Sickness

04/25/2011

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Well the last week and a half has been one of sickness for me with back pain problems and then the flu I haven't had the energy or the will power to write anything at all on the computer.

Anyone else think though that the biggest design flaw in the human body is when we are sick the body's defence is to block off your nose, close your throat and open your bowels. So now you can't eat you can't breathe and even if you do cough you risk a serious trouser accident.

I managed to get my temp up to 103f one night and I must admit I was slightly on the delusional side. Trying to do basic maths is a no go really, so figuring out how much Paracetamol or Acetaminophen I have ingested into my system without going over 6000mg was hard going.

My 'Cup' that I use is about twice the size of a normal mug which is good for tea and coffee as it means I don't have to keep putting the kettle on every 5 minutes to make another brew, but it does mean that one Theraflu™ doesn't cut it, so I have to use two and even then it tastes a bit weak... This combined elixir contains 1350mg of the 6000.

As part of my back pain im requested (and required) to take (at least) one 800mg of Ibuprofen every day. No where could I find if mixing it with the other stuff was a good or bad idea... To hell with it i thought it's only going to be around 2000mg even if it isn't supposed to be mixed...

At some point after that I nodded off, not passed out, or fainted, or died; just fell asleep. When I woke up I had amnesia I didn't know where I was my head was beating so hard it felt like it was going to explode I've never had migraine but I can only assume this is what it felt like I could only just open my eyes to the light, slowly I made my way into the kitchen and into the medicine cabinet I went for the Ibuprofen at first but then spotted the Nyquil that my Wife had brought about a month ago for her cold.

Thinking well its supposed to be for flu I drank straight from the bottle no measure just one big gulp. I made my way back from the kitchen and flopped down on the computer chair. After what felt like 2 hours or so of just staring into black space wide awake with my hands over my face, sweat pouring out of me and a weird sound that I only hear when i'm really sick that I can only describe as your blood flowing, not your heartbeat but the actual flow it's too irregular for a heartbeat, a thought dawned on me. What's actually in that Nyquil. I looked at the bottle contains 625mg of Acetaminophen per 15mg. I drank from the bottle how much is 15mg. to satisfy my delusional mind I poured it out into the measuring cup..I worked out i'd probably had about 8 of them at least in my 'Swig' of the bottle. This is where it started to get complicated I'd taken 1350 with 800 of something else that I wasn't sure would affect it, and now 8 times 625. For the life of me I  couldn't work out how much it was, I do know what the answer is now, but at the time it was a mystery I sat at the computer opened up the calculator and punched in the numbers and multiplied them ALL by 8 can't be right, some weird infinite figure flashed up on the screen.

Around this time I fell asleep again. I had a weird dream brought on by raging fever and a delusional mind. I forgot how to sleep and every time I went to sleep my legs would start running in the bed, this isn't part of the dream this is what was happening. I remember being in bed whilst my right leg with no warning lifted itself around head height and slammed itself into the bed with the force of a pro-wrestler, this was really frightening me now.

I decided to have a shower maybe it would help me cool down a bit and settle my nerves, if not I would phone the emergency number and get to hospital. Thankfully the shower seemed to work quite well I felt a little more 'With it' and I came downstairs again.

I realised I hadn't ate in the last 48 hours at all and barely drank through no fault of anyone's but my own. I made myself a small bowl of soup and a cup of tea. It took me over 2 hours to eat that bowl of soup. I had to re-heat it 3 times, I just couldn't swallow it my throat wasn't really hurting that bad. It was, well; normally you don't think about eating, you put food in your mouth, you chew and you swallow, basically that's how eating works.

This bowl of soup was like this: OK its in my mouth now what and if you've ever tried to swallow when your using a part of your brain that doesn't deal with swallowing usually it can be a weird experience. It's rather like breathing you do it automatically but the moment you start thinking about it, in and out, in and out, you can't do it any more.

Feeling slightly exhausted and with another bad migraine type headache, really achy body again I reached for the medicine cabinet again, not thinking really I took another swig of the nyquil I spent the rest of the day doing nothing maybe watching a little TV in between going to the toilet and lying down in the dark. This patten continued over much of the next day.

I remember being asleep I remember turning the light on I don't remember coming downstairs and I certainly don't remember putting the kettle on, it seemed like I came too just as the whistle of the kettle was about to blow itself off. I don't know how long it was boiling for or even how long I'd been there stood next to it staring at it. I made a cup of theraflu™ and watched the snooker. I remember the fever starting to break around Sunday night 4 days after it started.  I stopped feeling delusional and more just sick and yucky.

Until today i realised that in those nights i exceeded the recommended dose by about 2500mg every day for 4 days, not only that I felt better for it so it goes to show, in some cases overdose works wonders but I don't recommend it......

So now you know roughly how my last week has been I will get back to writing other stuff soon....


 
 
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Any time you see an email that says "forward this on to '10' (or however many) of your friends", "sign this petition", or "you'll get bad luck" or "you'll get good luck" or "you'll see something funny on your screen after you send it" or whatever --- it almost always has an email tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of those folks you forward to. The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' email addresses to use in SPAM emails or sell to other spammers. Even when you get emails that demand you send the email on if you're not ashamed of God/Jesus --- that is email tracking, and they are playing on our conscience. These people don't care how they get your email addresses - just as long as they get them. Also, emails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease "how would you feel if that was your child" --- email tracking. Ignore them and don't participate!

Almost all emails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of email is, is a way to get names and 'cookie' tracking information for telemarketers and spammers -- to validate active email accounts for their own profitable purposes.You can do your Friends and Family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them. You will be providing a service to your friends. And you will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam emails in the future!
Do yourself a favour and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listing regardless how inviting they might sound! Or make you feel guilty if you don't! It's all about getting email addresses and nothing more.

You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT!

Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later and very possibly a virus attached! Plus, we are helping the spammers get rich! Let's not make it easy for them!
ALSO: Email petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress or any other organization - i.e. social security, etc. To be acceptable, petitions must have a "signed signature" and full address of the person signing the petition, so this is a waste of time and you are just helping the email trackers.

Tips for Handling Telemarketers

(1)The three little words are: 'Hold On, Please...' Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt.Then when you eventually hear the phone company's 'beep-beep-beep' tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task. These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting..

(2) Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end?This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone.This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a 'real' sales person to call back and get someone at home. What you can do after answering, if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call, and it kicks your number out of their system. Gosh, what a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!!!

(3) Junk Mail Help:When you get 'ads' enclosed with your phone or utility bill, return these 'ads' with your payment. Let the sending companies throw their own junk mail away. When you get those 'pre-approved' letters in the mail for everything from credit cards to 2nd mortgages and similar type junk, do not throw away the return envelope.Most of these come with postage-paid return envelopes, right? It costs them more than the regular 44 cents postage, 'IF' and when they receive them back. It costs them nothing if you throw them away! The postage was around 50 cents before the last increase and it is according to the weight. In that case, why not get rid of some of your other junk mail and put it in these cool little, postage-paid return envelopes.

Send an ad for your local chimney cleaner to American Express. Send a pizza coupon to Citibank. If you didn't get anything else that day, then just send them their blank application back! If you want to remain anonymous, just make sure your name isn't on anything you send them..You can even send the envelope back empty if you want to just to keep them guessing! It still costs them 44 cents.The banks and credit card companies are currently getting a lot of their own junk back in the mail, but folks, we need to OVERWHELM them.

Let's let them know what it's like to get lots of junk mail, and best of all they're paying for it...Twice!Let's help keep our postal service busy since they are saying that e-mail is cutting into their business profits, and that's why they need to increase postage costs again. You get the idea!

If enough people follow these tips, it will work I have been doing this for years, and I get very little junk mail anymore.
 
 
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Roman Empire and Its Growth over Europe
The Roman empire stretched at its peak a huge distance from it's northern border with Scotland to its southern border in Egypt. From the western edges of Portugal to Syria in the East. Having conquered the Gauls (French) Julius Caesar turned his attention to the North to Brittannia the year was 55BC.

The first expedition, more a reconnaissance than a full invasion, gained a foothold on the coast of Kent (South East England) but, undermined by storm damage to the ships and a lack of cavalry, was unable to advance further. The expedition was a military failure, but was at least a political success. The Roman Senate declared a 20-day public holiday in Rome in honour of the unprecedented achievement of obtaining hostages from Britain and defeating Belgian tribes on returning to the continent. A year later Julius would try again.

In his second invasion, Caesar took with him a substantially larger force and proceeded to coerce or invite many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute and give hostages in return for peace. A friendly local king, was installed, and his rival, was brought to terms. Hostages were taken, but  the tribute agreed was paid by the Britons after Caesar's return to Gaul with his forces. Britain would wait nearly 90 years before they next saw a Roman army.

Caesar had conquered no territory and had left behind no troops, but had established clients on the island and had brought Britain into Rome's sphere of political influence. This made Britain into a part of the Roman empire without being conquered. Trade with the Romans and friendly cheiftains meant the Romans had little to do with Britain until around 46bc when Claudius received two tribal leaders who had been exiled by their tribes no longer friendly chiefs meant reduced trade and higher prices this could only mean one thing a full scale invasion of the commercially viable southern English people.

The army when assembled then proceeded to mutiny against their leaders because they were scared of crossing the channel. Eventually they were persuaded to get on the boats and in 43ad they set off. They probably landed around Fishbourne in Kent, one of the shortest channel crossings. No record has been made about how many Legions (Legions consisted of around 6000 men) were sent to Britain we know for sure that there were 4 legions in 60bc when a small revolt was squashed so we can assume that they had been there since the invasion.

Roman armies were obviously better equipped and better led with far superior military tactics. This isn't to say that it was a walk over as I stated before some tribes actually quite liked the Romans so in some areas resistance was minimal. A battle was fought in Kent and the Romans pushed up towards the river Thames and London. The Emperor Claudius was then summoned with reinforcements which included Elephants, we can only guess what the Britains thought of these animals as we can be pretty sure they had never seen them before.




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By 60AD most of Southern England was under Roman control, this isn't to say that everything was now peaceful. Romans trying to push into Wales were meeting with severe resistance to their occupation. Northern England too both due to their Hill and moor terrain meant that ambushes and guerilla style tactics could come into play. Remembering of course that most of Britain at the time was forested too. Some people in southern England were quick though to adapt to Roman ways and new styles of buildings and the luxury living that the Romans brought with them were starting to appear as early as 60ad. Although 60ad was a bad year to be a Roman in Southern Britain. In what is now East Anglia in the far east of Britain lived a tribe called the Iceni. The Iceni were led by a king called Prasutagus who died he left in his will half his lands to the Roman Emperor Nero in the hope that the other half would remain untouched. His widow was called Boudica. The Romans decided to take all of the Iceni lands and raped two of Boudica's daughters in the process and whipped a lot of the rest of the tribe into submission. In response, the Iceni, joined by the Trinovantes, destroyed the Roman colony at Colchester (which was then the capital city of the new Roman province) and routed the part of the IXth legion that was sent to relieve it. Boudica then went on to also burn to the ground the cities of St Albans and London. The scorch marks of the fierce burning can still be seen in the ground today as a bright red layer filled with charcoal. Between seventy and eighty thousand people are said to have been killed in the three cities. But the Romans regrouped with two of the three legions still available, chose a battlefield, and, despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated the rebels. Boudica died not long afterwards, by self-administered poison or by illness. There was further turmoil in 69ad. Rome was at civil war in a year which saw 4 emperors come and go usually by murderous means. Unable to control the legions in Britain several commanders took their chance including one Venutius of the Brigantes who quickly took control of most of northern Britain. Eventually he too was defeated by the Emperor Vespasian. In the following years, the Romans conquered more of the island, increasing the size of Roman Britain. Contrary to popular belief the Romans did enter Scotland they even defeated the Caledonians in battle but a influential commander called Agricola was recalled and the Romans pulled back to the more defensible position today occupied by Hadrian's wall.

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Hadrian's Wall Built around 120ad
Hadrian's Wall was 80 Roman miles (73 statute miles or 120 km) long. its width and height dependent on the construction materials which were available nearby. East of River Irthing the wall was made from squared stone and measured 3 metres (9.7 ft) wide and five to six metres (16–20 ft) high, while west of the river the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres (20 ft) wide and 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) high. This does not include the wall's ditches and forts. The central section measured eight Roman feet wide (7.8 ft or 2.4 m) on a 10-foot (3.0 m) base. Some parts of this section of the wall survive to a height of 10 feet (3.0 m). It wasn't built to keep the Scottish In or the English out it was to stop raiding parties from coming south and it also forced the Scottish traders to pay taxes. Life on the wall was fairly peaceful if not a remote posting for the soldiers posted there. One of the forts on the wall was called Vindolanda. When they were digging they found some of the most personal Roman remains ever found wax tablets with writting on them allow us to know what life was like on the frontier in Roman times. Things like invitations to birthday parties and feast days are common as well as asking for supplies usually heavy clothing to cope with the cold and bitter weather. But one thing they allow us to do is show where the Roman soliders came from. They were coming from all over the Roman Empire from northern Africa, Spain even Turkey. Most of the large forts were fitted with the modern luxuries such as plumbing, bath houses, running water,

A further wall was built north of Hadrian's wall called the Antonine wall. The occupation of Scotland ended as a result of a further crisis in 155-157 AD, when the Brigantes revolted. With limited options to despatch reinforcements, the Romans moved their troops south, and this rising was suppressed  Within a year the Antonine Wall was recaptured, but by 163 or 164 AD it was abandoned. Since the retreat to the Hadrianic frontier occurred not long after his death when a more objective strategic assessment of the benefits of the Antonine Wall could be made. However the Romans did not entirely withdraw from Scotland.

after the first century AD the Celts who lived in what is now England were, to a certain extent, Romanised. Many towns appeared. Some were created deliberately. Others grew up by Roman forts as the garrisons provided markets for townspeople's goods. Roman towns were usually laid out in a grid pattern. Streets were often covered in gravel. When people walked on the gravel it became compacted. Very often streets had drains at the sides.

At first Roman towns were unprotected. Then in the late 1st and 2nd centuries fortifications were built. They consisted, at first, of ditches with earth ramparts and wooden palisades. Later many towns had stone walls.

In the centre of Roman towns was a space called the Forum. It was lined by shops and by a public building called the basilica. Markets were also held on the forum. In the towns another important building was the public baths. In Roman times people went to the baths not just to get clean but also to socialise. Roman Baths consisted of a frigidarium or cold room, a Tepidarium or warm room and a caldarium or hot room. You usually finished with a dip in a cold pool.




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Roman Baths in Bath (Aqua Sulis)
To clean themselves Romans rubbed their skin with oil and scraped it off with a tool called a strigil.
Larger towns also had an amphitheatre where 'sports' such as cock fighting were held and sometimes gladiators fought to the death. Some Roman towns also had theatres. The Romans gambled with dice. They also played board games. Roman children played with wooden or clay dolls. They also played ball games.Roman Britain was, of course, an agricultural society where most people made their living from farming (although there were many craftsmen). Only a small minority of the population (probably around 10%) lived in towns. he Romans also introduced new foods into Britain, among them celery, cabbages, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, broad beans and walnuts. Romans cooked on charcoal stoves. Olive oil was imported. So were olives, figs and grapes. Wine was also imported (although the Romans attempted to grow vines in Britain).
The Romans were also very fond of fish sauce. They also liked oysters, which were exported from Britain.

A Roman dining room was called a triclinium. The Romans ate a breakfast of bread and fruit called the ientaculum. At midday they ate a meal called the prandium of fish, cold meat, bread and vegetables. The main meal was called the cena and was eaten in the evening.

Life in Roman Britain was, if you wern't a slave good living. By the year 200ad the era known as the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) had started and the country became more and more romanised.....Like all good things this wasn't to last more of that in Part 5.....





 
 
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Welcome to Maiden Castle built around 600bc near Dorchester in the UK. Looks impressive on the picture. Even more impressive on the ground. Hill forts developed in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC (1000bc). The reason for their emergence in Britain, and their purpose, has been a subject of debate. It has been argued that they could have been defensive sites constructed in response to invasion from continental Europe, built by invaders, or a military reaction to social tensions caused by an increasing population and resulting pressure on agriculture. The dominant view since the 1960s has been that the increasing use of iron led to social changes in Britain. Deposits of iron ore were located in different places to the tin and copper ore necessary to make bronze. As a result, trading patterns shifted, and the old elites lost their economic and social status. Power passed into the hands of a new group of people. The end of the use of Bronze as a currency and the recent climate change shifted the focus from metals to ownership of land and animals as the source of wealth. If you owned land and animals and you could afford to feast your people you were a wealthy person. If you owned Maiden Castle you certainly owned a lot of land, a lot of people, and therefore a lot of wealth. Your fort wasn't just a military installation though it was where you lived, where you feasted and where you died.

