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Posts posted by Faustus

  1. Im not too surprised.


    The Romans were always functional-minded.

    Isn't it interesting that the Romans had something comparable to Stonehenge.

    I mean that it performed a similar function.

    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.

  2. Has any one read any CG Starr's books? and if so what do you think?

    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.

  3. It's really fairly simple:




    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

  4. Falkor,


    Here is a variety of ROMAN BRICK in images with captions for your selection. I think in most of the examples

    like "tekopusquadratum" kthe correct latin word for the brick would be without the "tek" prefix; IE: opus quadratum.


    Also see HERE


    While you call out your brick as "rectangular" I think you must be referring to the face exposed to view. Actually most Roman brick were triangular in form with only a rectangular face exposed, so that that could be inserted into a wall with the "pointed" face projecting into the wall thus imbedded in the cement, locking it into place.


    The Romans manufactured and had many different sizes and shapes of bricks available for their use. The nomenclature

  5. Cent means 100, there is 100 cent in an USA dollar, a centurion commanded 100 men.

    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.

  6. 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?




    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....





    (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.

  7. 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.

  8. "Self-consciousness about one's own role is also a preoccupation in plays of the early empire -- plays written by the philosopher Seneca. A number of characters, in discussing their own behaviour, repeatedly draw attention to their names... Such self-consciousness regarding one's name was not confined to the stage. In Roman political life, one could not escape the destiny of one's own name. A particular name might in itself provoke a desire for external fame.


    Comments? Can anyone come up with additional examples of ancient Romans whose names were, in essence, a sign of their inescapable destiny?


    -- Nephele


    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

  9. 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



  10. Also sorry to say I'm in the dark on the definition of usonian.

    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.

  11. I must agree with Ms Barbra Streisand regarding the intelligence of American (sorry; Usonian) women:


    "....hear me Senator McCain: This calculated, cynical ploy to pull away a small percentage of Hillary's women voters from Barack Obama will not work. We are not that stupid!

  12. I must agree with Ms Barbra Streisand regarding the intelligence of American (sorry; Usonian) women:


    "....hear me Senator McCain: This calculated, cynical ploy to pull away a small percentage of Hillary's women voters from Barack Obama will not work. We are not that stupid!

  13. "President America Changearama Whoopee"


    Still sounds better to me than Palin naming her daughter "Boobie."


    -- Nephele

    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"

  14. I think McCain's strong points were his experience and his seriousness compared with Obama, but with this hunter, beauty pageant, hockey grandma from the wilderness he shot himself in the leg.
    You underestimate the largest minority in the US: The Scott/Irish.


    His conservative base would have voted for him anyway, so maybe he needed somebody with more centrist views to bring the undecided and the dissatisfied HRC supporters.
    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.


    Palin with her radical conservative views would help draw a clear line between Dem's and Rep's
    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.


    I think that any Vice Presidential running mate who justifies the war in Iraq as being "a task from God" (as Sarah Palin has done) is a pretty damn scary whackadoo piece of work.


    Additionally, Palin's urging of students to pray for the building of a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in Alaska, because it is "God's will," is disturbing, too.

    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.

  15. "According to data from Mount Wilson Observatory, UCLA, more than an entire month has passed without a spot. The last time such an event occurred was June of 1913. Sunspot data has been collected since 1749."

    First Spotless Month in a Century


    "In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov predicted the sun would soon peak, triggering a rapid decline in world temperatures. Only last month, the view was echoed by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. who advised the world to "stock up on fur coats." Sorokhtin, who calls man's contribution to climate change "a drop in the bucket," predicts the solar minimum to occur by the year 2040, with icy weather lasting till 2100 or beyond."

    Researchers Predict Another Ice Age


    "Such research dates back to 1991, when the Danish Meteorological Institute released a study showing that world temperatures over the past several centuries correlated very closely with solar cycles. A 2004 study by the Max Planck Institute found a similar correlation, but concluded the timing was only coincidental, as the solar variance seemed too small to explain temperature changes.


    "... researchers at DMI continued to work, eventually discovering what they believe to be the link. The key factor isn't changes in solar output, but rather changes in the sun's magnetosphere A stronger field shields the earth more from cosmic rays, which act as "seeds" for cloud formation. The result is less cloud cover, and a warming planet. When the field weakens, clouds increases, reflecting more light back to space, and the earth cools off."


    "Recently, lead researcher Henrik Svensmark was able to experimentally verify the link between cosmic rays and cloud formation, in a cloud chamber experiment called "SKY" at the Danish National Space Center. CERN plans a similar experiment this year."

  16. Well, today is still a good time for wagers.

    Indeed it is!

    Good thing we didn't put any money on it, because it was really a surprise for me:


    " John McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential running mate is a stunning surprise almost certain to recalibrate the race heading into the fall election"

    Right you are A.


    I thought McCain needed either a past governor with economic expertise or a woman with energy expertise, both with the very best debating skills, and he needed to shore up his conservative base. He has gotten all but the economic component.


    Of the male choices available I picked Romney because he filled the bill as governor and expertise on the economy. Still his selection would only make it a ticket of