppressed its most striking phraseology.

Previously published for an Egyptological audience by Claude Vandersleyen, the fragmentary stela recounts the devastations and reconstructions resulting from an extraordinary cataclysm in early Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt. While storms can be noted in Egyptian literature, Ahmose’s Tempest Stela is without parallel in extending the destructive effects to the entirety of the country. The remarkable nature of the event, described in unprecedented detail, is stressed by the text itself, which attributes the disaster to divine displeasure (recto ll. 6–7), while yet declaring that it was greater than divine wrath and exceeded the gods’ plans (recto l. 10)."
Why has it taken so long for the academic community to recognize the obvious?!

Scholars in the historical disciplines "historically" have not had a good track record in interpreting ancient evidence, and one reason for this, as we have previously stated, is that they are not trained in their disciplines to analyze "Evidence", as is done in "Law" studies.

Many historical publications still have not learned that the opinions of professors, past or present, are NOT "evidence". They are merely that, OPINION.

Indeed, much historical research at the university level in these disciplines follows the German saying "Es kann nicht sein, was nicht sein darf", freely translated into English as "That can not be, which is not allowed [by our theories]". No professor wants to admit that the ancient world chronology he or she has been following all of his or her professional career is simply wrong.

As a result, the "historical professions" (Archaeology, Biblical Studies, Egyptology, Ancient Near East Studies, Historical Linguistics, Aegean Studies, etc.) have for years preferred to rely on the often deluded, self-fulfilling prophecies found in the publications of their own "authorities" (i.e. the authoritarian opinion leaders and journals in their respective fields) rather than taking the option of critically examining the developing facts at hand to determine what the current probative evidence actually tells them.

When push comes to shove, new facts have been twisted or ignored to fit the outdated theories of various erroneous schools of thought and their adherents -- and these are the dusty relics that still dominate historical research.

Mainstream chronology of ancient human history is thus bogged down in an erroneous quagmire of stubborn, outdated, academic wishful thinking which is simply not matched by the probative evidence of what the actual facts tell us.

Let us in this context take a look at a 1998 article Separate Lives: The Ahmose Tempest Stela and the Theran Eruption, Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 57, No. 1, Jan., 1998  in which a connection between the Ahmose Tempest Stela and the eruption of Santorini on Thera, as previouly proposed by C. Vandersleyen, H. Goedicke, E. N. Davis, K. P. Foster and R. K. Ritner is alleged "not to be supported by the evidence".

And what is the "evidence" referred to? Written, incredibly, is the following:
"Rather, we believe the description is inconsistent with what is known about the earthquake and the following eruption at Thera, consistent with the nature of monsoon-generated Nile floods, and characteristic of a genre of texts describing the restoration of order by rulers." [emphasis added]
That all has very little probative value. "Belief" is a conviction drawn on the ABSENCE of proof and is not science. Facts demand no "belief". Facts are facts.

Quite the contrary, absolutely nothing in the known factual record about the explosion of Santorini substantially contradicts the Tempest Stela.

Furthermore, it is doubtful that any ruler would ever have put up such a stela for a Nile flood, which was a standard annual occurrence in Egypt in those days.

Lastly, as far as we can see, no probative "genre of text" can be produced that convincingly approaches similarity to the Tempest Stela.

We have for years argued that the Thera explosion is integrally tied to identifiable Biblical events, e.g. at the LexiLine Journal in
New Revised Chronology of the Ancient World based on New Carbon Evidence of the Date for Thera and Santorini Eruption - LexiLine Journal 411.

We have for years also published online a revised chronology of the Ancient World, based on this knowledge.

The ultimate chronological answer is fairly clear. Mainstream Biblical chronology must be moved substantially "backward" in time. The other "backward" question is how we get the "backward" people in science to progress "forward" into the 21st century. That is the tougher question.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ancient Sea Navigation: The Dhow Sailing Vessel: Flickr Photo of the Day

What is the origin of the dhow sailing vessel?

See the nice photo of the dhow at

Compass - Yahoo Travel at Flickr Photo of the Day

at Echoes of Sinbad the sailor

See in this general context of ancient sea navigation our posting at the Ancient World Blog on

Ancient Seafaring, Megaliths, Egypt, Phoenicia, Carthage and the Periplus of Hanno

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Scholars Prefer to Research, Teach and Write "Concepts" Rather than Facts: Göbekli Tepe as an Example

 A Berkeley study found that scholars in the humanities prefer to teach "concepts" rather than "facts" - which is all fine and good, but it is a disastrous strategy if the concepts taught do not match the actual facts, which is the present situation in many areas of these academic fields.

