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Judi Lynn

Judi Lynn's Journal
Judi Lynn's Journal
December 3, 2022

Homo naledi may have lit fires in underground caves at least 236,000 years ago

Remnants of small fireplaces and sooty wall and ceiling smudges found in South African cave system

By Bruce Bower


An ancient hominid dubbed Homo naledi may have lit controlled fires in the pitch-dark chambers of an underground cave system, new discoveries hint.

Researchers have found remnants of small fireplaces and sooty wall and ceiling smudges in passages and chambers throughout South Africa’s Rising Star cave complex, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger announced in a December 1 lecture hosted by the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington, D.C.

“Signs of fire use are everywhere in this cave system,” said Berger, of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

H. naledi
presumably lit the blazes in the caves since remains of no other hominids have turned up there, the team says. But the researchers have yet to date the age of the fire remains. And researchers outside Berger’s group have yet to evaluate the new finds.

H. naledi
fossils date to between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago (SN: 5/9/17), around the time Homo sapiens originated (SN: 6/7/17). Many researchers suspect that regular use of fire by hominids for light, warmth and cooking began roughly 400,000 years ago (SN: 4/2/12).

December 3, 2022

Zapatistas Versus the "Neoliberal War Against Humanity"

DECEMBER 2, 2022


The Zapatista revolution has survived in Chiapas, southern Mexico, since 1914, and that is a miracle. Zapatistas endured the assaults of government paramilitaries, the betrayals of Mexican presidents and crushing poverty. “They don’t care that we have nothing,” the Zapatistas said of Mexico’s elite at the start of their first uprising, “absolutely nothing, not even a roof over our heads, no land, no work, no healthcare, no food, no education, not the right to freely and democratically elect our political representatives nor independence from foreigners.”

This specter of destitution loomed over the Zapatistas, and indeed millions of indigenous people because of NAFTA. After a 12-day war against the Mexican state in 1994, Zapatistas agreed to a ceasefire, maintaining control of their lands in Chiapas. Thus the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) is always ready for combat. Its soldiers may spend their days planting corn and beans, but at a moment’s notice they drop their hoes and grab their rifles. That’s because government paramilitaries could reappear at any time, and with them, the threat of reinstituting the near slavery of the abominable finca plantations. These fincas were the Zapatistas’ original target in 1994. The revolutionaries overran the fincas, expelled the owners and empowered the indigenous peons, thus ending the systematic rape of indigenous women and girls and the hanging of indigenous men who refused to hand over their daughters. The practice of whipping these serfs for the slightest infraction also stopped. In every way, life improved for these peons, who had previously been treated like dirt.

Women constitute a third of the Zapatista army, according to the introduction to a new book, Zapatista Stories for Dreaming An-Other World, by Subcomandante Marcos, their leader, if they could be said to have one. And women became pivotal to the Zapatista effort to create a new social-political-economic arrangement on their lands. “The proclamation of the Women’s Revolutionary Law before the 1994 uprising was an insistence that women’s rights cannot wait until after the revolution; they are part of the revolutions.” The Women’s Revolutionary Law included, for example, the right to drive; thus it enables women better to participate in what the Zapatistas accurately call “the neoliberal war against humanity.”

Resistance to capitalism, not only the neoliberal variety, is a way of life for Zapatistas and best understood through their Autonomy Project. They designated their new autonomous regions “caracoles” – referring to conch shells used to summon assemblies. “These five caracoles would coordinate the already existing Zapatista municipalities in rebellion. The latter, created in 1994, were based on their massive land seizures during the uprising.” No free enterprise zones here! The caracoles feature socialist governance. “The Zapatistas understand governance as a particular form of work in service to the community, rather than as an exercise of power through administration or rule,” according to Dylan Eldridge Fitzwater in his book on the Zapatistas, Autonomy Is in Our Hearts, which was published about four years ago.


December 3, 2022

Opinion Evil is triumphing in Haiti, and the United States is doing little

December 2, 2022 at 2:26 p.m. EST

A woman uses a towel to swat flies from her daughter stricken with cholera on Nov. 11 at a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Odelyn Joseph/Associated Press)

In Haiti, children recovering from gunshot wounds are lying on cardboard beds outdoors. The Coast Guard intercepted more than 7,000 people from October 2021 through September (compared with 1,527 the previous 12 months) trying to escape hell on Earth. Rival gangs kill husbands in front of wives and rape mothers in front of their children. Cholera is raging and babies are dying. Streets are war zones.

