Monday, December 29, 2014

Ancient Structure Underneath Sea of Galilee

Mysterious Structure- Beneath Sea of Galilee

Scientists discovered by accident a mysterious circular structure having a diameter greater than the length of a Boeing 747 jet which was found in 2003 beneath the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The Sea of Galilee shores located in the North of Israel have several numbers of significant archaeological sites and researches from the Tel Aviv University discovered the ancient structure which lay deep beneath the sea.

The findings were published ten years later by geophysicist Prof Shmuel Marco who informed CNN that they were surprised to see what seemed like a Bronze Age statue found on the ocean floor and speculated that this ancient piece of art could be a marine nursery.

The team also included TAU Profs Zvi Ben-Avrahan and Moshe Reshef, TAU alumni Dr Gideon Tibor of the Oceanographic & Limnological Research Institute. Several archaeologists believed that the structure was built on dry land around 6,000 years ago and then could have been submerged by water over a period of time.

Compared to Two Stonehenge 

According to Prof Marco, he considers it as an impressive feat since the stones comprising the structure were probably brought from a location of more than a mile and assembled in a specific structure plan. The structure seemed to be made of basalt and has been shaped like a cone, measuring around 70 metres at the base while the structure is 10 meters tall with an estimated weight of 54.5 million kilograms.

Its date is estimated to be between 2,000 to 12,000 years old which is determined on calculating the amount of sand which has accumulated over the base of the structure and on comparing similar structures. It could be compared to the size of two Stonehenge. Dr Yitzhak Paz of Antiquities Authority and Ben Gurion University stated that the site which detailed in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology is similar to early burial sites in Europe and it could probably be built in the early Bronze Age. He was of the opinion that it could have been connected to the nearby ancient city of Beit Yerah, which is the largest and the fortified city in the area.

The Structure of Volcanic stones made of Basalt

The team of researchers who initially set out to investigate the origins of alluvium pebbles found in that area of the Sea believed that they were deposited there by the ancient Yavniel Creek, a precursor to the River Jordon and while using sonar technology at the time of survey at the bottom of the lake they came across the massive pile of stones lying in the midst of the smooth basin. Being curious on the unusual finding on their sonar, they planned to investigate further and a closer look revealed that their discovery was not just a random accumulation of stones but a built structure comprising of three foot long volcanic stones made from basalt.

The closest deposit of the stone is said to be more than a mile away and it was his belief that the same could have been brought to the site for the purpose of the structure. The researchers plan to organize a specialized underwater excavation to get to know more on the origins of the structure as well as investigate the surface of the structure on which it was built.

Search for artifact would help to accurately date the monument and provide clues to its purpose and reason for the structure. Moreover it would also throw some light on the geological history of the region.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Chickasaw Indians: The Spartans Of Mississippi

When thinking of brave native Americans struggling for survival on the Great Plains of North America, most Americans think of individuals like Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota chief and holy man, because he once danced at a Little Big Horn Sun Dance ceremony for 36 hours straight without water and later embarrassed the American government by defeating the famous General George Armstrong Custer in battle. However, as a tribe, the Chickasaw can perhaps be called some of the bravest warriors in North America.

At an early age, boys were trained in combat skills and learned to cope with pain and deprivation without complaining. Raised on an ethos of courage, these warriors were so formidable that they never lost a major military war until the American Civil War.

Originally, the Chickasaw tribe lived in the southeast in places like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, but they were forced to move to Oklahoma, where their descendants still live today.

Considered the Spartans of Mississippi, the Chickasaws lived in town sites with its own sophisticated ruling system, religions and legal traditions. They traded with other tribes, as well as with the English and French. Although engaged in an agrarian life, they were willing to go to battle if the need arose. During the French and Indian War, they became allies of the English. Without their help, the United States might have become a French-speaking nation.

During what the Chickasaw referred to as the "Trail of Tears," but that the American government called the "Great Removal," the tribe was forced to relocate to Indian Territory, along with other tribes, referred to as the “Five Civilized Tribes” like the Choctaw, Creek, Cherokee and Seminole.

In 1837, the Chickasaws were forced by the Treaty of Doaksville to resettle with the Choctaws in Indian Territory, but were able to restore their own form government 19 years later when they broke away from the Choctaw tribe.

At Tishomingo, tribal leaders framed a constitution and created a government with executive, legislative, and judicial functions. People were elected for office through a popular vote.

The only time the Chickasaws lost a major military engagement was during the Civil War when the tribe allied with the South, raised a native army, and fought against the Confederacy, waging war all the way up to the last battles of that conflict.

Humiliated by this colossal defeat, the Chickasaws overcame conditions of extreme poverty and hardship by becoming ranchers and farmers. Later, they began building businesses, banks, and schools in Indian Territory. Slowly, the tribe prospered again.

In 1907, the Chickasaw Nation’s principal officers were appointed by the President of the United States.

In 1970, Congress legislated permission for the Five Civilized Tribes to elect their own principal officers.

In 1983, the Chickasaws adopted a new constitution.

Recapturing History

It’s possible to get a taste of the story of the Chickasaw tribe by visiting Chickasaw Country in Oklahoma. At an autumn campfire, you can listen to tales that date back centuries. If the sun hasn't set, you might catch a glimpse of a pellucid lake set against an azure sky.

You can explore ancient hills and beautiful lakes in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, water ski on Lake Texoma, and watch live performances at the Chickasaw Cultural Center. All these experiences will recapture a sense of a world that has faded into antiquity. You’ll get a feel for their tradition and their ancient culture.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Otokichi Long Trip Home

Sakoku- Locking the Country/Kaikin- Sea Restriction 

During the 17th, 18th and 19th century, when most of the major powers of western Europe spend time around the world making out empires for themselves, Japan were threatened by foreigners which led them to spend that period as one of the most reclusive nations at that time.

Towards 1630, several proclamations forced the country to close its borders which marked the beginning of a period presently known as sakoku or locking the country or at times known as kaikin – sea-restriction.

Non-Japanese were not allowed on Japanese soil and the citizen of Japan was not permitted to leave the country.

 Those violating this were warned of capital punishment. Only a certain amount of trade with Korea, China and Netherlands was allowed, The Dutch were restricted to Dejima which was an artificial island in the harbour at Nagasaki.

The construction of long range ships were considered illegal and these measures continue to exist right through the 19th century. But at times groups of Japanese citizen did leave the county by mistake since smaller ships were permitted under sakoku since they operated in the transportation of goods and people and at time due to unpredictable forces of nature would drag the vessel away from the coast of Japan.

Cargo Ship Hojunmaru Lost at Sea & left to Drift

In 1832, one autumn, a cargo ship Hojunmaru was sailing with rice and porcelain to Edo, presently Tokyo, when it ran into a storm and got blown off-course. The ship which was 15 metres long was left away from the shore, far out in the Pacific Ocean without a mast or a rudder with no way to steer the ship.

The crew were unable to do anything rather than drift on the ocean till they came across a ship of some land in sight. Yamamoto Otokichi, a 14 year old along with 13 other crew mates was left to drift on the ship. Most of his mates had been sailors since their younger days but their skills could not help them to nudge the vessel to a proper destination.

Several months passed and the sailors’ survivalwas enhanced by a makeshift seawater desalination facility which probably adapted from sake-brewing equipment which the ship was carrying. Since they had a great amount of rice to eat and with an occasional catch of a fish or a sea bird, they managed to survive.

A year had passed though most of them died of scurvy with only three of them surviving which included 16 years old Kyukichi, 29 years old Iwakichi and now a 15 year old Otokichi and after a long period of fourteen months of being tossed around by ocean currents the Hojunmaru finally sighted some land.

Reached the North Pacific/Washington State

Having no idea of their bearings, the three went ashore and were greeted by people who appeared to be Native Americans from the Makah group. They had unknowingly crossed the North Pacific which is presently Washington State.

The Makah had not encountered Japanese sailors before and were curious on seeing them. They also examined their ship with its contents before leading them to their own settlement and took care of them just in time to save them from the threat of scurvy. Many got to know about them and Dr, John McLaughlin, a British official at Fort Vancouver, on examining the descriptions of the three castaways suspected them to be Chinese but soon realised that they were Japanese.

Realising the potential value of having citizens of a closed country on hand, who were Japanese sailors provided an opportunity to instigate trade talk which they were looking forward to. He then put them on board the Eagle, a Hudson’s Bay Company ship which sailed in November 1834 on a seven month journey to England through Hawaii, then south as far as Antarctica to sidestep South America.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Micronations: Talossa

Talossa – Oldest Micro Nation 

Micro nation is referred as a model country or a new country project and is an entity which can be claimed as an independent state or a nation though may not be officially recognized by world governments of the major international organizations. Talossa is one such micro nation which was founded in 1979 by Robert Ben Madison of Milwaukee, a 14 year old. It is considered as one of the oldest micro nations and still in existence. Moreover it is also one of the first to create a web presence which is very famous and has contributed to the appearance of several later internet micro nations due to its internet and media exposure since late 1990. Micro nation claims many places as its territory on the earth particularly a portion of Milwaukee considering it as the Greater Talossan Area, though neither Talossa nor its claims have been officially recognized by the UN or any other nation and the present population of this micro nation is 239. Talossa is an independent, sovereign nation in North America and the Talossan enjoy and cherish their culture. It is a constitutional monarchy which is governed by a democratically elected Government and headed by an apolitical King.

Talossa - `Inside the House’

Talossa is derived from the Finnish world `talossa’, which means `inside the house’, selectedby Robert Ben Madison shortly after his mother’s death since it described the kingdoms’ territorial claim, which was then limited only to his bedroom.

During that time the kingdom occupied Madison’s bedroom who adopted the name `Talossa’ on discovering the meaning of the word `inside the house’, in Finnish language. With the passage of time, Talossa’s territorial claims began expanding from Madison’s childhood bedroom to cover most of the Milwaukee’s East side together with the French island of Cezembre as well as a large part of Antarctica known as Pengopats meaning `Penguin land’ in the Talossan language while other claims were also made though abandoned.

He maintained Talossa all through his adolescence and college years during which time around 40 others joined Talossa, most of whom were from Milwaukee locality including other friends of Madison as well as his acquaintance from Europe.

Constitutional Monarch - 1985

In 1981, the first democratic elections were held and Talossa became a constitutional monarch by 1985. Though Madison retained primary control over the nations, several changes occurred occasionally and to save the monarchy, Madison for the first time in early 1987 renounced it in favour of Robert Dobberpuhl – King Robert II.

However at the next election, anti-monarchists arose resulting in Dobberpuhl’s legislative beheading with the brief redubbing of the nation as `The Peculiar Republic of Talossa’, Months later, the monarchy was restored though Madison at first declined in returning to the throne. Florence Yarney, his high school English teacher, served as Queen of Talossa for nine months, overseeing a time of growth of parliamentary power before renouncing it in Madison’s favour in early 1988.

Talossa’s web page drew the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers in 1996 through several reports published in newspaper like the New York Times and Wired which were in turn republished in various other countries resulting with many more joining Talossa. Madison preferred that a copy of his manuscript history of the nation be purchased and mailed to each citizen which dissuaded several of them

Instrumental in Formation of League of Secessionist State 

Talossa considers itself to be a full nation of the world, not referring itself as a micro nation, though its history as a micro nation is long and distinguished and being instrumental in the formation of the League of Secessionist States, had abandoned the term for its own self-description, years ago because of the fleeting nature of micro nations, hence the contrast to its longevity.

During that time it detached itself from all micro national relations, established in law with its limitations to member nations of the United Nations, the Unrepresented Nations and Peopled Organization with any other nation recognized by the Ziu. The Republic of Taiwan was recognized in the legislation and is presently the only nation in this third category.

Talossa is separated into eight provinces and each territory having its own elected government with a certain amount of degree of freedom in making its own policies. The uninhabited Territory of Pnegopats on the other hand is under the authority of a governor which is appointed by the king and in each province, the Crown appoints a Constable or Cunstaval, preferably a citizen of a different province who tends to act as viceroy and performs royal duties at the provincial level like granting assent to the legislation.

Talossa supports three types of military services where normally, the King is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Should a war arise, the advice of military leaders as well as the Minister of Defence is likely to be followed by the Crown.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Micronations: Aerican Empire

The Aerican Empire – No Sovereign Territory

The Aerican Empire a micronation was founded in May 1987 and had no sovereign territory of its own. It has not been recognized by any of the other sovereign state as an existing state. The New York Times, in 2000, described its website as `one of the more imaginative’ micronation sites. The Aerican Empire in short form is referred as Aerica.

The members claimed sovereignty over a large disconnected location which included a square km of land in Australia, Canada – containing the Embassy to Everything Else, a house sized area in Montreal with many other areas on the Earth, with a colony on Mars, and the northern hemisphere of Pluto together with an imaginary planet.

As in the case of several micronations, the members count fluctuated tremendously with the passage of time and in May 2009, its claim exceeded to 400. The Aerican Empire was founded by Eric Lis, the present Emperor as well as a core group of friends. The first ten years of the empire’s history was engaged in wars which included battles with the rival micronations.

It was a parliamentary democracy with the primary elected body, the Senate with seventeen individuals, two representatives from every area of the Empire together with the head of state, the Emperor. The Empire had never printed these documents since it was considered as a waste of money till another government recognized its validity.

Unrecognized By Established States of the World

However, novelty passport together with ID card did exist for download. Its culture grew from the starting principle and attracted several individuals with good sense of humour and keen on science fiction, fantasy as well as games due to which, modern Imperial culture is filled with regards to Star Wars and The Aerican Empire’s official gaming club – AEGIS which is associated with seven univerisites all over the world with sponsors, funded, supporting an annual gaming day on December 29 since 2003.

Moreover AEGIS has also rendered financial support in the creation of many Aerican Empire theme Warhammer 40K armies that have participated in national tournaments. Being a micronation, a nation and or state that is unrecognized by established states of the world, it has at times been one of the most infamous as well as the most the influential site.

Collection of Politically Interconnected Colonies

The Empire is a collection of politically interconnected colonies which have been scattered across the world with each of them consisting of small plot of land. No records are available to indicate the purpose on the creations of the Empire. This Empire does not have any official religion and freedom of religion is guaranteed to any faith. All can follow the religion of their choice within the empire and co-exist in peace.

There are different faiths in the empire and the faith which has grown along with the Empire and the most favoured one of several citizens is Silinism, which is a disorganized religion with the worship of Forsteri, the Great Penguim together with its associated non-religious philosophy, the Path of Forsteri.

