Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sure it´s not Proto-Mordvinian?

This is a sample of "Proto-Nostratic", a hypothetical language spoken during the Stone Age, reconstructed by some daring modern linguists. Enjoy!

America before Graham Hancock

Graham Hancock talks for over 2 hours about his latest book "America Before", in which he connects the dots concerning Atlantis and the Lost Civilization. From "The Joe Rogan Experience". Go, Graham, go, you don´t look one year over 50! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Christian rune stones

“Sveriges kyrkohistoria. Missionstid och tidig medeltid” is the first volume in a series of eight books covering the Church history of Sweden. Fortunately or otherwise, only available in Swedish!

This first volume covers the periods known in Swedish historiography as the Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages, more specifically the period from around 800 to 1250. An introductory chapter deals with the Western European theatre circa 500 to 1000. It was during this period that Christianity first became known in Sweden, most notably through the missionary activities of Ansgar (9th century) who made a famous visit to the Viking trading town of Birka at Björkö in Lake Mälaren. The Christian religion spread wider during the 11th century, with many of the Viking rune stones actually being Christian. Allying itself with the royal power, the Catholic Church became well-established during the 12th century, a process concurrent with the slow evolution of a centralized Swedish kingdom. The book also mentions relevant developments in Denmark, since Scania (Skåne) was originally Danish. The story ends immediately before the ascension to power of Birger jarl, the first ruler of something that at least looked like a united “Sweden”.

Very little is *really* known about the period in question, the written sources being sparse, contradictory and not always easy to interpret. 19th century national romanticism tried to paint the Viking Age as a heroic time of a strong Swedish kingdom, established for centuries, dominated from Old Uppsala by elected kings and a marvelous pagan temple. Non-Swedish Christian sources were often marooned to prove the point. This book is rather based on the new perspectives launched during the 1970´s, according to which no “Sweden” existed during the period in question, the area being divided among a large number of petty “kings” or rulers, some of whom may have been Danish vassals. Old Uppsala may have been important, but the huge heathen temple described by Adam of Bremen (who never visited Sweden) is probably mythological, although both a hall of worship and a royal house may have stood at the location. As already noted, it was to some extent thanks to the alliance between an emerging royal power and the Church that Sweden became a united kingdom, a process culminating only after the Viking Age. Nor did Uppland (the area around Uppsala) play the central role in this process, rather, the earliest “real” kings were from Götaland. The role of Östergötland is emphasized in this book. A funny detail is that the editors seem to believe in the legend of St Erik and his crusade to Finland!

“Sveriges kyrkohistoria” is written in a popular style, but its somewhat obscure subject matter (most people don´t care about Church history) might make it too narrow to most of the educated public anyway. If you are a Church history buff, on the other hand, you will find a lot of interesting info in this volume. Swedish saints, holy kings, the role of women in spreading Christianity (it was considerable), the excavations at Old Uppsala, the various Catholic monastic orders, the conflicts over canon law, Church taxation…well, I say the book is pretty comprehensive. The editors write off Byzantine influences on Sweden, even at Gotland. They speculate that rune stones may have been raised to ease the passage of the deceased through purgatory – rune stones were usually raised to commemorate the deaths of people who for some reason or another couldn´t be given a proper Christian burial (say, slain Vikings in foreign lands). Even “pagan” rune stones are probably often Christian, with mythological motifs from Norse paganism being reinterpreted.

Probably indispensable if you really want to know the above and understand modern non-runic Swedish. Buy it today from the vendor of your choice!

Some black pills

Probably not the savior of the West 

Some black pills…

The United States is a great power in decline. Russia and China are in ascendancy. At some point, the US will therefore leave Europe. This will make Europe part of the Russosphere or even Sinosphere.

Mass immigration from the Middle East and Africa, combined with low birth rights among Europeans, might turn large portions of Europe into a predominantly African-Muslim area.

In fact, Europe might simply collapse. It might become an inconsequential border region, used by Russia, China and the Middle East to dump their undesirables.

Russia won´t intervene to “save Western civilization”, as envisaged by the right-wing nationalists. First, Russia isn´t of the West. Second, Russia couldn´t care less about what immigration policy Sweden or Germany has, as long as it doesn´t threaten Russia´s security interests (say, enables Islamists to establish bases from which to attack Russia). Russia is multi-ethnic and has many immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Some of their allies are Muslim, such as the Chechen leadership and their mercenary troops. Saviors of the West? LOL! Third, uncontrolled mass immigration to Western European enemy nations could be *good* for Russia since it destabilizes those nations. Why wouldn´t Russia favor it? They could also get rid of their own undesirables that way.

Unless Israel makes a deal with Russia, they are fucked in the long run.

The question is whether the US will leave Europe under relatively peaceful and controlled forms, or whether there will be a war between pro-Russian and pro-American European states, say between France (pro) and a German-British axis (contra)?

Since most populists are right-wing free marketeers, they can´t stop immigration, which is necessary for the free market economy to run smoothly – unless they are willing to lead a dramatic transformation of the entire world economy back to a “colonial” model in which the cheap labor is segregated in the colonies, far away from the White ethnic enclaves of the privileged European middle classes. And even if they are, the domestic working class will be hurt anyway. Therefore, the natural course of right-wing populism (outside France) is to ally with the neo-liberal wing of the BAU establishment around a defense of the status quo (minus labor unions and welfare systems).

For this reason, current right-wing populism will soon become part of the System. Of course, in the next round of events, it will probably be rejected by the electorate.

The Swedish welfare state is essentially fucked at this point. It won´t survive another wave of uncontrolled mass immigration and/or economic downturn. The next Swedish government might be a coalition of the Conservatives, the Christian Democrats and the Sweden Democrats, on a anti-immigration free market program. Only the free market program will be implemented.

The working class won´t “fight back”. It´s too heavily split along ethnic lines, or will be so in the near future. Outside Greece, there was no “working class fight back” during the finance crisis which began in 2008. In Sweden, the right-wing government was re-elected! And this was before the migrant crisis.

There will be more terrorism, both Islamist and right-wing. In the future, perhaps left-wing terrorists will join the fray. Part and parcel…

The insanity of the rapacious but effete chattering classes won´t stop. Quite the contrary, they will become *even more insane* in the future. We will see liberals accept sharia courts and clan voting, feminists convert to ISIS, child molestation on a massive scale in the name of “trans rights”, etc. The World Wide Web will be tightly regulated, effectively strangling those currents dependent on it (libertarians, Alt Right, etc).

There will be more nuclear power.

All of the above may be wrong, or grossly oversimplified. Complicating factors include: the impact of global, man-made climate change (yes, it´s real, get over it), environmental degradation in general, the breakdown of the basic health care system combined with mass die-offs in the event of a global pandemic that can´t be cured by antibiotics, the threat of nuclear war, the latest idiosyncratic gyrations of a guy named Donald, etc.

And no, giving “critical support” to Corbyn won´t change any of the above.

The last Druid

I didn´t find this clip particularly enlightening, but I decided to link to it anyway. Ben McBrady (who died in 1996) called himself “the last Druid”, and this clip features an uncritical interview with him. McBrady, who lived in Ireland, was supposedly initiated into an ancient secret society, The Old Gaelic Order, at the age of 12. After 18 years of training, he became a member of an isolated “triad” or cell of said order. When the interview was taped, McBrady claimed to have been the last surviving member not only of the triad but of the entire order.

Surprisingly, McBrady says very little about the actual beliefs and practices of The Old Gaelic Order. Perhaps they were too secret? According to the website “The Order of Druids in Ulster”, the Gaelic Order had sacred dances, kundalini experiences and could communicate with otherworldly beings. How do they know this?

Instead, McBrady spends most of his time spinning an alternative history of the world in general and Ireland in particular, while claiming to be the descendant of ancient Irish kings and Druids. He is supposedly also related to a great number of Christian saints. McBrady´s story begins with a gigantic cataclysm during which Earth was showered with meteors. Before this event, humans had telepathic abilities. Afterwards, the trauma of the cosmic disaster made most humans forget their telepathy, forcing them to invent language. The remaining telepaths formed a secret society and eventually reached Ireland, where they infiltrated (McBrady´s word) the Druid hierarchy and later founded true Christianity. Jesus himself visited Ireland and was taught the true Christian message, which resurfaced during the Middle Ages as Celtic Christianity and Pelagianism. Paul´s Roman Christianity is a fake version.

The mission of the Old Gaelic Order is to train every member in “all” knowledge, so humanity can begin anew from scratch even if only one person remains after a cosmic disaster. (Of course, it would have to be a member of the Order! And how can they reproduce if only one person remains? Another secret?) Despite having all knowledge, it seems the Order is doomed due to the new forms of mass communication. I´m not sure why – I got the impression that McBrady claims that electricity has somehow destroyed our brains! However, he also claims that the Order can and will change, so presumably he isn´t the literally last Druid after all…

Not sure what the old man studied for 18 years, but here are some suggestions: Donnelly, Velikovsky, Richard Williams Morgan, Iolo Morganwg… I don´t think the Old Gaelic Order, if it ever existed, was particularly old. Who knows, maybe it was founded by McBrady himself.

In other news, a comic actor just became president in Europe´s largest war-zone…

Servant of the People...or just Clown World?

Let´s see if I get this straight. The Ukraine just elected a guy named Volodomyr Zelensky president with 70% of the vote. 

Zelensky has no prior political experience. However, he starred a fictitious Ukrainian president in a TV series called "Servant of the People".

His political party is called "Servant of the People" and was founded by - wait for it - the TV network which produced the series?!

I say this guy is an obvious fraud. Perhaps Trump should pardon and rehire Paul Manafort, and send him to Kiev to sort things out over there?

Otherwise, I´m afraid another "Volodomyr", last name Putin, might decide to pull some stunts of his own in the clown show known as Post-Soviet Geo-Political Space... 

Förhindrade att rösta

Väntar otåligt på NATO-medlemskap 

Roligaste propagandalögnen: "Innevånarna i Donetsk, Luhansk och Krim är förhindrade att rösta i helgens ukrainska presidentval".

Förhindrade att rösta?



Förresten kul att Ukraina valt en jude till president. Så Bohdan Chmelnytsky, Shymon Petlyura och Stepan Bandera står inte så högt i kurs längre?

