The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More scientific flaps

This weekend, we hope to see Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams, filmed under extreme conditions within Chauvet cave. Besides the remarkable images themselves there is the equally remarkable claim that they are in the realm of 30,000 years old, twice the age of other dated cave paintings. This is being hotly disputed by at least one expert who says, in effect, "no they ain't!" He criticizes the dating work (C14 dating of organics in the cave walls.) The original researchers countered with DNA analysis of cave bear skulls found in situ and compared with the believed extinction date of said bears. They now argue that a) some of the images in Chauvet are of cave bears and b) the latest possible date for live cave bears is 24,000 years back, so there. The other side of the debate calls this analysis "sloppy" and says the images are brown bears, not cave bears, anyway.

Me, I don't have an opinion. Maybe I will after I see the movie.

More interesting (to me, probably alone) is a controversy over the authenticity of some lead flippy-card documents found in Jordan, the so-called lead codices. Like the extra-terrestrial life claim of a couple months back, the media picked up on one press release and ran with it, without, apparently, looking very closely into the background of the person who released it. "The 'British archaeologist' who is named as apparently trying to get these things into a Jordanian museum and who is one of the few who has actually seen them, one David Elkington, is not an archaeologist ... He doesn't seem to occupy any post or other academic position, and his writings on how acoustic resonance is responsible for major world religions wouldn't be accepted by any academic or scholar I know ..."

Here we go again.

2011 5 9: Wikipedia has an entry for this nonsense, which seems to be doing a good job of collecting the links as they accumulate. Jordan appears to be agitating about getting the so-called codices back, since they are alleged to have been found there. The general attitude of others seems to be that Jordan is welcome to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment