Moving Mountains


Pondering the Baghdad Battery last night got me thinking about other remarkable ancient accomplishments.

Stone was the ancient material of choice. Somehow they were able to not only quarry massive blocks with precision accuracy, they transported them for miles. In the case of sites like Machu Pichu, across rivers and hundreds of feet straight up the side of a mountain.

In Feb. of 2012 a rock weighing 680,000 lbs. was quarried in Riverside California. It was to be transported 100 miles to the L.A. County Museum of Art for an exhibit called “Levitated Mass” Over 100 workers, a 1.4 million lb. crane, 2,400 horsepower truck, structure made of steel girders supported by 208 tires, a power unit pushing and another pulling; were able to move it at around 5 miles per hour.

The Western Stone in Jerusalem weighs 1.2 million lbs., Ramesseum Statue in Thebes, Egypt 2 million lbs., and the Trilithon at the Temple of Jupiter in Lebanon 4.8 million lbs. All quarried miles away. Somehow these single blocks of stone were not only transported, but set perfectly in place without  anything other than incredible ingenuity.  Puma Punku in Bolivia sits at the top of a mountain plateau, at an elevation of 12,00 feet. Built before these people even had the wheel, somehow rocks weighing up to 100 tons found their way up the side of  this imposing mountain.

Engineering head scratchers litter the ancient world. Ponder a time when the expression “moving mountains” didn’t elude to an impossible task, rather, just another day at the quarry.

Baghdad Battery


Please be patient as I ponder a few things on the way to my point.

I wonder how many people are prepared to step outside the generally accepted box, suspend conventional thinking, and look at our history with fresh eyes. What would it take to snap people out of the notion that the history taught in school is final and absolute. I often write about ancient history; a subject that fuels my imagination, lifts my spirit, and is guaranteed to leave me asking for more. The crushing reality is – nobody cares. Friends for the most part indulge my enthusiasm for a minute or two, then the eyes start to wander as they muster a dismissive “that’s really cool”. One friend teases that I have a “tin foil hat” ready to ward off alien invasions. Beyond perplexing is the idea that any thought outside a dusty old textbook,  immediately places the thinker in the “wing nut” category.Why is it that those who ponder lost civilizations or knowledge find themselves lumped in with the ancient alien crowd? Fortunately I have a thick skin, laughing it off as I fret over their stilted imaginations.

One obvious possibility; the unknown or unexplained can be terrifying. Creation myth has existed since the dawn of time. Worship, religion, whatever you want to call it provided “a place for everything, and everything in its place” . Suddenly there was an answer for everything. For centuries comfort was found in your God; questions not only unnecessary, but frowned upon. I pity the first men of science whose heresy sealed a gruesome fate.

We live in an age of science, devour technology, yet won’t allow unexplained truths unearthed by that science, coax us out of our safe warm place. Irrefutable scientific evidence tells us our accepted historical timeline is hogwash. Look at my posts under “Ancient History” as I fear my family will scream if I explain Piri Reis, Puma Punku, or Gobekli Tepe again.

Now the Baghdad Battery, something to ponder within the parameters of our perceived history. In 1938 German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig dug up five clay jars. These vessels found at Khujut Rabu outside Baghdad, were dated to around 250 BC.Each one had an iron rod down the middle, held in place by an asphalt stopper. Surrounding this, the inside of the jar was copper. tests showed evidence of an acidic residue such as vinegar. His conclusion – it was a battery. Capable of producing up to 4 volts, it is widely accepted to have been used to electroplate gold or silver.

Ponder the 2000 year old battery. Imagine what else waits to be discovered, wrap your head around possibilities that defy explanation. Take comfort in the knowledge that unanswered questions might just be what your soul is missing.

Baghdad Battery

Call Me Crazy


Call me crazy, I won’t care. A week or so from now I’ll find myself in Battleford, Saskatchewan, and I couldn’t be happier. I grew up in the country; my rural childhood had seasons, wildlife, and something I perceived as isolation. Aside from the occasional rocking thunderstorm, and the time lightning struck and demolished the tree next to our house – it lacked extremes.

Canada is a very large country, a place with vastly different weather patterns. My farm childhood pales in comparison to that of the prairies. I grew up with lakes and mountains. I lived in a valley, surrounded by fruit trees and sagebrush. Sure it snowed, but never enough to halt our daily march to the school bus, or heaven forbid – issue a “snow day” at school.

In my early twenties I spent a winter working at a hotel in Grande Prairie, Alberta. This is the place responsible for my fascination with weather extremes.  I barely had time to wrap my head around the sun peering just above the edge of the horizon for a few hours each day, when terms like ice fog and snow rollers entered my vocabulary. Ice fog was my first lesson in the wonder of very, very cold weather.  I  knew about block heaters for car engines, you plugged your car in at night to keep the engine fluids from freezing. I didn’t know that despite this, at -40 or -45 degrees Celsius a coin still had to be flipped each morning to see who had to go out and get the thing started. I had no idea my car tires would become flat where they sat on the ground, and that everyone thunked along the road until their tires warmed up. I had no frame of reference to ponder temperatures so cold , water vapour in fog would form ice crystals that hung in the air. Barely able to catch my breath; snow rollers assaulted the house. Far from scientific my explanation of this phenomenon is summed up as high wind blowing across the prairie picking up snow, this snow forms balls, pushed by the wind and growing as they roll along,  they smash into the side of your house with a rather astounding thwack.

