Friday, February 28, 2014

march flower

"The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings."
-  Joyce Kilmer, Spring

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"Another successful banker mysteriously turns up dead

bringing the total of recent suspicious deaths in the financial industry to 9"

Across the world, little explanations given, all within the past few weeks!!

(just in case your anxiety level needs a good scare)

rural china

Between 50 and 55 per cent of the population resides in rural areas, where about two-thirds of the population is engaged in farming, forestry, animal husbandry and fishing. About 40 per cent of total employment in China is in rural areas. 

Reform-driven economic growth, together with a well-funded national poverty reduction program, has brought about a major reduction in rural poverty in mostly the eastern provinces. The current official poverty line is less than 1$ US per person per day!!

Chinese saying "Life is hard then you die!"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

History According to India.

Two smiling Indian schoolgirls

Parents and students in India's western state of Gujarat are up in arms over school textbooks full of glaring errors.  The textbook makes statements such as: "Japan dropped a nuclear bomb on the US during World War II," and "Proportion of poisonous gas CO3 has increased due to cutting of trees," as well as incorrectly reporting that "Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on October 30, 1948." In fact, carbon trioxide is not normally found in nature, and India's independence leader was killed on 30 January 1948.  Gujarat's Standard 8 social science textbook - being used by more than 50,000 students - is said to be particularly bad with more than 120 errors. A true world power?

The magical wells of the celts

St Mary's well Dorset England

The Celts believed water had magical properties. One  reason  might have to do with how the water got here. Though there are many myths about the beginning of civilization, one theory is that the world was covered in water, flooded so to speak, and when the waters receded, the most holy of it was left behind, perhaps seen as a passage between the earth and the Otherworld.  The most holy and the largest of the waters, ( in Ireland at least)  the River Boyne and the River Shannon. The water of sacred wells was also seen as a  regenerative life-force, perhaps to grow back severed limbs, make a woman conceive or give great wisdom when drunk or bathed in it. . During Pagan times, carved totems, jewelry, weapons and cauldrons were dropped into wells, lochs, and rivers as votive offerings to the deities.      

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

today's king of the zulus

Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu (born 14 July 1948 at Nongoma) is the reigning King of the Zulu nation under the Traditional Leadership clause of South Africa's republican constitution. He became king on the death of his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu kaSolomon, in 1968.

The Zulu remain today the most numerous ethnic group in South Africa, and now have equal rights along with all other citizens.

Monday, February 24, 2014

More on Voynich Manuscript - call for papers

Recent post reported on the small but significant linkage of 10 words to known languages, in the seemingly undecipherable, arcane, cryptic document..  Refer: puzzle solved?
Though not as credible, there have been other claims in recent years of "breakthroughs", including comparison to Mexican origins of some plants; and a cypher gizmo that can create similar language code in complete gibberish.  The Manuscript has been studied extensively from many viewpoints, and we aren't even able to say whether its code, unknown language, gibberish, or what.
Over the years it had been determined that the manuscript, though unreadable, followed numerous rules of linguistics, languages, etc. but has never been deciphered.  The manuscript is dated to be over 500 yrs old at least, and has been scrutinized by nearly every scientific paradigm possible: ethnologists, botanists, chemists, physiologists, lexicographers, cryptographers, zoologists, magicians, ink people, paper people, rocket scientists, and even several women.  The results have been puny little quips like the ones noted above with nothing definite.
Now let's remind ourselves of the aphorism that "we cannot solve our problems using the same thinking that created them"; and another "this is where our best thinking has gotten us, alas."
So I am suggesting using different thinkers, different disciplines,new ways of looking at it. Such as pedagogy for example.  At a recent pedagogical conference/spring break  these noble folks identified some common trends, patterns, etc that could make up a science if put all together. Universal constants, so to speak.  For e.g.  If you assign an undergrad a 5 page paper, you will see double and triple spacing, narrow margins, large fonts, and repetition like you wouldn't believe so the word count is actually about 150 words..  If you try to outsmart them by assigning a minimum word count, say a 500 word paper, you will be able to take a trip through thesaurus land, punctuation land, redundancies, and run-on sentences, which are sentences that add more words that basically repeat the same thing as the first part of the sentence stated, thus running on unnecessarily.  Nice one.  Now I think that we ought to let the pedagogues have a crack at Voynich.  They are all aware that many college undergrads, when asked to write a lengthy paper or an answer to a difficult essay question  will devolve after 150 words into a rhythmic, hypnotic, fanciful, bizarre, and unintelligible load of crap as the heavens have ever seen,  sometimes even adding charts, drawings, etc that have nothing to do with the question.  It has been found that many of these papers have similarities to the Voynich document.  Maybe there's something there that can help us decipher it.

