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caesar novus

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Everything posted by caesar novus

  1. . I read an article about the state of non-official archeo recovery, esp in Europe, and they said it was often catastrophic outside Britain which has rules that reward the honest discoverers. I think they said France was particularly bad in driving discoverers to the black market. But then they said Britain was catastrophic in enforcing a non-binding UN rule about repatriating art to the supposed owner countries. In order to avoid confiscation, this has frozen donations of private archeo/art collections to museums, unless they were obtained prior to the rule of maybe 30 years ago. So that has driven charitable or estate donations to the black market as well.
  2. It just pains me that the video of his talk wasn't posted online, while most others of that series was. I think it is just the familiar groups that we already know were much more numerous and agricultural than previously thought. I think he said the farming technology and village type settlement was almost similar to Europe at 1491. I went to an anthropology lecture about 10 years ago that said similar things about the Amazon being packed with settlements doing fancy irrigation... so it must be published elsewhere too. UPDATE: here is another youtube talk he gave.. maybe you can find an even better one. Reminds me he points out the advanced urbanization in parts of the Americas...
  3. I haven't kept up with that news much, after being disgusted on how ancient human remains are being snatched from scientists in the US under the assumption that they are "owned" by contemporary tribes. Are such remains still confiscated and effectively destroyed before they can be objectively examined? Anyway I heard a bit of a lecture that said the Alaskan land bridge wasn't used because it appeared at the wrong time. Of course you would often have ice bridges, and very simple boats could skirt the edge. It seems you could have a diversity of groups coming by various means at various times. I heard an author talk for the book "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" where Charles Mann summarized latest research that is accepted consensus but not well known. As I recall it depicted a massive, settled, sedentary population in the Americas that greatly modified their environment by irrigation or clearing by fire. The Europeans encountered more sparse nomadic types because smallpox, etc preceded them like a shockwave and depopulated. The susceptibility to such diseases was sort of a freak because the types of big animals that can originally host (and thus engender resistance) died out much earlier for unknown reasons. He gave interesting answers to naive audience questions (laden with positive stereotypes), such as to emphasize the extreme cultural diversity of original inhabitants.
  4. caesar novus

    The Cross as jewelry

    I don't think it is a symbol of "means" of death, but rather what power is behind it. And not against the Romans in particular, but against whatever unjust "establishment" is in place. Remember the Roman officials exasperated at Christians breaking rules simply to become martyrs, and asking why don't they just jump off cliffs instead of provoke them to reluctantly enforce capital punishments. On the other hand, depictions of Jesus in Mexican churches can be incredibly gruesome with all sorts of extra instruments of torture and blood. All such things could make a messy or ambigous symbol though, vs a cross which has a quite unique interpretation. BTW I am skeptical of decapitation as being that merciful, even when not botched. I have read 1000 diary pages of a German jew who survives WW2 pograms as a free observer ("I Will Bear Witness"). For some reason the report of the electric gillotine seems among the worst. It is mainly used for disloyal non-Jews, and serves customers every 2 minutes. They line up about 2 dozen victims, and they have to listen to the intimate details of their impending fate (Jews are locked up within earshot and later marvel at not being the only victim class). And I question if extreme head trauma is so fleetingly felt. I regretfully saw film of Mussolini's botched firing squad for son-in-law Ciano and other VIPs. Ciano's few seconds of reaction to a drastic head wound can be read because unlike the blade victims his arms were still attached. They make the strongest expression of infinite pain I hope I will ever see, and had to be consious because the hands approach the fatal wound. Also in the frame are a more on-target exploding skull, and a complete miss (with followup since the idiot didn't play dead). So I think a quick death can be a false blessing, especially if with a long anticipation. The Jewish author reports a huge number of deaths reported as "shot while trying to escape". Even though this is often 85 yr olds on crutches, it may be more merciful because they would kind of surprise them and trick them into crossing a chalk line that substituted for a camp fence. This is a camp within Germany, where they had so far hidden tales of intentional executions. Maybe the most merciful was what the author was trying most to prevent. The Dresden Jewish cemetary had tons of husbands and wives with the same day of death... these were not executions but suicides by barbituates. The author kept talking folks out of this when they faced an impending worse horror, even when he thought he probably shouldn't. Apparently the gestapo made a fairly tolerable barbituate widely available because they were trying to avoid publicity of Jewish killings (but maximize the publicity of punishing disloyal gentiles as a lesson).
  5. That is a bizarre article that seems to muddle the facts, at least as they were reported here 4 years ago... I even visited the "discovery" then. The background of the author seems to be mainly in spiritualism and meditation: http://www.ancient-origins.net/users/aprilholloway . She has an article on Vikings that seems even more devoid of news but rather a googled rehash with catchy photos. BTW you can click to bring up her original Nero article with better photos. EDIT: if you don't switch to the original version of the article http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/revolving-dining-room-emperor-nero-s-luxurious-palace-really-existed-001824 you only see ENTIRELY irrelevant photos from about a half mile away parts of the palace. As I understand it, Nero's palace wasn't discovered in 2009 but rather closed to tourists around then due to water erosion (some drastic remedy was recently proposed). In 2009 they appeared to find the revolving dining room, and I looked down the hole in 2010. Even if you switch to the "original" web version of her article, it still suggests these have just been discovered. That version shows a deeper hole than I saw in 2010, and a reconstruction. So I don't know if there is news here, other than their polished web site may not be very trustable. As for the dining room, it seems to me more like a narrow doughnut layout rather than spacious dome. In words they give a more grand impression, and the illustrations seem to contradict one another. But if you focus on the pillar, note how little space there is to the walls beyond.
  6. caesar novus

    The Mediterranean route into Europe

    Actually there is a lot of DNA info hidden in our relatives that is about to be lost, and maybe we should take and preserve mouth swabs at the next family reunion. For those like us who want more info on the mothers side, I think we can triple our info by targeting the maternal grandfather (his m+f flags). If he is gone, one can look for his other descendants, or back up to descendants of his ancestors... just use the weird logic of the way male and female flags are passed down. Also the mito. dna of one's father can add a lot. Sealed, frozen swabs might let one run the tests years later when they are cheaper and smarter. I have no obsession with this... I just inherited family tree research notes that was easily collected by ancestors who traveled back to the home country. It seemed to conflict with the DNA test info, but probably not in light of current dna test limitations. My family tree is 10 years shorter than I stated, but still amazingly provincial, ending only at the time the plague probably stopped people keeping records. Even 150 years after leaving the home country, marriage has apparently only been with folks originating from that country. So the Corsican war bride or whatever that dna test suggests may have been an important defense against recessive genes Thanks for the alternative Brazilian singer suggestions; thru the internet I have overdosed on Astrud (and Ella F) after hearing their complete works over and over. However I do appreciate the way Astrud kind of murmurs lyrics to herself instead of the brash way singers usually do, and also she pronounces vowels the way most english speakers only have heard from their mothers early, fond babytalk. For variety I had made a spotify playlist of 1200 Chet Baker songs, who sounds quite like some of the best female jazz singers for some reason.
  7. I just watched a rerun of a Jordanian Travelogue (Stanley's on the go) which featured tourist chariot rides in an ancient hippodrome in Jaresh. They emphasized how dangerous it was even in it's present form, and I would guess from recent youtubes that tourists now just watch rather than ride. They emphasized that the movie chariots were much heavier and more sturdy than sporty historic chariots.
  8. caesar novus

    The Mediterranean route into Europe

    Oh, you sound like my heroine Astrud Gilberto. Her web page said that her bossa nova was considered a bit inauthentic back home in Brazil, because her father wasn't the local mixed blend. Actually there may be some cultural rather than DNA truth to that since I think her dad was a German music teacher. And she complains about a famous but unpleasant Russian-American musician who I think brought out her best work... these synthesized influences maybe allowed her to elevate b-n to world acceptance. Anyway, I have a gripe about my mit. dna tests, and will try a thought experiment of Astrud dealing with the same thing. First I will admit that my tests were a decade ago, and before the company recently went defunct they would offer ever changing interpretations on a web site. BTW they included health predictions which turned out to be changing and inaccurate, except for guesses of my physical properties which were right. I have 647 years (!) of marriage or birth records for both sides of family, and they matched their paternal prediction. Actually this company specialized in the almost inbred background of our region because lack of global mixing simplifies analysis for predicting how you will die for instance. The maternal prediction was weird, and got weirder in later "refinements" which practically included the whole world. At first it they highlighted Corsica and a maybe bit of Latvia, which oddly enough were distant targets of our raiding parties about 900 years ago and might suggest a war bride. So I tried to educate myself on how to interpret mit. DNA, and will try to apply possibly fractured logic to a case such as Astrud. I would love to be corrected though. Look at her 4 great grandmothers... only one should show up in cloned mit. dna. Not her 2 German g-g-m. Say the other 2 are respectively from Asia-> native American, and more recently Africa. Only the mothers-mothers side shows up in the mit. dna... say it is an african mutation from 40k years ago. So all other influences are flushed from mit. dna except the direct mother daughter path from long ago africa back to genetic eve. IF the test shows other locations (I bet it would) these must be where close relatives migrated AFTER 40k years ago from Africa to India or Andorra for instance. Therefore further diversity they show isn't the incoming genetic influences but the later (and irrelevant) diversions by others. IF we were tracking the native American ggm there should be some diversity reflecting the path out of Africa thru Asia. But only what that mother-daughter chain experienced as personal mutations passed on. At first this seems an ultra tiny sample of your backwards-spreading family tree, but something strange happens when that tree has to shrink down and mix to get back to one Eve. Not a religious Eve, but there is point where the first mutation happens which is like the last exact clone of Eve (which happens maybe a couple thousand years distant from last clone of Adam, oddly enough).
  9. caesar novus

