31 July, 2006

More of histories mysteries

I’ve been neglecting my blog again - lots of travel of late and just about every trip has had delays, 20 hours to get to Denver from Sacramento, a day trip to Seattle that ended up being a 25 hour day – it does not matter which airline, what day of the week or where.

Here are a few things that I’ve been following

The Antikythera Mechanism

Elias Stadiatos, a Greek sponge diver working off the island of Antikythera discovered the wreck of a cargo ship in 1900. The ship was loaded with luxury goods - statues, jewelry, pottery, fine furniture, wine and bronzes that dated to the 1st century BCE. However the most valuable find was a few lumps of a corroded green clockwork like device.

Nothing like this instrument is preserved elsewhere. Nothing comparable to it is known from any ancient scientific text or literary allusion.

Various attempts to reverse engineer and decipher the mechanism over the last 100 years have been less than successful however with the latest X-ray technology a group of academic researchers and Hewlett Packard scientists are rapidly teasing a wealth of detail that is changing all previous attempts to classify and reconstruct this fascinating artifact from the past.

Check out
The Antikythera-Mechanism

The Archimedes Palimpsest

Aside from yet another example of religion run amok The Archimedes Palimpsest is unique door to the past – check out the live webecast this Friday 1600 PDT (that’s 4pee emm for those of you who can’t deal with a 24 hour clock) for some real live science in action!


Originally a manuscript by one of the greatest mathematical minds, the hide was scraped and rebound at right angles and overwritten as a Byzantine prayerbook, it was sold at auction to a private collector on the 29th of October 1998. The unnamed owner deposited the manuscript at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland where it has been studied, imaged and even the subject of a Nova episode

Now, in collaboration with the Walters Museum, The Exploratorium is hosting the live webcast as the Palimpsest is subject to an intense scanning X-ray produced by the Stanford Linear Accelerator in an attempt to ‘see’ some of the original Greek text underneath gold foil that was applied by the previous owner in a vain attempt to increase the value of the Palimpsest.
The Archimedes Palimpsest

02 July, 2006

Past lives

No, not that kind - just the phases of lifestyles my path has taken.

File this entry under a fit of self indulgence

A bit over 30 years ago I found myself the managing resident in a communal home that had gradually passed out of a borderline Pentecostal cult with a strong personality driving the local congregation that had a network of (single sex) communal homes to just a communal home – the unifying factor for all the residents of the later population was a common experience at something called CREDO

At the time CREDO was operated by the chaplains office out of the 11th Naval District HQ - I won’t bore the reader with details of that program other than to note it is loosely based on the Catholic Cursillo movement of the late 60’s and that at its core experience it is a long weekend in a isolated facility that is effective at dealing with interpersonal communication issues and is used as an adjunct resource for a variety of treatment programs including substance abuse - yet any given workshop would include a variety of folks – remember, this was a time when the protracted end of our involvement in Viet Nam was current - all of the participants had some sort of active duty connection either as the service member or dependent.

How I ended up there

For a while, in my post ‘south east asia fun and game days’ I wandered between various faiths but found only false prophets and disappointment that reinforced pre service personal awakenings that involved Pentecostals and (years before the Kool Aid in Jonestown, Guyana) Jim Jones and his former co-divinity student “Roland Chambers” (name changed) who both ended up in Mendoland – primary reason was because of the fallout maps of the cold war in the late 50’s early 60’s that showed this area as a ‘most likely to survive’ location in CONUS – Mr. Chambers even built a fallout shelter in his backyard (an 1,100 square foot tract home with a backyard that barely contained the 400 square foot shelter)

Mr. Chambers was my 4th grade teacher for half a year (that was the year of the great Mustang theft and subsequent divorce of my Manic Depressive Mom from the alcoholic disenherated scion of the great something or other lumber, real estate & stock market patriarch) and later home away from home as his son and I started playing music together in high school – we were (way - way) pre cursers of to today’s ‘white punks on Christ’ then ‘eyes open’ after watching Jim Jones perform (hey, I studied ‘magic’ as in performance magic and was involved in theater - I know a cackle bladder when I see one) and the revelation that (perhaps, I did not witness it, so I can only relate what I was told by all three of the brothers) Mr. Chambers ‘had knowledge’ of his daughters as the biblical phrase is turned, these two blows along with a number of minor discrepancies between professed faith and actual lives caused me to examine my recent conversion and find it lacking.

Skipping ahead a few years, as a horny young sailor with no local family the appeal of the communal lifestyle (even if under the auspices of this splinter Pentecostal sect) and access to lots of young single females was an overwhelming temptation until further revelation reviled the sordid truths about the cult and it started fragmenting. The owners of the last house I was living in didn’t care who lived there as long as the rent was paid and the place kept in shape.

For the last year of active duty I was detached to CREDO as the A/V guy and started taking psychology classes, ended up doing some intake evals and facilitating the workshops and upon my release from active duty was offered a staff position – only trick was I could not leave one day in uniform and return the next in civvies – this lead to my first peacock network experience. The day after I was released from active duty I got a call from a technical recruiter about an interview that afternoon at one of the airport hotels for a short term (6 week) gig as the tech on the ‘news’ crew following candidate Carter around the last few weeks prior to the elections, I was hired on the spot and given 2 hours to pack my bag - but I digress from the ramblings at hand.

The latter occupants of the 28th street house were an ever changing mixture of active duty and civilians, officers and enlisted, there were very few rules
1. your mother does not live here, clean up your own mess
2. public rooms are for public activities - unless you want to share
3. pay your own phone calls
4. if you take the last one, buy the next one
5. no hard drugs or alcohol - unless you have enough to share
6. weekly meetings coincided with the Sunday evening Dr Demento radio show

it cost each of us less than $50 a month for rent and utilities for a 3 story house that had three separate apartments with separate entrances. After election I returned to the house after literality six weeks on the road. And commenced my job as a civilian at CREDO – until Carter started slashing the budgets that provided my paycheck and I left for the new tech Mecca of what would become known eventually as sillydotcom valley – shortly after there was the PSA jet crash that landed in the canyon behind the house and the final residents moved on. Some of us have kept in touch over the years and there were several marriages that have lasted to this day from various inmates of the Golden Hills Sanitarium.