Tag Archives: world

Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

 This is an amaz­ing resource for the Scholar, the Curi­ous, the His­to­rian, or any­one with an inter­est in the ori­gins of the Abra­hamic monothe­is­tic religions…

“As you use the trans­la­tor tool in the scroll viewer, we would like to call your atten­tion to the com­plex­i­ties of trans­lat­ing the words of the Prophet Isa­iah of around 2,800 years ago, as reflected in the dif­fer­ent Hebrew vari­ants and sub­se­quent Eng­lish trans­la­tions. The museum’s mis­sion here is to pro­vide you the back­ground infor­ma­tion required to reach your own objec­tive per­spec­tive when read­ing this Eng­lish trans­la­tion of the bib­li­cal text.”

via Dig­i­tal Dead Sea Scrolls.

Sami — Erica Larsen


Stun­ning photo gallery about the Sámi by erika larsen

I see Sámi Peo­ple liv­ing in two worlds.

They are of the now. They are of the past.

When I am here a week seems like eter­nity.
This place will change me for­ever.
I am a sto­ry­teller and this becomes clearer now.

The days are nights and the nights are days.
The rein­deer move at night because the snow is harder and eas­ier
to move. There­fore so do we.

This place is Coalm­me­javri.
It means shal­low water between two lakes.

Time does not exist here, not really any­way.
Yes­ter­day I stood in a vac­uum of fog, Murku, win­ter fog.
It was a place where every­thing could exist but noth­ing does.

We stay in a lavvo and I what I think most queer
is that even though the tun­dra seems absent of all life we get vis­i­tors every­day.
I can’t say for sure where they mate­ri­al­ize from since I have yet to see another lavvo
but I sup­pose in the vast­ness of the tun­dra it would be fool­ish of me to think we are alone.

This life is hard, the work with the reindeer.

The weather is ever chang­ing and unin­ter­ested in the com­fort of those who inhabit the land­scape.
The weather takes all the energy out a man.
He wears it on his face.

But the peo­ple are proud of their work.
They are proud to be Sámi.
Every ounce of their being is Sámi.

SAMI » Erika Larsen Pho­tog­ra­phy.


a Sámi fam­ily from ca 1900


More about the Sámi

another Sámi archae­ol­ogy site

What Happens During a Nuclear Meltdown? — By Joshua E. Keating | Foreign Policy


  Tech­ni­cians are scram­bling to con­tain
the dam­age after March 11’s dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake and tsunami knocked out power at Japan’s Fukushima Dai­ichi nuclear power plant. Sea­wa­ter is being flooded into the reac­tor core to pre­vent over­heat­ing, and radioac­tive gas is being peri­od­i­cally vented to pre­vent pres­sure from build­ing up. But these are merely stop­gap mea­sures to pre­vent a full melt­down of the reac­tor core. How likely is it that this strat­egy will fail and Japan will face a total melt­down?

At the moment, not very. It’s an inex­act term, but “melt­down” gen­er­ally refers to the com­plete melt­ing of a plant’s nuclear fuel rods. These rods are about half an inch in diam­e­ter and 12 feet long and are sur­rounded by a zir­co­nium cov­er­ing called cladding. To pre­vent over­heat­ing, water is con­stantly cir­cu­lated through the reac­tor. When the cool­ing sys­tem fails, the rods, made of a ceramic mate­r­ial, can melt. The melted nuclear mate­r­ial drips down and accu­mu­lates, pos­si­bly pen­e­trat­ing the core. In the case of the Fukushima plant, it is believed that the top 2 to 3 feet of the rods were exposed after the power went out, caus­ing them to over­heat. The ves­sel con­tain­ing the nuclear core has not been pen­e­trated. Nuclear engi­neers pre­fer the term “par­tial melt­ing” for events of this type. via FP Explainer: What Hap­pens Dur­ing a Nuclear Melt­down? — By Joshua E. Keat­ing | For­eign Pol­icy
From Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can:

BEFORE THE QUAKE: The Fukushima Dai­ichi plant as it looked before the 2011 earth­quake and tsunami. Image: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Energy & Sustainability

What Hap­pens Dur­ing a Nuclear Melt­down?