    The Mediterranean route into Europe

    Kosmo can correct me, but I think females entirely lack the y-group chromosomes that they use to track the male half of your family tree. Males carry clones of both the fathers y-group and mothers mitochondrial genes. So it may help to get a male relative tested for the y-group. I recall the national geographic tests being done in halves at half price for this. Or pursuade a male relative to get the whole test, or give it as a present (if you are sure they are related). These are not the normal functional genes that are discussed in the blogs, but strange useless ones that are much easier to track heritage from since they don't mix but are cloned. Another issue (if I am correct) is that these totally ignore the vast majority of your family tree... only applying to your fathers-fathers-fathers... or mothers-mothers-mothers individual at each generation. Furthermore they track specific mutations that often happened so many tens of thousands of years ago (they can usually estimate when your markers developed) that these proto groups were hiding behind a glacier in turkey somewhere long before they split up to arrive in Finland, Portugal or whatever. An old marker is disappointing because it tells you so little and for such a vanishing small sample of your family tree. For an old marker they will tell you that groups over half the world have it, yet that migration happened AFTER the mutation and your ancestors never went or came from there. P.S. I expect we all originate not from Africa, but Ile Amsterdam. This is because there are no genetic markers showing aborigines migrating thru Asia to Australia. Therefore, I have made an imperial deduction that mankind started in this island in the southern Indian ocean and caught passing icebergs to Africa and equadistant Australia!
  10. caesar novus

    Tiberius as a swell guy?

    Tiberius took power 1999 years ago, and has a terrible reputation of depravity. But a restoral of a sculpture of him http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/rediscovering-tiberius/ has some rethinking whether he was unfairly maligned http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/has-history-got-roman-emperor-tiberius-all-wrong/ . For my part, I see in his face a tightness in the mouth that suggests a guarded shell attempting to look prim and respectable vs a clever and possibly ruthless core. His bone structure there is concave, which would lead mouthparts relaxing more outward unless tightened into a contrived pose. Why would a powerful person pose as nonthreatening... I guess he was afraid of Sejanus? But you can't read too much into Roman sculpture, which has been altered thru the ages. In this case the right arm and a few other spots are fake as you can see at bottom of http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/tiberius/ . That arm looks way too expressive, undignified, and casual anyway. I saw an exhibit in Rome pointing out modifications to many ancient Roman sculptures during the Renaissance, just for the reason of changing fashions. P.S. I read the memoirs by Axel Munthe who a century ago lived on Capri where Tiberius ruled from. He reported that local residents systematically destroyed artifacts of Tiberius for religious reasons as they dug them up to install foundations, etc. I guess some artifacts were quite lurid. Here is a picture from Axel's villa looking toward palace of T. on the distant prominentory (actually I hear there were multiple palaces around the island).
  11. caesar novus

