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Unorthodox Thoughts

chewing gum for the mind

The Greek philosopher Plato wrote of the legendary city of Atlantis in his dialogues of Critias and Timaeus.  Scholars debate whether or not Plato fabricated this story of Atlantis to be told as a parable or if the story was based on an actual myth from antiquity.

In any regard, there have been hundreds of books, magazine articles, blogs, television shows, documentaries, alien conspiracies and other works produced that have tried to correlate the Atlantis legend to a location on a map.

I am of the opinion that Atlantis, and other stories such as the Lost Continent of Mu, are merely faint memories of man’s distant past and are actually related to the 120 meters rise in sea level since the last glacial maximum.

Nothing mystical, nothing magical, just sea rise and the tendency for humans to settle and construct defensive formation on shorelines; getting covered up by water over time as the polar caps and glaciers melt and freeze during interglacial periods.

Yonaguni Underwater FormationsI have been following the discovery of underwater sites for quite a few years.  Each time one of these sites is found, some skeptic will show up and do their best to debunk the site as a naturally occurring formation.  I believe in a healthy amount of skepticism, but sometimes skeptics also resort to speculation when trying to dismiss potential discoveries.

Take for example, the underwater rock formations of YonaguniThe Yonaguni underwater rock formations are located to the south of Japan and east of Taiwan.  The top of the formation is about 5 meters below the surface and extends down another 20 meters.  Skeptics of Yonaguni proclaim that it is no different than the Giant’s Causeway, or perhaps Old Rag Mountain.  But if you visit the links for those formations or do some image searching, you won’t see anything similar to Yonaguni.  To me, Yonaguni looks more like Machu Picchu (pictured below) than something obviously created by nature such as Giant’s Causeway.  One of the skeptical arguments related to the Yonaguni site is that earthquakes caused the rock to shear into geometric shapes, which is possible of course.

Machu Picchu, Peru

In 1954, Leicester Hemmingway (Ernest Hemmingway’s brother), took an airplane from the United States to Havana, Cuba.  Hemingway was looking out the window of the plane and at one point exclaimed “A city of glistening marble” was visible below the sea.  He then spent the next forty years of his life looking for it, but never found it.  In 2009, a team of researchers found what they believe to be a sunken city in the western Carribean; roughly 40-70 feet below the surface of the water.

Sunken city

At 40 to 70 feet below the surface, this site close to Havana would be roughly 4-9 thousand years old.

I talk to people who often tell me, “We know more about space than our own oceans.  We should spend more time examining the oceans.”  There is a certain wisdom to those words as we seem to discover things thought previously improbable by science.

It seems that new species are discovered such as once thought to be extinct plants and sea life, giant squids and extremophiles each time we set out to explore the ocean’s depths.

(See parts 1 and 2 of the Legends of the Great Flood post below)

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transit of Venus

The Transit of Venus against our Sun will be viewable June 5-6th, 2012. This won’t happen again during our lives.

As I discuss in the post below on Sun myths, humans have studied the sky and Earth over long periods of time to look for patterns.  Some ancient cultures recorded those patterns as they were important for planting, harvesting, navigation and many other activities.

Today, observers of the heavens have much better tools at their disposal than those available thousands of years ago.  The use of telescopes has helped us to understand the last few hundred years pretty well and the patterns, such as sun spots, that allow future solar activity to be predicted.

2012 affords us some rare and interesting sky gazing opportunities.  Starting this week, and especially on May 5th (Saturday night), a Super Full Moon will be viewable.  This is the closest pass of the Moon to Earth (356,954 km) since 1912.

There is the Transit of Venus across the Sun that will be partially viewable on June 5th in the evening from North America and in Europe the whole transit will be viewable on the 6th.  This is a very rare conjunction of Earth, Venus and the Sun, which will line up in a near-perfect alignment and will not happen again during our lifetimes.

2004 Transit of Venus

The Solar Maximum for Solar Cycle 24 will peak late this year and early next year, which will result in increased activity from solar storms.  For those of us in North America, these solar storms could have attributed to our warm weather this Winter and the warmest March on record, when warm air flowed from the Gulf of Mexico Northeast through the central and New England states.  In contrast, Alaska, Europe and parts of Russia experienced their coldest Winter in what was perhaps hundreds of years.

As I have stated in the post below, our Sun’s poles are becoming asymmetric this month which has turned out to be a big surprise for scientists.  I have found a few more articles talking about this, but for now I think everyone is just watching and waiting before they comment.  This asymmetry is believed to have last happened during the Maunder Minimum of 1645-1715.  (read more in the post below on Sun myths)

If you go looking for evidence of solar effects on the planet, there is a general trend of science to downplay the role of the Sun as compared to the effects humans are contributing to such as increased levels of CO2.  There is evidence, as I point out in my post below, that our Sun’s magnetic field has an effect on weather here on Earth.  It seems that an increase of solar activity helps stop incoming cosmic rays.  Increased cosmic ray activity (seen in the Space Environment Overview chart within this post) can be linked to creating low precipitation clouds which have a cooling effect on our planet.  Solar cycle 25 (beginning in 2020 or so) is predicted to be the weakest solar cycle in roughly 300 years.

I agree that humans are destroying habitat too fast, burning way too much fossil fuels and are probably already exceeding the carrying capacity of our planet.  However, I am certain that our Sun, moon, planets and asteroids that make up our solar system and galaxy do have an effect on our planets’ ecosystem over time.  Recent discoveries are showing that as our solar system moves through our galaxy, it sometimes comes close to supernovae remnants and that there is a correlation to life thriving on Earth when that happens.

To say that Earth exists in some human-controlled vacuum where we have much more influence than earthquakes, volcanoes and the cycles of our Sun is arrogant.  After all, the Sun is 1,000,000 times the size of Earth and is essentially a giant nuclear explosion held together by gravity and magnetism.

To wrap up this post, I thought it would be fun to post some images related to Sun worship:

from wikipedia

Sun Obelisks

Great Seal and Horus, Sun GodSun RayJapanese Flag - Sun

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sun godFor many modern observers, it seems such a silly thing that ancient humans once worshipped the Sun.

If you examine Sun worship more closely, there are some interesting relationships of nature that the ancients may have passed down to us through myth.

Cultures who practiced Sun and nature worship observed, recorded and tried to predict the movements of our moon, stars and planets of our solar system for thousands of years.  Watching the sky would have been one of the most natural and available things to do at night, especially if you are a priest trying to predict the optimum planting and harvest cycles.

Sun as Creator God – In the universe, only three elements are naturally occurring; hydrogen, helium and lithium.  In the case of light elements such as boron, cosmic rays are involved in their creation.  For heavier elements such as gold, the energy of a supernova is required for their creation.  Humans, and all known life, are made up of elements that can only be fused together in a star.  In this regard, the ancient Sun worshippers were correct that the Sun is a creator and a catalyst for life.

Observing the Sun, and perhaps guessing that it is a creator is one thing, but predicting how it will behave is akin to prophecy.  Central to ancient religion was the ability to predict the eclipse of the Sun and the Moon as well as the position of planets; which were tied to omens and religious dogma such as the movement of the planet Venus.  In doing so, control could be exerted over commoners who would continue giving their power to the priest-class in return for the world not ending.

Around 1600-1500BC, the Olmec civilization sprang up in what is now Mexico.  The Olmec culture is responsible for many of the Mesoamerican technologies such as rubber, the number zero, advanced agriculture and rituals also found to be practiced by the later civilizations such as the Maya.  Some think their greatest innovation is the Long Count Calendar because of its accuracy over time.  One of the amazing things about this calendar is that it accurately predicts the axial precession of our planet every 26,000 years.

