Just to clear up a few misconceptions; Polynesians in general and Tahitians, Tongans, Samoans and Fijians never used the proa configuration. Their outrigger canoes have distinct bows and sterns (and very nice ones too with plumb or clipper bows and long overhanging sterns). A Tahitian canoe (as you can see on any postcard from Bora Bora) sails with the ama to windward or to leeward. There is a long balancing plank opposite the ama for the crew to prevent the very non-buoyant ama from diving. Proas are found almost exclusively in Micronesia (like Satawal). I've been very fascinated with proas for over thirty years and in my Pacific cruising era, tracked down and examined every one I could find. There's a 60' Marshallese proa here in Auckland at the maritime museum now and it would be hard to conceive of a more ruthlessly functional sailing machine. The humbling part is that they had no metal to put in the canoe or to use for tools.
from the Hyper Dictionary
&The ampersand is a ligature (combination) of the cursive letters "e" and "t", invented in 63 BC by Marcus Tirus [Tiro?] as shorthand for the Latin word for "and", "et". The word ampersand is a conflation (combination) of "and, per se and". Per se means "by itself", and so the phrase translates to "&, standing by itself, means 'and'". This was at the end of the alphabet as it was recited by children in old English schools. The words ran together and were associated with "&". The "ampersand" spelling dates from 1837.
In The Blank Slate, [Steven Pinker] notes "that there is a quasi-religious theory of human nature that is prevalent among pundits and intellectuals, which includes both empirical assumptions about how the mind works and a set of values that people hang on those assumptions. The theory has three parts". One is the doctrine of "the blank slate": that we have no inherent talents or temperaments, because the mind is shaped completely by the environmentóparenting, culture, and society. "The second is "the noble savage": that evil motives are not inherent to people but come from corrupting social institutions. The third is "the ghost in the machine", that the most important part of us is somehow independent of our biology, so that our ability to have experiences and make choices can't be explained by our physiological makeup and evolutionary history. These three ideas are increasingly being challenged by the sciences of the mind, brain, genes, and evolution," he says, "but they are held as much for their moral and political uplift as for any empirical rationale. People think that these doctrines are preferable on moral grounds and that the alternative is forbidden territory that we should avoid at all costs"
Human and animal likenesses, a knife, and a sundial are among the "geoglyphs," or giant figures etched into the earth and discernible from the sky, most recently discovered in the Peruvian desert. Peruvian archaeologist Johny Islas and German colleague Markus Reindel have identified new etchings made by the ancient Nasca people in the desert valleys of Palpa, about 460 kilometers (290 miles) south of Lima. After five years of work, the scientists were able to identify more than 1,000 new geoglyphs. The Nasca, whose culture flourished from around 200 B.C. to the middle of the seventh century A.D., made many of their etchings near the city of Nazca. But the glyphs identified by the two archaeologists in Palpa, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the city, predate the geoglyphs previously discovered and appear to mark the beginning of that civilization.
Experimental results released this year by the Department of Energy's Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Va., have upturned the normally placid world of nuclear physics with the suggestion that protons, the positively charged particles found in the center of every atom, aren't round. Instead, they seem somewhat elliptical.
"The new thing we've figured out is that quarks are moving around inside the proton at relativistic (near speed of light) speeds," says physicist Gerald Miller of the University of Washington-Seattle. Quarks moving at those speeds simply elongate the particle's electromagnetic shape, Miller says. In a paper in the journal Physical Review C, he outlines how quarks moving at high speeds, about 90% of the speed of light, stretch out protons.
In the first century BC Cicero wrote of two "spheres" built by Archimedes that Marcellus, the Roman consul who conquered Syracuse in 212 BC, looted from Syracuse and brought to Rome. One was a solid sphere on which were engraved or painted the stars and constellations, which Marcellus placed in the Temple of Virtue. Such celestial globes predate Archimedes by several hundred years and Cicero credits the famed geometers Thales and Eudoxos with first constructing them. The second sphere, which Marcellus kept for himself, was much more ingenious and original. It was a planetarium: a mechanical model which shows the motions of the sun, moon, and planets as viewed from the earth. Cicero writes that Archimedes must have been "endowed with greater genius that one would imagine it possible for a human being to possess" to be able to build such an unprecedented device. Many other ancient writers also refer to Archimedes' planetarium in prose and in verse. Several viewed it as proof that the cosmos must have had a divine creator: for just as Archimedes' planetarium required a creator, so then must the cosmos itself have required a creator. Cicero reverses the argument to contend that since the cosmos had a divine creator, so then must Archimedes be divine to be able to imitate its motions. The Greek mathematician Pappus of Alexandria, who lived in the fourth century AD, writes that Archimedes wrote a now-lost manuscript entitled On Sphere-making. Pappus also states that it was the only manuscript that Archimedes wrote on "practical" matters. No physical trace of Archimedes' planetarium survives. Cicero refers to it as a "bronze contrivance" while Claudian describes it as "a sphere of glass." The 1752 engraving of Rowley's orrery suggests how Archimedes' planetarium might have looked. On this orrery the sun, moon and planets revolve along a flat surface driven underneath by a hidden gearworks. Spherical bands surrounding the flat surface represent the celestial equator, the arctic circle, a movable horizon, and the ecliptic marked with the zodiacal signs.
History teacher Greg Jefferys said on Tuesday he believed he had found remains of a Portuguese warship buried under a beach in what is now the state of Queensland and he had dated the wreck to as much as 200 years before James Cook landed in Botany Bay. Led on by 19th Century accounts of white men found among the Aborigines of Fraser Island, and reports of European clay pipes being unearthed in old Aboriginal middens, or rubbish heaps, Jefferys' crew found the wreck after just a day of searching.
One of the most revolutionary aspects of the emerging systems theory of life is the new conception of mind, or cognition, it implies. This new conception was proposed by Gregory Bateson and elaborated more extensively by Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela in a theory known as the Santiago theory of cognition The central insight of the Santiago theory is the identification of cognition, the process of knowing, with the process of life. Cognition, according to Maturana and Varela, is the activity involved in the self-generation and self-perpetuation of living systems. In other words, cognition is the very process of life. It is obvious that we are dealing here with a radical expansion of the concept of cognition and, implicitly, the concept of mind. In this new view, cognition involves the entire process of life - including perception, emotion, and behaviour - and does not necessarily require a brain and a nervous system. At the human level, however, cognition includes language, conceptual thought, and all the other attributes of human consciousness. The Santiago theory of cognition, in my view, is the first scientific theory that really overcomes the Cartesian division of mind and matter, and will thus have the most far-reaching implications. Mind and matter no longer appear to belong to two separate categories but are seen as representing two complementary aspects of the phenomenon of life - the process aspect and the structure aspect. At all levels of life, beginning with the simplest cell, mind and matter, process and structure are inseparably connected. Thus, for the first time, we have a scientific theory that unifies mind, matter and life. Let me illustrate the conceptual advance represented by this unified view with a question that has confused scientists and philosophers for over a hundred years: What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Neuroscientists have known since the nineteenth century that brain structures and mental functions are intimately connected, but the exact relationship between mind and brain always remained a mystery. In the Santiago theory the relationship between mind and brain is simple and clear. Descartes' characterisation of mind as the "thinking thing"(res cogitans) is finally abandoned. Mind is not a thing but a process - the process of cognition, which is identified with the process of life. The brain is a specific structure through which this process operates. The relationship between mind and brain, therefore, is one between process and structure. The brain, moreover, is by no means the only structure involved in the process of cognition. In the human organism, as in the organisms of all vertebrates, the immune system is increasingly being recognised as a network that is as complex and interconnected as the nervous system and serves equally important co-ordinating functions. Classical immunology sees the immune system as the body's defence system, outwardly directed and often described in terms of military metaphors -armies of white blood cell, generals, soldiers, etc. Recent discoveries by Francisco Varela and his colleagues at the University of Paris seriously challenging this conception. In fact, some researchers now believe that the classical view with its military metaphors has been one of he main stumbling blocks in our understanding of auto-immune diseases such as AIDS. Instead of being concentrated and interconnected through anatomical structures like the nervous system, the immune system is dispersed in the lymph fluid, permeating every single tissue. Its components - a class of cells called lymphocytes1 popularly known as white blood cells - move around very rapidly and bind chemically to each other. The lymphocytes are an extremely diverse group of cells. Specific molecular markers, called "antibodies" distinguish each type, sticking out from their surfaces. The human body contains billions of different types of white blood cell, with an enormous ability to bind chemically to any molecular profile in their environment. According to traditional immunology, the lymphocytes identify an intruding agent, the antibodies attach themselves to it and, by doing so, neutralise it. Recent research has shown that under normal conditions the antibodies circulating in the body bind to many (if not all ) types of cell, including themselves. The entire system looks much more like a network, more like people talking to each other, then soldiers looking out for an enemy. Gradually, immunologists have been force to shift their perception from an immune system to an immune network. This shift in perception presents a big problem for the classical view. If the immune system is a network whose components bind to each other, and if antibodies are meant to eliminate whatever they bind to, we should all be destroying ourselves. Obviously, we are not. The immune system seems to be able to distinguish between its own body's cells and foreign agents, between self and non-self. But since, in the classical view, for an antibody to recognise a foreign agent means binding