Fast kanske ändå inte så kul. Vad tror ni kommer att hända när Zelensky eller vad han nu heter misslyckas med att "riva ner systemet", vilket han utlovat? Gissa vilken etnisk grupp som kommer att få skulden?

En ledtråd: förmodligen inte ryssarna.

Fler än bara Krims innevånare kommer känna sig "förhindrade att rösta" i nästa presidentval.

Men OK, jag är pessimist. Jag kan givetvis ha helt fel om ovanstående. Men det känns på något sätt ändå som att Ukraina röstat bort sig själva från världskartan... 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

So I decided to troll the New Atheists...

Crop circle mystery SOLVED: Doug and Dave were DRUIDS

According to Archdruid Emeritus John Michael Greer (and he should know), British Neo-Druids created the crop circles with the aid of sympathetic farmers. The farmers got money from all the New Age visitors, while the Druids got a huge laugh out of the experience. 

I find this interesting, since the Druids are Neo-Pagans (or Meso-Pagans) and hence presumably *believe* in the supernatural! Despite this, they decided to prank the New Age community. Why? Let me guess. Some conflict involving axxess to Stonehenge, or…?

Can anyone confirm this?

PS. I didn´t know Doug and Dave were Druids! :P 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Skull of Doom

“Legend of the Crystal Skulls” is an interesting documentary about the so-called Mitchell-Hedges skull (a.k.a. the Skull of Doom), a peculiar artefact supposedly found at the Mayan site of Lubaantun in Belize in 1924 by Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the adopted daughter of F A Mitchell-Hedges, a British author and adventurer who conducted excavations there at the time. Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges may have been the role model for the fictitious character Indiana Jones. Think Hollywood blockbuster “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. All kinds of wild claims about the crystalline cranium have been promoted, broadly connected to the New Age and conspiracist milieux.

It´s all a hoax, of course.

Three similar crystal skulls happen to be in the possession of museums around the world. They have been thoroughly analyzed and find to be modern. Also, there is no evidence that the Skull of Doom was found in Belize in 1924 – F A Mitchell-Hedges never mentions it in his writings on Lubaantun. He *does* mention buying the skull at an auction in London in 1943. Diligent searches in the archives have turned up a photo of the Skull of Doom in a 1936 scientific magazine, and it was *not* then owned by the Mitchell-Hedges family. The actual owner, art dealer Sydney Burney, was the very man who sold it to the adventurer seven years later. Finally, the Skull of Doom was also subjected to scientific investigation…and didn´t pass. It´s a work of modern craftsmanship.

Thus, we are not dealing with authentic Maya or Aztec artifacts. (Some have associated the skulls with the Aztecs rather than the Maya.) Nor is this evidence for Atlantis. Or probably not – crystal skulls can´t be dated by radiometric dating methods, so a true believer could always claim that the modern methods used to make the skulls were actually known to the ancient Mesoamericans or Atlantids. Indeed, that *is* what they are claiming. Personally, I´m with the skeptics on this one: I find it hard to believe that our modern technological methods are *exact* replicas of ancient technology. An unknown way of making crystal skulls would have been more convincing.

Since some of my ancestors may have been Mayan, I admit authentic crystal skulls would have been great fun, but it seems the Mayans were more into building pyramids, inventing the number zero, making incredibly exact astronomical observations and other such feats considered too boring by some White guys, but YMMV…

The Da Vinci hoax

“The Da Vinci Shroud” is a fascinating documentary about the so-called Shroud of Turin, which for centuries was believed to be the death shroud of Jesus Christ himself. While the Shroud still has its devotees, scientific testing proves the textile can´t be older than the 13th or 14th centuries, making it one of many fake medieval relics. Unless it´s even more recent…

The documentary features Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, two writers on alternative history and conspiracy theory. While I haven´t read their book on the Shroud of Turin, I have looked at some of their other works and found them to be an intriguing blend of the bizarrely true and the merely bizarre – a bit as if David Icke would suddenly start to make sense. I readily admit that the idea that Leonardo da Vinci made the Turin Shroud strikes me as bizarrely plausible!

Picknett and Prince believe that Leonardo was a secret heretic, and therefore would have no problem producing a potentially blasphemous fake relic of Jesus after the crucifixion. The motive would have been economical: Leonardo´s patrons in the House of Savoy had acquired an earlier fake burial shroud of Jesus made in the 14th century by a French family with Templar connections. Leonardo´s mission was to improve on the relic, which had apparently been widely denounced as a hoax, making it look fool proof, thereby enhancing the power and prestige of Savoy. Da Vinci also had the means at his disposal to create the hoax of the millennium, including fresh corpses used for dissection and considerable anatomical knowledge.

But how was the image on the Shroud of Turin actually made? Here, the documentary draws on the speculations of Nicholas Allen, an art historian who believes that a form of photography was known already in medieval times. “The Da Vinci Shroud” shows his experiment, using only materials available during the period in question – and yes, it works. Leonardo could very well have known of the technique. Most sensationally, and perhaps ironically, some researchers now believe that the face of “Jesus” on the shroud is really the face of Leonardo da Vinci himself! There are also suspicions that the face of the Mona Lisa is really Leonardo, turning even that famous piece of art into a “hoax” of sorts.

