From the Stacks 9


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

I for iceman

Sometime in the mid-1990’s my husband and I went to a public presentation at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (a.k.a. Fermilab). Before CERN, Fermilab’s accelerator was the place to be for experiments on particle physics. (I did say I was a nerd) Researchers from around the world work there and to keep everyone happy and entertained in the off hours, they have guest speakers and concerts. This particular guest speaker was talking about something extraordinary. Climate change melting the 20-mile thick ancient ice off portions of the Alps had uncovered a prehistoric man who’d been buried in glacial ice for millennia. And he had his prehistoric clothing and tools with him!

OetzitheIceman-glacier-199109b[1]It all started when a pair of hikers walked the Alpine Italian-Austrian border that geographically divides the Alps and got more than an outing when they stumbled upon the mummified body of an ancient man in an exposed gully bed. At first the pair didn’t know what to think. Was this a missing hiker? Ice bodies do turn up from time to time. The snowy Alps can be a rough place. Even Napoleon’s frozen soldiers turn up on occasion. When authorities were called on the scene, they knew they had something different. Recent ice bodies, those lost in the last several years or so, go through this weird process where fat from inside the body somehow ends up on the outside. This body was freeze-dried. It didn’t have that typical lumpy coating of fat found on more recent ice bodies. Sure enough, they discovered this guy was old. 5,300 years-old, in fact. He came from the late Neolithic or early Chalcolithic period (Copper Age).

Nicknamed Ötzi, he would become the most otzithoroughly studied mummy ever found. Through intense scrutiny, scientists have pieced together an astoundingly complete view of this man’s world and his final hours in it. The image shown here was built upon physical data collected by CT scans.

Here’s a brief idea of what they’ve learned since I first heard about him back in the 1990’s.

  1. Ötzi was a progressive. Rather than a life of a hunter gatherer common at this time, his clothing made of domestic animals skins reflect he was shepherd who tended cows and sheep.
  2. He was a pastoralist. His woven grass cape and moss-packed hide boots suggests he slept out with his flock. His tools suggest a crafty man who could make whatever he needed on the spot.
  3. Ötzi had Lyme Disease, whipworms, and arthritic knees. He stood 5’3″ tall and weighed approximately 110 pounds. He was in his 40’s and also had tattoos. Originally artists had given Ötzi blue eyes. His DNA says brown.
  4. His last meal had been cultivated wheat (possibly bread), deer and ibex meat, and plums. It also suggests he wasn’t far from home when he died. Scientists also found an herb called hop hornbeam in the undigested mix. It’s known for treating upset stomachs. He was lactose intolerant.
  5. Though he may have fathered children, his DNA reflects his mother’s line is now extinct. He does have distant relatives, however. 19 men alive today share a paternal ancestor.
  6. He was murdered by an arrow in the back. His head wound and a severe hand wound when coupled with the fact the stone arrowheads in his pouch have the blood of four different people on them, all suggest he’d been in a rather savage fight over a period of three to eight days. Perhaps he retreated to the mountains after and was followed. The fact his stomach was full shows he had time to eat well. It also suggests his death was a result of a surprise attack. Someone pulled the arrow shaft from his back, leaving the arrowhead inside. Was it his murderer? That remains a mystery.

~More~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X05-uMWzAhA

Here’s a hands-on take on Ötzi’s world

http://www.icemanphotoscan.eu

http://www.iceman.it/en

~*~

I for Infinity Mushroom.

Writers understand a fundamental truth — that next creative spark often comes from something that has captured the imagination. The impetus could be something simple like a color, texture, or scent. It could come from a song, a breeze, or materialize out of a conversation with friends. My mind is like that warehouse scene at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie. I never know what my brain will want to store away for later. I love to learn things and often add such imaginative seeds to my stories. I’m a complex collector. What’s more, I have a very good sense of wonder… if I do say so myself. :) Out of all the weird pieces of information shelved in my head, this one has to be one of the oddest. But in its oddness, it makes sense. Judge for yourself.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, we have 287 toxic chemicals in our body — 180 cause cancer in humans, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects. From pesticides to preservatives, we’re loaded. When we die, our bodies release this garbage into the environment where it continues to pass on its nastiness to the soil, the things growing in the soil, the creatures eating those things grown in the soil and the ground water.

Enter visionary Jae Rhim Lee. Lee is training fungi to consume her own body tissue. Small amounts of skin, hair, nails, blood, bone, fat, tears, urine, feces, and sweat have been put in petri dishes and mushroom cultures grown on them. Why? To create mushrooms that can be used in what’s called Decompiculture — in other words, using mushrooms to decompose the human body quickly, rather than allowing those hazardous chemicals stored in the body, and the extra toxins from embalming, to leach into the ground.

I think it’s a grand idea. It’s also a great spark for that next sci-fi or horror novel.

mushrMushrooms might very well clean up our act on the planet. Mycologist Paul Stamets is a leading researcher on the use of mushrooms in bioremediation (the use of microorganisms like fungi to clean up pollutants). He says they can break down even the most stubborn pollutants like oil spills. He’s figured out that fungi transform contaminants into benign carbon dioxide and water, and that common wood-decay fungi, the ones that grow on trees, are particularly good at breaking down the toxic components of petroleum. And after that work is done, the mushrooms are edible!

Authors, just so you know, the Decompiculture mushrooms are edible too. Now there’s a novel in the making. Stephan King might have a go. (Paul DeLancey, if you’re reading today’s blog, I thought of your murder series when I posted this. :) )

More~
The groundbreaking work of Paul Stamets:

http://www.fungi.com/

The Infinity Burial Project and the Infinity Mushroom:
http://infinityburialproject.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7rS_d1fiUc?rel=0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AKi2krWNEw?rel=0

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Sam Cheever’s blog day. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

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If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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From the Stacks 8


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

H for Hobo Nickels

People who know my family know my husband does his Quest. That’s his term for shopping for Christmas presents for me. His goal is to find the most unusual things he can find because as he said to me once, “the gifts have to be unusual because you’re an unusual person.” Yep, that’s me. One year he came home with seven Hobo Nickels. At their heart these are the old buffalo nickels (also called Indian head) with an American buffalo on the tail side and a Native American man on the head side. But Hobo nickels are more than just their 5⊄ value (or whatever value individual old coins have). They are micro canvases for artistic expression.3

As far back as coinage goes, if someone minted coins, there was someone defacing them. I’ve found reference to ancient Chinese coins being altered with images of puppets, horses, and elephants. The Victorians were big on love tokens I have two (from my husband’s quest) with faces smoothed away and flourished script carved in its place. These were worn as jewelry or on watch fobs. My husband collects Hard Times Tokens, those odd shop coins that stood in for currency when the nation had it’s first economic Depression in the early 1800’s. He has a few with holes drilled in them so they might be worn like a token or a pendant. In other words, defaced.

The Buffalo Nickel was minted at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mint facilities and was in circulation from 1913 to 1938. Hobo nickel carving as we know it began in 1913 shortly after they were released to circulation. Collectors know this because more are dated 1913 than at any other time before 1930 suggesting this interesting craft became a fad that year of release. That large face and buffalo on the easily manipulated metal just begged to be altered with penknives and nails. Lore has it these things were made by the hobos of the Great Depression to give in exchange for a bite to eat or a place to sleep for the night. According to some accounts of the time, the nickels were among other handicrafts traded exactly so. Others believe they are called hobo because one of the more 1common carvings is a bearded man in a shabby hobo-style hat. I’m sticking with the hobo story because some of the coins can be raced back to two artist hobos who met each other in one of the many hobo jungles a.k.a. camps along the rail yards. Bert Wiegand (carving from 1913 to 1949) signed his coins by carving away at L I B E R T Y until he got B E R T. Bert’s buddy and disciple carver was Bo Hughes (carving from1915 to 1980). Bo’s fun creations turned the buffalo into an elephant or a donkey.

No longer the artwork of the itinerant rail rider, modern carving is a popular hobby and coin show attraction. It’s estimated that upwards of 200,000 hobo nickels have been made since 1913. Some have sold for more than $2000 a piece. My husband gave me a roll of nickels and an engraver. I think I’ll carve an elephant!