According to the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, the current world/era we are living in is the Fifth Sun.  This Fifth Sun (or era) started in September 6, 3114 BCE and is predicted to end in December of 2012.  The calendar and texts aren’t actually saying the world will end according to most scholars, but that the Fifth (cycle or era of the) Sun will end.

These are the Five Suns and their associated myths as passed down, to which I have added my own take on what this calamity may correlate to within the geological record in parenthesis:

Nasa and Hinode Predictions

In the Solar Cycles 1749 – 2040 Chart depicted, changes in the Sun’s radiated output are associated with periods of global warming and cooling and can be seen in the Dalton Minimum and End of Little Ice Age minimum.Every 11 years, our Sun’s north and south poles switch their polarity in a natural process.  This pattern has been observed for hundreds of years.  Until recently though, it was thought that the poles always switched at the same time.

May 2012 polar shift, Hinode / NASA

The Japanese research project called Hinode has changed our understanding of this 11 year solar pattern.  For some reason, our Sun’s poles are becoming asymmetric.  The last time this happened around the year 1600, the Earth went into a mini Ice Age with the coldest period being from 1645 to 1715AD.  “Right now, there’s an imbalance between the north and the south poles,” says Jonathan Cirtain, a space scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., who is also NASA’s project scientist for a Japanese solar mission called Hinode. “The north is already in transition, well ahead of the south pole, and we don’t understand why.”

This change in the Sun and associated reduction in solar spots (activity is lowest in more than 100 years) is reinforced by many scientific observers.  Could this have anything to do with our ancient Mesoamerican Sun Myths?  The Mayan and Toltec cultures were so concerned that they sacrificed tens of thousands of people to stop the end of the Fifth Sun.

Looking at the NASA projections for solar cycles 24 and 25, and the fact that the Sun’s global conveyor has slowed down dramatically; it is interesting to think that just maybe the Mesoamerican’s saw something in the patterns of nature they preserved in their mythos.  Solar cycle 24 is predicted to peak sometime in late 2012 or early 2013.

Read more about it by following the links in this post yourself and comment if you please on the content.  For all intents and purposes, there is no reason to believe that solar cycle 25 will be lower than the Maunder Minimum unless the Mayan and other Mesoamerican cultures were correct about the end of the Fifth Sun.

UPDATE – 5/10/2012 – Another version of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar was just discovered in Guatemala that continues on past the 13th Baktun.

(NOTE: This content was produced primarily for entertainment of the author and the readers of this blog.  I have tried to verify all of the information contained here and have added links to reputable sites supporting the data and interesting patterns as well.)

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Global warming is a controversial topic and the reason for the controversy has a lot more to do with economics and semantics than science.  To me, the whole semantics of the argument are divisive and need to be broadened and simplified.

All one has to do is ignore the reports from CNN, BBC and FOX News and spend ten minutes reading about the cycles of glaciation on this planet to understand what is happening.

Since the end of the last ice age roughly 12,500 years ago, the global sea level has risen roughly 360 feet.  What caused the rise is of course a combination of natural processes already underway, additional heat entropy and gas venting caused by the occasional volcanic eruption and most likely the presence of 7 billion energy-consuming, modern humans.

Our planet is currently in what is known as an interglacial (time between glacial periods) called the Holocene epoch, depicted in these images.  It seems that ice and permafrost have a role in locking up CO2 and methane and when they melt, it gets released.  What is very interesting and uncanny to me are the potential timeline correlations between the ‘Flood myths’ common to most cultures on Earth that I refer to in my post below.  To me, the correlation from man’s memory of a global flooding catastrophe and observed science is related to what scientists call a ‘meltwater pulse’, which happened at times to varying degrees both on a local and global level- perhaps explaining man’s ‘Flood myths’.

What has everyone excited about global warming is that this natural process of our ice melting and reforming could be accelerating now.  This would cause sea levels to rise, perhaps rapidly, perhaps not.  In any regard, this fear of sudden or prolonged sea level rise is both healthy and logical in my opinion.

