Month: August 2016

Goddess name inscribed in lost language on ancient tablet

An ancient tablet recently unearthed in Tuscany has revealed its first secret: the engraved name of a goddess linked to fertility. The 500-pound stone slab, or stele, was unearthed earlier this year at Poggio Colla, a sixth century B.C. site built by the Etruscans. The stele bears a long inscription in a language that has not been used for 2,500 years, project archaeologist Gregory Warden, a professor emeritus at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told Live Science in April. Now, translation is underway and archaeologists have discovered that the tablet references the goddess Uni. “We can at this point affirm that this discovery is one of the most important Etruscan discoveries of the last few decades,” Warden said in a statement. “It’s a discovery that will provide not only valuable information about the nature of sacred practices at Poggio Colla, but also fundamental data for understanding the concepts and rituals of the Etruscans, as well as their writing and perhaps their language.” Uni was an important goddess linked to fertility. Previously, the most famous find at Poggio Colla was a piece of ceramic depicting a woman squatting to give birth, perhaps suggesting that a fertility cult worshiped at the site, according to Warden. The Etruscans were a heavily religious society that started around 700 B.C. in modern-day northern and eastern Italy. They flourished until they were absorbed by Rome, a gradual process that took place between 500 B.C. and 100 B.C. There are at least 120 characters on the Poggio Colla stele, making it the longest Etruscan inscription ever found on stone and among the longest three sacred texts ever discovered, researchers will report in a yet-unpublished article in the journal Etruscan Studies. The inscription might express the laws of the sanctuary, Warden said, perhaps outlining the ceremonies that took place there. Archaeologists have deciphered another word on the tablet, “Tina,” which refers to the head god of the Etruscan Pantheon (much like Zeus for the Greeks). Archaeologists have been digging at Poggio Colla for 21 years, and found the slab at the very end of the most recent field season at the site. It’s about 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide and made of sandstone. Because the stone is scuffed and chipped, researchers are painstakingly cleaning it in order to translate the words. Etruscans left behind few texts because they mostly wrote on linen or erasable wax tablets. Understanding Etruscan religious belief and ritual is important because as the civilization was engulfed by Rome, it influenced Roman culture and belief. Most previously discovered texts are short inscriptions on graves, according to Warden. One linen book written in the Etruscan language was found on an Egyptian mummy — recycled as wrappings. Otherwise, researchers know little about Etruscan religious rituals, other than that they were polytheistic. Though the stele is still being cleaned and studied, a hologram projection of it will be displayed in Florence on Aug. 27 as researchers announce the translations they’ve made so far.

Hiding Hillary Day 270: Trump to Mexico, Hillary Makes Rare Public Appearance

It has now been 270 days since Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton held a press conference. Clinton emerged from a series of private fundraisers in the Hamptons to make a rare public appearance today. She spoke for less than an hour to the American Legion National Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio and refused to take any unscripted questions. Clinton has avoided any public event not carefully controlled by her campaign. Her last public appearance was six days ago and #HidingHillary isn’t scheduled to appear in public again until September 7th in New York City. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to deliver a major immigration policy speech in Phoenix, Arizona this evening with his runningmate Governor Mike Pence. The Trump campaign grabbed headlines with a late announcement that Trump would travel to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto before the speech in Phoenix. Trump has repeatedly stated that as President he would make Mexico pay for a border wall. Today the Trump campaign released their “question of the day” for Hiding Hillary: “Secretary Clinton, what were the search terms your lawyers used if emails about the attack in Benghazi were not part of the documents you turned over to the State Department?” – Jason Miller, Senior Communications Advisor This series will continue to highlight your questions and comments regarding #HidingHillary. If you’d like to be included in the next #HidingHillary column Tweet to @DustinStockton and try to include the hashtag #Hiding Hillary

Nevada starts to pull the plug on solar subsidies

For years, Nevada taxpayers have spent millions subsidizing homeowners who install rooftop solar panels – but that’s about to end. In a controversial decision, the state is phasing out that subsidy over the next 12 years, a move being met with protests, lawsuits and even a failed bid to put the issue before voters. Last week, Nevada’s Supreme Court ruled that a referendum from solar activists challenging the decision would not be allowed on the November ballot. The changes and challenges are now being watched carefully by other states and the solar industry as a whole – as it could signal a shift away from government support for solar energy. Until now, Nevada homeowners subsidized roughly 17,000 customers with solar panels, to the tune of about $16 million every year. This was done under a program known as net-metering, which reimbursed residential energy customers for excess power generated by their rooftop panels. Paul Thomsen, chairman of Nevada’s Public Utility Commission, said the perk was unfair, because it meant homeowners who didn’t have solar panels were subsidizing those who did. “As the rooftop solar industry has gotten larger and larger, we’ve seen this subsidy grow,” Thomsen said. “What started as a legislative policy to kickstart the industry, now 18 years later, it’s time for that industry to stand on its own two feet.”

Agreed!  Let’s hope this becomes a trend nationwide..  Those who want to have solar panels on the roofs, have every right.  But, they don’t have the right for others to pay for it.  Kudos to Nevada for taking this common sense step in the right direction.  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

The most unfriendly cities in the US

Over the last four years, we’ve asked our readers to rate a city’s “friendliness” in the Readers’ Choice Awards survey, especially with respect to where you felt welcome. Did an outgoing local show you the way? Was the city easy to navigate? Or were the locals just downright rude? Some 128,000 people took the survey in 2015—see what you had to say about the friendliest U.S. cities, and the ones that gave guests a cold shoulder. Counting down… Just click here to see the list.

Of course that’s according to Conde Nast Traveler magazine..

