For those curious about human origins, the January 1997 issue of Discover magazine has several interesting articles. 11,000 year old cave art has been found in the Amazon River region, along with arrow points which are very different from the contemporary Clovis points found in New Mexico and dated to about the same time. Most archaeologists had previously theorized that the people at Clovis were among the first to reach the Americas across the Bering Strait from Siberia, but the new material suggests earlier arrivals with a distinct culture who had already spread down into South America by the time of the Clovis culture.
The pioneering arrival of the Clovis people in America has not only been challenged, but so has their invention of the special type of stone point which was named after them. Similar ones have now been found in Siberia dating back 10,000 to 11,000 years ago which is after the sea level rose, cutting off the land passage between Asia and America. Since it is unlikely that the unique Clovis point was brought back to Asia from New Mexico, it was either an independent invention in the two areas, or it was brought to America from Asia.
While the Clovis people have been losing some of their credits, the Neanderthals have been gaining prestige. Originally considered a rather uncouth bunch, they are being upgraded as discoveries have demonstrated that they cared for crippled members of their group and buried their dead with offerings, demonstrating a belief in life after death. The latest find is a flute found in Slovenia and dated to between 43,000 and 82,000 years ago. Most of us would agree that music is a step beyond a focus on bare survival. The signs of hafted tools have also been found, a considerable step above just picking up a handy rock. Another recent find was a structure built inside a cave in France and dated to 47,000 years ago. Since the cave provided shelter from the elements, the structure must have had a different purpose; probably for ritual.
Not to be outdone, carved marks on massive rock faces in Australia have now been dated at 60,000 years ago. The Australian aborigines still consider these areas sacred places; ritual centers devoted to traditional gods.
Much more recent, but still considered impressive for its time, the island of Sri Lanka was producing high-quality steel from the seventh to the eleventh centuries A.D. using a sophisticated type of furnace that took advantage of the monsoon winds so they did not have to pump air into the furnaces with hand bellows. It was previously thought that the monsoon winds were too irregular, coming in gusts, to maintain the heat of the fires which was needed to make the iron combine with the carbon in charcoal to produce steel. But the Sinhalese had worked out a method to let the wind blow over the open top of the furnace, creating a low-pressure area along the inside of the front wall so the air was sucked in through the short clay pipes at a fairly steady rate, responding only very slowly to changes in wind velocity. Researcher Juleff tested a furnace herself and found it could maintain a constant temperature of 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. Juleff estimates that the 77 known sites in Sri Lanka could have produced a total of 3,500 tons of high quality iron and steel during the four centuries the furnaces were in use. Some was probably used to make the Damascus swords that baffled the Crusaders with their strength and sharpness.
Note: Is it encouraging or discouraging to see how smart people were a long time ago and how often knowledge has been lost?
The November 30, 1996 issue of Science News describes another African fossil that pushes back human ancestry. The new Homo specimen was unearthed in Ethiopia and is being called the oldest known member of the human evolutionary lineage, dating back 2.3 million years. The oldest known stone tools come from a nearby site and date to around 2.6 million years ago, so researchers are now hoping to find even older human remains.
Some humans came early and some stayed later than previously believed. The December 23, 1996 issues of both Newsweek and Time had articles about new possible dates on a human species previously thought to have died out much earlier. Specimens of Homo Erectus had been found from Africa to Asia to Indonesia in the south Pacific, but they were thought to have become extinct some 250,000 years ago. Recent work in Java suggests that they might have survived there up to somewhere between 27,000 and 53,000 years ago, which would have made them contemporaries of modern Homo Sapiens. Our name for ourselves means “wise humans,” a somewhat debatable title when we look at our current treatment of many of our neighbors.
So, humans have been around a long time. Should we have learned to live together by now? How smart are we now? The November 1996 issue of Strategic Investment claims that the U.S. government statistics on unemployment are lies. In an intelligence bulletin, they state that only 45.8% of the 10.5 million jobs allegedly created during the Clinton Administration can be identified by the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics payroll survey. Five million, six hundred and seventy thousand of these jobs are said to be “phantom jobs” presumed to be created by new businesses that were too small to count. The problem with this assumption is that there may be more business failures than newly created businesses. Albert Sindlinger claims that business failures have recently been running at a rate of 1.6 million per month, while new starts were running at only a 68,000 rate.
Comment: With that kind of information coming out, it is not surprising that the conspiracy stories keep proliferating.
A promotional letter from a San Diego area real estate broker called Len Wood cites some interesting statistics about lobbying. He writes: “Government lobbying government remains big business in California according to the latest figures compiled by the California Secretary of State. Cumulative expenditures from January 1, 1995 to March 31, 1996 show local governments spent nearly $22.5 million trying to influence decisions. These expenditures ranked above the health industry’s $19 million. The top spending lobbyist employer for the first quarter of 1996 was Los Angeles County.”
The November-December issue of Health Freedom News has an interesting article about fructose as a substitute for glucose. During digestion, sucrose (sugar) breaks down into the simple sugars, glucose (also called dextrose) and fructose. Fructose is being recommended for diabetics and individuals trying to lose weight since it is absorbed only 40% as quickly as glucose and it causes only a modest rise in blood sugar. But its drawbacks are now coming to light, and the rise in its consumption in the U.S. may be harmful. According to a variety of research studies, fructose damages protein quality, lowers its digestibility, and increases its toxicity. It has been shown to increase total cholesterol, as well as the low density and the very low density more harmful forms of cholesterol. It increases the concentration of uric acid which can indicate heart disease. It increases lactic acid in the blood which in extreme elevations can lead to metabolic acidosis and result in death. It disturbs the mineral balance in the body between calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It may accelerate aging. (An article in a different health publication stated that fructose can only be metabolized by the liver whereas every cell in the body can metabolize glucose, so a high fructose diet puts a severe strain on the liver.) Additional potentially harmful effects are listed in the article, but the bottom line is that we may be contributing to widespread physical problems by our increased intake of fructose while thinking we are doing something constructive. In 1980, the average person ate 39 pounds of fructose and 84 pounds of sucrose. In 1994, the average person ate 66 pounds of sucrose and 83 pounds of fructose. This 149 pounds of sweetness is approximately 19% of the average person’s diet. Much of the fructose comes from corn, which is cheaper than cane and beet sugar that provide glucose. It is put in a wide variety of processed foods, including drinks and baked goods, so people do not know they are eating it. It is also the major component in fruit juices. Cheaper may not be smarter. It might be wiser to limit our fructose intake to eating whole fruit.
The same issue of Health Freedom News has an article by Ted Baker on Aromatherapy, which uses distilled oils from different herbs, trees, spices, etc. Synchronicities are fascinating. The November 1996 issue of Alternatives, the health newsletter written by Dr. David Williams, was almost totally devoted to essential oils. Dr. Williams described their history and the increasing current interest in their healing potentials. At almost the same time, I received a cassette tape by Gary Young, a naturopathic doctor, who founded a company called Young Living which produces and sells many essential oils. The tape was so emphatic, it could be written off as a snow job, but since I had also received material from other sources, it got my attention. Then, one of my book clubs offered an encyclopedia on the essential oils and another book club offered a book describing their value for different health conditions and how to use them in massage, plus samples of five of the most popular oils. So, I am now testing some of the oils on friends who have problems they are supposed to help. At least, unlike many drugs, they can’t do any harm and they might be helpful. I will keep you posted.
The colloidal minerals promoted on the amusing tape by Dr. Wallach which has swept the country have helped one person I know. He recovered from what seemed to be the beginning of arthritis. The companies using these tapes by Dr. Young and Dr. Wallach are growing exponentially, so fast they can hardly keep up with the demands of people joining the multi-level marketing systems and buying the products. After seeing the phenomenal success of these promotional tapes, others are being sent out. I have received unsolicited tapes on blue-green algae, aloe vera products, new progesterone products, pycnogenol, and other claimed panaceas. If the products were as good as they sound, we should be able to eliminate illness very soon. Since I still believe that most illness starts with repressed emotions, I encourage people to try any product which can’t hurt them but also to make friends with their subconscious and to persuade it to enjoy life. Maybe some of those “phantom” jobs are the new entrepreneurs joining these multi-level marketing systems. They would not have employees so would not be counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Newspapers and newsmagazines in recent weeks have featured the “Persian Gulf Syndrome”, which had been ignored initially and then denied by the U.S. military. When the military could no longer cover up the thousands of veterans who complained of serious illness and who had babies born with increased numbers of birth defects, they admitted that some U.S. soldiers might have been exposed to nerve gas when they blew up a storage arsenal holding it and the wind might have distributed it quite widely. Another theory which is still resisted by the military is that some new, experimental vaccines might have produced some of the problems. They were given to the soldiers to be sent to the Gulf War to protect them against possible poison gas. Some in the military service who received the vaccines but were not sent to the Gulf developed the mysterious neurological problems. Soldiers from other countries who served in the Gulf War but did not receive the new vaccines have not reported the problems
An article in the December 14, 1996 issue of Science News may support the vaccine explanation of the mysterious illnesses. Unlike the U.S. military, the Israeli military has admitted that many of their soldiers who served in the Gulf War and who were given a drug to protect them against chemical warfare had suffered adverse side effects from the inoculation. Instead of stonewalling for years and telling their soldiers that their illness was strictly psychological, the Israelis studied the results and found that the blood-brain barrier was weakened when individuals were under stress. Drugs which would normally be prevented from crossing the barrier to affect the brain were found to cross it in large amounts when the research subjects (mice) were put under stress. About a quarter of the Israeli soldiers who received the pyridostigmine injections and who served in the war reported neurological effects resembling some of those reported in the U.S. Only 8 percent of the Israeli soldiers who received the drug but who did not serve in the war reported adverse effects. The U.S. says that though some U.S. forces received pyridostigmine, it is eliminated by the body within a day and could not be the source of the long-lasting problems in the U.S. So far, the U.S. is not talking about other experimental vaccines which were used on U.S. soldiers.
The same issue of Science News also reports that a protein deficiency increases the danger of getting tuberculosis as well as the likelihood that it can be fatal. This may be one of many reasons that poor people with inadequate nutrition are more subject to TB. Another study reports that women who deliver low-weight babies are much less likely to have babies with cerebral palsy and mental retardation if the women receive magnesium sulfate supplements during their pregnancy.
We will close this ramble with a brief report on a new book called The Secret Language of the Stars and Planets. I have not had time to do more than dip into it, but am impressed at its wide range, which includes material from astronomy, astrology, archaeology, and myth. It was written by Geoffrey Cornelius and Paul Devereux and published by Chronicle Books in San Francisco. The authors have covered an amazing amount of material very succinctly, including associations to the planets, the zodiac signs, and constellations from the mythology of Mesopotamia, China, the Greeks and Romans, the Mayans, etc. They seem exceptionally well-informed, ranging from the fact that our 0 Aries does not finish its passage in front of Pisces and reach Aquarius to start the Aquarian Age for hundreds of years to the statistical results in the Gauquelin research. A major part of the book describes numerous ancient sites which were related to astrology, including the well-known ones like Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids and Mayan buildings, but also more obscure sites in India and China and several in North America. I got the book at Price Club, in case any of our readers are members.