    Lure of the Arena

    I went to a gladiator talk by the celebrated Roman scholar Garrett Fagan, author of: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-author=Garrett%20G.%20Fagan&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AGarrett%20G.%20Fagan It was quite entertaining, but that seemed to be the point more than shedding much light. But I will try to share a few points, esp on new unpublished findings. Well, he showed some stone carvings of arena antics freshly unearthed. I forget if old or new, but there was a lot of bear vs man battles. Not lethal, but actual boxing matches or just a guy hiding from a bear behind a screen that rotated on a pivot. Kind of like a bullfighters cloth, but fancier. Anyway, he seemed to drive at the artificial theatricality of the animal and human battles... not so much actual violence. Half way to modern wrestling for TV, it could even approach circus type acts with people or animals suspended in the air with ropes. Gladiator losers seemed to frequently be given mercy, and their costumes were not that of actual foreign fighters. Just fantasy costumes, but they would be highly trained in that role and no other. Showed much rigging for releasing animals, etc, and some strange but common setup for "ramp fighters". Then in the q and a portion, he seemed to lose the plot. Serious issues were raised, like were christians really never executed in colluseum, which he seemed to dodge or give flippant or sensational answers. I think he did know the answers, but wanted to keep the jovial tone. Or his jokes about his water bottle containing gin were really true. He gave the impression of a common phenom of a UK scholar (including Dublin in UK, ha ha) who goes on to higher income in the US with crowd pleasing skills... probably gets perfect approval scores by his amused but not too educated students. He did give some nice "great courses" lecture series on Romans though.
  12. caesar novus

    Lure of the Arena

    Oh, I should give more benefit of the doubt that jet lag affected the unscripted part of his lecture. Often they announce in the intro to these talks that the guy has flown all night to arrive here for the start of a long weekend. The intro was truncated due to a pre-talk demo which really confused me. I thought I had come at the wrong time because my trusty watch had expired and even my mp3 player couldn't confirm the time.
  13. caesar novus


    If the forum site is to be eternally awaiting maintenance, maybe I had better correct a wrong impression I posted there. The really appealing Minerva magazine, http://minervamagazine.co.uk/ with a lot of coverage of Roman archeology and history... really is giving Roman coins with some of it's subscriptions (auto renewing or 3 yr minimum). I reported that their website blew up when I attempted my (intnl) subscription, and gave up when no billing appeared. But now I've got my coin, mag, and bill... something to keep that Roman fix coming (altho not cheap). P.S. if someone knows how to contact the admin for this site, they should remind that admin that klingan or whatever Patrick from Sweden goes by made an offer to take over the upkeep of this site. I can probably find how to contact Patrick if you can get the OK from the Austrian admin.
  14. caesar novus

    Tacitus and "the most dangerous book ever written"

    The Italian count, under pressure from Mussolini, did allow the Germans to photocopy it (itself an ancient copy, Tacitus original being lost). Then the issue becomes will it be brought to Germany as an icon, then destroyed or looted. Oh I suppose the same could have happened if the "liberation" of Italy was even more violent... witness the loss of Roman Imperial barges that Mussolini had excavated. Anyway, the story told by the son of the count almost defies belief. The manuscript stayed in the villa and the count's family stayed in another villa that was known and repeatedly ransacked by specially-sent German contingents. They all stayed safely hidden in place, until the Italian gov't required the manuscript to be presented in Florence on the day of the mega flood (1966?). So the narrative was interesting, but how over the top was the "dangerous" quote from Wiki? I suppose Germania's prominence wasn't a so much a cause of ultra-nationalism as an effect. But let's not underestimate it as a reinforcement block or warning sign. I'm reading the free kindle version of 1936 Fodor European guidebook where Brits are reassured how safe it is to go to the olympics in Germany for instance. They say the extreme prevalence of uniforms by men, women, and children is not a sign of old style militarism, but their reveling in military wear is equally matched by their love of peace. Then I switch to accounts 6 years later of British merchantmen and sailors on suicide missions to supply Malta, for instance by a sailor who lost his parents to German bombs and was himself sunk, only to be rescued and sunk again days later. Foreigners were especially welcomed at 1936 olympics not only for propaganda, but for foreign exchange which was desperately needed in order to stockpile modern war supplies. To be fair, although naziism became popular I don't think that implied widespread support of foreign invasions or violent racism. Maybe Germans envisioned at most an economic union with Belorussia, Ukraine, and deporting recent jewish economic immigrants. Hitler's invasions were often met internally with dread until victory reports came back. Public violence against jews were surprisingly controversial even at the leadership level, with Goering and even Himmler livid at the way Goebbels put the SA on a rampage for crystal night. Himmler had ordered a more humane "appearing" event and had demanded his orders be repeated back to him from all locations. I wonder if Germania text had any influence on the composer R. Wagner in the 1800's. Just when I thought nazism could be explained as dysfunctional reactions to marxist revolutions of 1917 in Russia and 1918/9 in Bavaria and economic collapse, I hear some snippets of Wagner's essays in a music lecture series that sound as rabid as Goebbels. On the other hand I am reading a Japanese sub (I-boat) commander that surely read no Tacitus yet stayed unrepentantly fascist postwar. Says they had a right to overlord millions of mainland asia, just as the US occupied spanish Texas-to-California. Sorry, but those spanish territories were nearly abandoned at the time, and the sparse population needed basics of law, order, and defense from somebody. The sub commander says their massive slaughter of Chinese civilians were no worse than that of American Indians, but the latter was not a systematic killing of dense populations but rather a chaotic or mismanaged arrangement of inevitable jump to the much higher carrying capacity of that land.
  15. That quote in my title comes from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germania_(book)#Reception , and most of the text is in http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/tacitus1.html . Idea came from sort of a junky but fascinating documentary on discovery military channel (Myth Hunters). Some Italian count was amazingly successful in keeping "Germania" by Tacitus out of the hands of persistant Nazi intruders, only to have it almost ruined in the flood of Florence. The manuscript was used in medieval times to try to rally Germans to defend against Turks, and again used as a (false) foundation myth in the 1930/40s. Apparently Tacitus was referring to a warlike tribe not actually dna related to modern Germans, and mostly made it up anyway?
  16. caesar novus

