THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 274

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 274

…Whatever the season, whatever the reason, this is a joyful moment in the extensive history of Eridanus…

… Back at the wedding “party” and ever the prankster, Sampson insists Fortän judge the liquidLoudmouth Soup refreshment that has loosened the collar of more than one celebrator. She liked it so much that she requested a whole glass and when the brew hit home, it would be hard to get a word in edgewise.

She is quite lucid, in an entertaining sort of way, allowing a real personality to shine through. Mental perfection is quite a narrow path to take and sometimes it takes a little lubrication to expose one’s humanoid-ity.

Whatever the season, whatever the reason, this is a joyful moment in the extensive history of Eridanus {which spans countless millennia} and an untold story for a planet {Earth which is an infant by comparison} which could use some good news for a change —

— Having Ekcello wrapped around her pinkie finger, Celeste has a major role in arranging the ceremony that sets the cements her son and his daughter for all time… which to her surprise is Weddingdirectly, yes sometime BEFORE childbirth. She does not question the time-honored Eridanian ritual rather she injects as many tasteful Earthly touches as possible, for the comfort of her clan.

Probably the most enduring custom, that of having a Maid-of-Honor and Best Man, is a lock-down must. On the guy side, Gussy is the obvious choice, with Sampson a close second. Cerella chooses another heiress, from a towered city on the other side of the planet, who is as close to a best friend as things go here. She and Zina were born in the same century and as personal contact goes, their minds seem to be tuned to the same tune. —


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 274


page 318

Contents TRT

Changing the World – Unknown Contributions

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Little Known

People Who

Changed the World

For many different reasons, the people on this list aren’t household names, but they had a major impact on the world. In some cases, there is something physically unique that is found only in them. Others have done something that has had a massive, rippling effect throughout history that we still feel today.

 Some of the people on this list, who are as anonymous to you as that weird neighbor you actively avoid when taking out the trash, are responsible for saving millions of lives. In other cases, they have caused millions of deaths. So again, probably like that weird neighbor.

10. James Harrison

In 1951, Australian James Harrison was 14 and had to undergo major surgery to remove one of his lungs. After he woke up from the procedure, his father explained to him that during his surgery, he was given 13 units of blood; all of it was from random strangers. As Harrison lay in bed recovering, he had time to think, and realized that without the donated blood, he would have died, so he vowed to donate blood as soon as he was old enough.

Four years later, Harrison started to donate, and not long afterwards, doctors noticed something unique in Harrison’s blood. What is unique about his blood has to do with blood group systems. There are 35 of them, and the most common is ABO. For example, most people have O-positive or A-positive blood.

The second most common blood group is the Rh blood group. The problem with Rh was that if a woman had Rh-negative blood and she was pregnant with a fetus that had Rh-positive blood, it would lead to rhesus disease. The disease caused women to develop antibodies that attack the fetus’ blood cells because they are foreign. This often resulted in brain damage and miscarriages. Thousands of babies died every year because of it.

What the doctors found in Harrison’s blood is a unique and very rare antibody. Using the antibody, doctors developed an injection called Anti-D that prevents rhesus disease; one of the first of its kind. As a result of his blood, it’s believed that 2 million babies have been saved.

9. John Bardeen

John Bardeen was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in May 1908, and was a gifted child. He enrolled in engineering at the University of Wisconsin when he was just 15. After school, he got a job as a geophysicist with Gulf Oil. He spent three years working as a geophysicist, but he didn’t care for the job so he went to Princeton and got his PhD in mathematical physics.

After a three year stint as a junior fellow at Harvard, Bardeen got a job at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1945. While working with William Shockley and Walter Brattain, they invented the transistor. Transistors could replace vacuum tubes in electronics, which were big and bulky, so with transistors, components and electronics could be miniaturized. Eventually, transistors would become important in the evolution of computers. For their work, Bardeen, Shockley, and Brattain were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956.

After helping create a life-changing invention, Bardeen went back to work on something that interested him throughout his life – superconductivity. Working with L.N. Cooper and J.R. Schrieffer, they developed the BCS theory of superconductivity, which is the foundation of all work in superconductivity that came afterwards. The theory explains why there is little to no electrical resistance when materials reach temperatures that are close to absolute zero. This theory led to inventions like CAT scans and MRIs. The theory also led to Bardeen’s second Nobel Prize for Physics in 1972, making him one of four people to win two Nobel prizes and the only person to win it twice for physics.

Despite winning two Nobel prizes that changed everyday life, Bardeen isn’t well known outside the world of science.

8. Olaudah Equiano

In contemporary times, we know that slavery is wrong. Enslaving another human is easily one of the worst things someone can do. It’s cruel and dehumanizing, to say the least. However, as you surely know, for a long time not everyone thought that way. Someone who is responsible for helping to change many minds on slavery was Olaudah Equiano.

Supposedly, Equiano and his sister were kidnapped at around the age of 11 by local slave traders in what is today Nigeria. They were separated days later, and Equiano was shipped to Barbados, where he experienced the horrifying middle passage, which is where slaves were locked in cages and shipped across the Atlantic from their homes in Africa to the New World. He eventually ended up in Virginia. Unfortunately, there is no way to verify the story of his early life. However, after he arrived in Virginia, there are plenty of records to back up the claims he would later make.

In Virginia, he was sold to an officer with the Royal Navy and spent eight years traveling the seas. During this time, he learned to read and write. He was also given the name Gustavus Vassa. He was then sold to a merchant where he worked as a deckhand, a valet, and a barber. He also did some trading on the side, and within three years he made enough to purchase his own freedom.

For the next 20 years, Equiano traveled the world and became active in the abolitionist movement in Europe. But most importantly, in 1798, he was the first former slave to publish an autobiography – The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African. The book was hugely popular and made Equiano a well-known activist.

What his book did was give a new perspective on slavery, because he gave a firsthand account. Thousands of people either read his book or listened to him speak, making him incredibly influential when it came to changing the laws around slavery.