Lets imagine your a Celtic Britain of the middle order, middle class if you like, what would your life be like. Well you probably owned a small farm as you can see from the picture there are plenty of plots to choose from. You would have probably kept animals, grown wheat or barley. You would have made your own bread, your own ale, your own clothes (usually woollen made on a weaving loom) or animal skins. You would have butchered your own animals raised and educated your own children, ploughed and harvested your fields gone fishing and collected herbs, nuts and berries. Your house would have been a traditional round house made from wattle and daub (mud and dung thrown onto a woven stick structure that looks like a woven basket and dried). Inside you would have had a central fire place on a clay floor covered with either straw or animal skins. The whole building would be about 20ft in diameter. Outside you would have your pens for the animals, a clay oven and a long way from your door the latrine. So your starting to get modernised now you'd have even had your own bed although you would have to share it in winter with the cattle and sheep. 

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If you lived in what is now Great Britain you would have belonged to one of these tribal areas. People like me from Manchester would have been Brigantes. Londoners would have been Cantiaci on the south side of the river Thames and Catuvellauni on the other side. These names are of course the Latin names for the tribes given by the Romans but they give some idea of the amount and distribution of the tribes. If you lived in Maiden Castle you would have been a Durotrigeses and you would have farmed some of the most fertile land in the country, hence the need for the most protection in the country too. Scotland had a different system of defence they had Brochs a large dry stone structure that looks rather like a Rook (castle in chess) and they were placed like lighthouses on high ground they consisted of a large outer wall and an inner wall with a passageway just wide enough for a man in between the two from where you could find a small window and defend your property. Not much is really known about the Scottish Caledonians as they left no written records and they were never conquered by the Romans, subsequently their iron age lasted almost 500 years longer than the English iron age.

Your Religion as an Iron age Celt would have probably been the worship of many gods and human sacrifice was practised until the Romans banned the practice by 150AD so chances are you knew someone or had someone within your family who was offered up to appease the gods. This was a huge honour for the family and sacrifices were not chosen lightly they didn't just offer any old soul to the gods, after all they were trying to make them happy not infuriate them. You would have had a chief druid or shaman who's job it was to interpret the will of the gods and also to provide medication for the tribe.



Some Images of Iron age (Celtic) Britain

continues below
Trade with Europe was rife during the Iron age and the Celts enjoyed such luxuries as wine from Italy and olives from Spain. Iron weapons were imported at first before local knowledge was brought into the country. Fancy decorative items were being produced as well as wealthy items made from gold. The Celts also used the 1st coinage found in the country although we are unsure what sort of value these coins had and what you could buy with them, its thought that they must have been trading with Roman Europe and borrowed the idea from them. The Iron age lasted a relatively short period of time in Britain. Iron objects never held as much value to the tribes as bronze did. But they made highly useful tools with iron. Food production increased dramatically with the introduction of the iron tipped plough and every day objects we now take for granted were starting to be made. Knifes and forks, all types of wood working tools that have changed little to the modern day and lots of cooking implements pots and pans. But life was to take a dramatic turn for the tribes of Great Britain when they first saw the boats of Julius Caesar sailing slowly across the channel in 55bc....Veni Vivi Vici....... well almost...more of that in Part 4
 
 
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WALLINGFORD - Alice M. Bruton Mann, 89, formerly of Loring Court, Yalesville, died Saturday, April 9, 2011 at the Regency House. She was the loving wife of the late Frank Mann.

She was born in Wallingford, May 8, 1921, a daughter of the late Leo and Myrtle Stone Bruton. Mrs. Mann owned the Salad Bowl Deli/Restaurant on Quinnipiac Street until she retired. She was well known for her beaded shirts, her love of bingo, and her love of Vermont. She was a loving mother and will be missed by all who loved her.

She is survived by her daughter, Gloria Doucette, of Wallingford; her three granddaughters, Deborah Bailey of Wallingford, Jennifer Winnard, of Meriden, and Alicia Carafano, of West Haven; her six great-grandchildren; her special friend and daughter-in-law, Berit Mann, of West Haven; her sister-in-law, Carolyn Bruton, of Wallingford; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her son, Francis John Mann; and her granddaughter, Johanne Whirley Doucette.

Her family will receive relatives and friends in The Wallingford Funeral Home, 809 North Main St. Ext., Wallingford, Monday, April 11, from 4 to 6:45 p.m. Funeral services will be held Monday, at 7 p.m. in The Wallingford Funeral Home. The Rev. Anne Bracket, Pastor of the Yalesville United Methodist Church will officiate. Interment will be private.

 
 
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The Bronze age started around 3000bc, nobody is really sure how it happened or who invented the method. Bronze is an alloy of two metals Copper and Tin. So who ever thought of this was a pretty clever person. The melting of Copper was probably found out when someone threw copper laden rocks onto a fire. If you know a little chemistry you will know that this will turn the flames of the fire green. In an age of mystics and believed magic this would have been an impressive sight rather like a firework today. The addition of Tin however remains a mystery. What we do know about tin is it's not widely available, in actual fact its quite a rare metal. One of the sources of this metal was Cornwall in the south west corner of the United Kingdom. Trade of this metal was rife with other sources on the other side of the English Channel in France. The earliest bronze objects had tin or arsenic content of less than 2% and are therefore believed to be the result of unintentional alloying due to trace metal content in the copper ore. Tin was first mined in Europe around 2500 BC knowledge of tin bronze and tin extraction techniques spread to Brittany and Cornwall around 2000 BC and from north-western Europe to north-western Spain and Portugal around the same time.

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This is Great Orme copper mine in Llandudno, Wales. This is the Oldest mining structure in the world. Each of those hole you can see has been mined by human hand using stone tools (Bronze tools would have been far to valuable and fragile to use on such a surface) and deer or reindeer antlers shaped into picks. Some of the holes are so tiny they can only have been worked by children some maybe as young as five years old. The workings go deep into the rock surface where they would have worked in pitch darkness in cramped spaces with high levels of humidity, many phobias in one place for many. The ore would have been processed by women and men to old to mine, pounded with large rocks to extract the valuable copper. This metal would then have been smelted to form copper ingots around the size of a golf ball. Trade from Llandudno would have been fairly easy on the coast where tin could have been imported and copper exported.


In Great Britain, the Bronze Age is considered to have been the period from around 2100 to 750 BC. Migration brought new people to the islands from the continent. Recent tooth enamel isotope research on bodies found in early Bronze Age graves around Stonehenge indicate that at least some of the migrants came from the area of modern Switzerland. The Beaker culture displayed different behaviours from the earlier Neolithic people, and cultural change was significant. Integration is thought to have been peaceful, as many of the early henge sites were seemingly adopted by the newcomers. What is the Beaker culture well they were people who used a specific type of pot found all over western Europe. Simply its a cup that looks a lot like a modern day beaker or cups without the handles.
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A pair of Bronze age beakers
These Beakers were used for everything from drinking to storing the cremated remains of ancestors and they come out of the earth everywhere. Archaeologists believe that they are modelled on the crucibles that metal workers would have smelted the metal in so to many people they were a source of magic and held many properties of the gods.

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Around this time a man known as the Amesbury archer was buried he is a classic beaker person and during this time when burial was getting more individual this man was given a full ceremonial burial. His grave had the greatest number of artefacts ever found in a British Bronze Age burial. Among those discovered were: Five funerary pots of the type associated with the "Beaker culture"; three tiny copper knives, more for show than for violent use; 16 barbed flint arrowheads; a kit of flint-knapping and metalworking tools, including cushion stones that functioned as a kind of portable anvil and that suggests he was a smithy; and some boar's tusks. On his forearm was a black Stone wrist-guard. A similar red wrist-guard was by his knees. With the second wrist-guard was a shale belt ring and a pair of gold hair ornaments.  It has been suggested that he was a part of Stonehenge's construction or a very important member of the society there. Opposite is a picture of Stonehenge in Wiltshire. It was probably built first around 4000bc but the Stonehenge you see today in the picture was built around 2600bc The big stones you see on the outside are local stones to the area and came from the Marlborough downs about 15-20 miles away still some task to drag there. they were hauled upright by brute force. you build a dirt slope and you use a wooden A frame so called because it looks like an 'A' you put rope over the top of the A and haul. The top stones were a little different they used wood to hoist them up. Place one hand on the other at 90 degree angles, then remove the hand and place it on top. This is how they raised the stone. You lift it at one side, slide wood under it lift it on the other side slide wood under it and so on until its level with the top of the standing stones then you shuffle it over with big tree trunk sized levers and it fits into two stone sockets on top of the stones. The really amazing bit is the stones INSIDE Stonehenge. These smaller stones are blue-stones they have a glittery blue shine to them. They come from a place in Wales over 200 miles away. which means they had sophisticated trading methods and also good transport networks. The stones were probably shipped by boat rather than dragged overland as Stonehenge is quite close to a major British river, the River Avon. (Curiously Avon means River, so its real name is River river, which is pretty unimaginative, until you realise there are 6 rivers called the River Avon in England)

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Here is a picture of a Bronze age boat, in fact one of the few bronze age boats ever found in the world. Its structure however would not be unfamiliar to a modern boat builder. The boat was made up of at least six oak timbers lashed together with yew wood, with all the joints reinforced with a thin lath of oak, covering moss pushed into the joint. The two central planks are joined by the use of wedges pushed through a central rail and a series of cleats hammered together. Sails would have been made using hazel weave rather like a basket weave only on a flat surface this would have allowed the boat to travel vast distances all over Europe. 

The Bronze Age people lived in round houses and divided up the landscape. Stone rows are to be seen on, for example, Dartmoor. They ate cattle, sheep, pigs and deer as well as shellfish and birds. They carried out salt manufacture. The wetlands were a source of wildfowl and reeds. There was ritual deposition of offerings in the wetlands and in holes in the ground. They were a sophisticated people just think when would you have ever thought of heating rocks up to make metal....

The end of the bronze age was caused by a number of things. Chiefly amongst those was climate change. The weather got colder and wetter. People were no longer using bronze as a currency anymore and much like to day a financial and economical crisis took place. Hordes of bronze age axes were piled into the ground by people who must have been hoping that once the famine and hard times passed they would return to life as they had always known it. This wasn't to be. Along with a horde that was dug up in Isleham near Ely in the English county of Cambridgeshire, there was one mysterious object that wasn't Bronze.....It was Iron.....


 
 
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The stone age. It conjures up images of people in caves, wearing bearskins around a fire huddling for warmth and occasionally going out and clubbing a mammoth. Like all things on Earth it's a little more complicated than that. For one the stone age spans nearly 2.5 million years from our very early ancestors to the bronze age where our first usage of metal was incorporated around 6000bc give or take a thousand years. So for most of human history we were as the title suggests banging two rocks together. Nobody really knows who was the 1st person to pick up a stone and realise the potential for not just killing animals but a whole range of tasks, skinning animals, butchery, tree cutting, bowls, grinding nuts and later grains for flour. the most versatile of these stones was flint (obsidian too but mostly flint). It was the original Swiss army knife. hitting flint at the right angles and with the right tools can produce razor sharp objects and we pull these objects out of the ground on a regular basis. We find their chippings, there tools and there mistakes. What we do know is the oldest tools ever found are over 2 million years old and were found in what is now Ethiopia in Africa. Humans tended to live in small nomadic bands following the animals as they moved through the seasons, collecting nuts and berries and hunting as they needed for food. Fishing and seafood collecting started in the middle stone age around 100,000 years ago. At this time there were still Neanderthals roaming our earth. Far from being primitive and backwards. Scientist now think we interbred with this off cut our species and some traits are still visible to this day. They made complex tools they hunted the same way we did what finally led to there demise nobody knows for sure. Neanderthal usage of projectile weapons in hunting occurred very rarely (or perhaps never) and the Neanderthals hunted large game animals mostly by ambushing them and attacking them with mêlée weapons such as thrusting spears rather than attacking them from a distance with projectile weapons. This is probably what drove them to smaller numbers as Homo-Sapiens took more and more game away from them. 
From 50,000 to 10,000 years ago in Europe, the Old stone age ends with the end of the old stone age and onset of the Neolithic era (the end of the last ice age). Modern humans spread out further across the Earth during the period known as the Neolithic. The Old Stone age is really marked by a relatively rapid succession of often complex stone artefact technologies and a large increase in the creation of art and personal ornaments.

The Americas were probably colonised via the Bering land bridge which was exposed during this period by lower sea levels. These people are called the Paleo-Indians, and the earliest accepted dates are those of the Clovis culture sites, some 13,500 years ago. Globally, societies were hunter-gatherers but evidence of regional identities begins to appear in the wide variety of stone tool types being developed to suit very different environments.



NEOLITHIC

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What made the Neolithic different from the stone age was the invention of farming. The planting of crops to take a yearly harvest. Around 9000bc the first humans realised that when they dropped the seeds or berries of the food they were gathering some would grow into new food sources where they were dropped some clever people realised that if they gathered enough of these seeds and dropped them onto the earth they could be gathered (or harvested) in time for the winter. This with the start of Animal Husbandry the ability to keep animals for food was the start of a rapid expansion in the human race and the beginning of the first towns and cities. Grains were ground into flour and the first bread was baked. In the last few years, remains of figs were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, and therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings. This evidence suggests that figs were one of the first cultivated crops and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains. Settlements became more permanent with circular houses, these houses were for the first time made of mud-brick. Around 8500bc the first signs of ritual burial are found people preserved skulls of the dead, which were plastered with mud to make facial features. The rest of the corpse may have been left outside the settlement to decay until only the bones were left, then the bones were buried inside the settlement underneath the floor or between houses. By 6500bc Pottery was being developed. It seems a trivial invention now but this was the start of storage large pots full of grain meant that you could store some of last years harvest in case the coming years harvest was poor. you could also store flour and carry water. This also allowed for the first trade as you now could pack up your pot full of grain take it to someone and trade it for whatever they had animals,clothing or whatever their needs were (this is Probably where the 'Oldest Profession' really started to take hold).



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Map showing the various regions of human activity during the Neolithic period

However, early farmers were also adversely affected in times of famine, such as may be caused by drought or pests. In instances where agriculture had become the predominant way of life, the sensitivity to these shortages could be particularly acute, affecting agrarian populations to an extent that otherwise may not have been routinely experienced by prior hunter-gatherer communities. Nevertheless, farming communities generally proved successful, and their growth and the expansion of territory under cultivation continued. Another significant change undergone by many of these newly-agrarian communities was one of diet. Pre-farm diets varied by region, season, available local plant and animal resources and hunting. Post-farm diet was restricted to a limited package of successfully cultivated cereal grains, plants and to a variable extent domesticated animals and animal products. Supplementation of diet by hunting and gathering was to variable degrees precluded by the increase in population
above the carrying capacity of the land and a high sedentary local population concentration. This led to more and more migration to find more land and more farming. Neolithic man was fast becoming the dominant species and by 4000bc had discovered something rather magical..... More on that in Part Two...


 
 
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I had to get my fingerprints taken and a new mug shot for my Immigration card today. Funny that there was nobody there today other than myself. Last time I went the place seemed to be packed with people It was like waiting at Ellis Island for processing. We set off really early and got there an hour before my appointment was due expecting it to take some time to get processed and waiting. We were back before the time my appointment was scheduled for. If only every appointment in life was this efficient. After we got back with lots of time to kill before my daughter was out of school we went for a meal in the local diner. We've never been in there before even though it has been there almost 18 months now. It was fantastic great food, friendly staff and of course endless cups of coffee. It was here that I started reflecting on why they are so many Illegal immigrants in this country. Its the price of legal immigration that's the problem. Just to get to where I am in the process now, which is awaiting my 10 year green card. I may have another interview but the whole cost is nearly $6,000 who can afford to pay that from a poor country. I'm lucky to have a lot of support as well as a job that helped pay for the cost. (out of my own pocket no sponsorship for me) I'm just grateful that this pending another interview is the last time I have to do this for the foreseeable future, but I do feel for the 1000's of people who want to be a part of this process who either can't afford it or just want to try and get a better life. I'm torn between a rock and a hard place when it comes to illegal immigration. Part of me is annoyed because I've gone about it the proper way, but part of my can emphasise  with them. After all don't we all want what's best for our family and they are just the same.

 
 
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See that pale blue dot in the center of the image? That's Earth taken by the Voyager 1 space probe over 4 Billion miles from Earth. I think it's beautiful It shows us in our fragility and puts all our troubles, history and daily lives into perspective. A small dot on the western arm of the Milky Way orbiting around an ordinary singular yellow star with no other distinguishing features other than it contains life and it's our home.
Voyager 1 is at the far edge of our solar system on the boundaries of Inter Stella space, the space between the stars, a frontier which no man made object has ever travelled before. Scientists ask voyager to take this one last image of home, the kind you take before moving on with your life to green fields and pastures new. It's not heading anywhere in particular in about 40,000 years it will pass within touching distance of a star with the punchy name AC+79 3888 Such is the vastness of the Infinity of space. Our own neighbour in the solar system, Proxima Centuri lies 4.1 light years away from earth. A light year is such a vast measurement of distance its incomprehensible to even think how far that is away.

Scientist generally believe the universe was created 15 billion years ago, maybe with the big bang nobody is quite sure as the one thing we can't see is what caused the universe in the first place. What we do know is that everything you see in the universe was once contained in something so infinity small that an atom would be the size of the universe is now in comparison. In the 1st seconds after the big bang the universe experienced hyper inflation. The best way to imagine this is lighting a firework for a couple of seconds it fizzles then all the sudden it seems to fill the whole sky. This early universe was hot, extremely hot, hot enough to fuse together the smallest particles into atoms and the first matter was born.  Everything you see around you wherever you look contains billions and billions of atoms, every single one of which started in the same place  15 billion years ago.

We now live in a universe that is full of bright objects. On a clear night you can see thousands of stars with the naked eye. These stars occupy merely a small nearby part of the Milky Way galaxy; telescopes reveal a much vaster realm that shines with the light from billions of galaxies. According to our current understanding of cosmology, however, the universe was featureless and dark for a long stretch of its early history. The first stars did not appear until perhaps 100 million years after the big bang.

The first stars were quite massive many times larger than the sun and many times as luminous and that their formation was an event that fundamentally changed the universe and its subsequent evolution. These stars altered the dynamics of the cosmos by heating and ionizing the surrounding gases. The earliest stars also produced and dispersed the first heavy elements, paving the way for the eventual formation of solar systems like our own. And the collapse of some of the first stars may have seeded the growth of supermassive black holes that formed in the hearts of galaxies  In short, the earliest stars made possible the emergence of the universe that we see today, everything from galaxies and solar systems to planets and people.




THE FIRST GALAXY'S

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Hubble's ultra deep field
Around 900 million years after the big bang Galaxy's started to form. In the picture above nearly every single point of light you see is a galaxy. Hubble focused its telescope on a rather uninteresting piece of dark sky, unobstructed by any stars in the milky way and left the shutter open for 10 days what you see above is the result of that shot. Every single one of those galaxy's contain billions of stars, each star with the possibility of having its own pale blue dot orbiting it's star, with its own people reading a blog, looking up into the skys and asking the very same questions as us.  If you scroll to the bottom of the picture (which you probably have) look right at the bottom middle, move your eyes up, you'll see what looks like a bright orange star. Now go right,  between the orange star like structure and the yellow spiral galaxy  to it's right you will see a very very small red dot. if you were not looking for it you would miss it. its slightly above the line between the two objects almost in the middle of the two. This tiny tiny red dot is one of the oldest galaxy's we've so far discovered. when it's light first set off in our direction our sun hadn't even been born yet. How do we know this? Well it's due to one of the interesting properties of light. We've all seen a rainbow, we all kind of know how it works, the sun hits the rain at a certain angle and depending on how the rain drops bends the light depends on the colours we see. red light has to travel the furthest and is refracted the most. the blue/indigo light you see the least. Everything in the Universe is expanding objects are getting further away from each other. so as galaxy's move further away their light goes redder and redder. This is known as the red shift. So at one time to a Hubble telescope millions of years ago that small red dot would have been as vibrant as the yellow spiral galaxy is today and in billions of years that yellow galaxy will itself become a small red dot. Conversely new stars when we see them are usually bright blue in colour. 

Galaxy's were formed by the deaths of the super massive stars. these old stars created clouds of gas which swirled around their dead embers like flies around a carcass these clouds contained elements that we know now. Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Boron, Beryllium all the elements of the periodic table created by the supernova of a dying star. New stars were born by gravity pulling together these small particles until eventually they were so large ignition happens and another singular light goes on in the universe. The remainder of this gas swirls around the sun being heated by the new heat radiating from it's surface forming the planets and the solar system we live in ourselves.

The Solar System formed from the gravitational collapse of a giant gas cloud  4.568 billion years ago.This initial cloud was likely several light-years across and probably birthed several stars other than our own. The Solar System has evolved considerably since its initial formation. Many moons have formed from circling discs of gas and dust around their parent planets, while other moons are believed to have formed independently and later been captured by their planets. Still others, as the Earth's Moon, may be the result of giant collisions. Collisions between bodies have occurred continually up to the present day and have been central to the evolution of the Solar System.


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az

At the end of the planetary formation epoch the inner Solar System was populated by 50–100 Moon- to Mars-sized planetary embryos. Further growth was possible only because these bodies collided and merged, which took less than 100 million years. These objects would have gravitationally interacted with one another, tugging at each other's orbits until they collided, growing larger until the four inner planets we know today took shape.

Around 4 billion years ago the earth started to solidify, Ice comets and objects the size of Pluto bombarded the planet in a phase called the late heavy bombardment this is where most our water came from, and most the extra-terrestrial water we now find on other planets in our solar system. These oceans were bombarded with asteroids probably starting and evaporating life numerous times in the next million years eventually the bombardment stopped. Life started small bacterial strains started to emerge. where did life come from? The same place everything else came from, the death of stars, carbon is our main component. its in every living thing and its in the make up of every star, the primordial earth was vastly different to the one you see now. more acidic, more oxygenated and more adapt for life forming. Over the next billion years life never really got very complex until the Cambrian explosion 530 million years ago skeletons start to appear in fossils for the 1st time and many more animals such as molluscs and anthropoids started to appear

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This picture is just an idea of how Life could evolve from the very first objects to the Cambrian explosion. three very simple forms of life come together to form the first cells and eventually the first organisms. By the end of the Cambrian period the first fish had started to appear, and more importantly the first plants  . Plants need photosynthesis to survive and they give off oxygen as part of that process. The oxygen increase lead to the formation of the Ozone layer, and eventually an end to harmful ultra-violet radiation, this meant for the first time life could survive outside of the oceans. Until this time our earth resembled the surface of Mars. A barren wasteland with no living thing on it. A hostile place. the first tetrapods evolved from fish. It is thought that perhaps fins evolved to become limbs which allowed the first tetrapods to lift their heads out of the water to breathe air. This would allow them to live in oxygen-poor water or pursue small prey in shallow water.  Plants evolved seeds, which dramatically accelerated their spread on land, around this time. Some 20 million years later  the egg evolved (yes the Egg came before the chicken, I know highly controversial here) which could be laid on land, giving a survival advantage to tetrapod embryos.  This resulted in the first amphibians. another 40 million years and the first mammals started to crawl around.

HUMANS

A small African ape living around six Million years ago was the last animal whose descendants would include both modern humans and their closest relatives, the bonobo and chimpanzees. Brain size increased rapidly, and by 2 million years ago, the first animals classified in the genus homo had appeared. Of course, the line between different species or even genera is somewhat arbitrary as organisms continuously change over generations. Around the same time, the other branch split into the ancestors of the common chimpanzee and the ancestors of the bonobo as evolution continued simultaneously in all life forms. Modern humans ( are believed to have originated somewhere around 200,000 years ago or earlier in Africa; the oldest fossils date back to around 160,000 years ago. The rest is History....and that's a topic for another day.....

 

Religion

04/03/2011

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I watched a documentary today about The Phelps family church. If your not familiar with them they are the people who picket events with such hatred you start to question freedom of speech. They wave banners such as 'God Hates Fags' and 'God Loves Dead Soldiers'. brutal messages. They also want to eliminate all other religions especially the Jews for what they call the killing of their lord and saviour. Forgive me if I'm wrong but I could swear that was the Romans. Anyhow, this is the sort of rubbish that I've come to expect from most religious organisations this just happens to be an extreme example. Every time you see a religious figure on the news no matter what his denomination of monotheism, you can usually be sure it contains a message of hatred for at least one group of people. I swear if Jesus was around today he would be horrified in religion. The first thing he would probably say is this is not what I meant at all. Now anyone who knows me knows that I have no belief system of god. The bible was written by scribes, edited by Romans, bound by Monks, Re-edited by the pope and cardinals, before going through the editing process again by King James. I like to base what I know on proof not belief. I could Believe that the earth is flat, it doesn't make me right. Fortunately I'm not forced to go to church or read the bible (even though I have read it) and I am allowed to pass my own judgement without parental or community pressure. Our daughter has never been christened, manly because I believe that nobody should be forced to join an organisation they didn't have a choice about joining. If when she's older she wants to become a Christian, Muslim or any number of other religions, provided she's made that decision on her own and with no force, then I'm perfectly fine with that.  
The objections to religion are of two sorts - intellectual and moral. The intellectual objection is that there is no reason to suppose any religion true; the moral objection is that religious precepts date from a time when men were more cruel than they are and therefore tend to perpetuate inhumanities which the moral conscience of the age would otherwise outgrow.
But arguing against religion comes against one major obstacle and that's the religious themselves. You can't make a logical argument with an illogical person. If for example I was to say the earth is flat again and I produced one document that catagoricaly agrees with me in every way, would you believe the earth is flat. Or would you think I need further evidence before I jump to that conclusion. Maybe I just chose that document out of thousands of other doctrines because that's the one that most conforms to the way I want the world to be. Its the same with the Bible and all religious texts you place all your logic in one book. One book that you never saw written that has no bibliography, no indication to sources of material and you expect me to believe that this is the word of god. I might as well take the lord of the rings as my beliefs and worship Frodo Baggins as my god if thats the case for delivering us from evil.
The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive...but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born.

So In conclusion:

  • Without religion women would be free from their idiotic repression in the Middle East.
  • Without religion people would be more concerned with what they did with their lives, rather than what they avoided.
  • Without religion the strongest and most divisive form of segregation would be dissolved and many wars and borders would become irrelevant.
  • Without religion stem cell research could continue uninhibited and cure many debilitating diseases.
  • Without religion the scourge of AIDS and other STDs would be controlled by a condom.
  • Without religion, people wouldn't pray for peace, they would work towards it.
Just one last thing then Answer this, apart from social interaction, what does your religion actually do for you that you couldn’t for yourself?
 

    Simon Knowles

    Sadistic, Satirical, Sarcastic, Socialist, with enough time on his hands to waste yours.

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