Most outrageous claims by Mr. Menzies in "1421"Geoff WadeClaimFour eunuch admirals-Hong Bao, Zhou Man, Zhou Wen and Yang Qing --led fleets to the Americas, Australia, Greenland and the Antarctic during voyages between 1421 and 1423.FactThere are no Chinese or other texts which suggest in any way that these four eunuchs, or any other Ming commanders, traveled anywhere at all beyond Asia, the Middle East and the East coast of Africa. All other voyages derive solely from Mr. Menzies' imagination. Further, the currents, winds and dates Menzies cites in support would not have carried the ships anywhere near where he claims. In short, there is no archaeological, textual or archival material to support the Menzies thesis as set down in 1421. In this book Menzies intentionally distorts known materials and deliberately alters known facts in order to support his thesis.ClaimSailors and concubines from these fleets settled in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and islands across the Pacific. In evidence, he cites studies of "recent" inflow of "Chinese genes" and "East Asian DNA" into the Americas.FactThere is no evidence of Ming settlement sites in, or even Ming knowledge, of these places until the arrival of the Jesuits in China in the 16th century. The genetic evidence on which Menzies relies is provided by a company whose genetic tests have been labeled a "scam" by Stephen O'Brien, the US National Cancer Institute's laboratory chief.ClaimThere exists a range of wrecks of the ships from these voyages spread around the world, and these are proof of the voyages claimed by Menzies.FactNot one wreck which can be linked with the eunuch voyages in the first 30 years of the 15th century (or indeed any Chinese wreck) has been identified outside of the Asian region.ClaimThe Ming voyagers built celestial observation platforms at 24 places across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Menzies names and provides coordinates for these platforms. (1421, p. 416/17, 457)FactThere is no textual or archaeological evidence to even begin to suggest that the Ming voyagers built observation platforms anywhere in the world. Again, their existence derives only from the fertile imagination of Mr. Menzies.ClaimThe Ming armadas left a range of other built structures around the world, particularly in Australasia and the Americas, including the Newport Round Tower, the Gympie pyramid and other structures and mines. They also left a ship's slipway made of stones on the Bimini islands in the Caribbean.FactNot one of the structures Mr. Menzies cites has been shown to have any links with China. The Bimini "slipway", which is in any case parallel to the shore, has been shown to be a completely natural formation.ClaimThe Chinese "were aware that the earth was a globe and had divided it into 365 and a quarter degrees (the number of days in the year) of latitude and longitude." (1421, p. 449)FactThere is no evidence that during the early Ming, the Chinese had any knowledge of the earth as a globe and certainly none that they were aware of latitude and longitude.ClaimThe Ming voyagers surveyed South America, Antarctica, North America and the Atlantic as well as Australasia. "The whole world was accurately charted by 1428." (1421 p. 411)FactThere is no text or other evidence which suggests that the Ming voyagers went anywhere near these places and no Chinese maps which indicate any surveying of these places. Further, there are no contemporary Ming artifacts found in any of these regions.ClaimA range of European maps show anomalies which can only be explained by accepting the Chinese voyages proposed by Mr. Menzies as having taken placeFactThe cartographic anomalies which Mr. Menzies points to, real or imagined, can be explained through many avenues, the most likely being that Arab navigators, who had been traveling these waters for 600 years before the Chinese, had produced maps of areas they traveled to.ClaimMr. Menzies noted that the Venetian Niccolò da Conti was the crucial and only link between Chinese and European cartographers. Menzies claims that he participated in the voyages over several years and carried Chinese maps back to Europe. He notes that Da Conti "had spent years aboard a junk of the treasure fleet" and that "Chinese maps passed from Da Conti to Fra Mauro, and from him to Dom Pedro of Portugal and Prince Henry the Navigator" (1421, pp. 369, 84-87, 92-93)FactDa Conti, who left us detailed accounts of his travels, recounts neither meeting any Ming envoy in Calicut, nor traveling on any Chinese ship for even a day, nor seeing or receiving any Chinese maps showing a new world. The utter and complete contempt for truth with which Menzies depicts these events is disheartening.ClaimMr. Menzies claims that a number of mylodons (a type of giant sloth) had been taken from South America to New Zealand and China by the Ming ships.FactAll available evidence suggests that the Mylodon has been extinct for several thousand years, which militates somewhat against the likely veracity of Mr. Menzies claims in this respect. But such sloppy research is found throughout the volume. He notes, for example, rubber trees in Malacca 450 years before they had been introduced from South America by the British etc etc ad nauseum.
Written by Tom Lindsay in 2011.
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Give me strength, 2012!
Unless you live in some sort of sweet, delicious isolation, by now you're aware that December 23rd, 2012 is Doomsday. The bulk of my childhood was spent in the 1970s - a time when doomsday predictions were very popular. A series of brutal winters, culminating with the one of 1977-78, was seen as all the evidence that was needed to show that the next Great Ice Age was imminent, biblical prophecy expert Hal Lindsey made a mint with his 1970 book The Late Great Planet Earth, the voice of Leonard Nimoy expounding on asteroid collisions and other end of the world scenarios while narrating the series In Search Of kept me awake at night, and all the while Walter Cronkite brought the news of Middle Eastern terrorism, economic calamity, urban blight, pollution, and an ever increasing tempo in violent crime to our living room every night…good times, good times. Any of this sound familiar? The 70's were also the breeding ground for something else ; New Age mysticism… In 1975, author Frank Waters caused to be published Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth Age of Consciousness, in which he apparently jumbles together both Aztec and Maya philosophies, and arrived at the idea that the coming "end" of the Maya calendar would result in the transformation of world spiritual awareness - whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. Jumping off from there, and straight into loony land, Jose Arguelles published in 1987 The Mayan Factor: The Path Beyond Technology, a book described as being "insanely misguided", and "incoherent"; yet it is this book that has spawned today's countless derivatives, most of which seem to contradict each other, and that's when you can even understand what the hell it is they're trying to say in the first place! Now, let's get one fundamental thing clear; the Maya Calendar does not end in 2012. One cycle rolls over on that date, like an odometer on a car; the twelfth Baktun ends, and the first Piktun begins. At the Maya city of Koba, a monument is inscribed with the date of creation, Maya style - August 13th, 3114BC. On this particular monument, the artists included place-holders for the next 20 future cycles, the amount of time seperating 3114BC to the end of those cycles is, get this, 41,943,040,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years. That's nearly forty-two octillion fucking years! The entire universe is a paltry 13 billion years old in comparison, and in 40 octillion years there will likely be nothing but black holes in the universe. All of this sort of begs the question of how anyone could get the idea of the Maya calendar ending, yes? Along with this pop culture bullshit, we're more often than not served a helping of "According to ancient Maya prophecies..." preceding 2012 claims of doom. Maya prophecies? According to Dr. David Stuart, perhaps the world's most prominent Maya scholar, there is simply no such thing as a Maya prophecy regarding 2012, and there's really only a single inscription that even mentions the date. His own words: Only one ancient inscription refers to the upcoming 18.104.22.168.0 date in 2012, from a now destroyed site named Tortuguero. The question we scholars have struggled with is whether the final few hieroglyphs of that text describe anything about what will happen. A few years ago I put forward a very tentative and incomplete reading of these damaged glyphs, including a possible use of a verb meaning “descend” and a name of a god, Bolon Yokte’. Much of it was iffy and remains so; I’m not sure I believe much of what I wrote back then. More recently my colleague Steve Houston has pointed out the glyphs may not even pertain to that date anyway. So there’s considerable ambiguity just in the reading of the glyphs and the rhetorical structure of the Tortuguero passage. What we can say with confidence is that the ancient Maya left no clear or definite record about 2012 and its significance. There is certainly no ancient claim that the world or any part of it will come to an end. Tres amusant, non? Now, if the calendar doesn't end, if the Maya made no prophecies about 2012, how is any remotely rational person supposed to accept these, to put it politely, fucking insane and moronic claims that a "galactic alignment" is going to wipe us out without spitting laughter right back at them? That's not even going into the fact that my measly 200lb frame exerts more gravitational influence on the Earth than the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky way. Galactic alignment! GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK! All of this raises a question none of these New Age morons have ever thought to present, and I doubt that they'd even acknowledge it if you presented it to them; How is it a people who couldn't even construct a flushing toilet know more about the time in which we live than WE do? (Many thanks to Mike Wong for that line!)
So, a hearty and richly deserved FUCK YOU to our New Age, 2012 Doomsday, Sixth Age of Consciousness friends, and may the Time Cube dwell under their beds and in their closets for all eternity.
Written by Tom Lindsay in 2011.
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PC monitors - tons of copper wire
Yesterday saw the destruction of several junk 1990's computer monitors. As you probably know, there, sat right in plain view on the inside of a monitor is one unearthly amount of approx 0.5mm wrapped copper wire ! These huge bundles sit right before us, but, even seasoned electricians don't normally wish to try and extracate them from the picture tube.
Yesterday I did and it was such the simple process.
Forgive my lack of pictures taken at the time. The process is NOT advisable for those who have no experience inside TV's or PC monitors, but if you do, there's salvaging to be done
Warning - even after being unplugged for many weeks, monitor tubes contain enough voltage to impart a severe electrical shock.
Discharging should always be undertaken...even if you aim to remove PCB coils and transformers more normally associated with wire aquisition.
After removing the screws holding the case on, you can quickly tell if the copper is in a good condition and of what gauge it is. Gauge (for those encountered) has been between approx 0.3mm and 0.6mm.
After cutting all wiring leading to the tube, many pieces of flimsily clipped plastic shrouds were removed. After unscrewing a couple of clamps, the neck rings were lifted off. Then, with various glue points carefully cut through, the whole round copper piece removed. The glue that was used was probably superb back in the 90's, but now will most likely peel away by hand. 2 metal clips usually join the two seperate blocks of wiring together and they can be removed with a screwdriver. What you end up with, is hundreds of feet of copper wire, for about 5 minutes work.
PC monitors of this vintage can be aquired for free or next to nothing at yard/car boot sales.
For me, the copper has found uses within rewinding brushless motors, for R/C aircraft uses.
Just a tip and hopefully of use to anyone else who has old stuff sitting in their shed !
Written by Mark Vaughan in 2011.