After more than 160 years, the twin masts of the Milan still stand erect _ all the more remarkable because the commercial sailing ship sits in the dark depths of Lake Ontario. “It almost looks like it could be floated” to the surface, said shipwreck explorer Dan Scoville on Monday.

Scoville and fellow explorer Jim Kennard located the schooner in the summer of 2005 off the southern shore of the lake. They videotaped the 93-foot-long, square-stern vessel this year using an unmanned submersible built with the help of college students.

The ship sits upright on the lake bed at a depth of more than 200 feet. Its masts extend 70 feet upward in the dark waters.

“At those depths, and the water being so cold, there’s not a lot of oxygen” Scoville said. “It basically helps preserve the wood. If a shipwreck is in shallow, fresh water, the ice will get it or storms will beat it up.” read more…

After being ensconced for millions of years in the heart of a South African cave, the most complete hominid fossil found to date is finally seeing the light of day … or almost. A cast of Little Foot, a fossil with both ape-like and human features, was unveiled last week at an interactive museum at Maropeng, near the Sterkfontein caves where it was found, effectively bringing it closer to an eager public.

Another cast will be displayed at New York’s natural history museum and a third is already there for all to see at the Sterkfontein caves.

Little Foot generated huge excitement when it was found in the 1990s at the Sterkfontein caves north of Johannesburg as it was first dated to between 3.0 and 3.5 million-years-old. read more…

Humans first moved out of Africa about 70,000 years ago, but 30,000 years later some of them moved back.

That’s according to a new study based on DNA evidence from ancient human remains found in Africa. The findings are reported in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Science. read more…

The Origins of Halloween

October 31, 2006

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. Read the rest of this entry »

I watched a movie tonight on HBO. What originally interested me in this movie was the fact that Michael Pena starred in it. Since his excellent role in Crash, I knew he would be an actor to look out for in more starring roles in the future. The movie I watched tonight was called Walkout. It is the story of a teacher (Pena) mentoring Chicano high school students protesting injustices in the East L.A. public schools in 1968 which led to a series of walkouts. To say the least, the movie was excellent. The first 5 minutes of the film brought up some great points about history.

The 1968 classroom headed by Sal Castro (Pena) questioned where Chicano history was in the textbooks. Almost 40 years later, one must still wonder where it is. Rarely do you read about the Chicano civil rights movement in history texts, the same movement that spread across the country and help raise Chicano college enrollment from 2% to 25% over the few years following the High School walkouts and also helped stop the injustices and help make Chicano schools more equal. Edward James Olmos did this story great justice with his direction and production of this movie allowing millions to see and experience a Civil Rights movement that many never knew existed. I implore anyone who is interested in history, civil rights, and more importantly, human rights, to watch this movie.

CAIRO (Reuters) – Statues weighing up to five tonnes and thought to be of one of ancient Egypt’s greatest pharaohs, Ramses II, have been found northeast of Cairo, Egypt’s Supreme Antiquities Council said in a statement on Sunday.

Ramses II ruled Egypt from 1304 to 1237 BC, and presided over an era of great military expansion, erecting statues and temples to himself all over Egypt. He is traditionally believed to be the pharaoh mentioned in the biblical story of Moses.

“Many parts of red granite statues were found, the most important of which had features close to Ramses II … The statue needs some restoration and weighs between four and five tonnes,” the statement quoted the Council’s Zahi Hawass as saying.

A royal head weighing two to three tonnes and a seated 5.1 meter (16.7 foot) statue were also found, with cartouches, or royal name signs, of Ramses II on the side of the seated statue.

The discoveries were made at a sun temple northeast of Cairo in ancient Heliopolis, a region known in ancient times for sun worship and where the Council says a calendar based on the solar year was invented. Source: Yahoo

It was a time when giants roamed the earth. Giants like the palaeeudyptes, a 1.5m-high penguin – the 40 million-year-old remains of which have been found near Kawhia, an hour’s drive south of Hamilton.

The remains of this giant bird were found last month by Tony Lorimer who stumbled across the find while on a trip escorting the Hamilton junior naturalists club.

Dwarfing the huge emperor penguin, the palaeeudyptes would have cut an imposing figure across the Waikato landscape.

It seems to have died on the foreshore and sunk into the mud at a time when much of the area was just small low-lying islands.

“Two of us were walking along when we almost banged heads going for a look and realised they were bones,” Mr Lorimer said.

Ewan Fordyce, associate professor of paleontology at Otago University, said the find was extremely significant.

The bones may now become the showpiece of a small museum run by the Hamilton junior naturalists club. But Alan Tennyson, curator of fossils at Te Papa, said the fossil was a national treasure and should be somewhere where it could be appreciated by everyone. NZ Herald

The British revisionist historian and Nazi apologist David Irving was today sentenced to three years in prison after he admitted denying the Holocaust.

An eight-member jury at a court in Vienna convicted Irving, 68, a few hours after it began its deliberations on the first day of his trial.

Irving had pleaded guilty to denying the Holocaust in two speeches on a visit to Austria in 1989, but said at the trial that he had later changed his views.

The speeches included a call for an end to the “gas chambers fairy tale”, and claims that Adolf Hitler had helped Europe’s Jews and that the Holocaust was a myth. Read the rest of this entry »

The true father of Ireland

January 18, 2006

Research by geneticists at Trinity College Dublin reveals that one in 12 Irishmen are descended from a fifth-century warlord. As David McKittrick reports, science has for once revealed the man to be more impressive than the myth.

He was already a splendid quasi-mythical warrior who trailed clouds of ancient glory, bestriding Irish pre-history as one of the greatest of all the high kings of Ireland. But now Niall of the Nine Hostages has emerged as an even mightier man than previously supposed.

It looks as though he was literally one of the fathers of his nation – a man who, 1,500 years after his death, has up to three million living descendants in Ireland and elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »

Archaeologists have unearthed a Roman road, a Bronze Age ditch and some medieval artefacts during major road improvement works in Wiltshire.
The historical remains – including three iron horseshoes – were found in the upper layers of the Roman road.

Archaeologist Neil Holbrook said the findings had been recorded and added: “The Romans didn’t have horseshoes.

“We seem to have proved by the discovery that the road continued in use into the medieval period.”

The works are being carried out on the A419 by the Highways Agency to create a flyover designed to cut congestion.

Roy Canham, an archaeologist for Wiltshire County Council said: “We can now prove that the route of the current A419 has been important for the last 2000 years.”

As well as the horseshoes a medieval arrowhead was unearthed and a 3,000-year-old ditch dating back to the Bronze Age was discovered. BBC