Mexican police discover 103-foot drug tunnel that ran from Mexico to Arizona

Mexican police inspecting drainage pipes uncovered a 103-foot tunnel running from Mexico to Nogales, Arizona. Authorities discovered the tunnel after noticing a difference in the surface of the drainage pipes leading from Mexico to the U.S., the National Commission for Security said Sunday. Once they noticed a change in texture, the statement said, police broke through and found the drug tunnel. The tunnel was 103 feet (31.5 meters) long and ran toward an empty lot on the Arizona side. The first half of the tunnel had been stabilized with wooden beams, but the second half was incomplete. It had not yet broken the surface in the U.S. Drug trafficking organizations use the tunnels to smuggle drugs into the U.S. Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel is known for being especially adept at tunnel building.

 

Colorado professors advise students to drop class if they question climate change

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs is coming under fire after three professors warned their class that there would be no debate on human-caused climate change, and that any students who disagree should drop the course. The professors, who are team-teaching the fall online course Medical Humanities in the Digital Age, issued the memo after some students expressed concerns about the first online lecture on climate change, according to the College Fix, which obtained a copy of the email. “The point of departure for this course is based on the scientific premise that human induced climate change is valid and occurring,” the professors said. “We will not, at any time, debate the science of climate change, nor will the ‘other side’ of the climate change debate be taught or discussed in this course.” “Opening up a debate that 98% of climate scientists unequivocally agree to be a non-debate would detract from the central concerns of environment and health addressed in this course,” they added. For those who disagree with the course’s premise, “we respectfully ask that you do not take this course, as there are options within the Humanities program for face to face this semester and online next.” The report on Wednesday generated hundreds of comments critical of the professors’ decision on the College Fix website. “If these professors feel they have such a case for man-made global warming, shouldn’t they be able to take all comers?” said Douglas J. Hale, an assistant professor at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri. “Perhaps they aren’t qualified to defend it and simply choose to eliminate the debate from their curriculum. How sad.” UCCS spokesman Tom Hutton told College Fix that the faculty had clearly stated the “class focus,” which allows students “to choose if they wish to enroll in the course or seek an alternative.” “Additionally, the faculty who are leading the course have offered to discuss it with students who have concerns or differing opinions,” Mr. Hutton said. An online reading list posted by the professors — Wendy Haggen, Rebecca Laroche and Eileen Skahill — shows that the class also plans to address the “health effects of fracking.” The reading includes articles by EcoWatch, Frack Free Colorado, and Physicians for Social Responsibility as part of a section on “how marginalized communities (in this case class disparities) disproportionately suffer in our energy consumptive society in the age of climate change.”

Wow…  Not exactly a “fair and balanced” discussion in this class.  More like extreme-liberal, fascist, enviro-wacko indoctrination by liberal academia at UCCS where challenging the liberal dogma is forbidden.

Fall from tree may have killed human ancestor Lucy, study suggests

The famous human ancestor known as Lucy walked the Earth, but it was her tree climbing that might have led to her demise, a new study suggests. An analysis of her partial skeleton reveals breaks in her right arm, left shoulder, right ankle and left knee — injuries that researchers say resulted from falling from a high perch such as a tree. Lucy likely died quickly, said John Kappelman, an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Austin, who published the findings Monday in the journal Nature. “I don’t think she suffered,” Kappelman said. But several other researchers, including Lucy’s discoverer, disagree. They contend most of the cracks in Lucy’s bones are well documented and came after her death from the fossilization process and natural forces such as erosion. How Lucy met her end has remained a mystery since her well-preserved fossil remains were unearthed more than four decades ago. Her discovery was significant because it allowed scientists to establish that ancient human ancestors walked upright before evolving a big brain. Lucy was a member of Australopithecus afarensis, an early human species that lived in Africa between about 4 million and 3 million years ago. The earliest humans climbed trees and walked on the ground. Lucy walked upright and occasionally used her long, dangling arms to climb trees. She was a young adult when she died. Tim White, a paleoanthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley, called the study’s conclusion a “misdiagnosis.” The Texas researchers “appear to have focused only on the cracks that they could attribute to an imagined fall, ignoring the additional abundant cracks,” White said in an email. The split highlights the difficulty of pinpointing a cause of death from fossilized remains. Scientists rarely know how early humans died because skeletons are incomplete and bones tend to get crushed under sand and rocks. Over the years, Lucy’s discoverer Donald Johanson has tried to solve the mystery. Lucy’s skeleton, which is 40 percent complete, was recovered in Ethiopia in what was an ancient lake near fossilized remains of crocodiles, turtle eggs and crab claws. “There’s no definitive proof of how she died,” said Johanson of Arizona State University. The Texas team examined Lucy’s bones and used high-tech imaging. Kappelman said the scans revealed multiple broken bones and no signs of healing, suggesting the injuries occurred around the time of death. He reconstructed her final moments: The 3-foot-6-inch (1.06-meter) Lucy fell from at least 40 feet and hit the ground at 35 mph. She landed on her feet before twisting and falling. Such an impact would have caused internal organ damage. Fractures on her upper arms suggest she tried to break her fall. Kappelman theorized that Lucy’s walking ability may have caused her to be less adept at climbing trees, making her more vulnerable to falling from heights. Not everyone agrees that her tree-climbing skills were lacking. Other scientists point out that there have been documented falls by chimpanzees and orangutans, which spend more time in trees than Lucy’s species. “Without a time machine, how can one know that she didn’t just get unlucky and fall?” William Harcourt-Smith of the American Museum of Natural History said in an email.

Good point..  The fact is, nobody knows.  But, it is interesting!    🙂