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Posts by Blunderfromdownunder

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  • NEW ZEALAND legalises prostitution

    06/25/2003 9:59:44 PM PDT · 138 of 203
    Blunderfromdownunder to shaggy eel
    Shaggs, you're full of it on this one - the Maxim Institute and the churches opposed to the bill brought down representatives from the "paid sex is rape" school of activist feminism to make a submission. And most of the research into the dangers of prostitution that was submitted by the same parties was from feminist authors.
  • Shroud of Turin

    04/18/2003 4:46:44 AM PDT · 24 of 36
    Blunderfromdownunder to jennyp
    Its called the Marine Resevoir Effect, and the offset is about 400 years. Basically, the ocean (and therefore the organisms within it) exchange carbon with the atmosphere much more slowly than do terrestrial organisms - it takes about 400 years for carbon isotope ratios in the ocean to "catch up" with those on land. This is another problem with early radiocarbon dating that was recognised fairly early on and has since been largely solved by calibration , although local effects for different parts of different oceans are still in the process of being accounted for. This is done by dating known age samples (eg from museums) and using the differences in returned radiocarbon dates as a delta-R value for actual archaeological samples.

    The whole story of getting a ludicrously ancient date from a modern bone/shell/piece of toast (which is the version I heard in church as a lad) is one of those creationist canards that tends to persist despite all arguments to the contrary.
  • Shroud of Turin

    04/17/2003 11:15:37 PM PDT · 19 of 36
    Blunderfromdownunder to Radioactive
    Radiocarbondating cannot be used to date anything that was alive more recently than about 1750 AD (which includes your seal bone). The major reason for this cutoff is the vast increase and fluctuation in atmospheric carbon since the industrial revolution, along with more recent atomic/nucelar missile tests. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere has always fluctuated but can be accounted for (radiocarbon calibration) by dating known-age items (eg wood from long-lived tree species whose age can be detrmined accurately using dendrochronology or tree-ring dating) and noting the offset between the dates. Scientists have created several "calibration curves" that can be used in this manner, but sadly there are far two many wiggles in the curve beyond about 300 years ago for the technique to be used reliably. OTOH anything from 300-10,000 years ago can be calibrated fairly accurately and beyond 10,000 years, to within centuries (the 10,000 year point is where scientists run out of samples of old wood to create their calibration curves).
  • Gallipoli apology 'absurd'

    03/12/2003 10:14:33 AM PST · 12 of 15
    Blunderfromdownunder to Semper Paratus
    Yes, and this had nothing to do with NZ wanting to keep 'our boys' in the Pacific to help stem the tide of Japanese aggression...oh no. Churchill said of Peter Fraser and his war-time leadership of NZ, that " He never put a foot wrong."

    Sounds pretty complimentary to me

    Oh, and look at the date on the article - its old news, no one took it seriously at the time and it was dismissed by 99.9% of the population (academics and otherwise) forthwith.

  • Some patriotic poems

    03/09/2003 4:47:16 PM PST · 2 of 19
    Blunderfromdownunder to USArocks
    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
    Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.--
    Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

    In all my dreams before my helpless sight
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

    If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
    Bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

  • Austrailia, New Zealand fail to reach agreement on Iraq

    03/09/2003 2:41:19 PM PST · 10 of 10
    Blunderfromdownunder to areafiftyone
    Holy crap! Two democracies can agree to disagree without turning to threats or bulling...Will wonders never cease?
  • Silent But Strong: Toni Smith's flag protest is a refreshing display of courage rarely seen

    03/01/2003 7:34:38 PM PST · 8 of 61
    Blunderfromdownunder to postaledde
    HOld on a sec - this chick is protesting expanding government power and Freepers are hassling her...?
  • Snatch and Grab for the Spoils of War

    01/15/2003 3:39:16 PM PST · 1 of 5
    Interesting but I dont know how reliable the column is. Two big issues I gues - do the Turks have any kind of claim to the Iraqi oil fields under international law and can the Kurds and the Turks come to some kind of agreement
  • Maryland church will vote on calling lesbian as pastor

    01/14/2003 4:54:33 PM PST · 31 of 38
    Blunderfromdownunder to Conservativegreatgrandma
    well, I did say "ex-girlfriend"...Cant blame her really, as by the time she started batting for the other team we hadnt seen each other in 8 months as my dad had had a stroke and I was on the other side of the world...What woman wouldnt go completely nuts if deprived of my presence for such a long time...Besides, she is still a wonderful person (however misguided) and her girlfriend is nice, even if she does look like my friend Colin.
  • Maryland church will vote on calling lesbian as pastor

    01/13/2003 9:41:19 PM PST · 15 of 38
    Blunderfromdownunder to Gamecock
    My ex-girlfriends *sob* current girlfriend is going to be ordained as a minister by the Disciples of Christ in February - she is currently a PhD student in a very prestigeous divinity school. Lovely ladies but I got the impression they buy from some Lesbian catelogue; their rooms are posted with "Dykes for Bush" buttons, Zena stickers and rainbow flags. I am kinda hoping that one day the ex will realise she has made a mistake but ah well, if wishes were fishes...
  • Life in AMerican Samoa

    01/13/2003 8:39:16 PM PST · 6 of 16
    Blunderfromdownunder to Quix
    Hi, and thanks for your reply. I have been to Fiji afew times to so I know roughly what kind of conditions I can look forward to on a Pacific Island, but Am. Sam is likely going to be a little different because 1)its not touristy 2)its alot smaller and 3)Its an American territory. For that reason I would assume its more like Guam or somewhere in micronesa,a s opposed to Fiji or Vanuatu.
  • Ancient Navigators Could Have Measured Longitude -- in Egypt in 232 B.C. !

    01/13/2003 8:18:53 PM PST · 75 of 103
    Blunderfromdownunder to muawiyah
    I believe it was Obelix who broke off the Sphinx's nose, although the hair that broke the camels back (Sphinx's schnoz?) may actually have been the weight of Dogmatix who may have been handging from Gerard Depardieu at the time...But I could be wrong.
  • Life in AMerican Samoa

    01/13/2003 8:13:25 PM PST · 1 of 16
  • High-Pressure Toilets Shake up Bathrooms

    12/17/2002 10:55:49 PM PST · 10 of 14
    Blunderfromdownunder to gcruse
    Three points possibly of interest
    1. I met a guy on the weekend who is starting to market a cisternless toilet which relies on some kind of venturi tube inserted into the plumbing.
    2. Why on my recent six-month stint in the USA (California, New Mexico, Indiana and Illinois) did I see no dual-flush toilets? Its hard to find a home built in NZ and Australia in the last 15 years which doesnt have them.
    3. With regard to mexican toilet smuggles, I seem to recall the plotline of a tv show (probably a sitcom) which concerned smuggling similar large toilets down from canada. Has anyone else seen this?
  • Indian cave looter hit with $2.5 million penalty (that's a lot of wampum)

    12/14/2002 10:40:23 PM PST · 7 of 8
    Blunderfromdownunder to pepsionice; All
    Nice conspiracy dude because archaeology is sooooo profitable - Temporary federal archy jobs for seven months a year at $7-9 an hour...God knows why those other mafioso would mess around with the chump change you can make running whores, drugs and guns...
    But seriously, archaeological sites are like any other finite resource; they should be protected where they can and explored/exploited carefully where they cant (ie if they are in the way of a highway development or gas pipeline). Each archaeological site is absolutely unique and blowing through them with the aim of making a few $$ selling projectile points on ebay or lining your fireplace with grinding stones is the act of a cretin - on par with torching a library or if you prefer a more topical case study, the Taliban blowing up the Bamiyan buddhas.
    But fairs fair, if you want to do it on your own property or on private property with the owners permission, no oone is gonna stop you...But you dont mess with archaeological sites on public land which have been protected for almost 100 years (Antiquities Act 1906).
  • Arabs fear wide-scale ‘regime change’ after America topples Saddam

    12/08/2002 9:01:27 PM PST · 44 of 84
    Blunderfromdownunder to JRandomFreeper
    I would want to know what IQ test was used to produce these figures. Any test of "intelligence" is bound to be culturall specific and this will skew the results. Case-in-point: I have an MA and consider myself a reasonably intelligent, well-spoken and well-read person, but I did very badly on the "analogies" section of the GRE because at no point in my New Zealand education had I come across questions of this nature.
  • Israeli Icon Under Fire (The Mythology Of Masada)

    12/08/2002 8:44:25 PM PST · 11 of 15
    Blunderfromdownunder to dts32041
    But the law of the gun was the only law/that Liberty understood/when it came to shooting straight and fast/he was mighty good.

    Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, all good

  • Israeli Icon Under Fire (The Mythology Of Masada)

    12/08/2002 5:14:35 PM PST · 6 of 15
    Blunderfromdownunder to blam
    The fact that Yadin went a little far in his interpretations of the Masada data was well known to the archaeologists and former Masada volunteers I worked with at En Gedi in 2001. And it is true that the Sicarii were for all intents and purposes terrorists - I saw first hand what they did to En Gedi, and helped excavate some of their victims.
  • The Curse Of The Red-Headed Mummy

    12/02/2002 7:17:16 PM PST · 55 of 86
    Blunderfromdownunder to afraidfortherepublic
    Hi there. Evidently a Roman Legion got lost on its way to somewhere else (took a wrong turn in Persia or somesuch, no doubt). Once there they found their way into the emperors presence and he was so impressed he bade them join his army and most of them settled in China permanently. It comes as no surprise to most modern archaeologists that people were getting all over the place in ancient times. To some extent the original article posted is setting up a straw man in saying that archies have a hard time with Mair's research. OTOH unless these contacts had a marked effect on the behaviour of the people involved, they arent much more than interesting historical footnotes.
  • The Curse Of The Red-Headed Mummy

    12/02/2002 1:14:48 PM PST · 44 of 86
    Blunderfromdownunder to Hermann the Cherusker
    Herm said "Well, if you pick up a modern history of Britain, Chapter 1 starts off with, there were ignorant savages of unknown origins attempting to create a civilization, when in sailed Caesar and the Legions. Thousands of years of "pre-history" covered in two paragraphs"
    Dude, you seem to have missed the point in your own post; in scholarly discourse history and pre-history are two different things, one being written and the other not (obviously this is a fairly arbitrary division). Therefore, the "history" of Britain does start with J. Caesar (or perhaps with the Roman (or Greek/Phonecian even?) records of contact with Britain in the first century BC when coins, amphorae of wine, olive oil etc started making their way across the channel from Gaul and these transactions were recorded in the accounting files of the day. OTOH British prehistory, the happenings of Britains pre-literate societies, IS revealed in thousands of popular and scholar books and articles and hardly goes unremarked as you seem to imply. And to suggest that scholars see these people as "ignorant savages" is complete balderdash - you only have to read some of the almost fawning descriptions of iron-age and bronze-age craftsmanship and metallurgy to know this is untrue.