 The symbols of the Empire are varied and many which include the national flag together with the imperial seal. Besides this, each colony is represented by its own individual flag.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Kenneth Arnold’s ‘Flying Saucers

Kenneth Arnold – Unidentified Flying Objects

Kenneth A. Arnold is an American aviator and businessman, best known for the first widely reported unidentified flying object which has been sighted in the United States, who had claimed that he had seen around 9 unusual objects flying in a chainon June 24, 1947, near Mount Rainer, Washington.

The Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting took place when a private pilot envisaged a string on nine shiny unidentified flying objects flying at speeds that he estimated being at 1,200 miles an hour. This was the first post War glimpses in the United States which garnered news coverage nationwide and is credited to be the first of the modern era of UFO sightings which included various reported sights for over the next two to three weeks.

Arnold’s description of these objects resulted in the press considering the terms flying saucer and flying disc as popular descriptive terms for UFOs. On the day of June 24, it is said that Arnold had been flying on a business trip, from Chehalis, Washington to Yakima, Washington in a CallAir A-2 and had made a brief detour on learning of a $5,000 reward for the discovery of a U.S. Marine Corps C-46 transport airplane which had crashed near Mount Rainier.

Spotted Bright Flashing Light

The skies were quite clear with a mild wind when a few minutes before 3.00 pm, at around 9,200 feet, in altitude and near Mineral, Washington, he finally gave up his search and headed eastward towards Yakima. It was then that he spotted bright flashing light similar to sunlight reflecting from a mirror and being afraid of being dangerously close to another aircraft, he scanned the skies around but could only see a DC-4 towards his left and behind him around 15 miles away.

After about thirty seconds on seeing the first flash of light, Arnold then saw a series of bright flashes towards his left in the far distance or north of Mount Rainier which was then around 20 to 25 miles. He wondered that it could be the reflections on his airplane’s window though with few more, quick tests like rocking his airplane from side to side, removing his eyeglasses and later rolling down his side window, he ruled it out.

The reflections were from the flying objects which flew in a long chain and for a moment he speculated them to be a flock of geese, though this too was ruled out due to the altitude, bright glint as well as the fast speed. He then considered it to be a new kind of a jet and took a keen interest for more details on the mysterious object.

Amazing Aspect of the Object – No Tail 

Arnold later identified the source of the flashes which were a series of fast moving objects and described them as silvery and shiny. The most amazing aspect of the object was the absence of a tail that appeared like a pie plate which meant that the object seemed to have a raised top or cupola on them and also closely fits with that of the large UFO photographed at the time of the Battle of Los Angeles.

Though in a 1930 UFO report in Texas, the term saucer was used, it was actually meant to indicate the relative size of the object from arm’s length and Arnold had informed that the objects moved like saucers when skipped across the water.

He indicated how the objects bounced across the atmosphere and not the shape of the object but it was reported by Bill Bequette’s report on AP news wire as `flying saucer’, to describe the object shape, a phrase which was coined.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bible Manuscripts

Bible 1
Biblical Manuscript – Handwritten copy of section text of Bible 

A biblical manuscript is a handwritten copy of a section of the text of the Bible and the word Bible is derived from the Greek biblia or book, while manuscript comes from Latin manu or hand and scriptum or written. The original manuscript is known as the `autographs’.

These manuscripts are of different sizes from tiny scrolls comprising of individual verse of the Jewish scriptures to huge polyglot codices of both Hebrew Bible or Tanakh and the New Testament together with extracanonical works.

Bible 5
It is essential to study the biblical manuscripts since the handwritten copies of books may contain errors and the science of textual criticism tends to reconstruct the original text of the books particularly the ones which could have been published earlier to the invention of the printing press. The oldest Hebrew language manuscript of the Tanakh was the Aleppo and Leningrad codex.

The discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran pushed the manuscript history of the Tanakh back a millennium from the previous two complete codices and prior to this discovery, the earliest manuscripts of the Old Testament were of Greek like the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.From the 800 manuscripts which were found at Qumran, 220 were from the Tanakh.

Bible 2
Ancient Manuscripts in Hebrew

Sections of the New Testament are preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work with over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts of various other ancient languages comprising of Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Coptic, Ethiopic and Armenian.

Though there are several ancient Biblical manuscripts, the importance of the Leningrad Codex as well as the Aleppo Codex, codices created by Masoretic scholars is in the comments contained in the text. The ancient biblical manuscripts that are written in Hebrew does not have vowels and even if there is no question with regards to the letters of a given text, there still remains a question as to how a particular word could be pronounced and its meaning. Similarly, the ancient biblical manuscripts like the Dead Sea Scrolls could contain no indication on how the Torah sections and the prophetic reading should be chanted in the synagogue.

Bible 3
Only Complete Copy of Hebrew Bible – Leningrad Codex

On the other hand codices like the Leningrad Codex and Aleppo Codex have vowel marking in the form of subscripts and superscripts and also contain other markings showing pitch relationships in guiding the cantor in chanting the prescribed Torah.

Bible 4
Besides this, an important aspect is that they contain massive marginal notations regarding cruxes in the text which are difficult to interpretation. Till they were damaged and lost partially, the Aleppo Codex was considered to be the `crown’ of the ancient biblical manuscripts as well as the version of the Hebrew Bible which eventually became the most authoritative text in Judaism and its loss was a big blow to Jewish scholarship though another complete codex existed in the Leningrad Code.

The only complete copy of the Hebrew Bible from the same period like the Aleppo Code was the Leningrad Codex in St. Petersburg which is similar to the Aleppo Codex in several respects with regards to dates as well as in distinction. The Leningrad Codex like the Aleppo Codex has vowel marking, extensive textual notes and cantillation signs.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tesla Death Ray

The Death Ray/Death Beam – Theoretical Particle Beam 

Tesla Death Ray
The death ray or death beam, a theoretical particle beam or electromagnetic weapon during the 1920s till the 1930s, was claimed to have been independently invented by Edwin R. Scott, Graichen, Guglielmo Marcone, Nikola Tesla and Harry Grindell Matthews together with several others.

The National Inventors Council, in 1957 were issuing list of needed military inventions which included a death ray. Based on fiction and inspired by past speculation, research into energy based weapons, gave rise to the contribution of real life weapons in use by modern militaries which was at times called a kind of `death ray’, such as the United States Navy and its `Laser Weapon System’ –LaWS, which were deployed in mid-2014 and these armaments were technically known as - directed energy weapons.

Tesla inherited a deep hatred of war from his father and all through his life he thought of a technological way to put an end to warfare. He was of the opinion that war could be converted into a `mere spectacle of machines’.

He informed reporters at a press conference in 1931 that he was on the way of discovering a new source of energy and when asked to explain the nature of the power, he informed that `the idea first came up as a tremendous shock and at that point of time he could only state that it would come from an entirely new and unsuspected source’.

Death Beam/Teleforce – Invented in 1930

Nikola Tesla is said to have invented in the 1930s, a `death beam’, which was called teleforce. He explained that `this invention does not contemplate the use of the so-called `death rays’ and the rays are not applicable since they cannot be produced in required quantities which tends to diminish quickly in intensity with distance.

All energy of New York City transformed into rays projecting twenty miles could not kill a human being since according to the well-known law of physics; it could disperse to an extent so as to be ineffectual. The apparatus projects particles which could be comparatively large or of microscopic dimensions with provision to convey to a small area at great distance trillions of times additional energy was possible with rays of any type.

