Archive for the Destinations Category

Emerging news on the MaKomati front

Posted in Destinations, Evidence!, Expert testimony, Fact Checking, Mysterious origins with tags , , , on November 30, 2008 by Eric S.

If you’re like me, September 20th’s post on the Indiana Jones-like activities of South African airplane pilot Johane Heine, his (unmentioned in the article) cohort Michael Tellinger, and their collective of against-the-establishment archaeologists aka The MaKomati Foundation, you may have finished reading still hungry for more answers. Truly, you may have found yourself with such a hunger even if you’re not even vaguely like me; there’s plenty of wtfage to go around with a theory like the one MaKomati is putting forth.

On the one hand, you’ve got the brotherhood of conventional Archaeology, Paleontology and Anthropology, who collectively agree the earliest traces of civilization can be found with the Mesopotamians, circa 5,000 BCE, in an area modern folk not terribly interested in Archaeology, Paleontology, Anthropology or, for the most part, Geography, refer to as The Middle East.

On a second, third and possibly fourth hand, there’s evidence of other primitive-yet-intelligent humans spread about here and there: Paleolithic tools 2.6-2.5 million years old; remnants of a migration across the Bering Strait during an interval between 50-9,000 years ago; and the reasonably well preserved remains of cave paintings in modern France and Germany commonly believed to be 15-20,000 years old. All of which boils down to this: there are plenty of gaps in the historical record. MaKomati believe they’ve found a hunk of history to spackle into one of the gaps.

Personally, I’m skeptical. No, wait; that’s not quite the right word. Dubious is probably closer to the fact. I admit that’s in part due to my comfort with what I’ve come to accept as fact through years of reinforcement by, well, every source of factual authority I’m exposed to. But I also acknowledge that the factual authorities with which Aristotle, Copernicus and Galileo had their comeuppance weren’t entirely dependable; I freely admit that much of my understanding of how the universe works is founded on the baby-talk summations of consensus of passionate, hard core geeks who take great pains to make sure that I’m handed as best-we-can-tell-fact has been tested, hypothesized, checked, rechecked, challenged, refuted, modified, shot down, rechecked again, confirmed, reviewed, published and subsequently checked by classrooms full of aspiring hard core geeks. Honestly, I don’t think it’s such a bad system.

The question then is, are Johan Heine, Michael Tellinger and the MaKomati Foundation a modern day archaeological Galileo? Or are they a couple of guys with a plane and some ruins in a remote corner of the globe looking to boost local tourism? Okay, unfair comparison on at least three counts: 1) everyone has already heard of Galileo, 2) hard science is by definition easier to validate than soft science, and 3) the establishment Galileo was up against was going to burn him for what he was saying. But I couldn’t think of a suitably foundation-shaking foundation shaker. Maybe Alfred Wegener.

Lucky for me, Michael Tellinger stopped by the site a couple of weeks ago. I followed his initial comment on the September 20 article with a list of questions, to which he graciously responded. Here are his answers in their entirety:

  1. First, according to makomati.com, conventional wisdom explains the ruins as cattle kraal built and used by the Bantu people within the past 1,000 years. The Makomati Foundation dates these structures as being far older: somewhere between 75,000 to 250,000 years old. This is actually the basis for several questions:

    75,000 – 200,000 years seems like a pretty broad estimate, given what little I personally know of dating techniques. What accounts for the 125,000 year discrepancy?

    We are dealing with a very complex site that covers over 500 square kilometres and makes up the largest and oldest city on Earth that has almost completely eroded.

    We have gathered artifacts from the same site that date back from 300,000 yrs and 600 years. This points to a very long occupation of these sites.

    BUT we deal with Archaeoastronomy mainly to determine the deviation from today’s cardinal points. 3 degrees; 17 min. and 42 sec deviation.

    The presessional cycle of 25,800 years has almost been completed – this means that we are in essence working with chunks of 25,000 years.

