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Marcus Caelius

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Everything posted by Marcus Caelius

  1. You don't even need a means of propulsion to cross an ocean, just the means of sustaining yourself for the duration of the voyage. See here for an account of a rather remarkable 'round-the world oddysey that began in mid-Pacific and is now in the North Atlantic, after having transited the Northwest Passage, all without oars, sails or engines. More seriously, all you actually need to cross a body of water is a way to stay afloat and the afore-mentioned sustanance (I'm at work, and can't install a spellchecker, so be kind). I'd have to look it up, but I understand there was a polar explorer who tried to reach the North Pole by intentionaly getting his boat beset in the ice, planning to ride the ice, which was riding the ocean current. I don't think it worked, but as our plastic friends have shown, there's nothing wrong with the broad theory.
  2. It's certainly possible, but at this stage it seems to be an unsupported hypothesis. Even if true, I don't see why this would be "revolutionary," because I sincerely doubt it would change the way we think about prehistory and settlement from Asia.
  3. Marcus Caelius

    Roman Calendar

    You notice something weird about that photo? Not only does the priest not have any legs, he's floating in mid air! Are we sure that's a priest, and not a lemur?
  4. Marcus Caelius

    Top 10 - History's Most Overlooked Mysteries

    Its that china thing again isn't it? It wouldn't suprise me if the whole thing was bunkum, but you never know, and it is an intriguing possibility. Or would it be the 9th Hispania, that supposedly marched north of Hadrian's Wall and dissapeared? Or maybe this? http://www.thedungeons.com/en/york-dungeon...st.html#content
  5. Marcus Caelius

    Finds test human origins theory

    Actually, the field is in constant flux. Time was, Neanerthals were supposed to have been our cousins, but I've lately been seeing discussions that they may be at least partial ancestors of ours. I've also been seeing theories that, just as there are different types of monkies, there may have been at one time different types of humans (that is, with more substantial differences than skin color), and the homo sapien is merely the only survivor. BTW, I know I'm not using the right words; I'm only a moderately-educated civilian and it's a big field of study.
  6. Marcus Caelius

    Book Review - Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day

    I've been reading the book at work (it's OK, I work for the Government). It's a more-colorful companion to John Cullen's A Walk in Ancient Rome, and the two should probably be read together. I read Walk just before watching season 1 of HBO's Rome, and felt right at home during the outdoor street scenes. Five Denarii fills in the blank spaces of the picture.
  7. Marcus Caelius

    A Roman story

    I once wrote a historical novel. Years of book and artifact collecting and model building, research, visiting the sites in the story with maps and nautical charts in hand (including a trip to the middle of Lake Erie, so I could see what was visible on the horizon), months of all-night writing sessions... All to find out I'm a really lousy story-teller. That was 30 years ago. I still have the manuscript and some research materials. They're down in the basement. I'm hoping they'll eventually get moldy and I'll have an excuse to burn them. I'm going to get drunk, now.
  8. Marcus Caelius

    Pompeii the Movie

    But, he is a Roman! Sort of. He's certainly more Roman than Yun-Fat Chow.
  9. Marcus Caelius

    The Roman Army still on Active Service in the UK

    You got a link to the original article?
  10. Marcus Caelius

    New Archaeology Book

    Yes, yes he does. And a haversack.
  11. Marcus Caelius

    New Archaeology Book

    Book Review: Digging for the Truth. One Man's Epic Adventure Exploring the World's Greatest Archaeological Mysteries Sounds like riveting stuff.
  12. Marcus Caelius

    Why We Walk on Two Legs: It's Easier

    Segue: Perhaps(?) related is something I've kind of always half-wondered about, is the direction that ours and other primates' knees bend. What role did that play in human evolution? Is it somehow advantageous for natural selection? If so, how? With our knees bending forward, it is virtually impossible to travel on all fours; primates are among the slowest animals on the planet; prehensile toes seem to be more of an advantage in the trees, and so on. Is the shape of our legs just a purposeless mutation that isn't detrimental enough to have us "selected out"? What role does it play in bipedalsim?
  13. Marcus Caelius

    Why We Walk on Two Legs: It's Easier

    Well of course I've shifted my ground, and shame on me for letting you force me into it. It's a big subject, and my post was only the bottom line. It's purpose was never to show present similarity as more than evidence of common ancestry, and I allowed you to divert the conversation into the areas of technical differences in the present; I shifted my ground because I allowed you to shift the argument. Of course there are differences in our thinking! We are now two different species! But there are enough practical similarities, coupled with the fossil record, to belie the claim that we are fundamentally different from the apes. I'm out of this conversation, now. It's raising my blood pressure too high.
  14. Marcus Caelius

    Iron Age 'Mickey Mouse' Found

    Quite a bump here, anyway it's not the press who invented that, it's been used by the guys who found it any the museum all the time. Then again of course the news are using it, it's catchy enough. (shrug) Ever see the "hidden Mickeys" at a Disney park? They're nothing more than two smaller blank circles atop a larger blank circle. Mickey is so well-known around the planet that virtually anyone in the 1st or even 2nd worlds (maybe even the 3rd world) is going to see that general configuration and think "Mickey," regardless of any facial features.
  15. Marcus Caelius

    The discovery of America:

    I tend to agree. I also tend to think the importance of the story is an exaggeration, despite the internal claims to the contrary. The founding of a single "church" in the New World is hardly "revolutionary," especially if it and its associated settlement disappeared almost immediately without leaving a single trace. Further, this "settlement" must have been pretty unsubstantial if it left fewer traces than`did Vinland at L'Anse Aux Meadows.
  16. Marcus Caelius

    Pope: Other denominations not true churches

    Which is why I hope the next 549 days pass quickly. At the time I wrote, there were 549 days until a new president is sworn in. I have a key chain fob that is counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until Bush is out of office. I hope that the national government will then become a bit more secular and a bit less "faith-based." I was raised Lutheran in the '50s and '60s. Went to a fundamentalist Lutheran high school in another city (my choice, not my parents) in preparation for going into the ministry. This is, oddly, where I took my first steps toward non-belief. I somehow got drafted onto a "literary performance" team, and my price for joining was that we perform a bit from the book I had just read, "Inherit the Wind." I have no idea how that one slipped by the team's faculty adviser, an ordained minister. Things progressed from there until, now, I am quite literally a card-carrying critical thinker. For more, Google the "James Randi Educational Foundation," enter the forums and look for "Beady."
  17. Marcus Caelius

    Pope: Other denominations not true churches

    Correction: It imposes indoctrination, not education. Which is why I hope the next 549 days pass quickly.
  18. Marcus Caelius

    Why We Walk on Two Legs: It's Easier

    (shrug) My neighbor has kinds of thoughts I don't share. I was being facetious. Seriously, I have never maintained that apes and men think alike, merely that the difference between them is the degree and coherence of their thinking. Both, for example, are able to plan ahead, but humans can plan further ahead while also providing for contingencies. That each has specializations outside the similarities would seem to be a no-brainer. Yet the overall difference between the two birds is merely one of degree. Similarly, the overall difference between human and ape is merely one of degree.
  19. Marcus Caelius

    Why We Walk on Two Legs: It's Easier

    Despite repeated attempts to teach them to do so, non-human primates have never been shown to spontaneously invent rules for grammatically marking number and aspect, or to engage in ternary relational reasoning with perceptual distractors, which are tasks that young human children can learn almost effortlessly and often with no (effective) direct instruction. I see no conflict with what I said. Non-human primates think, just not to the degree and development that we do. We are, essentially, highly-developed primates, and maybe not even highly-developed since we have diminished in other areas where non-humans are superior. In fact, given where our thinking is taking us in respect to weaponry and the environment, it may be that our advanced thinking skills are outstripping our emotional development to the point where the human branch of the family is approaching an evolutionary dead end. After all this time, we have yet to definitively demonstrate that human intelligence is an evolutionary advantage. I believe it was Richard Dawkins who said that evolution does not demand perfection, only adequacy. Natural selection may yet prove that ape-level intelligence is the optimum.
  20. Marcus Caelius

    Lindsey Davis' "See Delphi and Die"

    I don't know whether I'm losing my taste for Falco, or that I'm just turned off by travel agencies existing in ancient Rome, but I was only able to get halfway through the second chapter of the book before putting it down. So, did travel agencies exist in the ancient world?
  21. Marcus Caelius

    The mummy's curse: historical cohort study

    "However the mummy's curse still persists as an urban myth." Do you have a point to make?
  22. Marcus Caelius

    Gladiator Truths Counter Movie Myths

    Was Victor Mature really that short?
  23. Marcus Caelius

    The mummy's curse: historical cohort study

    Thinking about the mold a moment, just suppose tomb robbers opened an older tomb. I'm just guessing, here, but I'll bet most tomb robbers lived in comparatively small villages, the kind where everyone was related to everyone else, and allergies often run in families. Anyway, they rob a tomb that's been sitting for a while and most of the party get really sick while they're in there. Sounds like a plausible birth to the legend of the Pharoah's Curse.
  24. Marcus Caelius

    The mummy's curse: historical cohort study

    I didn't read the article (you have to register), but your synopsis doesn't mention anything new. See, for example, Wikipedia under "Curse of the Pharaohs." The Wiki article does mention mold, and I can attest to the at least partial truth of that: my wife is deathly allergic to mold and cannot go into the Egyptian rooms of most museums. Disclaimer: I only mention Wiki for convenience. I've known about the "curse" and the actual story for several years.