Little Drummer Meme

Yep, you guessed the song! Maybe not the arrangement, though:

It’s after Thanksgiving, we can put up the Christmas decorations now.

AChristmasStory

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MMM 388: Malta

There are actually a number of megalithic sites in Malta (Gozo and Hagar Qim are the ones I know offhand and by name).  And these are old, like older than the currently agreed-upon dates  for the Great Pyramids at Giza.  They are believed to have been built between 3600 BC and 2500 BC.  Granted, they lack the grandeur and scale of the pyramids, but they are some of the earliest megalithic ruins that remain with us today.

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MMM 387: The Temple of Kukulcan

Reminder: Secret santa targets go out tonight after 7pm. If you want in, get in now.

The Werdpuss Editor lost all my content the first time I hit publish and I don’t have time to do it again.  Outer layer built in ~900 AD, 3 layers that we know of, evidence of animal and human sacrifices on site, yada yada go read wikipedia.

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Thanksgiving Meme

You know what song is gonna be the theme this week, dontcha?

Thanksgiving

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MMM 386: The Sphinx of Giza

Welcome to another edition of Magnificent Megalith Monday.  Today we have a look at the largest known single-stone structure in the world.

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If you’ve never really looked at the scale of the thing, it’s worth noting that the head is clearly undersized.  Whether that was because of the size and shape of the pre-carved stone or the result of sand burial of the lower portion, then weathering and re-carving of what the new people saw above the sand, is one of those places where you can get angry looks from archaeologists.

This is my favorite “original sphinx” theory, along with the later sculpture having spawned the mythical creature that bears the name.  The scale on the Anubis head in the silhouette might be off a tad, but I think it either started as an Anubis or a Leo (and some speculated dates for the original carving put it in the Age of Leo).

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How old is it?  Any date you get is speculation.  It’s a stone carving in the middle of a desert of sand (aka tiny rocks).  There’s no carbon date-able material, and it’s been abraded by wind and sand for God knows how long (some geologists have even claimed to find wear patterns suggesting long periods of heavy rain).  What’s certain is that the Sphinx was there a long, long time before the people who currently live there, but it was old when Antony and Cleopatra were just over the hills from it.  It was already there at the time of the Exodus (and the absence of mention leads some to claim that Exodus must be fiction, but if I tell you about an event in DC I won’t mention the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument, so that has always seemed a weak criticism to me).

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The people who carved this must have felt very, very strongly that it was a needed thing, that it must be done, and we really don’t know why.  All we have at this point are stories the people who lived there afterward told about it, which may or may not contain some thread of the truth, since those people have been substantially replaced even just in recorded history.Great_Sphinx_of_Giza_May_2015.JPG

The land around it can no longer support agriculture, hasn’t in centuries.  Part of this is shifting rainfall patterns, but there’s reason to believe that the Egyptians of Herodotus’ time where farming wheat, and doing so almost to the exclusion of animal husbandry on the same land (a Greek word for the Egyptians of that time was “artophagoi” or “bread eaters”).  It’s entirely possible that what you see in these pictures is a man-made desert, caused by agricultural practices that depleted the topsoil to the point that it became the desert we see today.

Go ahead, tell me that millions of acres of monocultured GMO corn and soybeans are gonna be just fine forever.

SECRET SANTA: Still taking names.  Gmail me yours and your contact info if you want in.

Music Meme

Things are getting out of hand these days:

EverNoticeHowGenderReassignment

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MMM 385: Ba’albek

Etymologically, there’s reason to believe that the city in modern Lebanon (famous for these ruins, and known as Heliopolis to the Greeks and Romans who once built and lived here) is named for the Ba’al of the Old Testament, the competing but false god prayed to by many neighbors of the Israelites.  The largest stones in the images below are the massive mastabas upon which the Greeks built their temples to Jupiter and Bacchus, which archaeologists tell us were added much later, though how much later is still up for dispute (dating stonework is harder than, say, skeletal remains).   Due to their strategic location in Lebanon, these same temples were used as garrisons and forts during various conflicts, including the Crusades, and there is evidence of “recent” (AD ~1200, iirc) repair to some wall segments by the Moslem forces who used them militarily.

This is known as “The Stone of the Pregnant Woman”.  It weighs 1820 tons.  No crane, no machines, no diesel fuel, quarried from bedrock and moved at least half a mile (though downhill) to where it now sits, half-sunk in the soil.

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Mysterious & Murderous Monday

Hey there. I watched a pretty good documentary series over the past week or so while recovering from a severe stomach bug. It was more of a stomach pterodactyl but you get the point.

The Devil Next Door is a Netflix special that tracks the case of John Demjanjuk, who was thought to be the infamous Ivan the Terrible, a wachman (guard) at Treblikna who took particular pleasure in bayoneting men, women, and children into the gas chamber in far west Ukraine. Please skip the next few paragraphs if you don’t know about the case and would like to be surprised if you intend to watch it.

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