Soppy Sunday

Image result for baby orangutan
Ah yes… it’s Sunday, isn’t it?
n spooky
Must be getting near Halloween.
n pussy
Buddies.
n z.jpg
I’m a stripey horse.

n playmates

Let’s wrestle

n poler
That’s a great slide… come on, have a go…
n dorset
Dorset.
n dug
I’m coming… hold on.
n cassis
Cassis, France.
n calf
OK, so I bet you can’t do that!
n d cof
MMMMM that was good. Did I get any on my nose?
n barn
Barn owl.
n 9th-century Monastery of Tatev in southeastern Armenia
Tateu Monastery, Armenia.
n fierce
This is how you look fierce, OK?
n easter island inac
Easter Island.
n fox2
Who’s cute then?
n bears.jpg
Bears in the woods… No, they’re singing.
n green sea turtle.jpg
Green sea turtle.
n s gre8
Greenland wilderness.
Image result for baby orangutan
This is my little baby so make your way out quietly and we’ll see you next week.

 

79 thoughts on “Soppy Sunday”

  1. Once again you have outdone yourself, Tris – my awwwwmeter was bouncing of the right-hand stop…

    Life reaffirmed, mission accomplished.

    Complete digression: the name in Swahili for a zebra is a “punda milia”, which means “stripey donkey” backwards because you put the adjective after the noun.

    Further digression: A horse is “farasi”, from the Arabic “فرس” (fáras). I’m sure many Munguinites know this already, but since the 1600s horses have been very, very uncommon in subSaharan Africa, and the reason for that is the African horse sickness virus – it leaves donkeys and zebras effectively unharmed as carriers, but among unvaccinated horses the mortality rate is about 90%. It is spread by insects – a type of midge, in fact. The virus is related to the one that causes bluetongue, and is spread by the same Culicoides midge. The virus has now spread northwards from subSaharan Africa to the Maghreb, and there have been cases in Iberia too.

    The virus problem is the reason why there is an almost complete ban on transport of horses to and from subSaharan Africa. The exception is the Cape Town area of South Africa, where a cordon sanitaire has been in effect for a very long time now to keep the virus out – so that the famous Cape Town races can go ahead.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ed……Interesting about the horses in subSaharan Africa. Has it occurred to you that a news story……or maybe a song…….about the unique situation regarding horses in South Africa might begin with the line:

      “Cape Town races go ahead”

      Everyone would already know the next line.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Well, there’s a thing. I actually got the name for the donkey about right! Do you think I should change it to Horse Stripey?

      🙂

      It’s a bit worrying that the horse sickness has spread as far as Iberia. I suspect it will be a result of climate change, which of course, isn’t happening.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Ms Cow

    No I can’t do that and furthermore I don’t want to 🙂

    Dear Mr/Ms Owl

    that’s not a barn. Happy to help!

    Lovely stuff – lots of kitties and you do know I love a cheetah. And that’s a particularly impressive duo.

    Didn’t know anything about the horses so thanks Ed.

    Anyway I’ve included a link to honour the 2 baby elephants who died at Chester zoo this week.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s a country we really don’t know/hear much about, Danny. I didn’t even know that Kim Kardashian was Armenian. Probably it’s not their proudest boast.

      Some of these exhibits are pretty impressive. I particularly like the crab.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tris…..I didn’t know that about Kim Kardashian either. I imagine that Armenia is trying to hush it up. 😉

        I wondered about the association with Alexander the Great. Then (if my history doesn’t fail me) I remembered that Alexander’s route to the Hindu Kush took him south of the Black and Caspian Seas, and south of Armenia. Alexander probably remains a big man in that area. Maybe his last will and testament was written in Armenian.

        http://asbarez.com/159714/alexander-the-great-last-will-discovered-in-armenian-manuscript/

        Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Considered the oldest in the world (Wiki):

        A couple of views of Mt. Ararat. Armenians are apparently big on the Noah’s Ark story.

        Khor Virap monastery:

        View from Yerevan, Armenia:

        Like

            1. Well, Danny, when you think about it, there were two of everything… and Noah and Mrs Noah, and his sons and their wives, and food for them all… and laundry and cooking facilities and a tv room…. oh, no sorry, scrub the last one.

              But you see my point. It musta been one hell of a size of a boat. I mean, Imagine just two camels in a rowing boat?

              Liked by 2 people

                  1. You mean Noah and his wife. Bored children. The stench and racket of all those animals, birds, insects, etc, and NO Jackie Bird to blame all the flooding on the SNP? Must have been hell if the Noahs were BritNats.

                    Liked by 2 people

      2. If the surname ends in -ian, it’s Armen-ian; cf. Cher, whose real name is Cherylin Sarkissian. If the name ends in -idze or -ili, it’s Georgian, cf. Uncle Joe Stalin, whose birth name was Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili (transliterations may vary).

        The Caucasus is one of those extraordinary parts of the world where every valley seems to house a different language and culture… Here’s the Wikipedia article – https://is.gd/pv7NP1 – which has a rather nice map in it ( https://is.gd/d1Li4A) which shows the situation at a glance.

        Oh, and did I mention the multireligious aspect, and that the various languages may use their own scripts, different from each other and different also from either Latin or Cyrillic? I didn’t? Most remiss of me. Ներողություն եմ խնդրում. მე მრცხვენია.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hmmmm. I think I can see why he went under the name Joe Stalin. The other one is a bit of a mouthful.

          Interesting article. Also interesting that these languages survived the Soviet Union and the compulsory learning to Russian.

          You didn’t actually mention the multi-religious aspect, no, but გთხოვთ, ნუ იფიქრებთ ამაზე.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Quite a number of the hundreds of small languages in the Caucasus are severely endangered, unfortunately. But that’s by no means unique to there. On average 1 language dies out every 2 weeks somewhere in the world. Out of the 7,000 to 7,500 languages spoken today, the most optimistic estimates predict half will be dead but the turn of the century. Less optimistic experts reckon 90% will be lost by the year 2100. It’s an absolute cultural catastrophe.

            Liked by 3 people

            1. I totally agree.

              I can appreciate how useful it is in today’s “small” world to have a language that is readily understood all over the world. And Brits/Americans/Australians, etc are fortunate that it’s English.

              But language is more than that. It is culture. It is what you feel inside.

              I can communicate in a few languages to a greater or lesser extent, but I think I can only REALLY express myself in my mother tongue.

              My friend, Nathalie, a Frenchwoman, totally fluent in English, says the same. There are things that she can only express in French.

              Some places with minority languages work very hard to keep their language alive today.

              In the Nordic countries you would be hard pressed to find anyone under 60 who doesn’t speak/understand English, but they maintain their languages proudly, even though they are spoken by only 60-70,000 people in some cases (Faroes and Greenland), and the Faroes has goes to elaborate extents to provide translation services where Google Translate refuses to do it.

              In British Isles Cornish, Manx, and the languages on Jersey, Guernsey and Sark are all but extinct, but people are working hard to preserve them.

              In Ireland, although everyone speaks English, Irish is the first language and almost everything is marked in Irish first and English second. Of course in Northern Ireland the dinosaur that doesn’t believe in dinosaurs would hear of it being spoken or even recognised.

              My neighbour is Irish from Connemara, and speaks Irish fluently.

              They won’t let it die.

              Liked by 2 people

        2. Ed and Tris…..Very interesting Ed about Cher and Stalin!
          Your computer keyboards must be the size of a house. Not only do you type all those little squiggles that the French and Eastern Europeans like to use, you’re also able to type other alphabets.

          On two other closely related topics:

          1) Speaking of the Caucasus……Why is the white race called “Caucasian?”

          We have Johann Friedrich Blumenbach to thank for that.

          Blumenbach: “Caucasian variety – I have taken the name of this variety from Mount Caucasus, both because its neighborhood, and especially its southern slope, produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian; and because all physiological reasons converge to this, that in that region, if anywhere, it seems we ought with the greatest probability to place the autochthones (original members) of mankind.”

          2) Speaking of France:

          A turning point for humanity will occur next month at Versailles:

          NIST: “On November 16, in Versailles, France, representatives from 57 countries are expected to make history. They will vote to dramatically transform the international system that underpins global science and trade. This single action will finally realize scientists’ 150-year dream of a measurement system based entirely on unchanging fundamental properties of nature.”

          The IPK, the ” International Prototype of the Kilogram” (“Le Grand K”)……a Platinum-Iridium cylinder kept at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris……will cease to be the international standard of mass. (The last international reference standard defined by a physical artifact.)

          The new Kilogram standard will be defined in terms of an electromagnetic force, based on a definition of the Planck Constant of precisely 6.626070150 × 10-34 Joule/Hz.

          Redefining the Kilogram:

          Like

          1. Well, I’m glad you explained that, Danny.

            It makes everything erm… clear.

            As for Goergian men being the most beautiful race…

            I Googled it and found a video of Georgian men and they look pretty normal to me.

            The music is rather good though!

            Liked by 1 person

              1. LOL….Kangaroo and Tris……..The new Kilogram standard voted at Versailles next month will not go into effect until next Spring. Fortunately that will give us enough time to get our bathroom scales recalibrated and for Munguin to get his caviar supply straightened out.

                For a long time, the Kilogram has been in big trouble, but the standards organizations of the world have done their best to avert public panic. 😉 The secondary Kilogram standards used by the countries of the world (a total of 40 copies, originally made in the 1880’s, to match the “International Prototype Kilogram” (IPK) in Paris) have been changing weight. These changes are of course defined relative to the IPK in Paris which is ONE…….precisely “1.00000000000”……..Kilogram by definition. The IPK is probably changing too of course, but it remains precisely ONE as defined by The Treaty of the Meter of 1875.

                We can rest easy that in the future all standards of measurement will be based on immutable and unchanging physical constants of nature. There is a total of seven such constants, among which are the hyperfine transition frequency of Cesium, the Planck Constant, and everybody’s all time favorite, the speed of light.

                (The speed of light is famously important of course, and I love the story that Einstein used to frequent the tough physics bars around Princeton, and got in numerous barroom brawls when loudmouthed physicists who’d had too much to drink would challenge what he said about the speed of light. 😉 )

                The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Washington provides the seven physical constants on a card that everyone can memorize:

                An interesting video is shown below about the traditional American Kilogram standard that resides at the NIST in Washington, with some comments about how it and the other secondary standards of the world have been changing weight. Note that you have to go through two sealed security doors in Washington to arrive at the inner sanctum where you are ushered into the presence of “K-20,” the American Kilogram standard. (The United States also received K-4, another of the 40 original copies made in the 1880’s of the International Prototype Kilogram in Paris.)

                The traditional UK Kilogram is “K-18,” which is kept at The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) at Bushy Park in Teddington, London.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Hm. No indication was given as to what they think is causing the changes in “weight”, though the kilogram is actually a standard of mass. The “weight” of an object can vary, from superheavy on the surface of a neutron star to pretty much nothing at all in free fall, even though its mass stays the same – so the weight of your standard kilogram will vary not just because of the buoyancy effect but also with local variations in Earth’s gravity, which not long ago were found to be quite a bit bigger than anyone thought: https://is.gd/K2jz5S.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. Ed……..They mention in the video that the newer Platinum-Iridium standards that have been manufactured since the originals in the 1880’s are machined to a smoother surface that avoids the problem of contamination down in the machining marks that could be a possible source of error. Whether chemical oxidation could be a measurable problem with that alloy, I don’t know. I assume that there would always be various operational factors in the accuracy of the measurement of the weight (FORCE) exerted by the standard MASS in a gravitational field.

                    Obviously, in the USA for example, they have to know to high precision the gravitational acceleration “g” (and the short range variations in “g”) in the basement room of the NIST building in Washington where the watt balance (which the NIST calls a “Kibble Balance”) is located………or in Paris, if they make comparison measurements there.

                    While the video (below) primarily describes how they used the Kibble Balance to measure the Planck Constant, you will note that near the end, they talk about precisely determining the gravitational acceleration at various points in the balance room using a gravimeter.

                    On balance, they may not actually know what accounts for the tiny variations (on the order of MICROgrams) in the measurements of the Kilogram standards over time. This is a good argument for ditching physical artifacts as standards, in favor of physical constants which are not subject to physical changes over time, and can be measured to orders of magnitude higher precision.

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravimeter

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Wow… as a non-scientist, none of that had ever occurred to me. Although, of course, it should have. After all, there has to be a standard in all these things (although I know that in the imperial system these vary).

                      That was surprisingly interesting.

                      Munguin is busy memorising your card, Danny!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Tris…..In this case there WILL be a quiz! 😉 Everyone knows the Planck Constant and the speed of light of course, but the Boltzmann Constant is less famous. 😉

                      I always throw in my favorite physics joke regarding Einstein bar brawling about the speed of light in the tough physics bars around Princeton. SOMEDAY, I hope to elicit as much as a chuckle in response. In the meantime, hope springs eternal. 🙂

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. PS Tris…….Errata to errata………Well, actually the Einstein joke IS in one of the TWO comments I made, expanding on the same subject, and to which you replied.

                      I think I’m figuring out why I can’t get a laugh from the Einstein joke. I’m just bad at telling it; I have to go back and clarify. NOT good for stand up comedy. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. Oh, I agree entirely about not having an actual physical kilogram mass as the standard, Danny, though I didn’t catch the bit about machining marks leading to variations – I had probably zoned off into outer space, as I sometimes do – and it would never have occurred to me that they might need to measure local variations in the gravitational field on the scale of a single room.

                      I couldn’t see what could explain the weight-change curves time changing direction over time – I mean, some of an oily thumbprint would evaporate over time, but they must have taken great care not to let the PtIr standard masses get grubby fingerprints all over them, or any of those dead skin cells we humans keep shedding all over the place.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    5. Danny, something occurred to me at some point last night, so much so that I sat up from a sound sleep thinking it – and it was that I had not taken account the very serious state of public attitudes towards science in the USA. We are not in such a bad case here in the UK, the exceptions being on the far right (quelle surprise!).

                      Although attitudes toward the theory of evolution, to take just one example – we have a linguistic problem in English differentiating between “unproven hypothesis” theories and generally accepted, (quasi-)axiomatic ones, a problem which clouds most people’s thinking, I’m afraid – anyway, the theory of evolution caused a bit of a ruckus when it first came out in Victorian times, particularly among those of a religious bent, it was soon accepted to the point of becoming non-controversial. We never had a Scopes Monkey Trial here – if any Munguinite knows better, please let us know, correct information is always welcome.

                      Here’s Wikipedia on the origins of the idiom “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle”, which some date back to the Scopes trial in 1925, but others trace it back further, to 1881: https://is.gd/zfYGb6. “On the Origin of Species” was first published in 1859.

                      In the UK, no one officially, in any school, teaches creationism other than to point out the manifest flaws in it, and we do not censor school textbooks in any way – the selection of school textbooks is not considered a job for lay people, and depends more on the requirements of the education system, its various exam hurdles, and the requirements for entry into university.

                      Climate-change denial is another one that yes, has its adherents here, but what little resistance there is, is crumbling as the manifestations of it become ever more apparent. It’s a pity that people are generally unaware that the greenhouse effect and the IR absorptive capacity of CO₂ has actually been known since the early 19th century – thanks to M. Fourier, the famous mathematician and adviser to Napoleon Bonaparte – and are more prone than they should be to categorizing it among those fly-by-night dietary unproven hypothesis theories – we all know, for example, about saturated fats v. trans fats – butter v. margarine – and which is better and worse for you, so people do sort of half expect it to be like a bus, if you don’t like that one, there’ll be another one along in a minute.

                      I think it was Romney who came over to the UK during his presidential campaign and was asked at a press conference about evolution, and he hummed and hawed, obviously trying not to say anything that would get him in bad with the evangelical right back home. As I recall, he was informed pretty roughly – amid mocking laughter – that if he tried denying it here in the UK, people would simply laugh at him. Which they were proving right at that very moment: the vast majority of people in the UK gave up denying evolution over a century ago now.

                      The “we’ve had enough of experts” trope does of course exist – among far-right pols in the Tory party who are heavily into denial of various kinds – and are, as you would expect, mainly Brexiteers (the fishlike face of Michael Gove springs unbidden into the mind’s eye…)

                      Liked by 1 person

                  2. Ed…….Yes, the part about the immutable universal constant speed of light referring to its motion through a vacuum is the part that usually gets glossed over and is rarely mentioned in discussions of the subject. Non-scientists may not think of it, whereas scientists are so familiar with it that they seldom attach the caveat “in a vacuum” in reference to the subject.

                    There’s also the fact that for at least thirty or forty years or so, when the redshift of the quasars was first measured and understood, we’ve known that the universe is expanding FASTER than the speed of light. Galaxies with a redshift greater than about 1.5 are moving away with expanding space at a recession velocity greater than the speed of light…..and that’s about 65% of the observable universe in linear distance. Einstein’s General Relativity predicted THAT too.

                    So those barroom brawls in Princeton might have been even more lively than most people think. 😉

                    There was BTW a famous and highly respected astronomer named Halton Arp who would never believe the redshift of the quasars and the modern concept of cosmological redshift generally. He finally lost his job at Cal Tech and Palomar observatory, and became a world class crackpot peddling a crackpot theory of cosmology. His obituary in the New York Times is interesting.

                    The great and exciting story of the speed of light goes on and on, but NEVER bet against Einstein. 😉

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Danny, werry eenteresteeng! Arp sounds as if his first name should have been Wyatt, not Halton. Did he suggest any mechanism other than velocity which could have caused the redshift? If not, his unproven hypothesis theory would not be falsifiable. I guess that if you can’t provide a rationale in scientific method for taking up observing time on your telescope, you´re not likely to get much of it.

                      I was going to mention Fred Hoyle but the NYT obituary does so for me. Wasn’t it Hoyle who invented the term “Big Bang” because he found that idea for the origin of the universe so bl*oody ridiculous?

                      Liked by 1 person

                  3. Ed…….As for a scientific proposition being falsifiable, I like the comment often attributed to Wolfgang Pauli who, when commenting on a scientific paper of a student, declared that it’s not only not right, it’s not even wrong.

                    As for Halton Arp and all the other nay-sayers about the modern theory of big bang cosmology, (first advanced by Alexander Friedmann in the 1920’s, based on Einstein’s General Relativity from 1915,) they had to provide some sort of alternate explanation for the cosmological redshift. This form of redshift was first measured as early as 1917, and was famously published and formalized in a landmark paper by Edwin Hubble in 1929. In Arp’s case, he advanced a theory of “intrinsic redshift,” seemingly a replay of “tired light” first advanced by Fritz Zwicky in 1929. As I understand it, while he suggested several different physical mechanisms for the shift of the absorption lines to the red end of the spectrum, he never made any progress in establishing the validity of any one of them in preference to the modern concept of the stretching of the light by expanding spacetime.

                    This issue arose in the 1970’s with the measurement of the redshift of light from the newly discovered quasars (which implied very great distances and superluminal recession velocities,) and which Arp simply wouldn’t believe. The matter was definitively settled about 2008 with the discovery and measurement of time dilation in redshifted light — the nail in the coffin of steady state theories of the universe and non-cosmological theories of redshift. This was part of the work that led to the 2011 Nobel Prizes in physics to Perlmutter, Schmidt, and Riess. Nevertheless, the Halton Arp cult still have meetings and publish a lot of BS for each other to read.

                    Fred Hoyle had done landmark work in stellar nucleosynthesis, but refused to accept big bang cosmology. While he accepted redshift and the expansion of the space, he had a “steady state” theory that postulated the continuous formation of new material throughout the universe that maintained a uniform mass-energy density. The view is that he maintained his own theory far longer than was justified in the light of new data. It was on a BBC radio show that he coined the term “big bang,” which was generally viewed as a term of derision.

                    Wiki:

                    “The [steady state] theory was one alternative to the Big Bang which, like the Big Bang, agreed with key observations of the day, namely Hubble’s red shift observations, and Hoyle was a strong critic of the Big Bang. He coined the term “Big Bang” on BBC radio’s Third Programme broadcast on 28 March 1949. It was popularly reported by George Gamov and his opponents that Hoyle intended to be pejorative, and the script from which he read aloud was interpreted by his opponents to be “vain, one-sided, insulting, not worthy of the BBC. Hoyle explicitly denied that he was being insulting and said it was just a striking image meant to emphasize the difference between the two theories for the radio audience. In another BBC interview he said “The reason why scientists like the “big bang” is because they are overshadowed by the Book of Genesis. It is deep within the psyche of most scientists to believe in the first page of Genesis.””

                    He was probably making a sly insulting reference to Father Georges Lemaitre, a brilliant mathematician and physicist, who was a Jesuit priest and was instrumental in the development of the big bang theory in the 1920’s.

                    You make good points about science and evolution. I think that public attitudes toward science must hinder its development in the United States because of the hostile and destructive influence of religion. You mentioned the incident of Romney in the UK. He could not possibly express a belief in the theory of evolution, because such a thing would destroy the political career of any Republican politician in a party dominated by mindless, Bible-thumping morons.

                    It’s one thing of course that “experts” change their minds so much, and it doesn’t help that they are invariably ivory tower academic liberals who obviously have intellectual contempt for the right wing Bible-thumpers. Who is actually more arrogant in their attitude? The right wing God squad or the intellectual giants of the left? I’d hate to have to make THAT choice. 😉

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Heh! It occurs to me that perhaps we should leave it up to the Great Peer Reviewer in the sky…

                      When you know there are such things as the Dunning-Kruger effect and recognize that you would prefer to have someone who knows what she’s doing operate on your brain or fix your car, then if that’s elitist, so be it. No one can cure anyone else’s ignorance against their will. I don’t mind people not knowing things, the amount of things I myself know or am capable of knowing is infinitesimal, but wilful pig-ignorance drives me up the wall.

                      At one point (I was looking for a recipe of some sort) I came across a discussion thread devoted to the topic of how much water weighs – and everyone had a different point of view. Aaaagghhh!

                      Liked by 2 people

                  4. Ed……..Speaking of the prideful arrogance of the ignorant. Nice to learn the psychology behind the attitudes that led to the “Stupid Party” and Donald Trump.

                    From back during the time of the presidential campaign:

                    Liked by 2 people

    2. **In the unlikely event that you can’t be bothered reading all those references I put in, just read this one – the last one – first: https://is.gd/HthHjt.**

      When I read ^^^ there that Armenia is “the oldest Christian country in the world” – I though “Oh?” – because there is some doubt about that. Some say – rather convincingly – that that title belongs to Ethiopia (Abyssinia). Here’s a couple of references: https://is.gd/dRh9Z0, https://is.gd/VmijRy. I first heard that argument myself from an Ethiopian diplomatic-type guy in New York sometime back in the 1990s, but can’t remember the details, probably because of too many Bacardis and cokes, except that Aksum (Axum) definitely came into it. I do recall, though, that “no problem” in Amharic is (googles frantically) chigiri elemi – ችግር የለም.

      I expect that most Munguinites will have heard of the claims that the Ethiopian Church has the Ark of the Covenant in its possession, in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum, to be precise – and if so, that would really take the Ethiopian / Judaic / Akkadian / Assyrian connection back to hundreds of years before Christ, to at least the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple of Solomon by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 B.C.: https://is.gd/uBzBsq.

      Here’s an intriguing article that ties in the Ethiopian King Ezana, who adopted Christianity in about 330 A.D., Menelik the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and his arrival in Ethiopia with a retinue of Jews and the (stolen) Ark of the Covenant: https://is.gd/HthHjt.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ed…..That’s really quite interesting from a historical perspective. Although honestly, I tend to think that the only thing more intellectually disreputable than religion itself, is religious people telling us ABOUT religion, it’s history, etc. For example, since the prevailing historical and archaeological evidence is that the Bible story about Moses and the Exodus is nothing but a whopping good origin myth, I tend to look askance at some of the Ethiopians who try to tell us that they are in possession of the Ark of the Covenant, which (IMHO) never existed in the first place…..Indiana Jones notwithstanding. 😉

        As a child who was forced to occasionally attend Sunday School, I quickly learned that one Bible story is as preposterous as any other, while I observed that the old ladies who teach Sunday School classes apparently DO believe the c*** that they teach to children.

        I wonder if there is some parsing here about what actually constitutes a “Christian” nation. Could we be talking about the establishment of some sort of traditional “State Religion”……….an abomination which even people (such as the English) who seem to otherwise be in possession of their senses maintain and abuse their children with.

        When I turn to a secular source such as Wikipedia, it says:

        “Constantine called up the First Council of Nicaea in 325, although he was not a baptised Christian until years later. Despite enjoying considerable popular support, Christianity was still not the official state religion in Rome, although it was in some neighboring states such as Armenia, Iberia, and Aksum.”

        Of Armenia and “state religion”, Wiki says:

        “As of 2011, most Armenians are Christians (94.8%) and members of Armenia’s own church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is one of the oldest Christian churches. It was founded in the 1st century AD, and in 301 AD became the first branch of Christianity to become a state religion.”

        But then, of Ethiopia and “Aksum”, Wiki says:

        “The Kingdom of Aksum in present-day Ethiopia and Eritrea was one of the first Christian countries in the world, having officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. Ethiopia was the only region of Africa to survive the expansion of Islam as a Christian state.”

        So was Armenia earlier than Aksum as a “state religion?” Wiki places them both in the 4th century……although with Armenia as early as 301 AD.

        I need to review your sources in more detail.

        But I’ll NEVER forgive the Ethiopians for their Ark of the Covenant con-game. I imagine their Queen of Sheba story is a bunch of BS too. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Myth and legend – quite so! Maybe I should make clear that I am no fan of organized religions, but love stories if they make any sort of sense to me.

          I can sort of understand some ancient tale converting itself into a foundation myth, but it’s the modern imitations that really get to me – for example, if someone said to me that an angel by the name of Moroni dropped in on him one fine afternoon and gave him some golden plates with a new religion on, I would look at him and think “What does he take me for? Some kind of moron?” As for scientology … pffft…

          The Ark of the Covenant and Aksum – apparently they have to find some monk, who’s a virgin, who has then got to both stay that way and guard the whatever it is for the rest of his life, and once he’s in there he’s never allowed to leave the sanctuary except feet first. Sounds a bit hard on the poor bugger if the thing doesn’t exist, doesn’t it? Whatever it is or may or may not be.

          The Queen of Sheba may well have been a real person, though. Also, the further back in time we go, the more different the climate and the geography of places is. Rising sea levels have changed the face of the planet a lot in some place – e.g., Doggerland, the Nile delta – and the Straits of Hormuz. With lower sea levels and higher rainfall, the Arabian peninsula would have looked very different; not only would the Red Sea have been much easier to cross, with more moisture fresh-water springs would have flowed in places that have now dried up or now lie beneath the waves; in other words, they would not have been the obstacles to travel that they are now.

          I should give a not to those places on Earth where the land has risen relative to the sea, as in Scandinavia – in the region of Oslo, for example, the land has risen about 7 m relative to the sea over the past 1,000 years. I think they call it isostatic rebound from the weight of the ice sheets.

          Ubar. Mehrgarh. Urgench. Canopus. Taxila. Lost lands and cities fascinate me – but real ones, not fictional ones.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Ed….Well said! And I agree that the foundation myths have certainly gotten sillier over time. I’m inclined to think that considering the nature of the job, there are probably not that many applicants to be the monk that keeps the Ethiopian Ark-of-the-Covenant scam going. 😉

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Well, if you strip it down to its essentials, the Ark of the Covenant is a fancy box to keep the tablets of the law in – whoever cooked those up, as in clay tablets with incised marks on them… they keep better baked, after all, even if they’re not sheets of gold bashed out of Mexican escudos (shrugs).

              Liked by 2 people

              1. Ed…. If you’re a prophet and a lawgiver, you have to have something written on something other than a piece of scrap paper. Moses had his tablets of stone, and Joseph Smith had the golden plates provided by the Angel Moroni. Smith had to give the plates back to Moroni after he had “translated” what became the Book of Mormon.

                My view is that one religious miracle is as crazy as any other, and that the Latter Day Saints are no sillier than the high Episcopalians. While strolling around the Mormon Temple grounds on Temple Square in Salt Lake City one day, I noticed a stone monument to the men who claimed in legal affidavits to have seen the golden plates before they were returned to Moroni.

                I live in Missouri, which has a Mormon connection. The world headquarters of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS,) now called Community of Christ and not to be confused with the Latter day Saints of Salt lake City, is in Independence, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City. Also just to the east of KC is Liberty, Missouri, where Joseph Smith and other Mormons were imprisoned in Liberty Jail in 1838-1839. It was clear that the hated Mormons were being railroaded on charges of murder, treason, burglary, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing , and they were allowed to escape.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Jail

                From Missouri, the Mormons went to Illinois and built the town of Nauvoo. There are may Mormon historical sites around Nauvoo today. In time, the persecutions continued, the Temple at Yahoo was burned, and Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered. From there, Brigham Young led the Latter Day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley.

                Salt Lake City International Airport is a major airline hub in the west, and when taking off on a flight to the coast, I like to sit on the left side of the plane where you get a great sight of the west front of the Wasatch Range as you climb out over the Great Salt Lake. A nice time for reflection about the hardships of the Mormons as they made their way through the Wasatch on their journey to the promised land of the Salt Lake Valley.

                (A video that I’ve posted before.)

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Breathtaking! Basin / Range / Bonneville… Freedom of religion is a great thing, but lawdy lawdy, some of those fundamentalist fanatics would try anyone’s patience. Even on the peaceful end of it, I can do without being proselytized. Scotland still bears the scars of a theocratic past that reveals itself in sectarian bigotry even today – run by obnoxious killjoys who were great fans of God being on the side of the ones who were doing the most smiting.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. Ed……I have a pet peeve about “State” religions. England is an abomination in this regard of course, with the Queen being the head of the Church of England, and (I think) a law that a Catholic can’t ever be the reigning monarch. How much more medieval and out of touch can a country be?

                    Which brings us to Scotland, which I can NEVER keep straight. Wiki says this:

                    “The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination often known as The Kirk, is recognised in law as the national church of Scotland. It is not an established church and is independent of state control. However, it is the largest religious grouping in Scotland, with 32.4% of the population according to the 2011 census.”

                    Now I know gibberish when I read it. A “national church” that is not “established” and is “independent of state control.” Yeah RIGHT! How long did it take the politicians (and clergy) in Edinburgh to come up with THAT gobbledygook?

                    Since neither England NOR Scotland has a constitution, that means the politicians can say pretty much anything about what the country is and isn’t, and who is going to contradict them? So the test I would say is whether the Scots abuse their children with religious observances in schools….as I assume the English do.

                    More Googling in order……. 😉

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. Yep. Utter twaddle.

                      Plus if 32.4% of the population is C of S, why do virtually none of them go to church?

                      State religion is a ridiculous notion.

                      How the hell can a state have a belief.

                      And how can a state as utterly cruel and mindless vile as the English/British one possibly pretend that it has any faith at all.

                      Massive con. They are “christian” because they think it is respectable to be so.

                      And seemingly very few people see through the utter hypocrisy.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Tris….well said! When a politician feels the need to bang on about being “Christian”, then LOOK OUT! 😉

                      Even in “religious” America, statistics show that a lot more people SAY they go to church regularly, than are actually in Church on any given Sunday.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    3. It’s nonsensical, isn’t it? It comes down to the Brits not being big on clear thinking, and loving that good ole’ British fudge instead.

                      **OH GAWD, HE’S OFF AGAIN: RANT ALERT**

                      The Church of Scotland isn’t an established church because it would be if Scotland were independent, which it’s not, and we can’t let the Church of England, of whom the Queen is the titular head, be challenged in any way, so as a quick and dirty little fix we’ll just have the Queen nominally change her religion, technically speaking, every time she crosses the border, and we’ll let it pass and sort of not say anything about it and take care not to look as we’re challenging the Moderator of the Kirk, though of course there’s no chance of anybody in the Scottish Kirk joining the Lords Spiritual in the Upper Chamber and endangering the Established Order that way, because of course the heathen blighters had the commendable good sense for once not to have any. Bishops, that is.

                      Just to continue this vein of sweeping things under the carpet so that too many of the Jocks and other similar oiks and sweaties don’t think about them in any joined-up way and have rebellious thoughts about heids zipping up the back, we shall make it compulsory for schools in Scotland to perform an Act of Worship each day, even though some schools are supposed to be non-denominational except you won’t find all that many people of the treasonous papist fenian – sorry, Catholic – persuasion in them, oh no; we’d better keep up the old divide-and-rule policy of setting the Lower Orders against each other so they don’t realize where their common interests lie.

                      Catholic bishops in the House of Lords, did I hear you say? Don’t be ridiculous. And don’t you dare mention rabbis and imams either, or anything equally outlandish, people will start saying you’re a loose cannon and can’t be trusted.

                      Over in France they have had free, secular State education since 1882, haven’t they, and if the Frogs are doing it, it must be wrong, mustn’t it? We absolutely cannot tolerate anything that was Not Invented Here! Hell no! QED.

                      No – we simply cannot let the kiddies get the idea they’re somehow supposed to be free and equal and free to associate freely with one another freely and in a quite free manner, or that religious faith or lack of it has nothing particularly to do with anything, and particularly nothing to do with human decency, or that freedom of religion sort of implies not operating a system of religious apartheid in schools – I thought I heard someone shout “whited sepulchres” just now – make sure whoever it was isn’t employed by us in any position of any importance, would you, can’t have people saying that sort of thing and questioning the Established Order in a democracy like ours – as for those Jockanese, what do the blighters want? They keep going on and on about being ignored, if you will! We let them vote in our Brexit referendum, and are they grateful? Hell no! Rank ingratitude, I call it.

                      Yes, let those horrid SoBs in Jockland, and that other place, what’s it called, it’s even further away than the Lake District too, go on parading around in their silly bowler hats and orange sashes, why not, it keeps the social tensions high and furthers the divisions, and it all goes to help show why those silly, silly people, particularly those bloody whinging Jockanese, can’t possibly be allowed full self-government, perish the thought, they’d be at each other’s throats in a trice, not that that’s much of a loss, but it’s still bad PR … what’s that you say? They don’t have the same degree of sectarian knee-jerkiness that they used to? Egad! But not to worry, we’ll gin it up with a bit more identity politics and tell them their precious “identities” are under threat, they’re such fools that they think anyone who’s different is a threat, and their identity is threatened by wherever you happen to be at the time and who with – it’s as if they’d never been to Riga for a rave-up or the Costal del Sol for sex and sangria – and we can always whip up xenophobia and racism if we need to, even more than we already do, that is, just try not to get caught up in any riots and lynchings ourselves.

                      Tell you what, let’s have a laugh – we’ll put out a nice commemorative sort of coin and put “Friendship With All Nations” on it – ooohoohoohoohoo, oh stop, or I’ll do myself a mischief.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    4. LOL…

                      One of your better rants there, Prof.

                      I’ve never been to Riga… and now it seems unlikely that I ever will go, given the dire warnings that the insurance companies are putting out about travel after March 30.

                      Then again, I’ve not be to the Costa del Sol, unless you count walking over the border for 5 minutes, from Gibraltar.

                      But anyway, I enjoyed that!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    5. Ed…..Nicely ranted! (I’ve done a few of those myself.)

                      Covers the subject very well!

                      So the Scots DO subject their children to religious devotions in the schools. In other words, the Kirk is not state-controlled, but it does use a state function……the schools…….to cram religion down the throats of the children. Shameful!

                      I found a “Church of Scotland” website. While it clearly has no objection to being identified as a national church by name, it then goes to GREAT pains to declare how independent of the state it is.

                      HOWEVER, it says:

                      ————————————

                      1) The sovereign has the right to attend the General Assembly, but not to take part in its deliberations.

                      2) The Oath of Accession includes a promise to “maintain and preserve the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government”.

                      3) The Kirk’s status as the national Church in Scotland dates from 1690, when Parliament restored Scottish Presbyterianism, and is guaranteed under the Act of Union of Scotland and England of 1707.

                      4) In matters of doctrine, government, discipline and worship, the Church of Scotland is……operating under a constitution ………recognised by Parliament in 1921.

                      ——————————————

                      I have extracted the list from the information on the website, and for brevity have edited out the numerous declarations about independence from the state; to get down to all the ways that the Church of Scotland IS and always WAS in bed with the state.

                      If this is freedom of religion, I would hate to see what a theocracy would look like.

                      Tris put it well too: “Utter twaddle”

                      Just sayin……. 😉

                      http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/about_us/how_we_are_organised

                      Liked by 2 people

                    6. In these days, however, Danny, people pay little or no heed to it.

                      In fact when it comes to matters legal, the government here has gone against what churches wanted (both Catholic and Protestant… and for that matter Muslim and Jewish, I imagine) . Abortion/same sex marriage, etc.

                      It was not always thus. In the 60s when homosexual acts between adults 21+ were legalised in England, Scots law (administered by the parliament in England) was not changed.

                      I think religion is an individual choice and should NEVER be a matter of state. Laws whould not reflect the teachings of a particular “good book”.

                      I hope that in an independent Scotland that would be put right.

                      The notion that the Queen and her family change religious affiliation as they cross the border is, frankly, farcical.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    7. “Utter twaddle” – quite so. I have a suspicion that one of the reasons the UK doesn’t have a constitution or constitutions is that none of the current arrangements can withstand any kind of scrutiny without being shown up for the senseless, self-contradictory kludge they are. Just as a f’rinstance, the question of (domestic) sovereignty -with Westminster operating on a principle that is antithetical to the way we look at it here in Scotland – is one that should have been settled long ago – but no, it’s always been fudged in one way or another – in the same sort of way that some people can remain friends only if they stay away from the subject of politics.

                      We know about constitutions, and we also know about bills of rights. The Council of Europe and the EU legislation provided a framework for the latter – and we note that the Westminster regime plans to junk it, and leave itself free to put in or take out anything it feels like from the UK legislation, and with no regard to a vital pillar of the devolution legislation.

                      It’s perfectly justifiable to say – well, I would say that, wouldn’t I – that the whole ramshackle structure needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Or we could branch out on our own and leave the rUK to it, because under present circumstances there’s nothing we can do that would make a blind bit of difference. All the vaunted superiority of the “English” or “British” way of doing things constitutional is flim-flam and flummery, with trappings of xenophobic Not Invented Here syndrome, all show, and no substance that can bear the light of enlightenment.

                      I should take my medication. I am getting overexcited. There may be tears before bedtime.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    8. Totally agree, Ed. Write this stuff down and people would roar with laughter over it.

                      The thing is that as part of the UK nothing will change for us. They cling to this sort of rubbish with affection and believe it makes them who they are. They may be quite correct!

                      Liked by 2 people

      2. Interesting visit to Axum.

        Not being a great believer, the thing that struck me most was the fact that the area had been denuded of greenery, but the cutting down of trees for fuel… and it hadn’t occurred to people that one say they would run out of trees.

        It seems to me that we are doing the same sort of thing today.

        Interesting article nonetheless, Ed.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It’s easy enough for us to say, I suppose, when our choice is between electricity and the cookability of gas, but if there’s no alternative available to firewood or charcoal, there’s not much you can do about it.

          I gave the guys who worked for me in Kenya electric rings to cook on and make tea when they felt like it, particularly when they were on guard duty at night, and with basic supplies generally. I made sure that everyone got fed and had the use of my kitchen when they needed it or wanted a cook-up for whatever reason. This was not normal practice for Imperial Masters, apparently, who in past epochs used to call it “going native”.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. What a world we live in… Trident – fine. Bombs and planes to the Saudis to kill Yemenis – fine. Starve 14 million of them – fine. Drop bombs on Syrians? Fine. And when they flee for their lives? Bar the doors!

              I get very pissed off with the human species sometimes. Bloody militaristic genital organs strutting around threatening to kill people. Do it as a civilian and you’d be banged away pronto.

              Liked by 1 person

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