More~
Useful to know: the oldest hobo nickels are the ones with the duosharpest coin detail, such as dates or lettering. Coins that spent a lot of time in circulation show wear in these areas.

So many hobos!

Modern carving (a youtube channel full of live carving)

 
~*~

H for Hadrian’s Wall

Between northern England and Scotland, running east and west for about 74 miles, Hadrian’s Wall marked the most northerly frontier of the Roman Empire. Named for Emperor Hadrian, it was an attempt to establish a defendable border between southern civilized Britain and the unconquered north. Manned by Roman troops and non-Roman citizen units, the barrier kept the barbarians away. These fearsome peoples were also known as the Picts or Caledonians. You might know them as the lowland Scots.

The initial construction took approximately six years, though expansions were made as need presented itself. Like the Great Wall of China, the wall was constructed of the ready materials of the area. Forty-one miles of the wall was built of stone, the rest of turf. Along the way, ditches were dug and ramparts raised, milecastles were added to house soldiers, and turrets were constructed to defend from.
hwallmapThe fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century ushered in the beginning of the Dark Ages. Large sections of the wall fell to ruin and the wall’s necessity to obsolescence. Over time, portions were scavenged for building materials. This piece of Roman occupation was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

More~
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1E6duB_usI?rel=0

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday’ guest is Author Lynn Rae. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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From the Stacks 7


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

G for Gargoyles & Grotesques

Mention gargoyles and I think of those stoic winged sentinels on the lofty centuries-old architectural corners in Notre Dame cathedral. Why? Got me. Either Victor Hugo planted the image in my head with his novel Hunchback of Notre Dame, or it’s the fact there are 5000 Gargoyles and Grotesques all over the cathedral. 5000! Along with the architectural marvel of flying buttresses, I find that number pretty astounding. I believe most of the grotesques are found in the gallery. The gargoyles are mostly on the façade waiting for rain and quietly monitoring the comings and goings of Paris.

gargoylesThe name Gargoyle comes from gurgulio; Latin for gurgle. I assume the rainwater funneling through them off the roof makes a sound. Such water spouts were a regular feature in Ancient Greece and Rome and later in the Gothic constructions found throughout Europe. Some pour rainwater from their mouths, others from their backsides. But then they are demons and monsters. The idea was the gargoyles jutted far from the roof to prevent water from eroding the structure foundations. The more gargoyles, the less damage to any one section.

As for the symbolism on the necessary drainage, long-necked griffins, demons, and monsters are popular themes. I’ve read two lines of thought regarding the sculptures — they remind the populace that demons abound or they keep genuine evil away from the churches. Perhaps it was simply artistic license. Whichever they were, they were essential to the ostentatious glory that epitomized medieval church construction. Such outward abundance was necessary. Before Gutenberg’s press put knowledge into the hands of the common man, elaborate façades visually told stories of heaven and hell to the ignorant. To the Renaissance Humanists, such symbolism represented the world turned upside down, where monsters didn’t guard the church, they guarded the world from the monsters within. (Remember, the Renaissance had the Inquisition. And that’s a post for another day.) Gargoyles gained a new popularity in the Victorian Gothic Revival of the mid-1800’s.

If it isn’t a water spout, it’s not a gargoyle, it’s a grotesque.

People often confuse gargoyles with grotesques-gargoyles-10grotesques. Those twisted faces, beasts, and Chimeras that are either decorative (that does sound rather odd) or they serve a purpose such as a capital (column topper) or corbel (weight support). Even the jovial faces of Bacchus and the lovely caryatids, those goddess-like women supporting the roof line, fall under the grotesque category.

The more you study gargoyles and grotesques, the clearer their themes become. In fact, you’ll see the remnants of European paganism. One of the happier pagan figures is the overtly sexual Sheelagh-na-Gig.