Officially hooked on weather, I sought it out rather than waiting for it to come along. While extremely cold weather seemed to offer the most excitement, I wasn’t picky. Any weather rush would do.

Hail storms fueled my hunger. Driving through “tornado alley” in the states gave me goose bumps. One night as we drove across South Dakota a tornado was visible between the lightning flashes. I see my first flash flood as if it were yesterday. We were at the Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border when massive thunder clouds started to build on the horizon, within minutes the wind was blowing sand  with such force it stung. All around me people scrambled for cover as hail and rain fell with force beyond imagination. I didn’t move, I couldn’t take my eyes off a red rock cliff; transformed into a muddy waterfall. Out of nowhere an old Navajo man appeared, he talked to me, explaining why mother earth had sent this storm. Never before or since have I felt as “spiritual” as I did that moment.

Last summer in Cuba, tropical storm Emily passed over Havana. Sitting at the edge of our hotel’s roof top pool, I felt the storm before I saw it. Oblivious to the pounding rain, wind, or frantic appeals by hotel staff to clear the roof; I smiled as funnel clouds formed, dropping down and retreating, teasing me with their elegance and power. The hotel staff literally pulled me from the roof as lightning lashed with a fury that surprised and rejuvenated me. Deposited in my room just in time to witness a lightning bolt strike the building next to us. Every hair on my body stood on end, the building rocked as deafening echoes bounced off the battered city. It was incredible, one of my best days.

So now I’m off to Battleford. A tiny blip, planted squarely in the centre of the Canadian prairie. A place where freezing rain, blizzards, and wind chills are a fact of life. I’m going to visit a place where weather changes in the blink of an eye, and best of all; a place where the endless sky, unobstructed by mountains or city lights will give me a front row seat to auroras. The northern lights show will hopefully be the icing on an extreme weather shot in the arm.

Snow Rollers –

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=snow+rollers&view=detail&id=D9A8786E6C9339F090D5DA14BBF3CA44637AEB1B&first=1

Pachamama


In Ecuador Mother Nature is Pachamama – she now has constitutional rights. In 2008 65% of Ecuador’s population voted in favour of re-writing the constitution, giving legal rights to Pachamama. Her new bill of rights was written by a group from Pennsylvania, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).

CELDF wrote –  “nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.”

Ecuador’s president Raphael Correa dubbed his countries new approach “living well”. One of the smallest, poorest countries in South America, oil production is the life blood of Ecuador’s economy. Millions of barrels of oil beneath rain forests so ecologically diverse – one hectare contains more species of trees than all of North America.

Here’s the catch – Ecuador estimates oil worth $3.6 billion pool beneath Yasuni National Park. Correa asked the world to pay Ecuador, half the value of oil reserves in exchange for keeping it in the ground. His rational – global benefits of preserving Pachamama, far out weigh short term financial gain for Ecuador. So far 300 million dollars has been raised.

Correa’s forward thinking blows me away – 30% live below the poverty line, yet this tiny nation supports initiatives to preserve and dignify Pachamama.  Ecuador’s innovative, refreshingly simple plan serves to remind us – change is possible.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/what-if-mother-nature-had-rights-she-does-in-ecuador/article7039202/

Yasuni National Park – Bing images

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1654 Still Hanging Out


Sunspot AR 1654 is still active, as well as now earth directed. A CME is expected to reach earth later today, resulting in large geo-magnetic storms. This means; get outside and look for auroras

Photo – Rune Bjorkli – Porsanger, Norway

Coral Castle


Edward Leedskalnin was a Latvian immigrant, who settled in Florida in 1919. The story goes that he was jilted by his fiancé the day before they were to be married. Reported to only have a grade 4 education, he worked in lumber camps prior to seeking the warmer climate of Florida. His move to Florida City is said to have been a decision made after he contracted Tuberculosis. He started building a monument to the Latvian girl who broke his heart. He called her his “sweet sixteen” and the structure, “Rock Gate Park”.

Ten years after his work started, he hired a truck and moved the structure to Homestead, Florida – where it rests today and is known as the Coral Castle. Until his death in 1951 Leedskalnin worked alone, under the cover of darkness, ever expanding his strange monument.

So what you say? Ponder this – this is a man with virtually no education. Working alone, and only at night so as not to be observed, he somehow managed to quarry and move 1,100 tons of rock. Some pieces of rock weigh 30 tons. His only tools; timber and something he fashioned from an old Ford motor. He erected a 9 ton revolving door, so perfectly balanced it could be turned with the push of a finger.

Eventually he opened Coral Castle up for tours; something he charged 10 cents for. This however was not built as a tourist attraction; it was his home. When asked how he accomplished it without any help his answer was always the same – that he understood the laws of weight and leverage, and knew the secrets of the people who built the pyramids.

Edward Leedskalin had strong opinions which he published and sold in pamphlets. Of the 5 he is known to have “sold” through ads in the local newspaper; the first is an incredibly twisted moral perspective about keeping girls “pure” and the “soiling” influence of young men. The other 4 expressed his thoughts on the interaction of electricity and magnetism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Leedskalnin

My apologies, the above is a Wikipedia link, but it will give an interesting synopsis of his writing.

Coral Castle has me pondering because I like nothing more than a good old fashioned mystery. This one is ripe with conspiracy theory, alien or other worldly believers, and more questions than answers. Leedskalin’s broken heart fuelled a mighty odd legacy. I suspect he wouldn’t care that it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Something tells me it might just lift his spirits to know how much debate still surrounds the construction.

http://rense.com/general39/coral.htm