    Courses on Roman engineering?

    . I downloaded it, and spot checks suggest this is a SERIOUSLY good lecture series. "Understanding greek and roman technology" has better graphics, more Roman focus and more enthusiastic presentation than in his "understanding world structures" series. I originally tried to spend my bucks on a subscription to "Minerva" archeo magazine which is giving away free roman coins for the occasion, but their signup website barfed on me. So I realized I had discount codes for similarly priced greatcourses... coupon code w4k4 gave me $10 off thru Dec 30 and priority code 89162 gave me almost the 80% off that the website was offering anyway. The lengthy download barfed in the middle, but let me retry to completion.
  17. . There is wisdom to be found here. . In this environment of "lite" moderation, there is still a brute force approach (that I assume some folks have been applying to me). You can filter out people's posts by clicking your name (at top) and then on "manage ignore prefs". Just type in the first few letters of the names in question. I tried it, and it's not as extreme as it appears. You still see the headers of everyone's posts, but the targeted ones simply are reduced to a single line that you can click if you wish to see them. Not censoring... it even piques your curiosity to click to see what you're missing.
  18. caesar novus

    What's the last book you read?

    Steven H. Rutledge Imperial Inquisitions: Prosecutors and Informants from Tiberius to Domitian This had a sensationalist ring for a nonfiction book on Romans, so I dove in. Read the preface and the author undercuts the title (maybe chosen by marketing dept?) on how the informers and malicious prosecutors were not so much a tool of tyranny but sometimes a counterbalance against corruption and intrigue. OK, still sounds interesting until I hit the introduction and first half of book which turns out to be splitting a lot of scholarly hairs. However the second half of book is worth flipping thru because of the thumbnail sketches of ALL known Roman empire snitches and hostile prosecutors... everything that is known about each individual. Gives interesting snapshot of unexpected things, like a merciful intervention by Tiberius on some trivial case. One person is accused of using a chamberpot while wearing a ring with Tiberian portrait - he he. Holy cow, this book costs over a hundred dollars on kindle! Find other formats or weigh it's value to you with this review http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2001/2001-09-39.html Re: Financial digression on previous post (can exit here) ......................... Beware of authors picking and choosing stories to support a sensational sellable picture. Banks were originally horrified at the politicians battering and bashing them to give mortgages to the insolvent. Obam himself rammed lawsuits with the usual claims of racism to force a no-income group to be given mortgages, with the result that it ruined their financial lives and they are now publicly regretful. Under both Clinton and Bush this bank bashing by the gov't and fannie/freddie just broke the back of responsible bankers. So they just gave up and let a cadre of kook bankers try to make the new irrationality pay it's way somehow. Now gov't punishes a bank (MS?) for the sins of the bank they altruistically took over at gov't request to prevent damage to customers or gov't bailout. They further grossly over-fine them hundreds of millions recently for a mistake overseas that had near zero financial impact. The main problem with US unions is the legal loophole that allows them to become a monopoly force. FDR was totally against gov't unions because it is a monopoly against the taxpayers. Then JFK legalized this nightmare and we are just behind Spain where air traffic controllers get over a million dollars a year and still paralyze the country with strikes http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1244156/Spanish-air-traffic-controllers-earn-800-000--replaced-automatic-systems.html . Where I live, food and supplies mostly depend on unionized unskilled with extortionate six figure incomes to not strike, such as a morse code officer (completely obsolete do-nothing job forced on company). There is a special national law that protects unions from charges of cross company monopolies (against consumers). Do you remember the abysmal quality of US cars in the days before imports broke their monopoly? The recent bailout of GM (costing unrecoverable billions) was naked lawless populism. The bondholders were robbed... against hundreds of years of law saying they were the last to lose out! This is the traditional investment of widows and orphans, or at least pensions which suffer low returns for safety. But they were robbed because the unions were given the stock that is supposed to take the risk. I'm talking about the lawless way of the rescue, not whether there should have been breaks given to them (like the corp tax break they got).
  19. caesar novus