More~
Here’s an interactive gargoyle map in Washington DC National Cathedral. There’s actually a Darth Vader grotesque up on the roof somewhere. The USA has other sites featuring these interesting sculptures. Look to older buildings and you might see the grotesques. Given their downspout task, the gargoyles might be harder to find. This list will get you started in the USA:

University of Chicago & the Tribune Tower
New York’s Woolworth Building & Chrysler Building
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Arizona
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York
San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral
University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh’s Calvary United Methodist,
& First Presbyterian Churches

Princeton University in New Jersey
The First Baptist Church, Lauderdale Street in Selma, Alabama

Lots of gargoyle info here

Gargoyles of Europe

~*~

G for Gobekli Tepe.

In the 1960s, Turkish and American anthropologists surveyed the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. In a land studded with history, they came upon limestone slabs jutting a few inches out of the ground and at a glance determined they were Byzantine grave markers. In other words, just another historical site in an area full of archeological sites.

In 1994, Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute of Istanbul read the initial findings. Visiting the site, he recognized something much older. The simple limestone-slab “Byzantine grave markers” turned out to be the very tops of intricately carved pillars, some standing 10 feet tall. Today this Neolithic site is called Gobekli Tepe and its discovery has rocked the known history of civilization off its comfortable foundation.

Believed to be a temple built long before the wheel was invented, Gobekli Tepe is at least 14,000 years old –  older than the oldest structures in Egypt, older than Stonehenge, and older than agriculture. The most puzzling piece of information – the site was intentionally buried! That’s more than 30 acres of monuments intentionally covered under one basketful of dirt at a time. Just imagine the scope of that undertaking.

I’ve been following the story since it came to light in the 1990’s. As an author, this mystery certainly speaks to me. New information arises as more of this deliberately hidden site is excavated. It’s definitely news worth following. You can start with these:

http://ghn.globalheritagefund.org/explore.php?id=1327

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/gobekli-tepe.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JaJuuq8dcU?rel=0

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Cara Marsi’s blog day. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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From the Stacks 6


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing  a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
:D

F for Funeral Mementos
Just as Hollywood celebrity inspires fans to go under the knife to look like their favorite stars, and TV shows such as Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous encourage spending beyond one’s means, other periods in history had their own celebrities to emulate. I think it safe to say none had the social impact of Britain’s Queen Victoria . Practically everything the woman did became in vogue. Some of what we do today can be traced back to her. From child rearing to greeting cards to style to Christmas trees, she made an impact.

When typhoid fever claimed the life of Prince Albert that sad December in 1861, Queen Victoria was devastated. In dealing with her loss, she unintentionally set a mode for society. The Queen mourned her husband for 40 years and because of that, death became fashion.  Aside from wearing black every day for the rest of her life, she made sure their home stayed exactly as it was on the day her husband died. This included his clothes set out for the day, his toilette prepared for his shave, his place at the table set, and other sad daily rituals for a husband who was no longer there.

Regarding Victorian death rituals, there were very strict rules to follow: mirrors were covered, buntings hung, certain colors worn at certain times over the length of the mourning period. But it wasn’t enough that morning ritual was prolonged and the lives of the living impacted beyond their grief, a booming death business sprang into being. More than one city and hairtown had the latest embalming techniques advertised in mortician shop windows. Coffins and hearses and cemeteries all reflected the ostentatious Victorian flair.

Another common practice involved weaving your dear departed’s hair into flowers etc either for display  or 2abed9dadf413492922b52a5d0a5688dto be worn as jewelry.

One of the strangest things from the Victorian era occurred when the unusual focus on death partnered with that newfangled  invention photography and gave us The Memento Mori (Latin for remember that you must die)

In my opinion, this was the pinnacle of the death rituals — having life-like photos taken of your deceased as a memento. Elaborate stands and contraptions would hold the body in life-like poses. Eyes were painted on closed eyelids. And often, living family members joined in the photo shoot. I’ve seen dozens of these images and the photos that show the deceased child sitting side by side with a living sibling are the most haunting to me. It’s the confusion in their eyes. Death is hard enough for children to comprehend.

How often do we stumble across old Victorian era photos in antique stores or even in our attics? I’ve seen beautiful sleeping children and had no idea that sleep was eternal. I’ve seen others posing for the camera with staring faces. I’ll look closely next time. I might see the stands that aided the pose and those staring eyes might just be painted on.