Note:  This essay is based on actual events and stuff.  The Voynich Manuscript is fascinating, if for no other reason than the interest and efforts of some of our best minds in figuring it out.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


The number so far is 1077 planets found outside the solar system. Several methods for discovery exist.

The transit method

In astronomy, the radiation flux from the star during the transit of the planet is reduced, which can be fixed with modern telescopes. If the remote star eclipsed planet similar to Jupiter, its brightness is decreased by 1%.

Fr Emil Kapaun Awarded Medal of Honor

Emil Kapaun.jpg

Father Emil Kapaun, 35 years old at the time of his death, the son of Czech immigrants, was awarded the Medal of Honor this week for his bravery and sacrifice during the Korean War.  His award  comes with 23 others whose original nominations were denied because of discrimination.  He became the 9th chaplain so honored.  He was previously awarded a Bronze Star in 1950 for rescuing a wounded comrade under heavy fire.  The following year he voluntarily stayed behind retreating troops to care for wounded soldiers certain to be taken captive by the Koreans.  During his time in captivity he was created with saving lives by negotiating with his captors, stealing food and medicine for his fellow captives, carrying ill colleagues on his back for long distances, and more.  He tended to the dying and offered mass in secret.  He died from disease and malnutrition while in captivity.  He is currently being considered for sainthood by the Vatican.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Voynich Manuscript Mystery Solved?

A page from the Voynich manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript, carbon dated at 1400 AD, is a collection of drawings and
handwritten text in a language that has defied translation for more than a hundred years.  The language is entirely unknown and efforts by code breakers, linguists and computers to find its meaning have failed.  It is held as one of the great mysteries of civilization with many experts arguing that it is a sophisticated hoax.

The text illustrations contain drawings of plants and stars and is thought by some to be a work  on herbal medicine.  A British Professor Bax, studying the illustrations and their names, has managed to  translated 10 words by comparing them to medieval herbal manuscripts in  Arabic and other languages.  He believes the work is in an as yet unknown Near East language and has clearly established that it is not a hoax.  A conference is being organized to continue the work of translating the document.

zulu choir

jpr: Shaka's rule persists

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Congratulations to Eric Jarosinski

 He is leaving his job as a German Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, to become a full time Aphorist!!  (The image is the avatar he uses for his newsletter.)
I place an order at Starbucks under the name Godot.  Then leave.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Zulu, the movie.

Zulu is a 1964 historical war film depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War where 150 British soldiers, many of whom were sick and wounded as patients at that field hospital, successfully held off an army of 4,000 Zulu warriors. Starring  Michael Caine, with the attacking warriors played by the Zulu home defense forces, wave after wave of Zulu attackers are repelled.  After 24 continuous hours of battle, the Zulu withdraw temporarily.
In the final assault, just as it seems the Zulus will finally overwhelm the tired defenders, the British soldiers fall back to a tiny redoubt constructed out of mealie bags. With a reserve of soldiers hidden within the redoubt, they form into three firing ranks, and seamlessly pour volley after volley into the stunned wave of attacking natives, who are completely annihilated. The defenders are still recovering when the Zulus reform.  Resigned to their defeat, the British are astonished when the Zulus instead sing a song to honour the bravery of the defenders before peacefully withdrawing.The actual battle led to the awarding of 11 Victoria Crosses, the most ever awarded in a single British action.  All time great flic.