    What's the last book you read?

    I'm warming up to the Japanese I-boat/sub commander story the most http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/77669087 . I think our view of the Pacific theater is weakened by less dialog with the enemy actors post war. That and a language problem leaves us with one dimensional view vs the Euro get togethers of US/Brit/German for post mortem analyses. This author has got a big ego and he's in the right places at the right times with the best equipment, but accomplishes almost nothing. Besides his direct accounts of key battles, and sharing what almost happened (how we unknowingly dodged bullets) he networked with other commanders and consulted postwar documentation (not translated yet?) to give his spin on the history. He has quite an anti-US and anti-prewar-FDR bias that is stimulating to unpack. Watch as he just misses opportunities to shell SFO and torpedo various carriers. . . My impressions of Russian waste of their own lives was based on anecdotes from early and late periods, such as Zhukov racing peers towards Berlin and spending double the lives if it saves him a day. If he was more careful of lives in the middle periods, that's fine. But if the attrition ratio is comparable to Hitler in retreat, that is no point in Zhukov's favor. Hitler had that crazy scheme of no-retreat fortresses, and liked to starve experienced units of supplies in favor of inexperienced ones to give the opportunity of Darwinian survival of the fittest (punish the experienced troops who may have wasted too much ammo). Also Goebbels arranged to have great numbers of retreating soldiers hung, EVEN when this demonstratedly included innocent and vital couriers. As for Bernanke, I rejoiced when he was appointed... even with no knowledge of what challenges he would face and with what policy bias he would apply. He not only studied the depression in depth (anyone can do that), but moved the state of understanding of it with rare insight. I don't rejoice for the elderly Berkeley professor-ess that will replace him with the same current policy - she seems stuck on that for the wrong reasons and may give us another repeat of the Carter admin inflation. I didn't mean Bernanke had anything to do with populism... he is mostly independant of that, but has to set policy on the basis of counteracting stupid populist elected gov't measures that have strangled growth in the name of employee entitlement or bank bashing etc. It's like being on a boat where the mob has a big rudder pointed in a self destructive direction. Bernanke has only a little steering oar to dip in and counteract it a bit. His policies may look backwards in the abstract, but in the context of what he is dealing with and his small leverage, his most every move has turned out amazing in hindsight.
  20. I hope a distinction is made between price inflation and monetary inflation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monetary_inflation . Monetary inflation is the devaluing of money, but is most definitely not the same as rising prices or wages. Price inflation is influenced by additional things like resource depletion that may be temporary or avoidable by switching to an alternative. The worst policies come from confusing these two... such as workers, pensioners, gov't payments factoring in "price" inflation rather than just "monetary" inflation. Same for the Romans; shed tears mainly for those who can't keep up with monetary inflation but not price. If the price of grapes doubles due to a bad harvest, switch to having servants pop plums in your mouth for heavens sake. Same thing in the modern case; some get undeserved price inflation payouts for items in inflation indices that they don't need, and it simply robs the folks who don't get the undeserved boost (monetary inflation payout boost OK). Edit: for instance, say copper mines are running low and it takes twice as much labor to extract the same amount of copper. This is price inflation, but not at all monetary inflation. No tears or pension boosts should be paid out to cover this increase in cost of living, or the system just goes berserk and consumes itself. Theoretically the whole working class could have to be devoted to supporting pensioners need just for copper (such as in San Francisco who enforces laws preventing substitution of plastic for copper pipes but doesn't enforce laws against copper theft).
  21. caesar novus

    What's the last book you read?

    Principles of War is downloadable on an army web page of Ft Leavenworth KS pamphlets from Combat Studies Institute. Seems to be a translation (by Joseph West) of a Japanese guidebook only slightly modified beyond ww2 to include one cold war issue. At first glance, looks pretty cool. Brief, eccentric, and to the point. I haven't read much because it is a type of pdf that my ink type kindle is sloooow to render. maybe here http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/PrinciplesOfWar.pdf
  22. caesar novus

    What's the last book you read?

    (reply to above) "Herodotus"... All previous translations are claimed to be obsolete with the new release by Holland, according to http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/9097452/the-histories-by-herodotus-review/ "Zhukov"... The excessive attrition rate he inflicted on his own army mars his great record, and I hope he had some regrets about this even though virtually mandated by Stalin. "Bernake" [sic]... Bernanke was maybe the only real adult in the room among all leaders of this century so far, with economic lifesaving realism that benefited the globe. His detractors fail to recognize that more ideal reformist solutions were infeasible due to populist politics (Greek rather than Roman style democracy = two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner). Loaded on my new kindle: Now that I no longer even try graphics-rich pdfs that freeze or crash the thing, I am progressing mainly on history titles from the 1930's and 40's, I loaded older books, but it can be so tedious to get past their typically lengthy preliminaries because my kindle is slow to turn pages. One is Mussolini's Rome which claims the present appearance of medieval and ancient Rome is more influenced by his regime than just a few new roads and facades. Also the first 1936 Fodor tourist guide of Europe (free amazon download) gives a prewar view of, say, charming Antwerp just before it was accidentally pulverized by the Luftwaffe. Italy is depicted as being sort of a exasperating banana republic. "Air to Ground Battle for Italy" promises to give a U.S strafing-eye-view of maybe too much collateral cost for the damage they actually did to Kesselring. "Hitler's Hangman" puts a different spin on "plucky Czechs kill a monster". The Czechs overwhelmingly did not want to risk retribution for this assassination, which was pushed by the Brits with suggestions of leaving them Nazi occupied post-war. I guess the respected author promises to show Heydrich was less an inherent monster and more a product of his environment, but we'll see. From the Pacific theatre I have a Japanese principles of war, and a "I-boat Captain" memoir. The latter shows how "peacenik" Yamamato pushed for Pearl Harbor attack against wide opposition, and how the attack almost fell apart due to many last minute challenges. Author is fairly unrepentant and puts various attacks in a defensive spin (what's that term for attacking to prevent their attack?). Well, I've got Roman empire for dummies and idiots... with the auto bookmarking I can sample then flit on elsewhere on a whim. Maybe I should increase the quality of reading by spending on some 99 cent titles that hold my interest longer. I was creeped out by an apple computer highlighting the music I last loaded on my Kindle from an independent Windows system. Who is monitoring this even with 3g off? Anyway, since Kindle doesn't shuffle I have to load music that stands up to heavy repeated playing of the first few titles.
  23. caesar novus

    Italian stock rockets up

    Gentium stock rose over 12% just today. That about equals the entire last 12 months of London stock market return, which highly paid people try to beat by even just a bit. So again Italian knowhow turns pig guts and human urine into gold... I am reminded of the ancient Roman urine collectors (for laundry cleaning ammonia?) and animal guts diviners.
  24. caesar novus

    Italian stock rockets up

    Just an observation of something that amazes me... an Italian biotech company stock has been rocketing up about 5 fold in the last few months http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?t=6m&s=GENT&l=off&z=l&q=l&c=efa&ql=1&c=^GSPC . Isn't the business environment hostile and crippled in Italy and Europe? Isn't Europe dead set against meddling with DNA, GMO, etc? Apparently people become less purist and more hypocritical when they are sick and someone else is paying their bills http://www.gentium.it/ . EDIT-> Ahh, I see their euro web page above doesn't highlight how their product is basically jamming pig DNA and human urine into patients (ok with me, if disclosed) http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=GENT . Actually I welcome their success, nestled just on the Milan side of Lake Como. But beware of investing in this ticker=GENT at such a high price because it can crash very suddenly.
  25. caesar novus

    What was the daily routine in the roman world after sunset?

    When I have been camping, there was not the slightest impulse to get up needlessly in wee hours... especially in the damp cold, the getting up is painful and not to be repeated. But even without lighting equipment, we would stay up well after sunset.