Thus thousands of horsepower can be transmitted by stream which could be thinner than hair so that nothing can resist’.He proposed that a nation could destroy any object approaching within 200 miles and could provide a wall of power to make any country whether big or small, impregnable against armies, airplanes or any other means of attack.

Particle Accelerator 

The mechanism of Tesla’s death ray is not comprehended well and was apparently a kind of particle accelerator. According to Tesla it was an outgrowth of his magnifying transformer with its focus on energy output in a thin beam was so concentrated, that it could not scatter even over large distances.

Tesla promoted this device purely as a defensive weapon with intentions to knock down incoming attacks, making it the greatest grandfather of the Strategic Defence Initiative. Though the concept of a death ray was never put into action, it somehow fuelled science fiction stories which lead to the science fiction concept of the hand held ray gun that are used by fictional heroes like Flash Gordon. Other similar weapons are also found in George Lucas’ science fiction saga like `Star Wars’.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Micronations: Principality of Hutt River

Principality of Hutt River
Image Credit: Cabinetmagazine
Principality of Hutt River – Oldest & Influential Micronation

The Principality of Hutt River which was formerly known as Hutt River Province is Australia’s oldest and the most influential micronation which is located on a huge farming area, many hundred kilometres towards the north area of Perth. It is situated within Western Australia which is around 75 sq. km in size comprising of approx. 18,500 acres of flat or undulating farmland which is well covered in areas with a wealth of shrubs together with beautiful windflowers.

 Its economy depends on agriculture comprising of export of wildflowers together with tourism. It was founded by a farmer, Leonard George Casley on April 21, 1970, who considers himself now as Prince Leonard when he along with his associates proclaimed their secession from the state of Western Australia.

The Principality of Hutt River – PHR is an Independent Sovereign State which seceded from Australia and is compared in size to Hong Kong though the Principality is much larger in physical size than several other countries like the San Marion, Monaco, Nauru and Vatican to mention a few.

Hereditary/Constitutional/Democratic Monarchy

The Principality, a hereditary, constitutional as well as a democratic monarchy, has HRH Prince Leonard as the Sovereign and the Head of State where a Government is exercised under the Sovereignty of the Prince by a Minister of State, HRH Crown Prince – Prince Ian, is assisted by a Government having many Ministers, Vice Ministers as well as State Secretaries, that are essential in leading the country.

Prince Leonard is a supporter of Arts as well as Conservation and has named several parts of the Principality with names like Lake Beginning, Lake Serenity, Mount Secession and Wild Boar Gorge. Nain, the main town site has been developed with buildings, with provision to basic facilities for tourist visiting the Province annually, together with modest Government and Reception buildings and basic support for campers with small ablutions block, camper’s kitchen and small caravan parking place accompanied with Power.

Other facilities include Administration building with Government Office and Post Office, Tea Rooms/Function Centre, swimming pool, Inter-Denominational Chapel together with a small arcade housing the Memorabilia Dept. and Historical Society displays.

Good Active & Widespread Diplomatic Representation

Besides this a new Reception Office also functions with recent extension to the Tea Rooms/Function Centre to cater for additional space including a beautiful and comfortable outdoor undercover location. For the 2010 40th anniversary celebration weekend, a new camping as well as caravan park area was developed, creating an ability to cater to larger scale visits during the special events without much cramping for all to enjoy the peace and serenity offered by the visit in the Principality.

The local resident population is quite small and a good number of Overseas Citizenships are issued to people from other countries.Though it has no standing army, a number of the citizens were awarded military commissions and honorary guardsmen attend to the Prince on formal occasions.

Inspite of being entirely landlocked, it possesses a navy, a naval commission have been provided on supporters of the Province. The Principality had a good active and widespread diplomatic representation with most of the developed countries.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cicada 3301

Cicada 3301  logo
Cicada 3301 – An Enigmatic Organization

Cicada 3301 is a name which is given to an enigmatic organization which on three occasions posted a set of complex puzzles in order to recruit capable public cryptanalysts, the first of which began on January 5, 2012 and went on for around one month.

The January 2012 puzzle comprised of an image which had a message stating that the poster was looking for intelligent people, inviting the users to get a hidden message in the image which would lead them on the road to begin their way across the internet.

This was the first puzzle in the series. The image had been reposted by several other people to other sites and boards which increased the internet interest in the puzzle with many making attempts to solve the puzzles by grouping together on the mibbit as well as the n0v4 IRC networks together with splinter groups making use of private IRC channels, Skype groups and forums.

Another puzzle came up one year later on January 5, 2013 followed by a third on-going following confirmation of fresh clue posted on Twitter on January 2014. It was intended to recruit `intelligent individuals’ through a series of puzzles that were to be solved each in a certain order and find the next and the puzzle was aimed on data security, steganography and cryptography.

Most Elaborate & Mysterious Puzzle 

The image has been known as `the most elaborate and mysterious puzzle of the internet age and has also been listed as one of the `top five most unsolved mysteries of the internet by The Washington Post. Several are speculating that it could be a recruitment tool for the NSA, CIA, M16 or a cyber-mercenary group. There are others who think that it could be an Alternate Reality Game – ARG though no company or individual have taken credit or even tried to monetize it.

Another fact is that those who had solved the puzzle never ever came forward leading some to belief that it does not exist while still others claim that it could be run by bank working on crypto currency. The message gave way to a series of puzzles; each became more complicated from the last.

While a few were solvable by some individual working alone, with little more than mild coding ability and wordplay to get along though other participants got deeper into it and the references got less obvious. There was one clue which involved a poem from a collection of medieval Welsh manuscript while another was a quote from William Gibson book that was released on 3.5 inch floppies.

Highly Complex & Individualized

The final outcome of the three round of series of Cicada 3301 recruiting still seems to be a mystery and the known puzzles were both highly complex as well as individualized as the puzzle unravelled. Anonymous people who claimed to have won, had no verification made from the organization with no forthcoming claims and information made by the individuals.

It was reported that an emails was sent to individuals who had completed the 2012 puzzle, indicating that those who had solved the puzzle successfully would be given a personality assessment and those who crossed that stage would be reportedly admitted in the organization though nothing more was known further than this.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Kasubi Official Royal Burial Site

Kasubi 1
Kasubi bordered by Kawaala towards the north, Makerere to the east, Naakulabye to the southeast, with Lusaze towards its southwest area Lubya to the west and Namungoona towards the northwest makes the location of approximately 5,5 km by road and northwest of Kampala’s central business district. Earlier to 1856, Kasubi Hill was called Nabulagala and thereafter, Kabaka Muteesa I Mukaabya faced misfortune at Banda Hill and built his first palace there.

He then relocated to Nabulagala naming the hill Kasubi after the ancestral village of his mother and located in Kyaggwe County which presently is known as Mukono District. Presently the Buganda traditionalists consider the place interchangeable as Kasubi or Nabulagala or Kasubi-Nabulagala. After the death of Kabaka Muteesa I, he was buried at Kasubi and was the first Kabaka to be buried there and ever since Kasubi became the official royal burial site of the Buganda monarchy.

The Kasubi Royal Tombs have now been recognised as a World Heritage Site which is of very high significance in the Buganda culture. The Tombs of Buganda Kings covers a site of 26.8 hectares of Kasubi hillside within the Kampala city and is a major spiritual centre for the Baganda which has been reservedfor traditional as well as cultural practices.

