Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something/Someone Old
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This is pretty awesome.

Here is either the oldest art or one of the oldest tools known to man:

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Even the find itself is old. This is further study on a controversial find by a 19th-century archaeologist:

On the banks of the Solo River in Java, Indonesia, 19th-century physician Eugene Dubois uncovered an astounding fossil find: the bones of what appeared to be an ancient human, surrounded by animal remains and shells. Excavated in the 1890s, the site gained fame as the home of “Java Man,” better known today as Homo erectus.

Dubois got in some trouble for what he said about it:

Dated to between a million and 700,000 years old, the bones immediately provoked controversy, because Dubois claimed they showed evidence of a transitional species between apes and humans. It turns out he was right—Homo erectus fossils have since been found in Africa and elsewhere in Asia, and it is possible the species is a direct ancestor of our own.

These finds have continued to spark controversy into our own time. There's been a lot of debate as to how long ago H erectus lived in Indonesia, a lot of debate over whether or not many of the supposedly different hominid species are different variations of one species--Homo erectus--and debate about who its immediate ancestors were. (People have said Homo habilis was H erectus' predecessor, but now it seems that they lived at the same time).

http://www.becominghuman.org/node/homo-erectus-0
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/17/skull-homo-erectus-human...

Back to the shell:

it’s the palm-sized shells found alongside the Java remains that are raising big questions today. An examination of the shells published in Nature suggests that Homo erectus may have used the shells for tools and decorated some of them with geometric engravings. At around half a million years old, the shells represent the earliest evidence of such decorative marks and also the first known use of shells to make tools.

What's particularly cool about this new discovery is that it was a marine biologist/paleobiologist who figured out that the marking's were very probably not a natural attribute of the ancient mollusk.

That’s what first attracted Josephine Joordens, a marine biologist and archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands. A few years ago, Stephen Munro, an archaeologist at Australian National University and a study co-author, happened to briefly look through the Dubois shell collection and took a few photos. The images showed markings on the shells, at first invisible to the naked eye. “It’s strange to see a zigzag pattern on such old fossil shells,” recalls Joordens.

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The researchers used two dating techniques on preserved sediment in the shells to estimate their age: between 540,000 and 430,000 years old. The team also used x-rays to examine the Homo erectus bones and confirm that they came from the same rock layer as the shells. The results suggest that the Homo erectus fossils on Java aren’t quite as old as we thought they were. Still, the geometric engraving predates other examples by around 300,000 years, and the oldest Neanderthal shell tools are also much younger (about 110,000 years old).

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/oldest-engraving-shell-too...

I love decoration, because it signifies imagination that isn't driven by necessity. Therefore, it's a pretty clear sign of an independent and functioning mind and a reliable marker of civilization.

Something New
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I just watched the Netflix series The Witcher.

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It's based on a 2007 role-playing console game,

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so I didn't have the highest hopes for the series--often the gap between gaming and simple storytelling, as in television or cinema, is too wide for the material to make the leap, or, I guess, for the author to make it.

It's actually quite good for what it is. It's an interesting fantasy story.

Set in a medieval fictional world on a landmass known as "the Continent", The Witcher follows the story of solitary monster hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) and Cintran princess Ciri (Freya Allan), who find their destinies tied together. The first season is based on The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, a collection of short stories which precede the main Witcher saga. It explores formative events that shaped the three lead characters, prior to their first encounters with each other.

This show could have been Something Borrowed, if I hadn't already had a candidate for that category. It and the game were both based on a series of novels by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, who I dearly hope is getting some royalties from all this.

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The TV show is not all that violent by today's standards, but for those of us who hail from earlier eras, there are some unpleasant moments. Mostly, though, it's refreshingly non-gratuitous.

So I recommend it, but with the caveat that if you are sensitive to violence or graphic nastiness of any kind, you might want to approach with caution.

Something Borrowed
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A dear friend turned me on (heh) to this wonderful takedown of E.L. James' literary atrocity 50 Shades of Grey and its sequels.

I heartily recommend it, particularly his critique of the second book of the series, Fifty Shades Darker.

Prepare to laugh and be filled with righteous indignation simultaneously.

Something Blue
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These are pictures from the Yunishigawa Kamakura festival.

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Apparently this is a very new festival. But I don't need things to be from long ago if they are cool. Even if it is motivated by a desire for more tourism:

Twenty-five years ago, hotels and restaurants came together and put up a snow house festival inspired by the snow house culture in the Tohoku region. The festival has developed its own character over the years and is now the biggest winter event in Tochigi Prefecture.

https://www.tobujapantrip.com/en/articles/7.html

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

It isn't, really, but I got up over an hour ago. And that *is* early, for me.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Steven D's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal and the stuff about Homo Erectus. Thanks my fiorend.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

enhydra lutris's picture

@Steven D

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

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2 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Steven D

Glad to see you around here, Steven.

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2 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

"early" isn't so much about time as about Helios' chariot's passage through the sky. Having been hopelessly awake since 0300 local, though wisely staying abed until 0630, I can sympathize.

It must be getting early, clocks are running late
Paint-by-number morning sky looks so phony
Dawn is breaking everywhere, light a candle, curse the glare
Draw the curtains, I don't care 'cause it's alright

So, in case one needs to get the blood circulating -

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

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4 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

magiamma's picture

Thanks for the heads up on the 700K year old fossils. Mind bending really. Just back from young dsa voter reg talk on campus. Stoked. Be well...

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