So for almost 500 years people have venerated the face of Leonardo believing it to be the Son of God, while also considering Mona Lisa to be the most beautiful woman in the world, not knowing they (if they are male, that is) really have a homosexual crush on a young Leonardo… Sounds like something from “Life of Brian”, frankly. Of course, this raises a lot of disturbing questions. How much of history, or our knowledge in general, can we really trust? How can we be sure that the *original* story of Jesus hasn´t been tampered with, to take an obvious example?

And where the hell does this leave us, anyway?

Europas största land går till val. Or something

Man får ju något slags ofrivilliga sympatier för den här mannen efter att ha läst på om hans huvudmotståndare i presidentvalet i Ukraina...

Den där komikern kommer inte att stoppa korruptionen i Ukraina, och man undrar hur han ska förhandla med Putte, som inte är någon politisk duvunge precis.

Sedan är det ju lite lustigt att Zelensky faktiskt är jude och finansieras av en oligark-exark bosatt i Israel, ha ha. Detta i Ukraina, ett land med rätt så gamla anti-semitiska traditioner. Nå, jag antar att det är ett paradigmskifte att ukrainska folket i demokratiska val väljer en jude till president.

Sedan går ridån ner. Om inte Trump sätter ner foten och skickar 100,000 tungt beväpnade soldater till Lvov, förlåt Lviv, förstås.

Eller nåt. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

More Hancock

Hancock again... More promotion of his new book "America Before". 

The triumph of Graham Hancock

Graham Hancock presents his new book "America Before". At RT of all places! Will Mueller probe? I just ordered my copy and will hopefully be able to read it later this Summer. Presumably, Hancock will connect all the dots on Atlantis in this work, so we can concentrate on more pressing problems, such as finding Lemuria and Hyperborea... 

Sleeping in Grand Central

“Två Knallesocknars Krönika: Toarp och Rångedala 1700-1850” is a book by ethnographer and folklorist Carl-Martin Bergstrand, whose book about Swedish Travelers I review elsewhere on this blog. I bought this book, published in 1932, mostly on a whim, hoping it would contain folklore. It doesn´t. However, it seems Swedish reality 1700-1850 is just as interesting…

Toarp and Rångedala (both localities still exist) were small farm villages during the period in question. Both are situated in Knallebygden or Sjuhäradsbygden in Västergötland. The main city of Knallebygden is Borås. Knallebygden is named after “knallar”, itinerant salesmen who bought locally produced goods and sold it at markets in other parts of Sweden. While this sounds like no big deal, it *was* a big deal in Sweden during the period in question, when internal trade was strictly regulated by the king´s government. Only the merchant guilds had the right to buy and sell goods in the manner just described, but the peasants in Sjuhäradsbygden simply didn´t give a damn, and continued to complement their farming activities with itinerant selling despite the merchants´ monopoly. Eventually, the Swedish government relented and granted the “knallar” the privilege to conduct long-distance trade despite not being properly bourgeois.

What most struck me when reading about ordinary life in Toarp and Rångedala 1700-1850 was the constant conflicts between the locals and the Church (the Lutheran Church of Sweden). Attending church services was compulsory, which can´t have been popular, since the common people constantly created virtual pandemonium in church, probably deliberately so. Attending church service in Toarp circa 1800 was like sleeping in Grand Central! The minutes from the meetings of the local council (“sockenstämma”) are filled with complaints about heavily smoking farmhands outside church, loud chitter and chatter inside it, rowdy maids stealing the seats reserved for the farmers (i.e. their employers), children who climb on top of the actual altar (sic), people who deliberately get seated at places where they can neither see nor hear the priest, and so on. The weirdest complaint is that the locals throw their walking sticks at the church windows, thereby breaking them! One local denizen was fined after it transpired that he had literally stole communion wine and bread from the Church in order to feed him and his family. Somehow, this doesn´t square with my view of Old Sweden, in which cowed peasants piously listen to Lutheran sermons about justification by faith alone…

I also get the impression that the clergymen were quite literal party-poopers, trying to prohibit fun and merry-making in general as being “sinful”. Sumptuous and week-long wedding celebrations were particularly galling to the priests, with all the feasting, drinking, and generally superstitious behavior. Still, it´s funny to see where the guardians of common morality drew the line. Thus, it was decreed by the council that nobody should be allowed to have more than five drinks at a wedding feast. At least today, that would be considered quite enough! The community elders were proud of the dour traditional dresses of the Toarp peasantry, but the peasants themselves (or at least their wives) seem to have preferred the same multi-colored dresses as were fashionable elsewhere.

Working on Saturdays and Sundays was verboten (funny, didn´t Jesus say the opposite?), and a lot of complaints deal with people who were doing just that. According to a medieval superstition, working the fields on the Feast of the Ascension was especially auspicious, and some people in Rångedala believed it as late as 1687. Naturally, maypoles were prohibited, being seen as “pagan”. That the prohibition was renewed year after year of course suggests that many locals raised them anyway… (Today, maypoles are sometimes raised *by* local churches, so the times have certainly changed!)

On the more positive side, the Church did try to take care of the poor, often failing in its endeavor due to the stinginess of the “knallar”. A constant problem was that poor people from outside the parish came to Toarp to beg, while Toarp poor often visited other parishes with the same aim in mind. This was then used as an excuse by many peasants not to help anyone. The council tried to solve the situation by deciding to expel all beggars from outside the parish, while promising to take back beggars from Toarp roaming other parishes, but it´s not clear whether the decision was ever carried out. The locals were admonished not to give anything to beggars who couldn´t show a proper identification badge. Expulsion was also used as a threat against underclass people deemed too difficult to deal with, but it seems to have been difficult to enforce in practice.

Interestingly, there was a local “upper class” in Rångedala, consisting of ex-officers who had served in the Great Northern War (and its southern permutations). Some of them had been POWs in Russia for over a decade. The most prominent “karolin” living in the area was Herman Johan von Campenhausen, who had served under Karl XII at both Poltava, Bender and Fredrikshald. It seems Campenhausen once saved a particularly stingy local council from acute embarrassment by paying the church´s bell ringer for some extra work from his own funds, when the council simply refused.

Since most of the material is from the 18th century or early 19th century (some even from the late 17th century, despite the book´s title), we never really learn how Toarp and Rångedala managed the transition from the old ways to something approaching modernity around 1850. It´s clear from the description that little Rångedala in particular was overpopulated, and the population of Toarp also increased. Yet, modern agriculture was still a thing of the future.

Overall, a quite interesting little study. No longer available at the used book store near you, since Ashtar the Über-Reviewer bought the last copy!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

What´s the accusation?

So Trump tried to stop the Mueller probe, the purpose of which was to undermine his democratically elected administration. What´s the accusation, really?

Have a nice Easter holiday, guys! 

One billion Chinese can´t be wrong

A clip from YouTube about the Yeren, the Chinese Wildman or "Bigfoot", supposedly found in the Shennongjia forest in southern China. The debates about the Yeren´s existence seem to be similar to the Bigfoot controversies in the United States, with skeptics declaring (not entirely unreasonably) that such a creature just can´t exist, while ordinary people keep seeing them anyway. The local cryptozoologists point to fossil evidence for Gigantopithecus, hair samples (DNA testing inconclusive but probably human) or casts of footprints. The only thing missing is a Patterson-Gimlin film. On the other hand, the Chinese Academy of Sciences actually sent an expedition to Shennongjia. Imagine the Smithsonian searching for the Sasquatch in, let´s say, Washington State...

The supernatural element, while not explicitly mentioned in this Chinese-produced clip (PRC being secular and nominally Communist), is clearly also present, as when the weapon of one the eye-witnesses malfunctioned at the exact moment he was trying to bag himself a Wildman. I have no idea whether some forest in Hubei province can house a breeding population of Gigantopitheci, but I *can* think of a supernatural explanation. 

The Yeren is the "ghost" or astral shell of Giganto. There, I said it. 

Now what?

Glad påsk!

Why didn´t you listen?

No, the Notre Dame fire doesn´t herald the loss of the West to the Musulman barbars, nor does it tell us anything about the state of Macron´s fire-fighting department.

No, this is KARMIC PUNISHMENT directed against the French ministry of culture for not doing enough to stop Hollywood from turning "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" into an, wait for it, ANIMATED COMEDY.

I told you long ago that something like this could happen, after all, Victor Hugo is an ascended saint in the Vietnamese Cao Dai religion, but naaah, you wouldn´t listen.

OK, here´s my next prediction: the Big Ben in London will burn too, somewhere close to Halloween...

Not because of Brexit betrayal, but because the ghost of the clock tower doesn´t like to be trick or treated!

Darkness before the dawn

Hope I can still link to this despite Article 13. ;-) 

Of course, an explanation NASA fails to mention is that dark matter doesn´t really exist at all.

Here´s a prediction: a new scientific understanding of the universe will dawn in our lifetimes. Probably some kind of catastrophist plasma cosmology.

But I suppose you could see that as just another example of the theories following larger sociological trends. Or, ahem, ecological ones...

Dark matter goes missing in oddball galaxy 

Yazidier och kannibaler

Nedan länkar jag till en artikel i Aftonbladet som menar att den uppmärksammade DN-intervjun i vilken en yazidisk kvinna anklagar Islamiska Staten för något som närmast liknar kannibalism kan vara baserad på en modern vandringssägen. Jag kan givetvis inte *veta* om så är fallet, men jag tror att det kan ligga något i AB:s resonemang. Detta av två skäl.

För det första ljuger alla sidor i alla krig. Alltid. Även den goda sidan. Många har hört historien om hur nazisterna tillverkade tvål av fettet från judar som brändes till döds i Auschwitz. En liknande historia spreds redan under första världskriget: då anklagade britterna märkligt nog Tyskland för att göra tvål och bränsle av sina egna fallna soldater. I Mellersta Östern verkar i stort sett alla ljuga hela tiden, inklusive ”oppositionen”.

För det andra verkar anklagelser om kannibalism där man blir lurad (eller tvingad) att äta sina egna barn vara ganska vanliga. Detsamma gäller kannibalism i allmänhet (se mitt inlägg om ”Scarlet Memorial” på denna blogg). Båda varianterna förekommer t.ex. i Kina. 

Inget av ovanstående betyder att IS´folkmord på yazidierna är en myt, lika lite som våldet under Mao var det. Kanske det är säkrast att påpeka... 

Aftonbladet om yazidier och kannibaler

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Famous American quacks

“Potions or Poisons?” is an interesting documentary about so-called patent medicines in the United States. I´m sure you can still buy some of these at your local drug store! InfoWars featuring Alex Jones is another sure source of these trinkets. The “patent” medicines were in reality anything but patented. Today, most or all would be considered quack remedies or “snake oil”. The heydays of patent medicines were the 19th and early 20th centuries, when medical bills were exorbitant and officially approved cures might just as well kill you. So why not try patent medicines instead? Many of them did “work”, after a fashion, since they contained large doses of cocaine, opium or alcohol. Coca Cola or Coke began as a patent medicine and contained extract from coca leaves long after it had became a soda. Some potions contained so much alcohol that they were actually sold and served in saloons!

An entire subculture grew up around the quacks and their remedies, including the popular “medicine show”, a kind of circus which toured the rural countryside, providing both entertainment and sales pitches for selected panaceas. Often, American Indians were hired for these shows, pretending to be medicine men and pitching various products dressed in colorful costumes (hopefully from the right tribe!). Since thousands of patent medicines competed for a share of the market, the advertising campaigns were often more important than the actual contents in the bottle. The names and logos sure were patented… 

As late as the 1950´s, a patented medicine called Hadacole was heavily promoted in the South by a Louisiana State senator, using all the tested and tried ingredients: alcohol in the actual bottle, road shows, celebrity support, and stern opposition from the proper authorities. By and large, however, the golden age of snake oil remedies came to an end already before World War II, when the medical professions became better at curing illnesses, while the public (mobilized by muck-raking reporters) railed against dangerous fake drugs and even more filthy food. The urbanization of America made the rural “medicine show” look old fashioned and obsolete.

One of the more intriguing patent medicines was Lydia E Pinkham´s Vegetable Compound, invented and marketed by Lydia Pinkham (1819-1883), a abolitionist, feminist and former Quaker whose family were neighbors of Frederick Douglass. Pinkham´s Vegetable Compound was specifically marketed for women to relieve menstrual problems, and Pinkham would also respond in person to every woman who wrote letters asking for private advice. The compound, being a mixture of herbs and alcohol, probably worked as well as anything available at the time. A modified version of the potion is still on sale today. I think the alcohol is gone!

As the documentary points out, while the classical era of not-so-patented placebo drinks is gone, a lot of other alternative medicines have replaced them, so in that sense, snake oil never went away…

OK, I have to take some vitamin C against my fever…

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Bigfoot evidence?

A new “human species” named Homo luzonensis (Luzon Man) has been discovered in the Philippines. He is said to have been smaller than the famous “Hobbit” discovered at the island of Flores in Indonesia.

This is getting more and more ridiculous…

OK, here´s my theory: Homo luzonensis and Homo floresiensis were really small australopithecines, and their descendants are tojour vivant in the form of…you guessed it…Orang-pendek.

Meanwhile, Homo naledi (another new “human” species) might actually *be* Australopithecus. And if australopithecines survived into relatively recent times, what about Bigfoot?

Another thing that struck me recently is how the supposedly wrong and discarded “multi-regional hypothesis” of Homo sapiens evolution is slowly crawling back through the back door. I mean, what else than “multi-regional” should we call the fact that non-Africans in general and Europeans in particular were interbreeding with Neanderthals, while Papuans apparently have Denisovan genes, and many Africans have genes from a hitherto undiscovered species of pre-sapiens human.

Also, how can the Out of Africa scenario be correct if Africans have genes from archaic pre-sapiens humans, while such genes are lacking outside Africa? If so, the ancestors of non-African humans must have left Africa (or at least tropical Africa) a *very* long time ago, much earlier than hitherto believed…

Next week: Ashtar Command tries to find the Ural-Altaic Urheimat at the shores of the Yalu River!

Philosopher on the barricades?

I bought this book mostly on a whim. Vitalis Norström (1856-1916) was a Swedish idealist philosopher. I admit that I´m not presently particularly interested in philosophy, and therefore find such expositions tedious. This book, “Radikalismen ännu en gång”, published in 1903, is no exception. Norström, who is regarded as a conservative thinker, was apparently embroiled in a private little Kulturkampf with feminist Ellen Key, Social Democrat Hjalmar Branting and other “radicals”. This book is, I think, his parting shot in that culture war. I admit that I didn´t exert myself that hard trying to understand Dr Norström, but here we go anyway…

Vitalis Norström is said to be influenced by Kant, Fichte and Nietzsche. The Kantian and Fichtean influences are obvious. There also seems to be an affinity to Henri Bergson, but the French thinker is never mentioned by name. Perhaps Norström simply expressed the same Zeitgeist. I assume he also studied Ernst Mach. Norström´s main objection to “radicalism” is its atheism, since he strongly believes that religion in general and Christianity in particular are absolutely necessary for ethics, higher culture and progress (for a conservative thinker, Norström sounds very “Faustian”). He also rejects collectivism in favor of individualism, or rather the individual self-assertion of charismatic geniuses and prophets, who then move the masses along. The religious experience is intensely personal, and so is love, its main ingredient. Love binds together individuals to a societal whole, but its origins are personal (or rather divine, but mediated through the person).

Norström doesn´t believe that God´s existence can be proven, either empirically or philosophically (i.e. by abstract philosophical arguments). So why believe in him anyway? As an idealist, Norström holds that “reality” is created by our consciousness. He never says so, but I get the impression that he sees reality as a kind of collective representation. (This seems to contradict his anti-collectivism, though.) Since God is found in our consciousness, he must be real – or at least as “real” as everything else we experience, including the material universe. The fact that we *need* God is for Norström a strong argument in favor of his existence. To Norström, the constituent part of consciousness is will, not abstract intellectual reasoning. Since we will God, God as a product of “practical reason” or “life” must be real. Life stands above the abstruse treatises of the metaphysicians or the attempts by scientists to reduce everything to matter. At other times, Norström comes close to arguing that the main evidence for God is a kind of mystical experience, but he never actually uses the term “mysticism”. There is very little humans can really know, being suspended in between a vast subconscious and an equally vast supra-consciousness, both creating limits to our knowledge. However, these limits in themselves show that there must be something behind them!

Some of Norström´s arguments for religion are pretty basic, as when he argues that an objective moral standard can´t be based on evolutionary thinking, since both good and bad impulses are products of evolution. Only an outside force can make humans consistently turn to the good side by an exertion of will-power, and this outside force must therefore be of a spiritual nature. Evolution by itself simply leads to a never-ending conflict between the good and the bad. While Norström views Christianity as a collection of symbols which can´t really be interpreted literally, he nevertheless wants to defend Christianity (as already noted) since it seems to him the best religion, due to its emphasis on love and the inviolability of the person. As far as I can tell, Christianity is the only religion he mentions by name in the entire book! If Christian theologians wanted his help, is perhaps another matter entirely – Christianity, after all, claims to be about really real things, not a mysterious Something-Out-There which our consciousness turns into a (symbolic) God-image cuz practical reason or something.

As for the Swedish people, they eventually made Hjalmar Branting Prime Minister. I suppose they willed bread and collective bargaining instead of Fichtean-Nietzschean symbols of Infinity.

Probably just as well. While it may be true that man can´t leave on bread alone, he sure as hell can´t survive without it!

Twin dragons rising

Good introduction to China in Africa. Yes, it´s written by the CFR, the think tank constantly mentioned in conspiracy theories! What struck me most was the ultra-pragmatic character of Chinese policy, including close relations with nations usually considered to be in the Western sphere of interest, such as Ethiopia or South Sudan. 

China in Africa

I haven´t read this book, but it could be interesting. Yes, Japan is rearming itself. Collision with China ahead?

Japan Rearmed

Unless the United States and its Western European hangers-on can get their act together *real* quick, we are seeing the death throes of US global power right now. The US looks like a banana republic, but without the bananas! The next great powers will be Russia and China, with Japan, India and perhaps Brazil waiting in the wings. 

Their redistribution of the global spoil could become a peaceful affair, for pragmatic reasons. Or it might not. 

And if it doesn´t... 

Well, you know the Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times". 

Debunking Forteana

This is a slightly curious little booklet from 1951. The language is Swedish and the publisher is Bibliofila Klubben, “the Club of Bibliophiles”. Presumably a bunch of upper class nerds who really love rare books. If so, they got what they wanted with this one, the Xth volume of “Literary Curiosities”, only printed in 475 numbered copies. Weirdly, I can´t find any number on my copy. The contents consist of three monographs written by Carl von Linné alias Carolus Linnaeus, the great 18th century Swedish scientist. Two of them seem to be pretty well known, so I´m not sure how rare they *really* are…

The most interesting and well-known one is “Anmärkning över de djuren som sägas komma neder utur skyarna i Norrige”, first published in 1740. It deals with the lemmings, which were widely believed to “rain” from the clouds in northern Sweden and Norway. I think this folk belief is recorded already by Olaus Magnus in his famous 16th century work on the history of the Nordic peoples. The belief existed in two versions. One claimed that the lemmings were actually generated in the clouds, while the other (defended by 17th century Danish scientist Ole Worm) said that clouds have the ability to whisk away both animals and humans (a bit like storms, I suppose). Two priests in Lapland hotly defended this proposition when Linné visited.

In his monograph, Linné carefully describes his own experiences with bad weather when exploring the high hills in the area. He reaches the conclusion that the clouds simply can´t snatch humans or even small animals from the ground. Linné then describes the dramatic mass migrations of the lemmings, and also gives the reader some basic information about the life of the Laps (or Sami), the Native people 
in northern Scandinavia and Finland. He doesn´t know the exact reasons for the lemming migrations, but is sure that it must be natural and calls on the locals to investigate the question further.

Another monograph deals with the raccoon, which Linné believed to be a species of bear, hence calling it “Ursus cauda elongata”, Ursus being the Latin word for bear. The Swedish crown prince Adolf Fredrik had gracefully given the great scientist a live specimen, which then made Linné´s house unsafe. He didn´t seem to mind, though, and dutifully recorded its mischievous behavior in this monograph.

The final and third text deals with a monkey, which Linné calls “SIMIA caudata barbata, fronte barbaqve fastigiata”, or Diana for short, presumably the species today known as the Diana monkey (Cercopithecus diana). The monkey in question was another pet of Linné´s, this time a gift from Queen Lovisa Ulrika. This essay is also relatively well known, since Linnaeus makes the sensational claim that apes and monkeys are virtually identical to humans, so similar in fact, that the only way to separate them is for the scientists to borrow “invisible” traits from the philosophers. This greatly upset many people in Linné´s own time, despite the fact that he (this was 100 years before Darwin) didn´t really believe in evolution.

All in all, quite interesting light bedtime reading. And if you dislike Linné´s debunking of Forteana, don´t worry, he believed in the Wildman (Homo ferus) so there is probably still some cryptid connections to be mined from his voluminous writings... 

How Rama went full Druid and saved the White race

Édouard Schuré

”Giftiga växter” is a 1980 Swedish translation of a Danish book, written by Harald Nielsen with really good illustrations made by Bente Sivertsen. Yes, it´s a relatively popularized book about poisonous plants, mostly European ones (plants as in “green” plants – no fungi in this one, the fungi not being plants scientifically speaking, sorry). The species presentations describe the plant itself and the exact effects of its poisonous substances (this is not light bed-time reading!). In addition, we also get information about the role of the various plants in mythology and history. It seems humans (who didn´t invent modern medicine until fairly recently) always knew exactly how to kill each other with noxious weeds! No problem there…

If not used for murder or execution, plants were good for suicide. Thus, an entire Iberian tribe surrounded by the legions of Augustus chose death by a last supper on European yew, rather than being killed or captured by the hated Romans. Yew was also used by a Belgian king who didn´t want to give himself over to Julius Caesar, at least if Caesar himself is to be believed. There is (or was in 1980) some debate on whether Socrates was executed by drinking hemlock (Conium) or water hemlock (Cicuta). Apparently, Conium was once known as Cicuta, adding to the confusion. The author thinks it was Conium mixed with wine and opium! Another, somewhat peculiar, usage for poisonous plants was as a method to suppress sexual urges – monks and nuns were admonished to use certain species for this reason. Less peculiar is the use of noxious weeds as a form of chemical warfare.

During the First Sacred War in Greece, Solon (otherwise mostly known as sagely, wise and bearded) supposedly poisoned the drinking water of the besieged town of Kirrha (misspelled “Kirrka” in the book – it took me ages to find the reference on the web) with optimal quantities of hellebore. Or maybe it wasn´t Solon. Earlier versions of the same legend claim that it was Cleisthenes of Sicyon who poisoned the water supplies on the advice of a certain Nebros, who was an ancestor of Hippocrates! Either way, Kirrha had it coming, mistreating pilgrims bound for Delphi. You.Don´t.Do.That.

Sometimes, the author conflates mythology and real history. At least twice, he mentions the legend that Aristotle instigated the murder of Alexander the Great by poison. Supposedly, Aristotle then committed suicide by drinking a potion made of wolf´s bane to avoid being executed (i.e. forced to drink hemlock…or water hemlock). The Druids make several guest-appearances in this little book, being fond of both mistletoe and ferns. But the most curious reference in “Giftiga växter” is the claim that the Hindu god Rama was the first personage to learn about the medical effects of mistletoe, by the help of which he saved the White race!

Rama did…what?

Nielsen clearly thinks this comes from an ancient myth, but it is obvious from context that it must be modern. “The White race” is a modern concept, no matter what your local unfriendly Twitter troll might have told you. It took me about five minutes to find the source by simply reaching for my Android phone from Huawei: “The Great Initiates”, a work from 1889 by French esotericist Édouard Schuré (who later worked with Rudolf Steiner). In this book, Rama is a Druid (sic) who indeed saves the White race from a deadly plague by medicine made from mistletoe. How a claim from a French esoteric writer ended up in a Danish book on botany is, of course, an interesting question!

“They” are clearly behind this one!

Det kanske är synd om hamnarbetarna, trots allt?

“Intelligent Logistik” är en tidning för logistikbranschen. Den ger ett lätt bisarrt intryck. Magasinet kombinerar ett öppet arbetsgivarperspektiv med propaganda för ”hållbarhet” och bludder om total automatisering. 

Här är ett intressant citat från nr 2, 2019: 

”Digitaliseringen sker överallt och teknologier som Machine Learning och AI spås få en ljus framtid inom logistiken. Som beslutsstöd används AI redan redan, men när robotar gör jobbet och algoritmer fattar bättre beslut än människor, väcks frågan vad alla som idag jobbar med inköp, lagerstyrning och planering ska ägna sig åt. Samma sak gäller många andra jobb inom logistik och transport – som hamnarbetarnas – för även i hamnarna satsar man hårt på automation och digitalisering. Kanske var det därför Sveriges hamnar efter 50 år släppte till och lät Hamnarbetarförbundet få sitt kollektivavtal: i förlängingen ska hamnarbetarna ändå rationaliseras bort. Till dess får vi andra, som bara njuter av att varorna finns på hyllan och industrin tuffar på – glädjas åt hamnfreden”. 

I DN sade Lisa Magnusson nyligen att det alls inte är synd om hamnarbetarna, de tjänar ju 50 000 kr/mån så varför stödjer vänstern dem, bla bla. Tja, säg det, Lisa, säg det...

Jag undrar om dagstidningar går att digitalisera och automatisera, hmmm...