Nearly 20,000 people are facing imminent starvation. An additional 2.9 million are suffering acute malnutrition. Almost 2 million are suffering very acute malnutrition. If more food isn’t made available immediately, people will die.

There is zero sense of urgency by the television media or politicians in the United States that our neighbor nation’s people are suffering unbearable hardships. The media, especially televised media, should report on Haiti’s crises. Show gang brutality, highlight people clinging to rafts made from rotted wood, make videos of dehydrated, choleric children fighting to live.

We need to send in 2,000 armed law enforcers who can protect the people attempting to deliver aid. Send in a couple hundred at a time, over six months, with little fanfare. There seems to be talk behind closed doors of what cannot be done. Good men and women, stop doing nothing. Evil is triumphing.

Pamela A. White, Orr’s Island, Maine

The writer was U.S. ambassador to Haiti from 2012 to 2015 and a junior officer in Haiti from 1985 to 1991 for the U.S. Agency for International Development.


December 2, 2022

Massive eruption from icy volcanic comet detected in solar system

By Harry Baker published about 5 hours ago

Astronomers observed a major eruption from a volcanic comet flying through the solar system, likely spewing more than 1 million tons of debris into space.

An artist's impression of a comet flying through space trailed by twin streams of gas and dust. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A bizarre, volcanic comet has violently erupted, spewing out more than 1 million tons of gas, ice and the "potential building blocks of life" into the solar system.

The volatile comet, known as 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann (29P), is around 37 miles (60 kilometers) wide and takes around 14.9 years to orbit the sun. 29P is believed to be the most volcanically active comet in the solar system. It is one of around 100 comets, known as "centaurs," that have been pushed from the Kuiper Belt — a ring of icy comets that lurk beyond Neptune — into a closer orbit around the sun between those of Jupiter and Neptune, according to NASA(opens in new tab).

On Nov. 22, an amateur astronomer named Patrick Wiggins noticed that 29P had drastically increased in brightness, according to Spaceweather.com(opens in new tab). Subsequent observations made by other astronomers revealed that this spike in luminosity was the result of a massive volcanic eruption — the second largest seen on 29P in the last 12 years, according to the British Astronomical Association(opens in new tab) (BAA). The largest eruption during this time was a huge outburst in September 2021.

An eruption of this size is "pretty rare," Cai Stoddard-Jones(opens in new tab), a doctoral candidate at Cardiff University in the U.K. who took a follow-up image of 29P's eruption, told Live Scence. "It's [also] difficult to say why this one is so big.".


November 30, 2022

The Biggest Human-Made Pyramid On Earth Isn't In Egypt

The Great Pyramid of Cholula is 2,000 years old.

Social Editor and Staff Writer

Sep 16, 2022 9:34 AM

cholula pyramid
Image credit: diego_cue,CC BY-SA 3.0

In Mexico sits the Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as the Great Pyramid of Tepanapa, a 2,000-year-old human-made structure that went completely unnoticed by the Spanish army when they invaded in 1519. An impressive oversight when you consider that it’s the biggest pyramid on Earth. How did they miss it? Quite simply, it’s hidden inside a hill.

The Cholula Massacre was one of the most infamous endeavors of conquistador Hernán Cortés who stormed the city of Cholula on October 12, 1519. Cortés’s army arrived anticipating a fight but were met with a sacred city believed to be home to a holy pyramid for every day of the year; structures built to place divine protection over the city.

Instead, as the lives of 3,000 people were taken (amounting to 10 percent of the city’s population) the many pyramids became the subjects of looting. Having claimed the many religious artifacts, the Spanish settled in Cholula and began erecting their own churches.

One of those, the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remediosa, was to become – effectively – a hat, after it was unknowingly placed on top of the Great Pyramid of Cholula. At 66 meters (216 feet) tall and 450 meters (1,475 feet) wide, it’s the largest pyramidin the world, with a volume that’s nearly twice that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

cholula pyramid
When the Spanish invasion happened, nobody knew the world's biggest pyramid was sitting beneath a hill. Image credit: Janice Waltzer, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


~ ~ ~

The Largest Pyramid in the World
Hidden beneath a hill in Cholula, Mexico lies the largest pyramid ever built.

Dean Nicholas | Published in History Today Volume 66 Issue 8 August 2016

The world’s largest pyramid can be found not in Egypt, but hidden beneath a hill in a small town in the central Mexican state of Puebla. Known variously as the Great Pyramid of Cholula, Pirámide Tepanapa, or, in the indigenous Nahuatl language, Tlachihualtepetl, or ‘artificial mountain’, the structure measures 400 by 400 metres and has a total volume of 4.45 million cubic metres, almost twice that of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It was first constructed around 200 BC and expanded or rebuilt several times over the following centuries by different civilisations, including the Olmecs and the Toltecs. According to Aztec mythology, it was built by Xelhua, a giant whose edifice so upset the gods that they hurled fire down upon it.

Excavated part of the pyramid

At its height over 100,000 people lived around the pyramid, although by the time the Spanish arrived in 1520 it had become covered by dirt and was hidden from view, with newer temples constructed on its outskirts. Hernán Cortés and his men slaughtered many of the Cholulans, probably to scare the inhabitants of the nearby Aztec capital Tenochtitlan into submission, but, to judge by the church they built on top (still standing today), the Spanish were clearly unaware of the hill’s true nature. The pyramid was re-discovered in the late 19th century and since then archaeologists have begun to excavate the network of tunnels that run through its base.


November 30, 2022

In Brazil, Marielle Franco's memory inspires the Black, feminist, LGBTQ+ cause against the extreme r

In Brazil, Marielle Franco’s memory inspires the Black, feminist, LGBTQ+ cause against the extreme right
Published: Nov. 29, 2022, 4:41 p.m.

By Palabra
Editor’s note: This story first appeared on palabra, the digital news site by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

By Témoris Grecko

Francia Márquez invited Anielle Franco to join her on stage at Auditorio Mayor in the Colombian capital of Bogotá. It was March 5, 2022, and Márquez was still a promising presidential candidate, but not yet victorious. However, her followers, like Anielle, felt she was already Colombia’s first female and Black president. Anielle had come all the way from Rio de Janeiro, in neighboring Brazil, to witness her campaign’s closing rally ahead of the primary election that would determine the presidential candidate from Colombia’s leftist coalition, Pacto Histórico. Weeks later, Márquez instead became front-runner, Gustavo Petro’s, running mate. And on June 19, she was elected vice president.

Francia waved a yellow scarf that read “Justiça por Marielle” in Portuguese and displayed the face of a Black woman in high-contrast. The Afro-Colombian politician was one of those demanding justice for Anielle’s sister, Marielle Franco, who had been murdered in Rio four years earlier, on March 14, 2018. Anielle saw similarities between the two women: like Márquez, Marielle Franco was a Black, single mother who had dared to venture into White, male-dominated politics, under a far-right government with misogynistic, racist, violent tendencies, openly inspired by Donald Trump’s tactics.

. . .

Stigmas for the struggle
“I am because we are” (eu sou porque nós somos): This was Marielle’s leitmotif and it appears on her memorial wall, located a few feet away on Joaquim Palhares Avenue in downtown Rio, where the city council member was killed. The day she was murdered, she was on her way home after meeting with local women. At about 11 p.m., the assassins pulled up next to Marielle’s car and fired thirteen shots. She took a bullet to the neck and three to the head. Her driver, Anderson Gomes, was shot three times. An aid sitting with Marielle in the back seat was wounded by shrapnel.

. . .

Marielle’s most noteworthy line of work was denouncing the violence of milícias, right-wing paramilitary groups formed by current or former police officers, who claim they are fighting drug-trafficking gangs only to take over their business. They impose their bloody rule over the favelados with racketeering, kidnappings, torture, and killings. Nevertheless, politicians, police officers, some press, prosecutors, and even judges pretend to believe the milicias’ goals are fair to justify leniency and blatant complicity.


November 28, 2022

The frog that could save the world: Colombia's Starry Night Toad

9 Nov 2022

Thought to be extinct for 30 years, the starry night harlequin toad is thriving in Colombia due to the local way of life.

In Colombia, Arhuaco leader Ruperto Chaparro Villafaña teams up with scientists to save the critically endangered starry night harlequin toad.

They need to unite both indigenous and western scientific knowledge to understand the role of the toads in the unique ecosystem of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world’s highest coastal mountain and the sacred land of the Arhuacos.

The life cycle of the frog helps determine when to cultivate and harvest different crops – the reason this species is a bellwether for their community-based project.

Chaparro Villafaña must also defend their territory against illegal land grabbers, even as he is working with scientists to find the cure for a deadly fungus that threatens all harlequin toad species in the Central, South and North America.


November 19, 2022

The Hero in the Labyrinth The Pioneering Work of Joseph Campbell

Ancient stories or those collected by ethnographers; fairy tales, folk tales, and legends from across the globe; the Old Testament as well as Aztec, Egyptian, and Indian myths; The Grimm Fairy Tales and One Thousand and One Nights. Joseph Campbell searched all of the above for hidden patterns, timeless and spaceless forms of the human imagination. He developed the idea of the spiritual unity of human beings when he discovered the existence of universal motifs and topics, such as the virgin birth, the journey into the afterlife, sacrificing kings, and the resurrection of a deity. As James Hillman aptly pointed out, Campbell belonged to a generation of intellectuals born shortly before World War I whose works were created under the influence of 19th-century models of scholarship. The American’s incredible erudition and diligence stemmed from his ambition to create a total synthesis of human spiritual life.

His fascination with Indigenous American mythologies was inspired by the childhood books his parents bought him. He was first and foremost a reader, up until old age. When Alan Watts once asked what type of yoga he practiced, Campbell allegedly replied that his was the yoga of “emphasizing sentences.” Jean Erdman, an avant-garde theater director and dancer (Campbell’s wife of nearly fifty years who died in 2020 at the age of 104), recalled that during one of their first walks in Manhattan, Campbell lent her Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West. Suddenly it started pouring. The young man immediately took off his coat, and she assumed he meant to romantically shield her from the rain. Soon enough she realized he was more interested in protecting the book than her.

However, his adoration for books and his incredible erudition weren’t an obstacle to the other activities he undertook. Campbell abandoned his academic career when he became convinced that teaching others about finding life truths in books was a naive way of deceiving both his students and himself. He learned surfing from the one and only Duke Kahanamoku. He played the saxophone in a jazz band. He was an athlete and a sportsman—he almost qualified for the US national track and field team (not making it to the Olympics was purportedly his life-long regret). He constantly traveled between Europe and America, which resulted in peculiar meetings. He met Jidda Krishnamurti on a steamer in 1924, and the philosopher’s secretary gave Campbell his first book about the Buddha—Edwin Arnold’s The Light of Asia. Thanks to this friendship, later strengthened in the Dutch Castle Eerde where Krishnamurti’s organization was headquartered, Campbell was introduced to the “miraculous world of India’s spiritual culture.”

At the turn of the 1930s he studied medieval literature at the Sorbonne (mostly tales about the quest for the Holy Grail) and enjoyed the aura of bohemian Paris. He then moved to Germany to study Sanskrit. His first book was an analysis of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. His other great literary fascination was Thomas Mann, whom he met and with whom he corresponded.

. . .

Joseph Campbell. Photo courtesy of the Joseph Campbell Foundation (jcf.org)


November 19, 2022

These 84-Year-Old Nazi Photos Paint a Harrowing Picture of Kristallnacht

The images show mobs ransacking Jewish-owned homes, businesses and synagogues in 1938

Sarah Kuta
Daily Correspondent

November 15, 2022

Synagogue on fire
Nazis set an estimated 1,400 synagogues on fire during Kristallnacht. Courtesy of Yad Vashem Photo Archive

On November 9 and 10, 1938, Nazis wreaked havoc on thousands of Jewish-owned businesses, homes and synagogues throughout Germany and Austria. Mobs attacked Jewish families, looted and vandalized shops and torched buildings. Some 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

In the end, more than 90 Jews were killed during the pogroms, which took place nearly a year before the start of World War II and became known as Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass.”

Last week, Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum, shared a series of striking photos from the attacks, bringing renewed awareness to the horrific massacre in remembrance of its 84th anniversary.

Nazi photographers captured the harrowing images during the pogroms in Nuremberg and nearby Fuerth. Some of the photos show the Nazis in the midst of their destruction—ripping couch cushions apart, violently yanking books off of shelves. Others show Jews standing in their pajamas, sometimes with blood on their clothes and bodies.


November 15, 2022

Cool leaf! Study records chimp showing off object in human-like way

Adult ape sharing information and just wanted mother to look at foliage with no motive otherwise, scientists say

Nicola Davis Science correspondent
Mon 14 Nov 2022 15.00 EST

Chimpanzees show each other objects just for the sake of it, researchers have found, revealing it isn’t only humans who like to draw attention to items that have captured their interest.

As anyone who has spent time with a child knows, even very young humans like to point out objects to others. However, it was previously thought this behaviour only occurs in our species.

Now researchers say they have found an instance of a chimpanzee showing her mother a leaf.

“She’s not offering it for food. She doesn’t want her mum to do anything. She just wants them to look at it together, and be like ‘Oh, cool, nice!’,” said Prof Katie Slocombe of the University of York, a co-author of the study.


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