The world’s oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics.
This international research project is already casting light on a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level.
“I think we are finally on the point of making a breakthrough,” says Jacob Dahl, fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford and director of the Ancient World Research Cluster.
Dr Dahl’s secret weapon is being able to see this writing more clearly than ever before.
In a room high up in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, above the Egyptian mummies and fragments of early civilisations, a big black dome is clicking away and flashing out light.
This device, part sci-fi, part-DIY, is providing the most detailed and high quality images ever taken of these elusive symbols cut into clay tablets. This is Indiana Jones with software.
It’s being used to help decode a writing system called proto-Elamite, used between around 3200BC and 2900BC in a region now in the south west of modern Iran.
And the Oxford team think that they could be on the brink of understanding this last great remaining cache of undeciphered texts from the ancient world.
Read it all HERE.
Read it all HERE.
Rosa Brooks, a former senior adviser to the Obama State and Defense Departments has penned a damning indictment of the administration’s foreign policy failures. The piece — entitled “The Case for Intervention… In Obama’s dysfunctional foreign-policy team” and published in Foreign Policy — lists six things that Obama must do if he is reelected.
But you really only need to read the beginning of the article to get a sense for the debacle that is the Obama non-doctrine:
…he has presided over an exceptionally dysfunctional and un-visionary national security architecture — one that appears to drift from crisis to crisis, with little ability to look beyond the next few weeks. His national security staff is squabbling and demoralized…
1. Get a Strategy. No, really. We don’t currently seem to have one, grand or otherwise. We’ve got “the long war” — but we don’t seem to have a long game. Instead of a strategy, we have aspirations (“We want a stable Middle East”) and we have laundry lists (check out the 2010 National Security Strategy). But as I have written in a previous column, there’s no clear sense of what animates our foreign policy. And without a clear strategic vision of the world, there’s no way to evaluate the success or failure of different initiatives, and no way to distinguish the important from the marginal…
Another of Brooks’ recommendations is for Obama to get out of his bubble and talk to experts, not cronies, campaign aides and yes-men. But RedState reminds us that, ironically, Obama has moved backward in that respect, not forward.
Bikini Atoll, a tiny ring of islands halfway between Hawaii and Australia, is a world-class diving destination and home to one of the Pacific’s last great fishing grounds. So where are all the tourists? Welcome to heaven on earth, where the vestiges of hell lie just below the surface.
by S. C. Gwynne
A U.S. military bunker blights the view on Namu Island. Photo: Corey Arnold
Alson Kelen is seated comfortably on the grave of his great aunt, at the far eastern end of Bikini Island in the vast, hyperblue beyond of the Pacific Ocean. He is telling a story of a lost paradise, of a life he lived on this island a long time ago.
Wide-ranging recent research provides provocative clues into why one American votes Democrat and another Republican.
—With the first U.S. presidential debate now history, the 2012 election has entered its final phase, and both major party candidates are making their final pitches to the voters. Polls suggest very few Americans are genuinely undecided; most of us are firmly convinced that one side or the other has the stronger argument. But how are those attitudes formed? Why does one person grow up to be a liberal, and another a conservative? Social science research is beginning to come up with some compelling answers.
A. Kim Dotcom is not a pirate. He’s a hero. The savior of my online liberties. A visionary digital entrepreneur. His company Megaupload was a legitimate data-storage business used by hundreds of millions of individuals and by employees of NASA, US Central Command, even the FBI. The raid on his New Zealand home was excessive and illegal—shock-and-awe bullshit. Hollywood is terrified by the digital future, and an innocent paid the price. Kim is a martyr. But Kim will triumph.
You’d like him, he’s cool.
B. Kim Dotcom is a pirate. A megalomaniacal gangsta clown. An opportunistic and calculating career criminal. His Megaupload enterprise willfully made hundreds of millions of dollars off stolen movies, songs, videogames, books, and software. And, oh yeah, he couldn’t be more obnoxious about it.
Communist agents being executed by a policeman in the streets of Shanghai, as Kuomintang soldiers look on. The slaughter was pointless – Mao’s troops would control the city within days. May 1949.
(Daily Mail) — The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.
The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.
Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.
Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.
Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.
We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.
Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.
According to a paper issued last week by the Met Office, there is a 92 per cent chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the ‘Dalton minimum’ of 1790 to 1830. In this period, named after the meteorologist John Dalton, average temperatures in parts of Europe fell by 2C.
However, it is also possible that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the ‘Maunder minimum’ (after astronomer Edward Maunder), between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the ‘Little Ice Age’ when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid.
Then there is this bit of madness from the left, when there is a debate, just censor!
Concerned that too many “deniers” are in the meteorology business, global warming activists this month launched a campaign to recruit local weathermen to hop aboard the alarmism bandwagon and expose those who are not fully convinced that the world is facing man-made doom.
The Forecast the Facts campaign — led by 350.org, the League of Conservation Voters and the Citizen Engagement Lab — is pushing for more of a focus on global warming in weather forecasts, and is highlighting the many meteorologists who do not share their beliefs.
“Our goal is nothing short of changing how the entire profession of meteorology tackles the issue of climate change,” the group explains on their website. “We’ll empower everyday people to make sure meteorologists understand that their viewers are counting on them to get this story right, and that those who continue to shirk their professional responsibility will be held accountable.”
According to the Washington Post, the reason for the campaign can be found in a 2010 George Mason University surveys, which found that 63% of television weathermen think that global warming is a product of natural causes, while 31% believe it is from human activity.
Funny Letter to Dear Abby:
My husband has a long record of money problems. He runs up huge credit-card
bills and at the end of the month, if I try to pay them off, he shouts at
me, saying I am stealing his money. He says pay the minimum and let our
kids worry about the rest, but already we can hardly keep up with the
interest. Also he has been so arrogant and abusive toward our neighbors that
most of them no longer speak to us. The few that do are an odd bunch, to
whom he has been giving a lot of expensive gifts, running up our bills even
more. Also, he has gotten religious. One week he hangs out with Catholics
and the next with people who say the Pope is the ‘Anti-Christ’, and the next
he’s with Muslims.. Finally, the last straw. He’s demanding that before
anyone can be in the same room with him, they must sign a loyalty oath. It’s
just so horribly creepy! Can you help?
And here is the reply from Abby:
Stop whining, Michelle. You’re getting to live in the White House for free,
travel the world, and have others pay for everything for you.
You can divorce the jerk any time you want. The rest of us are stuck with
the idiot for one more year!
Imagine the outrage if a white politician was told he can’t be both white and a Democrat.
(SF Gate) — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is at the top of every pundit’s short list to be the Republican vice presidential nominee, in the belief that having a Latino in the second spot on the ticket will attract Latino voters who have been fleeing the GOP in recent years.
But today at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference in Miami, the Berkeley organization Presente Action is launching a national anti-Rubio campaign during his big moment in the national spotlight, days before Tuesday’s critical Florida primary.
Their assertion, backed by recent surveys, is that Rubio’s positions on several key issues, immigration in particular, are far from the mainstream of the Latino electorate.
So Presente, a 3-year-old, 250,000-member online hub that aims to be “the Latino MoveOn.org” is aiming its campaign at the senator who is a Tea Party darling. The campaign’s name: “No somos Rubios.” (“We are not Rubios.”)
“Rubio has to decide,” said Presente Action co-founder and strategist Roberto Lovato, “if he’s a Latino or a Tea Partino.”
A document the Department of Justice sent to Congress Friday shows that Eric Holder’s deputy chief of staff was made aware on the day of U.S. border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder that a weapon traced back to Operation Fast and Furious killed him. But when asked Sunday, a Justice spokesperson would not would not answer The Daily Caller’s question about whether Attorney General Eric Holder himself was informed of the connection on that day.
The documents sent from the DOJ to congressional officials Friday night included a series of emails between former Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and Holder’s then-deputy chief of staff Monty Wilkinson. Those emails show Wilkinson, a senior Holder aide, knew on December 15, 2010 — the day Terry was killed – that the weapons used to murder him were provided to a Mexican gang by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
On that day, records show, Burke wrote to Wilkinson that “[t]he guns found in the desert near the murder[ed] BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about – they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store.”
(Eric Holder and all those in the DOJ that knew, withheld information, lied, covered up, etc? Should be brought before a judge and jury!)
Ahhhhh…just like the Tea Party says Obama, Pelosi and other liberal nut cases:
(The Blaze/AP) – Police arrested hundreds of Occupy Oakland protesters last Saturday night for failing to disperse hours after officers used tear gas on over a thousand demonstrators who threw rocks and flares at them and tore down fences.
More help from other police agencies arrived on scene for the mass arrests, with busloads of Alameda County sheriff’s deputies arriving in the downtown area late Saturday night.
Police Sgt. Christopher Bolton said the arrests came after protesters marched through downtown Oakland a little before 8 p.m. Saturday, with some of them entering a YMCA building.
At different moments on the livestream video, protestors could be heard yelling “Kill the police” and “F**k the police.”