The main problem of mainstream Archeology and related disciplines such as Biblical Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Egyptology and Historical Linguistics is indeed that people take arguably objective results and then invariably merge them with fantasy-based interpretations of what they think they have found.

The result is that subjective statements become the "main messages" in the publications of the various disciplines of ancient studies, a development which camouflages many serious errors in basic research.

This can easily be seen by watching typical television "documentaries" (sic) on the ancient world, which often consist to 90% or more of imagined "how it might have been" scenarios, which are later offered as "fact" rather than as the undeniably creative "fiction" they actually represent.

A typical view might be that there are mainstream scholars in the humanities on one side of the fence and esoterics on the other side of the fence, but in fact, we have found that many academics are only educated esoterics. Real fact-finders are few and far between.

As Stanford's Ian Hodder commented not too far back on previously prevailing scholarly archaeological opinion in light of the latest archaeological discoveries in Anatolia:

"All our theories were wrong."

How is that possible if previous research was -- as alleged -- "scientific"?

Hodder's statement clearly points to what we see as the prevailing methodological problem in Archeology and related disciplines, an error from which these disciplines do not learn and an error which they continue to commit, Hodder's comment notwithstanding.

Basic, sound, neutral and objective research publication is neglected in favor of the publication of the pet interpretations viz. theories of scholars. Established often unproven concepts are favored, while probative evidence is ignored.

What should be done, however, is simply to publish the facts, completely separate and free from subjective interpretations. But who does this?

A good example here is Gobekli Tepe [Göbekli Tepe], an ancient "megalithic" site for which a simple, neutral publication providing full photographs of all the standing stones together with a map of their location would seem to be the first thing to provide -- but exactly THAT is not available.

Those who wish to counter that statement should try drawing a map of Göbekli Tepe given the available resources and placing all the respective stones in situ so you can try to judge the significance of each stone in a possible interlocked system. Not possible.

To find at least a rudimentary map and photographs of some of the standing stones, we purchased Klaus Schmidt, Sie bauten die ersten Tempel: Das rätselhafte Heiligtum der Steinzeitjäger.

Already the title of that book, not even to speak of the content, which contains vast amounts of unproven conjecture, contains THREE unproven conclusions not verified by probative evidence:
  1. The title suggests that these were the FIRST temples. Not true. Sites of that size will obviously have had many "temple" precursors, just as a skyscraper is not the first "building". The first temples were surely very small and mundane. Things start small, not large. These are the oldest LARGE sites of this kind thus far found. The title is thus greatly misleading.

  2. The title states that Göbekli Tepe was "a holy place" (Heiligtum). That is an unproven assumption, as Schmidt himself admits on page 246, saying, however, that Göbekli Tepe had to have "a purpose". Yes, that is surely true, but it may not be the purpose that HE assigns to it. If Göbekli Tepe, for example, had an astronomical purpose, then its primary value was "practical". It could ALSO have been a "holy place" -- or not. Just compare Stonehenge, which could have been a holy place, but it might also have simply served astronomical purposes. The declaration that it WAS a holy place has not been proven by means of probative evidence.

  3. The title suggests that the builders of Göbekli Tepe were Neolithic (Stone Age) hunters (Jäger). Given the reliefs on the stones of domestic-type animals, that conclusion is highly suspect, and by no means proven.
But our purpose here is not to select Schmidt out for criticism and we are thankful for his digging up of the site and for the material he HAS provided, thank you. His book is, however, just too typical for the uncritical literature which dominates the archaeological field. There are pages and pages full of conjectures, suppositions and assumptions - some better than others.

If, for example, Göbekli Tepe was astronomical in nature, which Schmidt does not mention as a possibility, then most of what Schmidt has written there is simply wrong. This alternative is arguably not mentioned because the mass of the mainstream archaeological community has no real conception about the ancient period and avoid astronomy like the plague. They think the truth is found in the pot sherds they unearth. The latest dig is the latest truth.

Advice to academics in ancient studies might be to suggest trying avoidance of a repeat of Hodder's "ALL our theories were wrong", by doing the following:
  • FIRST publish what you have found, neutrally and objectively.... in the case of Göbekli Tepe, for example, what standing stones were found? what is pictured on them? how are they located? - exactly by photo.

  • SECOND, you provide a map (video, 3D, online, offline, the modern options are endless) from which the entire site can be viewed and interpreted by anyone with an interest in the topic, including photographs of all standing stones -- from all sides, and without interpretation.