The Slave Trade in England was finally abolished in 1807, 10 years after Equiano’s death.

7. Joseph Lister

Isn’t it nice that people have better than a 50/50 chance of living if they have to amputate a limb? Or how about the fact that people can now have surgery and not have to fight getting sepsis by only using hopes and prayers? Well, the person to thank for that is English surgeon Joseph Lister, who is hailed as the father of modern surgery.

Lister came up with common practices that are still used, and will always be used, by doctors and surgeons. This includes practices like doctors have to wash their hands and sterilize their surgical instruments. Which seems like amazingly basic stuff today, but somehow more amazingly, he was apparently the first surgeon to use methods that now just seem like common sense. He came up with the idea in 1865, based on Louis Pasteur’s theory that microorganisms cause infection.

While Lister was honored in the medical community, and had a mouthwash named after him, he never reached the fame that other doctors received despite developing techniques that have saved countless lives over the past 150 years.

6. Henrietta Lacks

Loretta Pleasant was born in Roanoke, Virginia, in August 1920, and she would later change her name to Henrietta. Her mother died when she was 4 and she was sent to live with her grandfather, who lived in a log cabin that had previously existed as slave quarters on a plantation. She shared a room with her cousin, David Lacks. 10 years later, when Henrietta was 14, she gave birth to a baby boy that David fathered. Four years later, they had a daughter, and then they got married in 1941.

In January 1951, they were living in Maryland and Henrietta went to the only hospital in the area that treated African-Americans, John Hopkins, because she had pain and bleeding in the abdomen. Sadly, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. For several months, Henrietta went to get radiation treatment and during one of her treatment sessions, doctors took two samples of the tumor without her knowledge. Henrietta passed away on October 4, 1951, at the age of 31, but part of her never died.

For decades, scientists at John Hopkins had tried to grow tissue, but they weren’t very successful; usually the cells died after a few days. However, for some reason Henrietta’s cells were much more durable. Dr. George Otto Gey was able to isolate and multiply a specific cell belonging to Henrietta, making it the first time immortal cells were grown in culture.

The cell line, called HeLa, became quite popular in the scientific community and it was a crucial part of many important discoveries and breakthroughs. For example, it was used in the discovery of the vaccination for polio and her cells were used in the first space missions to see what would happen to human cells in space. The cell line was also important when it came to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and cloning. The cell line is still popular and there are over 10,000 patents that used the HeLa cell line in their development.

However, the family of Henrietta had no idea her cells were being used until 1970. For years they tried to gain control of the cell line with little success. Then in 2013, Henrietta’s genome sequence was published without the family’s knowledge or permission, which is a huge violation of privacy. After this happened, the National Institutes of Health asked two descendants of Henrietta’s to join the HeLa Genome Data Access working group, which looks at how the cells are used. Finally, the family gained a little bit of control over the cell line.

5. Mohamed Bouazizi

In 2011, Mohamed Bouazizi was 26-years-old and lived in the small, impoverished city of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. Bouazizi was the main breadwinner for his family of eight, making his living from selling fruits and vegetables in a market. His family said that his dream was to buy a pickup truck to replace the cart that he used to sell his wares.

On December 17, 2010, a female municipal inspector named Media Hamdi confiscated Bouazizi’s fruit-weighing scales for not having a vending license. Bouazizi had been hassled in the past by government officials, but this incident got particularly ugly. Supposedly, when Bouazizi tried to pay a fine, or a bribe depending on who you ask, Hamdi became enraged.She supposedly slapped him, spit at him, and insulted his dead father.

Humiliated, Bouazizi went to the provincial headquarters to complain. When he couldn’t get anyone to speak to him, he went and got some gasoline. When he returned to the headquarters, he poured the gas over himself and set himself on fire. Bouazizi didn’t die right away, taking over two weeks to succumb to his injuries on January 4, 2011.

 Before he died, people were already drawing inspiration from his act of self-immolation. At the time, Tunisia was under the rule of the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who took over the country in a bloodless coup in 1987. Under his rule, corruption spread and unemployment, especially among recent university graduates, was very high in the country. When Bouazizi set himself on fire, it was falsely reported that he was university educated and despite it not being true, it made the narrative of his death more powerful to his fellow countrymen.

Nevertheless, Bouazizi’s death, that stemmed from his frustration of dealing with a corrupt government headed by a dictator, became symbolic and inspired mass protests in Tunisia. Due to the civil unrest, Ben Ali went into exile in early 2011 and in 2014, they had their first free and fair election since gaining independence in 1956.

These protests also inspired people in other countries in the area to protest, giving birth to the Arab Spring. The Arab Spring has led to three other dictators being ousted or overthrown and the ongoing civil war in Syria.

4. Rosalind Franklin

Born in 1920 in England, Rosalind Franklin decided at the age of 15 that she wanted to be a scientist. When she was old enough, she attended Cambridge University and at 26 she received her PhD in chemistry. After her schooling, Franklin began working with a technique called X-ray diffraction, which is using X-rays to create images of crystallized solids. This allowed her to look at something at a molecular level.

In 1950, Franklin went to work at King’s College in London. Her job was to use X-ray diffraction to look at DNA. During her time there, she came close to providing an answer to how DNA is structured, but she never got a chance to figure it out because a co-worker named Maurice Wilkins cheated her out of the opportunity to do so.

When Franklin started working at King’s College, Wilkins was on vacation. When he came back, he claimed not to know what Franklin’s role was in the lab and just assumed that, because she was a woman, she was there to assist him in his work. Franklin, on the other hand, did not know that anyone else was working on DNA, so she shared information about her work with Wilkins. Another problem was that Franklin and Wilkins had clashing personalities, leading to a contentious workplace. All of these elements would come together and forever change history, while completely cheating Franklin out of credit for her work.