My hope for the argument of global warming is that maybe a few people read this post and it slightly alters their perception of this topic as well as their understanding that ancient man can speak to us from the past, even if only through myth.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outburst_flood

Conservatives could look to religious doctrine such as our Great Flood and align them with scientific fact.  Examine this article I found on the National Center for Science Education website> http://ncse.com/cej/8/2/flood-mesopotamian-archaeological-evidence

Liberals could re-align the semantic of global warming to a broader pattern of climate change and apply a more non-divisive method of attacking the problem of human interaction within the environment.

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It is commonly accepted by most that before agriculture and animal husbandry held sway within the fertile crescent, most humans were rather brutish and simple people who were only concerned with their basic needs.  Hunting, fishing, gathering, shelter..

However we know that our brain’s ability to reason, at least on an anatomical level has remained the same for about 200,000 years.  We also know that there have been extinctions of roughly thirty known hominins (hominids); and these are not monkeys, these are humans I am talking about.

In fact, all hominins since homo habilis (2.4 million years ago) have been human.  All of these branches of humanity failed in the end, with the last failure happening between 30,000 and 24,000 years ago in Neanderthal. (but not until they gave us some of their DNA)  Could you imagine if there were other forms of human life that were sentient living on Earth with us today?  That was the reality during prehistory.

The Lascaux Cave paintings discovered in France by four teenagers in 1940 changed the way we think about pre-history to some extent.

Estimated to be between 17,000 and 30,000 years old, they not only represent art; but a good understanding of time and long-term project work, maintenance and restoration as the cave walls show forensic evidence of being painted (and the caves complex being occupied) over a period of 5,000 – 10,000 years.

lascaux caves, franceI have read articles written that ask silly questions such as “Can the Lascaux paintings be considered art?” After visiting Lascaux, Pablo Picasso emerged from the caves so impressed that he lamented, “We have discovered nothing!”

During the winter solstice sunset these paintings are lit up within the cave, implying an understanding of time and astronomical cycles.  The star constellations of the Bull, Unicorn and Capricorn are also depicted in the paintings; which in turn reinforce their dates of creation due to the known position of star constellations at the times of creation.

The interesting thing to me about Lascaux is that it was found in an undisturbed cave, safe from the ravages of man and nature.  In fact, after only 72 years the paintings have been seriously damaged by the presence of humans and are no longer able to be visited.  How did ancient man keep the same series of paintings congruent for 5,000 – 10,000 years?  To me, it implies a dedication to culture and a respect for the past that hasn’t been possible for the last 5,000 years at all.  Maybe we can learn more than just about art from the Lascaux paintings?

(NOTE – there is another hominin that died off between 17,000 and 12,000 years ago named Homo floresiensisThis was a dwarf human with a smaller brain and was discovered on the island of Flores, east of Java.  The brain of Home floresiensis was much smaller than Neanderthal and modern humans.  Coincidently, Neanderthal had a larger brain than ours.)

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Television shows like the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens are entertaining, but drive me nuts.  Speculation by weird looking people with floofy hair and titles like ‘research scientist’ are presented almost as fact- without any evidence presented whatsoever.  The result of this sensationalistic approach to what is actually a very interesting topic is that any respectable observer discards the argument in whole.

Some examples of pseudo-science and wishful thinking as related to Ancient Aliens and ancient aircraft that add to the confusion and detract from serious analysis, but there are far more:

  • The account of Alexander the great and flying silver shields as retold by the show Ancient Aliens cannot be corroborated historically and is taken from a single reference in a book written in the late 1800s.  For some reason, this is reprinted everywhere without any research being done to authenticate its validity as a historical sighting.
  • The assuredly faked Indian flying machine codex published in 1975, but claimed to be copied from earlier source documents, called the Vaimanika Shastra.
  • The 1950 FBI memo where a field informant reported the Roswell Incident and the recovery of aircraft.
  • Crop circles in general.
  • The ‘wooden bird model’ found in 1898 in a tomb at Saqquara, Egypt credited to be an ancient Egyptian aircraft by some.
  • There is also the carving of what looks to be a rocket with men standing outside of it supposedly discovered at Kush, Egypt, which also cannot be verified.

If you go looking for ancient aircraft and spend some time filtering out the new age sites, there are some relics, interesting formations best viewed from the sky, and historical accounts that appear to stand the test of skeptics (at least at a general level) and our current knowledge of aircraft design.

Here are some examples that I found compelling supporting at least the idea that the ancients may have understood flight dynamics:

In Egypt at a place called Abydos, there were hieroglyphs discovered in 1848 that appear to illustrate modern/futuristic aircraft.

discovered at Abydos, Egypt in 1848

discovered at Abydos, Egypt in 1848

The bizarre account of an air battle by the Mayor of Nuremberg, Germany on April 14th, 1561.

April 1561

Pre-Columbian Gold Planes, most were discovered to have working flight characteristics- SETI investigated.  There is much conjecture around this, but there was a good amount of research done with mixed results.  The link examines it from a skeptic’s perspective.

skeptics examination of ancient columbian artifacts that can actually fly!I have been very interested in the geoglyphs of the Nasca people of ancient Peru for some time.  Ancient Alien proponents use this as evidence of alien landing strips, but why does it have to be alien?  There is no reason to assume that phenomenon observed from Earth is extraterrestrial, is there?  Why do so many make this assertive leap so quickly without evidence?  The aspect of the Nasca lines that is intriguing to me is that these lines are very ancient, are difficult to see unless you are standing on certain hills in the area, and appear to be designed for best viewing from an airborne perspective.  I am not saying that they weren’t made by people on the ground for purveyance by gods as part of a religious or cultural ritual, but what a difference it makes to see observe them from an aircraft– and wow that looks like a modern airport.

nasca airstrips?? maybe not, but still pretty cool and relevant

A more conservative approach would be to assume that the human imagination could be at play in the form of ancient science fiction.  Man has always wanted to fly, has always had a penchant for storytelling, admired the hawk and eagle and dreamed of visiting the stars I am sure.  Something like a Jules Verne from antiquity could be at play.

In the Indian Sanscrit epics written 3000 years ago, The Mahabharata and Ramanaya, there are references to aircraft and perhaps what many believe could be advanced and/or nuclear weapons.

“It was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced to ashes the entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas.”

“An incandescent column of smoke and flame, as bright as ten thousand suns, rose with all its splendor”

“The universe is similarly said to consist of Vishnu. Vishnu is, again, the Soul of the holy Bhava of immeasurable energy. For this the touch of that bow-string became unbearable to the Asuras. And the lord Sankara cast on that arrow his own irresistible and fierce wrath, the unbearable fire of anger, viz., that which was born of wrath of Bhrigu and Angirasa. Then He called Nila Rohita (Blue and Red or smoke)–that terrible deity robed in skins, looking like 10,000 Suns, and shrouded by the fire of superabundant Energy, blazed up with splendour…”

(NOTE- My personal beliefs around aliens and ancient aircraft are agnostic, much as my belief in both religion and myth.  To overtly not believe or discard topics, without evidence, is nothing more than its own dogma.)

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The Great Flood, or Flood myth  as academia refers to it, is a story that is shared by most major cultures around the world explaining massive loss of life caused by water levels rising and an excess of rain.

Some prominent examples, but there are far more:

  • Christian/Judaism/Islam- Great Flood.  Man and family build craft to escape waters loaded with the animals of the Earth.
  • Mesoamerican- World is destroyed by water in the Fourth Sun.  Only one couple survives.
  • India- Manu saves mankind from a global flood.
  • Egypt- Book of the dead reference to a flood of antiquity.
  • China- Great Flood that continued for two generations.
  • Babylonian- Gilgamesh flood story.
  • Greek, Finnish, Native North Americans, Maasai in Africa.
  • In fact, there are more than 500 cultures that retell this story from their cultural and geographic perspective.

But is this only myth or the collective memory of mankind, passed down through the millennia via oral tradition?  Thinking about this since I was a child and doing quite a bit of reading, there are some uncanny pieces of evidence supporting the idea of a global flood and perhaps massive loss of life correlative to certain time periods:

  • Not more than 13,000 years ago, much of the continent of North America was mostly covered with ice.  This ice is known to have been as thick as 2 miles and caused sea levels to rise after melting.
  • Europe and Siberia were covered in massive glaciers as well.  This ice also melted and caused sea levels to rise.
  • Herodotus, the Greek historian well-known as being the first (at least Western) historian visited Egypt circa 450B.C.  During his visit, he documented what he saw in a book called “An Account of Egypt” (free book on amazon/itunes).  In this book, Herodotus witnessed salt incrustations part-way up the sides of the Great Pyramid.  Upon excavation of the Queens chamber and other parts of the pyramid, archaeologists discovered more heavy salts deposited on the interior walls.  I have only seen pseudo-science explanations for these salt deposits.. flooding makes the most sense in my opinion.
  • The Arab historian al-Biruni (973-ca – 1050) is also credited with noting that the pyramids were found to have salt encrustations on their sides before the casings on the pyramids were removed by the Sultans.
  • Most of the world’s modern ancient and great societies have calendars that call our world/era roughly 5000 years old, no matter where they originate geographically.  China’s calendar is 5000 years old, so is the Mesoamerican, Hebrew and many more.
  • There is evidence for a massive comet hitting our planet roughly 5,000 years ago as postulated by Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  • Yonaguni in Japan and other currently underwater formations that at least appear to be man-carved are being examined.

I have also read many articles written by respectable scientists and researchers that attempt to debunk or minimize the stories of a great flood; castigating the stories as religious or superstitious beliefs related to a specific geographic area and its social mores.

On the flip side of the coin, you have what I will call ‘religious researchers’- not usually researchers at all- but simply people of faith that are well-funded looking to locate the resting place of Noah’s Ark on Mt. Ararat or something.. again this usually takes the form of speculation instead of research that has scientific control variables.

Just as today, the major cities of Earth sat on the world’s shorelines.  As a former sailor, I know the relationship that sea transport has to logistics and projection of power.  If our polar caps melt off in our lifetimes, most projections show that we are in for some trouble.  Remember Fukushima last year? The relevance is that almost all nuclear power plants are located on the coasts for cooling purposes.  Tokyo, New York, London, Amsterdam and most other major coastal cities on Earth would be submerged.  In short, rising sea levels will cause a cataclysm on man because resources that were once plentiful will become scarce– and fast.  Populations would surge for high-ground and conflict would ensue.

To me, it is silly that the questions of where the flood took place are being scrutinized.  It seems that everyone has an agenda when religious topics are examined.  Perhaps my agenda is to simplify the question and step back a little bit to a more common frame of reference, at least on a global scale, and play the philosopher.  Let’s try William of Occam, whose Occam’s Razor postulate states in paraphrase “other things being equal, a simpler explanation is better than a more complex one.”

Due to the volume of ice on land at glacial maximum, sea level was approximately 120 meters lower than present!  The ice that used to lock all that fresh water up on land was melted into the rivers to be carried out to sea.  All that fresh water killed man and fish, led to destabilization in environment and a mass extinction occurred.. perhaps more than once in human memory.

Questions for thought:

Are any of these myths and their timelines correlative on a global scale?

As the giant sheets of land and sea ice melted, is it possible that this could have destroyed many of the existing structures on Earth?  (sorry this is leading, but ties into one of my ideas I will publish here about why only stable stone structures from antiquity remain.)

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