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Mother Jones marching with striking laborers.

 

Mother Jones marching with striking laborers.

“Pray for the dead; fight like hell for the living!”  –Mother Jones

Happy Labor Day to All Working People!

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Harrison Ford has paid a painful price for his desire to protect the rain forest.  The 65-year-old movie star had his chest hair waxed for a commercial for Conservation International.  The commercial was produced to increase awareness about the effect of deforestation on global warming. 

The actor, famous for countless films,  usually does not take part in commercials.  In this case, however, Ford sits on the board of directors of the Washington-based environmental organization Conservation International.

Ford agreed to do the 30-second television spot.  “I didn’t have to talk him into anything,” Conservation International CEO Seligmann says. “I was there when he filmed it. It really hurt. There’s nothing about the expression on his face that was fake.”

So what was Ford’s important message?  “Every bit of rain forest that gets ripped out over there, really hurts us over here.”  Thank you Harrison Ford for supporting such an important and noble cause

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In honor of the new Indiana Jones movie coming out, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls, I decided to post about the “actual” crystal skulls, even though their historical authenticity has been all but blasted away.

The legend is that the ancient Mayans or Aztecs crafted 13 crystal skulls made out of solid pieces of quartz crystal.  These were then scattered around the world.  When the world was in grave peril, somebody would find the crystal skulls, bring them back to Central America, and save the world from destruction.

A nice story, but are these skulls actually from the 500-year-old Central American civilization?  Probably not. 

The Famous Hedges Crystal Skull

Perhaps the most famous and enigmatic skull was allegedly discovered in 1924 by Anna de Guillon Hedges.  She claimed to have found it buried in a ruin in Belize.  The skull was made from a block of clear quartz about the size of a small human cranium, measuring some 13 cm high, 18 cm long and 10.5 cm wide. The lower jaw is detached.  Naturally, supernatural claims were made about this and all the skulls.  Some believed them to be bad luck.  Others thought they had healing powers.  They were said to have a constant temperature at 21 degrees Celcius.  Jungle animal calls were thought to be heard eminating from the skulls.  Also, the original inspector of the skull said that there were no scratch marks from tools being used to craft the skull, thus some people thought that the makers had alien help.

Although fake skulls were often used in Mayan and Aztec sacrificial rites, researchers who later tested the skull found it to be a fake.  It was probably made in the 19th to 20th centuries with the help of rotary drills…a luxury ancient Central American societies did not have.  Despite proving these skulls fake, this does not stop the crystal skull mania.  Perhaps it is a desire to connect with those ancient peoples, or perhaps it is simply that people are way too gullible.  Either way, the crystal skulls will remain a huge factor in our modern culture.

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Some people may argue that this is in Africa or should be in a category in and of itself (Middle East), but it lies not on the African tectonic plate, so I decided to put it in the Asia category.  This archaeological site is famous for being in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

petr.jpg
Petra

Petra is a city that was rediscovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig in 1812 in Jordan.  It can now be reached by the Siq Gorge (The Valley of the Crescent Moon in Indiana Jones), which is a crag in the rock that sometimes is no wider than 2 meters.  At the end of the mile-long passage, comes into site the Khazana, or Treasury building built in the Greek style of architecture right into the surrounding 130 foot-high cliff side.  It was constructed in 56 B.C. by an Arab tribe, the Nabateans, who made the city a center for trade.  The two square mile city was very well protected.  In the site there are many more buildings and houses built into the cliffs. 

The best times to see this site are dawn and dusk, as the site has an amazing feel of antiquity and history and the stone turns blood-red everywhere.  The best times of year to travel here are from March to May and September to November.  The site has a great Bedouin feel and has survived the test of time.  The simple architecture and gardens make Petra an oasis for all.

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