    If one looks at Schmidt's map on page 168 of his book, it is almost useless for finding which pictured stones are where, which stones have which figures, and on which side of the stone, etc., and where those figures are found on the map in the book. That map is just lines and numbers on discontinuous plots -- and is virtually useless for making any sense of it.
After such a publication, only THEN should one go about the job of ASKING questions,  "leaving no stone unturned" and thus also investigating the possibility that the standing stones and figures have something to do with astronomy:
  • What if this site were astronomical?
  • What if the figures on the stones represented groups of stars of the heavens?

  • What would that mean for a possible interpretation of the entire site?
This does not mean that the "scientist" or "scholar" needs to accept the interpretation that the site is astronomical to begin with. But such a possibility must be considered and researched ... along with other optional possibilities. That is what "science" should be.

But that is not what we are getting. We are getting a one-sided view that concentrates only on singular objects rather than the big picture and it does so using the SAME systems of thinking that led to Hodder's comment:

"All our theories were wrong."

Maybe it is time for the people in these disciplines to modernize their approaches and to upgrade their scientific methodology and publication to the current state of the art.

To get a different view, e.g., about Göbekli Tepe, see in this regard:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Anthropomorphic Figures in Stone Recognized Already in "Object Lesson" (1941), an Early Avant-Garde Movie by Chris Young, Son of Charles Morris Young, Renowned American Landscape Painter

OBJECT LESSON (1941) was described by its director, Chris (Christopher) Young, as "America's first surrealist film". (Lovers of Cinema)

Chris Young worked with Lowell Thomas and was married to Mary Elizabeth Bird Young, who represented the United States in alpine skiing at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Christopher Baugham Young, born 1908, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, died 1 December 1975, Hartford, Connecticut. Films: Object Lesson (1941), Subject Lesson (1953-1955, 1955 or 1956 depending on source), Nature is My Mistress (after 1955), Search for Paradise (after 1955).

The late Robert (Bob) Schubel Sr. was the "Sound Engineer" for Object Lesson's movie sequel, SUBJECT LESSON (1956), an independent avant-garde short flim again directed by Chris Young. Original copies of the sound tapes to the Subject Lesson film still exist and there must be film copies somewhere out there in cinema-land. Please let us know if you know if and/or where one or both films can be obtained. Thank you.

OBJECT LESSON (1941) as a film is currently available in part online, and that video is embedded below, but make sure you also read the text following, especially if this entire subject is of interest to you.

A YouTube Video of OBJECT LESSON

OBJECT LESSON (1941), directed by Chris (Christopher) Young, is currently found in part online (1:45 minutes of a ca. 12-minute film) at YouTube. Share the video using this link.

The "Opening Screen" unfolds entering this text line by line:


It is accompanied by some -- for that era and given our own special interests -- spectacular photography of anthropomorphic figures in stone, thus proving an early recognition of such figures by Young, which of course is of particular interest to us because of our work on megalithic cultures.

It is known that Chris Young was at one time in a skiing party that was rescued and dug out of an avalanche in Switzerland, so that these anthropomorphic figures could be located somewhere in Europe, perhaps in Switzerland, rather than in the United States.

Here is our version of the transcript of OBJECT LESSON for that 1:45 intro, as corrected by us from the otherwise erroneous English "transcript" shown online at YouTube, but we must point out that we are VERY thankful neverthelss to the YouTube poster for putting this video online. Thank you! Here is the transcript of the narrator's text in the film in its introductory minutes:
"In the beginning, before life had appeared on the Earth
there were life-like forms,
places and figures in the very rocks and stones.
But out of the stones will come life,
out of life, man,
and out of man,
new things that he will make
from the stones and the stuff from the Earth --
things that may be beautiful,
or useful,
or dangerous.
The story of them can not be told with words
but only by the things themselves.
It begins with the first Spring."
The rest of the movie is not shown in this YouTube video, except for some shots of a human-sculpted Venus in the landscape -- we presume -- intended to show the transition from anthropomorphic figures not created by mankind to those so created.

Indeed, we might venture to guess that anthropomorphic natural "faces seen in stone" may at some stage in history have served as models for human sculpting of similar figures by hand in stone for a variety of purposes. Young's father as a landscape painter had apparently instilled in his son the same talent that he had for spotting essentials in the landscape, also in stone.

Chris Young was the son of Charles Morris Young, a famed landscape artist. See the Charles Morris Young artist profile, in more detail at Brush with Greatness, and examine the auction prices obtained recently for his paintings.

Chris Young as a man was not only an early, creative filmmaker, but also traveled in Europe and was "an avid skier, explorer and mountain climber". He passed away with an estate worth more than $1 million in 1975 and left legal questions about the whereabouts of several of his father's paintings.

The Young films mentioned here (there are others) received cinema awards in their era. "Object Lesson" won the award for best avant-garde film at the Venice Film Festival in 1950, while its sequel, "Subject Lesson," won the top Creative Film Award in 1957, a series of prizes sponsored jointly by the Creative Film Foundation and Cinema 16.

Both films are in fact listed in the Final Cinema 16 Distribution Catalog Film Listings, 1963, Columbia University, where Amos Vogel, Cinema 16, wrote as follows (excerpts):
"Since the publication of our first listing of experimental films in 1950, the independent and avant-garde cinema in America has come into its own. In 1950, we were the first to pioneer in both the exhibition and distribution of such films at a time when their very purpose, integrity and seriousness were openly questioned by many; step-child of the industry, they were at times considered scandalous, fraudulent, or irrelevant. Their distribution was limited to hardy individuals and stubborn public institutions unwilling to join in the prevailing lack of celebration. Today these films are used by hundreds of universities, public libraries, churches, civic groups, film societies, art institutes and individuals across the nation. They have become curriculum-integrated in cinema, art, or English literature departments. They are exhibited at church conventions; at special festivals, on television and in theatres; discussed in magazines; used by art galleries, advertising agencies and coffee houses for their own nefarious purposes; purchased by international film archives. The basic question asked is no longer why such films are being made but rather (and rightly so) an investigation of the quality and originality of a particular title or tendency in the field....

There is also no doubt that the publication of this new catalog — the most comprehensive listing of experimental cinema published anywherein the world — will further contribute to a more rapid opening up of the field and a more general appreciation of the efforts and achievements of the film avant-garde.... Produced by independent film artists, these are explorations in the cinema. Offered as significant efforts to broaden the scope of the film medium and further develop its aesthetic vocabulary and potential, these films express the psychological and emotional tensions of modern life; delve into the subconscious; explore the world of color and abstract images; experiment with cinematic devices and synthetic sound...."
We have found some additional materials online about Young's films.

In An introduction to the American underground film (1967), New York : E.P. Dutton & Co., Sheldon Renan writes:
"Second Film Avant-Garde

The second film avant-garde began as the Depression ended. Sixteen-millimeter film and equipment, available since 1923, were becoming more accessible, and the Second World War, because its training films and features for the troops were on 16mm, rapidly increased this accessibility. Sixteen-millimeter was less expensive than 35mm, the film stock used by the first avant-garde, and the coming of prosperity eased the money problem in this expensive art medium. There was, too, the effect of the Museum of Modern Art's circulating film programs, starting in 1937, which brought back into sight the refreshing old French trick films and the work of the first avant-garde. Later the Art in Cinema showings in San Francisco and those of Cinema 16 in New York gave publicity to the personal art film and a chance for exhibition to the new film-makers.

By 1941 Crockwell, Bute, and Nemeth and some new people were already at work. Francis Lee made 1941, an abstract antiwar film. He was then drafted and left the pawn ticket for his camera in the hands of Marie Menken and Willard Maas, soon to become film-makers themselves. Dwinnel Grant made Themis (1940), Contrathemis (1941), and Three Dimensional Experiments (1945), all abstract films. Mylon Meriam made unnamed abstract films (1941-42). And Christopher Young made Object Lesson (1941), a work that employed symbolic objects placed in natural environments to give the effect of a journey through a surrealist landscape. His later Subject Lesson (1953-55) did much the same thing in color." [emphasis added]
In the Village Voice, June 13, 1956, page 6, we find written:
"Eleven Receive First Creative Awards

Christopher Young and Hilary Harris, makers of experimental films entitled "Subject Lesson" and "Generation", were last week named the top winners of the first annual Creative Film Awards, a series of prizes sponsored jointly by the Creative Film Foundation and Cinema 16. Young and Harris each received an award for Exceptional Merit.
In the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 4, 1959, page 36, we find under the headline, Asolo Opens Fall Season Wednesday:
"Subject Lesson," a short produced by Christopher Young, won the highest Creative Film Award in 1956. It is a sequel to Young's 1950 award winner, "Object Lesson" and is an imaginative representation of the inner life of man, told in symbols."
In the CITWF Complete Index To World Film we find the following entries:

CHRISTOPHER YOUNG - Person Information



At the BFI (British Film Institute) in Film Forever we find under the entry Christopher Young Filmography for SUBJECT LESSON only a marvelous -- from the artistic point of view -- still photograph from the film of a beach with statues and sculptures in the sand (Venus statue, Adonis statue, Lion sculpture, and Hand of God sculpture ala Michelangelo). We have reason to believe that at least some of these statues and sculptures were originally in the garden of the house of Christopher Young in Connecticut (perhaps in Sharon, near Canaan and Cornwall, CT).

