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Marcus Caelius

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Everything posted by Marcus Caelius

  1. Marcus Caelius

    Western Perceptions of Islam

    Ah! Someone got it! Thank you!
  2. Marcus Caelius

    Western Perceptions of Islam

    QED So, what was the setting? I'm guessing there was something physical that made you stand out, which seems to indicate you had wandered into an ethnic neighborhood.
  3. Marcus Caelius

    Western Perceptions of Islam

    Apparently the irony went right over your head. What I'm saying, and what you're not hearing, is that these "outsider" feelings are generated internally *at least* as much as externally, and like as not have no rational basis. OTOH, the "us-them" feeling is demonstrable in virtually all creatures, down to the insects (and probably even further). As such, it's not to be wondered at when we "discover" that we have it in ourselves; the only thing to be concerned about is what we do with and about it. Myself, I try to ignore it but, being a fallible human, I often fail. When that happens, I try to back up and go at it again. BTW, I likewise see nothing wrong with admitting to these feelings. Denying their existence won't make them go away, and may even make the situation worse. If you really want to think of me as a horrible human being, try this: I felt bloody awkward while browsing through a homosexual novelty shop in Key West last spring. I also feel mildly embarrassed passing by Victoria's Secret. I guess that makes me a misogynistic homophobe.
  4. Marcus Caelius

    Western Perceptions of Islam

    I've felt it in Quebec, whenever I've opened my mouth and my Vermont-accented French comes out. They all stare at me, and from that point on they're talking about me and laughing at me behind my back. The first time I ever remember feeling that way, though, was in Detroit, in the Northland shopping mall. My lilly-white butt had me sticking out like a sore thumb, and I could tell they were just waiting to rape my wife and steal my hubcaps.
  5. Marcus Caelius

    Western Perceptions of Islam

    On my shelf are a copy of the Koran (of course!), "The Battle for God" and "A History of God," both by Karen Armstrong and both dealing with the three related religions, and "Islam," 5th ed, by Caesar E. Farah. This last was given me by a practicing Muslim, and is a pretty definitive introduction to Islam's history, teachings and attributes. BTW, you should be aware that there's a "plain English" translation out there of the Koran, that is considered unreliable by most Muslims. I forget the translator, but he was an Iraqui Christian, and it is/was available in paperback from the major book chains. You can obtain "authentic" copies from the Saudi embassy or your nearest mosque. Each page contains the original Arabic alongside a column of English translation, and there is English-language commentary across the bottom. These books are a little hard to get used to because, while the English reads normally, the Arabic takes precedence; this means that the front cover is what we think of as the back, and the pages turn left-to-right.
  6. Marcus Caelius


    Here's a review of his DVD that I posted here in September:
  7. Marcus Caelius

    Pontius Pilate

    I would rate this alongside the claimed deathbed conversions of Charles Darwin and Carl Sagan, among others. Christians are noted for presenting wishful thinking as established fact.
  8. Marcus Caelius

    Short Earth Creationism

    We interupt this thread for some really heavy-duty theological news: "This is not a joke. The Flying Spaghetti Monster has appeared to us in a pumpkin pie. Bless his noodley appendages!" Full Story.
  9. Marcus Caelius

    Cave of Romulus and Remus discovered

    Saylor, in Roma, says that while "lupa" literally translates to "she-wolf," it also was a slang term for "prostitute." It may be that this temple is really a glorified crib. What was it Herodotus said, something about the duty of a historian involves correcting the deficiencies of history?
  10. Marcus Caelius

    opinions needed on PC games

    I've got Vista 32 Premium Home on my machine, and Shogun, the oldest of the trilogy is the only one that gives me any trouble (some severe flickering on the menu screens, and an occasional crash to desktop). Have you tried the Compatability settings? Right-click on the game icon, left-click on Properties, left-click on the Compatability tab, then experiemnt with the various settings (Windows XP, 2000, 98, etc).
  11. Marcus Caelius

    What's the Latin for "WTF"?

    Seen at the bottom of a story on CNN.com:
  12. Marcus Caelius

    Where did the American accent originate from?

    The combining of words is not unique to Texas, or even to the Southwest/Central US; this happens everywhere, in all languages. As for the 'extra syllables', the thing to remember here is that the Texas/Oklahoma area (I can say for sure...I think there are areas of Kansas and Arkansas, too) speakers extend and twist vowel groups, producing the unique affectation of the vowels. (This makes teaching a foreign language with 'pure' vowels very difficult!) Lancaster's Corollary to Beady's 10th Law of Social Harmonics: "Whatever the joke, someone won't get it."
  13. Marcus Caelius

    Where did the American accent originate from?

    I'm told that, before the Civil War, the plantation-owner's children were raised by slaves whose "native" patois (still spoken in a few isolated communities) was something called "Gulla." Supposedly, the purpose of the Grand Tour through Europe was an attempt to retrofit "regular" English, and the result of Gulla-plus-Europe was the classic Southern accent. Don't know to what degree this is true. In Texas, however, things took a rather bizzare turn, with new words growing out of combinations of two or more ("damnyankee") and extra syllables being inserted into standard terms ("sheeyit").
  14. Marcus Caelius

    Naval warfare

    OK, yours is bigger.
  15. Marcus Caelius

    Naval warfare

    I did, and I see nothing to refute the story. That was from the Wiki article "Aleutian Islands Campaign," although I first read the story in "The Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians," by Alan Garfield. You'll find a more-detailed account at http://www.vectorsite.net/avzero.html, although the link to the Corsair is not as explicit. "Nonsense," indeed! One clarification: I did not mean that the Zero's features were incorporated into the Corsair. Rather, the Corsair's specifications were dictated by the need to counter the Zero's features. Now, back to ancient naval warfare.
  16. Marcus Caelius

    Naval warfare

    FWIW, there's a parallel story from World War 2. As a diversion during the battle of Midway, the Japanese sent a small fleet to attack the Aleutians. A damaged Zero attempted to land on what proved to be muskeg rather than solid ground; its landing gear caught in the mud and the plane flipped over its nose. Several days later, the wreck was spotted by the Americans and shipped back to the States where it was reverse-engineered. The result was the Vought Corsair. There's another story, this one from the War of 1812, that may apply. The British/Canadians held a virtual naval monopoly on Lake Erie, yet the Americans managed to build at least two brigs out of wood that was growing in the forest just a few weeks before. The shipmaster remarked to the effect that they would be good enough to win and poor enough to be captured. In the event, they won, and one of those "fir-built" brigs is still sailing the lake as a floating museum for the State of Pennsylvania. Edit: Completely irrelevant, but it's 11:30 at night, just a few days before Halloween, there's an almost-full moon out, and a pack of coyotes (wild dogs, for non-North Americans) howling outside my window. "The children of the night, what music they make!"
  17. Marcus Caelius

    Legionaries fighting "expediti"

    What would happen to a contractor who supplied shoddy armor to, say, Sulla?
  18. Marcus Caelius

    Lost book of Nostradamus

    FWIW, I've held a copy of the first English translation of Nostrdamus, and actually flipped through the pages. It's at the James Randi Educational Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, for anyone who might be in the area. Randi is one of the leading authorities on Nostradamus, and is very approachable. That's one of my claims to reflected glory and importance. Another is when I stood next to Howard Dean at the urinal.
  19. Marcus Caelius

    Knights templar

    If it's a Government secret, everybody knows that it exists.
  20. Marcus Caelius

    Proof of Citizenship

    Thanks! I've been wondering about that. Specifically, what about when Paul of Tarsus appealed to Caesar? I forget where he was when he was arrested, but how would the governor/whoever have verified he was entitled to the appeal? Would he have been carrying a passport or birth certificate? Here in Vermont we're soon going to have "enhanced" state-issued drivers' licenses that will stand in for a passport when crossing to and from Canada; would governors have issued similar documents?
  21. Marcus Caelius

    Roman water pipes

    According to "Ancient Rome on Five Denarius a Day," they knew about it, but considered it an acceptable trade-off."
  22. Not quite sure where to place this. Anyway, I wanted to call attention to this website and DVD: http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/ Essentially, a retired carpenter in Flint, Michigan, has developed several simple machines and techniques that are allowing him, singlehandedly, to construct a half-scale (?) model of Stonehenge in his back yard, made out of 21,000-lb blocks of concrete. These techniques and machines very well could have been known by the ancients and, extrapolating from his own experience, would mean that the Great Pyramid could have been built by very few men over a comparatively short period of time; I *think* he says something like 500 men could have performed all the hoisting within 20 years. In the process, he explodes several myths about ancient construction. For example, he illustrates how the well-known and modern 3-4-5 rule of modern carpentry used to square porches and walls (aka the Pythagorean Theorem) yields all the major elements of the Great Pyramid, all without reference to standard measurements, either ancient or modern. Between that and his practical on-camera demonstrations, he also renders ridiculous the New Age claims that the ancient Egyptians had extraterrestrial help in the construction; such assistance simply was not necessary, and neither was the many thousands of laborers posited by more conventional historians. Here's a hint: he uses special-purpose levers (which structurally look like prototypes for modern wrenches), and gravity, almost exclusively. Oh; he also uses pebbles and rocks to help move the larger blocks. Unfortunately, Mr. Wallington, the carpenter involved, is not as skilled at web-page design or DVD production. The web site is not intuitive at all; you have to run your cursor over every photo and paragraph, clicking as you go, to find all the goodies. The DVD ($15) is both fascinating and frustrating. Sound reproduction is terrible with his live narration often drowned out by the wind, and the picture often freezes; on my copy, it even skips over an entire section showing how he raises upright columns (fortunately, this is a scene shown on the web site, so I already knew how he did it). BTW, while viewing the web site, be sure to click on the "Forgotten Technology on Discovery" link. This is one of those hidden goodies I mentioned, and is perhaps the most important. If Wallington can clean up the DVD, perhaps find at least a semi-professional producer/technician, this DVD belongs in every high school and college library. As is, despite the glitches, it is worth the $15 simply because his machinery is so simple and basic as to be unbelievably brilliant, and absolutely must be seen. Here's a quote from the web site: "I have found that ancient legends from around the world are true. Some megaliths could have been set in place by as few as one man. I could build The Great Pyramid of Giza, using my techniques and primitive tools. On a twenty-five year construction schedule, (working forty hours per week at fifty weeks per year, using the input of myself to calculate) I would need a crew of 520 people to move blocks from the main quarry to the site and another 100 to move the blocks on site. For hoisting I need a crew of 120 (40 working and 80 rotating). My crew can raise 7000 lb. 100 ft. per minute. I have found the design of the pyramid is functional in it
  23. Marcus Caelius

    Short Earth Creationism

    Wrong. The only ancient source is Plato. Edgar Cayce et al are/were quite modern.
  24. Marcus Caelius

    Short Earth Creationism

    What your friends are essentially saying is that their god wove deception into the very fabric of Creation, intentionally designing everything to appear differently from what it really is. They are saying that their compassionate god has set humans up to fail, by giving them the ability to evaluate the evidence then consigning them to hellfire when they exercise that ability. This is a definition of divine compassion with which I have unfortunately been familiar for most of my life.
  25. Well, we've had several thousand souvenir hunters wandering around that part of the world for the past few years, and they don't spend a lot of time in Customs when they return.