10,000 to 15,000 year old human remains found in Vietnam

I’ve been waiting for a followup on this story out of Vietnam, but it seems not to be happening just yet. It’s best just to clip it, and hope something turns up later.

Tuyen Quang (VNA) – A set of human remains, believed to be of a primitive man dating back 10,000-15,000 years, has been found in northern mountainous Tuyen Quang province.

Dr. Trinh Nang Chung, Deputy Head of the Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology’s Viet Nam Stone Age Research Department, said that the scull, set of teeth and bones were discovered in Phya Vai cave, Coc Ngan village, Xuan Tan commune of Na Hang district.

damned art school pranksters

So we’ve heard “There Goes the Concord” again though that Rough Trade retrospective… well, technically i didn’t. Man, sometimes, i don’t know what John Peel was on about.

And The Native Hipsters “There Goes the Concord Again”

And The Native Hipsters “Stands, Still the Building”

And The Native Hipsters “I Wanna Be Around”

It’s the avant garde “There’s Coming to Take Me Away (Ha Ha)”. It was pissing me off to no end.

Unfortunately, for several days now, i keep coming back to it, and it’s growing on me. Ach.

There’s an official site with lots of background info, but until i make up my mind about the music, i ain’t into linking it just yet. Nope, nope…

yet more ivory-billed woodpecker

Here’s the official site. It’s quite cool that this many people collaborated so effectively. The Nature Conservancy quietly stepped in before any news leaked, and bought as much land as they could in the Big Woods of Arkansas to insulate the habitat.

Some disclosure: My mother is a lifelong birdwatcher. My borhter & i have both picked up the habit, but neither of us have plunged into thoroughly in our adult lives, even though i’ve taken an ornithology course (and bombed it, as i didn’t show up for the final exam…. or any other final that semester. One of those paralyzed with depression periods.) We’ve always held out hope that there were ivory-billed woodpeckers still around.


The history of Zounds. I’ve not had much time the past few days, but my kneejerk reaction is that while i quite like the music, i don’t hear the psychedelia and Krautrock influences that s supposed to push this band away from other punk bands from the period. I actually hear surf and reggae. There’s times where despite the singer, it sounds more like underground ’80s indie than the conventional flavors of British punk.

Zounds “Can’t Cheat Karma”

Zounds “A Little Bit More”

I probably just need more coffee.

peculiar 17th century manuscript

from the Scotsman:

By Gemma Collins and Vicky Shaw PA

An ancient document likened to something which could have been featured in best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code was being analysed at a top auction house for its significance today.

The manuscript, believed to date from the 17th century, contains biographical details of every person in the Bible.

It was unearthed in the depths of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth where it had been kept in storage for Llandovery College, an independent school near the Brecon Beacons. It was among about half of the school’s archive of books which were taken to the library around 50 years ago.

When college warden Peter Hogan asked to see the books recently he was told of the existence of the manuscript, and it was delivered to his office on Wednesday.

It was apparently written by a man called William Spenser, who was not a cleric, Mr Hogan said.

“What he claims he has written is a complete genealogy of Jesus Christ,” said Mr Hogan.

“It is painstakingly researched. It is just a phenomenal piece of literature.”

The first half of the book is concerned with genealogy and features the family trees of people in the Bible. The second half is a “Who’s Who“, with every individual listed along with biographical details.

Mr Hogan compared the book with something which could have been part of the plot of the best-selling mystery novel by Dan Brown, which has seen tourism flourish at the historical sites it mentions.

Claims in The Da Vinci Code that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and has descendants have outraged may Christians. They have also been dismissed by historians and theologians.

Mr Hogan said: “With The Da Vinci Code hot at the moment I very quickly flicked to the ’M’ section.

“This section claims that Jesus rid Mary Magdalene of seven demons and as a consequence she then became an assistant of his.

“Then there is a whole section crossed out which is quite mysterious.”

Mr Hogan said the margins of the manuscript contained anecdotal information about Mary Magdalene, none of which he could find in the Bible.

He took the document to Christie’s in London in an attempt to establish whether it is a hoax and what its significance could be.

The manuscript, which has around 594 handwritten pages, was purchased for £13 about 170 years ago by the founder of Llandovery College, surgeon Thomas Phillips.

“I’m slightly nervous thinking about what it is worth,” said Mr Hogan.

“I would imagine it will have a very, very high commercial value. The difficult decision I have got to take is whether I am willing to exploit that.”

I really don’t care if the whole thing turns out to be the ravings of a madman, a la that of a 17th century David Icke. However, it will be interested to see what was credited as Spenser’s sources.

the happiest cities in the United States

Lou sent me this link. The methodology of this study must be completely fucked.

1. Laredo, TX: A+

2. El Paso, TX: A+

3. Jersey City, NJ: A+

4. Corpus Christi, TX: A+

5. Baton Rouge, LA: A

Baton Rouge? Number five? Absolute fucking bullshit.

Let’s rethink this. Antidepressant sales sticks out like a sore thumb. Look at some of the other cities on the list. All of them are poverty stricken. Who wants to bet that the antidepressant sales is rated against the population of the city? (Two of them are border towns!) How many of these people have health insurance? Did they look into who can actually afford antidepressants?

Lou’s also the one who figured out what was glaringly wrong with this study.

more on the ivory-billed woodpecker

I’m still looking for better links, but by now the ivory-billed woodpecker story has broken quite big. Gene Sparling of Hot Springs, Arkansas, i love you. This is an email i received from a friend forwarding that email from Dr. Van Remsen, a highly respected professor at LSU who has been following leads on the bird for many years. He appears in the book The Race to Save the Lord God Bird.

I have been part of a clandestine team over the last 7+ months that has attempted to obtain tangible evidence of the existence of this bird in the Cache River/White River area of SE Arkansas, following a reliable sighting last February. The team has been lead by Arkansas Nature Conservancy people and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and they will be the headliners in DC. Watch the evening news tomorrow (Thursday). Our technical paper will be published online by Science Thursday, and the print version should be out in a few weeks (including a cover).

I agreed to keep this a secret from everyone. I apologize for the secrecy — I feel bad about not being able to let any of you know about it — but I know you’ll understand. Our search team has decided to let selected groups of people (like you) know the basics before you hear it from media.

We were originally planning the press conference for 5/18, but the word got out within a week after we divulged our evidence to state and federal wildlife agencies last week.


— no, we do not have a nest or reliable way to see IBWOs, yet.

— yes, we have tangible evidence — a lousy, blurry, but indisputable video clip that will be available on the web, possibly Thursday.

— despite many thousands of hours of systematic searching and deployment of dozens of Autonomous Recording Units, we have only a few reliable glimpses, and, on tape, some double-raps and some ‘kent’ calls. The bird (no evidence for more than one) is incredibly wary, mostly silent, and uses the core search area only a couple of days every couple of months, as best as we can tell. It has mostly eluded a core of experienced field people. No surprise, then, that I had no luck either.

— by tomorrow, our web site on all this will be available, including directions on access points if anyone wants to try their luck.

Here’s a page by Dr. Remsen detailing the search that occurred in Pearl River, which i still believe will turn up live ivory-bills one day.

Stalin is alive & well, and he’s a Republican

I believe the Bush administration is capable of any kind of treachery, but it’s hard for me to believe that Congress can walk lockstep, regardless of which party is in the majority. I read this story yesterday, and expected it to turn out to be a satire. Apparently it’s true. Whoops.

The Democrats tried to stick some amendments onto the bill H.R. 748-The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). They were voted down in the Judiciary Committee. So it goes…. but when the records of the proceedings were written into the historical record, some looney went batshit:

DEMS: a Nadler amendment allows an adult who could be prosecuted under the bill to go to a Federal district court and seek a waiver to the state’s parental notice laws if this remedy is not available in the state court. (no 11-16)
GOP REWRITE:. Mr. Nadler offered an amendment that would have created an additional layer of Federal court review that could be used by sexual predators to escape conviction under the bill. By a roll call vote of 11 yeas to 16 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Nadler amendment to exempt a grandparent or adult sibling from the criminal and civil provisions in the bill (no 12-19)
GOP REWRITE: . Mr. Nadler offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution under the bill if they were grandparents or adult siblings of a minor. By a roll call vote of 12 yeas to 19 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Scott amendment to exempt cab drivers, bus drivers and others in the business transportation profession from the criminal provisions in the bill (no 13-17):
GOP REWRITE. Mr. Scott offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution if they are taxicab drivers, bus drivers, or others in the business of professional transport. By a roll call vote of 13 yeas to 17 nays, the amendment was defeated.

DEMS: a Scott amendment that would have limited criminal liability to the person committing the offense in the first degree (no 12-18)
GOP REWRITE:. Mr. Scott offered an amendment that would have exempted from prosecution under the bill those who aid and abet criminals who could be prosecuted under the bill. By a roll call vote of 12 yeas to 18 nays, the amendment was defeated

DEMS: a Jackson-Lee amendment to exempt clergy, godparents, aunts, uncles or first cousins from the penalties in the bill (no 13-20)
GOP REWRITE. Ms. Jackson-Lee offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution under the bill if they were clergy, godparents, aunts, uncles, or first cousins of a minor, and would require a study by the Government Accounting Office. By a roll call vote of 13 yeas to 20 nays, the amendment was defeated.

Again, this is not satire. This is what was really put into the record of proceedings. Elements of the Republican party, not just the Bush administration, are completely off their rockers.

This kind of behavior is probably going to make some pro-lifers uncomfortable, as while they are staunchly against the intent of the Democratic amendments, hijacking the official record to make nonsequiturs about sexual predators to libel anyone who takes a different stance is not going to add legitimacy to their arguments.

It’s really quite funny, except i can see any Democrat in that Judiciary Committee is going to have to face ads in their reelection campaigns about them voting to protect sexual predators, something not one of these bills addresses. To reframe this absurdist logic, one could insist that anyone who voted for the Bill of Rights was voting for the rights of sexual predators. Abortion might have to do with sex, but it does not automatically link it to sexual predators.

National Geographic on the Oxyrhynchus Papyri

They talk to Dirk Obbink:

“We’re applying it for the first time to non-carbonized ancient manuscripts on papyrus, which was the paper of the ancient world,” Obbink said. “Most of our collection comes from rubbish dumps, so it’s been in contact with soil for thousands of years and can be quite dark.”

The imaging process works by using different filters to isolate the waveband to which the hidden writing responds. “Some [text] respond[s] in the ultraviolet range, some in the infrared range,” Obbink said. “The technique involves finding the exact right point at which the ink reflects at maximum contrast against the slightly less dark surface so you can read it.”

Again, this is not just digital archiving.