Active Religious Site 

The Kasubi Tombs seems to be the most active religious site in the kingdom for all rituals which are performed frequently and this place has been used for burial grounds for the earlier four kings – Kabakas, qualified as a religious centre for the royal family. This is the place where important rituals related to Buganda culture is practiced by the Kabaka and his representatives.

Moreover, the place also represents a site where communication links is maintained with the spiritual world. The existence of best example of Baganda palace or burial site is seen from the border of the site which has been marked with the traditional bark cloth trees, which lead through the gatehouse, through the main courtyard, culminating in the large thatched building which houses the tombs of the four kings. On the hilltop one will find the main tomb building which has been referred locally as the `Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga’ that represents a masterpiece of this ensemble which existed since the 13th century.

Kasubi 3
Main Tomb Building – Example of Architectural Achievements

The former palace of the Kabakas of Baganda which was built in 1882 is the latest building which was converted into the royal burial ground in 1884 and four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu-Azaala-Mpanga. The main tomb building, a circular and surmounted by a dome is the main example of architectural achievement which was raised utilising vegetal materials comprising of wooden poles, reeds, spear grass and wattle and its unusual scale together with outstanding details are a proof to the creative genius of the Baganda as masterpiece of form and craftsmanship.

Besides, it is an exceptional surviving example of an architectural piece which had been developed by the Buganda Kingdom from the 13th century. The natural elements of the tomb site are charged with historical traditional and spiritual values which are a major spiritual centre and the most active religious place in the kingdom for the Baganda. The site’s main significance is in its values of beliefs, continuity, spirituality as well as the identity of the Baganda people, serving as an important historical as well as cultural symbol for Uganda and East Africa.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Micronations: Freetown Christiania

Freetown Christiania
Freetown Christiania – Car Free and Green Neighbourhood in Copenhagen

Freetown Christiana is a car free and green neighbourhood in Copenhagen and is known for its autonomous inhabitants’ different way of living. It was established in 1971, a city within the city on the site of a military barracks by a group of hippies who had occupied some of the abandoned military barracks on the site and developed their own society rules and was completely independent of the Danish government.

For forty years, Christiania existed under special condition with constant conflicts as well as clashes between the local Christianity and the Danish states and with several years of uncertainty, they reached an agreement in 2011 and on July 1, 2012, a foundation Freetown Christiania was founded.

The foundation now owns the entire part of Christiania located beyond the protected ramparts, leasing buildings and land on the ramparts which continue to be owned by the state. Portion of the funds is raised by selling the symbolic Christiania shares. Besides, Freetown Christiania is a mixture of homemade houses, art galleries, workshops, music venues, with cheap and organic eateries accompanied with beautiful nature and one cannot buy a house in Christiania but will have to apply for it and if successful, one tends to get it. Moreover, the area is open to public with guided tours which are conducted by the local inhabitants.

Signs with `Do’s and Don’ts – Safety Purpose

For safety purpose, tourist are advised not to film or photograph inside this micronation especially in areas in and around Pusher Street due to the hash dealing which is illegal in Denmark. As one enters these areas, one will find signs with `do’s and don’ts’, advising visitors to take these instructions seriously for their own safety. Hundreds of buildings on Christiania are there, most of which are in all sorts of imaginative shapes, colours and sizes from old army building which dates back to the old barrack days and the best way to explore these areas is to stroll down and absorb the atmosphere.

All these buildings have their own unique story to relate. Fredens Ark is one interesting site which is not only the largest building on Christiania but also the largest half-timbered house in Northern Europe. Built in 1837, it was initially the main building of the barracks with sleeping as well as officers’ quarters. Presently around eighty people live in the protected building while the lower levels are home of the Rockmaskinen’ club.

Powerhouse of Cultural Activities

Vilhelms Bastion – Borneengen, Nordomradet is one of the old bastions of fornications where Christiania is built. It has a set of protected buildings while Kommandeorhuset is a yellow half-timbered housed utilised to serve as guard building and the eave towards the eastern area seems extended to permit the soldiers to stay dry during the rainy weather and the same was built and constructed by Italian architect.

Christiania is a powerhouse of cultural life in Copenhagen and one will always find some activity going on there in one of the several club and venues placed around the central area near Pusher Street or in the open air scene on Café Nemoland. Itis a destination worth visiting and exploring

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bernoulli Space

Daniel Bernoulli
The Bernoulli Space – A Mathematical Concept 

The Bernoulli space, is a mathematical concept for the transition from past to future with due consideration of uncertainty of the future developments. It is at the main focus of Bernoulli stochastic which represents the basis for reliable as well the exact predictions together with measurements.

The Bernoulli space does not seem to presume an ideal world, for instance, the example of physics on the basis of belief in truth and causality where in contrast, the Bernoulli space acknowledges human ignorance and cosmological pattern which could generate uncertainty and as a mathematical model of change, could be regarded as a means of obtaining accurate as well as reliable predictions.

The term `uncertainty’, before the introduction of the model, should be explained since it could have several inconsistent meanings in the daily speech which in everyday speech, uncertainty could be referred to determinate, though unknown facts or to the indeterminate future which is not known since it does not exist so far. The difference is obvious between the facts and future events, a fact which is specified and if considered has a fixed value.The future event on the other hand is indeterminate and hence may or may not take place.

Ignorance Related to True Value – Unknown 

Fact may be unknown though it is fixed while a future even may not be known or unknown since it is subject to randomness which could or not occur. From the point of unique interpretation, uncertainty is explained as the inability to predict the future development accurately and this inability is because of the ignorance related to the past as well as the randomness regarding the future.

The two elements of ignorance and randomness generate uncertainty and while describing uncertainty in a quantitative manner, both the sources need to be taken into consideration. Ignorance relates to the true value which is unknown it is only rarely that the true values of considered attributes are known though in general they are unknown.

Values are what is known but are not the true value and with the knowledge on `what is not’, it is possible to state a set of values which are true though may be unknown. This reflects the knowledge on `what is no’, or the ignorance of `what is’ and the larger the set, the larger would be the ignorance.

Randomness – Future Episodes

Randomness on the other hand refers to future episodes and reflects a natural tendency to take place and could be small or large based on the given situation. Over 300 years back, Jacob Bernoulli, the Swiss theologian as well as a mathematician was successful in quantifying randomness of a future event.

He related the occurrence of natural tendency of a future event with the help of degree of certainty of its occurrence, calling this degree probability and if the occurrence is impossible in a given event, there is no propensity with the degree of certainty, which is the probability that would be 0.

While on the other hand if the occurrence is certain in a given event, the propensity would be at the maximum with the degree of certainty being the value of one.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Belitung Shipwreck

Belitung Shipwreck
Belitung/Tang/Batu Hitam Shipwreck

The Belitung shipwreck is also known as the Tang shipwreck or Batu Hitam shipwreck which was found by the local fishermen off the Belitung Island, in Indonesia in the year 1998. The Arabian ship probably sailed between Oman and China during the 9th century AD where evidence indicate that it could have travelled on the so called Maritime Silk Route when it transported ceramic and the vessel sank on its return journey.

With regards to this evidence, an interesting thing related to the Belitung shipwreck is its location and it is unknown why the vessel had navigated away from its route through the South China Sea and passed through southern Vietnam, the Singapore Strait into the Straits of Malacca between Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra while Belitung is in the south-east of the Singapore Strait than from this expected route.

Belitung wreck of this age is rare discoveries and the ship was the only 9th century vessel of that origin found till date. The Belitung wreckage has provided two important archaeological findings, like its cargo and its hull and the major part of the recovered cargo of around 60,000 pieces comprising of ceramics most of which are Changsha wares. The cargo also had the largest single collection of Tang Dynasty artefacts which were found in a single location due to which it is called the `Tang Treasure’.

Belitung Shipwreck 1
The First Arab Dhow

The Belitung wreck is also the first Arab dhow which has been discovered in the Southeast Asian waters. The dhow is considered to be a traditional sailing vessel which has one or more masts with lateen sails that were used in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea region and it is disputed if this type of vessel were invented by the Arabic or Indian people.

Belitung Shipwreck 3
The Arabian dhow has also given new insight in the trade routes between the Middle East and China during that period and the treasure discovered has been kept as one collection. At the time of the excavation, the efforts to maintain the integrity of the site as well as its cargo has given rise to detailed archaeological evidence which has now given more understanding in the construction methods that were used in the shipbuilding. The items and style of artefacts also reveal earlier unknown facts about the trade between the two locations.

Belitung Shipwreck 2
Discoveries Vulnerable and Prone to Loot/Damage

The discoveries of Belitung shipwreck was vulnerable and prone to loot and damage and local nor national authorities had the essential resources to explore or protect the site and without any exploration it would have been difficult to assess its importance.

 Moreover, without any action, unique historical data could have been lost. It was the Indonesian government who decided to authorize a commercial enterprise – Seabed Exploration to study the Belitung shipwreck, putting up a series of events which finally led to the sale of the cargo to a nonprofit organization in Singapore and eventually, the exhibition of the shipwreck.

The process of disposition and exploration of the cargo discovered involved complicated actions of government, archaeologist, private business, nonprofit organization as well as with those interested.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Minimax Decision Theory

Minimax – Decision Rule 

Minimax is referred to a decision rule which is used in decision theory, statistics, game theory and philosophy, in reducing the possible loss for a worst case scenario. It is a principle for decision making when presented with two various and conflicting strategies with the use of logic and determine using the strategy which will minimize the maximum loss that may occur.

Formulated earlier for two players zero sum game theory covers both cases wherein players make alternate moves. Those that make simultaneous moves have been extended to more complex games with general decision in the presence of uncertainty. In the case of theory of simultaneous games, a minimax strategy is considered to be a mixed strategy that is part of the solution to a zero sum and in zero sum games; the minimax solution is the similar to the Nash equilibrium.

There is a minimax algorithm for game solutions in combinatorial game theory. With games like tic-tac-toe, simple version of the minimax algorithm is used where individual player can win, lose or end up in a draw. Minimax algorithm is considered to be a recursive algorithm in choosing the next move in a game which usually has two players participating in a game.

Combinatorial Game Theory

It is associated with a value for each position or state of the game and the value is computed by a position evaluation function, indicating how good it would be for a player to reach a particular position. The player on his part tends to make the maximum moves thereby minimizing the value of the position from the opponent’s following moves.

 An allocation method comprises of assigning a certain win for one play as +1 and for the other player as -1 which leads to combinatorial game theory developed by John Horton Conway. Using a rule is an alternative if the result of a move is an immediate win for one player, it is considered positive infinity and if it is an immediate win for the other player, then it is a negative infinity. Value of the first player of any other move is the minimum values resulting from each of the second players possible moves. Due to this the first player is called the maximizing player while the second player is called the minimizing player; hence it is given the name minimax algorithm.

Heuristic Evaluation Function 

This algorithm assigns a value of positive as well as negative infinity to any position since the value of every position will be the value of some final winning or losing position. Generally this is often possible at the end of a complicated game like chess because it is not feasible to know about the result before the completion of the game which could lead to one of the player winning.

We could extend this if we supply a heuristic evaluation function which gives values to non final game status without taking into account all possible following complete sequences and then limit the minimax algorithm to note only a certain number of moves coming up. The number is known the `look-ahead’, which is measured in `plies’. For instance, the chess computer `Deep Blue’ looked forward to at least 12 plies and then applied a heuristic evaluation function.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Western Wall Tunnel

Western Wall Tunnel
Western Wall Tunnel – Underground Tunnel 

The Western Wall Tunnel is an underground tunnel portraying the full length of the Western Wall and the tunnel is adjacent to the Western Wall, located under the buildings of the Old City of Jerusalem.

It is Judaism’s most sacred site and revered as the last remnant of the Second Temple and because of the invitation for everyone by King Solomon, visitors of all faith and cultures can come here and pray and experience specialpeace.

 The open air area of the Western Wall is around 60 metres long while the major part of its original length seems to be hidden underground and the tunnel enables access to an additional 485 metres of the wall. Day and night one will find worshippers here though on Bar Mitzvah days which is Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays; families around the world and from Israel assemble at this place to celebrate their son’s first public Bible reading which is at the age of 13 together with the Jews from every destination.

Each of them assembles with their own respective customs, dress, music and liturgy creating a colourful as well as an unforgettable cultural event. Placing a traditional prayer within the ancient stones by the visitors is a memorable incident.

Western Wall Tunnel 2
Image Credit:
Various Arches Side by Side 

The tunnels have been created by various arches side by side which supports staircases going to the Temple Mount from the city and in ancient times had shallow valley known as the Tyropaean running along the Western area of the Temple Mount which is now filled because of the constant demolition and rebuilding.

This separates the rich Herodian quarter from the Temple and the need to bridge it gave rise to the building of the arches. While the pathways continue to hold up the streets presently, the tunnel goes directly underneath the Muslim quarter.

King Herod had come up with a project to double the area of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, in 19 BC by incorporating a portion of the hill on the Northwest and in order to do so; four retaining walls were constructed while the Temple Mount was expanded on top. The retaining walls were left standing, together with the platform after the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

Western Wall Tunnel 3
Western Stone – Largest and Heaviest Stone 

The tunnel besides exposing the 485 metre of wall also reveals the system of construction together with the various activities within the Temple Mount.

The excavations comprises of several archaeological discoveries from the Herodian period like the streets, monumental masonry, with parts of reconstruction of the Western Wall which dates to the Umayyad era together with variety of structures dating back to the Ayyubid, Hasmonean and Mamluke periods which were constructed to support the buildings in the vicinity of the Temple Mount.

The largest stone in the Western Wall called the Western Stone is also exposed within the tunnel, ranking as one of the heaviest piece ever lifted by anyone without the help of powered machinery. Its length is 13.6 metres, 3 metres high and the width is estimated between 3.5 and 4.5 metres while estimated weight is 570 short tons

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Kadal-Katti – Shark Charmers of Ancient South India as Observed by Marco Polo

Shark Charmers
Image credit:1990 Painting by Kozyndan
Shark Charmers – Main feature of Fisheries

Till 1885, the main feature of fisheries in Asia was the services of the shark charmers or binders of sharks and their presences were considered essential by the superstition of Indian divers. The fishermen relied on the supernatural powers of these imposters and would refrain from diving without their supervision. It is not known which period influenced this idea but in 1294 when Marco Polo paid a visit, they were in full bloom of their authority and received one twentieth of the total catch of oyster amounting to a very considerable sum of money.

