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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Daily Drift

Yeah, it's like that ...!
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 Gothic Romance ... !
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Today in History

1246 Henry Raspe is elected anti-king by the Rhenish prelates in France.
1455 King Henry VI is taken prisoner by the Yorkists at the Battle of St. Albans, during the War of the Roses.
1804 The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially begins as the Corps of Discovery departs from St. Charles, Missouri.
1856 U.S. Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beats Senator Charles Sumner with a cane for Sumner's earlier condemnation of slavery, which included an insult to Brooks' cousin, Senator Andrew Butler.
1863 Union General Ulysses S. Grant's second attack on Vicksburg fails and a siege begins.
1868 The "Great Train Robbery" takes place as seven members of the Reno Gang make off with $98,000 in cash from a train's safe in Indiana.
1872 The Amnesty Act restores civil rights to Southerners.
1882 The United States formally recognizes Korea.
1908 The Wright brothers register their flying machine for a U.S. patent.
1939 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini sign a "Pact of Steel" forming the Axis powers.
1947 The Truman Doctrine brings aid to Turkey and Greece.
1967 The children's program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiers.
1972 Ceylon becomes the Republic of Sri Lanka as its constitution is ratified.
1985 Baseball player Pete Rose passes Hank Aaron as National League run scoring leader with 2,108.
1987 An Iraqi missile hits the American frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf.
1990 In the Middle East, North and South Yemen merge to become a single state.

Non Sequitur


Forgotten Heroes Who Changed the Course of American History

Joseph Warren
While during his time he was regarded as the architect of the American Revolution and at least fourteen US states have a Warren County named after him, few people recognize the name Joseph Warren.
Dr. Joseph Warren wrote a series of resolves that helped serve as the blueprints for the first American government, he sent Paul Revere on his famous ride, he fought in the battles of Lexington and Concord, and he was a close associate with other leading revolutionaries such as John Hancock, John Adams and Samuel Addams. So why haven't you heard of him?
Likely because most of the patriots we're taught about since elementary school went on to do great things after the war, but Warren actually died in the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill, where he chose to serve as a private although he was ranked as a Major General. Even after he ran out of ammo, he chose to stay on the front lines so the militia could make its escape.
While it might be the very reason he's not widely remembered today, Warren's death did help the revolutionary cause by providing them with a martyr who helped inspired even more patriots to fight the British.
Sybil Ludington
Speaking of the famous midnight ride, there are a lot of people who deserve a lot more credit than Paul Revere, who didn’t even finish his ride before being captured by the British. One particularly notable rider was Sybil Ludington, a sixteen year old girl who rode sidesaddle, alone, in the rain for forty miles (twice the distance Revere covered) to alert her father’s troops that they needed to meet at the Ludington farm to fight back against British raiders in Danbury, Connecticut. During the trip, she used a long stick to not only knock on the doors of the troops, but also to fight off a highwayman she encountered on her route.
Thanks to Sybil’s actions, 400 troops were ready to fight the next day and the group was able to join the Continental Army and chase the British out of Connecticut. For those wondering why we remember Paul Revere’s name above all the other successful riders from the Revolution, the simple reason is because Henry Wadsworth Longfellow found that Revere rhymes with a lot of things, including “listen my children and you shall hear.”
James Armistead Lafayette

During the Revolutionary War, some aristocrats sent their slaves to battle in their place, but James Armistead Lafayette actually asked his master for permission to fight on the side of the patriots. That isn’t what made him so notable, instead it’s the fact that he was the first African American double agent.
First, he was assigned to spy on the recent defector, General Benedict Arnold, who trusted him so much that he asked Armistead to guide British troops through the local roads. After Arnold went north in 1781, James went to serve General Cornwallis. While spending time in the camp, he relayed vital information to the Americans regarding the British troop and arms deployment. His reports were considered critical in the defeat of the British in the Battle of Yorktown and the capture of General Cornwallis.
After the war ended, James returned to his life of servitude as a 1783 law that freed slaves who served in placed of their masters didn’t apply to him since he was technically a volunteer. With the help of his master, William Armistead, and General Lafayette, whom he served under the war, James was granted his freedom in 1787. Thereafter, he continued to live in New Kent County as a farmer.
Henry Shoemaker
On a hot afternoon in 1842, Henry Shoemaker was working as a farmhand in Indiana when he remembered it was Election Day. He quickly rode to his local polling place and cast his ballot for state representative, Madison Marsh.
Marsh won the election by one vote and Shoemaker’s forgetting the ballot box could have made all the difference between his getting elected. That wouldn’t have been a huge deal if it weren’t for the fact that state legislators elected senators at the time and the Indiana election of 1842 was a close contest. In fact, the results kept ended up a tie and on the sixth ballot, Marsh finally changed his vote, which allowed Edward Hannegan to win his seat in the U.S. Senate.
Again, all that may not have made a huge impact if it weren’t for the fact that a few years later, the U.S. Senate was voting on whether or not to go to war with Mexico. Hannegan was absent in the voting and was finally called in to break the deadlock between those for and those against the war. As a result, America went to war with Mexico and California became part of the U.S. And it’s possible that the entire chain of events never would have occurred if Henry Shoemaker didn’t remember or care to head off to the polls on that fateful day in 1842.
Elizabeth Jennings Graham
Many consider her the nineteenth century’s Rosa Parks, and Elizabeth Jennings Graham may well have influenced Ms. Parks and other Civil Rights crusaders throughout the years. In fact, Ms. Graham’s heroic act against racism even took place before the Civil War, when slavery was still legal in fifteen states.
In the 1850s, the horse-drawn street cars were an increasingly popular mode of transportation, especially in large cities like New York. These privately-owned vehicles were allowed to deny service to anyone for any reason and they chose to take advantage of that right regularly. On Sunday, July 16, 1854, Elizabeth was running late to church and boarded a streetcar. The conductor ordered her to get off, but she refused. When he tried to remove her by force, she struggled to stay onboard. Eventually, it took a police officer to remove her from the streetcar.
Graham’s story inspired African American New Yorkers to stand up for their rights and fight against racial discrimination in public transportation. The story received national attention –especially when Elizabeth filed a lawsuit against the driver and the Third Avenue Railroad Company. Her lawyer, Chester A. Arthur, would later go on to be the president of the US.
In 1855, Graham won her case and the court declared that African American persons should have the same rights as other persons. The public transit system in New York was desegregated by 1861 as a result –all about 100 years before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat on the bus.

A Brief History Of Soccer In The US

Soccer is not going to displace baseball as America's national pastime, or American football as the national game, or even basketball as the country's third most popular professional team sport.
But its starting to look like the 'world game' might have finally found its feet in the world's largest economy. And not just because the New York Times, in a much discussed article last month, says soccer has now become 'a conversation topic you can no longer ignore.'

This Is What The Nursery Of The Future Looked Like In 1930

Boy oh boy did the future ever look bright through the eyes of folks living in the early 20th century, back when futuristic meant flying cars and food replicators instead of selfies and Google.
The futuristic world envisioned in the past sure does look like a lot of fun, it’s too bad we have to settle for our flash free 21st century blahs while we wait for our mechanical overlords to conquer the planet.
Here we see the nursery of the future as realized for the Ideal Home Exhibition held in Olympia, London in 1930. The nursery comes complete with comfortable baby tending helmet and gloves for mom, coffin like crib sure to quiet even the noisiest little bugger, and a shiny chair to warm your aching buns.
The only things missing are a remote controlled robot bartender and a cigarette rolling machine!

Swinging Britain

“Way out and weird!” A documentary, still called a newsreel at the time, from British Pathe explores the fashions, language, and culture of the youth of London in 1967. They had miniskirts, paper dresses, and “happenings.” The narrator doesn’t understand whether they are rebelling against traditional British ways or just developing their own style. It was some of both, but the deeper issues of the Cold War, racial tensions, feminism, war, and drugs are ignored. Even music is barely touched upon, so of course it all looks weird presented this way.

The Great Race of 1908

It involved only a half-dozen cars and 17 men, but this was one race that not only made history -it changed it.
In 1908, the promise of the automobile was just that -a promise. The industry was in its infancy, and most people still relied on horses or their own two feet to get from one place to another. Skeptics were convinced that the automobile was just an expensive and unreliable gimmick. So how could anyone prove to the world that the automobile was the most practical, durable, and reliable means of transport ever invented? Easy: Sponsor a race. But not just any race- it would have to be a marathon of global proportions, pitting the newfangled machines (and their drivers) against the toughest conditions possible on a course stretching around the world, with a sizable cash prize to the winner, say, $1,000. Then call it “The Great Race” …and cross your fingers.

The starting line in Times Square.
It’s hard to comprehend the hold automobiles had on the public imagination at the turn of the 20th century. A similar frenzy of technical one-upmanship occurred during the race to the moon in the 1960s, as industrial nations competed fiercely to be considered the most modern and up-to-date technologically. When it came to cars, there had been a few rally-style road races before 1908 -most notably a Peking-to-Paris auto race in 1907, but nothing on a truly global scale. So The New York Times and the French newspaper Le Matin combined to organize a bigger, better competition designed to be the ultimate test of man and machine. Starting in New York City, the racers would cross the continental United States and the Alaskan Territory, take a ferry across the Bering Strait, then drive from Vladivostok across Siberia to Paris- a trek of 22,000 miles.
Few paved roads existed anywhere at that time, and much of the planned route crossed vast roadless areas. And with few gas station in existence, just completing the course would require every ounce of stamina and ingenuity on the part of the car and the driver, but the winner would own indisputable bragging rights to the claim of the Best Car in the World.

Immediately upon leaving Manhattan, the cars drove into a fierce snowstorm that claimed the Sizaire-Naudin as the race’s first victim. The 15-horsepower French two-seater broke down in Peekskill, new York, and was forced to quit. It had gone a mere 44 miles. Snow dogged the remaining cars all the way to Chicago, slowing their progress to a snail’s pace. It took the Thomas Flyer eight hours to travel four miles in Indiana, and then only with horses breaking the trail in front of the car.
After Chicago, the cars headed out across the Great Plains in subzero temperatures. To keep warm, the French Motobloc team rerouted heat from the engine into the cab (an innovation that found its way into future cars) but to no avail; The Motobloc had to quit the race in Iowa. Meanwhile, the winter weather had turned the plains into mud, which stuck to the chassis of the cars, adding hundreds of pounds to the weight of each vehicle. Teams took to stopping at fire stations in every town they passed for a high-pressure rinse.
Unable to find usable roads across Nebraska, the drivers took to “riding the rails.” straddling railroad tracks and bouncing along, tie to tie, for hundreds of miles. (Blowouts were frequent.) A Union Pacific conductor road along with the American team to alert them to oncoming trains. In especially bad weather, one team member would straddle the radiator with a lantern and peer ahead of the car.
When there were non train tracks, the cars used ruts left by covered wagons years before. They navigated by the stars, sextants, compasses, and local guides, when they could hire them. And if they had to stop for more than a few hours, the radiators had to be completely drained -antifreeze hadn’t been invented yet.
After 41 days, 8 hours, and 15 minutes, the Thomas Flyer was the first to reach San Francisco, becoming the first ever car to cross the United States in winter. The American team promptly boarded a steamer to Valdez, Alaska, the starting point for the overland trip to the Bering Sea, and brought a crate of homing pigeons with them to send reports back to the States. Race organizers had hoped the ice across the Bering Strait would provide a bridge for the cars. But the Alaska leg had to be scrapped because the weather and driving conditions were even worse than they’d been in the United States. (The pigeon plan didn’t work so well, either. The first bird sent aloft from Valdez was attacked and eaten by seagulls.)
The U.S. team was given a 15-day bonus for their Alaskan misadventure and told to return to San Francisco to join the other racers on the S.S. Shawmutt, bound for Yokohama, Japan. At the same time, the German team was penalized 15 days for putting their car on a train from Ogden, Utah, to San Francisco. Both decisions would bear heavily on the race’s end.


The Thomas Flyer in China.
Once they docked in Japan, the remaining competitors had to get their cars to the port of Vladivostok, Russia, where the race would officially resume. The Germans and Italians took another ship; the Americans and the French drove across Japan and took a ferry. It was too much for the De Dion-Bouton. After 7,332 miles, the French team threw in the towel, and only three cars were left: the German Protos, the Italian Zust, and the American Thomas Flyer. After another rousing sendoff from a roaring crowd of spectators, the cars zoomed out of Vladivostok …and into the mud. The spring thaw had turned the Siberian tundra into a quagmire.
Only a few miles out of Vladivostok, the American team came upon the German Protos stuck in deep mud. George Schuster carefully nudged his car past the germans onto firmer ground a few hundred yards ahead. With him were mechanic George Miller, assistant Hans Hansen, and New York Times reporter George Macadam. When Hansen suggested they help the Germans out, the others agreed. The stunned Germans were so grateful that their driver, Lt. Hans Koeppen, uncorked a bottle of champagne he’d been saving of rate victory celebration in Paris, declaring the American gesture “a gallant and comradely act.” The two teams raised a glass together, reporter Macadam recorded the moment for his paper, and the subsequent photograph appeared in papers around the globe and became the most enduring image of the race.
Road conditions in Siberia were even worse than they’d been in the western United States. Once again the cars took to the rails- this time of the tracks of the Trans-Siberian Railway. An attempt  by Schuster to use a railroad tunnel could have been scene from a silent movie comedy, as the American car frantically backed out of the tunnel ahead of an oncoming train. There were other obstacles, too. At one point the American team was charged by a band of horsemen brandishing rifles. The Americans burst into laughter and drove right through the herd of riders, leaving the bandits in the dust.
Driving around the clock created other problems: The relief driver often fell out of the open car while sleeping, so the team fashioned a buckle and a strap to hold him in- the world’s first seat belt. The length and rigor of the race took its toll as well, and tempers flared. At once point an exasperates Schuster threatened to throw Hansen out of the car and off the team. Hansen responded by pulling his pistol and snarling, “Do that and I will put a bullet in you.” Mechanic George Miller drew his gun and snapped, “If any shooting is done, you will not be the only one.” Finally both sides agreed to holster their weapons and press on.

The Italian Zust at the beginning of the Great Race.
By May the cars had been racing around the world for four months. The quicker German Protos had pulled ahead of the American Thomas Flyer, while the underpowered Italian Zust fell farther and father behind but pressed on, convinced they’d catch up. Then disaster struck. Outside Tauroggen, a Russian frontier town, a horse drawing a cart was startled by the sound of the passing Zust and bolted out of control. A child playing near the road was trampled and killed. The Italians drove into Tauroggen to report the accident and were promptly thrown in jail, where they remained for three days, unable to communicate with anyone outside. Finally, the local police determined the driver of the cart was at fault for losing control of his horse, and released them. They continued on to Paris in a somber mood.

The German Protos in Paris.
On July 30, 1908 -169 days after the race’s start- the Thomas Flyer arrived on the outskirts of Paris, smelling victory. The Protos had actually gotten to Paris four days earlier, but because of the American’s 15-day bonus and the German’s 15-day penalty, everyone knew the American team had an insurmountable margin of victory. Or did they? Before the Americans could enter the city, a gendarme stopped them. French law required automobiles to have two working headlights. The Flyer had only one; the other had been broken back in Russia (by a bird). A crowd gathered.
Parisians, like thousands of others around the world, had been following the progress of the Great Race for months in the papers. They were anxious to welcome the victors at the finish line on the Champs-Elysées.
Schuster’s crew pleaded with the gendarme, but he wouldn’t budge. No headlight, no entry. A frustrated Schuster was about to set off an international incident by attacking the gendarme when a bicyclist offered the Americans a headlamp from his bike. Mechanic Miller tried to unbolt the light but couldn’t pry it off. The solution: they lifted the bike onto the hood of the car and held it in place by hand. The gendarme shrugged his shoulders and waved them on. A few hours later they crossed the finish line. Victory at last!
George Schuster in Paris. 
The celebrations lasted for weeks, long enough for the Italian team, weary but unbowed to roll into Paris on September 17 and take third place. The Great race was officially over. The drivers and their crews became national heroes in their home countries. When the Americans got back to New York, they were given a ticket tape parade down Fifth Avenue and invited by President Theodore Roosevelt (the first U.S. president to drive a car) to a special reception at his summer house on Long Island. Today the Thomas Flyer is on display in Harrah’s Automobile Collection in Reno, Nevada. Munich’s Deutsches Museum has the German Protos. The Italian Zust was destroyed in a fire only months after the race, but the ultimate fates of the cars involved didn’t matter. All three finishers had proved that a car could reliably and safely go anywhere in the world at any time, and under any conditions. No other form of transport could make the same claim. With the conclusion of the Great Race, the Automobile Age had finally arrived. That same year, Henry Ford put the Model T into full production on the assembly line, and the world has been car-crazy ever since.

1930's Dress Made From Grapefruit Peelings

Nazi Veterans Created Illegal Army

by Klaus Wiegrefe
Newly discovered documents show that in the years after World War II, former members of the Nazi Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS formed a secret army to protect the country from the Soviets. The illegal project could have sparked a major scandal at the time.  More

World War II Buzz Bomb

Sold at Auction

Nazi Germany made some of the most advanced guided rockets and jet aircraft of World War II. Among its most terrifying weapons was the V-1, a jet-powered rocket that rained destruction on southern England during the final year of the war.
One of those V-1s went off course and crashed in Sweden. The United States acquired it and tried to build its own. This effort led to the construction of the Republic/Ford JB-2 Loon, an American copy of the V-1.
The war ended before the US could put the Loon into mass production, but this prototype has survived the intervening decades. The auction house Bonhams recently sold it at auction.

The Clipper

Punishment in the Afterlife

The Public Domain review has digitized art from an “Unknown Manuscript” found in the in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art digital collections. The language is Eastern Turki, which was used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Turkestan (which encompasses several Central Asian countries). The pictures describe the punishments, and in some cases, rewards, that await us in the afterlife.
There are nine illustrations posted, most of which have captions explaining what the punishment is and what the poor soul did to deserve it. The transgressions seem minor, such as eavesdropping and neglecting to say a prayer after you’ve seen a naked body. No caption for the image shown here, so we can only speculate on what may cause someone to be eaten by a herd of snakes in the hereafter.

'Magical' 18th-Century Artifacts Found in Caribbean

Archaeologists working on two small Caribbean islands have found artifacts intentionally buried beneath two 18th-century plantation houses.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall


How do mirrors work? Generally speaking, by reflecting light. Most objects don’t give off any light of their own. They can only be seen because light from other sources -the sun, a candle, a light bulb- hits them and bounces off, hitting our eyes. Not all of the light bounces, though. Some is absorbed by the object and some is transmitted through the object. The part that does bounce back is the reflection. Flat shiny surfaces like water, metal, and mirrors reflect light well because very little of the light is absorbed or transmitted -most of it is reflected.

When light hits a mirror, it bounces off in the opposite direction, but at the exact same angle it came from. It appears as if the image is coming from behind the mirror, but it’s not -what we see is a virtual image.

For centuries, mankind’s only mirrors were pools of water or polished metal. The first glass mirrors were made by Venetian craftsmen in the 1300s. Their method: They covered the back of a piece of glass with an amalgam of tin and mercury, rubbed flat and smooth. A piece of wool cloth would then be laid on top of the mercury and pressed with iron weights for more than a week. Then the excess mercury would be drained off. This method remained a carefully guarded secret, and for centuries Venice had a monopoly on mirrors.
In 1665 the chief minister to Louis XIV of France went to Italy and -at the risk of death- bribed 18 Venetian mirrorsmiths to move to France. Soon after their defection, the French passed a law making it illegal to import Venetian mirrors.
Three years later, a Frenchman named Louis Lucas beat the Venetians at their own game -he invented plate glass. Venetians only knew how to make blown glass, so each mirror started out as a bottle or cylinder which was slit open and flattened while still hot. The size of mirrors was therefore very limited.
But Lucas discovered how to pour molten glass onto an iron table where it could be flattened with an iron roller. Now mirrors could be made that were much larger. Soon France became famous for its mirrors.  A very pleased Louis XIV purchased 700 mirrors and lined an entire hallway at the Palace of Versailles with them in a stunning display.

In 1835 German chemist Justus von Liebig discovered a way to make a better mirror. He invented a process for using silver as a backing instead of tin and mercury. He flushed the glass with silver salts and then covered it with a solution of silver nitrate. After being heated and left undisturbed for an hour, a chemical reaction caused the metallic silver to separate and adhere to the glass. Then it was coated with shellac and painted with a black backing. And that’s how mirrors were made for the next 150 years.
In mirror making today, silver or aluminum is vaporized, then sprayed onto glass. For finer mirrors -such as those used in telescopes- aluminum, chromium, or gold are heated in a vacuum tank. When they reach the critical temperature, they “flash” into vapor, filling the tank with metallic gas. A film is then deposited on whatever material inside the tank.
* In the 1600s, the Dutch used to cover their mirrors with curtains when not in use, lest the reflectiveness be used up!

* In ancient China, reflective pieces of polished brass were placed over doorknobs so that evil spirits would scare themselves away.

* A middle school in Oregon was faced with a unique problem: A number of girls were beginning to use lipstick and would apply it in the bathroom. That was fine, but for some reason, they would also press their lips to the mirrors, leaving dozens of little lip prints. Finally the principal called all the girls to the bathroom. She explained that the lip prints were a major problem for the custodian and asked the custodian to demonstrate how difficult it was to clean one of the mirrors. He proceeded to take a long-handled brush, dip it into the nearest toilet, and scrub the mirror. After that, there were no lip prints on the mirrors.
* Ben Franklin mounted mirrors outside his second-story window so he could secretly see who was knocking at his front door.
* The vanity license plate “3M TA3” was banned after someone looked at it in the mirror.
* The word mirror comes from the Latin mirari, meaning “to wonder at.” It’s also the root word for miracle and admire.

* The world’s largest mirror to date was built by scientists at the University of Arizona for the binocular telescope on Mount Graham. The mirror is 8.4 meters in diameter (almost 28 feet) and cost $4 million to make. The mirror was 2,156°F when it was first cast and took three full months to cool. It went into use in 2005.
* In older days some thought that the reflection of the body in a shiny surface or mirror was an expression of the spiritual self, and therefore if anything happened to disturb the reflection, injury would follow. This was the origin of the superstition that breaking a mirror would bring seven years of bad luck.

* Trade secret: Building managers install mirrors in lobbies because people complain less about waiting for slow elevators when they’re occupied looking at themselves.

* In 1994 Russian astronauts orbiting in the Mir spacecraft tried using mirrors to reflect sunlight into northern areas of their country in an attempt to lengthen the short growing season. It didn’t work.

* Ever wonder if the mirror in the dressing room is a real mirror or a two-way mirror? Here’s a simple test: Place the tip of your fingernail against the reflective surface. If there’s a gap between your fingernail and the image, it’s a genuine mirror. But, if your fingernail directly touches the image, watch out -it’s a two-way mirror.

'Byzantine iPad' Found in Ancient Shipwreck

The 9th-century wooden object is about the same shape (though not thickness) of an iPad, and was a notebook -- and tool - in one.



The Last Queen Of Hawaii

The Kingdom of Hawaii was founded by Kamehameha I in 1795 after conquering most of the Hawaiian archipelago. In 1810, Kaumualii became a vassal of Kamehameha I, who therefore emerged as the sole sovereign of the island chain of Hawaii.
His dynasty lasted until 1872, and the Kingdom of Hawaii lasted until 1893, when Queen Lili'uokalani, of the Kalākaua Dynasty, was deposed by a pro-United States revolution. In recent years, US President Bill Clinton gave a formal apology for the American role in the revolution and the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Phineas Gage

Neuroscience's Most Famous Patient
On September 13, 1848, a railroad foreman named Phineas Gage filled a drill hole with gunpowder and turned his head to check on his men. It was the last normal moment of his life.
Phineas Gage (1823-1860) is remembered for his improbable survival of a rock-blasting accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and for that injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining twelve years of his life - effects so profound that friends saw him as 'no longer Gage.'

When Everyone Loved Poison Ivy

In the 18th and 19th centuries, European collectors happily bought and intentionally grew poison ivy and poison sumac plants from North America
Even Batman loved Poison Ivy

Hoover Dam

The Earliest Americans

Divers mapping underwater caves in Mexico's Eastern Yucatán Peninsula came upon a surprising find: the skeleton of a young, prehistoric girl.
The girl skeleton found by divers in Mexico's Eastern Yucatan Peninsula is 12-13,000 years old and shows a genetic link to modern Native Americans.

Possible Viking settlement in the Ålands found

According to archaeologists aerial infrared images suggest the existence of a late Iron Age settlement, possibly the largest such find ever in the Åland Islands or all of mainland Finland.
The highest point of Åland Islands: summit of Orrdalsklint, in Saltvik
The aerial imaging highlighted a depression 40 metres deep and 12 metres wide which might have been the site of a massive hall used to host gatherings of ancient Vikings. No other similar find of this size has ever been discovered in the Åland of on the Finnish mainland.
The imaging project followed observations of depressions which resembled the outlines of late Iron Age structures from other parts of Scandinavia. Once the images revealed the outline of the hall, cautious excavation turned up personal ornaments cast in silver and bronze, and which point to the site as an important location in the Viking world.
Pictures of a brooch shaped as a bird of prey, an equal armed brooch depicting the head of a human or an animal and a Viking silver finger ring.
Researchers working under the leadership of archaeologist Dr. Kristin Ilves found that the items had been forged in the shape a bird of prey as well human or animal heads. These findings they say, give weight to the theory that the site was visited by persons of elevated status. The jewelry has been dated back to between the 5th and 10th century.
The research project, "The Hall at the Crossroads of Baltic Waterways" was initiated in 2012 following the results of the infrared imaging.

Couple discovers stone circles on property

Site could be one of the oldest man-made structures still standing in North America.
tws Chris and Rene White 042314_1
Rene and Chris White look over a man-made arrangement of rocks on their property near Bluemont, Va. When White, who is of Cherokee descent, was building a home for himself and his wife — who is a Lumbee Indian, he says he found several concentric stone circles near his property.

by Val Van Meter 
Concentric stone circles near rocks weighing more than a ton — apparently aligned to mark solar events — are believed to be part of a Paleo-Indian site in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Clarke County that an expert has dated to about 10,000 B.C. The complex along Spout Run has 15 above-ground stone features. Though still under study, it could be one of the oldest man-made structures in North America still in existence and twice as old as England’s Stonehenge. Chris and Rene White, who own the property and made the initial discovery, credit their Native American heritage for the finding.
When Chris White, who is of Cherokee descent, was building a home for himself and his wife — who is a Lumbee Indian — on the wooded land, he said he often took a break to walk by Spout Run, which tumbles downhill in its rocky bed across his land.
Something told him that the area was important, and he decided to create a stone medicine wheel on the 20-acre property below Bears Den Trail Center — a lodge owned by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
To his surprise, he realized the area across the stream already had a stone circle. In fact, it had several concentric stone circles.
For a professional opinion, the Whites contacted retired archaeologist Jack Hranicky, of Alexandria, who had investigated five other Paleo-Indian sites in Virginia.
It was Hranicky who realized the rocks in and outside the circles aligned with special features on the Blue Ridge.
A line from a center rock, over a specific boundary rock, intersects the feature called Bears Den Rocks on the mountain. Standing on that center rock, looking northeast, a viewer can see the sun rise over Bears Den on the day of the summer solstice in June.
Moving around the circle, another set of rocks points to Eagle Rock on the Blue Ridge, and also to sunrise on the day of the spring and fall equinox in March and September.
Yet a third points to a saddle in the mountain, where the sun rises at the winter solstice in December.
To date the age of the site, Hranicky excavated an area of 5 square feet, carefully numbering every rock and setting it aside, to be replaced later.
He wanted to create as little disturbance as possible in hopes that future technology will have better methods of studying the site.
His digging exposed three artifacts — a thin blade of quartzite, a small piece of jasper and another piece of the rock that had been shaped to be used as a small scraper.
Hranicky believes the jasper ties the Spout Run site to the Thunderbird Archaeological District, an intensely excavated Paleo-Indian site on the Shenandoah River in Warren County.
There, 9,000 years ago, Paleo-Indians — who Hranicky calls Virginia’s first engineers — quarried jasper from the river’s west bank to make tools.
Hranicky suggests that after quarrying jasper for tools at Thunderbird, Native Americans walked down the Shenandoah River and held some sort of cultural ceremonies at the Spout Run site. Rock engravings in the shape of footprints could be intended to mark where to stand to observe an equinox.
To get some idea of the site’s age, a section of jasper from the Spout Run site was sent to James Feathers, who runs the Luminescence Dating Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle.
According to Feathers, the piece of jasper found along Spout Run was heated, perhaps in a campfire, and it’s possible to determine by the proportion of luminescence when that occurred.
The date when that piece of jasper was burned on the Blue Ridge, Chris White said, is about 10,470 B.C.
While the concentric rock circles and sight lines appear to connect the site to the solar year, other objects found on the ground seem to speak about ceremonies held there.
The palm-sized pieces of stone appear to depict animals, like bear, mammoth and bison.
It takes someone with a background in stone work to pick out these effigies, White said, to understand the difference in a “worked stone.”
His most recent find is a lot bigger.
Higher up the mountain are several large boulders that appear to have been stacked on top of each other to create a table-like structure.
The boulders, two wide and two high, have been “artificially shimmed, to try to make it as flat and level as possible,” Chris pointed out.
The top boulder on the west is a single rock, but the back half of the table top is two separate rocks.
At certain times of the year, the sun, at midday, shines directly down into the center split.
“It’s almost like Indiana Jones,” he said.

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