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Everything posted by Faustus

  1. From a recommendation from a post in an earlier thread The Secular Administration of Medieval Rome I took a recommendation to buy: Bertrand Lancon
  2. I wonder if this can be applied to many public and ancient buildings. I think this idea is entirely plausible - to the point that, if you were able to put this idea to a real Roman, they would possibly say it was obvious. Like a church or a town hall with a clock, I suspect that the calendar function of the building was subsidiary, not unique, and barely remarked upon when the Pantheon was built. By the second century, much astronomical mapping had already been done and the angle of the sun at midday at various times of year in central Italy was probably a matter of record. Thus, a reasonably competent architect could plan a building with these properties relatively easily. I am not dismissing this as inconsequential - far from it, I think it is fascinating indeed. But to the Romans themselves it was probably a minor curiosity and nothing more. The Pantheon is not actually aligned true north and south, it is off by about 4-degrees westerly, so a line drawn through the center point of the dome (oculus) out through the north entrance would point to 356-degrees on the compass. That means that at noon the sunlight through the oculus on the dome wall surface would be above the main entry door, and be a little elongated to the right, and a little reduced on the left. HERE'S a photo showing that. The photographer must have waited for as near to high noon as possible for the perfect effect, which is skewed a little. Since the domed section was added as a remodeling project, the alignment of the original existing section played into the final version.
  3. Faustus

    On July 4th, 1776

    The Declaration of Independence, was originally titled "A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled,
  4. Faustus

    Perfectly Preserved Baby Mammoth

    Very interesting; I'm hopeful and fascinated with the possibility of eventually finding Neandertal remains similarly preserved. Their geographical habitat was much the same; perhaps not in Siberia, but on the steppes of Eurasia in a tarpit or bog near the edge of some past glacier.
  5. Faustus

    Chester G. Starr

    I'm familiar with Starr. His two books The Ancient Romans and another The Emergence of Rome as Ruler of the Western World have positions of prominence on my 'Roman history' bookshelf. Both of these I bought at a used bookstore and price was part of my decision. I went back and bought a second copy of Emergence of Rome just to have a give-away copy. If it's possible where you live, find a used bookstore near a college campus, and you'll probably find something by him there. Then you can sit down and read for as long as you like. I do that and then if I feel I just can't leave it behind I buy it, which was the case with those two. I look for new ways of looking at old information, and a new take on the Roman mind, and their political institutions. I remember that there were others and some of these, although used, seemed pricey. His literary style is a lot like E. Gibbons' and provides the reader that kind of minutia.
  6. Faustus

    We Need an Oil Glut

    In view of the current oil company hearings in the US Congress Some thoughts and perspective: There are a couple of things we know for certain that will bring down the price of gasoline and gasoline related price increases: Increased supply of oil and gasoline Less demand for oil and gasoline Politicians (in their current dramatic high profile hearings in the US Senate and US House) admit that greater supply of oil (and energy) would bring down prices, while on the other hand diminished supply of oil (and energy) acts to raise the price American pay. Ten years ago US oil companies were making 10 cents a gallon on gasoline and are now making about 4 cents per gallon. For perspective US taxes on that gallon are more than 18 cents and state taxes are on average even more throughout the country. Virtually all of the profits US oil companies earn not paid as dividends to stockholders are reinvested in exploration, and for research and development of future energy capacity. This is not necessarily true of foreign oil companies either corporate or national in type. 30 years ago the US used about 18 million barrels of oil a day. Today the US uses about 18 million barrels of oil a day. Yet we are told we are doing nothing about our demand for oil. Since that time 30 years ago China and India have become huge in their demand for oil as their economies have come into global play. They will only become greater. China has almost all (92%) of their rivers dammed for hydro-electric power. When they are no longer able to tap that resource, or they decide the cost of damming rivers is too great as their capacity for river transport is lost, or seismic activity in that region raises questions about the efficacy of that source of power, as pools are drained to allow for repairs, their demand for oil will grow apace. Presently China is drilling for oil less than 90 miles from Miami, while we ban much such drilling. Both of their oil/energy needs will drastically increase and they will become more aggressive in pursuit of their own sources of oil. The high price of oil provides more capital for and encourages development of new energy sources and exploration, if not here in the US then outside the US. Some indications of the burden of high prices (among many others are) A one dollar increase in the price of gasoline will add $166.00 to the cost of 3,000 mile road trip vacation for an American family. (Is that prohibitive?) Shipping cost of freight in a tractor drawn Semi Trailer, capable of hauling more, but only loaded with 25,000 pounds driving 2,000 miles to deliver that freight, at 4 miles per gallon, with a fuel increase of $2.00 per gallon might increase the cost of shipping, if calculated proportionally, only by about four cents a pound; a 100-pound product about $4.00 for fuel alone. (One must consider how important getting that 100 lb delivery made is) Far more drastic: false starts in solutions like (American) government mandated and subsidized ethanol is resulting in food riots, hunger, death, and hardship overseas and even in this hemisphere by taking food grains off the market, decreased efficiency in fuel usage, and increases in air pollution. (not even taking into account the subsidies) Are any of the solutions of the recent (109th
  7. Faustus

    AIG: Why The Facts Don't Matter

    It appears that our politicians place more importance on being able to wriggle out of a bad situation created by their own incompetance, than they do in defending ideals in the constitution like: 1. the concept of equal justice under the law, 2. the sanctity of contractual agreements, 3. property rights, 4. creation of ex-post-facto legislation, and 5. the application of a
  8. Yes - we understand the etymology. This was the case in the early republican period, but not for most of the period under scrutiny. For most of the later republican period and all of the imperial/early dominate the unit strngth was 80 men, though the term 'Centuria' was retained. In much the same way, British hussar regiments no longer ride horses, but retain their nomenclature. Much in the same way as the US Army cavalry units are no longer "horse" units, but since WWII are modernized to mean mechanical transportation: In the Vietnam War we saw the introduction of helicopters and operations as an airborne force referred to as Air Cavalry. Cavalry designations and traditions continue with regiments of both armor and aviation units that continue the cavalry mission. Today the 1st Cavalry Division is the only active division in the United States Army with a cavalry designation. The Division maintains a detachment of horse-mounted cavalry for ceremonies and morale purposes.
  9. This is not quite my home town, but it is my Home State Capital: It was "The City;" called such in earlier days by Indiana citizens who would travel there. The
  10. Drink and dance and laugh and lie as Nymphs are known to do.... A Virtual Birthday Party....,
  11. Faustus

    America Votes 2008

    Not wishing to detract from the euphoria of the moment many of us feel but a few days ago candidate Obama may have shown his true feelings about John McCain. This is a replay of the same gesture he showed to Hillary Clinton which was also was caught BY the all seeing eye of the camera. At the time, on that occasion, the audience laughed. Is this intentional? Is it a Freudian slip? Or is it just a meaningless coincidence that is so common amongst us all that none of us would guard against it being misunderstood? Any one who makes speaches knows that hand movements around the face are, to say the least distracting, and revealing. In this scene, he has already "wiped" his face with his other fingers so this indelicate single finger "flick" at the least seems redundant. One last question: if it was a purposeful swipe at McCain, was it deserved? LOOK HERE As a student of history I personally believe that It's understood that "great people" (and those who command public audiences) do not allow small personal distractions to perturb them. And in that regard I noticed in Sarah Palin's first public speach that when a lock of her hair got in between her glasses and her eye, she ignored it all through her speech until there was a momentary lapse when she could make an adjustment, even though her breath caused it to be blown about distractingly for the first full five minutes. Noble (noble herein defined as "those who do the right thing") people in positions of public importance realize that if small things like a bit of "spittle" on the lip cannot be duly ignored, then the implication may be understood by observers that the subject can be perturbed by the smallest of things. As suggested proof of that concept I once saw the Queen of England with a HOUSE FLY crawling around on her face while she sat in public audience, completely ignore it until it eventually flew away. That seems to say something about "self discipline". I find that manipulation of the fingers to require awkward movements at best, and if it is what it appears to be, I find it to be a "thuggish" gesture by a public official soon to be in a position of almost supreme power. Another example of "thuggish behavior" at a polling place in Philadelphia.... _______________ FAUSTUS (Eric Hoffer's P.S.M) LACK of self awareness renders us transparent. A soul that knows itself is opaque; like Adam after he ate from the tree of knowledge it uses words as fig leaves to cover its nakedness and shame. We can see through others only when we can see through ourselves.
  12. Faustus

    America Votes 2008

    There was a Vice Presidential debate last evening, Thursday October 2nd between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin; both were themselves, meaning not caricatures of themselves, contrived, nor pretending to be something they aren't. The one word I would use to describe Joe Biden would be "negative" At times he appeared "smug", almost sniggering in his impatience, and with those raised eyebrows he looked a little like a Klingan (from Star Trek; no offense intended to "Klingan"). His face was the most animated. The one for Sarah Palin would be "positive" She also appeared personable and friendly She mostly smiled, but at times it looked a little forced. Joe Biden mentioned lots of "procedural votes" that McCain had made as proof of duplicity, and somehow Palin was supposed to respond to those, but that is impossible to do. But she simply smiled, and her smile was her best answer.
  13. This is 'far afield' in time, but this is true in modern times and must have likewise been true back then. The more well known the event and the actor, the more likely the connection being acted out. A modern figure whose father
  14. Faustus

    What do you think?

    Hydraulic concrete.
  15. Faustus

    Global Warming

    Below, an engraving from the Little Ice age, about late 17th century Above, a modern photograph middle of the 20th century These "pictures" seem to prove that since the last Ice Age, there have been cooling and warming cycles, and more recently since the Little Ice Age, a warming cycle. Which extreme exacts the most harsh living conditions on humankind and it's societies? Most likely warmer climate is more hospitable to human cultures, while cooler weather with late and early frosts, can be more harmful, endangering food supplies. Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea. From The Little Ice Age in Europe Cheers!
  16. Faustus

    America Votes 2008

    So am I... Seriously, it is an alternative demonym (gentilic) for "American", analogous to "United Statesian", "Uesican", "United Stater" and similar adjectives. So I'm trying to make a more careful choice. Hmmm.. Once again, very cleaver...."USonian" It is common in America, as in our personal lives, when we have trouble with the sound of a name, and if they have a more pleaseant sound, to use "nick-names". I.e. - a native of Indiana, rather than being an Indianian is called a "Hoosier", an Ohio resident is a "Buckeye", a resident of Illinois is an "Illini" (Ill-eye-neye) and a resident of a country that bears the full name "United States of America", is shortened to become simply an "American". Our special welcome to all-comers makes that generally thought of as a friendly appellation.
  17. Faustus

    The Roman House or Domus

    We usually call the roman house the
  18. Faustus

    America Votes 2008

    You are so right, and I have to laugh at that. I won't comment on the names Obama has given his two daughters in a negative way, but they are Malia and Sasha, and may be more revealing than "Bristol" which is the name of US cities in more than half the states (as well as Bristol Bay Borough, Alaska's first borough, and Bristol Bay, geographically in Alaska.) Obama's daughters are given fine names but they do suggest some things (not about the girls but about the parents giving the names): Malia has a latin stem, and Sasha is very Russian, cosmopolitan, with a vague connection to Alexander(-dra) and seems to mean "defender of mankind"
  19. Faustus

    America Votes 2008

    Hmmm.....A Riddle: If right now... today, Michelle Obama was
  20. Faustus

    America Votes 2008

    You underestimate the largest minority in the US: The Scott/Irish. This will bring enthusiasm to the base, which didn't exist before the vp pick. HRC supporters are not so much being sought as women voters. I predict they will flock to her. An unscientific personal poll already shows that. That should be a wash or allows the electorate to better define itself. There are 12 pct undecided voters looking for definition. A larger part of them consider themselves conservative than liberal. These oddball statements by her are her biggest unmentioned(?) problem up to now. She will have to explain those publicly stated comments, which at this moment I believe are confined to her church, just like Obama finally had to do with "God Damn America!" These two situations draw a useful contrast. The longer in the process her statements are scattered about on Utube and Forums like this the greater chance they will turn up in a final hour TV campaign add; better for her that they be addressed as soon as possible.