Mechanical marvels of the 19th Century

“Here is the most extensive collection of images and information on Victorian-era robots to be found in the whole World Wide Web.
Read illustrated accounts of the world’s first robot, the Steam Man, created in 1865! Subsequent automatons such as the Electric Man and the Automatic Man are also profiled. The most comprehensive section, with more than 20 pages, concerns the mechanical man known as Boilerplate–described as “charming” by U.S. News and World Report (8/26/02) and declared “cool” by NASA!”

The necessity of catastrophe – Salon

“When you look back on a failed relationship, you often wonder how it could have gone on for so long. For months you knew it wasn’t working. Why didn’t you get out before it became an irrevocable disaster? The answer is simple: Because it needed to end in catastrophe. You needed to poison the well and bludgeon your heart beyond repair. You needed to exhaust all your reserves. Anything less, and you’d still be holding out hope. You can always muddle along from minor disaster to minor disaster, but it takes truly heroic stamina to see things through to total catastrophe.

It’s a catastrophe, but it’s the one I need.”

"For a man can lose

“For a man can lose neither the past nor the future; for how can one take from him that which is not his? So remember these two points: first, that each thing is of like form from everlasting and comes round again in its cycle, and that it signifies not whether a man shall look upon the same things for a hundred years or two hundred, or for an infinity of time; second, that the longest lived and the shortest lived man, when they come to die, lose one and the same thing.” Marcus Aurelius “Meditations”

The French really discovered America

BBC Horizon program explores the fascinating story of “Who were the first people in North America?”.

“From where did they come? How did they arrive? The prehistory of the Americas has been widely studied. Over 70 years a consensus became so established that dissenters felt uneasy challenging it. Yet in 2001, genetics, anthropology and a few shards of flint combined to overturn the accepted facts and to push back one of the greatest technological changes that the Americas have ever seen by over five millennia.”

Looks like Europeans settled in the America’s first – before the mass migrations form Asia. This could account for Kennewick man. It also raises questions about the fate of those settlers. Were they killed off by the ingressing Asians? Were they assimilated? Did they move elsewhere?

The whole question is highly charged as various identity politics groups could be undermined by it. Proponents of this new theory are attacked as heretics. It it simply is not politically correct to suggest that white Europeans were the original Americans.

S.Africa Prison Gangs Use AIDS Rape as Punishment

“JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African prison gangs are using HIV infection as punishment, ordering gang members carrying the AIDS virus to rape disobedient inmates in a ritual known as “slow puncture,” officials said Thursday.
A spokesman for the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons confirmed that the new practice first came to light about six months ago and was believed to be spreading.

The inspectorate’s director Gideon Morris told a government commission on Wednesday that the rape would be carried out by one person, or sometimes several.

“They give him a ‘slow puncture’, meaning he will die over a period of time,” Morris said. “It’s a new phenomenon.””