Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Birth Of Our Calendar

Ever wonder how a calendar year was decided?

    Old Egyptian

 You probably already know the ancient Egyptians were the first to detail time in a more refined measured system, based on the flooding of the Nile and the rotation of the earth around the sun.  Our star, the sun, we named "Sol" which is why we call it a SOLar year.  There is only one "sol-ar" system because only one star is named Sol.  So anyway....


Our calendar grows more inaccurate with each passing year, since the earth's rotation has slowed and time is marked without this consideration.  Some cultures, like Islam, determine their year based not on the sun's rotation but the lunar cycle. 


The moon was unimportant to the ancient Egyptians; their only seasonal concern was the flooding of the Nile and thus developed a 365-day year.  It did not remain so, however.


This is a remnant of an ancient Roman calendar, who adopted the Egyptian way, and separated the days into 12 months, which would have either 29 or 31 days depending on the holy days contained in that month.  This holds true today.  The word month is actually spelled "moonth" which meaning is clear.  We get the names of our months from the Romans as well, who started their year in March.  

Beginning of Roman year: 

   "Martius" (March) named for Mars, god of war 

   "Aprilis" (April) signifying the beginning or blossoming - "aperire" in Latin means "to open"

   "Maius" (May) named for goddess of fertility

   "Junius" (June) named for goddess of the moon

   "Quintillus" (July) is #5 in Latin, for 5th month

   "Sextilis: (August) is #6, for 6th month

   "September" (same) is #7, for 7th month

   "October" (same) is #8, for 8th month

   "November" (same) is #9, for 9th month

   "December" (same) is #10, for 10th month

   "Januarius" (January) named for god of gateways

   "Februarius" (February) festival of purification

Two of these months would change during the reigns of Emperors Quintillus and Sextilis, becoming July and August.  They would each have 31 days because there were holy days during each, honoring Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar.  This still holds true today. 


The Julian Calendar also ushered in some changes by way of Julius.  The Roman calendar has 355 days and the solar year was 365.25 days.  To correct it, the Romans added an extra month every other year.  This worked somewhat for awhile, but it made the Roman year longer than the solar year.  So Julius Caesar commissioned a Greek astronomer to fix the problem and after much calculation, adding and subtracting, we have the leap year.

                      solar-lunar calendar                                  

Caesar was pleased with the new calendar but the Roman year was by now so out of line with the seasons, he had to affect drastic change.  In 46 BC he added 67 days between November and December.  This resulted in a year that lasted 445 days.  It would be the standard calendar in Europe until the 16th century and Pope Gregory VIII.  (Hence the naming of today's 12-month calendar "Gregorian"). 


Here's something interesting:  We use the initials "BC" to show time "before Christ" and "AD" to show time "anno dominae" or "year of Our Lord", which is the start of the year 1.  It is called the first year to show time beginning when Christ was said to walk the earth.  Otherwise, our year would look very different; think of the Chinese system of keeping time using the approximate start of their civilization over 5000 years ago.  Only "most" of the world uses BC and AD.  If you call a year BCE it means "Before the Common Era" and CE which means "Common Era".  It refers to time without making allusion to religion.                

It was the Romans, again, who decided that the calendar time should begin with the founding of the city itself, which would have been about 753 BCE.  So when the year 1 CE appeared the Romans would've dated it 754 CE, or one year into the Common Era.  The start of time-keeping we still use today.  We've been marking time now slightly over 2000 years since that year 1 CE, or AD. 


Those initials lead to a very important fact:  the birth of Christ.  The Roman calendar of marking time was used in the early years of Christianity.  This lasted until the end of the reign of Emperor Diocletian, which lasted until the 6th century BCE when a monk named Dionysis Exegesis set out to date the birth of Jesus Christ:

By moving backward from Diocletian's reign, he was able to place the birth at December 25, 753 CE.  This date, therefore would be the beginning of the year 1 CE, or as we mark it, AD (year of Our Lord) In Medieval times, Christmas and New Year was the same day.  Although used for centuries,we now know he was completely inaccurate.  Jesus Christ obviously could not have been born after 4 BCE.  However, his standard of dating is still used all over the world.  we also use BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) in place of the traditional BC and AD as explained earlier.

There is serious talk of changing our calendar, favoring a 13-month year which would make every month be of equal days, with a special "World Holiday" at the end of the year.

Someday soon we may be using a very different calendar, but for now the Gregorian time-keeper has a secure place.     

    Old Gaelic








Sunday, May 18, 2008

Remember This? Posted 9/27/2006

Posted almost 2 years ago, let's see what our invasion and occupation has cost in dollars so far - I wish I'd noted the amount when I first posted this.  