Being a very alert observer, Marco Polo had related some interesting details with regards to Tamil customs of his contemporary times. It seems that he was in South India on two occasions and the second time was during his journey to Persia on the way back to Venice. He mentioned about the charming of sharks by the use of mantras. He states`and they must also pay those men who charm the great fishes, to prevent them from injuring the divers, whilst engaged in seeking pearls under water, one twentieth part all that they take. Their charm hold good for that day only, for at night they dissolve the charm so that the fishes can work mischief at their will’.

Sharks – Dangers to Divers 

These shark charmers existed till about fifty years ago and were known as `kadal-katti. Sharks were the main occupational dangers to divers and being superstitious the divers would consult the shark charmers before starting their expedition underwater.

Marco Polo
The divers would not venture out at sea till they would receive an assurance from the shark charmers that the mouth of the sharks remains close at their command.At every fishery, there were at least two or three shark charmers in attendance where one would go out at sea with the fleet while the other would recite mantras, performing some rituals on the shore.

The shark charmer would lock himself in a closed room and would sit before a brass basin which would be filled with magic water obtained from a secret well in which were silver replicas of male and female sharks. With this the shark charmer would get to know if there would be shark attack on a diver for one shark in the basin would bite the other.

By midday a signal would be made to stop work and the boats would head for the coast lining up close to the shore in front of a huge enclosure which was called as the kottu or oyster store.

Pearl harvesting
Three Equal Heaps – Division of Ancient Origin

This comprised of nine open huts which were divided into compartments where the divers carried their catch into them depositing them in the compartment in three equal heaps which was a division of ancient origin.

Two heaps were chosen by the British official as the Government’s share while the third was left for the diver. While the divers took their oysters to sell or open, the Government’s share was counted and auctioned to the merchants.

Thereafter the oysters were placed in small pits along the sea and allowed to decompose where the final remains were rinsed and the pearls were picked out and graded, The haul of the pearls which were of great value for their golden hue made their way to Bombay where they were perforated and tied into ropes and later on sent to dealers and brokers all across the globe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ball Lightning

Ball Lightning
Ball Lightning – Rare Weather Phenomenon

A rare weather phenomenon known as ball lightning has been observed for the first time in nature by Chinese scientists. Ball lightning is an unexplained electrical phenomenon which occurs during thunderstorm, is unpredictable and is the reason why the researchers do not know much regarding it. It tends to last for more than a second that is considered long lived for lightning but hard to capture and study.

Some reports state that the ball would explode sometimes with fatal consequences and would leave behind the odour of sulphur. Several scientific hypotheses have been proposed down the centuries about the ball lightning. A report published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry, last year, has made researchers at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, to figure out how to reproduce ball lightning in the lab. Electrodes were used partially submerged in electrolyte solution in order to create high power electric sparks which resulted in bright white plasmoid balls.

According to layman’s term, ball lightning seems to be a big flash of light which looks circular and appears during a storm in the sky. Sometimes it tends to have a blue glow and emanates from objects like lightning rods or ship masts.

Ball Lightning 1
Few Scientific Data – Infrequency/Unpredictability

Till 1960, several scientists debated that ball lightning was not a real phenomenon inspite of numerous sighting throughout the world and laboratory experiments could produce effects which seemed to be visually similar to the reports of ball lightning.

 Many are speculating whether these were related to the natural phenomenon. The scientific data with regards to ball lightning are few due to its infrequency as well as unpredictability. Its existence is presumed on basis of reported public sightings which has produced some inconsistent findings. Based on inconsistencies and the lack of reliable data, the true nature of ball lightning is yet unknown.

The first optical spectrum which appears to be a ball lightning event was published and included a video at high frame rate in January 2014.According to historical account it is considered that the ball lightning to be the source of the legends which describe luminous balls like the Mapuche Anchimayen of mythology and some have claimed that it is harmless and small while others state that it is dangerous and large.

Ball Lightning 1
Mike Lindsay/US Air Force Academy
Various Theories

A study done in 1960 shows that 5% of the population of the Earth witnessed ball lightning while another study analysed reports of around 10,000 cases. One such description was reported on 21st October 1638, during the Great Thunderstorm near a church in Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon, England, where four people died with around 60 injured during a severe storm when an 8 foot ball of fire struck, entered the church and destroyed it.

The huge stones from the walls of the church were hurled to the ground and through the large wooden beams and the ball of fire smashed the pews as well as several windows filling the church with the odour of sulphur and dark thick smoke. It was reported that the ball of fire had been divided into two parts with one exiting from the window by smashing it open while the other disappeared in some area in the church.

The conclusion at the time was that the ball of fire was the `devil’ or the `flames of hell’ and the fire had sulphur smell. Others blamed it on two people who had been playing cards in the pew during the service which aroused God’s wrath.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fringe Theory

Fringe Theory
Fringe theory - Viewpoint of Idea 

Fringe theory is a viewpoint or an idea held by a small group of supporters and includes the theories as well as the models of fringe science together with identical ideas in different areas of scholarship like humanities. It is used in a sense as a pejorative which is synonymous with pseudo-scholarship. Exact definition which classifies between the viewpoints, fringe theories and pseudo-scholarship may not be easy to construct due to the demarcation problems and issue of false balance could occur when these theories are presented as being same to the already accepted theories. Fringe theories are considered to be ideas which depart significantly from the existing or mainstream view in a specific field of study and are not the majority opinion or of the respected minority.

 According to Alexander Davidson, Financial journalist, he states that `such ideas as peddled by small band of staunch supporters’ though not necessarily without any merit. The theories tend to meet with varying levels of academic acceptance.

According to Daniel N, Robinson’s description he considered it as occupying `a limbo between the decisive dead end with the ultimately credible productive theory and though some fringe theories may comprise of work done to the much needed level of scholarship in respective field or study, the general term is close to the popular meaning of the word `theory’.

Discussed in Diverse Areas of Scholarship

Margaret Wertheim recommend that they should be considered in a manner which is similar to outsider art, curated at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, an 2003 exhibition which was dedicated to the work of Jim Carter, a fringe physicist.

 Fringe theories are discussed in diverse areas of scholarship including Biblical criticism, history, law, finance, medicine and politics, when the phrase is used in the context of fringe science. The theories also exist relative to fields of study which are beyond the mainstream like the cryptozoology.

Some ideas which were considered as fringe theories pejoratively were dismissed as out of touch with reality, cranks or crackpots by their advocates and are also at times considered to be interchangeable with or overlap, more disparaging categories like pseudoarchaeology, pseudohistory or pseudoscience.

Besides this, the term also describes conspiracy theories in derogatory sense and according to Richard Hofstadter, isan explanations of historical as well as political events for accomplishments of unrealistically powerful, secretive groups, `a vast insidious preternaturally effective conspiratorial international network.

Part of Established Scholarship

As described by Esther Webman it could also be conspirators of all superhuman power and cunning though the naming ideas as fringe could be less pejorative than to describe them as pseudo-scholarship and it is unlikely that it would identified as their own work as pseudoscience by anyone.