to it chemically and thereby neutralising it, it remains mysterious how the immune system can recognise its own cells. Varela and his colleagues argue that the immune system needs to be understood as an autonomous, cognitive network which is responsible for the body's "molecular identity". By interacting with one another and with the other body cells, the lymphocytes continually regulate the number of cells and their molecular profiles. Rather than merely reacting against foreign agents, the immune system serves the important function of regulating the organism's cellular and molecular repertoire. From the perspective of the Santiago theory, this regulatory function is part of the immune system's process of cognition. When foreign molecules enter the body, the resulting response is not their automatic destruction but regulation of their levels within the system's other cognitive activities. The response will vary and will depend upon the entire context of the network. When immunologists inject large amounts of a foreign agent into the body, as they do in standard animal experiments, the immune system reacts with the massive defensive response described in the classical theory. However, this is a highly contrived laboratory situation. In its natural surroundings, an animal does not receive large amounts of harmful substances. The small amounts that do enter its body are incorporated naturally into the ongoing regulatory activities of its immune network. With this understanding of the immune system as a cognitive, self-organising and self-regulating network, the puzzle of the self/non-self distinction is easily resolved. The immune system simple does not and needs not distinguish between body cells and foreign agents, because both are subject to the same regulatory processes. However, when the invading foreign agents are so massive that they cannot be incorporated into the regulatory network, as for example in the case infections, they will trigger specific mechanisms in the immune system gig mount a defensive response. The field of "cognitive immunology" is still in Its infancy, and the self-organising properties of immune networks are by no means well understood. However, some of the scientists active in this growing field of research have already begun to speculate about exciting clinical applications to the treatment of auto immune diseases. Future therapeutic strategies are likely to be based on the understanding that auto immune diseases reflect a failure in the cognitive operation of the immune network and may involve various novel techniques designed to reinforce the network by boosting its connectivity. Such techniques, however, will require a much deeper understanding of the rich dynamics of immune networks before they can be applied effectively In the long run, the discoveries of cognitive immunology promise to be tremendously important for the whole field of health and healing. In Varela's opinion a sophisticated psychosomatic ("mind-body') view of health will not develop until we understand the nervous system and the immune system as two interacting cognitive systems, two "brains" in continuous conversation.
What is Quaoar? Quaoar is a newly discovered Kuiper Belt object, found in June 2002 by Chad Trujillo and Mike Brown at Caltech in Pasadena. It's the largest Kuiper Belt object currently known, half the size of Pluto, and 1.6 billion kilometers (1 billion miles) further away than Pluto. How big is Quaoar? Quaoar is about 1250 km in diameter, roughly the size of Pluto's moon Charon. Nothing larger has been found in our solar system since Pluto was discovered in 1930. It's huge, in fact, if you took the 50,000 numbered asteroids and put them together, it would be smaller than Quaoar. Here's a picture of Quaoar compared to some other Solar System objects, courtesy the Hubble Space Telescope graphic designers. How was Quaoar found? First of all, we are looking for objects like Quaoar because we think there may be a lot of objects like it that are undiscovered, and maybe even objects bigger than Pluto. We spent about 7 months looking for it with a semi-automated telescope, the Oschin Telescope at Palomar, California. It has a mirror diameter of 48 inches (1.2 meters), which is large compared to amateur telescopes (typically ranging from 0.1 - 0.3 meters in diameter), but small compared to most professional telescopes (1 - 10 meters in diameter). Although the mirror isn't very big, the Oschin Telescope has a huge field of view for its size, about 3 square degrees. That's about the same amount of sky area as 12 moons in each picture.thanks to Dave Hodges for the link
Finnish archaeologists challenge conventional ideas of Essean civilisation By Arja Kivipelto Probably more has been written about the scrolls found at Qumran on the Dead Sea than about any other archaeological artefacts. A million visitors a year used to visit the place where they were found - at the time that tourists still dared visit Israel. Qumran is quite worth all of the attention it has received. More than 2,000 years ago the place was home to a community known as the Esseans, whose members are known by name from a number of literary sources. The community left behind objects, ruins, a large cemetery, and writings written on leather, papyrus, and metal. "The combination is a unique treasure in the whole world, but so far research has been one-sided", says Finnish archaeologist Kenneth Lönnqvist. Most research has focused on the writings - especially those with characteristics linked with Christianity. The interest among theologians