Saturday, April 26, 2008
Like many people I was a skeptic: after all, I reasoned, why would they leave an environment in which they had evolved successfully and found their every need met?
Why would they come here to live in a place where they are so different that they stand out from the native population and where they have to adapt to strange weather and unfamiliar foods?
And if those issues aren't enough to persuade them to stay away some local jurisdictions have taken, and are currently taking, steps intended to make them leave or even to eradicate them should they fail to leave!
And yet... They're still out there flying around our cities, lurking near power lines, scavenging everywhere for sustenance.
Hard to believe?
read more here
and here too!
Even in England...
Maybe I’ve had elevators on my mind because the one in our building has gone through endless repairs of late, none of which apparently improved its speed or reliability. Or perhaps you simply cannot live in New York City without taking into account elevators as a major component of your life. But then my wife pointed out to me this snippet from an article published recently in The New Yorker (every self-respecting newyorker reads The New Yorker while in the subway):
“In the old system—board elevator, press button—you have an illusion of control; elevator manufacturers have sought to trick the passengers into thinking they’re driving the conveyance. In most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn’t work. It is there mainly to make you think it works. (It does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. But you need a key, and a fire, to do that.) Once you know this, it can be illuminating to watch people compulsively press the door-close button. That the door eventually closes reinforces their belief in the button’s power. It’s a little like prayer. Elevator design is rooted in deception—to disguise not only the bare fact of the box hanging by ropes but also the tethering of tenants to a system over which they have no command.”
Talk about fooling most of the people most of the time! Of course, superstition is actually a well-known phenomenon in the animal world. Experiments with rats have shown that if you give them a reward (say, food), shortly after they accidentally bumped their shoulder against a wall of their cage, they will start purposely bumping against the wall, expecting a new reward. This is no different from human beings associating a win by their favorite team to them wearing a “lucky” shirt or hat. Both are examples of a widespread logical fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc (after that, therefore because of that), where a causal link between two events is inferred on the basis of an observed correlation.
The difference between rats and humans is that the former give up their illogical behavior much sooner than the latter, if no further reward is coming. (Of course, what makes the elevator such a Machiavellian device is that the reward does keep coming!)
More generally, superstition (and therefore religious belief, which is a form of superstition) can likely be traced back to two factors, one of which seems to apply only to humans and perhaps other closely related primates.
The first factor is exemplified in the widespread use of observational correlations in the animal kingdom: it simply makes sense for natural selection to favor the ability to uncover potentially significant patterns in the environment, so that the organism can take advantage of them. However, one would also expect selection to favor the quick abandonment of pattern-based behavior if the pattern turns out not to be a reliable clue for action -- exactly what happens with rats.
Read the rest of the article and a lot more here.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
One of the most important archæological digs in the world, Gobekli Tepe in Turkey has revolutionised our understanding of hunter-gatherer culture. But could it also be the site of the Garden of Eden?
Text: Sean Thomas / Images: Sean Thomas
Gobekli Tepe is so stupefyingly old that it actually predates settled human life
I am in a rusty Turkish taxi. Ahead of me, the brown hills roll endlessly towards Syria; from my car I can see a little village of mud houses and open drains.
It’s not the most auspicious of places. Yet, if reports are correct, I am heading for the most amazing archæological dig in the world. Even more remarkable, this site might be intimately connected with the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden.
Finally, my swearing cabbie scrapes us round another corner, and I see a solitary mulberry tree, stark against the cloudless sky. As we park, I notice dozens of workers and archæologists, all across the hillside. They are hefting buckets of rock, and digging away at the soil. The sense of exalted archæological effort, in this hot and intense remoteness, reminds me of the opening scenes of The Exorcist.
I climb out of the car, and a genial, 50-something German man approaches. His name is Klaus Schmidt. He is the chief archæologist here at Gobekli Tepe.
Shaking my hand, Schmidt leads me away from the main dig. In the shade of a tented area, we drink sweet Turkish tea from tulip-shaped glasses. Mopping his brow, Schmidt tells me the story of his dig.
The modern history of Gobekli Tepe (the second word is pronounced tepp-ay; the phrase means “the hill of the navel” in Turkish) begins in 1964, when a team of American archæologists was combing this remote province of southeast Turkey. The archæologists noted that several odd-looking hills were blanketed with thousands of broken flints, a sure sign of ancient human activity. Despite this, the US scientists drifted away and did no excavating. Today, they must feel like the publisher who rejected the first Harry Potter manuscript.
Three decades after the Americans’ near miss, a local shepherd was tending his flock when he spotted something odd: a bunch of strangely shaped stones, peeping out of the sunlit dust.
The ‘rediscovery’ of the site reached the ears of the museum curators in the city of Sanliurfa, 50km (30 miles) away. The museum authorities contacted the relevant government ministry, who in turn got in touch with the German Archæological Institute in Istanbul.
And so, in 1994, Klaus Schmidt came here, to begin excavations. “I was intrigued. The site already had emotional significance for the villagers,” he smiles. “The solitary tree on the highest hill is sacred. I thought we might be onto something”.
Then Schmidt got out of the cab and had a closer look. “Within the first minute, I knew that if I didn’t walk away immediately, I would be here the rest of my life.”
He stayed. What he has since uncovered is quite extraordinary.
Temple of the Hunt
The eerie stones turned out to be the flat oblong tops of awesome megaliths. These T-shaped ochre stones loom abruptly from the exhausted earth. Most of them are carved with bizarre and delicate images – mainly of animals and birds. One image is a sexualised representation of a woman. Sinuous serpents are another common motif. The stones themselves seem to represent men – some have stylised ‘arms’, which angle down their sides.
So far, 43 stones have been dug out. They are arranged in circles from 5–10m (16–32ft) across. Around the circles are benches of rock, smallish niches, and walls of mud brick. The unearthed megaliths stand 1–4m (3.3–13ft) high.
There are indications that more is to come. A few years ago, Schmidt and his team found a very weathered, half-quarried, T-shaped stone lying in a limestone bed, 1km (0.6 miles) from the main site. This enormous stone is 9m (30ft) long, and was, it seems, designed to join the other pillars at Gobekli. “The stone is cracked, so it must have broken,” Schmidt explains. “When this happened the builders probably left it and started on another.”
All of which means there may be other stones of similar size as yet undiscovered; indeed, geomagnetic surveys of the various artificial hills at Gobekli Tepe imply that there are at least 250 more standing stones waiting to be excavated.
So far, so remarkable – and if this were all there was to Gobekli Tepe, it would already be a dazzling site: a Turkish Stonehenge, or a Kurdish Carnac.
But Gobekli Tepe isn’t just this. One unique factor puts it in the archæological stratosphere.
Gobekli Tepe is staggeringly ancient.
Carbon dating of organic matter adhering to the megaliths shows that the complex is 12,000 years old.
That is to say, it was built around 10,000–9,000 BC. By comparison, Stonehenge was built around 2,000–2,500 BC.