The following pictures look like average photographs from the Victorian era, but in fact, they are love tokens — funerary mementos made to capture the life that was. I show them here in tribute to the love behind them.
Picture1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~*~

F for Fractals and Fibonacci.

Before I go into the work of mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, I’ll begin with a brief explanation of the Fibonacci Sequence. For brevity’s sake, I’ll skip the fine details of this mathematical creation, but I urge to everyone to delve into it. It all starts with a man of the Middle Ages, a mathematician named Leonardo Fibonacci. Once you understand it, it’s utterly fascinating, especially when you see evidence of it everywhere. In my understanding, the Fibonacci Sequence concerns these integers, or whole numbers, laid out like so:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89….ad infinitum.

See how that works? 0 + 1 = 1. 1+1=2. 1+2=3. 3+2=5 and all the way to 34+55=89 and beyond. If you worked this formula out on graph paper with squares and rectangles, you’d eventually get what’s known as the Divine Proportion or Golden Mean.

mandlebrotOk, so you have a basic idea of the Fibonacci Sequence. What about Mandelbrot? He’s the modern day mathematician who came up with the mathematical term Fractal, and he’s known for one in particular – the Mandelbrot Set. Suffice to say he used an equation that’s too over my head to explain here, but this is what he did — After entering the math into a computer, he got a computer-generated image that graphically represents the behavior of his  equation. And it had the old Fibonacci Sequence inside of it! To mathematicians, this phenomenon is unexplainable via their notions of how the math works. It’s still unknown as to why the Fibonacci sequence appears in the Mandelbrot Set.

The following video is a long one, but well worth it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LemPnZn54Kw?rel=0

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday’s guest is Author Ellen Gragg. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~
Our March contest is starting soon.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

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If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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Fun Day Sunday & Weekend Happenings


funday smileIf you’ve been here before then you know Sundays on my blog are all about wonder and smiles. In honor of mentally kicking back once in a while, Sundays are Fun Days! Each Sunday, visitors will find a fun, interesting, or unusual something here. I’m a nerd with a complex sense of humor and absurd wit. It could literally be anything.

I’ve always shared my life with pets, furred, feathered, scaled, and more.  I still do. Animals just enrich our lives. I stumbled upon these fanciful little food fests last year. This looks like something my kids would have done when they were young. Very cute.

Take in the looks of yummy bliss on these little faces. I hope you enjoy their smiles and gain one of your own.

Adorable. See the rest of the mini food fests~
http://youtu.be/iieQDN7l_Yw
http://youtu.be/XPHlHuhBVFI
http://youtu.be/LqbYVr5jBVk
http://youtu.be/JOCtdw9FG-s

❋❋❋

My Other Weekend Happenings~

Weekend Writing Warriors
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

My Sexy Saturday & Sexy Snippets
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Sunday Snippet
**A promo op for you too!**
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Desiree Holt’s blog day.
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~ Our February contest is on.
Two – $50 GIFT CARDS & MORE.

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If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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~Coming Soon~

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From the Stacks 5


My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ve been sharing  a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy.
:D

E for Easter Island Moai

thThe ancestors of the Polynesians reached the far corner of the triangular Pacific island territory that made up their world at about 1000 BCE. These peoples were nighttime seafarers and followed the heavens until they chanced upon a remote land mass and made it their home. We know that land as Easter Island.

It’s said the island once had a thriving population, as many as 15,000 inhabitants. Just 100 years before the Dutch arrived in 1722, the history of the island says two factions –the Short-Ears and the Long-Ears– had a civil war. In 1770 a Spanish expedition found a population of 3000. Just four years later when British navigator Sir James Cook entered the scene, only around 600 men and fewer than 30 women remained. By 1877 only 111 native peoples were left. Were I to guess, I’d say diseases like smallpox contributed to the population’s decline. Any western disease to an isolated population would exact a terrible toll.

Before the Dutch decided to name the island for Easter Sunday, the day of their discovery, oral tradition says one of the island’s names was Eyes looking to the sky. Others use the name Rapa Nui. I think Eyes looking to the sky fits beautifully because of more than 1000 Moai — the famous Easter Island heads.

Surprising fact #1: The familiar heads are actually full-bodied statues buried to their chins in sediment. Recent archeological digs reveal the Moai have arms and wear sculpted clothing. They have tattoos too.

Who knew?


With their heavy brows and chiseled profiles (no pun intended), these enigmatic statues epitomize the mystery of the place. All but seven watch over the land, their backs to the sea. The seven facing the vast blue ocean are thought to wait for their king. No one really knows why they’re there or what was meant in their creation. There’s an assumption that the Moai were made in the likenesses of ancestors. There is also some thought that the bodies housed the essence of the sacred. One of the more interesting bits of information I’ve uncovered has to do with Leprosy. There’s some opinion that the Moai’s severe physical features may indicate the ravages of that terrible disease — that perhaps the Moai were made to ritually undo the effects in the spirit world. (Apparently the afflicted were ostracized on other Polynesian islands.) As I haven’t uncovered more than that regarding leprosy, I’ll take that supposition with a grain of salt.

Another mystery is the complete lack of trees. Islands by nature are fragile ecosystems. By the time of European discovery, this one was deforested. To peoples relying upon the sea for most of their food, lack of wood would mean starvation in the long run. Perhaps this added to their population decline. If you can’t build boats, you can’t fish beyond the shoreline. Were the island’s forests cut down to make transport logs for the 13 ton Moai? That was the prevailing thought for years. But then someone made an brilliant deduction…

Surprising fact #2
Legend says the Moai walked from the places they were carved. That’s right, the 13 foot tall, 13 ton statues carved from volcanic tuff walked to their resting places. The largest statue made of a single block weighs about 82 tons and is approximately 32 feet tall. To see that walking down from the hills must have been a powerful sight.

I can’t explain it better than this. And seeing is believing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5YR0uqPAI8

More:
Easter Island was made an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

See the full uncovered Moai
Save the Easter Island Statues

An interesting explanation of the island’s Bird Man Cult

~*~

E for Enterolith.

When Ron Weasley inadvertently drank poison in the novel The Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter saved his life by stuffing a bezoar into Ron’s mouth. A bezoar is an Enterolith — a stone-like formation, or concretion, found in the gastrointestinal tract of certain animals, especially ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and giraffes). Just like a pearl forming around a grain of sand inside a mussel shell, enteroliths generally grow around an undigestible irritant such as a stone or piece of twine. They’re mostly comprised of hair and stomach secretions and are really not all that rare. Odd to note, these stones have inexplicably built a reputation as lucky things. Odder still, enteroliths are ground and used as Chinese folk medicine.

The name bezoar comes from the Arabic word badzehr, which literally means antidote. For centuries, enteroliths were believed to cure the effects of any poison, hence JK Rowling’s use of them in the Harry Potter story. This age-old belief was put to a test in 1575, when a cook at King Henry III”s court was caught stealing and was sentenced to death by hanging. It just so happened that Ambroise Pare, surgeon and bezoar skeptic, desired to test the antidote properties of the enterolith that day. Given the choice, the cook agreed to be poisoned rather than be hung. Needless to say, the cook died in agony several hours later. Bezoars are also said to cure animals and people of rabies. This is done by attaching the stone to the wound to suck out the poison.

Considering their historical and modern uses, it’s no surprise that enteroliths are also called Madstones. This makes perfect sense to me. 

bezoarImagine popping one of these beauties into your mouth. *gag* 

Come back tomorrow for my Funday Sunday post!

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday is Author Renee Vincent’s blog day. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~ Our February contest is on. Two – $50 GIFT CARDS & MORE. Authors~ check out our promo services.

