Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Nazca Lines: A Mystery on the Plains


In the Peruvian Desert, about 200 miles south of Lima, there lies a plain between the Inca and Nazca (sometimes also spelled Nasca) Valleys. Across this plain, in an area measuring 37 miles long and 1-mile wide, is an assortment of perfectly-straight lines, many running parallel, others intersecting, forming a grand geometric form. In and around the lines there are also trapezoidal zones, strange symbols, and pictures of birds and beasts all etched on a giant scale that can only be appreciated from the sky.

The figures come in two types: biomorphs and geoglyphs. The biomorphs are some 70 animal and plant figures that include a spider, hummingbird, monkey and a 1,000-foot-long pelican. The biomorphs are grouped together in one area on the plain. Some archaeologists believe they were constructed around 200 BC, about 500 years before the geoglyphs.

There are about 900 geoglyphs on the plain. Geoglyphs are geometric forms that include straight lines, triangles, spirals, circles and trapezoids. They are enormous in size. The longest straight line goes nine miles across the plain.

Discovery and Meaning

 Though discovered by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe who spotted them while hiking through the surrounding foothills in 1927, the forms are so difficult to see from the ground that they were not widely known until the 1930's when aircraft spotted them while surveying for water. The plain, crisscrossed, by these giant lines with many forming rectangles, has a striking resemblance to a modern airport. The Swiss writer, Erich von Daniken, even suggested they had been built for the convenience of ancient visitors from space to land their ships. As tempting as it might be to subscribe to this theory, the desert floor at Nazca is soft earth and loose stone, not tarmac, and would not support the landing wheels of either an aircraft or a flying saucer.

So why are the lines there? The American explorer Paul Kosok, who made his first visit to Nazca in the 1940s, suggested that the lines were astronomically significant and that the plain acted as a giant observatory. He called them "the largest astronomy book in the world." Gerald Hawkins, an American astronomer, tested this theory in 1968 by feeding the position of a sample of lines into a computer and having a program calculate how many lines coincided with an important astronomical event. Hawkins showed the number of lines that were astronomically significant were only about the same number that would be the result of pure chance. This makes it seem unlikely Nazca is an observatory.

Perhaps the best theory for the lines and symbols belongs to Tony Morrison, the English explorer. By researching the old folk ways of the people of the Andes mountains, Morrison discovered a tradition of wayside shrines linked by straight pathways. The faithful would move from shrine to shrine praying and meditating. Often the shrine was as simple as a small pile of stones. Morrison suggests that the lines at Nazca were similar in purpose and on a vast scale. The symbols may have also served as special enclosures for religious ceremonies.

Construction of the Lines

How were they built? The lines were apparently made by brushing away the reddish, iron oxide covered pebbles that compose the desert surface and uncovering the white colored sand underneath. In most places wind, rain and erosion would quickly remove all traces of this within a few years. At Nazca, though, the lines have been preserved because it is such a windless, dry and isolated location.

A writer by the name of Jim Woodman believes that the lines and figures could not have been made without somebody in the air to direct the operations. "You simply can't see anything from ground level," states Woodman. "You can't appreciate any of it from anywhere except from above. You can't tell me the Nazca builders would have gone to the monumental efforts they did without ever being able to see it."

Woodman has proposed that ancient hot-air balloons were used to get an aerial view of the construction. To prove his hypothesis, Woodman constructed a balloon using materials that would have been available to the Nazca people. He was able to conduct a successful flight, though it only lasted two minutes.

It is more likely that the Nazca people used simple surveying techniques in their work. Straight lines can be made easily for great distances with simple tools. Two wooden stakes placed as a straight line would be used to guide the placement of a third stake along the line. One person would sight along the first two stakes and instruct a second person in the placement of the new stake. This could be repeated as many times as needed to make an almost perfectly-straight line miles in length. Evidence that the line makers used this technique exists in the form of the remains of a few stakes found at the ends of some of the lines.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tanot Mata, Rajsthan - A Mysterious Temple


Tannot Mata is a temple in western State of Rajasthan in District Jaisalmer of India As per the oldest Charan literature Tannot Mata is new clone of divine goddess Hinglaj Mata, and than after Tannot Mata becomes Karni Mata, And known as Goddess Of Charan'sTannot Basically The village is close to the border with Pakistan, and is very close to the battle site of Longewala of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, indeed some credit the temple for the outcome of the battle. Tourists cannot go beyond this temple to see the Indo–Pak Border unless one gets the relevant documentation in advance from the District and Military Authorities. It is now a tourist destination in India.


It is said that during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Pakistani Army dropped over 3000 bombs targeting the temple but not even one exploded! The Pakistani Tank regiment was stupefied and kept shelling but not one bomb exploded. After the war the Pakistani General actually asked his counterpart in India about this incident and on knowing the story of the power of the temple that apparently protected the area he asked to see this place. This request was granted and the Pakistani General actually went to the temple and paid his respects and acknowledged the supernatural happening. After the war the temple management was handed over to Border Security Force of India on their request and to date the temple is maintained and manned by the BSF soldiers. The temple has a museum which has collections of the unexploded bombs that were shot by pakistani tanks. 
In 1971 again when Pakistan and India went to war this area was again targeted by the Pakistani Tanks for 4 days but again all the tanks were stuck in the sand and the Indian Air Force picked them out easily by bombing them where they stood as they were unable to move even one inch. Over 200 pakistani tank troops were killed here and the majority actually left their stuk tanks and ran for their lives. This Temple has protected the area that is only 10 km from the border outpost and the faith is such that the army and BSF soldiers still stop at this temple and apply the sand on their foreheads and also to their vehicles which keeps them safe and their journeys fruitful. The legend is since 1965 and was re-affirmed in 1971 and it is a recorded fact that each and every enemy soldier who dared to attack this area was killed. The Population of Tanot Village is 492 Person having 49 Household.[3] The place is close to the Pakistan border, an infertile land, and is prone to enemy attacks. The governments of both countries have planted land mines in the area. Animals like camel or cattle are the worst sufferer of these devices.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Brief History of Singapore


If you are new to Singapore, you’re probably wondering how this small city-state in Southeast Asia with a total land area measuring only 273 square miles (707.1 square kilometers) and one of the youngest nations in the world became one of its most successful.
The answer lies in a unique set of geography and history – Singapore’s strategic location on the major sea route between India and China, its excellent harbor, and its free-trade harbor status granted by its visionary founder Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. However, while Sir Stamford Raffles created the framework for Singapore’s early success, it was Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who shaped the first quarter-century of Singapore’s existence as an independent nation and defined the path to its current success. What follows is a brief history of the country’s origins from a colonial outpost to the developed nation that it is today.

Mythical Origins

Recent studies have verified that lions have never lived on Singapore but legend has it that a 14th century Sumatran prince spotted an auspicious beast (probably a Malayan tiger) upon landing on the island after a thunderstorm. Thus, the name Singapore comes from the Malay words “Singa” for lion and “Pura” for city. Prior to European settlement, the island now known as Singapore was the site of a Malay fishing village and inhabited by several hundred indigenous Orang Laut people.

The Founding of Modern Singapore

In late 1818, Lord Hastings – the British Governor General of India – appointed Lieutenant General Sir Stamford Raffles to establish a trading station at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula.  The British were extending their dominion over India and their trade with China was expanding. They saw the need for a port of call to “refit, revitalize and protect their merchant fleet” as well as to prevent any advances made by the Dutch in the East Indies.
After surveying other nearby islands in 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles and the rest of the British East India Company landed on Singapore, which was to become their strategic trading post along the spice route.  Eventually Singapore became one of the most important commercial and military centers of the British Empire. The island was the third British acquisition in the Malay Peninsula after Penang (1786) and Malacca (1795). These three British Settlements (Singapore, Penang and Malacca) became the Straights Settlements in 1826, under the control of British India. By 1832, Singapore became the center of government of the three areas. On 1 April 1867, the Straights Settlements became a Crown Colony and was ruled by a governor under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office in London.

Loosening Britain’s Stronghold

During World War II, Singapore was occupied by the Japanese.  British Prime Minister Winston Churchill described this “as the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history”. In the aftermath of the war, the country faced staggering problems of high unemployment, slow economic growth, inadequate housing, decaying infrastructure, labor strikes and social unrest. Nevertheless, it sparked a political awakening among the local population and saw the rise of anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments, as epitomized by the slogan “Merdeka” which means “independence” in the Malay language.
In 1959, Singapore became a self-governing state within the British Empire with Yusof Bin Ishak as its first Yang de-Pertuan Negara (Malay for “Someone who is the eminent Master of the State”) and Lee Kuan Yew as its first and long-standing Prime Minister (he served until 1990). Before joining the Federation of Malaysia along with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak, Singapore declared independence from Britain unilaterally in August 1963. Two years later, Singapore left the federation after heated ideological conflicts arose between the Singapore government’s major political party called the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the federal Kuala Lumpur goverment. On 9 August 1965, Singapore officially gained sovereignty. Yusof Bin Ishak sworn in as its first president and Lee Kuan Yew remained prime minister.
With independence came bleak, if not precarious economic prospects. According to Barbara Leitch Lepoer, the editor of Singapore: A Country Study (1989): “Separation from Malaysia meant the loss of Singapore’s economic hinterland, and Indonesia’s policy of military confrontation directed at Singapore and Malaysia had dried up the entrepot from that direction.” According to the same book, Singapore also faced the loss of 20 percent of its jobs with the announcement of Britain’s departure from the island’s bases in 1968.

Road to Success

Instead of demoralizing Singapore, these problems motivated Singapore’s leadership to focus on the nation’s economy. With Cambridge-educated lawyer Lee Kuan Yew at its helm, the Singaporean government was aggressive in promoting export-oriented, labor-extensive industrialization through a program of incentives to attract foreign investment. After all, Singapore still had its strategic location to its advantage.
By 1972, one-quarter of Singapore’s manufacturing firms were either foreign-owned or joint-venture companies, and both USA and Japan were major investors. As a result of Singapore’s steady political climate, favorable investment conditions and the rapid expansion of the world economy from 1965 to 1973, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) experienced annual double-digit growth.
With the economic boom of the late 1960s and 1970s, new jobs were created in the private sector.  The government provision of subsidized housing, education, health services and public transportation generated new jobs in the public sector. The Central Provident Fund, the country’s comprehensive social security scheme sustained by compulsory contributions by employer and employee, provided the necessary capital for government projects and financial security for the country’s workers in their old age.
By the late 1970s, the government changed its strategic focus to skill and technology-intensive, high value-added industries and away from labor-intensive manufacturing. In particular, information technology was given priority for expansion and Singapore became the world’s largest producer of disk drives and disk drive parts in 1989. In the same year, 30 percent of the country’s GDP was due to earnings from manufacturing.
Singapore’s international and financial services sector was and still is one of the fastest growing sectors of its economy accounting for nearly 25 percent of the country’s GDP in the late 1980s. In the same year, Singapore ranked with Hong Kong as the two most important Asian financial centers after Tokyo. By 1990, Singapore played host to more than 650 multinational companies and several thousand financial institutions and trading firms. On the political front, Goh Chok Tong succeeded Lee Kuan Yew and in 2004 Lee Hsien Loong, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, became Singapore’s third prime minister.

Singaporean Identity

Out of 5.312 million Singaporeans, 3.285 million are Singapore citizens and roughly 0.533 million are Singapore permanent residents. Chinese, Malays and Indians comprise the three official ethnic groups in the country. With such a multi-ethnic population, the country’s leadership envisioned a Singaporean identity that calls for “rugged individualism with an emphasis on excellence”.

Summary

The island’s initial success resulted from its role as a conveniently located and duty-free entrepot for the three-way trade among China, India and the Malay archipelago. By the late 19th century, the British overloads of Singapore had extended their influence throughout the Malay peninsula and the port of Singapore acquired a rich hinterland of resources.
When the British failed to protect Singapore from Japanese occupation during World War II, they lost their credibility with the Singaporeans.  The aftermath sparked an outpouring of anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments. After the Merger with Malaysia and the subsequent separation, the former colonial port of Singapore become a leader in global financing and trading in the 1970s. Today, it continues to wittingly maneuver its way in the world of international trade, just as it had done in the 19th century, and a large part of that success is owed to its government’s pro-industrialization policies and excellence-oriented multi-ethnic people.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

25 Pictures that will make you completely re-evaluate your existence

1. This is where we all live, our Earth.

2. This the solar system, our “neighborhood”.

via: foxnews.com

3. This is the scaled distance between Earth and Moon. You thought the moon was farther?

we-are-tiny-24

4. What if I told you that between Earth and moon you could fit every planet of our solar system?

via: reddit.com
via: reddit.com

5. If you still don’t have a measure of how tiny we are, here is North America compared to Jupiter.

6. You could line up SIX Earths on the Saturn’s rings.

7. And here is how our sky would look like if Earth had rings like Saturn.

via: io9.com
via: io9.com

8. This is a comet, compared to Los Angeles. Big, isn’t it?

9. If that was big, here is the sun, and we are that tiny little point down there.

via: twitter.com

10. And here is how we look like from the moon.

NASA
NASA

11. And from Mars.

NASA
NASA

12. From Saturn.

NASA
NASA

13. And from Neptune, 4 billion miles away.

NASA
NASA

14. But let’s look again at how we look like compared to the sun. It blows my mind every time.

15. That little dot is the sun, seen from Mars.

NASA
NASA

16. Did you know that there are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth?

17. And between all these stars, many are much bigger than our sun. Take a look at how it looks compared to VY Canis Majoris.

18. And galaxies are incredibly bigger. Just so you understand: if the sun was a blood cell, the Milky Way would be as big as the United States!

via: reddit.com
via: reddit.com

19. The Milky Way is enormous. Here is where we are inside it.

via: teecraze.com

20. It’s mind blowing to think that all the stars we can see to the naked eye at night are just part of this yellow circle.

via: twitter.com

21. But don’t you ever think the Milky Way is the biggest galaxy in space. Here it is compared to Ic 1011!

via: twitter.com

22. This is a picture taken from the Hubble telescope. In just this space there are millions of galaxies, each and everyone of them containing million of stars, each with planets orbiting around them.

23. This is one of these galaxies. It’s named UDF 423, and it’s 10 billion light years away. Do you know what this means? It means that it’s light takes 10 billion years to reach the Earth. Basically, by looking at this galaxy you are looking 10 billion years into the past!

via: wikisky.org

24. Keep in mind that every single inch of your vision of the night sky contains billions of galaxies, stars, planets.

via: thetoc.gr
via: thetoc.gr

25. But it’s not all roses out there. Here is a black hole compared to our orbit. A black hole is a region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that no particle or light ray entering that region can ever escape from it.

So whenever you think about your life and existence, about the good and bad in this world, keep in mind that we are just a tiny, little dot lost in space. Just a little recap. This is where we live.

photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin  (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is how we look like in our solar system.

photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin  (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

And in our interstellar neighborhood.

photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin  (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Our neighborhood compared to our galaxy.

photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin  (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

And how it looks like from farther.

photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin  (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s zoom out a little more.

photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin  (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Some more.

photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin  (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

And here we are, here is the observable universe. Everything we said before fits in that little red dot. Impressive, right?

photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin  (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
photo credits: Andrew Z. Colvin (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Thinking about how tiny and insignificant we are compared to the universe totally blew my mind

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