Nuclear reac­tors at the Fukushima Dai­ichi sta­tion in Japan are crit­i­cally endan­gered but have not reached full melt­down sta­tus. Our nuclear primer explains what that means and how the sit­u­a­tion com­pares to past nuclear accidents

By John Mat­son
| March 15, 2011 | 1
How does a nuclear reac­tor work?
Most nuclear reac­tors, includ­ing those at Japan’s Fukushima Dai­ichi gen­er­at­ing sta­tion, are essen­tially high-tech ket­tles that effi­ciently boil water
to pro­duce elec­tric­ity. They rely on har­ness­ing nuclear fission—the split­ting of an atom into two smaller atoms, which also yields heat and sends neu­trons fly­ing. If another atom absorbs one of those neu­trons, the atom becomes unsta­ble and under­goes fis­sion itself, releas­ing more heat and more neu­trons. The chain reac­tion becomes self-sustaining, pro­duc­ing a steady sup­ply of heat to boil water, drive steam tur­bines and thereby gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity. How does this inci­dent com­pare to Cher­nobyl or to Three Mile Island?
At present, three of the reac­tors at Fukushima Dai­ichi sta­tion are seri­ously crip­pled. Units 1 and 3 have expe­ri­enced explo­sions that destroyed exte­rior walls, appar­ently from buildups of hydro­gen gas pro­duced by the zir­co­nium in the fuel rods react­ing with coolant water at extremely high tem­per­a­tures, but the inte­rior con­tain­ment ves­sels there thus far seem to be intact. A third explo­sion was reported March 15 at reac­tor 2
, and the sit­u­a­tion there appears more dire. Pres­sure in the sup­pres­sion pool—a donut-shaped water ves­sel below the reactor—dropped after the explo­sion, indi­cat­ing that the con­tain­ment ves­sel had been com­pro­mised. read the entire arti­cle from Sci­en­tific Amer­i­can

And from the Annals of Inter­nal Med­i­cine

  • Clin­i­cal Guidelines

Med­ical Man­age­ment of the Acute Radi­a­tion Syn­drome: Rec­om­men­da­tions of the Strate­gic National Stock­pile Radi­a­tion Work­ing Group


Physi­cians, hos­pi­tals, and other health care facil­i­ties will assume the respon­si­bil­ity for aid­ing indi­vid­u­als injured by a ter­ror­ist act involv­ing radioac­tive mate­r­ial. Sce­nar­ios have been devel­oped for such acts that include a range of expo­sures result­ing in few to many casu­al­ties. This con­sen­sus doc­u­ment was devel­oped by the Strate­gic National Stock­pile Radi­a­tion Work­ing Group to pro­vide a frame­work for physi­cians in inter­nal med­i­cine and the med­ical sub­spe­cial­ties to eval­u­ate and man­age large-scale radi­a­tion injuries.

Indi­vid­ual radi­a­tion dose is assessed by deter­min­ing the time to onset and sever­ity of nau­sea and vom­it­ing, decline in absolute lym­pho­cyte count over sev­eral hours or days after expo­sure, and appear­ance of chro­mo­some aber­ra­tions (includ­ing dicentrics and ring forms) in periph­eral blood lym­pho­cytes. Doc­u­men­ta­tion of clin­i­cal signs and symp­toms (affect­ing the hematopoi­etic, gas­troin­testi­nal, cere­brovas­cu­lar, and cuta­neous sys­tems) over time is essen­tial for triage of vic­tims, selec­tion of ther­apy, and assign­ment of prognosis.

Rec­om­men­da­tions based on radi­a­tion dose and phys­i­o­logic response are made for treat­ment of the hematopoi­etic syn­drome. Ther­apy includes treat­ment with hematopoi­etic cytokines; blood trans­fu­sion; and, in selected cases, stem-cell trans­plan­ta­tion. Addi­tional med­ical man­age­ment based on the evo­lu­tion of clin­i­cal signs and symp­toms includes the use of antimi­cro­bial agents (quinolones, antivi­ral ther­apy, and anti­fun­gal agents), antiemetic agents, and anal­gesic agents. Because of the strong psy­cho­log­i­cal impact of a pos­si­ble radi­a­tion expo­sure, psy­choso­cial sup­port will be required for those exposed, regard­less of the dose, as well as for fam­ily and friends. Treat­ment of preg­nant women must account for risk to the fetus. For ter­ror­ist or acci­den­tal events involv­ing expo­sure to radioiodines, pro­phy­laxis against malig­nant dis­ease of the thy­roid is also rec­om­mended, par­tic­u­larly for chil­dren and adolescents.

