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February 18, 2019

Dolmen di Sa Coveccada

Fooled u

Pictured above, it's an ancient megalithic grave in Sardinia, Italy.

From the New York Times:

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Ancient European Stone Monuments Said to Originate in Northwest France

Research on Stone Age tombs throughout Europe offers a new answer to an old debate on where and when the iconic stone works were first built.

Thousands of years ago, megaliths began to appear in Europe — standing stones, dolmens, stone circles.

They vary from single stones to complexes like Stonehenge.

There are about 35,000 such monuments in Europe, many along the Atlantic coast of France and Spain, in England, Ireland, Scandinavia, and throughout the Mediterranean.

They attract both tourists and archaeologists, who have spent a century debating how the knowledge to build such monuments spread.

One idea suggested that this cultural change came from the Near East, and spread west along coastal routes, perhaps by a priestly caste.

Later theories suggested techniques may have developed independently in different locales.

But a scientist who analyzed 2,410 radiocarbon dates of megaliths and their surroundings reported on Monday that the first such tombs appeared in France, about 6,500 years ago, and then spread along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, as well as to England, Ireland, and Scandinavia.

"It took me 10 years of my life for this research," said the scientist, Bettina Schulz Paulsson, a prehistoric archaeologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

She combed the literature in 11 languages, assessed the validity of the dating tests, and used a statistical method called Bayesian analysis to narrow the dates further.

She reported her findings in the journal PNAS, concluding that the building of megalithic graves appeared and spread along the coast of France, Spain and Portugal, and the Mediterranean within a period of 200 to 300 years.

Brittany megalith 1

[Above, a megalithic enclosure on Er Lannic Island in the Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany, France]

Kristian Kristiansen, also at Gothenburg University but not involved in Dr. Schulz Paulsson's study, said the research was a real breakthrough," providing for the first time both the origin and the evidence for a coastal, maritime spread of the technology.

That in itself is significant because it suggests that people of the time had boats and skill to travel along the coasts and quickly spread the megalithic method.

Dr. Schulz Paulsson found that the oldest megalithic graves dated from about 4800 to 4000 B.C. in northwest France and other areas like the Channel Islands, Corsica and Sardinia.

But northwest France is the only one of these areas that showed evidence of earthen grave monuments that preceded the first megaliths, dating back to around 5000 B.C.

These graves, in the geological area known as the Paris basin, indicate the beginnings of monument building that are lacking in the other areas.

February 18, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I finally figured out why I like making bookofjoe

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It hit me last week, while I was doing what I do backstage to create a post (in fact, the one that will follow this one in two hours. But I digress.).

What makes me happy and lets me go on for hours without a conscious thought that I might want to be doing anything else is the deep pleasure and satisfaction I get from making countless decisions about language, images, layout, links, overall look and feel, and a zillion other small details that go into each and every post.

FunFact: I've created 30,700 posts as of 12:17 p.m. on Tuesday, February 12, since I began here in 2004.

You couldn't look it up — but I did (top).

I did the math: that's about 2,000/year = about 40/week = an average of 6-7/day.

And that includes the dead zone of 2014 and 2015 when I was profoundly depressed, to the extent that I could barely keep Gray Cat's litter box tidy.

An occasional brief post every couple days served as proof of life during those dark times.

But I digress again.

I wonder how many more posts I've got in me before they pull my cold dead hands from the keyboard.

Allez!

February 18, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mr. Mxyztplk v Joe Btfsplk — Vowel-Deprived Throwdown: Who came first?

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From Shawn Zehnder Rossi comes a characteristically deep diving investigation of the little-known origins of two great vowel-deprived characters of the 20th century, Mr. Mxyztplk (above) and Joe Btfsplk (below).

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Her report follows — and you can bet your bottom dollar that not one word has been.

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Mr. Mxyztplk vs. Joe Btfsplk

Who came first... Mr. Mxyztplk vs. Joe Btfsplk?

Hi, Mr. Miller. I am the bookofjoe staff person who has been assigned to your interesting question.

Joe preceded Mr. Mxyztplk. Joe Btfsplk's first appearance was June 11, 1942. Mxyztplk's ((roughly pronounced Mix-yez-pit-lick, also nicknamed Mxy) first appeared in September of 1944. Joe's creator, Al Capp, pronounced Btfsplk with a "raspberries" sound, also known as a "Bronx cheer."

Mxyzptlk appeared originally as a small bald man in a purple suit, green bow tie and purple derby hat. This was changed to a futuristic looking orange outfit with purple trim in the mid-1950s, although the hat remained. At around this time the spelling of Mxyzptlk's name changed (by mistake) to "Mxyz ptlk."

From Wikipedia:
After the establishment of DC Comics' multiverse in the 1960s, it was later explained that the purple-suited Mxyztplk lived in the fifth dimension connected to Earth-Two and the orange-costumed Mxyzptlk in the fifth dimension connected to Earth-One. The Earth-One version was also retconned into Superboy stories as Master Mxyzptlk.

From www.supermanhomepage.com:
The imp known as Mr. Mxyztplk first appeared in our dimension in Superman #30 (1st series, 1944) in a story by Jerry Siegel with art by John Sikela. For those who haven't seen the original story, you can find it in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told trade paperback. The bald little fellow in the purple suit and green bowtie creates all kind of havoc — including animating a naked statue he calls McGurk. Mxy describes himself as a "court-jester" from another dimension. The not very bright imp laughingly tells Superman that there is no way he can be tricked into saying the magic word "Klptzyxm" that will return him to his own dimension. Oops. Saying the word, Mxy vanishes (my nickname — don't expect me to keep spelling the full name!!)

A note at the end of the tale says, "If you enjoyed the antics of Mr. Mxyztplk and would like to read of his further encounters with Superman, let us know on a penny postcard." Obviously, Mxy was a big hit and returned many times.

The imp's name was later changed to Mxyzptlk (and for the consonant-challenged among you — the letters "t" and "p" are reversed). He had a long history of antagonizing Superman, supposedly every 90 days, until Superman inevitably tricked him into saying his name backwards. This restored everything back to normal and banished Mxy back to the Fifth Dimension for another 90 days. Until the Crisis On Infinite Earths series rewrote DC history.

February 18, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I've tweeted 10,000 photos and videos

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I'm all excited, thinking I'll be getting a congratulatory DM from Jack Dorsey any minute now.

The first 10,000 are the hardest.

Interesting, at least to me: I've created about 30,000 posts for this blog since it began in 2004, compared to 78,300 tweets and 10,000 photos and videos uploaded since I joined Twitter in 2006. 

February 18, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Growing Necklace

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From the website:

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Designed for people in metropolitan areas, the Growing Necklace — a mix of jewelry and plant, couture and organism — is a chance to take a little bit of greenery with you.

Like any plant, the necklace will need to be watered and nurtured to be at its best.

For best results, water every five weeks (be careful not to water too much).

If properly maintained, the Icelandic moss will stay green for 8-12 months.

Features and Details:

• Hand made of fine silver in Iceland

• Designed by Hafsteinn Júlíusson

• Necklace length: 23.6"

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Round or Rectangular pot: $199.

February 18, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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