zulu dancers

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kevin of Glendalough

Glendalough, or the Glen of two Lakes, is one of the most important sites of monastic ruins in Ireland. Before the arrival of St. Kevin this glen would have been desolate and remote, and would have been ideal for a secluded retreat. 
St. Kevin’s Bed can best be described as a man made cave cut in the rock face very close to the edge of the mountain. It overlooks the upper lake from a height of about 30 odd feet (10 metres). The approach to the cave is very difficult, with access to it is through a rectangular space and a short passageway 3 ft. (1 metre) high and 2½ ft. wide. The inner or main part of the cave is just 4 ft. wide (1.5 metres) and less than 3 ft.(1 metre) high. It is reasonable to assume that the cave could only have been used as a sleeping place, and would have been impossible for an adult to stand upright in it, so it is quite likely that St Kevin only used it as his bed, or a place for pious prayer or meditation.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

james garner today
  • BIRTH DATE: April 071928 (Age: 85)
  • EDUCATION: Hollywood High School, University of Oklahoma
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Norman, Oklahoma of English, German, and Cherokee ancestroy
  • ORIGINALLY: James Scott Bumgarner
Lois Fleishman Clarke(17 August 1956 - present) (1 child)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

a religious hermitage
The Hermitage on the island of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Spain. - It is connected to the mainland by a man made bridge. On top of the island stands a hermitage .... The small church dates from the 10th century and seems to have come from the Knights Templar. In the year 1053 it was donated, by don Iñigo López Lord of Biscay, to the monastery of San Juan de la Peña near Jaca in Huesca. Medieval burials from the 9th and 12th centuries have been found on the esplanade and in the hermitage. In 1593 it was attacked and sacked by Francis Drake. Among other incidents, it has caught fire several times. On the November 10, 1978, it was destroyed in one such fire. Two years later, on June 24, 1980 it was reinaugurated. The hermitage belongs to the parish of San Pelayo in Bakio.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Building Melts Cars

'Walkie talkie' sunscraper

Imagine parking you new $40,000 car for a few minutes, only to find significant body parts melted on you return.  The 'walkie talkie' builing, as its known locally in London, is still under construction, but has already proven a public hazard.  The curved windows reflect and focus sun rays so intensly that the refection has set fire to a car parked on the street, burnt workman, and blinded drivers.  A solution is being sought.    

wrong again ?

Professor Stephen Hawking argues that God is 'not necessary' to explain the universe and the Big Bang

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sir Arthur Eddington

Einstein left, Eddington right both opposed the notion of cosmic black holes
Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, OM, FRS was a British astrophysicist of the early 20th century. He was also a philosopher of science and a popularizer of science who opposed the idea of black holes.

Monday, February 10, 2014

where did all the black holes go?

Exactly 40 years after famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking brought event horizons and black holes into the public eye, he is now claiming that black holes don’t actually exist. Instead of all-consuming event horizons and black holes which nothing can escape from, Hawking now proposes that there are “apparent horizons” which suck in matter and energy — but only temporarily, before eventually releasing them again.

jpr: I was a student when  the black hole idea first hit the colleges,  now there gone? 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

where can the snow birds go this winter?
It's going to be 81 in Miami today and 77 in Los Angeles. The mid- to upper 70s forecast for Palm Springs, Calif., is great weather for the Palm Springs International Film Festival going on this week. On Maui in Hawaii it's in the 70s, although it is supposed to rain today. It looked pretty nice yesterday, though, at Kapalua Golf Club in Lahaina. And it's 71 in Phoenix.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Joseph Pearce
Pearce was born in East London, and brought up in Dagenham, England. At the age of fifteen he joined the National Front(NF), a far-right political party opposed to a multi-racial and multi-cultural England. He was closely involved in NF organisational activities and first came to prominence in 1977. Pearce was twice convicted under the Race Relations Act of 1976  serving time in prison in 1982 and 1985–1986.[3] In 1980,  He was a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland and he maintained regular contact with the Ulster Defense Association..
Pearce attributes his subsequent religious conversion from a culturally-Protestant agnosticism to Roman Catholicism in part to reading G. K. Chesterton..
Joseph Pearce (born 1961) is an English-born writer, and as of 2012 Writer-in-Residence and Professor of Humanitiesat Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, NH; previously he had a comparable position, from 2001-2004, at Ave Maria College in Ypsilanti, Michigan and from 2004-2012 at Ave Maria College in Ave Maria, FL

Friday, February 7, 2014

When I was 10 I descended into a hole.

(Anonymous) said he'd pay us to help clean the cistern;  my brother says it was a septic tank.  The pay rate was never stated.   We worked for him a number of times, always with the promise of "PAY".  We loved the idea of having money.  I can't remember if he ever actually paid us, at least not me.  I remember once getting a red soda and a creamy cake.  Nonetheless we always did the work, hoping.
maybe there's a soda pop up there somewhere
He told us that he was too big to fit into the the square hole leading down into the tank.  My brother and I descended easily into a dark damp vault, big enough to hold 10 or twelve kids like us..  The only light came from the hole up at the top..  We didn't have to see much , just enough to scrub.- the walls, ceiling, and  floor, with bleach and a stiff brush.  I don't know if we were in there for hours or days or an entire childhood. When I finally exited I was tired and woozy and had lost the ability to do math.

Cricky! NFL has same status as my Church!

The NFL generates $9,000,000,000 in revenue each year and they pay no taxes.  They are classified as a Non-Profit organization, the only professional sport to hold that status.  And to boot, many cities/counties build stadiums at their own expense for NFL teams to use.  Seems like a good place to start the revolution.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Kingdom of Egypt

The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC. They ruled some five million people including those of the middle East.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar II

Nebuchadnezzar II (c 634 – 562 BC) was king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who reigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC. He is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and for the destruction of the First Temple. He is featured in the Book of Daniel and is mentioned in several other books of the Bible. 
His tomb is in North of Babel City in the Heart of iraq.

jpr: Saddam Hussein called  himself a son of  Nebuchadnezzar.

Monday, February 3, 2014

After the Super Bowl: A Big Clean Up

While fans were enjoying the Giants and Patriots play football in the Super Bowl, another team in blue uniforms worked in the background. The 75 men and women of Republic Services (NYSE:RSG) of Indianapolis collected and hauled away about 500 tons of waste and recycling from the football stadium, the Convention Center and the Super Bowl Village

"The truth is the Super Bowl long ago became more than just a football game. It's part of our culture like turkey at Thanksgiving and lights at Christmas, and like those holidays beyond their meaning, a factor in our economy."
 Bob Schieffer   

Sunday, February 2, 2014

the great persian empire

At the height of its power after the conquest of Egypt, the empire 
encompassed approximately 8 million square kilometers spanning
 three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. At its greatest extent, 
the empire included the modern territories of IranIraqSyria
JordanIsraelPalestineLebanon, all significant population 
centers of ancient Egypt as far west as LibyaTurkeyThrace 
 and Macedoniamuch of the Black Sea coastal regions, 
ArmeniaGeorgiaAzerbaijan, much of Central AsiaAfghanistan,
 northern Saudi ArabiaPakistan, and parts of 
Oman and the UAE. An estimated 44% of the world's population
 were ruled by this empire.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

burial place of king Darius

In the precipitous cliff at Naqsh-e Rustam  located north of the ancient Persian capital city of Persepolis, in the Fars province of modern Iran,archaeologists have identified with certainty the tomb of Darius the Great (c. 521-486 B.C).