Dear Readers

Hello Circa71 readers!

Today I’m going to take a few minutes to do what I don’t often do here on the site…that’s write a little message directly to all of you. First off, thanks for all your daily visits to the site! Circa71 averages somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 hits a day. Not a whole lot of traffic in the grand scheme of things, but that’s ok because I feel like those that visit truly enjoy the articles enough to stop back on a regular basis (or tell their friends) which is by far more important to me.

Recently, I’ve noticed a large increase of spam comments on the site. I try to review most comments to make sure nobody’s input is consumed or discarded by my hungry WordPress spam filters but I often wonder if sometimes it’s a little too eager. If you’ve commented in the past, and didn’t see your comment I am sorry that it went unread.

I really enjoy seeing the comments, but I usually don’t approve comments for the pages (these are 99.9% spam)—only the articles or blog posts. So please make sure when you leave a comment you’re doing so on the related post.

Also, please feel free to use the like feature attached to the bottom of the posts. I’m often asked, how do you pick the subjects for your posts? Which is easy to answer, what do I want to know about that I didn’t already know before? That list could go on for ever. But in any case, I hope I’m helping to make everyone’s list of what they don’t know, a little shorter.

So, thanks for reading, commenting and providing feedback in all the ways you do. I promise to continue to toss out cool posts as often as my schedule allows. In the meantime, I’d like to suggest that you readers send me ideas or leads for things you’d like to know about as well as, some of your favorite links or sites. Just attach the links or ideas to the comments area of this post for all to see. I’ll do the rest! Also, I’d like to invite you all to add Circa71 to your site’s blogroll or list of links, and to share our posts via your favorite social media outlet as often as you can so that more people can come to experience the joy of Circa71.

Anyway, this post is already too long so I’ll leave you with a simple adios, and I’ll be on my way.

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100,000 Hits Milestone

Readers, thank you for visiting and contributing to this blog! Today Circa71 has reached the 100,000 hits milestone. Given the stats on other blogs I realize this isn’t a huge number of visitors but I think it’s pretty significant for an independent blog.

Over the past two and a half years we’ve created a community that shares all kinds of information, from some of my personal experiences to popular culture, strange places and unexplainable events. As many of you have come to enjoy and follow the articles on Circa71. I also, enjoy discovering new and interesting information and the knowledge and ideas which comes with reading about the wide variety of topics covered here.

Going forward, I’m not entirely sure what Circa71 will evolve into but as for now there are no plans to change the format or style of postings. Those of you who follow regularly may have noticed that posts have been a bit lax over the past month. Please know that I’ve been in the midst of several life altering changes—all for the best, but this has slowed the rate at which I’ve been able to write, post and add new features to the blog. I hope to be back to form with the start of this new year.

So thanks to you reader for visiting, reading, sharing and commenting on the many postings of Circa71. I hope you all enjoy the very best of this upcoming holiday season.

-Circa71

Cuyahoga River Fire of 1969

Ohio History Central, an online encyclopedia of Ohio history, explains that the Cuyahoga River fire in 1969 heightened awareness of how unregulated markets create socially undesirable outcomes, such as a polluted environment:

On June 22, 1969, an oil slick and debris in the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, Ohio, drawing national attention to environmental problems in Ohio and elsewhere in the United States. This Cuyahoga River fire lasted just thirty minutes, but it did approximately fifty thousand dollars in damage — principally to some railroad bridges spanning the river. It is unclear what caused the fire, but most people believe sparks from a passing train ignited an oil slick in the Cuyahoga River. This was not the first time that the river had caught on fire. Fires occurred on the Cuyahoga River in 1868, 1883, 1887, 1912, 1922, 1936, 1941, 1948, and in 1952. The 1952 fire caused over 1.5 million dollars in damage.

On August 1, 1969, Time magazine reported on the fire and on the condition of the Cuyahoga River. The magazine stated: Some River! Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows. “Anyone who falls into the Cuyahoga does not drown,” Cleveland’s citizens joke grimly. “He decays”. The Federal Water Pollution Control Administration dryly notes: “The lower Cuyahoga has no visible signs of life, not even low forms such as leeches and sludge worms that usually thrive on wastes.” It is also — literally — a fire hazard.

Because of this fire, Cleveland businesses became infamous for their pollution, a legacy of the city’s booming manufacturing days during the late 1800s and the early 1900s, when limited government controls existed to protect the environment. Even following World War II, Cleveland businesses, especially steel mills, routinely polluted the river. Cleveland and its residents also became the butt of jokes across the United States, despite the fact that city officials had authorized 100 million dollars to improve the Cuyahoga River’s water before the fire occurred. The fire also brought attention to other environmental problems across the country, helped spur the Environmental Movement, and helped lead to the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.

The Ancient Law Code Of Hammurabi

Via: The Presurfer

image credit

The Code of Hammurabi is one of the earliest known examples of human laws being defined and written down in an orderly way. Little is known about Hammurabi himself; he ruled Babylon nearly four millennia ago, from roughly 1792-1750 B.C.

The Code of Hammurabi has 282 entries covering all sorts of civil interactions, from inheritance to theft to slave ownership. Some of the laws are general and others quite specific. The code’s best-known dictum is ‘If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out’ – commonly quoted as ‘An eye for an eye.’

Ggantija Temples

Via: The Presurfer

Ggantija Temples
The Ggantija temples are two prehistoric temples on Gozo, the second-largest island in Malta. One of them is the oldest stone structure in the world, predating Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids by hundreds of years.

Containing statues of full-figured goddesses, the Ggantija temples were dedicated to the Great Earth Mother and probably included an oracle. The site was a place of pilgrimage for the ancient inhabitants of Malta.

New Written Language of Ancient Scotland Discovered

Via: World of Mystery

Once thought to be rock art, carved depictions of soldiers, horses and other figures are in fact part of a written language dating back to the Iron Age.

THE GIST:

  • A new written language, belonging to the early Pict society of Scotland, has just been identified.
  • Stylized rock engravings have been found on hundreds of Pictish Stones.
  • If the writing can be deciphered, it would provide a unique insight into early Scottish history.

The ancestors of modern Scottish people left behind mysterious, carved stones that new research has just determined contain the written language of the Picts, an Iron Age society that existed in Scotland from 300 to 843.

The highly stylized rock engravings, found on what are known as the Pictish Stones, had once been thought to be rock art or tied to heraldry. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, instead concludes that the engravings represent the long lost language of the Picts, a confederation of Celtic tribes that lived in modern-day eastern and northern Scotland.

“We know that the Picts had a spoken language to complement the writing of the symbols, as Bede (a monk and historian who died in 735) writes that there are four languages in Britain in this time: British, Pictish, Scottish and English,” lead author Rob Lee told Discovery News.

“We know that the three other languages were — and are — complex spoken languages, so there is every indication that Pictish was also a complex spoken language,” added Lee, a professor in the School of Biosciences at the University of Exeter.

He and colleagues Philip Jonathan and Pauline Ziman analyzed the engravings, found on the few hundred known Pictish Stones. The researchers used a mathematical process known as Shannon entropy to study the order, direction, randomness and other characteristics of each engraving.

The resulting data was compared with that for numerous written languages, such as Egyptian hieroglyphs, Chinese texts and written Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, Ancient Irish, Old Irish and Old Welsh. While the Pictish Stone engravings did not match any of these, they displayed characteristics of writing based on a spoken language.

Lee explained that writing comes in two basic forms: lexigraphic writing that is based on speech and semasiography, which is not based on speech.

“Lexigraphic writing contains symbols that represent parts of speech, such as words, or sounds like syllables or letters, and tends to be written in a linear or directional manner mimicking the flow of speech,” he said. “In semasiography, the symbols do not represent speech — such as the cartoon symbols used to show you how to build a flat pack piece of furniture — and generally do not come in a linear manner.”

Although Lee and his team have not yet deciphered the Pictish language, some of the symbols provide intriguing clues. One symbol looks like a dog’s head, for example, while others look like horses, trumpets, mirrors, combs, stags, weapons and crosses.

The later Pictish Stones also contain images, like Celtic knots, similar to those found in the Book of Kells and other early works from nearby regions. These more decorative looking images frame what Lee and his team believe is the written Pictish language.

“It is unclear at the moment whether the imagery, such as the knots, form any part of the communication,” Lee said. He believes the stones also contain semasiographic symbols, such as a picture of riders and horn blowers next to hunting dogs on what is called the Hilton of Cadboll stone. Yet another stone shows what appears to be a battle scene.

Paul Bouissac, a University of Toronto professor who is one of the world’s leading experts on signs and symbols, told Discovery News that he agrees “it is more than plausible that the Pictish symbols are examples of a script, in the sense that they encoded some information, which also had a spoken form.”

What is known about a writing system, however, “does not amount to deciphering this putative script,” Bouissac added.

“We will have to wait for the discovery of what would be the Pictish equivalent of the Rosetta Stone, which made possible the cracking of the Egyptian hieroglyphic code,” he said. “This may or may not ever happen.”

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