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Post-Rapture News

(via Wikipedia)

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles made his famous War of the Worlds broadcast. Since it was presented as a series of news bulletins, listeners thought that an actual alien invasion was in progress. People panicked. According to Annie Jacobsen, author of the new book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, this panic was observed with amusement by Stalin and Hitler.

Ms. JACOBSEN: When the Orson Welles radio broadcast “The War of the Worlds” aired in 1938, people on the East Coast actually took actions based on their belief that Martians had landed in New Jersey and were attacking. And this fascinated the American military – I source all this in my book – and led to a lot of behind-the-scenes thinking about what it meant that American citizens could be so moved by something that was fictional – that was science fiction. And across the pond, Hitler also paid attention to “The War of the Worlds.” He referenced it in a speech. And according to my source, Stalin also paid attention to “The War of the Worlds” and was fascinated by American susceptibility toward science fiction. And so his plan, according to my source, was to create panic in the United States with this belief that a UFO had landed with aliens inside of it.[Transcript: Area 51 ‘Uncensored’: Was It UFOs Or The USSR?]

Replace Science Fiction with religion and things are no different in 2011. Some nut job in Oakland, CA announced that today would be the end of the world and there are thousands who are taking it seriously. A biblical event 19th century invention known as rapture, when Jesus Christ returns to take his saints and leave us bloggers and idolators to live peacefully on earth, was to happen, but apparently did not. But in United States –

Thousands of people around the country have spent the last few days taking to the streets and saying final goodbyes before Saturday, Judgment Day, when they expect to be absorbed into heaven in a process known as the rapture. Nonbelievers, they hold, will be left behind to perish along with the world over the next five months. With their doomsday T-shirts, placards and leaflets, followers — often clutching Bibles — are typically viewed as harmless proselytizers from outside mainstream religion. But their convictions have frequently created the most tension within their own families, particularly with relatives whose main concern about the weekend is whether it will rain.[Make My Bed? But You Say the World’s Ending]

So who started this hoax, which is the top news on Google right now?

Ms. Douglas and other believers subscribe to the prophecy of Harold Camping, a civil engineer turned self-taught biblical scholar whose doomsday scenario — broadcast on his Family Radio network — predicts a May 21, 2011, Judgment Day. On that day, arrived at through a series of Bible-based calculations that assume the world will end exactly 7,000 years after Noah’s flood, believers are to be transported up to heaven as a worldwide earthquake strikes. Nonbelievers will endure five months of plagues, quakes, wars, famine and general torment before the planet’s total destruction in October[Make My Bed? But You Say the World’s Ending]

Even Oprah was using the term in her final speech

Oprah gave her “ugly-cry” face and said “I’ve never experienced anything like this and I say once again thank you for taking me to a place that’s beyond joyous. I’m going to have to process it and look at it on tape to see what actually happened here. It feels like the rapture, so thank you all for that!”[Everybody Was at the Final Taping of Oprah]

Is this the first time such rapture craziness has happened? No, apparently rapture was supposed to happen in 1831, 1844, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1942, 1981, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, and now finally 2011. Now lets say for some reason, like for example, I don’t know, there is no movie called Return of Jesus Christ, rapture does not happen today, it can happen in 2060. The 2060 date cannot be absolutely, postively wrong because it was calculated by none other than Sir Isaac Newton based on the book of Daniel.

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Threatened rock art of Pakistan

(via dawn.com)

At this point in time, survival of some ancient rock art may not be the most important item in Pakistan, but here it is anyway. Due to the construction of the Diamer-Basha Dam, some 30,000 carvings and inscriptions will vanish forever.

The Shatial, Thor, Hodur, Thalpan, Naupura, Chaghdo and other sites of northern Pakistan having clusters of carvings but the Basha-Diamer area holds thousands of very important rock carvings.

Hauptmann told Dawn.com that a total of 37,051 carvings on 5,928 boulders or rock faces will be inundated after the construction of the Diamer-Basha Dam.

The site represents hundreds of inscriptions in Brahmi, Sogdian, middle Persian, Chinese, Tibetan and even ancient Hebrew languages. Some 80 per cent of the writings are in Brahmi language.

These writings not only provide insights into the religious and political situation but also show the name of the rulers and a rough date of the time. These details of the inscriptions helped the experts arrange them chronologically.

One of the interesting Brahmi inscriptions can be read as; Martavyam Smartavyam, which means: “(Always) remember that (one day) you must die.[Threatened rock carvings of Pakistan]

Maybe Werner Herzog should visit the place with this 3-D camera before this happens.

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The First Buildings

We know that agriculture was invented about 12,000 years back in various places around the world, starting with the Fertile Cresent. Many models have been proposed to explain why humans left a foraging for farming. With the discovery of the 11,500 year old temple at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey, we also know that religion played an important role quite early in the settled life.

Now we have new evidence of how people lived during that transitory period. The earliest permanent buildings found during this period were not individual homes, but places for communal living or gathering.

Finlayson, Mithen, and their colleagues conclude that the evidence from WF16, combined with evidence from other sites, suggests that the earliest villages were not made up of houses, but rather communal structures where people came together to process their wild harvests and possibly also to engage in community performances. “These settlements appear to be all about community and not about emerging households,” the team writes, adding that this “ritualized community activity” might have helped to bring together the work force necessary to harvest the wild crops.

The authors don’t speculate on where the farmers lived, and there is no way to be sure. Researchers working at similar sites have surmised that they lived in small camps near the central site, but such open air habitations are very difficult to find and often leave little or no archaeological traces.

Archaeologist Trevor Watkins, emeritus at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, says he “agrees strongly” with the authors’ conclusion that the social changes that took place during the transition from hunting and gathering to farming were at least as important as the later economic changes that led to full-blown domestication of plants and animals. But he thinks that it’s still possible that some of the other buildings at WF16 were used as domestic dwellings. Nevertheless, Watkins says, the communal activities at WF16 and other Neolithic sites probably created “powerful bonds of collective identity” in the earliest farmers that kept them together in stable societies “over many generations.”[First Buildings May Have Been Community Centers]

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Calabashes or Plastic Pots?

(Photograph by author)

Many winter solstices back, a study compared certain parameters like life expectancy, infant mortality etc. of Kerala and United States and found they were equal. Thus it was concluded that Kerala is equal to United States. So the state assembly stopped debating mundane roti, kapda, hartaal issues and engaged in discussions of historical importance like if the final destruction of the library of Alexandria happened during the Muslim invasion in 642 CE.

A new study, done exclusively based on news reports, suggests that Kerala is not United States, but Nigeria. Few years back helmets were made mandatory in Kerala and as usual we Malayalees protested. No words can express what high literacy combined with anger can do to a society than this picture or this.

Recently Nigeria enforced helmet laws on motorcyclists and they protested in a way which would have made every Malayalee proud.

Motorcyclists in Nigeria have been wearing dried pumpkin shells on their heads to dodge a new law forcing them to wear helmets, authorities say. Road safety officials said calabash-wearers would be prosecuted. Calabashes are dried pumpkin shells more commonly used to carry liquid. [Nigeria bikers’ vegetable helmets]

In Kerala, everything is attributed to “western conspiracy”; in Nigeria, fear of voodoo.

Stories have also appeared in the local papers highlighting passengers’ fears that the helmets could be used by motorcyclists to cast spells on their clients, making it easy for them to be robbed. “Some people can put juju inside the helmets and when they are worn the victim can either lose consciousness or be struck dumb,” passenger Kolawole Aremu told the Daily Trust newspaper. [Nigeria bikers’ vegetable helmets]

The similarities do not seem to end. Prof. Amartya Sen should factor this into his studies of “Kerala’s experience of development.”

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James Ossuary Not a Fake

JamesOssuary

The story of the James ossuary continues. This limestone box carried an inscription “James son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus” and if it was proved to be true, could be historical evidence for one man named Yeshua (who may or may not be the one called Jesus of Nazareth).

One school held that the man who announced the existence of the ossuary had faked it. Biblical Archaeological Review held the position that  most scholars claim the ossuary is a fake, based on a hunch and not reason.

After three years in court, the case collapsed.

In the most recent embarrassment for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the government’s star witness, Yuval Goren, former chairman of Tel Aviv University’s institute of archaeology, was forced to admit on cross-examination that there is original ancient patina in the word “Jesus,” the last word in the inscription that reads “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”[Supporters of James Ossuary Inscription’s Authenticity Vindicated | Daily Bible and Archaeology News]

The battle is not over yet, but probably will be after 6 months depending on if the case against Tel Aviv antiquities collector Oded Golan is dropped or amended.

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