Most of the fringe theories tend to be part of an established scholarship and rejected ideas could help to refine mainstream thought. However external theories do not attempt it and they tend to be incorrect though some of the ideas tend to gradually receive wider acceptance till they are no longer considered as fringe theories and at times these theories tend to become the mainstream view and the known examples is Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift which served as the basis for a model of plate tectonics.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vulgate Manuscripts

Vulgate Manuscripts
The Vulgate – Latin Version of the Holy Bible

The Vulgate is the most famous name given to the Latin version of the Holy Bible which is a translation attributed to Jerome who was appointed by Pope Damasus I in 382 AD in order to make a revision of the old Latin translation.

Before Jerome, since the number of Latin speaking Christians grew, the Bible was translated to Latin. This helped the Christians of the time to understand the Bible better and it is believed that the first Latin translation was completed by 200 AD though no manuscripts of this era are traceable.

The first Latin manuscript was created in North Africa presuming that the church in North Africa was Latin speaking from the beginning when compared to the predominantly Greek speaking churches in Europe and Asia.

Towards the 13th century the revision came to be known as `versio vulgate’, which is the `commonly used translation’ and eventually it became the definitive as well as the officially promulgated Latin version of the Holy Bible of the Catholic Church.

Jerome Commissioned by Pope Damasus I

Pope Damasus I had commissioned Jerome to produce one standard Latin text since there were several different Latin versions of the Bible with different forms of text. He wanted the church to have one standard version in order to promote a universal doctrine and Jerome completed the translation by 400 AD.

Vulgate Manuscripts 1
His version was called the edition vulgate – the current text of Holy Scripture since he used the common or vulgar language of the early medieval era. Jerome began revising the Gospels by using Greek manuscripts that were available and at the same time he also began revising the Old Testament using Septuagint – a Greek version of the Old Testament.

 He also translated the Old Testament to Latin using the Hebrew text which he did without ecclesiastical sanction. The current Vulgate comprises of elements that belong to every period of its development which include:

An unrevised Old Latin text of the Book of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, 1 & 2 Maccabees and Baruch

An old Latin form of the Psalter, which was corrected by Jerome from the Septuagint

Jerome’s free translation of the books of Job and Judith

Jerome’s translation from the Hebrew Old Testament excluding the Psalter

An Old Latin revision of the Gospels from Greek manuscripts

An old Latin New Testament which was revised.

Vulgate – First Translation of the Old Testament 

After the death of the Pope, Jerome who was the Pope’s secretary made his base in Bethlehem and produced a new version of the Psalms, which was translated from the Hexaplar revision of the Septuagint though from 390 to 405 AD he translated afresh, all 39 books in the Hebrew Bible with a third version of the Psalms that survived in a few Vulgate manuscript.

This new translation of the Psalms was known as `iuxta Hebraeos’ by him, though it was not used in the Vulgate and the translations of the other 38 books were used. The Vulgate is credited as the first translation of the Old Testament in Latin directly from the Hebrew Tanakh instead of the Greek Septuagint.

As Jerome completed the translation of each book of the Bible, he also recorded his comments and observations with other scholars in an extensive correspondence where they were subsequently collected and appended as prologues to the Vulgate text for the books where they exist.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rockall – The Secret Island

Rockall is a small, uninhabited, remote islet located around 300 miles on the west coast of mainland Scotland. It is situated at the rough distances from the closest large island – 430 km North West of Ireland, 460 km west of Great Britain and 700 km south of Iceland.

 It lies within the United Kingdom’s exclusive economic zone and the nearest permanently inhabited place is the island of North Uist in the Scottish Outer Hebrids, 370 km towards the east. The islet measures over 80 feet wide at the base with a little over 70 feet in height and is the rocky peak of an extinct volcano.

Its earliest record was in 1810 which was made by Basil Hall, an officer who was stationed on HMS Endymion who is reported to have made the first recorded landing on Rockall though its actual position did not seem to be recorded till the year 1831, when chartered by Captain ATE Vidal, a Royal Navy surveyor. Rockall is the eroded core of an extinct volcano and is one of the few pinnacles of the surrounding area of Helen’s Reef.

Rockall – Marine Protected Area

The meaning and origin of Rockall is uncertain. The name of the islet, Old Norse could contain the element `fiall’, which means `mountain’. Moreover it has also been recommended that the name is from the Norse `rok’ which means `foaming sea’ and kollr, meaning `balk head, a word that seems to appear in other places in Scandinavian speaking areas.

Another presumption is that it is derives from Gaelic Sgeir Rocail which means `skerry of roaring’, or `sea rock of roaring’. Cold water coral mounds are found in the region which is presently being studied. These corals are slow in growth and long lived, a justification for designating Rockall and its waters as a Marine Protected Area of the micronation.

Towards late 16th century, the rock had been recorded though it is likely that some northern Atlantic fishermen already knew about the rock before its historical accounts surfaced. In the 20th century, the location of the island drew much interest due to the potential oil as well as fishing rights bringing about continuous debate between several European nations.

Peralkaline Granite – Rich in Sodium & Potassium

The island had also been of interest for adventurers as well as amateur radio operators who had landed briefly on various occasions and occupied the islet. Less than 20 individuals have confirmed landing on Rockall but the longest continuous stay of 42 days was by an individual. Rockall comprises of a type of peralkaline granite which is rich in sodium as well as potassium and within the granite are darker bands which are richer in the alkali pyroxene mineral, aegirine and the alkali amphibole mineral riebeckite.

While the dark bands could be a kind of granite which geologist terms it as rockallite, the use of this term has now been discouraged. Towards 1975, a new mineral surfaced on Rockall which was called bazirite that was named after the element, barium and zirconium.

The island forms part of the deeply eroded Rockall Igneous Centre which was formed as a part of the North Atlantic Igneous Province around 55 million years back when the ancient continent of Laurasia had been divided apart by plate tectonic. Europe and Greenland got separated while the northeast Atlantic Ocean was formed between them.

Marine Molluscs & Common Periwinkles

Common periwinkles and other marine molluscs are the islands’ only permanent macro-organism inhabitants.

Few seabird, like fulmars, northern gannet, black legged kittiwakes and common guillemots, make use of the rock to rest during summer while gannets and guillemots tend to successfully breed occasionally if the summer is calm without any storm waves washing over the rocks.

Overall there have been over twenty species of seabird and six other animal species identified on or near the islet. Surveys conducted in December 2013 by Marine Scotland brought to light four new species of animal in the sea surrounding Rockall and are believed to live in areas where hydrocarbons are released from the sea bed which is known as cold seep.

This discovery has led to the issue of restricting some forms of fishery in order to protect the seabed. Some of the species are Volutopsius scotiae Frussen, McKay & Drewery, 2013, a kind of sea snail around 10 cm long, Thyasira scotiana Zelaya2009, a clam and Isorropodon mackayi, a clam and Antonbruunia sp, a marine worm.

UK & Ireland Published EEZ – Resolved Disputes

United Kingdom had claimed Rockall in the year 1955 and had also claimed previously for an extended exclusive economic zone based on it. The extended zone claim was dropped due to ratifying UNCLOS in 1997 since rocks or islet like Rockall cannot sustain human habitation or even economic life which is not entitled to exclusive economic zone under the Convention.

Moreover these features are entitled to a territorial sea which extends 12 nautical miles and the UK’s claim to territorial water with Rockall was earlier disputed by Ireland based on uncertain ownership of the rock. Effective from March 31, 2014, the UK and Ireland published EEZ limits which helped to resolve any disputes with regards to ownership of the islet.