In May 1952, Franklin and her PhD student, Raymond Gosling, captured an X-ray diffraction image called Photograph 51, which was a piece of DNA. Without her knowledge, Wilkins showed the picture to American biologist James Watson and when he saw it, something clicked. Watson and a molecular biologist named Francis Crick used Photograph 51 to write an article explaining that DNA had a double helix structure. The article was published in Nature in April 1953 and in it, they failed to credit Franklin for her contribution to the discovery.

At this point, Franklin’s relationship with King’s College was strained and the head of her department let her quit on the condition that she never again work on DNA. At her new job at Birkbeck College, she wrote 17 papers and her team created the foundation for structural virology. In 1956, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died two years later on April 16, 1958, at the age of 37.

Four years later, in 1962, Watson, Crick and, unbelievably, Maurice Wilkins were given the Nobel Prize for Medicine, but Franklin has never been given official recognition for her contributions to one of the biggest discoveries in modern science.

3. Norman Borlaug

Norman Borlaug was born in Cresco, Iowa, in March 1914. When he was 27, he got his PhD in plant protection. In the 1930s and 1940s, he went to work in Mexico and helped the farmers there by improving their techniques and methods. He also developed a special type of wheat for them, called dwarf wheat, which is ideal for being grown in Mexico. By 1956, thanks to Borlaug’s work Mexico had become self-sufficient with wheat.

Around the same time, other countries around the world were experiencing population explosions and their governments were having a hard time producing enough food for all their citizens. Two countries that were plagued by food shortages due to increasing populations were India and Pakistan. During the 1960s, Borlaug brought his techniques and dwarf wheat to India and Pakistan, which improved their agricultural systems immensely.

In 1970, Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but the award never made him a celebrity. Instead, he continued to work in developing countries, trying to improve their agriculture systems, for five decades. It’s believed that because of Borlaug’s five decades of work, a billion people were saved.

Borlaug, who is considered a central figure in the Green Revolution, died in September 2009 at the age of 95.

2. Dona Marina

Dona Marina was born with the name Malintzin around 1501 to a noble Aztec family. Her father, who was a chief, died when she was very young. Her mother remarried and that marriage produced a son, and most likely at the urging of her stepfather who wanted his son to be chief, Malintzin was sold into slavery.

She was sent to the city of Tabasco, and by the time she arrived she could speak the languages of both the Aztecs, which was called Nahuatl, and the Mayans. In 1519, Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in the city of Tabasco, and he was given 20 female slaves, which he baptized. One of those slaves was Malintzin, who he christened Dona Marina.

Not long afterwards, Cortés learned that Marina could speak both Mayan and Nahuatl. This was important because Cortés had a priest who was a slave that could speak both Mayan and Spanish. Using the two interpreters, Cortés passed along messages of peace to the leader of the Aztecs, Montezuma.

Marina, who clearly had a gift for languages, quickly learned to speak Spanish and Cortés used her as an interpreter when his forces started to attack non-Aztec cities. What would happen is that the Spanish would attack the non-Aztec Indians, but then back off. Marina was then brought in to negotiate peace. Part of the negotiation was that she also asked them for their help with Spain’s upcoming war against the Aztecs. The non-Aztec Indians agreed to help not only to save their own cities from the Spanish, but also because the Aztecs used their cities as farms for human sacrifices. They hated it, but they were never strong enough to do anything about it.

All of Marina’s work would pay off for Cortés and the Spanish forces because when they invaded the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, the Aztecs were surprised because they thought that they were coming in peace. In fact, they welcomed Cortés and his men in their city. Not only was their guard down, but since the Spanish had forged alliances with the non-Aztec Indians, the Aztecs found themselves outnumbered and out-weaponed and they were conquered in just two years.

Besides helping with the logistics of bringing down the Aztec empire, Marina was also Cortés’ mistress. She got pregnant and gave birth to a son, Martín Cortés, making him the first Mestizo, which is a person who has both European and Amerindian blood.

While Marina could be considered a traitor because she did help foreigners take over her native land, the people of her time respected her. She is credited with saving thousands of lives by being able to negotiate peace instead of Cortés declaring all out war.

Of course, the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs not only gave birth to the country of Mexico, but it also led to the colonization of South America.

1. Gavrilo Princip

We told you at the beginning, not everyone on this list is responsible for lives saved. Now we get to millions of lives that were lost. While there were many contributing factors that led to the start of World War I, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is considered the spark that set it off.

On June 28, 1914, Ferdinand, who was the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was doing a tour of the newly acquired state of Bosnia. A group of Bosnian-born Serbs weren’t happy they were now under Austrian rule, so they decided to assassinate the heir to their throne.

The most famous version of the story is that a grenade was thrown at the motorcade by Nedeljko Cabrinovic, but it was an old grenade and had a 10 second fuse on it. So it didn’t do anything to Ferdinand’s car, instead causing chaos that led Ferdinand’s limo to flee from the motorcade. Cabrinovic then swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped into the river. However, the pill was past its expiration date so it didn’t kill him, it just made him sick. Also, the river was only four inches deep, so he was arrested… a sequence so hilarious we wish footage existed so we could set it to the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme song.

Anyway, one of Cabrinovic’s allies, 20-year-old Gavrilo Princip, watched the failed assassination attempt, and decided to leave. He walked a few streets over to a deli, where he ordered a sandwich. Meanwhile, Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, who had been hiding out in the town hall, decided to go to the hospital to visit the men who were injured by the grenade. However, along the way their limo driver got lost and they ended up on the same street where Princip was eating a sandwich. Seeing his opportunity, Princip pulled out a pistol and fired two bullets; the first one hit Sophie and the second hit Ferdinand. They were both killed in the shooting and Princip was arrested.

It’s certainly an interesting story that a series of coincidences sparked the First World War, but it’s probably not true. First off, sandwiches weren’t really popular in Bosnia at the time. Secondly, while Princip was still standing outside of the restaurant when he killed the Ferdinands, it was a restaurant on the original route the motorcade was on before it was sent off course by the bomb.

Nevertheless, in October 1914, Princip was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but died on April 28, 1918. While he may be the best known person on this list, he’s still not a household name considering his actions directly started the First World War, which left 80 million dead, and World War I directly led to massive historical events like the rise of Hitler, the Russian Revolution, and ultimately World War II.


Changing the World

– Unknown Contributions

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 269

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 269

…on Earth we have something called a courtship period…

Leave a tender moment alone. He passively offers his hand, waiting for her to seal the deal.

Graphic details aside, Cerella coaches her would-be mate into achieving an unconventional union. One may say it is mutually satisfying. She must have thought long and hard on the mechanics of it all, but if effort is the gauge, she gets an A+.

planetary orgasm

“Orgasmic Physics”

Words are scarce, hardly needed, though she did leave out one minute little small tiny detail, #You are now my mate for life#

Suddenly, talk turns to telepathy and he passes this off as emotional overreaction, until the next thing crosses his mind.

#When our offspring is born, I would like to break with Eridanian tradition and cohabitate, of course only after a public ceremony heralding that the heiress to the High Counsel has taken a mate#

orgasm

“Unconventional Conception”

#How do you know that you have conceived a child?# Expressing thoughts this way comes hard for Deke, who manages to project, #And do I have a say in the matter?#

#I believed you to have feelings for me#

#I do, but on Earth we have something called a courtship period#

#Were you not paying attention Deke McKinney? The Eridanian female mates once and for all time and our law offers no dissolution clause. The child forming in me is your approval of this coupling#

#To death do us part?#

#Death is irrelevant. Are you pleased?#

Thoughts to himself are not, ‘..but I wanted a big family’.

Lies from Mother – bbel.com

#I can conceive but once, I am sorry#

#It is going to take some time for this all to sink in#, he does kiss her tenderly as not to confuse the issue, #and this will be a big surprise to my mother#

#I do not think so, Deke. Before you arrived on Eridanus, Celeste McKinney told me that we would be perfect mates# Her honesty is refreshing, her intent quite clear. —


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 269


page 312

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 265

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 265

…The Time-Masters have been scanning the future of multiple worlds: theirs, ours and even the dreaded Ÿ€Ð…

Time Masters

“There is a need for a consensus assessment of the growing emotional influence of these earthlings on our world,” Ekcello stresses.

“Have the newcomers caused us trouble? The original three have had a positive effect on my tower, as I believe yours?”

“It is not trouble is the strictest sense, but I fear that the youngest of the newest is unstable enough to possibly attempt an escape.” He speaks of Gus like he was a grandchild, or the Eridanus equivalent.

“Is it possible to send them back without damaging the timestem?” They are discussing many of the very things to be dealt by the Counsel in general, but Fortän’s opinions are valued by Ekcello and hold particular sway.

“That is what I hope to find out this day. The Time-Masters have been scanning the future of multiple worlds: theirs, ours and even the dreaded Ÿ€Ð .”

The far-off and long-forgotten Ÿ€Ð  is an outlaw-outlying-system in Eridanus’ distant past, even though it was the Ÿ€Ð  who Eridanus emulated in their transition to transcendentalism— But there is a rub-of-the-green when it comes to Ÿ€Ð  nature; they are and likely continue to be a paranoid bunch, steeped in a shunted corner of the Galaxy Sexta A.

“The passing of time will always tell,” concludes the wise-and-only Eridanian female Elder.

Side-by-side, mates for life, with years numbering in the many thousands, make their way to the dusty Founder Shrine amphitheater which is now filled with 1500 Elders.

There are notes flying through the audible frequencies, both sharp, flat, and perfect pitch. As confusing as the sung/spoken jumble seems, to have all these Eridanians using telepathy, at once in the same tower, would be a mind-blowing folly.

The appearance of Ekcello and Fortän causes the background noise to cease.

When Ekcello beckons the gathering to order, it becomes: each man, each voice, democracy in its utmost form, “I summon you today, here at Founder Shrine, to discuss the topic of the humans, who have grown so dear to us in recent times.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 265


page 308

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 264

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 264

…“Yes Fortän, I am afraid the times are tilting back to our uneasy past.” He speaks to the female Eridanian of greatest familiarity…

The dust still uneasy on hurried graves-3 by Nilima Sheikh,

Founder Shrine

Founders Shrine

As well-liked and welcomed as the Earthlings have become, their overall impact on the average Eridanian is profound and growing. This very subject has prompted the Supreme Elder of the High Counsel to gather the other members, at the Founder Shrine, the point where the first settlers set foot on this Utopian and enchanted world.

The Shrine is like no other structure on Eridanus, the only such brick & mortar allowed to use the architectural look of the Mother Planet. Its opulence and grandeur stands as a haunting reminder of their sorted past. For the “average” Eridanian, special permission is needed to visit it.

Ekcello comes here most often, gliding through the hall of this edifice, to hear the echoes of a long forgotten civilization. In keeping with time-honored tradition, only the Olde Language isused here and so it will be during this special session of the High Counsel.

In this very hall, speaking the Olde Language, another of the elders is in search of his/her roots: “It is refreshing to speak aloud Ekcello,” chimes the other, in rusty tones and pitches.

“Yes Fortän, I am afraid the times are tilting back to our uneasy past.” He speaks to the female Eridanian of greatest familiarity to him. She is his mate, the mother of Cerella, and just so happens to Elder a distant towered city.

“Did you bring our daughter with you?” Her tone chills as she utters mention of her offspring.

“She is too close to this matter Fortän. Her involvement with the humans is affecting her objectivity.” He is similar in pragmatic tone.

“You have convened the High Counsel concerning the Earth people, have you not?”

“It weighs heavily on my mind, as all can sense. There is a need for a consensus assessment of the growing emotional influence of these earthlings on our world.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 264


page 307

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Famous Symbols and Their Meaning – WIF Confidential

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Famous Symbols

(And What They Really Mean)

Image result for symbols

Symbols are meant to stand for something. We see them every day, and without even thinking about them, we know what they mean… for the most part. They make our lives easier and we don’t give them enough credit for it. We don’t even know the origins for most of them, or what they really represent. For some of them, we may even have it completely wrong. We’ll now be taking a look of 10 of these symbols and their intended meaning, their origins, and maybe even some misconceptions we might have about them.

 10. The Heart Symbol

The heart shaped symbol is known throughout the world and it usually stands for love and romance. But why do we instinctively see it as a heart, since the symbol itself doesn’t even come close to its real counterpart? There are several theories of where it may have originated and how it got to where it is today. Firstly, there are some speculations whether the heart symbol may actually stand for some of our private parts, both male and female. If we are to invert the heart and look at it upside down, you can more clearly see where we’re trying to go with this. While this theory might hold some water, there are some older depictions of the symbol that stood for something else. For instance, some believe that the symbol is a representation of ivy leaves, since they both look kind of similar, and the ivy is associated with fidelity.

An even more plausible explanation comes in the form of the now-extinct plant of Silphium. This plant once grew in abundance over a small stretch of the North African coastline. It was acclaimed by both the Greeks and Romans for its medicinal properties, particularly for being a great form of birth control. The Greek colony of Cyrene, located in the area that’s now present-day Libya, became rich because of it and even stamped the plant and its seedpod on its coins. The seedpod depicted on the coins is identical to the heart symbol today. But because of the small distribution of Silphium and the great demand for it, the plant went extinct by the 1st century BC.

The third and final theory comes from the Middle Ages. Based on Aristotle’s writings where he describes the heart as having three chambers and a dent, the 14th century Italian physician Guido da Vigevano made a series of anatomical drawings where he portrayed the heart in this manner. This design grew more popular during the Renaissance with the heart symbol making appearances in religious art. From there it found it’s way in today’s world as a denotation of love and affection.

9. The Yin-Yang

The Yin-Yang symbol is deeply rooted in Chinese philosophy and a key element in the Taoist religion in China. You can find this one everywhere in the world, from T-shirts, tattoos, the South Korean flag, and Taoist temples. Its meaning is as straightforward as it is complex, but we’ll try to be as concise as possible. The concept of yin and yang took off during the 3rd century BC with an increased interest in philosophy. The two sides don’t represent the good and the bad, per se, but rather the two sides of the same coin. Yin can change into Yang and vice versa, with the little dots in the centers of each representing this potential; the seed of the opposite. Yin is the feminine side, shown with things like black, darkness, north, water, transformation, the moon, cold, softness, passivity, introspection, valleys, and it is what gives the spirit to everything.

Yang, on the other hand, stands for light, fire, mountains, warmth, the sun, action, movement, and offers form to all things. Taoism believes in the idea of embracing both of these aspects of life and “go with the flow” as it were, finding the balance in everything. To give you an example of yin and yang put into practice in China, we only need to look at some of the names they gave their settlements. Villages on the sunny side of valleys or mountains have names like Liuyang or Shiyang, whereas those located on the other side have names like Jiangyin.

An interesting fact about the Yin-Yang symbol is that China wasn’t the first place it actually appeared. The oldest example comes from a prehistoric culture located in Eastern Europe, over a territory now part of Moldova, southern Ukraine, and northeastern and central Romania. Known as the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, this society existed between 5,400 and 2,700 BC, and several pottery objects have been discovered with the Yin-Yang as well as the Swastika symbols on them. Now, since they didn’t have a written language, we can’t know whether they saw the symbol the same way as the Chinese, or whether it is a mere coincidence.

8. The Bluetooth Symbol

At first glance, there isn’t any conceivable connection between this wireless technology and an actual blue tooth; nor with the symbol itself. But believe it or not, they are all connected – pun intended. This technology was invented back in 1994 by the Swedish telecom company Ericsson. And in accordance with Sweden’s Viking past, the symbol is made out of two runes pushed together. Firstly there’s the H rune, also known as Hagall, and then there’s the B rune known as Bjarkan. These two put together make the Bluetooth symbol. But what do H and B have to do with Bluetooth, you may ask? Well, they are the initials of Denmark’s first Viking King, Harald Blåtand. And the Swedish word Blåtand means Bluetooth in English.

Harald Blåtand lived from around 910 to 987 AD, and during his lifetime managed to unite (connect) all of the Danish tribes and later take over Norway, ruling over them as king until his death. He is also credited for Christianizing the Danes. He had done it more for political and economic reasons than anything else, so as to avoid invasion by the Holy Roman Empire to the south, as well as to keep their trading relations going. His byname, Bluetooth, is a mystery. Some presume that he may have had a fondness for blackberries that gave his teeth a bluish tone. A more plausible explanation is that Bluetooth was actually a misinterpretation medieval historians and his byname was actually something like “dark chieftain.”

7. The International Flag of Planet Earth

Each mission to space today uses different national flags, depending on which country is funding it. And while this is all fine and good, astronauts, regardless of their country of origin, stand for the planet as a whole, not just that particular country that’s funding them. This is why a flag for planet Earth was designed to be used when we ultimately (theoretically) travel to Mars and colonize the Red Planet. Made out of seven white interlocking rings over a blue field, they are meant to represent all life on Earth. But the symbol itself is much older than this flag and is more commonly known as “The Seed of Life.” Considered to be part of “Sacred Geometry”, a term used to represent universal geometrical patterns often times found in nature, the Seed of Life bears a striking resemblance to a cellular structure during embryonic development.

What’s really interesting about it is the fact that the Seed of Life, as well as the larger Flower of Life, was found throughout many places of the world. The oldest example was discovered in the Temple of Osiris in Abydos, Egypt and is dated back to about 5,000-6,000 years ago. But the design was also used in Buddhist temples in China and Japan, in present-day Turkey, in India, all throughout Europe, in Iraq, and many other places. The Seed of Life also plays an important role in various major religions. In old Slavic religions, the Seed of Life symbol stood for the sun.

6. The Great Seal of the United States

Here is a symbol, or rather a combination of symbols, that have sparked countless conspiracy theories over the years. This is in regard to the Great Seal of the United States. The seal first appeared in 1782 and is used by the government to authenticate certain documents, especially with regard to foreign affairs. But what many don’t know, especially those who’re not US citizens, is that the seal has two sides. Its front side is also the country’s national coat of arms and has served as inspiration for the President’s own seal, as well as other government agencies. The backside, however, is more commonly known from the one dollar bill. In fact, both sides of the seal appear on the reverse of the bill since 1935, but not that many people know that they’re actually two sides of the same thing.

The front, or obverse, is made out of the bald eagle; the country’s national bird. In its beak there’s a scroll inscribed in Latin with the words “one from many”, making a reference to one nation created from 13 colonies. The eagle also holds an olive branch in one of its talons and thirteen arrows in the other. These stand as symbols for power in both peace and war. Next there’s a shield supported by the eagle, which stands for the nation relying on its own virtue. Finally there’s a cloud above the eagle’s head, surrounding 13 stars on a blue field. These denote the US taking its place among the other nations of the world.

 The reverse side is the one with the many conspiracy theories. First there’s the 13-step pyramid with Roman numerals on its base. These stand for the original colonies, and the number 1776, which stands for the year of independence. On the pyramid’s top there’s the Eye of Providence, or the all-seeing eye of God. This symbol, which stands for God watching over mankind, became widespread in Europe during the Renaissance and made frequent appearances in religious art. Its inspiration probably comes from Ancient Egypt with the Eye of Horus. Freemasons also use it in their iconography with the same meaning as the US seal. The first time they used it, however, was in 1797. There’s also a Latin motto at the top, Annuit Coeptis, which means “favor our undertakings”, referring to God aiding the US. And lastly, there’s a scroll underneath the pyramid reading “New Order of the Ages.” This symbolizes 1776 as being the start of a new era for America.

5. Political Animals

While on the subject of American symbols, let’s take a look at the country’s two political “mascots”: the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey. Both appeared during the 19th century, but the donkey was first with Andrew Jackson, the democratic presidential candidate in 1828, who was oftentimes called a “jackass” by his opponents. Knowing how to cleverly turn things around, Jackson used the jackass in his campaign posters. With it, he was able to win the elections and become the first Democratic president in the country’s history. During the 1870s, Thomas Nast, a famous cartoonist, popularized the donkey and made it a symbol for the entire Democratic Party.

Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president in 1861, six years after the party’s creation. But the elephant didn’t start with him, even though “seeing the elephant” was a phrase commonly used by soldiers during his time to mean experiencing combat during the Civil War. In 1874, Thomas Nast made another political illustration entitled “The Third-Term Panic.” This was meant to satirize President Ulysses Grant’s rumored third bid at the presidential seat. In the cartoon, Nast portrayed various newspapers and interest groups as animals, including a scrambling elephant labeled “the Republican vote”, which was shown over a pit partially covered with broken planks called Inflation, Repudiation, Home Rule, and Re-construction. Over the following years, the cartoonist used the elephant to depict the Republican Party several more times, so that by 1880 it had become its symbol. Today the Democrats say the Donkey is smart and brave, while the Republicans say that their Elephant is strong and dignified.

4. The Hammer and Sickle

The Soviet Hammer and Sickle are arguably the most recognizable political symbols, next to only the Nazi Swastika and American Stars and Stripes. And even though their meaning is seemingly straightforward, there may be some hidden messages attached that not even Lenin himself knew about. The obvious symbolism behind them is that they stand for the proletariat (blue collar workers) in the form of the hammer, and the peasantry in the form of the sickle. Together they represented unity and a symbol for the Soviet state. But coming up with the emblem wasn’t as easy as it might seem. The hammer was indeed easier since it was traditionally associated with workers all over Europe. But the sickle was harder, and there were a number of other variations before this one. A hammer with an anvil, a plough and a sword, or a scythe and a wrench were among them.

The intriguing part here is the designer himself, Yevgeny Kamzolkin. He reportedly wasn’t even a communist at heart and was a deeply religious man. He was a member of the Leonardo da Vinci Society and as an artist he was well versed in symbolism. It isn’t then so farfetched to think that Kamzolkin may have used the hammer and sickle to send a completely different message, even if nobody else would get it. For instance, in Hindu and Chinese culture, the hammer is oftentimes linked with the triumph of evil over good. The sickle, on the other hand, was commonly associated with death in various religions. Before the scythe was introduced, Death was pictured with a sickle in medieval Europe. Old Slavic religions, as well as Hindu religions portray their respective gods of death while holding a sickle in their left hand. Could  Kamzolkin have meant these when he designed the Soviet Hammer and Sickle? Probably not, but it’s still an intriguing notion.

All of this, of course, is mere speculation and we have no way of knowing whether it is right or wrong. Nobody asked Kamzolkin and the answer died with him back in 1957. But this can be seen as a great exercise when looking at other symbols, particularly older ones that we know very little about. Interpretation is the key here, and depending on the context and one’s point of view, a simple thing like this Soviet emblem can mean two completely different things.

3. The Jesus Fish

Officially known as vesica pisces, the Jesus Fish has a long history attached to it. Today, the Ichthys, as it is sometimes called, is primarily associated with the Christian faith, and you can occasionally find one either on someone’s porch or as a bumper sticker. The symbol is oftentimes accompanied by the ancient Greek letters IXOYE which stand for Ichthys, or Fish. The letters are an acrostic which represents “Jesus Christ, God’s son, savior” and early Christians used it as a way to symbolize their faith in a time when the religion was still an underground organization. But the symbol itself is much older and had another, totally different meaning, even to the early Christians themselves.

In previous religions, the glyph was associated with the goddess Venus and stood for fertility since it kinda resembles a lady’s private parts. Some early representations of Jesus show him as an infant within a vesica pisces, which in this context is known as the mandorla, meaning “shaped like an almond.” And the mandorla was said to represent the “doorway” between the heavens and the material world. In architecture, Gothic-style arches are based on the mandorla as a representation of passage between the two worlds. The symbol is created by intersecting two circles, which again signify the connection between the worlds. By adding a third circle, we get the triquetra, or three interlocking vesica pisces, which symbolizes the Holy Trinity. By adding a few more circles we get the before mentioned Seed of Life.

2. The Pentagram

It wouldn’t be fair to our fellow Satanists if we talked about the Ichthys but left out the infamous Pentagram. The symbol today is commonly associated with Wicca (contemporary witchcraft), Satanism, and Masonry. But unbeknownst to many is the fact that the Pentagram is far older than any of these practices and has been in use since ancient times. The five pointed star was found scratched on a cave wall in Babylonia, and in ancient Greece it was believed to hold magical properties. The Pentagram is thought to have originated from the path Venus takes on the night sky in relation the Earth, in an 8 year long cycle. The Pentagram was even the official seal of Jerusalem for a while and during medieval times it stood to represent the five wounds Jesus suffered during his crucifixion. It also stood for the proportions of the human body, as well as the five basic senses.

Only during the 20th century did the Pentagram begin being associated with Satanism, probably because it was used by the Wiccans. Here, the five points of the star represent the four elements: earth, water, air, and fire, plus spirit. But while for the Wiccans the Pentagram is pointing upwards, symbolizing the spirit’s triumph over the four material elements, in Satanism, the five-pointed star is oriented downwards. This stands for each individual’s victory over dissolution, being in fact a material being.

1. The Anarchy Symbol

To properly understand the Anarchy symbol, we must first look at what Anarchy is and what it actually stands for. Anarchy is a political ideology just like democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, communism, or liberalism. It evolved alongside democracy in ancient Greece and derives from the ancient Greek word anarchia, which translates to “without a ruler.” What this means is that Anarchy doesn’t cite lawlessness or chaos; rather, a society with proper rules and regulations put in place, but without an authoritarian ruler over everyone else. Anarchy was further developed and improved upon during the French Revolution period at the end of the 18th century. This was also the time when Anarchy got its negative connotations, as the ruling elites obviously didn’t what it to happen.

On a standard political chart, besides the usual economic left and right, there is also an authoritarian up and a libertarian down. All famed dictators like Stalin, Mao, or Hitler, are all found at the very top of the chart, either on the left or the right, depending on their economic principles. On the bottom of the chart is anarchy in various forms like Anarcho-communism, Syndicalism, Mutualism, Anarcho-capitalism or Anarcho-socialism, among others. In fact, Karl Marx envisioned Communism as being a form of Anarchism with a state and class-free society. Problems arose, however, when it was put into practice. While fellow anarchist Mikhail Bakunin argued that the state should be abolished from the start, Marx preferred a Big Government first to act as a provisional intermediary that would put everything in order and ensure eventual Anarchy in the end. But as we all know, once in power, people rarely relinquish it and thus Communism ended up being the exact opposite of what was intended. Striving towards a form of Anarchy applies, in principle, to all modern political systems that state to uphold and promote liberty or equality.

 Now, the symbol itself was designed by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a French journalist and libertarian socialist from the 19th century. The symbol is made out of the letter A which obviously stands for Anarchy, and a circle around it that is actually the letter O for order. It’s quite often to see this symbol spray-painted on walls, or people waving an Anarchy flag while wreaking havoc on a city street. But you can be sure that these people have no idea what Anarchy really is, and all that they end up doing is enforcing the idea instilled by the ruling classes from the 18th and 19th centuries; the idea that Anarchy is chaos. Civic duty and volunteerism are the driving forces behind Anarchy, not violence, as so many believe.

Famous Symbols and Their Meaning

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– WIF Confidential

Man-made Islands – WIF Travel

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Amazing

Man-Made

Islands

The gradual formation of the Earth has given us some impressive islands, which are home to some of humankind’s biggest cities and even countries. While humans can’t make islands as impressive as mother nature, we’ve certainly have made some very cool ones. These are 10 of the most amazing artificial islands from all around the globe.

 10. Notre Dame Island (Canada)

In order to get ready for the 1967 International and Universal Exposition, the city of Montreal, Quebec, needed to build a metro system. In order to build one, they needed to dig out 15 million tons of rock, and they came up with an ingenious way to use it – they built Notre Dame Island in the Saint Lawrence River.

Today, the island is home to several tourist attractions, including the Jacques Villeneuve Circuit, which is where the Canadian Grand Prix is held, and it’s also where the Montreal Casino is located.

9. Wilhelmstein (Germany)

Wilhemstein is found on Lake Steinhude, which is the largest lake in northwestern Germany. Its construction was ordered by William, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe, and it was built between 1765 and 1767. Fisherman would take rocks over in their boats and then drop them in the water until the island was formed.

The island is 134,548 square feet and was originally designed to be a fortified hideaway for the Count. Today it is a museum and a tourist attraction.

8. Treasure Island (USA)

The artificial island with the best name started off as a sandy shoal off the coast of San Francisco. The city decided the shoal was a hazard for boats, so construction on the island started in 1936, overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 25 million cubic yards were taken from all over the bay to make the island, which is a mile by a mile-and-half. It was completed in 1939, just in time for the Golden Gate International Exposition. After the exposition came to an end in September 1940, the Navy took it over and it became Naval Station Treasure Island. It was closed in September 1997 for civilian use.

Today, the island is best known for its flea market and annual music festival called Treasure Island Music Fest, because if you’re holding a concert at a place like Treasure Island, you don’t really need a clever name.

It also has a restricted area of abandoned houses because the soil is contaminated with radioactive waste. The Navy never explained why there was radioactive waste, but there are two theories. The first is that they repaired ships there that may have been exposed to nuclear radiation during nuclear bomb testing in the Pacific. Another theory is that they purposefully covered a ship in radiation to train servicemen to wash off the radiation.

For decades, the Navy hid the fact that the island was contaminated with radioactive waste and then refused to investigate it when it was made

public. It was only in 2010 that they started to clean up the area.

Last year, after 20 years of planning, it was announced that 8,000 homes, a hotel, and parks are to be built on the island, which will cost $5 billion.

7. Hulhumalé (Maldives)

Found in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is a tropical country and home to a 0.7 square mile man-made island called Hulhumalé. People first moved onto the reclaimed island in 2004, and as of 2016, it is home to 40,000 people.

When developing the island, there was a focus on sustainability and the island was designed to be climate change resilient. It’s also the only smart city in Maldives; there is a smart grid built into the city and it has a state of the art traffic light system.

On the island, you can find hotels and restaurants, but the main attraction is the beautiful beach, which has water that is full of marine life. Water sports, like snorkeling, are available and boat trips are quite popular.

6. THUMS Islands (USA)

The THUMS Islands were constructed in 1965 in Long Beach, California. They’re a set of four artificial islands, and the name is an acronym for the five companies who had it constructed – Texaco, Humble (now Exxon), Union Oil, Mobil, and Shell. From the companies who built it, you’ve probably gathered that there aren’t any homes on the island, and you’d be totally correct. Instead, the islands are oil drilling facilities.

The problem facing the developers when constructing the islands is that oil drilling facilities aren’t exactly the prettiest structures and the area where they planned to build the facility was full of million dollar beach front properties. So to make it less of an eye sore, they hired architect Joseph Linesch, who was known for his work on theme parks like Disneyland. The final product is what The Los Angeles Times calls “…part Disney, part Jetsons, part Swiss Family Robinson.”

 The island is still used for oil drilling and as of 2015, there were about 1,550 active drills.

5. The World (United Arab Emirates)

The United Arab Emirates’ biggest and most populous city, Dubai, has several impressive man-made islands and one of the most interesting projects is the World Islands. Construction started on the islands in 2003, but momentum on the project came to a halt because of the 2008 financial crisis. Since then, the 300 islands that make up the seven continents have started to sink into the Persian Gulf.

In 2014, the project came back to life and construction restarted on the islands. The developers said that it will have lavish hotels and restaurants, along with half-submerged, half-skylit floating homes that are called seahorses. They cost $2.8 million each and 70 percent have already been sold.

4. Amwaj Islands (Bahrain)

Bahrain is a small country in the Persian Gulf and it is home to a group of beautiful artificial islands called the Amwaj Islands.

Construction on the islands started in 2002 and from the beginning it was designed to be a smart city. Cisco and Oracle were given contracts to develop fiber optic networks for all the homes and businesses on the islands.

The islands have different sections and one of the most impressive areas is Al Marsa, also known as the Floating City. The houses are surrounded by deep canals, which allows home owners to park their boats in front of their homes, making it look like a very modern version of Venice, Italy.

Another impressive area of the islands is the Central Lagoon, which is the commercial area of the islands. In the Central Lagoon, there is nearly 600,000 square feet of commercial space including open-air markets and two dozen restaurants.

3. IJburg (Netherlands)

In cities where there are housing shortages, governments and real estate developers have to get a little creative when it comes to building new homes. One city that is having a particularly difficult time with a lack of housing is Amsterdam. One of their solutions is a series of artificial islands called IJurb.

Construction on the islands started in 1996 in IJmeer, which is a lake east of the city. There are three islands: Steigereiland, Haveneiland, and Rieteilanden, and they are connected to each other and the mainland by bridges.

As of 2015, there were 20,000 residents living in IJurb, but once construction is completed, it will provide homes for 45,000 people. Also on the islands are schools, shopping centers, hospitals, restaurants, and beaches.

Within IJurg, there is a neighborhood called the Waterbuurt or the Water District. In that neighborhood, the homes are floating houseboats that are moored to jetties. People who don’t mind spending a little bit more even have a dock outside their home where they can dock their boat.

2. The Pearl-Qatar (Qatar)

Qatar is an oil rich country in the Middle East, and even though it may be physically impossible to play soccer there because of the extreme heat, it’s set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. A few tourists coming to enjoy the World Cup will be able to stay on one of the most unique man-made islands in the world, the Pearl-Qatar. Construction on the infrastructure of the island took about 10 years and it was completed in 2014.

It has nearly 20 miles of coastline and on the island there are three five-star hotels, 492,000 square feet of international retail, restaurants, and entertainment. This includes a 64,000 square foot family entertainment center.

As of 2014, there were 12,000 people living on the island, but that number is expected to increase four-fold by 2018.

1. Palm Jumeirah (United Arab Emirates)

On both sides of the World Islands are the two Palm Islands. On the left is Palm Jumeirah and on the right is Palm Jebel Ali. Palm Jebel Ali has yet to be finished and it’s unclear when it will be completed. When the construction is finally done it’s expected to house 250,000 people, and it will have four theme parks. Construction on Palm Jumeirah went a bit smoother and in 2006 people started to move to the island.

When it was completed, it added 320 miles to the coastline. Amazingly, out of the two islands, Palm Jumeirah is the smaller one and it’s only about half the size of the Palm Jebel Ali. It’s home to several hotels, resorts, restaurants, and shopping centers. It also has a monorail to get around.

All three of Dubai’s artifical islands were built by dredging up millions of cubic feet of sand from the seafloor, and then sprayed into the pattern of the islands using GPS. Then, for the Palm Jumeirah, seven million tons of mountain rock were used to form a seven-mile breakwater around the 17-fronded palm tree to protect the island from waves and ocean storms.


Man-made Islands

– WIF Travel