derives from the fact that the approximately 1,000 scrolls include parts of the Old Testament, and texts that interpret them. Some of the texts have appeared in a number of thick volumes, published in the Oxford University series Discoveries in the Judean Desert. However, little of the archaeological discoveries has been published, or even adequately researched. This can be seen at a French Biblical and archaeological school maintained by Dominican monks in Jerusalem. The school holds much of the material found at Qumran, as well as a number of studies on it. Of the approximately 3,500 titles in the library, 100 involve archaeology. Of these about 20 are scientifically valid, and less than ten of those are important. Lönnqvist points out that many of the latter group do not seem to have been written by professional archaeologists. Lönnqvist and his wife and colleague Minna Lönnqvist are among a group of a few dozen people who have seen the original archaeological material of Qumran - or the scraps of the treasures that have survived. The two predict that the image of a community living on the shore of the Dead Sea is in the process of changing. "According to the prevailing view the Esseans were an ascetic and isolated pre-Christian monastic order who fled to the desert. In fact, they lived quite comfortably, engaged in flourishing trade, and practised a mystical Hellenistic religion", Minna Lönnqvist says. How is it possible for the same artefacts to yield such contrary information? The Lönnqvists' answer is a tragicomic story of how amateurs have been busy wreaking havoc with some of the world's most important ancient finds for over half a century. The story begins in the summer of 1947. A Bedouin boy by the name of Mohammad Dib is searching for a lost lamb. He pursues the runaway up the side of a mountain and notices a gap in the rock. Throwing a stone into the opening he hears a strange ceramic sound. The sound revealed a number of jars hidden in the cave filled with leather scrolls covered with linen cloth. More manuscripts were found later, and currently most of the approximately 1,000 scrolls are in the hands of Israeli museum authorities. The other artefacts are inaccessible to researchers. On many occasions since the late 1940s war has made the ruins inaccessible to archaeologists, because they happen to be situated in the West Bank. The publication rights and the right to study the artefacts are in the hands of the French Biblical and archaeological school. Nobody knows when the Dominican community will make the information public. "In archaeology, the finder gets to keep the publication rights, but not all of the material", says Kenneth Lönnqvist. He does not mind the fair principle of a finder's rights, but he does object to the fact that anyone with money and power is allowed to dig up relics of the past. "Most of the excavations in the Middle East are done by people who are not professional archaeologists. In Qumran archaeological research was first led by a Dominican monk by the name of Roland de Vaux. Later a journalist from Toronto was busy at the ruins." It was not until the 1990s that trained archaeologists from Israel and several other countries took control of the archaeological excavations. The place was then revealed as a scene of extensive destruction. The scrolls in one of the caves were literally dug out with a shovel; the contents of the layers of earth covering them were not documented in any way. Only scattered notes were available of the original excavations. Many objects had been stolen, and 700 bronze coins had disappeared. They would be of great help in determining when the Esseans settled in the area and when they left. Someone has also removed the rear parts of the altars, which were located in the largest room of the ruins. The large stones can still be seen in a photograph taken in the 1950s. Also about the Lönnqvists and Qumran: Structures at Qumran suggest ancient sun cult
The natural Love of Life gave me some inward Motions of Joy; and I was ready to entertain a Hope, that this Adventure might some Way or other help to deliver me from the desolate Place and Condition I was in. But, at the same Time, the Reader can hardly conceive my Astonishment, to behold an Island in the Air, inhabited by Men, who were able (as it should seem) to raise or sink, or put it into a progressive Motion, as they pleased. But not being, at that Time, in a Disposition to philosophise upon this Phaenomenon, I rather chose to observe what Course the Island would take; because it seemed for a while to stand still. Yet, soon after it advanced nearer; and I could see the Sides of it, encompassed with several Gradations of Galleries and Stairs, at certain Intervals, to descend from one to the other. In the lowest Gallery, I beheld some People fishing with long Angling Rods, and others looking on. I waved my Cap, (for my Hat was long since worn out,) and my Handkerchief towards the Island; and upon its nearer approach, I called and shouted with the utmost Strength of my Voice; and then looking circumspectly, I beheld a Crowd gather to that Side which was most in my View. I found by their pointing towards me and to each other, that they plainly discovered me, although they made no Return to my Shouting. But I could see four or five Men running in great Haste up the Stairs to the top of the Island, who then disappeared. I happened rightly to conjecture, that these were sent for Orders to some Person in Authority upon this Occasion.--- Travels into several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver