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caesar novus

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Everything posted by caesar novus

  1. This is inspired by the "song" thread, though I doubt it will be nearly as popular. I wondered what video or audio series do you follow that others might find interesting, especially if there is no cost, commercials, or copyright? I will kick it off with video memoirs of a Harvard law professor who was invited to China for a couple years to help set up a "rule of law". It was just opening up to the west and and thought it could get economically stronger if having at least a veneer of business law. And after 35 years it worked well enough so China now feels strong and self sufficient enough to become a bully with it's neighbors about who owns certain islands in between them. May sound sound dull, but the man is a great and smart storyteller. I attempt to show below the group of 16 one hour videos "Law, Life and Asia: Conversations with Jerome Alan Cohen". Youtube will keep your place when you stop in the middle, although I sometimes find it rocky to advance from one to the next video part using "watch later" feature. It's just a talking head, so I found my Amazon fire tablet will let me put the screen to sleep while still playing youtube (sometimes takes a couple tries). Then it's a good listen if you are resting after a big meal or effort: Also some honorable mentions to less gripping series that I use for times I have trouble falling asleep. They are old-time radio satires which are no big loss if I fall asleep and lose my place in them. Most can be streamed commercial free by searching for "british comedy" or "american comedy" on the xiialive app. I picked my favorites and downloaded mp3 files from archive.org or the like. Some episodes have fuzzy audio, and don't take shakey early episodes as representative of later ones more in the groove: Hancocks half hour (misadventures of a Brit who tries hard) The men from the ministry (branch of UK gov't alternates between dozing and screwball panic) The great guildersleeve (domestic life of some odd US characters) The bickersons (husband and wife arguing nonsense in wee hours)
  2. This article about Italian mafia supporting the looting of Roman artifacts and arms trade in N. Africa https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2016/10/mafia-offers-rifles-to-jihadists-for.html#Xy2K1SjDEMxwGdi0.97 reminded me of the classic Atlantic slave trade triangle: In the picture above (have to be logged in to see, I believe) the Europe node is interchangeable with US New England in taking agricultural products to convert to rum, textiles, etc which Africans want in order to export their slaves. Anyway, I think I see a similar trade triangle for Roman artifacts for Kalashnikov types of thing, assuming you consider Italy and the mafia as only catalysts and not a destination. How about one node is Libya jihadists or the whole crescent of Isis destabilization. They allegedly dug up more artifacts in 5 years than predecessors have for centuries, and trade them for weaponry. The source of weaponry is a lawless fringe of eastern Europe like Ukraine and Moldova. They accept money that ultimately comes from the wealthy fringe of Asia (China, Japan, Russia, gulf oil states) for artifact loot. So aside from the mafia lubrication (any drug involvement?}, the arrow for Roman artifacts goes from Arabic shores of Mediterranean to distant fringes of Asia. An arrow for money goes from Asia to extreme eastern Europe. An arrow for weaponry completes the triangle from e. Europe to Arabic unstable shores. How to cure? Triangle trade should be fragile because it is limited by the weakest link. I think Japan could slow down import of artifacts, but not the other places. A timid peace-monger approach has not slowed down the looting. East Europe seems unready to stabilize with the Putin vs EU show. Maybe the mafias are weak links, but Italy only occasionally seems to take strong measures. Mussolini crushed the mafia(s) thru not just strong arm tactics, but things like elaborately protecting witness safety so they would testify. This has been revived at times, but not enough; s. Italy needs attention.
  3. caesar novus

    What series are you streaming now?

    Hmm, I think my above post was a difficult sell, so I will try other suggestions. I am streaming a paid series called "Understanding Greek and Roman Technology: From Catapult to the Pantheon" which can be quite expensive even with sale promotions, but I just noticed there are several free samples on youtube https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=understanding+greek+and+roman+technology Another short youtube series I am streaming is "Mel Brooks, The Producers, making of 1of 7"... about a classic black comedy about financial fraud. For once something other than a ponzi scheme, but where you profit more when a project flops rather than succeeds because you oversubscribed with investors that then are zeroed out. I think not limited to the showbiz industry but behind certain regional solar power and internet broadband bankruptcies: Here is a snippet from the movie which unfortunately ends just before the one member of audience that claps gets beat up (caution, edgy or bad taste):
  4. Dateline April 1st 2016 Kyoto today celebrates 2000 years of receiving water from Lake Biwa via a Roman-built aqueduct: How was this possible? In the year 16ce Tiberius wished to renew an alliance Caesar had made with the powerful Trinovantes tribe in Britain. He sent an expedition to build an aqueduct in their capital of Colchester, but their ship got caught in a storm which dragged them thru the then-open NW passage above Canada and down to Japan. Faced with a "use it or lose it" budget allocation for the end of the year, the shipwrecked Romans built an aqueduct-to-nowhere south from Japan's largest lake. The Japanese happily responded by building a capital city at the end of it... Kyoto. Lead piping in the distribution system made residents mentally challenged, but that fit with their stereotype of bureaucrats. Hundreds of years of "pipe sickness" finally led to moving the capital to Tokyo, leaving Kyoto as a preserved backwater that even escaped WW2 damage. For more info, google "Suirokaku Aqueduct".
  5. caesar novus

    What series are you streaming now?

    So what to stream next... I will riff a bit in this quiet place, even tho it may better fit in a blog. I started on a BBC series on famous battles, but the most interesting episodes have been withdrawn from youtube due to a copyrighted song or something. That left me with a ragtag collection of documentaries on obscure aircraft and tanks of ww2 which are pretty good. An Australian one was pretty raw in dissing hotshot US fighter pilots for having little interest in navigation book-learning. Apparently about 110% of USAF was lost by accidentally landing at an enemy base or dropping in the ocean! The speaker used to escort groups of 6 US fighters in ferries to distant bases. One day is socked in from top to bottom, so he leads the fighters just above the sea to have some level reference. An uncharted island appears and they all hit the trees. The proud speaker was the only survivor because his aircraft was rugged enough to stay airborne... wow, that was presented in bad enough taste to hit the cutting room floor for most documentaries. The strange thing is I might listen again to the China lawyer series! The final few episodes became more raw than just a genial legal scholar bemused by how reality works. It becomes clear he was a high-achievement person sometimes at odds with clients that turn out to be outrageous frauds, with a high achievement spouse that asserts more control to his detriment, and a pilgrim promoting the study of history as the key to understanding now. Such themes make the earlier talks more interesting to see emerging conflicts such as we all may share. For example early in life the (young) CIA tried to recruit him to parachute into contested parts of China. As he predicted to them, most were captured or killed. He and his ivy league pals were recruited by the army for accelerated commander training, but his father wouldn't sign the permission slip. Most of his pals who joined were killed while leading troops in Korea - these positions were especially cannon fodder. How do you balance life with a similarly ambitious spouse? He wants to teach Chinese law in Tokyo's premier university (of interest to Japanese businessmen). No, says his Buddhist scholar wife - it must be in Kyoto where the temples abound. He arrives in a Kyoto university about 100 times less prestigious, and it is paralyzed by a communist student takeover for a very long time. A benefit is he studies how prosecutors, police, and courts really work, which the Tokyo theoreticians are clueless about. Later his wife takes him on a Buddhist pilgrimage in western China during the Muslim uprising where outsiders being shot was an everyday occurrence. His constant plea with everyone is to promote the study of Chinese legal history. He has an audience with Chiang Kai-shek and instead of hopeless pleas to release political prisoners, he successfully makes the case for such study! They set up a whole ministry in Taiwan, which hadn't erased the legacy of ancient law. Makes one wonder why study obscure history of any kind, and you can infer how it informs you of why things are the way they are, and how past discarded ideas maybe had even better answers to human nature. He handled many human rights abuses of China for free. A respected Chinese-American university librarian made a fool of him. She was jailed long term in China for collecting materials slightly embarrassing to the regime for her library. Cohen paid her bills at home, and got all kinds of high political leverage applied. She was released to US only to be jailed for all kinds of corrupt business dealings related to China and US. She started to have a string of pregnancies which the usually reserved Cohen saw as a pity ploy to leave jail. Once released she is put in another prison for further offenses. A lesson to vet your charitable causes - I found thru volunteer work that many charities I used to donate to are scamilicious.
  6. caesar novus

    Gladiatorial schools

    carnuntum, austria http://www.unrv.com/forum/topic/17794-carnuntum-to-host-authentic-gladiator-fights/
  7. Which refers to what I quoted last week about 4 Asian skeletons identified in Roman London and southern Italy:
  8. caesar novus

    Podcasts about new books

    Dan Snow has a hit history podcast series (free, also on itunes) http://www.historyhitpodcast.com/ that so far has a couple excellent Roman ones with guest authors. The Aug 3 one is with towering Roman author http://www.adriangoldsworthy.com/books.htm loosely based on his new Pax Romana book. Amazing perspective on how and why Rome thrived and fell, sometimes counter to what is often said. Note there were almost no independence or exit movements in Roman provinces. The Sept 25 one based on book "Sea Eagles of Empire: The Classis Britannica and the Battles for Britain" by Simon Elliott. He gives a feel of amazing leverage of Roman seapower that engulfs the British coast and permeates it's rivers. Water is not a barrier but a highway in supporting armies.
  9. caesar novus

    Japan celebrates 2000 years of Roman influence

    News Flash: http://www.caitlingreen.org/2016/09/east-asian-people-roman-london.html Above points out ancient Roman artifacts (bead, coin) found in ancient sites in Japan and China, and actual Japanese or east Chinese skeletons found in Roman south London sites. The skeletons did not grow up in London or even that continent, and appear to be genuine immigrants or travelers thru Roman Britain!
  10. caesar novus

    free museum day in us

    Wow, that old link above still works for coming Sept 24 free museum day in USA. Choose a museum to get tix for 2 (a pdf that you can load on your phone). Maybe have a companion book another museum, so you both can do 2. Best to choose pricey museums that don't have the usual one free day per month or year. I am targeting an air museum that lets you climb into historic cockpits that day.
  11. caesar novus

    free museum day in us

    Many us museums accept free tickets for last saturday of sept, if printed out from smithsonian site below. Only one venue per person this year, so the site will show you the choices. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/ticket/
  12. I read a free e-memoir of a WW2 bomber co-pilot called "Serenade to the Big Bird" that I can't recommend but started me reflecting on work and family trends. Actually his writeup of prewar and likely postwar goals of him and his buddies was interesting - chase women under any pretense, suck down hard alcohol in down-times when possible, but expect you will eventually have to secure a highly paid job to support some irresistible nonworking spouse and various children. He didn't survive the war, but his and other accounts depict that both men and many women were in a frenzy to meet up more than today, and not just due to the disruption of war. Hormones and hedonism seemed in the air, but the assumed trajectory was toward serious (1950ish) domesticated worker bee life. A recent article http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-idle-army-americas-unworking-men-1472769641 "The Idle Army: America’s Unworking Men" shows a major new alternate lifestyle with hedonism, kids, but without any thought of work. The US publishes pretty low unemployment figures, but they only count unemployed JOB SEEKERS. The US rivals Greece in OVERALL unemployed, which are not just those in school or retired. It can total almost 40% for male grown ups. Almost a hundred million of all (4?) genders not seeking work. I'll skip the guesstimates of how many of those are brazenly coasting on benefits, crime, grey market, or disability fraud, but you see the swashbuckling lifestyle of them all the time. Those arrested at age 18 with 11 children by 5 welfare mothers with a flashy car but unemployable. No incentive to engage in civil society, and police of all races are grimly experienced, not biased, with dealing with their hostile sense of entitlement. This social ill was seemingly created by "compassionate" politics during my lifetime, generally without carrots or sticks. The problem is not from immigrants or the married "underprivileged" or many others who still work hard and bear the burden of taxation, it is product of social engineering by naive children and grandchildren of 1940's boozers who played but worked hard. Oh, and who died early of lung cancer due to the culture of free cigarettes issued to US soldiers, when the Germans had already proven the cancer link.
  13. caesar novus

    Pompeii - The Last Day

    That reminds me of documentaries that chisel away at that Pliny-based theme, and anyway weren't his observations a fair ways away from Pompeii and on the next day? His uncle experiences of the day before came second hand and not exactly in Pompeii? Wiki even reminds us of considerable archeo evidence that the town was actually buried 3 months later. So I turn to Mary Beard to synthesize archeo evidence although with maybe too much taste for upsetting cherished assumptions. In http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/italy/campania/pompeii/articles/Mary-Beards-Pompeii-guide-a-trip-back-to-AD-79/ she sez: The last bit was even challenged recently by cat scans in a documentary where she appeared unusually subdued. Most of the plaster casts, that had appeared to show the old and female, beggars and slaves, etc... had a few teeth, bone, and clothing remains that indicated healthy, wealthy, twenty year old males. Security contingent or exploiters?
  14. caesar novus

    What series are you streaming now?

    For me, it has been out of laziness that I have built up many long educational videos in youtube "watch later" list. Only recently did I notice youtube will keep track of where I left off, so I can break the logjam by watching in bits. Many are from visiting experts whose lectures I skipped after I promised myself I would watch their video. I can't believe I am contemplating skipping a lecture by the archeologist who worked on a boat that could have fought Vespasian in a naval battle on Sea of Galilee off Mary Magdalene's home town of Migdal. Below I post an old video of his lecture (not a series but long) whose production quality isn't great, but can be supplanted by his writeup of the Roman history context http://www.jesusboat.com/jesusboat-archive/ancient-seafaring-and-the-jesus-boat
  15. That is from http://www.nigeriannewspapers.today/2016/08/15/unbelievable-scientists-confirm-you-live-again-after-death/ but other sources add that probably more % "dead" folks experience even longer awareness, but cannot remember so much after being revived due to brain shock. They seem conflicting about whether the brain appears dead to instrumentation during this "afterlife". Reminds me of folks who wanted an emergency exit door in their coffin or to be beheaded after "death" as a precaution against suffering from premature declaration of death.
  16. caesar novus

    Carnuntum to host authentic gladiator fights

    Smithsonian channel is showing a documentary "Lost City of Gladiators" about this archeo site which is pretty good and locally produced. http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/lost-city-of-the-gladiators/0/3436502
  17. I was gonna skip a Smithsonian channel documentary "Pompeii: The Dead Speak" last night because it looked gruesome, but when I saw it was 2 hours long I decided to channel surf in and out, looking for good parts. You can see samples and rerun schedule at http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/pompeii-the-dead-speak/0/3436504 including an uncharacteristicly demure Mary Beard. They laser and cat scan everything (like most recent Rome documentaries) esp a new exhibit of plaster cast dead in Pompeii. I hope that exhibit describes their findings, which is that the pathetic figures are mostly the opposite of what they seem. Not beggars, afro slaves, pregnant women, and old folks hugging their family. Rather they are generally young, strong, healthy 20-ish locals in expensive clothes. The others evacuated during the lengthy warning signs, and the show said the remaining ones were too sentimental too leave (there was actually skull formation evidence most grew up in Pompeii!). Sorry Smithee, but I think you found folks defending the family home from looters and/or looters themselves. 20 year olds are not afraid to leave home towns and don't see the distant world as intimidating. Looting happens very easily in even lesser disasters in otherwise civilized places; I have seen it. P.S. Smithee, when are you gonna point us to a web environment to savor those 3d laser site scans on our own?
  18. caesar novus

    UNRV Brexit poll

    No, Britain isn't doing the worrying. It's what is behind the claims of German/EU official, which borders on a technical gimmick. It's nothing UK specific and was not anything the UK asked for or specifically agreed to. I have lost a detailed explanatory link, but will try to summarize more fully than https://www.rt.com/uk/354758-brexit-eu-debt-leave/ Every EU country makes commitments to pay for their share of EU budget; UK will probably follow thru with 4 year contribution of e60b it promised before the vote. However, on the spending side EU makes promises for various construction projects that exceed their own budget, and this has built up year to year to I guess 200b now. Someone divided this by 8 to come up with a bill to the UK, although technically no EU country can have debt to EU and some EU lawyers say the UK could ignore it. Several articles likened this to credit card limits, which I don't really follow. They said for instance for that bridge in Bulgaria or UK, some EU official would say go ahead and build it to be refunded later by EU. So I guess they get a non-EU loan first, or maybe from some EU bonds? They seemed to say a lot of projects are backed up waiting for the budget and country commitments to catch up. It is this promise-making that appears to be out of control from any democratic process and smells elitist to me. Anyway, I include bridge picture from Trajan's column which a civil engineer professor called still the most efficient solution for most places. He said some wooden trusses were put in the wrong place, but that may have been just the sculptor.
  19. caesar novus

    UNRV Brexit poll

    I think that 25b "owing" interpretation is limited to a few German sources so far. By that logic Germany may "owe" UK even more due to annually paying only half of it's NATO commitments of 2% of GDP. UK overpays but most of Europe pays 1% or less. If I have this right Germany should pay 35b more per year, or UK could have saved annual 31b to drop down to German levels of NATO contribution. Some of this backlash against Brexit smells of spurned lovers overcompensating, as if they were originally more Anglophile than they let on. Maybe Junckers used to sleep in Union Jack pajamas? Anyway paying off the 25b may be worth it for cutting future losses. As I understand it, this number primarily involves EU porkbarrel projects like building bridges in Bulgeria which the EU promised to pay for but didn't yet. Even when the pork was spent in the UK, what chance did UK voters get to shut down or streamline such projects. BTW a bridge building professor told us that virtually all bridges should be of the truss type from Roman times if cost accounting was rational. The fancy modern designs are done to reduce local labor hours whose wages are artificially boosted by gov't, vs more material expenditure which is affordably bought on free intn'l market.
  20. http://www.slideshare.net/search/slideshow?searchfrom=header&q=roman has umpteen lecture slides on many Roman topics. Quality varies, but easy to find an interesting slice of Rome with catchy visuals. Also http://www.slideshare.net/search/slideshow?searchfrom=header&q=rome and other obvious search terms. Slides don't work for me under safari, but firefox ok.
  21. Populism is sweeping the world with ignorant and harmful consequences, I guess accelerated by social media/news. The US founders tried to remedy excesses of Greek democracy and even Roman republicanism, but even that is overturned now. Education has become indoctrination. Science is only quoted in bits that agree with ideology. Nationalism may seem backsliding, but something needs to address excesses of robo-globalism. I used to read and like Boris' articles before he became a public figure, but I may have to line up with Mary (even though her writings on Romans carries whiff of eccentric sensationalism).
  22. caesar novus

    Fake storm warning industry

    Here I sit typing outside in what was hysterically promised to be a massive tropical storm from a weakened hurricane. Even weather reports on TV were pre-empted by big brother robo alarms which couldn't be muted even if you hit pause button or changed the channel. Well, the wind is less than usual, sky is greyer than usual, sprinkles are a little more persistent than usual... just what anybody would expect from checking doppler radar etc of oncoming storm. Oh, you can feel a sinister quality to even weak wind gusts... it's how fast they accelerate rather than their tame speed. I've seen it umpteen times; we luckily have a massive mountain that hurricanes have to cross first, and the forecasters are oblivious to the demonstrated historical fact that it snuffs out much circulatory power out of such storms. They probably know; only recently did their models pay attention to geography, but they probably don't dare stick their neck out and depart from proven flat-world forecasts. Maybe faked out a guy who repairs wind-blown roofs and is an instructor pilot to boot; I see him blogging he has boarded up his windows. This time I really detect fraud. The storm has long been rated at the slowest possible speed to raise any alarm, and was forecast to not drop even one knot after mountains and cooler water for an unprecedented period until it passed all populated areas. There is a disaster industry where politicians and scientists huddle and warp the message for both good and bad intentions. I suspect the storm has long been under dangerous wind speeds, but the nerds were afraid of the small chance it would ramp up and force them to flipflop their warnings. Forget the truth, don't inform us lowly taxpayers but pump condescending spin to keep us manageable. I have sat thru a scientific review of the Japan tsunami event, and came to see many public warnings of such waves are overblown compared to what is known to science. Even if you have infinite power behind a quake, it takes unusual predictable geology to allow that to translate to big waves. Most places cannot create dangerous waves... they are like huge engines with a tiny propeller that can't exert it's force. Anyway, I think politicians show worse motives here. Wasn't it the Romans who instituted bread and circuses, which google calls "a diet of entertainment or political policies on which the masses are fed to keep them happy and docile." Now they exhibit benevolence by overhyping storm dangers and needlessly opening shelters etc which is much cheaper and more visible than working on crumbling infrastructure. They monopolize news in their hardhats, for instance triggering buying frenzies on bottled water... a ridiculous product that can make folks sorry they didn't get nutritious drinks at the same price. The brain runs on sugar alone, and once I was stranded in the Sahara with nothing but lemonade sport powder for several days - comfy because wells and shade was available in my spot.
  23. caesar novus

    Fake storm warning industry

    I've got to add a postmortem postscript based on surprising news reports. The last tendril of the storm dumped a foot of rain on us, but without wind or the usual hysterical siren activity. Seemed like a kind of peaceful cleansing... the news reports mostly found minor flood incidents on the same scale of normal flooding happening every few months. The amazing part was the emergency HQ center for all gov't agencies supporting a million people had it's power knocked out (alone). And it's emergency power booted up but the transfer switch wouldn't feed it in. All those bossy, highly paid, condescending preparedness freaks were in the dark and out of touch except for one guy who had brought a laptop and handheld radio to a remote storm watching location. The main damage was gov't created. A sort of homeless favela that had been allowed to form on an industrial stream washed masses of toxic trash into a recreational bay (too protected to self cleanse). These folks were not down and out but each had more possessions (stolen and found) than residents of a McMansion neighborhood, which were aimed at selling to nearby recyclers. The federal govt had blocked local govts from preventative cleanout based on misguided compassion, so the shoreline is now wrecked with a million cubic feet of rusting and splintering hazards.
  24. caesar novus

    Exterior design and decoration

    Today's discovery science channel had an Unearthed episode on the Parthenon, and discussed it's exterior paint. First they showed odd bits protected from the weather that had blue and red paint on it. Next they showed a guess of the overall look, which was mainly natural marble with a bunch of decorative banding near the top. Finally they addressed the question how could you stick any paint to glossy marble 2500 years ago. A Greek artist demonstrated a guess made by dissolving gummy tree resin into melted wax, then adding color powder. You would etch the marble to create lines so unruly paint wouldn't cross beyond it's border, and keep reheating the paint and the brush itself. The trick was to apply very hot to burn off any dampness on the marble to allow a bond. Science HD channel seems one of the last to offer meaty 1 hour documentaries on the ancients, without cheesy docudrama. They seem allergic to Rome so far, and want to glorify less accomplished cultures to my eye. When younger I had exactly that bias too. China wall episode was good at least visually, but kinda pathetic glorifying the mortar as miraculous due to perhaps having rice gruel in it... no match for Roman mortar tho.
  25. caesar novus

    Exterior design and decoration

    One source is authentic roman painting/frescos depicting building exteriors. A quick scan of google pictures suggests most are off-white with occasional red columns. A strong exception is posted below from inside a Pompeii villa. There was a period when it was fashionable to show fantasy architecture in paintings, and maybe some of the colorful ones show some distant exotic style. vs pompeii amphitheater district cityscape:
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