Fri Apr 14 11:34:39 EDT 2006

I'd like to be an archeologist

I figured I should add something to my 'Ancient History' category, since I went to the trouble of creating it.

I've been interested in ancient history, and ancient civilizations in particular, ever since I was a kid. Originally, I was fascinated with Egypt, but as I got older I learned about Sumer, and Babylon, and Chichen Itza, and other ancient cities around the globe.

Then a funny thing happened... it started to seem obvious to me that the civilizations that built these cities seemed to have a lot in common, both in their architecture and mythology. I started looking into that, and I found out that we really don't know how they built the things they built, and that we couldn't duplicate their structures with modern equipment, let alone the kind of technology we suspect they had to work with. Furthermore, when they wrote about how they built stuff, especially the really big stuff, they just said that the gods helped them.

The Sumerians, considered to be the first of the ancient civilizations, just popped up out of nowhere. One day they were nomads living in tents, and the next day they were building huge and sophisticated cities, with complex plumbing and drainage systems, surrounded by huge irrigated farms. How this transition happened seems like a big mystery, except that the Sumerians are pretty clear about it: they wrote that the gods showed up one day and showed them how to build cities.

This is what really fascinates me about ancient civilizations: they all seem to stem from more ancient, and not generally recognized, civilizations. Yes, I'm talking about Atlantis, but there were two others as well.

I won't get into all of the details, but from everything I've read it seems that during the last ice age, around 10000 years ago, there were three large and advanced civilizations in the world. Atlantis, either in the Atlantic ocean or possibly the northernmost pennisula of Antarctica, Mu, in the south Pacific, and the ancient Rama Empire civilization in India, which wrote the Vedas.

The Vedas talk about these civilizations, and wars between them; echos of those stories appear in mythology around the world. So does the 'Flood' story, which seems like it relates to the end of the ice age, when sea levels rose, the Mediterranean plains became the Mediterranean sea, and any large cities, which would have been mostly on coastlines, would have been destroyed.

Why don't we have more physical evidence of these civilizations? We have a lot actually, but it's not generally recognized by scholars. But the really good stuff, the big cities, would all be underwater now, on the edges of the contenental shelves. A lot of that has probably been lost due to landslides from the shelf edges into the adjoining rifts, but there should still be something left to discover.

So that's why I want to be an archeologist: I think there are major discoveries just sitting out there, waiting for someone to come looking. If I pursued this, I would get myself a nice boat, some side-scanning sonar equipment, scuba gear, maybe an ROV, and go searching around the northern Carribean and Bahamas area. At the very least, it'd be a nice lifestyle down there.

Or maybe I should just try to build a Vimana.

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Posted by Douglas Webb | Permalink | Categories: Ancient History

Sun Apr 9 20:24:38 EDT 2006

I need better vacations

I'm on vacation this weekend... in theory.

I live in New Jersey, my mom lives in Brooklyn NY, and my brother lives in West Virginia. My mom and I have come down for the weekend to visit my brother, and also for my first chance to meet my new niece, and to get to know my nephew a bit better now that he's talking.

Here's the thing: every time I visit, my brother has a project for us to work on. First, we built a 1000 square foot deck around two sides of his house. The next several visits were spent renovating his basement: cleaning it, demolition, framing, electical, plumbing, ceiling installation, and installing bathroom and kitchen floors.

This time, I'm only here for a couple of days, so all we built was a new signpost for the end of his driveway, and a big wooden playset... you know, the kind with a platform five feet up, and ladders, and a slide.

I ache. Why can't I just visit and hang out? Before he moved to this house, all I had to do was some computer maintenance, and I was good for a week.

To be honest, he's come to my house for projects too. He helped build a very solid fence around my back yard, and he's on the hook for at least one week of basement renovation, if I make enough progress to reach a point where I really need his help.

Besides, I actually do enjoy this sort of work. I'm a creative person, and being creative with software can be rewarding, but no one really gets to see what I've created... even the few folks at work who review my code don't really experience it, and appreciate the effort, the way I do. But build a deck, a playset, or a basement, and everyone can appreciate that, and they can do so for many years.

I just hope I don't hurt my fingers to the point where I can't type anymore, like I did when wiring a hundred outlets in his basement.

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Posted by Douglas Webb | Permalink | Categories: General