The Underground Film Journal lists both films in its Underground Film Timelines for 1940-1949 and 1950-1959:
1940 — 1949
.... Christopher Young ... Object Lesson
1950 — 1959
.... Christopher Young ... Subject Lesson (1953-55)
We found at The Sticking Place: Theatre - Film - Books, The Angry Young Film Makers, by Amos Vogel, who wrote:
"Christopher Young’s Subject Lesson (Creative Film Foundation Winner 1957), symbolic tracing of the development of man’s consciousness, with startling juxtapositions of familiar objects and incongruous backgrounds...."

originally at Evergreen Review, November/December 1958
© Amos Vogel/Evergreen Review
All rights reserved by the original copyright holders
The Sharon Greenhorn in The Harlem Valley Times, Feb. 14, 1957 wrote:
"It is a pleasure to correct an error made in this space two weeks ago. We reported the fact that Christopher Young's movie "Subject Lesson" had won one of the 1956 Creative Film Awards. Incidentally, it received the top award of "Exceptional Merit." We then said he had a new film, "Object Lesson" which he had enjoyed and which you could look forward to seeing on the award lists in the future. We were happily incorrect. "Subject Lesson" is the new film, and "Object Lesson" the older one which did win an award at the Venice Film Festival in, we believe, 1950. Both are very special...."
To add an international touch, we find written at the prestigious Pompidou Centre in  France -- in la collection en ligne du Centre Pompidou - Musée national d’art moderne -- the following French text about Chris Young and his films, citing as a bibliographical source: Christopher Horak, Lovers of Cinema, The First American Avant-Garde Film 1919-1945. Please go to Google Translate if you do not read French and plug in the text below to get a translation in your preferred language:
"Christopher Young a été une figure marginale du cinéma d’avant-garde américain. Sa réputation repose essentiellement sur un film, Object Lesson (1941), une fusion singulière d’invention visuelle et de symbolisme naïf. Object Lesson, réalisé juste avant l’entrée des États-Unis dans la seconde guerre mondiale, reflétait les courants intellectuels et politiques dominants de l’intelligentsia américaine : il situe le caractère inévitable et tragique de la guerre dans la nature de la psyché humaine, et incarne formellement les principes de la sémantique que posaient alors les écrits de Korzybski, Hayakawa et Chase. À l’instar de 1941 de Francis Lee, réalisé l’année suivante, le film de Young souffre d’un symbolisme excessif, qui résulte peut-être de l’intensité des pressions politiques et sociales de l’époque ; il reste que, de même que le film de Lee, ses résonances dépassent largement les limites de l’allégorie nettement explicite. Dans un texte écrit à l’époque de ce film, Young révèle lui-même la détermination univoque des objets de cette allégorie : “Les forces de la vie, exprimées dans ce film sous forme symbolique, sont… : la nature (symbolisée par les rochers, la végétation), l’idéalisme et les idées de l’Homme (les statues grecques), l’art (le violon), la guerre (les épées, etc.), le déclin (la destruction, etc.).”
De crainte que le spectateur ne manque le récit symbolique, malgré de telles précisions, le film commence par un titre d’introduction : “Considérons les objets, car ils nous racontent l’histoire de la vie. Il n’existe nulle chose sans signification et l’association des choses crée de nouveaux sens qui sont trop difficiles à expliquer.” Le trope sur lequel s’ouvre le film, qui réunit des statues féminines et une épée, avec tous les signes du printemps, indique la concaténation de l’agression destructrice et régénératrice qui est inscrite dans la différence sexuelle. Le film montre les sublimations cycliques et les éruptions violentes de cette tension fondatrice.

Object Lesson indiquait le chemin d’une utilisation plus mystérieuse et anti-allégorique de l’association prônée par Deren, Broughton et Anger, et par les autres cinéastes du style dit du “film de transe”, qui avait marqué le premier grand épanouissement du cinéma d’avant-garde américain, peu après que Young eut réalisé son premier film.

L’emploi spectaculaire qu’il faisait du raccourci et des angles de caméra, qui dérive peut-être du cinéma d’Eisenstein et qui évoque les compositions de Que viva Mexico !, et son montage innovateur de sons symboliques et isolés (sur un fond de chant russe) ont contribué à la réputation du film autant que son utilisation des objets. En fait, le son anticipe curieusement d’une vingtaine d’années La Jetée de Chris Marker.

Avant Object Lesson, Young avait réalisé un film documentaire pour le ministère de l’Agriculture, The Vanished Land (1935), qui traite de l’érosion du sol dans la réserve Navajo, ainsi que deux films nés de sa passion pour le ski. Après avoir servi dans les transmissions durant la seconde guerre mondiale, il a réalisé au moins deux autres documentaires. Entre 1953 et 1956, il a essayé de retrouver le style et les préoccupations d’Object Lesson, avec Subject Lesson (1956). Le film a reçu l’Award of Exceptional Merit de la Creative Film Foundation de Maya Deren, mais ne possède pas la force historique de son modèle. Entre 1941 et 1956, le cinéma d’avant-garde américain avait subi une telle évolution que Subject Lesson, qui n’en tient pas compte, se faisait l’écho d’une technique antérieure et naïve, et d’une ambition sans prétention.

La description que fait Young de la conclusion du film laisse indirectement entrevoir ses réticences face aux investigations de Deren, Broughton, Peterson et Anger, dans la littéralité sémantique: “Au sein du feu, l’Homme voit son ancien soi, puis son autre soi, puis son propre soi, répété (à l’infini : indiquant que l’objet de sa quête est lui-même). Ces nombreux “soi” se dissolvent dans le feu. Alors apparaît le globe de la conscience, reflétant la double image de l’homme… L’Homme et Vénus sont entourés par le feu.
La Main de Dieu (La Main de Dieu de Michel-Ange) apparaît. L’Homme est seul au coucher du soleil. Titre : fin, suivi d’un plan du Sphinx qui indique qu’il n’y a pas de fin à la quête humaine de soi-même.”

P. Adams Sitney

Bibliographie sélective [Selected Bibliography] :
Christopher Horak (sous la dir. de), Lovers of Cinema, The First American Film Avant-Garde 1919-1945, op. cit. [Jan-Christopher Horak, Lovers of Cinema: The First American Film Avant-garde, 1919-1945, University of Wisconsin Press, 1995, 404 pages.]

Friday, January 24, 2014

France, the French, Politics and Various Couples - Bof, c’est normal - Who Cares?, This is Normal

Update: oops, this was intended for LawPundit and EUPundit but I will leave it here since it has already been posted....

Spring must be around the corner.

Roger Cohen at the New York Times in French Couples, an article about the vagaries of politics in France, also the "affaires" of its politicians, writes, inter alia:
"In matters of the heart the French shrug holds sway. This is healthy. “Bof, c’est normal,” a ubiquitous phrase, is the shrugging expression of a fierce realism about life in general and sex in particular."
Google Translate tells us Bof, c’est normal in French means "OK, this is normal".

Bing Translator tells us Bof, c’est normal in French means "Nah, this is normal".

The Babylon translator would translate "Bof" as "Who cares?", which is probably the best translation in terms of the sense of the word.

Really, it would be better if people payed MORE attention to what politicians accomplish or not in their JOBS and less attention to their private lives. "Bof!"

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

Not Only Archaeology is Often Hopelessly Behind the Times and the Probative Evidence, so also is the Law

In terms of inertia, "Law" and "Archaeology" can be compared. Archaeologists will be pleased to hear that they are not the only ones hopelessly behind the times in ignoring the probative evidence available in their field. Below is a posting we just made to our Law Pundit and EU Pundit blogs:

"What is true for marijuana laws is true for most of the laws that we post about. Why are we always something like 40 years ahead of the pack?

Let me say at the outset here that I am not a proponent of drug use of any kind, and I have recently even sworn off coffee, because it raises my blood pressure. Clean, disciplined living is always the best policy in the long run.

Nevertheless, past American laws and criminal justice policies toward drug use of all kinds, and this includes tobacco, marijuana and alcohol have been poorly deliberated, poorly legislated and have not worked. Abuse is still rampant.

We wonder, for example, why the current change in marijuana laws in some quarters is occurring 40 years later than it should have. Why is the legal system so slow in reacting to things that are clear??

John Kaplan had this figured out in the late 1960's and early 1970's, and yet we hear nothing about his publications in the press, even today, indicating that many people in mainstream media are not doing their homework.

In terms of drug possession, drug abuse and drug criminalization, we wrote previously elsewhere about John Kaplan's book, published in 1970:
"John Kaplan's
Marijuana -- The New Prohibition

John's book on the drug laws resulted from his membership on a professorial advisory committee to the California state legislature. John was quite conservative in his views and had in fact served as a public prosecutor of crimes, but his committee recommended a liberal stance toward marijuana - regarding its criminalization to be a legislative mistake.

John's view was that the legislature should concentrate more on workable laws regarding hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine, which were the major dangers. Too much emphasis was going toward marijuana - where young people were easily being caught in the act of smoking - and too little effort was being placed on going after hard drug makers and dealers, where arrests were much harder for the authorities to obtain.

As the result of the objective committee report, however, the committee was fired by the California legislature and a new committee was formed, ostensibly with members whose views were more in line with what the legislature subjectively wanted to hear, whether it fit the facts or not.
In his book, John predicted that the criminalization of marijuana would not work - it did not work - and that, on the contrary, the marijuana laws would strengthen the hard drug dealers as suppliers - which in fact happened, leading many people to take stronger drugs.
The drug abuse mess that exists today throughout much of America is partially the result of this very erroneous drug law policy, having concentrated on marijuana and not enough on the truly dangerous substances.

See: Marijuana -- The New Prohibition
by John Kaplan
Publisher: Ty Crowell Co; 1st Edition (June 1970)
As we wrote about this topic previously at LawPundit:

"The State of California and the other states of the United States have ignored Kaplan's recommendations and the results are now in, 40 years later. They do not speak well for the wisdom of past or current legislation on drug laws or their enforcement. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) :
"In 2006, 25 million Americans age 12 and older had abused marijuana at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health; http://www.samhsa.gov/. The NIDA-funded 2007 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 10.3% of 8th graders, 24.6% of 10th graders, and 31.7% of 12th graders had abused marijuana at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. Source: Monitoring the Future http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/. "
According to Eric E. Sterling, President of the non-profit Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and former counsel on anti-drug legislation to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, there are currently 2.3 million Americans in jails or prisons, many of them due to drug infractions:
"We certainly need to imprison dangerous offenders - to protect us and to punish them. But we need to get a lot smarter about why we imprison and who we imprison. Remarkably, in the last thirty years, the largest increase in imprisonment has been due to prohibition drug policy.
Even though drug enforcement leaders have warned for more than twenty years that "we can't arrest our way out of the drug problem," every year we arrest more people for drug offenses than the year before. Last year we arrested over 1.8 million Americans, more than three times the number arrested for all violent crimes combined. Now about one-quarter of those in prison are serving drug sentences. As the centerpiece of our anti-drug strategy, arrests and imprisonment have failed: high school seniors report that drugs are easier for them to get now than in the 1970s and 1980s."
Andrew Bosworth in Incarceration Nation: The Rise of a Prison-Industrial Complex writes similarly:
"Consider this disturbing fact: the United States now has the world's highest incarceration rate outside of North Korea. Out of 1,000 people, more Americans are behind bars than anywhere in the world except in Kim Jong-Il's Neo-Stalinist state. The US has a higher incarceration rate than China, Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe and Burma - countries American politicians often berate for their human rights violations.

Well over two million Americans are behind bars. Let us agree that violent criminals and sex offenders should be in jail, but most Americans are not aware that over one million people spend year after year in prison for non-violent and petty offenses: small-time drug dealing, street hustling, prostitution, bouncing checks and even writing graffiti. Texas, with its boot-in-your-butt criminal justice system, is now attempting to incarcerate people who get drunk at bars - even if they are not disturbing the peace and intend to take a taxi home...

Arguably, continuously lowering the bar for what it takes to be jailed threatens the liberty of all Americans. And having one million non-violent offenders in prison (often for absurdly long periods) makes it that much easier, in the near future, for the return of debtors' prisons and dissident detention centers. This approach to locking up everyone possible undermines both the liberal emphasis on personal liberty and the conservative emphasis on small government."
Who out there in the American criminal justice system understands the basic wisdom found in Herbert L. Packer's Limits of the Criminal Sanction? What lawmaker, government official, judge, prosecutor, or prison official in the United States has ever read Packer's book - much less applied the inexorable legal policy conclusions demanded by it? (see Google Books, this PPT and Packer's Two Models of the Criminal Process)

Not every undesirable human action or activity in society is or should be subject to criminal punishments. There are other - more modern - means available to deal with socially undesirable behavior.

Indeed, the primitive idea of jails or prisons as legal solutions for societal problems has been around for millennia. But such jails and prisons, except as a deserved punishment of and/or an effective deterrent of violent and dangerous criminals, are by their very nature as outdated in modern law as the now discredited blood-letting is in modern medicine, which was an accepted medical practice worldwide from the earliest times of humanity down to the late 19th century, a flawed medical practice which surely cost America's first President, George Washington, his life (we quote from the Wikipedia):
"Bloodletting was also popular in the young United States of America.... George Washington asked to be bled heavily after he developed a throat infection from weather exposure. Almost 4 pounds (1.7 litres) of blood was withdrawn ... contributing to his death in 1799."
We were reminded of the similar backward state of contemporary American law by the April 26, 2009 TIME article of Maia Szalavitz on Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work? (referring to an article by Glenn Greenwald at the Cato Institute), where the answer to that question in the title is a clear, resounding, "YES, drug decriminalization has worked in Portugal".

Szalavitz quotes Glenn Greenwald, writing at the Cato Institute:
"Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does."
What sensible legal policy did Portugal adopt?

Going to the original article at the Cato Institute, Glenn Greenwald writes in Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies :
"On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were "decriminalized," not "legalized." Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense....

The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success. Within this success lie self-evident lessons that should guide drug policy debates around the world." [emphasis added]
We are particularly gratified to read this result, because the Portuguese solution is the solution advocated 40 years ago by our mentor at Stanford Law School, the late Professor John Kaplan - famed for his legal brilliance from his days at Harvard, a former prosecutor who was a conservative at heart - who in the late 1960's was selected as a member of a top-notch advisory committee of law professors to advise the California state legislature on a revision of the California criminal (penal) code.

Kaplan's drug research at that time led the professorial advisory committee to recommend the decriminalization of marijuana in California to the California legislature - with the result that the entire advisory committee was released from its duties by the legislature and replaced by other law professors whose political views were more in line with what the California legislature wanted to hear. I know of this only by hearsay and can not vouch for the exact details.

In any case, Kaplan responded to this experience with his book, Marijuana: The New Prohibition, which I had the honor and pleasure to edit (indeed, I drafted a chapter) while still a student, and in which Kaplan was of the opinion that drugs such as marijuana should be "decriminalized" - it was his major recommendation in this field of law.

As Herbert Packer - for whom I was also a student assistant at Stanford Law School - would have predicted by the principles in his book on the limits of the criminal sanction, drug abuse simply does not lend itself well to control by criminal punishments.

Eric E. Sterling, J.D., President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in his Drug Policy Bibliography and Websites lists Kaplan's book as follows:
"John Kaplan, Marijuana – The New Prohibition, Pocket Books, New York, 1971, 402 pp. A classic. Stanford law professor John Kaplan demolished the factual foundation for marijuana prohibition when originally published in 1970. Throughly documented."
Talcott Bates M.D. wrote in his book review of Marijuana: The New Prohibition:
"Professor Kaplan was appointed in 1966 by the California Senate to a committee to revise the California Penal Code, last completely revised in 1872. By chance he was assigned the drug laws, about which he felt he had no knowledge or experience except that which he had acquired as a one-time prosecutor as Assistant United States Attorney. It became apparent at once that the key drug problem in California was the treatment of marijuana. Not until the treatment of marijuana was intelligently handled would progress in the broader area of drug abuse be possible.

Marijuana: The New Prohibition reviews the history of marijuana, how in 1937, four years after Prohibition ended, Congress outlawed the sale, possession, and use of marijuana. Professor Kaplan points out that the measure of the wisdom of any law is the measure of its total social and financial costs and the benefits that derive from this outlay. This book is an attempt to measure the costs of the criminalization of marijuana and concludes that the costs far outweigh the benefits."
It is not without reason, as written at ProhibitionCosts.Org, that in the year 2005, three Nobel laureates in economics and more than 500 distinguished economists advocated:
"replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages [which] would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year...."
The case for decriminalization and for a more intelligent approach to drug possession and abuse is clearly apparent, and has been so for 40 years.

Generally, in terms of all petty and needlessly "criminalized" legal infractions, there are great legislative and judicial opportunities out there to adopt sensible criminal laws, to get people out of jails and prisons who should not be there, and to help to integrate people into normal life rather than tossing them stupidly into jails and prisons, where little progress in development is possible for most.

Quite the contrary, people are thrown together with hardened criminals, to their detriment. In the case of most non-violent crimes, especially petty infractions, and definitely in the case of financial infractions, jail and/or prison should be the very LAST option, not the first.

But how likely is it that an entrenched unmoving American legal system will now take the intelligent path forward to reform its vastly outdated drug laws and to free its jail and prison populations of people who should not be there?

Not very likely - unless the people in Congress and state legislatures suddenly get to be a lot smarter than we judge them to be.

For more resources on this topic, see the Cato Institute's Criminal Justice Reading List."

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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