Click on this and watch the counter: Cost of War - National Priorities Project


Thursday, May 15, 2008


I would be terribly appreciate if any of you dear folk could explain how I can put music in my Journal so it'll play when you open it - I have a nice playlist from - what else - "Playlist.com" and would love to put the little music player into the sidebar.  Help, anyone? 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

An Explosion Of Time

I am happy to say, I've landed in the future of my past, which is the present.  The seconds it took to type that belongs now to the past.  What I'm about to say is in the future until I say it.  Time is topical.  Timely, you might say.  Remember time-travel?  Remember thinking you could go back and visit your grandfather?

It would seem if indeed, a time-travel machine could be built, and someone went back in time, well I think the universe would implode, disappear, something.  It's like, if you go back in time, you're ABSENT from your OWN time, which is now affecting that time.  Incorrectly, I might add, because if you were ONCE there, you should stlll BE there even if you die.  That's another discussion altogether about time - how do death and time connect?  Anyway...

If I leave this time, I'd have affected it.  Would people know I once existed here?  I go into the past.  I meet my grandfather and kill him.  Which means of course, I never existed.  But if I went back in time, I had to exist on SOME plane, right?  So if I retreat into time, kill ANY one, displace ANY thing, I have affected time itself in a way that would put the universe on a curving spin.  I wouldn't have existed at all, when you examine it closely.  So I couldn't have built that time machine and killed my grandfather, thereby erasing my own self from time.  I only know I'm here because I take up mass.  The universe is made of plasmic mass and matter which gives birth to gravity.  We need to understand time in better detail I'd say, because we're way behind in so much.

Before, I talked about how advanced the ancient Egyptians were.  Far more than we are now, it's true, they were far ahead in their particular time.  We seem to be going backward, though we can microwave our food we can't seem to keep our water pure.  This PC I'm using, what a miracle of human ingenuity.  But this cold is killing me, and I can't cure it.  Outer space, inner space, and the time it all takes.  Look at outer space, we've managed to put artificial eyes beyond our atmosphere, too polluted to allow us good vision, and we now look LIGHT YEARS INTO THE PAST when gazing into outer space.  We turn around and examine inner space - using CT-scans and functional MRIs, we can map out our entire form down to the tiniest cell, then we can pull that nucleus apart and take out our DNA, the very blueprint of our species, and change it.  Attenuate it.  The molecular world of inner space relies on time too, and if we're out of our time, where exactly are we?  Some would say why do we have to know....well that's how we got to the moon.  We have to know.

Suppose I go into the future, instead of the past.  I meet my grandchildren's children and cause them to perish.  Did I ever live then?  How would they have even been born for me to visit them?  Could I have ever lived if my great great grandchildren don't exist in the future?  But I know I'm here now - so if that's factual from all I use to measure my existence (my senses) then why can't I be somewhere else at the same time?  Time again.  TIME.  Here's something spooky you might like:

People who claim to see ghosts actually are seeing SOME thing.  It's connected to time.  Right now, we're leaving our imprint on the fabric of time.  In say, 150 years, someone may walk through the space you're occupying now, and sense or see you there, in some form.  Ectoplasm maybe.  Soft silky smoke-like gray matter.  But IS it matter?  Is it mass?  Does it take up space therefore is influenced by time?  Does your head hurt yet lol?

The rolling of rock and magma deep below our feet can affect how we feel, like a magnet.  The EMF, the electro-magnetic field that surrounds us, and our planet, can be affected by things like movement of that planet, and people see things they can't explain - call them spirits, ghosts, remnants.  Mostly they're seeing something that happened already, left its imprint in that time, and doesn't quite make it to the next level or "plane" of time, perhaps.  I'm not sure why it "stays around" but many have anthropomorphic theories that are as possible as any other.  We can quantify this, measure it.  Using light.  The universal spectrum of light.  Is there heat wherever there's light?  Does there HAVE to be heat to have light, or is it the other way round?  Would all mass collapse into itself like a gigantic black hole where even light couldn't escape if we managed to stop time?

What was once science FICTION is fact as we keep learning.  I know I like to think I've been alive before, incarnated again here now, and perhaps will over and over.  The meaning isn't as interesting as the idea itself, I'd say. 

When I look at the stars I'm looking far into the past, into the realm of time as it once was.  As this universe continues to expand, in time and space, perhaps in billlions of years it will find its level and cease to expand - will it actually stop?  Would that mean TIME would stop?  Or would it then start collapsing in on itself, causing time to go backward?  COULD that happen?  

My head is spinning with the joy of so much information and questions and I could ask them for ALL time, but another aspect of time is nudging me - time for a break. 

Pyramid Portals And The Lost Year

When the conquering Napolean first saw the pyramids, he pulled on his horse's reins so hard he was thrown.  All his companions ran away in awed fright.  As he looked at these marvels of human engineering, do you think Napolean was thinking that aliens built these monuments?  Course not, so why should we.

          Great pyramid at GIZA      

Let's give human ingenuity its due.  Back in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, say 2667 BC to 2141 BC, a pharaoh imagined the first pyramid and in only 3 generations we already built great Giza.  Over 100 pyramids were constructed and 80 still stand.  The remnants of failed attempts lay all over the sands of Egypt.  Abandoned projects, unfinished heiroglyphic stories, these still exist for us to learn from and admire.  I want to look at what we've thought these to represent:


Since a pharaoh was intombed in these monuments, people have come to think they represent death.  But the Egyptians did not have a conception of death as we do - the pyramids were actually "ships" or portals that took their bodies through the Underworld into their next life.  They took all they would need for their journey and most especially their bodies, so mummification was perfected out of necessity.  Without your body, you couldn't quite make the trek. 


Whatever it was thought you'd become in the next life, you had to stand before Osiris and be judged by the weight of your heart.  Then you could proceed.  The engineering feats of these people went far beyond what was thought possible at the time.  By 1500 BC to 700 BC much was done and much was lost, in a dark time Egypt went through caused by war.  But in the New Kingdom pharoahs like Ramesses 11 built such things as only a great ego and uncontrolled imagination could produce.  His wife, Neferteri, was exceptionally intelligent in the knowledge of the cosmos, physics, math, all the sciences, and of course, intricate languages.  Now off the track to an interesting tidbit:  We're not in the right year - here's why:

When going back from say, 900 BC to 1 BC, the time "before Christ" we come to the way time was counted in 1 AD, "anno dominae" or the year of Our Lord.  But when we got to 1 BC, no one, for some reason, considered to include the "zero" year, or the time between 1 BC and 1 AD.  As you know, a century has to pass before you call it one, which is why 2000 AD is in the 21st century.  So when you count in BC time, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...then start up in AD and it's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 AD.  There's no accounting for that in-between year of 0, between the two.  Think of it this way:  When we were on the brink of the new millenium, it was 1999.  Then we went to 2000 but it was not the new millenium until one year had passed, or 2001.  The year zero was accounted for in 2000 and when that year was over we started this millenium.  This didn't happen when changing from BC to AD, so actually I think we lost a year.  

That means I'm actually a year behind my life, I guess.  Am I in the future?  OMG this gives me an idea for another post....see you on the next page! 

                    .....off to the future>>>>

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ancient Martian Waters

 Ancient canals      "Aram Chaos" basin

About 4.6 billion years ago, Mars was still quite young, as was Earth, and all kinds of large objects were smashing into other objects.  A huge asteroid 175 miles wide crashed into Mars and left a basin now called Aram Chaos.

              Sand dunes blowing over polar ice

As hundreds of millions of years passed, alot of space debris floated into this basin - volcanic ash, windblown dust, ash.  The Martian climate was wetter then, and this crater filled with water which likely froze as the climate shifted and cooled, just like on Earth.

               Channels carved by ancient floods

Then something triggered the ground ice to melt.  Perhaps it was residual trapped heat from the impact, or most likely, molten rock moved into the fractured ground below the basin.  Whatever happened, the ground-ice melted and in a geological instant, a chaotic network of valleys, hills and mesas were formed in Aram.  Surging flood-waters on Mars carved many narrow channels. 

      Winds shifting in dunes   Lava channels

A dramatic story gets more so:  The existence of water and underground oceans on Mars has been proven accurate, yet what else could this reveal?  In the deposits found in Aram Chaos, NASA has been examining layers of sediment.  Data taken with TES (Thermal Emmission Spectrometer) on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter revealed a widespread expanse in Aram of an iron-oxide mineral called hermatite.  Hermatite forms in conjuction with water, which has caught the attention of scientists looking into the existence of past life on Mars, which seems almost a certainty, in some microbial form.  

            Another crater where water-minerals found

One of our Mars rovers, Opportunity, was sent to this basin area, and is relaying evidence of sulfate deposits, a great deal of them - more water-related minerals.

                  Where water once flowed abundant

Escaping meltwater is a fairly common process on Mars.  More evidence for ancient waters.  What this means about the kind of life we envision Mars once nourished is only limited by your imagination .....







Happy? Not Sure

I can't find my favorite picture of Mom, this'll keep me awake at night.  Yesterday's Mothers Day was pretty bleak and blurry, I didn't dwell on anything and just watched TV all day.  But I couldn't sleep, and this morning I saw the dawn come up.  It was rainy, dark, cold.               

My mother spends so much time in my heart I never really get a chance to miss her, and I'd like to believe she misses me in some way - but of course she has no earthly worries anymore and I'm still stuck here, with a billion words left unsaid and deeds undone.  Thankfully we shared our music and that's where the memories sparkle and sing.

Mom liked to pose.  I preferred her natural, no make-up or wigs.  I wonder, maybe she thought she wasn't good enough?  She was so complex, alot smarter than she let on.                

What a primal bond we have, mothers and daughters.  Beyond words.  I didn't expect her death to slam into me as it did, so fierce and painful.  Somehow, she's managed to let me know all things are exactly as they should be, and I should have no guilt or fear.


So that's what I'll do - what Mother says. 



Saturday, May 3, 2008

So Cruel A Crime As This

Hopefully, America will always be ashamed, if only in our collective hearts, of having the distinction of being the only country to use an atom bomb against another country. 


In 1937 while Japan and China were once again fighting, it was unavoidable for Japan to have to deal with the Pacific sooner or later.  They believed the USA was a sleepy, lazy, neutral, even cowardly mass of people who'd never enter another's war.  After all, our closest ally, Britain, was fighting facism all alone on her island soil and no matter how Churchill pushed and proded, FDR was staying out of it.  We sent money, food, clothing, munitions, even initiated embargoes, but sent no soldiers to Europe until 1942 when we became fully engaged.

When Japan came slicing through Pearl Harbor in 1941 to better defeat their Indochinese enemy, they awoke a sleeping giant and this country immediately set out into the Paciific isles on our way to Tokyo.  How did we end up fighting Hitler, many ask.  Well, if a country that you support is attacked, you're expected to aid your friend in its battle.  Germany was allied with Japan, so when Japan struck us, we declared war not just on Japan but essentially, her allies as well.  That meant Germany.  This is pretty basic history, though I leave out alot.

So we're fighting Hitler, we're fighting Hirohito.  When Russian beat back the Germans and the European war was basically over, we still had Japan to deal with.  It was 1944-1945.  Not many know that all the while we were experimenting with hydrogen atoms in "The Manhattan Project" and trying to perfect the first atomic bomb, Japan was doing the exact same thing.  Japanese scientists were also hard at work on atomic secrets, we just figured it out sooner.  If you're a boomer, you'll recognize the name Dr. Robert Oppenheimer as the "father of the A-bomb" a sobriquet he despised.  In fact, this great genius later in his life petitioned hard for nuclear weapons never to be assembled, never to be deployed.  He was jailed for a communist.  Anyway, as the war dragged on, he watched the first nuclear blast and whispered a quote from an ancient sanskrit text:


Dr. Oppenheimer did not trust his genius, did not care for his invention, and knew we'd use it.  Herein lies the terrible crime we're still suffering for:

That atom bomb, called "Little Boy" was dropped on civilians.  Not soldiers, not military outposts, not munitions factories, but the Japanese civilians made mostly at the time of old people, women and babies.  The rest were at war.  We wanted it all to stop, and quickly.  After Truman announced what he'd authorized, well...who can forget the sight of those aerial photos taken of Hiroshima?  Nothing was left standing.  People were incinerated where they stood.  They were civilians.  Then we did it again.

At Nakasaki we repeated the carnage of boiling humans in an instant.  Those who were further out in the perimeter suffered all their lives, as did so many Americans.  The fateful decision to "drop the bomb" certainly brought the war in the Pacific to a halt, but will history ever explain the decision to bomb civilians?  Isn't that one of the first acts considered to be a crime during warfare? 

I ask you.    

Star Trek Goofie

You ever watch old Star Trek episodes?  As always, Mr. Rodenberry was so far ahead of his time.  But I have to laugh at the simple gaffe the screen-writers made, time and again on that show:

Say the crew is on some planet, for instance the one that had "The Guardian" in it, remember her?  She had a soft voice and no form, just this flickering light.  When she inhabited the body of the female crew member who died, one of the things she asked to do was walk.  "Let me feel the earth beneath my feet" she said.  HEY you're not ON earth honey!  lol they do this time and again, it's too funny.  Hey Stevie?  LL&P it's just a joke!