Read the full arti­cle here


Petraeus: master of Afghan policy

Aljazeera, in this arti­cle draws pos­si­bly rel­e­vant par­al­lels between Amer­i­can pol­icy in Afghanistan and the 19th cen­tury British in the Sudan. You can read more about Gen­eral Charles George “Chi­nese” Gor­don here.

A new Gen­eral ‘Chi­nese’ Gordon

In this man­ner, the Euro­peans have bol­stered the posi­tion of US-NATO Afghan com­man­der Gen­eral David Petraeus and the rest of the US mil­i­tary lead­er­ship, who have qui­etly insisted that any post-July 2011 troop with­drawals be cal­i­brated to improve­ments on the ground, and have sharply dif­fered with their civil­ian coun­ter­parts in Wash­ing­ton con­cern­ing the prospects for success.

Thus has Petraeus become the mas­ter of Afghan pol­icy, if not of his own fate.

Indeed, it would be hard to over­state the cen­tral­ity of Petraeus in the Afghan strug­gle. To find a close anal­ogy to Petraeus’ cur­rent posi­tion, one has to look back to the 19th century.

Just six months ago, as the diminu­tive Amer­i­can gen­eral was dis­patched to Afghanistan on the heels of a sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion process which bor­dered at times on idol­a­try, I was haunted by the sepia-toned image of another long-ago mas­ter of insur­gent war­fare: Gen­eral “Chi­nese” Gordon.

Major-General Charles George Gor­don, C.B., a hero of the British Empire, pro­fes­sion­ally respected and pop­u­larly revered both for his bril­liant suc­cess as a com­man­der of “native” irreg­u­lar forces in China’s Sec­ond Opium War, and for his record as a wise colo­nial admin­is­tra­tor and sup­pres­sor of the slave trade in Africa, was reluc­tantly dis­patched by the British gov­ern­ment in 1884 to deal with an Islamist insur­gency in the Sudan.

The upris­ing was led by the Mahdi, the self-styled Mes­siah; one might think of him as the Mul­lah Omar — the self-styled Com­man­der of the Faith­ful — of his day.

Sent largely out of polit­i­cal expe­di­ency as a sop to pub­lic opin­ion, by civil­ian polit­i­cal lead­ers leery of fur­ther colo­nial entan­gle­ments in Africa, Gor­don found him­self unable to rec­on­cile his vague instruc­tions with his sense of hon­our and the real­i­ties on the ground. He thus elab­o­rated his own pol­icy, inde­pen­dently of his polit­i­cal mas­ters, who desired only an evac­u­a­tion of their sub­jects south of the Egypt­ian border.

Ulti­mately cut off by the Mahdi and besieged at Khar­toum, Gordon’s gar­ri­son was over­run, and he him­self beheaded in 1885.

Like Gor­don Pasha before him, Petraeus Bahadur has been dis­patched largely out of polit­i­cal expe­di­ency. It may be hard to remem­ber now, but six months ago it would have been vir­tu­ally incon­ceiv­able that Petraeus, hav­ing risen to become the com­bat­ant com­man­der for all of the Mid­dle East and South Asia, includ­ing both Iraq and Afghanistan, could ever be rel­e­gated to a sub­or­di­nate command.

The sack­ing of Gen­eral Stan­ley McChrys­tal, how­ever, and the unseemly polit­i­cal infight­ing which pre­cip­i­tated it had cre­ated the pub­lic per­cep­tion of a fail­ing war effort in hope­less dis­ar­ray. The only chance for the Obama admin­is­tra­tion to turn that per­cep­tion around was to reach out to Petraeus, the hero of the Iraq “surge” and the author of a US coun­terin­sur­gency (COIN) doc­trine which had recently gained the sta­tus of holy writ, and cast him into the breach. It was a mas­ter­ful polit­i­cal stroke, hailed even more by Repub­li­cans than by Democrats.

Also like Gor­don Pasha before him, Petraeus inher­ited a vague and ambiva­lent strat­egy put for­ward by civil­ian polit­i­cal lead­ers who had lit­tle faith in its effi­cacy. If there were any doubts about that, Bob Woodward’s recent and exhaus­tively researched book Obama’s Wars would have put them to rest.

Now hav­ing effec­tively seized con­trol of Afghan pol­icy, and hav­ing gained a free hand to imple­ment a COIN doc­trine of his own devis­ing, Petraeus will rise or fall on its suc­cess. He is unlikely to share the lit­eral fate of his 19th-century pre­de­ces­sor. But it is equally unlikely that his mil­i­tary rep­u­ta­tion will sur­vive his encounter with our modern-day Mahdi.

via Petraeus: mas­ter of Afghan pol­icy — Opin­ion — Al Jazeera Eng­lish.

Furthur Read­ing:

Afghanistan, Grave­yard of Empires — Mil­ton Bearden

For­eign Affairs, Vol. 80, No. 6 (2001) pgs. 17–30

Crisis in Ireland

Will Ire­land go bank­rupt? Eco­nomic his­to­rian sheds light on lat­est euro­zone cri­sis.

Eichengreen’s brief­ing was part of a new “rapid response” series spon­sored by the Insti­tute of Euro­pean Stud­ies. A Decem­ber brief­ing is planned on new aus­ter­ity mea­sures being imple­mented by the British gov­ern­ment. More details will be avail­able on the IES web­site.

In Eichengreen’s talk, “Will Ire­land Go Bank­rupt?” he noted that Ire­land expe­ri­enced an even larger hous­ing boom and bub­ble than the United States in the years lead­ing up to its cri­sis. When the bub­ble burst, it took with it much needed tax rev­enues and pub­lic con­fi­dence in the abil­ity of Ireland’s finan­cial insti­tu­tions to rebound, he said.

And Ire­land can’t work its way out of its bind sim­ply with more gov­ern­ment cut­backs, hav­ing already slashed pub­lic spend­ing by 3 per­cent of the country’s GDP this year to achieve a “pretty lean and mean gov­ern­ment,” accord­ing to Eichen­green. Nor can the prob­lem be solved by sim­ply stretch­ing out the adjust­ment — hav­ing the EU and IMF lend the coun­try enough money to keep it finan­cially afloat for the next two or three years, he sug­gested. This approach hasn’t worked in Greece, he observed, and mak­ing Ire­land “Greece 2.0″ would be no more effective.

Irish Angry Over Big Bailout of the Country’s Banks

Ireland’s resolve has been bat­tered by the events of the past few weeks. Only eleven days ago, as rumors of a res­cue pack­age for Ire­land were swirling, Finance Min­is­ter Brian Leni­han was insist­ing there would be no bailout. But by Nov. 18, mem­bers of the Euro­pean Union and the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund (IMF) had arrived in Dublin, and three days later, Leni­han announced that the gov­ern­ment would be apply­ing for finan­cial help to try and safe­guard the euro zone’s stability.

Then came Monday’s shock announce­ment by the Green Party that it would leave the coali­tion gov­ern­ment after the Dec. 7 bud­get is passed, say­ing the coun­try needs “polit­i­cal cer­tainty” fol­low­ing a week in which the Irish had felt mis­led and betrayed. Since the Greens’ rev­e­la­tion, Fianna Fail has been fac­ing inten­si­fied calls to hold a gen­eral elec­tion and was finally forced to con­cede — a vote will take place early next year, prob­a­bly in Feb­ru­ary. With an approval rat­ing of only 17%, the party is widely expected to be all but anni­hi­lated.(See more on the unpop­u­lar bailout of Ireland’s banks.)

Irish Aus­ter­ity: Can the Gov­ern­ment Sur­vive the Dam­age? — TIME.