Prior to the discovery and dating of Gobekli Tepe, the most ancient megalithic complex was thought to be in Malta, dated around 3,500BC.
Gobekli Tepe is thus the oldest known such site in the world, and by a considerable margin. In fact, it’s so stupefyingly old that it actually predates settled human life.
It is also pre-pottery. Gobekli Tepe hails from a part of human history that is unimaginably distant, right back in our hunter-gatherer past.
So how did ‘cavemen’ manage to build something so ambitious? Klaus Schmidt speculates that bands of hunters would have gathered sporadically at the site, through the decades of construction. During the building season, the hunters may have lived in animal-skin tents, slaughtering the local game for sustenance. The many flint arrowheads found around Gobekli support this thesis; they also support the dating of the site.
This revelation – that early Neolithic hunter-gatherers could have built something like Gobekli – is world-changing. Hitherto, it was presumed that agriculture necessarily preceded civilisation, and that complex art, society and architecture depended on the reliable food supplies derived from farming. Gobekli Tepe shows that the old hunter-gatherer life, at least in this region of Turkey, was far more advanced than was ever conceived.
Nonetheless, even for the most resourceful and organised of pre-farming societies, constructing something as refined as Gobekli must have been a powerful challenge, and a serious drain on manpower. They must have had a very good reason to build Gobekli. But what was it?
Schmidt thinks he knows. “Gobekli Tepe is not a house or a domestic building. Evidence of any domestic use is entirely lacking. No remains of settled human habitation have been found nearby. That leaves one purpose: religion. Gobekli Tepe is the oldest temple in the world. And it isn’t just a temple; I think it is probably a funerary complex.”
Schmidt’s thesis has supporting data. In the latest season of digging, his team have found human bones in soils that once filled the niches behind the megaliths. “I believe the ancient hunters brought the corpses of relatives here, and installed them in the open niches by the stones. The corpses were then excarnated: picked clean by wild animals.”
There is more evidence that Gobekli had a religious purpose: the circular arrangement of the stones echoes much later Neolithic temples, like Stonehenge and Avebury. The many rock carvings on the stones also appear much more ritualistic than domestic.
Sipping his tea, Schmidt elaborates: “So many of the carvings seem to celebrate the chase – we have found many images of prey, of boars, foxes and gazelles; also images of ducks being hunted with nets. Gobekli Tepe was probably a site for funerals, but it was also a place to celebrate the life of the hunter, and the hunt itself.”
After the Fall
Our tea-glasses are empty. We leave the calm of the open tents, and return to the dust and hubbub of the dig. Looking at the circles of enigmatic stones, and their exquisite carvings of lions and boars, it is easy to believe the theory that Gobekli Tepe is a temple dedicated to the hunting lifestyle. What is less easy to believe is the idea that this region of Turkey, these dusty brown hills all around us, once supported a large ‘civilisation’ of hunter-gatherers. Indeed, it is hard to believe that this semi-desert once supported enough animals to justify any hunting at all.
Gobekli Tepe carved stone
Gazing across the arid hilltops, Klaus Schmidt explains: “It wasn’t always like this. We know from remains of animals and plants that this was once a rich region, ecologically speaking. There were dozens of mammal species, green meadows and woods. The climate was wetter and lusher, but still warm. The herds of game were enormous. A paradisical place.”
His eyes are twinkling as he says this. We are approaching the extraordinary connection with the Eden story.
But before we get there, an obvious question is posed. What happened to the landscape? Why is the region now so eroded and barren, if it was once so lush and Edenic?
Schmidt picks up a knapped piece of flint from the weary earth. There are thousands of flint pieces – man-made – littering these hills. He says: “To build such a place as this, the hunters must have joined together, in great numbers. After they finished building, they probably congregated for worship, and for funerals. But then they found that they couldn’t feed so many people with the game. So I think they began cultivating the grasses on the hills. Einkorn wheat, a forerunner of domestic wheat, grows wild here. So they domesticated it.” Schmidt looks at the solitary mulberry tree on the hill. “In other words, they began farming to support their religious community. But it was the farming that maybe caused their downfall.”
According to Schmidt, it seems that agriculture began here, in the province immediately surrounding Gobekli, sometime around 8,000BC.
This indeed was one of the very first places in the world where people farmed. We know roughly when and where farming began, because of the archæological evidence: domestication is a shock to the physiology of man and beast. The skeletons of people change, they temporarily grow smaller and less healthy, as the human body adapts to a protein-poorer diet and a more arduous lifestyle. Likewise, newly domesticated animals get scrawnier at first.
But 8,000BC, it seems, was also the time when the local landscape began to alter. As the trees were chopped down, and the soil leached away, the area became arid and bare. What was once a glorious pastoral region of forests and meadows, rich with game and wild grasses, became a toilsome place that had to be worked ever harder.
Schmidt and I descend a ladder to the floor of the dig, where the ancient dust is banked against the T-stones. He continues: “The really strange thing is that in 8,000BC, during the shift to agriculture, Gobekli Tepe was buried. I mean deliberately – not in a mudslide. For some reason the hunters, or the ex-hunters, decided to entomb the entire site in soil. The earth we are removing from the stones was put here by man himself: all these hills are artificial.”
The link is becoming irresistible: a lost paradise, a forsaken lifestyle, a terrible ‘mistake’, even a solitary tree. Could there really be a connection between Gobekli Tepe and the Garden of Eden story?
I have more investigation to do, before I reach a conclusion. Promising Klaus that I will return in a day or so, I climb back in the cab, and head off down the dusty road.
Putting the Ur into Sanliurfa
On the way, I consult my notes. The idea that the Eden narrative in the Bible is an allegory for the transition from a hunter-gather lifestyle to agriculture is not a new one. Several writers and thinkers, like Hugh Brody, have canvassed the idea in the past. What is new is the accumulation of data that locates this allegory precisely in the Gobekli Tepe region.
One strand of evidence relates to early farming. Finds in neighbouring Turkish digs show that all Eurasian agriculture might have started around here. For instance, the very first pigs were domesticated at Cayonu, 90 km (56 miles) away. Likewise, wheat species worldwide seem to descend from einkorn wheat, first cultivated on these same brown hills.
The taxi accelerates, as the road flattens out. We are heading through cotton fields, irrigated by water from the Euphrates. On the distant horizon I can see the blue Taurus Mountains.
In the Bible, it is said that Eden is situated at a point where four rivers descend. Believers have long taken this to mean the Fertile Crescent between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Similarly, the Book of Genesis claims that Eden is ringed by mountains.
And there are further links. Forty minutes’ drive brings me to the large and vibrant Kurdish city of Sanliurfa. The place seems relatively modern, but it has, according to reports, an extraordinary lineage.
My first port of call in Sanliurfa is the local museum. A few pence buys me entrance: a small price to pay for what I am about to see.
Tucked inside the first gallery, under the stairs and hard by the fire extinguisher, is a weird, life-size, creamy-grey limestone statue of a man. This statue was exhumed in the ancient heart of Sanliurfa, when foundations were being laid for a bank.
Recent carbon dating of the Neolithic temple, wherein the statue was found, confirms that this bizarre effigy dates from 10,000–9000BC. This makes it probably the oldest life-size statue of a man ever discovered: the earliest human carving in stone. The stare of its obsidian eyes is shockingly sad: it seems to be looking across the æons with anguished regret, as if foreseeing the tragic mistakes of mankind.
2 meter tall statue of a man found at Sanliurfa
Another quick car ride brings me to the site of the statue’s discovery. It is a local beauty spot known as Balikli Gol, a long and limpid fishpond, surrounded by golden-stoned mosques, teahouses and even a converted Crusader church. Tourists like to feed the fat and excitable fish in the ponds; the legend is that the fish were put here by the Prophet Abraham. The locals also believe that Sanliurfa is the Ur of the first books of the Bible.
These are just legends, of course. Yet we now know, if only because of the strange statue in the museum, that Sanliurfa is incredibly old. There has been human activity here for 12,000 years, perhaps continuously. Is it so unlikely that the Book of Genesis would refer to this ancient region, this fons et origo of civilisation? In fact, it’s not unlikely at all – because we know that some places near Sanliurfa are definitely mentioned in Genesis.
Next morning, I take a longer cab ride, across the brown flatlands, into the desert wastes further south. The fields are being tilled by Kurdish women in their typical lavender-coloured headscarves. They look weary from the intense heat. This region is so sultry that people sleep outside their houses on raised metal platforms.
Eventually we reach Harran, where a ruined tower rises from the roadside. This was once the oldest Islamic University in the world. It dates from the 9th century AD. But Harran’s ancestry is even nobler than that. This is the same Harran mentioned – and twice at that – in the Book of Genesis. This is where Abraham once lived, according to the Bible.
Something old, something new
Back in the taxi, I make my final journey to Gobekli. On the way, I put all the jigsaw pieces together. Taking into account the Biblical links, the history and topography of the region, the evidence of very early domestication hereabouts, and the data from the site itself, Gobekli Tepe is arguably a temple located within the “Garden of Eden”.
Or, let’s put it another way: the story of Eden is a folk-memory, and an allegory, and it tells us of our glorious hunter-gatherer past in this once-fertile corner of Anatolia, before our own activities cast us into a harsher world. Gobekli Tepe celebrates and remembers a wonderful time of plenty, when we had leisure enough to learn the arts, and to cultivate a complex religion, even if we didn’t know how to make pots. And then we fell into farming.
As God says to Adam: “Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”
Of course, all this is speculation, and highly debatable. What is unquestionable is that Gobekli Tepe is one of the greatest archæological discoveries since World War II. Every day, Klaus Schmidt and his team find something new, something never seen before, something marvellous. As I am about to discover.
When my cab stops, and I walk towards the dig, I sense a drama in the air. Excitement is mounting. Some Turkish workmen are uncovering a new stone relief, on a just-unearthed megalith: it shows birds, scorpions and water life; it is exquisitely carved, as fresh and delicate as the day it was chiselled. A group of us gather around to have a closer look. I suddenly realise that we are the first people to see this remarkable artwork in 10,000 years.
Klaus Schmidt nods thoughtfully at the new relief. Then he says: “You think that is amazing? Komm!” He strides across the dig and points downwards: “We found this yesterday.” At the foot of another megalith is a perfect sculpture of an animal, actually attached to the standing stone. It is like nothing anyone has ever seen before. It was carved long before the wheel was invented, and it was found yesterday.
“What is it?” I ask.
Klaus Schmidt shakes his head.
“Maybe it is a crocodile, or maybe a cat. But the claws, the paws – they look perhaps like a wolf.”
We are done. My heart is actually pounding. Together, Klaus Schmidt and I retreat to the tents for a final cup of tea. We discuss the Eden idea. He is adamant that it is just a theory, albeit a very intriguing one. As he says: “Gobekli Tepe is important enough without any speculations.”
I have just one question left. Why did the hunter-gatherers of Gobekli deliberately entomb the complex? It seems a bizarre act, as well as a vastly laborious one. Again Klaus Schmidt shrugs.
“We don’t know.”
Sometimes those three simple words can be the most exciting of all.
ARTICLE SOURCES FOR FORTEAN TIMES ARTICLE:
* Michael Balter, The Goddess and the Bull, Catalhoyuk: An Archæological Journey to the Dawn of Civilisation, Simon ' Schuster, 2005.
* Hugh Brody, The Other Side of Eden: Hunter-gatherers, Farmers and the Shaping of the World, Faber ' Faber, 2002.
* Steven Mithen, After The Ice: A Global Human History 50,000–20,000BC, Phoenix Press, 2004
* Klaus Schmidt, Sie Bauten Die Ersten Temple (“You Built The First Temple”), CH Beck, 2006.
* Visit www.dainst.org, the website of the German Archæological Institute, for updates on the Gobekli Tepe dig
See original article
Angelica Portagnuolo Archaeology | | News | * | English
An extraordinary discovery of a place of worship dating back to 9000 B.C. has been made in Turkey.
In the south of Turkey, in Göbekli Tepe, in an area well-known as "Mount of belly button", a giant and mysterious work of architecture has been brought to light by an equipe of researchers from Dai (German Archeological Institute of Istanbul) and from the museum of Urfa, under the direction of Klaus Schmidt, a German archaeologist.
Image - 1 - Dr. Klaus Schmidt
The excavation campaign, which started in 1994, has soon revealed the presence of finds, which are outstanding and unique in their genre: a templar structure made of 240 pilasters which are around 4 meters high and form a range of concentric circles.
These circles appear to date back to around 9000 B.C. and are completely buried underground. Most of the pilasters have engravings on the surface referring to either the religious sphere or the daily life of those who used to go to the site of worship.
For example, one of the engraving represents a pig and two ducks flying in the net.
The discoverer says: "I believe that Göbekli Tepe celebrates the catch, the lifestyle of hunters-pickers". "Why should it not be?"
"It was such a rich and easy life that offered them enough spare time to devote themselves to sculpture".The hunters of Göbekli decided to leave the temple in around 8000 B.C., probably because the need to feed more people that used to meet in this place for religious purposes, caused a change of the ecosystem of the territory itself
It might have happened that lots of trees were chopped down and many animals which were "easy prey of these hunters" were chased away. By looking at the top of brownish and dry hills, you can deduct that the heavenly earth had become indeed an uncultivated and bare plain.
It is a surprise to discover how these Neolithic semi nomad hunters had managed to build such a work of architecture by assembling both the religious and the social aspects in a refined and complex way.
This is something even more ancient than the so well-known anatolic sanctuaries of Çatal Hűyűk dating back to 6500 B.C. Following a first research on the findings, Schmidt sustains that the temple might have been linked to the story of Eden, as told in the Bible.
According to the Muslims, Sanliurfa, a city close to Göbekli, should be the city called Ur, as mentioned in the Bible; the rivers that flow down from Heaven could be, instead, Tigris and Euphrates which wet the half-moon shaped fertile area where Göbekli Tepe is located; in the Bible it is told that some mountains surround Eden and that by looking at the top of Göbekli hills you can see the mountainous chain of Taurus.More from the original site
It still a mystery how a population, apparently not civilized yet, could have built such a big place of worship with pilasters of fifty tons weight, in such a historical and ancient period; it is important to remember, indeed, that the only place comparable to this one, which has been discovered, is Stonehenge in Great Britain which dates back to 3100 B.C.
Mellaart J., The Neolitic of the Near East, New York, 1976, pp. 114-135
Home Page PD Dr. Klaus Schmidt
La Voce di Fiore
The First Post - the online daily magazine
"Digging for history in Turkey"
Stonehenge From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI)
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Adolph Hitler up to his usurpation of absolute power
over Germany on 23 March 1933. I offered a pretty
spare account of the events with only a little bit of
personal opinion included. What I did not recount, due
to time constraints, was the savagery, treachery and
violence involved in the takeover of the German
Workers Party nor the treachery, savagery and
violence involved in maneuvering himself into the
position of power that he achieved. I felt that his
savage penchant for murdering people whom he felt
were either obstacles to his purpose or whom he
considered as being useless to his purpose was well
attested in history and could safely be left unstated.
In that belief, I might have erred.
It has been pointed out to me that internet posts are
available to be read by people who might lack suf-
ficient background in the history of WWII and/or
information, concerning the almost unbelievable
lack of humanity or decency which characterised
the Nazi regime and its creators, to realize that Hitler
and the Nazis were elected and he then was selected
not on merit but due to wholesale calculated decep-
tion purveyed consistently over a span of years to a
population in severe distress due to the incompre-
hensible loss of their national institutions and live-
lihoods coupled with a campaign of terror carried
out in riot and brutal attacks against hapless victims
as well as others of their own ilk who opposed their
In short: he was a nasty piece of work and his Nazi
cohorts were, in the main, not much better.
Maltese Frog 04-20-2008
Adolph Hitler, born near Linz, Austria 119 years ago today, was one of those men.
Over the past 80 years, the name "Hitler" has become almost synonymous with "Devil" or "Satan".
He is considered by the Western World, except for a few, as the man responsible for the deaths of the 65 million people killed worldwide because of World War II, including almost 70 % of the Jews of Europe and close to 2 million children...
Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 near Linz, Austria in Braunau Am Inn just outside of Bavaria, where one day the Nazi movement would take root and grow.
When Hitler was born Franz Josef was Emperor of Austria and Hungary, the portrait above is from 1908, and had been for 40 years. The Crown Prince had just died and the empire was more-or-less at peace.
In Bavaria, across the border in the German Empire, was another king. There were many kings in Germany in those days and Wilhelm of Prussia was the new Emperor, having succeeded his father and grandfather both of whom died in 1888.
While many contend that Adolph Hitler was a spoiled child, he was also raised strictly: his austere father retired when Hitler was young and was involved daily in his children's upbringing.
The elder Hitler died when Adolph was 14 years old and the young Hitler lost his beloved mother when he was 18.
Determined to pursue a career as an artist in Vienna, Hitler withdrew his personal funds and moved to the capital in order to pursue his dream. Unfortunately, for the world, young Hitler failed his entrance examination at the Academy of Art in Vienna, which excluded him from Art School.
Finding himself stymied by the official Art establishment Adolph Hitler lived, for several years, an almost vagabond existence in Vienna painting and selling postcards and painting scenery for picture-frame makers in order to survive.
In 1913 he remained an unacclaimed artist and, dissatisfied with Vienna (and Austria), moved across the border into the Bavarian capital city, Munich, which was in the German Empire, to try and gain acceptance to study painting and architecture.
It was here that world events caught up with him and in August 1914 the European continent erupted in war.
The causes of World War I and even its devastating effect on European society are, for the most part, beyond the scope of this essay.
The 25 year old Adolph Hitler enthusiastically enlisted in the German army and spent the next 4 years as a soldier on the Western Front. WWI was a brutal war fought with 19th century attitudes using 20th century technology (in embryo).
The war was prosecuted by both sides firing massed heavy artillery barrages against their enemy's positions until the ground, and the enemy army, was pulverized and pounded into mud.
This was alternated by sending infantry soldiers in massive waves to run across "no man's land" toward the enemy entrenchments through a veritable hailstorm of machine-gun bullets and artillery, usually resulting in huge numbers of killed and wounded soldiers but little gain of ground against the enemy.
During the 4 years 3 months and 10 days of the war 9,998,000 men lost their lives in combat, about 6,000,000 were reported as missing and slightly more than 20,000,000 were wounded in battle.
By all accounts Hitler was a good soldier, he was twice wounded, advanced in rank to corporal and was awarded the Iron Cross second class along with other, lesser awards.
Finally, the war ended with Germany's surrender to the hated French, English and Johnny-come-lately Americans. The German Army in the field was not defeated but the government lost its will to carry on and capitulated in order, perhaps, to make a better deal for the people.
The surviving soldiers returned home to a bitter defeat, the emperors and kings of the defeated combatants were forced to abdicate and Germany and Austria along with Hungary became republics. In Germany there were communist revolutions in Berlin, Munich and several other cities which were suppressed during late 1918 and 1919.
Within five years the economic structure of Germany crumbled and the currency became almost worthless, the once mighty German Mark was by December 1924 valued at 4,210,500,000,000 to 1 dollar U.S.
The money was so without value that this postage stamp became needed to send a letter. A couple of years earlier 5 pfennigs was enough and by the end of 1924
ten billion marks was needed!
While the political and economic situation in post-war Europe were deteriorating Adolph Hitler was recovering from temporary blindness caused by exposure to poison gas and working for the army as an anti-communist spy in Munich.
Hitler had abandoned art and had a new direction after the war years. He was working to save the world from communism and "The Jew". Somehow the never-do-well would-be artist turned soldier had become possessed of an implacable will... He was self-obsessed and self-directed, he was stiff and formal in manner and except when expressing his ferverent beliefs he had difficulty relating to people in normal ways.
In late 1919 Hitler began attending meetings of the German Worker's Party and late that year he joined the party. In a short time he was the leader of the party and had had its name changed to the National Socialist German Worker's Party,
NSDAP, the NAZI party.
Hitler had found his vehicle and started his rise to the highest office of Germany.
In 1923, the well known Beer-Hall Putsch catapulted the young Hitler into fame as a revolutionary...
Leading what he thought would be a violent overthrow of the the weak Weimar Government, he jumped onto a table in a Beerhall in Bavaria, where the Nazis had their power base, and in a fiery rant called the gathered Nazi officials to support him in the march on Munich.
The situation in Munich, and all of Germany, was chaotic. Unemployment was rife and even those with jobs watched their money drop in value hourly. There was armed conflict in the streets as the government sought to control various revolutionary factions which were contending for popular support or at least acquiesence.
Hitler's uprising also failed, he was arrested, tried and imprisoned.
Sitting in a jail cell after his arrest for the Beerhall Putsch, Hitler in 1923 began to to collate his ideas and ideologies. He wrote to pass the time while in prison, eventually publishing what would become the manifesto for the National Socialists. The Name of the premiere book of Nazi Philosophy which would set the stage both for the Nazis rise to power and subsequent reign, was called, "Mein Kampf", or "My Struggle".
While he had expressed it in other writings, the new manifesto viciously indicted the Jewish people for crimes against the "German People" and called for an end to their citizenship. He also expressed his extreme personal bigotry against Jews.
The Nazi movement gained strength, after 1923, initially in the more conservative Southern regions of Germany, especially in Bavaria. Though their tactics were often decried and their violence and censorship criticized, the movement gained momentum under the thirty-four year old Hitler.
Over time, with unemployment continuing, discontent grew and the largely Protestant populace became increasingly critical of the Catholic -controlled and ineffective government.
As the Bolshevik communist revolutionaries continued to incite disorder in Germany, Hitler gained popularity with his call for a return to traditional German values and religion, and a return to the land.
After regaining the head of the Nazi Party in 1924 from Rosenberg who took over while Hitler was in prison, Hitler began a reorganization of the party structure.
By 1925, Hitler had reformed the Party and re-organized the SA, the "Brownshirts" who were the party's uniformed militia of street-fighting thugs.
Among the policies developed during this time were: The nationalization of vital industry, the outlawing of profiteering from the war effort, the outlawing of unearned income, and the declaration of a need for a land policy reform (blut und boden or blood and soil).
In 1927, the ban on Nazi public speech by the Weimar government was lifted and Hitler resumed spreading his message of racial superiority and destiny around Germany. On May-Day the Nazis held their first open major meeting in Berlin following the lifting of the ban. This was a provocation of the Communists who felt that May first belonged to them.
There were bloody confrontations between the Nazis and Communists in Berlin, the Nazis were propagandising about the miserable conditions and bitter poverty which they claimed Bolshevism had brought to Russia.
Later they would stage an exhibition in which the drab, desolate desperate soviet life was portrayed in the style of an exposition.
The German president at the time was the aged war hero, Field Marshall Paul Von Hindenburg. Hindenburg's presidency was seen as a victory for the monarchists and the old aristocracy along with the industrial establishment and the military.
The government had, in 1926, rejected a move by Communists and Social Democrat Party populists to confiscate the property of the many German Princes without compensation. The landed class and militarists apparently saw Hitler's fledgling Nazis as a means of preserving their prerogatives and power. They thought that they could control the poor and uneducated Hitler, whose aims seemed consistent with their own, and use his growing party to control the masses.
In August 1927, twenty thousand national socialists met in Nurnberg with Adolph Hitler as their undisputed leader.
In the national elections of 1928 the Social Democrats and the German People's Party began to regain representation in the Reichstag. Again, fate played into the hands of Hitler. The international economic slow-down had begun and unemployment again rose to serious levels in the winter of 1928-1929.
The right-wing Nationalists, who were the landed and military classes, invited Hitler into the fold and provided financing for the party in order to combat the rise of the populist and socialist parties.
The slide into economic depression continued and hard hit working class Germans became receptive to Hitler's message of a return to pre-war stability.
By 1931 unemployment was again at five million and rising, there was continuing violence in the streets and the people yearned for stability. The Nazis were campaigning against "misery and hunger" as well as against Communists and Jews and they were gaining audience.
In 1932 there was a national election for president, Von Hindenburg - then 84 years old- was reelected with 53% of the votes, Hitler was second with 36 percent voting for him! This near victory was a tremendous triumph for Hitler and the Nazis. They went into a whirlwind round of speech-making and behind-the-scene manipulating and on January 30, 1933 Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany.
Hindenburg's Nationalist backers still thought that they could control "the Bavarian Corporal" as they called Hitler, in that they were mistaken.
Events now began to move rapidly. On February 1st Hindenburg, as was pre-arranged, dissolved the Reichstag which cleared the way for new elections.
As the campaigning progressed, on February 27th soon after 9:00 PM flames engulfed the Reichstag building. This arson was declared to be the work of a Dutch Communist, Marinus van der Lubbe. President Von Hindenburg signed an emergency decree against "communist acts of violence endangering the state" which gave Chancellor Hitler the legal means to suspend civil liberties along with freedom of the press.
Hitler's government now had "legal" power to conduct searches without warrants, to open people's mail, to listen to telephone conversations and to confiscate private property. There were no longer any operating guarantees of privacy of individuals.
Opponents of the regime were arrested, the jails were filled and when there was no space left people were confined in barbed-wire enclosures.
Six days after the fire the election was held. The Nazis were just seventy-six delegates short of a majority. The problem was solved by arresting all eighty-one Communist delegates thereby giving the Nazi party a majority. Adolph Hitler now was in total control of the German Nation.
The heads of the police forces were Nazis. Dr Goebbels, the Nazi Propaganda Minister, was in total control of the Nation's Press and was assuring the German People that everything was OK: the government was simply acting to safeguard the state.
Hitler emerged triumphant, his political enemies were imprisoned, all opposing political parties were effectively silenced and he was now the absolute ruler of Germany.
On March 23, 1933 an act of the Reichstag entitled " Law for removing the distress from the people and the Reich" consisting of five paragraphs was passed. It gave the government the power to make laws, enter into treaties with foreign states, and to initiate constitutional amendments all without the approval of the Reichstag.
In summary, the elected delegates of the people of Germany voted to give "the government" legal authority to act without restraint by the Reichstag.
Thereby a defacto end to representative government was voted by the representatives of the German electorate.
Above: Adolph Hitler in his guise as leader of the German People appears on the German Postage stamp and with Il Duce on an Italian stamp of 1942.
Below: Adolph Hitler on two stamps issued by his occupation government of Poland marking his birthday April 20, 1944.
Above: A Polish stamp over-printed with the Nazi eagle and a new value for use in German-occupied Poland.
Right: A German stamp for use in Poland and a German stamp for use in the Czech Republic...
For more information about this turbulent period in world history, I recommend William L. Shirer's magnificent "The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich"
Saturday, April 19, 2008
by: Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at Sydney University
physicist, tutor, film-maker, car mechanic, labourer, and medical doctor
The driver was taking me from Melbourne airport into the city. As we chatted, it came out that he was deeply worried. He had a wife and child, and a new baby on the way - but what was the use of living, he cried, if the world would end in 2012 as predicted by the Mayan prophecies, when his new baby would be just four years old.
Prophecies about the end of the world (or at the very least, civilisation as we know it) have been around forever. There was a flurry of them around 2000 AD, and another bunch for 5 May 2005, when all the planets were supposed to line up. (By the way, they didn't line up and yep, we're still here.)
The Mayan civilisation covered the skinny bit of the Americas between North and South America, reaching from the southern states of Mexico down to western Honduras. Its Classic Period was from 250 to 900 AD, so their best years were behind them by the time of the Spanish invasion.
At their peak, the Mayans had the only mature written language ever found in the Americas, spectacular and densely populated cities, and very sophisticated systems of mathematics, astronomy and calendars.
They were marvelous astronomers, showing what could be done with the naked eye. Their measurements of the lunar month, the period of Venus and the year were more accurate than those of the Ancient Greeks.
Which brings us to the calendar that predicts the end of the world in 2012.
The Mayans had many calendars, because they saw 'time' as a meshing of sacred or spiritual cycles. So while our Gregorian calendar organises days for social, administrative and commercial purposes, the Mayan calendars added a religious element. For example, each day had a patron spirit, and so could be good for travel, but bad for business.
One of their several calendars was called the Long Count. It was set up around 355 BCE, and had as its chosen starting date 0.0.0.0.0, which corresponds to 11 August 3114 BCE. And on 21 December 2012, the Mayan Long Count calendar will read 184.108.40.206.0.
Now here's how it works. Our numbering system is based on 10. But the Mayans had a counting system based on 20, so most of the 'slots' in their calendar had 20 potential numbers (0 to 19). The calendar read a little like the odometer in your car's speedo (which run from 0 to 9). The extreme right slot (of five slots) would count through the days, and when it got to 19 days (0.0.0.0.19) would reset to zero, and the next slot across to the left would increase by one (to 0.0.0.1.0).
So 0.0.0.0.1 was one day, and 0.0.0.1.0 was 20 days. Then 0.0.1.0.0 was about one year, 0.1.0.0.0 was about 20 years and with 220.127.116.11.0, you've clocked up about 400 years. And on 21 December 2012, the Mayan Long Count calendar will read 18.104.22.168.0.
By the way, the time between 0.0.0.0.0 and 22.214.171.124.0 is about 5126 years. Now some Mayan archaeo-astronomers reckon that the calendar should reset back to zero and start again. But others disagree and say it should continue to 20, and then reset again.
We don't have enough information to know who is correct - but if it does go up to 20, then this completely destroys the End of Days Conspiracy Theory, as far as the year 2012 is concerned. But let's stick to the 13 Conspiracy for the time being.
The claims for 21 December 2012 cover a lot of ground. They range from 'nuclear holocaust' to 'Harmonic Convergence of cosmic energy flowing through the earth, cleansing it and raising it to a higher level of vibration', and along the way they include 'the death of two-thirds of humanity' and 'the north and south poles will split' - you get the picture.
But there are two problems with this.
First, when a calendar comes to the end of a cycle, it just rolls over into the next cycle. In our Western society, every year 31 December is followed, not by the End of the World, but by 1 January. So 126.96.36.199.0 in the Mayan calendar will be followed by 0.0.0.0.1 - or good-ol' 22 December 2012, with only a few shopping days left to Christmas.
And the second problem is that it is always remarkably difficult to make predictions, especially about the future, and things that haven't happened yet.
To contact Dr Karl...
Dr Karl S. Kruszelnicki,
Julius Sumner Miller Fellow,
The Science Foundation for Physics,
School of Physics, Building A-28,
The University of Sydney, NSW 2006
Tel ++ 61-2-9909-0033
Published 15 April 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
'Nazi' Pope Runs 'Child-Abusing Cult,' Says HBO's Maher
By Fred Lucas
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
April 15, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - Comments by HBO's Bill Maher insulting the Pope and calling Catholicism a "cult" that promotes "organized pedophilia" have stirred resentment among many American Catholics upset he would say this the week before Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States.
The comments were made on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday, April 11. Maher went into a long monologue on his program comparing the Catholic church to a polygamous cult -- the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- which was raided on April 3 and whose founder, Warren Jeffs, was convicted last year for being an accessory to the rape of a teenage girl.
Bill Maher compared the Texas scandal and its latest alleged abuse with the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in the United States in 2002.
"I'd like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult," Maher told his audience. "Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That's right, the Pope is coming to America this week and, ladies, he's single."
Catholic League President Bill Donohue responded that Maher "lied when he said the Pope 'used to be a Nazi.' Like all young men in Germany at the time, he was conscripted into a German Youth organization (from which he fled as soon as he could). Every responsible Jewish leader has acknowledged this reality and has never sought to brand the Pope a Nazi. That job falls to Maher."
Maher, a political liberal, has often been a magnet for controversy, making audacious statements targeting religion in general and ridiculing Christians especially. His mother was Jewish but he says that he "was raised Catholic."
On May 24, 2002, Maher told CNN's Larry King Live: "I never even knew I was half-Jewish until I was a teen-ager. I was just so frightened about the Catholics and everything that was going on there in the church -- and I was never, you know, molested or anything. And I'm a little insulted. I guess they never found me attractive. And that's really their loss."
Last year, Maher made news after strongly implying on his HBO show that the world would be a better place if Vice President Dick Cheney had been assassinated. "I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow," Maher said on March 5. "I'm just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That's a fact."
On his May 18, 2007 edition of "Real time with Bill Maher," the host compared communion to homosexual oral sodomy and called for turning homosexuality into a religion.
"Gay men, don't say you're life-partners, say you're a nunnery of two," said Maher. "We weren't having sex officer, I was performing a very private Mass, here in my car. I was letting my rod and my staff comfort him. Take this and eat of it, for this is my roommate, Barry. ...
"And for all those who truly believe there is a special place for you in Kevin. And speaking of Heaven, one can only hope that as Jerry Falwell now approaches the Pearly Gates, he is met there by God Himself, wearing a Fire Island muscle shirt, and nut-hugger shorts, and saying to Jerry in a mighty lisp, 'I'm not talking to you.'"
Maher frequently has well-known celebrities, politicians, and journalists on his program.
Mary Ann Kreitzer, president of the Catholic Media Coalition, an umbrella group of Catholic organizations, called the comments, "a horrifying anti-Catholic diatribe."
"Poor Bill Maher. We'll pray for him," Kreitzer told Cybercast News Service. "Talk about hate speech."
Regarding the contents of his comments, she noted that one percent of priests were pedophiles, less than the number of pedophiles in U.S. public schools and other institutions.
Maher, last Friday, further said: "If you have a few hundred followers, and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you 'Pope.' It's like, if you can't pay your mortgage, you're a deadbeat. But if you can't pay a million mortgages, you're Bear Stearns and we bail you out. And that is who the Catholic Church is: the Bear Stearns of organized pedophilia -- too big, too fat."
"When the current Pope was in his previous Vatican job as John Paul's Dick Cheney, he wrote a letter instructing every Catholic bishop to keep the sex abuse of minors secret until the Statute of Limitations ran out," said Maher. "And that's the Church's attitude: 'We're here, we're queer, get used to it,' which is fine, far be it from me to criticize religion. But just remember one thing: If the Pope was -- instead of a religious figure -- merely the CEO of a nationwide chain of day care centers, where thousands of employees had been caught molesting kids and then covering it up, he'd be arrested faster than you can say 'who wants to touch Mr. Wiggle?'"
Maher's comments about the Pope were vicious and false, said Donohue, as Pope Benedict XVI was never involved in the sex scandal cover-up.
"The fact is that, before he was named pope, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) had absolutely nothing to do with policing allegations of sexual abuse until 2002, after the scandal erupted that January," Donohue said in a statement. "And he certainly never counseled bishops to keep sexual abuse secret-this is a bald face lie. Indeed, a week before Pope John Paul II died, he addressed the scandal by saying, 'How much filth there is in the church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely' to God."
Kreitzer believes that celebrity guests that appear on Maher's show should rethink appearing on the program considering Maher's comments.
Read more here...
Real Time With Bill Maher
HBO's politically incorrect muse, Bill Maher, hosts an all-new season of his cutting-edge live HBO talk show, Real Time with Bill Maher. (11:00 p.m.-midnight ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Jimmy Carter: Emissary of Evil
By Ben Shapiro
April 16, 2008
(Ben Shapiro, 23, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. He is the author of the recently published "Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future," as well as the national bestseller "Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth.")
Jimmy Carter is an evil man. It is painful to label a past president of the United States as a force for darkness. But it is dangerous to let a man like Jimmy Carter stalk around the globe cloaked in the garb of American royalty, planting the seeds of Western civilization's destruction.
On Tuesday, former President Carter met with leaders of the terrorist group Hamas. He embraced Nasser al-Shaer, the man who has run the Palestinian education system, brainwashing children into believing Jews are the descendants of pigs and dogs. He laid a wreath at the grave of Yasser Arafat, the most notorious terrorist thug of the 20th century.
Then, he had the audacity to offer to act as a conduit between the Palestinian Arabs and the Israeli and U.S. governments. This is somewhat like Lord Haw-Haw offering to broker peace between the German and British governments during World War II.
Carter is a notorious anti-Semite and an even more notorious terrorism-enabler. In particular, he is a huge supporter of Palestinian violence. He considered himself a friend to Arafat, as Jay Nordlinger of National Review wrote in his masterful 2002 piece, "Carterpalooza!": After the Gulf War, when Saudi Arabia was perturbed by Arafat's support for Saddam Hussein, Carter flew to the country at Arafat's behest to soothe the Saudis.
In 1990, Carter told Arafat, "You should not be concerned that I am biased. I am much more harsh with the Israelis." He then proceeded to agree with Arafat that "the Reagan administration was not renowned as promise keepers," according to Douglas Brinkley.
Carter subsequently wrote one of Arafat's speeches, penning these vomit-inducing lines: "A good opening would be to outline the key points of the Save the Children report ... Then ask: 'What would you do, if these were your children and grandchildren? As the Palestinian leader, I share the responsibility for them. Our response has been to urge peace talks, but the Israeli leaders have refused, and our children continue to suffer. Our people, who face Israeli bullets, have no weapons: only a few stones remaining when our homes are destroyed by the Israeli bulldozers.' ... Then repeat: 'What would you do, if these were your children and grandchildren?' ... This exact litany should be repeated with a few other personal examples."
Not surprisingly, Carter's ardent hatred for Israel translates into a Jeremiah Wright-esque hatred for the United States -- Read the rest here.
Indiana News from TheIndyChannel.com
Arrestee: "Video Of Naked Girl Was Accident"
Man Admits Secretly Recording Relative, But Says Nudity Unintended
POSTED: 8:03 pm EDT April 14, 2008
GREENSBURG, Ind. -- A Greensburg man charged with having video of a naked 12-year-old female relative admits to secretly recording the footage but says he never intended to capture her in the nude.
Danny Shelton, who recently was arrested and charged with child exploitation, said Monday he had hidden a camera in the girl's bedroom at his home to determine whether she was jumping on and damaging a bed.
"What I caught was something different. ... So I had videos on (my computer) of her undressing and then jumping into bed nude," Shelton, 55, told 6News' Derrik Thomas in an interview in jail.
Shelton (pictured) said he thought he had erased the video. But he learned otherwise when he took his computer to a Staples store to fix a malfunction, police said.
"Fortunately, the technician that was servicing the person's computer was alerted to some improper material on the hard drive and alerted us," Greensburg Police Chief Brian T. Heaton said.
Officers found firearms in his home during his arrest, police said. Shelton, because he was convicted in 1979 in Ohio of attempted murder and aggravated robbery, is not allowed to possess firearms in Indiana. So, besides child exploitation, he was charged with firearms possession by a serious violent felon.
Shelton said he hid the camera in the girl's room because... read the rest here.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
KING 5 News
07:15 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 15, 2008
By DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News
PUYALLUP, Wash. – A convicted sex offender who was apparently making bombs was killed Tuesday morning in an explosion inside a home where he was living.
The blast blew the entire second floor off the home at 160th Street East and 70th Avenue East, showering deputies with ash and debris up to 100 yards away.
"The house was totally engulfed in flames. The explosion took the top floor off," said Pierce Co. Sheriff's spokesperson, Det. Ed Troyer.
"We have children. This is a pretty rude awakening to have our kids see this," said neighbor James Patterson.
Police believe the series of explosions killed 26-year-old Zane Dittman. He had been renting a room at the home, a room he had found in an ad on Craigslist.
Police say Dittman's landlords called 911 Monday night, saying Dittman was acting suspiciously. When deputies arrived, Dittman ran upstairs carrying a dufflebag.
Moments later, the explosions started.
Bomb squad members who feared the home might have booby-traps inspected Dittman's three cars before firefighters could try to save the home.
Dittman was a registered sex offender, convicted of the 2003 kidnapping of a Spokane County boy.
A friend of Dittman's landlords claims they did not know about his past.
Someone who did know about Dittman's past was his former landlord, Lamandalynne Promise. She does not feel sorry for him.
"I don't think anybody should die, but no, not in this case," said Promise.
She rented a room in her Tacoma house to Dittman last year before getting a sexual assault protection order against him. She says Dittman abused her son, but prosecutors refused to charge him,
"It is hard for a five-year-old to convince a jury of 12 a grown man had sexually abused him without the jury knowing prior that he is a sex offender," said Promise.
She says that before she rented Dittman that room, he told her his name was Dittaman. When she checked that name, it did not come up as a sex offender.
Nearby neighbors were evacuated. No one else was injured.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
By Anick Jesdanun updated
7:59 a.m. PT, Mon., April. 7, 2008
NEW YORK - U.S. military officials seeking to boost the nation's cyberwarfare capabilities are looking beyond defending the Internet: They are developing ways to launch virtual attacks on enemies.
But first the military will have to figure out the proper boundaries.
"What do we consider to be an act of war in cyberspace?" asked Lt. Gen. Robert J. Elder Jr., who heads the Air Force's cyberoperations command. "The military is not going to tend to do that (use virtual strike capabilities) until you cross some line that constitutes an act of war.