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If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

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~Coming Soon~

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From the Stacks 4 & Hump Day Happenings


Boy is it cold outside. I heard it was in the 20s down in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Too cold for that far south. I checked our weather for today and see we have a wind chill advisory on. The little dog and I will forgo our midday walk. Neither of us need frostbite. She’s such a high-energy little pup. She needs that brisk walk as much as I do. If only I could get us both on the treadmill together.
:)

I felt the vibration of seasonal discontent the other day — little things like walls needing spackle and paint touch-ups and windowless bathrooms in need of a good bleaching. That vibration means I’ll be spring cleaning soon. I mentioned it to my husband the other morning. His reply — Great. Mind you, “great” must be imagined with the Volga Boatmen song playing in the background. The poor man. I’ve been doing my spring cleaning/annual purge for nearly 30 years. lol

I’ve already started cleaning out my computer. Good lord I save everything..something things more than once! I’ve found bits of writing from my two favorite events from Aprils past– the Authors in Bloom blog hop and the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ve been sharing  a few A to Z posts lately.
Today it’s D. I hope you enjoy.
:D

 

D for Doggerland

Sometime in the middle of the last century, trawling Dutch fishermen working the North Sea began hauling up things in their nets no one ever expected to see — enormous tusks and bones from wooly mammoths and mastodons, and the bones of giant aurochs, woolly rhinos, and other ice age animals. The story goes that fishermen threw these things back in the water, being set in their opinions of what one should expect to haul from the sea.

Amateur paleontologist, Dick Mol, heard of the unusual findings and persuaded the fishermen to bring their tusks and bones to him along with the coordinates of where they had been found. Imagine his surprise when the captain bought him a well-preserved human jawbone with worn molars. Radiocarbon dating says the jawbone is 9,500 years old and came from a man living in the Mesolithic period (12,000 years ago)

Why would a 9,500 year old jawbone be trawled from the North Sea?

During the last ice age, Great Britain wasn’t a handful of islands, it was the western-most tip of the glaciated European mainland. As much of the earth’s water was tied up in ice, lowlands weren’t submerged as they are today. This low-lying land that tied the UK to the rest of Europe was approximately 18,000 square miles in size. This region is refereed to as Doggerland (named for the Dogger Bank — a large hazardous sandbank). The area is thought to have supported large numbers of Mesolithic people. Among fossilized evidence of mammoths and other mega-fauna and game animals, divers have also found harpoons, flint tools, and suspected burial sites. It would appear people lived on Doggerland until the rising sea swallowed a substantial portion of the landmass and cut the UK from the continent. Exploration is ongoing and researchers expect to find standing stones and burials in addition to settlement areas. Can you just imagine? :D

doggerland

This fascinating video is shown in 7 parts.
Follow the links at the end of each clip
to the next chapter

 D for Dolmen.

Usually, when people think of megalithic construction, the first thing that comes to mind is Stonehenge. The fact is, there are prehistoric stoneworks of all sorts peppered across Europe, the Middle East, parts of Asia, and even in the Americas. The early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BCE) saw a lot of this puzzling megalithic construction. One such enigma is the dolmen.

A dolmen, also known as a portal tomb or quoit, consists of large upright stones that support an equally large and flat horizontal capstone. It’s believed they were originally covered with earth and what we see today is actually the skeleton of the structure.

No one knows exactly who built them or what their purpose was. The most widely accepted theory is dolmen are tombs or burial chambers, but there’s little archeological evidence to back that up. The one thing everyone is certain of… they’re old. At least 7000 years old. This means the mysterious builders were contemporaries of the ancient Egyptians.
dolmenOther Wednesday Happenings

Books Hooks
http://theancillarymuse.blogspot.com/

Paranormal Love Wednesday *NEW for me*
http://calliopesotherwritingtablet.blogspot.com/

Hump Day Blurb Share
(Open promo opportunity for authors. Readers find great reads!)
http://exquisitequills.blogspot.com/

~❋~❋~❋~

RB4U purpleToday’s guest is Author Nina Pierce
http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/

Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~ Our February contest is on.
Two – $50 GIFT CARDS & MORE.
Authors~ check out our promo services.

~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~❋~

If you enjoy my daily musings, subscribe to get them sent to your inbox, or if your inbox is as packed as mine is, check out the Networked Blogs tab on the right and get all the blogs you follow in one daily notice. A year full of curious and compelling posts awaits!

all7books-smallSample my scorching love stories for free!


~Coming Soon~

anniv2015

trrbanner

Posted in Past Posts - you'll never know what you'll find | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments