morning 01.05.17

I left work early yesterday. I grabbed some Nyquil on way home. I read five pages of The Major Refutation, then passed out. I don’t know how I’ll make it through work today. We don’t get actual sick days.

Senators Threaten to Cut Worldwide Embassy Security If U.S. Doesn’t Move Its Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Dean Heller introduced the bill cutting all embassy security by half until the embassy in Israel moves to Jerusalem. Can you say 100 more Benghazis? Shameless hypocrisy and kinda evil. Some of the same assholes who hounded Hillary over Benghazi shouldn’t even dare propose such legislation.

Turks questioning U.S.-led coalition presence at air base. The U.S. keeps coordinating with the Kurds and Turkey doesn’t like it. Combine that with Turkey’s recent summit with Russia and Iran. Turkey continues to drift away from the West.

Interview with Jim Jarmusch. I’ve honestly not watched one of his films in years. He talks more about the music than the actual movie. Heh.

‘Sicilian Stonehenge’ discovered by amateur archaeologists. This might be worth keeping an eye out for more news in coming years. Near the town of Gela. “The ‘Sicilian Stonehenge’ dates back to between 6,000 and 3,000 BC, and is located close to the prehistoric necropolises of Grotticelle, Ponte Olivo and Dessueri.”

I forgot that a few weeks ago that I finally read the third part of Charles Burns’ Last Look trilogy. Christ. That was awful and unsatisfying. It’s great piece of work. The imagery is extremely unsettling. I have a craving for disturbing dream logic, especially that which explores trauma. However, when the trauma is revealed, it’s incredibly disappointing in how obvious and pedestrian that conclusion is. Completely unsympathetic protagonists I can handle, but Doug’s dumbass mistake makes him so irredeemably hateable. The only question I’m left with after reading Last Look is why the fuck did I waste my time exploring this small piece of shit. The “tragedy” of the wounded male psyche is why I refuse to read most American literature. Cool art though.

morning 04.02.16

View From Space Hints at a New Viking Site in North America. This deserves its own post, but it’s a busy morning.

The site is on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, about 300 miles south of L’Anse aux Meadows, the first and so far only confirmed Viking settlement in North America, discovered in 1960.

Pynchon in Public. A podcast devoted to Thomas Pynchon!

Turkey moves to rebuild San Stefano Russian Monument in Istanbul. After the blowup at the Syrian border, Russia and Turkey are attempting to repair relationships by rebuilding monuments from their conflict during World War I. That seems… backwards.

Clinton aides unite on FBI legal strategy. All four Clinton aides in the State Department being interviewed by the FBI have hired the same lawyer (Beth Wilkinson) and each are paying a flat fee. Politico says that the aides must think there must not be much of a case, because they’re not in fear of one person turning on the others, which would made the lawyer’s job difficult. My theory is that they have a plan as to who is going to fall on his sword to protect Hillary. They are the firewall. This is all about coordination. All they have to do is protect Clinton, hope she is elected, and whoever is the fall guy gets the same treatment Scooter Libby received.

My hero: Flann O’Brien by John Banville.

NASA Satellite Images Uncover Underground Forest Fungi.

Rover reveals puzzling sand dunes on Mars. Some of this is only now catching up with the crazy speculation from orbiter photos from the late ’90s.

Possibly one of the last recorded interviews with Dan O’Bannon.

Anti-languages. The cants of the persecuted and criminal.

The Temple of Bel should not be rebuilt.

Pamuk weighs in on Erdogan

It feels as if Pamuk has been quieter about the state of Turkey for the past several years. My guess is that with his time in Istanbul, working with his museum/art installation project, he would risk being grabbed up and prosecuted if he spoke too loudly. Pamuk has some things to say about Erdogan now that I missed if he stated before.

Another thing:

I sense Pamuk sometimes tires of political questions. At heart he is an aesthete. “I am not by nature a political person,” he admitted. “I was criticised by the previous generation of more socially committed writers for being a bourgeois writing about bourgeois life.”

I wish he’d write more aesthetic novels. Of course he still is, but as the years pass, his books are more.. you know… bourgeois. I miss the the more obvious references to the Sufi tradition. His love for the shopkeepers, domestic romance, and such is not my cup of tea. That’s where he finds his beauty obviously. I love my home and family too but it’s not anything I need a reflection of in the books I read. Eh.

via 3 Quarks Daily.

Signs of world’s first pictograph found in Göbeklitepe

An obelisk at Göbeklitepe appears to depict a sky burial ritual. The obelisk seems to date to 12,000 years ago.

“The scene on the obelisk unearthed in Göbeklitepe could be construed as the first pictograph because it depicts an event thematically. It depicts a human head in the wing of a vulture and a headless human body under the stela,” ?anl?urfa Museum Director and Göbeklitepe excavation head Müslüm Ercan said. “There are various figures like cranes and scorpions around this figure. This is the portrayal of a moment; it could be the first example of pictograph. They are not random figures. We see this type of thing portrayal on the walls in 6,000-5,000 B.C. in Çatalhöyük [in modern-day western Turkey].”

women’s rights detailed in 4,000 year old Assyrian tablet

The site is Kültepe-Kani?-Karum in central Turkey. Most of the 23,500 cuneiform tablets document commerce, but some are turning up more interesting details.

“From women’s rights to the adoption of children and marriages arranged at birth, the tablets include all kinds of civilizational and social data from Anatolia 4,000 years ago. There is also an emotional letter from a woman to her husband and a letter from another woman who complains about her mother-in-law. You can’t find such things in an empire’s official archive,” he said.


Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey

Nev?ehir. “…the city was in use from the Byzantine era through the Ottoman conquest.”

Geophysicists from Nev?ehir University conducted a systematic survey of a 1.5-mile (4-kilometer) area using geophysical resistivity and seismic tomography. From the 33 independent measurements they took, they estimate the site is nearly five million square feet (460,000 square meters).

These studies suggest the underground corridors may plunge as deep as 371 feet (113 meters). If that turns out to be accurate, the city could be larger than Derinkuyu by a third.

The locals seem very excited about their discovery and eager to explore and preserve it.

12,000 year old site Hasankeyf threatened by planned Ilisu Dam by Turkey

Hasankeyf might be as important as Göbekli Tepe, except it might be older and has been continuously inhabited. Turkey apparently has been wanting to build a reservoir here for decades (with an Austrian company as the constructor) and seems finally to be moving ahead. It’s a Kurdish area and it’s Turkey, so there’s almost certainly an element of ethnic persecution in play here. It seems that there are now 3,000 people now at work prepping. Not all elements of the Turkish government are hellbent on this idiotic scheme, as according to this original news story (in Spanish,) “The Turkish State Council ordered the suspension of works at the request of the Bar Association and Engineers, since there was no environmental impact assessment.”

The construction of this damn seems as wantonly destructive and callous as the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas or the attempted destruction of the manuscripts of Timbuktu, except in this case, because someone is making a financial profit, it’s not being as universally reviled. This site was one of the most important points in the creation of Western Civilization. Yeah, let’s just flood it.

((There is an English subtitles switch on the YouTube toolbar.))

8,500 year old wheat identified in Çatalhöyük

(Damn, i thought that this was old news.)

DNA analysis reveals that wheat was used in agriculture at the Çatalhöyük site 8,500 years ago. While i was trying to track down the source of the oldest known cultivation of emmer wheat, i ran across this excellent overview of myths of the Neolithic Revolution, on a blog that i’ve never run across before, Mathilda’s Anthropology Blog. It has the Neolithic Revolution at 15,000 years ago in southeastern Turkey, which automatically earns my loyalty. It’s a deeper, more professional blog, but has photos and maps. Woo hoo.