    Now we have to look for other clues as to how many years it actually is.

    The main indicators are the alignment with Orion – which could have only happened 75,000 years ago and more.

    And Geology – erosion.

    Dolerite erodes very slowly and the erosion patterns on most monoliths indicate that they were brought there a long, long time ago.

    Lichen growth is also a reasonable indicator. We have lots of evidence there.

  2. What techniques have been used? What are the advantages of these techniques?

    Archaeoastronomy; Geology – alien rocks brought from elsewhere; astronomy; and what most of us often forget about – logic and reason.

  3. Did the Bantu in fact use these structures as cattle kraal, as recently as the 13th century? If so, were they making use of what at that time were already ancient artifacts, or were additional structures built by the Bantuu (or other indigenous peoples) in the intervening time?

    Many examples indicate that the Bantu people used the existing materials to build their own dwellings and kraals and sometime simply occupying existing structures.

    They were also used by the British and Boer soldiers in the South African War around 1900. This has introduced many contaminants into the original sites but many still remain pristine.

  4. If not, would you care to theorize on how this wrongful theory came to be accepted as doctrine?

    This incorrect doctrine was adopted by ignorant and lazy historians who have done very little research themselves into ancient human history – and simply accepted the stories taught in mainstream academic institutions.

    I know this sounds conspiratorial but unfortunately it is so. When ill informed people deal with the current finds they simply cannot see the bigger picture.

    It is as if there was no history in South Africa before the Bantu people arrived. This is obviously a very ignorant and arrogant stance – but it doe hold a firm grip an many academics in this part of the world. It is called political correctness and is doing us all a great disservice.

  5. The ruins cover a considerable piece of real estate. When I think of empires or civilizations with both a) similar geographical spread and b) an inclination to build durable structures ( for example, the Egyptians, Romans, Incans and Greeks, as opposed to the Sioux or Aborigine), I typically picture a display in a museum that includes all manner of ‘household items’: pots, tools, earthenware, jewelry and so forth. Has Makomati discovered any such artifacts?

    We are dealing with the largest and oldest city on Earth with many thousands of habitants over an extended period of time.

    With ancient terraces; roads; wells; irrigations systems; dwellings, temples and work places.

    Many artifacts that show a habitation period of over 300,000 years. With specific items pointing to various incidents.

    We also have what we now believe to be the OLDEST pottery in the world – maybe as old as 50,000 years. But the academics that dated it from WITS university in 1986 were so freaked out by this discovery that they returned the fragments to the owner with a short message – “They are about 10,000 years old.”

    Other archaeologists recall this find and attest that the ash heal in which the potter was found was around 30 – 50,000 years old.

  6. Same question as 1, above, applied specifically to Adam’s Calendar.

    Adam’s Calendar is the flagship among all these because it is unique in the world today and can be dated with some accuracy to a great time in antiquity.

  7. The people who built these structures: do they have a name? Beyond their architectural capabilities, what else do we know about them?

    We know very little about them except what we are discovering on a daily basis in the expansive ruins.

    They were most likely all involved in gold and other metal mining.

My thanks to Mr. Tellinger, and my invitation to anyone who’d care to contribute constructive input.

Advertisements

South African Explorers Discover the Oldest Man-made Structure on Earth

Posted in Destinations, Mysterious origins, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained with tags , , , on September 20, 2008 by Eric S.

At least, that’s what the author of makomati.com purport. At first glance, the findings of pilot Johan Heine and the MaKomati foundation give that electric crackle of discovery armchair archeologists get once or maybe twice in a lifetime (maybe three, if you’re really old) when some intrepid explorer stumbles across a cave full of scrolls or tomb full of mummies.

A series of heavily weathered ruins stretching from South Africa to Kenya largely regarded as the remains of watering holes along Wadi trade routes (i.e., those of a number of indigenous south African peoples) include what appears to be a functioning calendar that could be among the oldest man-made structures on the planet:

That was enough to get me to add their book to my Amazon list, read the whole site, and even toss the question of the theory’s validity to the braintrust over at the Straight Dope message boards. Sure there are a couple of facts that seem far fetched at first glance – the estimate of the ruins’ age from 75,000 (or twice as old as cave paintings at Chauvet) to 250,000 years old, that include a network of sites connected by roads comparable in size to the Egyptian empire – but one has resist the natural impulses of the chronological superiority complex.

Fact is, I’d love for this these guys to be on to something, and not just out to make R250 selling me their book. But their science seems to be only slightly better than those bigfoot guys.

Kent Couch and his amazing flying machine

Posted in Destinations, idle hands with tags , , on July 9, 2008 by Eric S.

Admit it. You’ve thought about doing the exact same thing. Maybe you’re at a backyard barbeque. Some festive occasion, complete with cases and cases of chilled, refreshing and possibly alcoholic beverages, plus the obligatory ‘festive’ balloons the missus (or whoever your party-planning co-conspirator is) made you spend all afternoon inflating with that dang-blasted rental helium tank. Or, who can say? Maybe there’s just you, a backyard and the aforementioned case of refreshing alcoholic beverages. Either way, you spy a lawnchair that you reckon couldn’t possibly weigh more than a couple of pounds. And the dang-blasted helium tank. And the wheels get turning…


(This and more pictures available from CNN.)

Sure, it’s a fantasy so played out they’ve even made movies about it. I don’t imagine that makes the trip any less exhiliarating. Mr. Couch, this nicely chilled beverage is for you. I hope Idaho was all you hoped it might be.

How I’ve gone 5 months without a bigfoot post is a mystery in its own right

Posted in Destinations, Sighting!, The Unexplained with tags , , , , , , on June 19, 2008 by Eric S.

Thankfully, members of the International Brotherhood of Persistent Bigfoot Pursuers popped up on the BBC today:

Okay, I jest. The actual story and accompanying video are here on BBC News, whose videos can’t be embedded in WordPress, and whose artwork looks like it belongs hung on the refrigerator.

My favorite aspect of this report is its inclusion of a handy primer on how to address Bigfoot around the world:
 

In the US it’s known as bigfoot, in Canada as sasquatch, in Brazil as mapinguary, in Australia as a yowie, in Indonesia as sajarang gigi and, most famously of all, in Nepal as a yeti.

The little known Indian version of this legendary ape-like creature is called mande barung – or forest man – and is reputed to live in the remote West Garo hills of the north-eastern state of Meghalaya.

 My second favorite is this quote by the man in the second video down the page, I believe identified as Nelbison Sangma, in response to the reporter’s speculation that these Bigfoot sightings are “a wheeze(?) to attract tourists to Meghalaya”:

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Which I totally plan to add to my own library of snappy responses. Even though it’s pretty clear that what Mr. Sangma means is “Yes.”

Mars polar explorer lands, apparently without a hitch

Posted in Destinations, Objects in Space with tags , , on May 26, 2008 by Eric S.

Yesterday evening at just after 8:00 EST (sorry, I have no idea what the local time on Mars was), NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft landed in Mars’s northern polar region. Here’s the first photo beamed back, courtesy of NASA:

 

 And, yeah, that’s really about it so far. Apparently, these Mars missions take longer to play out than Mars-landing scifi movies would have us believe.

Details available as they emerge on nasa.gov.

Las Vegas: home to something strange and/or unusual?

Posted in *Them*, Destinations, Mysterious origins, Signs, The Unexplained with tags , , on April 10, 2008 by Eric S.

Las Vegas. A simple town of folks with simple ways. Is it possible that this is all just a ruse to hide a truth buried right there in the open?

Some back story:

As part of their civic-minded campaign to contribute to the understated charm and allure that is The Las Vegas Strip, the purveyors of The Bellagio installed a lake as the front yard of their casino. No ordinary lake, this one dances. A well choreographed dance at that, to songs ranging from Celine Dion’s Greatest Hit(s) to the operatic portions of the Sopranos, Season II soundtrack.

On the surface, it looks like a simple contribution to the property values not only of the Bellagio itself, but certainly the T-shirt stand and all you can eat shrimp buffet (which has apparently jacketed their prices up, from $3.99 to $19.95 since the installation of the fountain. Yes, I’m making that up.). At worst, a self serving marketing strategy to lure unsuspecting dupes and their gambling funds away from competing casinos.

Or could there be something even deeper beneath the surface? On a hunch, I consulted Google maps. And there it was, right in front of my face (conveniently highlighted for you, just in case it’s not as obvious to the untrained eye):

 

Masked by its dancing fountain, the Bellagio is hiding what can only be described as a crop circle. Note the presence of actual circles. The sweeping line, leading to an unclear — perhaps intentionally unclear — message. And the decidely crafty absence of crops. Judged on these critical factors, there’s an unquestionable similarity to other crop circles (except, of course, that last bit about the absence of crops):


As amiably straightforward as recently-discovered formations on Mars may be, it’s clear the perpetrators of the Bellagio formations intend to shroud themselves in mystery. Which is likely a sign that they’re up to no good. Keep your eyes open

 

The Moon, hereafter known as The Doritos Close Orbit Celestial Body

Posted in Destinations, Rant, The Man with tags , , on April 2, 2008 by Eric S.

I walked by this ad the other day:

Not this exact one, mind you, as my corner of the planet is civilized enough to bury our electric lines, thankyouverymuch, but one much like it.

My initial reaction? Cool — finally, Chairface Chippendale will see his vision realized (feel free to watch the whole episode if you have time).

My second reaction? Why on earth would that have been my first reaction when, clearly, my third reaction paying homage to Tyler Durden for his observations on space colonization: has so much more moxie: “When deep space exploration ramps up, it’ll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.”

Skipping forward, my fourth reaction: what the hell is this?

The campaign to broadcast the first ever advertisement into space is launched March 7 with University of Leicester space scientists playing a key part in the process.

The British public is being asked to shoot a 30-second ad about what they perceive life on earth to be as part of Doritos ‘You Make It, We Play It’ user-generated-content campaign. The winning advert in the competition will be beamed past the earth’s atmosphere, beyond our solar system and into the Universe, to anyone ‘out there’ that may be watching. The winning ad will also be broadcast on terrestrial TV.

Feel encouraged to read the whole thing, but don’t feel compelled to. It bascially boils down to this: a vast amount of technology is going to be applied to encoding content submitted by Joey Sixpack and friends and voted on by The Popularity Cartel before being beamed out into the furthest reaches of space in hopes that some alien intelligence will find it, decypher it and come to understand us Earthlings well enough to devote resources enough to cross 42 light years to come see who sent it.

And, see, trying to find something to be snarky about without having to degenerate to actually being serious about this is, as a friend once described having a brain tumor removed, like picking dried bubble gum out of a sweater.

My points on the matter:

  1. Jokes about Doritos and their appeal to illegal aliens are cheap, easy to come by and tasteless. Being clever by saying that, ironically, these three traits are shared by Doritos themselves, is totally clever. If you’re a high school journalist.
  2. Please, please, please… let moving to Mars be a reason to *not* be plagued by advertisements for cheap, carbo-overloaded, nutrient deficient crap. At least let prospective Martians aspire to the nutritional standards of the astronauts of the 60’s.
  3. I’m reasonably sure I’ll be dead in the time it takes radio waves (or even laser beams) to travel 42 light years and elicit a response. Anyone that thinks they might a) still be around if anyone on the receiving end hears, b) respond and c) arrive here in a timely manner, consider encouraging Frito Lay to ixnay on the arfay okesjay.

Yeah, I had more but kinda lost my steam there. Feel free to add amendments.