Archeology and History

Herodotus was right. A team of archeologists has discovered Achaemenid artifacts and human remains near the oasis of Siwa, leading them to believe they have discovered the lost army of Cambyses:

It was a rock about 114.8 feet long, 5.9 feet in height and 9.8 feet deep. Such natural formations occur in the desert, but this large rock was the only one in a large area.

“Its size and shape made it the perfect refuge in a sandstorm,” Castiglioni said.

Right there, the metal detector of Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat of Cairo University located relics of ancient warfare: a bronze dagger and several arrow tips.

“We are talking of small items, but they are extremely important as they are the first Achaemenid objects, thus dating to Cambyses’ time, which have emerged from the desert sands in a location quite close to Siwa,” Castiglioni said.

About a quarter-mile from the natural shelter, the Castiglioni team found a silver bracelet, an earring and few spheres which were likely part of a necklace.

“An analysis of the earring, based on photographs, indicate that it certainly dates to the Achaemenid period. Both the earring and the spheres appear to be made of silver. Indeed a very similar earring, dating to the fifth century B.C., has been found in a dig in Turkey,” Andrea Cagnetti, a leading expert of ancient jewelry, told Discovery News.

Demonstrates that ancient writers might have known what they were talking about.

The Family

I’ve recently been reading about the secretive fundagelical political organization described in Jeff Sharlet’s disturbing book, The Family. Some further links are via Amicus Dei and Slacktivist.

While I have some minor quibbles with certain aspects of Sharlet’s interpretation, the evidence and conclusion are as compelling as they are depressing: the US government — of both parties — and financial elite are pervaded by a clandestine organization whose express goal is global theocracy, and whose members, lacking any moderation via the wider context of scripture or theology or the main stream of orthodoxy in the church, are, as C.S. Lewis warned, capable of blithely colluding in the worst kind of oppression and violence in the name of “the will of God”.

Continue reading “The Family”

Why We Innoculate

I should have noted this earlier, but the last month has been pretty busy. Turns out that the original research used to support the idea that vaccinations cause autism was based on falsified data.

That’s right. Made up out of whole cloth.

I feel tremendous empathy for the health-care professionals in places like the UK and Minnesota, where childhood diseases are making a comeback due to the idiocy of anti-vaccinators.

In case you wondered why we vaccinate, Jim McDonald has a whole list of reasons:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio
  • Diptheria
  • Pertussis
  • Tetanus
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Chicken Pox

You may not even have heard of these diseases, because we were this close to wiping them out. Now, thanks to a few noisy idiots, you may come accross them all to often in the future.

On tiny little gravestones.


Some excellent perspective on the war in Iraq from Fouad Ajami in the Wall Street Journal:

It is not easy to tell people of threats and dangers they have been spared. The war put on notice regimes and conspirators who had harbored dark thoughts about America and who, in the course of the 1990s, were led to believe that terrible deeds against America would go unpunished. A different lesson was taught in Iraq. Nowadays, the burden of the war, in blood and treasure, is easy to see, while the gains, subtle and real, are harder to demonstrate. Last month, American casualties in Iraq were at their lowest since 2003. The Sunnis also have broken with al Qaeda, and the Shiite-led government has taken the war to the Mahdi Army