Elder said initial uses likely would be limited to diverting or killing data packets that threaten the nation's systems, the way the military may intercept a foreign ship carrying arms in international waters.
The remarks came late Friday during a New York chapter meeting of the Association For Intelligence Officers, a nonprofit group for current and former intelligence agents and their supporters.
In an interview afterward, Elder said that in the future, the military might rely upon network warfare to disrupt an enemy's communications system, replacing the need for conventional weapons like bombs.
In any such scenario, Elder said the military would be restricted by the same rules of engagement — such as requirements for a formal declaration of war _ that apply to conventional attacks.
Elder said that during the early days of the Iraq war, rudimentary forms of cyberattacks were used by the United States, including electronically jamming Iraqi military systems and using network attacks to hinder Iraqi ground units from communicating with one another.
The military's offensive capabilities have improved since then, he said.
As the military increasingly relies on networks and computer systems to communicate and coordinate conventional operations, the U.S. Air Force is planning to establish by October a Cyber Command for waging a future war that is fought not only by land, sea and air but also in cyberspace.
Hackers with a foreign government or terrorist group potentially could bring down military and civilian Web sites using what is known as a denial-of-service attack _ flooding the computer servers with fake traffic such that legitimate visitors cannot get through.
Read the rest of the story here...
Thursday, April 3, 2008
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last updated April 1, 2008 9:10 a.m. PT
MEDFORD, Ore. -- It wasn't a hoax or revenge that cost a Southern Oregon man many of his belongings when people responded to a Craigslist posting and nearly emptied his rural home, officers say: It was a pair of thieves covering their tracks.
Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrested a Medford couple Monday and said the two stole horse saddles and other items from Robert Salisbury's home.
Then, deputies said, the couple tried to cover up their theft by posting a notice on the Web site Craigslist that said Salisbury had to leave the state and his belongings were free for the taking.
On a Saturday, March 22, Salisbury came home to see people loading his goods into their vehicles.
When he protested, people whipped out copies of the Craigslist post, insisting that because the offer was on the Web, it had to be true and refused to return his stuff.
The sheriff's office thought at first that the posting was a nasty prank.
But later, deputies say, they tracked computer files to Amber Herbert, 28, and Brandon Herbert, 29.
They said they determined that the couple had stolen goods from a garage at Salisbury's place a few days before the Craigslist posting and sold the saddles over the Internet.
Other than taking a look at the property because it was listed as for rent, the pair had no connection to Salisbury, deputies said.
"Other Craigslist hoaxes we've seen were malicious, but this was not the revenge-type thing we were expecting," said Sgt. Colin Fagan said. "But it was pretty sinister." Read the rest here..
Science 4 April 2008: 37.
Hold the potty humor, please, but archaeologists digging in a dusty cave in Oregon have unearthed fossilized feces that appear to be the oldest biological evidence of humans in North America. Dennis Jenkins, the University of Oregon archaeologist who led the excavations, holds a fossil.
WASHINGTON - The petrified poop found in an Oregon cave is yielding a look at the diet of the ancient Americans.
New evidence shows humans lived in North America more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than had previously been known (i.e. accepted).
This is in a report in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science.
While the analysis is not yet complete, University of Oregon archaeologist Dennis Jenkins says there are bones of squirrels, bison hair, fish scales, protein from birds and dogs and the remains of plants such as grass and sunflowers.
Jenkins said it isn't clear exactly who these people living in the Oregon caves were, since there were few artifacts found. Read the rest of KING 5 NEWS' article here.
It has long been held by many, if not most, scholars that the people associated with the Clovis tool complex were the earliest human inhabitants of the Americas and it now appears that there were, in fact, people here who pre-dated that tool complex. This will cause a reevaluation of the currently held migration paradigm and may lead to new discoveries concerning the peopling of the American continents in prehistoric times.
And here is an article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the discovery:
Last updated April 3, 2008 2:52 p.m. PT
Oregon evidence puts humans in North America
1,000 years earlier
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID
AP SCIENCE WRITER
WASHINGTON -- New evidence shows humans lived in North America more than 14,000 years ago, 1,000 years earlier than had previously been known.
Discovered in a cave in Oregon, fossil feces yielded DNA indicating these early residents were related to people living in Siberia and East Asia, according to a report in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science.
"This is the first time we have been able to get dates that are undeniably human, and they are 1,000 years before Clovis," said Dennis L. Jenkins, a University of Oregon archaeologist, referring to the Clovis culture, well known for its unique spear-points that have been studied previously.
Humans are widely believed to have arrived in North America from Asia over a land-bridge between Alaska and Siberia during a warmer period. A variety of dates has been proposed and some are in dispute.
Few artifacts were found in the cave, leading Jenkins to speculate that these people stayed there only a few days at a time before moving on, perhaps following game animals or looking for other food.
The petrified poop - coprolites to scientists - is yielding a look at the diet of these ancient Americans, Jenkins said.
While the analysis is not yet complete, he said there are bones of squirrels, bison hair, fish scales, protein from birds and dogs and the remains of plants such as grass and sunflowers.
The oldest of several coprolites studied is 14,340 calendar years old, said co-author Eske Willerslev, director of the Centre for Ancient Genetics at Denmark's University of Copenhagen.
"The Paisley Cave material represents, to the best of my knowledge, the oldest human DNA obtained from the Americas," he said. "Other pre-Clovis sites have been claimed, but no human DNA has been obtained."
The date for the new coprolites is similar to that of Monte Verde in southern Chile, where human artifacts have been discovered, added Willerslev.
Jenkins said it isn't clear exactly who these people living in the Oregon caves were, since there were few artifacts found. He said there was one stone tool, a hand tool used perhaps to polish or grind or mash bones or fat.
"We are not saying that these people were of a particular ethnic group. At this point, we know they most likely came from Siberia or Eastern Asia, and we know something about what they were eating, which is something we can learn from coprolites. We're talking about human signature," he said.
"If you are looking for the first people in North America, you are going to have to step back more than 1,000 years beyond Clovis to find them," Jenkins said.
The Clovis culture has been dated to between 13,200 and 12,900 calendar years ago and is best known by the tools left behind.
Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University, said the find, along with indications of human presence at other locations, adds to the evidence for a pre-Clovis human presence in North America.
"The genetic evidence from the coprolites from Paisley Caves is also consistent with the current genetic data for the peopling of the Americas - that the earliest inhabitants of the Americas came from Northeast Asia," added Waters, who was not part of the research team.
Anthropologist Ripan Malhi of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, said this data along with material from Alaska provide increasing "evidence that ancestors of Native Americans used a coastal route during the colonization of the Americas." Malhi was not part of the research team.
Jenkins said that discoveries like those in the Oregon caves "help us to reconstruct the American past."
"Our heritage is really important and it is important to the majority of the American public. If you don't know where you come from, it's hard to have a feeling of community, of participation."
Read the rest here.