The NULL Solution = Episode 39

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The NULL Solution = Episode 39

…You can knock Cerella over with a single solitary puff of misty air. Not in all her upbringing had she ever had contact with the Null…

Of all the inhabitants of Eridanus, the heretofore shunted Null are nearer to humanity, in contrast to the others. With no robes, with visible legs to stand on, they are not whitely colored – rather individually so. On top of that, they are downright approachable.

Skaldic and Offingga see the Defender slide through the massive opening of the Spaceship Expository and they are there to be the official welcoming committee. They stand tall & confident in their newfound independence. Surely they would not be punished for any acts of insolence.

You can knock Cerella over with a single solitary puff of misty air. Not in all her upbringing had she ever had contact with the Null. Now, and that covers considerable Eridanian cycles, she does, not knowing where to look, how to act or what to say.

The youngest McKinney snatches the honor, “I do not believe we have been introduced; my name is Deimostra Samantha McKinney. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”

‘What a dry fresh breath of air are these people of Earth,’ Skaldic thinks, not expecting such simplicity. “They call me Skaldic the Null and my companion is Offingga {translation: the jabberer}.” 

That spontaneous Null irony whizzes past without notice.

“How is it that we haven’t met before now? We {she points to Mom, Dad, and Deke} landed on your planet many cycles ago. Surely we should have crossed paths.”

“The Null tower is on the empty side of Eridanus.”

“There are others like you… so where are they?”

“Many more and it is best that they stay in our tower.”

“You act so different than Cerella and her father Ekcello.”

“We do not possess the ability to communicate with our minds.”

“I can teach you. If my brother can learn, certainly you can.”

“We are inferior beings in the eyes of the Gifted, unfit for interaction.”

Cerella slams the door on the increasingly uncomfortable exchange.

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The NULL Solution =

Episode 39


page 44

Game Changing Archaeology – WABAC Discoveries

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Archaeological Discoveries

That Change Our

View of History

History is far more complicated that we would like to believe. Even in our schools today, different versions of events are being taught to students, depending on the country they’re in and how those events in history affected that country. “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,” right? Nevertheless, we also have archaeology, which sometimes helps us to better understand what happened regardless of what was written down in centuries past. And sometimes, some such discoveries turn the way we saw history right on its head.

 10. Ancient Fast Food

We generally tend to think that fast food came about fairly recently, right? And it does make sense, after all, given the faster pace the world is moving nowadays as opposed to the slower ancient times. In fact, the first such shops, which were serving fish and chips, opened in Britain during the 1860s. Then, in the 1950s in the US, the drive-through restaurants became popular, and… well, you know the rest.

But taking a quick snack for lunch and then hurrying on your way is not something new and has been going on since ancient times. This place was the so-called thermopolium, or “place where (something) hot is sold,” and it was a common sight all throughout the Greco-Roman world; particularly in larger towns and cities. These thermopoliaare, in fact, the forerunners of all present-day restaurants. They usually consisted of a small room that opened onto the street and specialized in two or three items such as spiced wine, meats, cheese, or lentils. These establishments were quite tiny and almost never had tables for people to sit at. There was only a counter with several embedded earthenware jars called doliawhere the food was stored.

These places were frequented mostly by slaves or people who did not have the means or facilities to cook for themselves. And as it so happens, these thermopolia were also frequent hangouts for all sorts of shady characters. These places were even abolished on several occasions for this exact reason, since they harbored all sorts of effeminate Greeks and thieving slaves,” as Plautus, a Roman playwright from the 3rd century BC, once said. There were, however, some fancier establishments too, with some tables inside and even some frescoes painted on the walls. One such ornate restaurant called the “Thermopolium of Asellina” was discovered in Pompeii and is one of the best preserved in the world.

9. War is Older Than We Thought

War was commonly believed to have originated alongside the advent of civilization. This, of course, doesn’t mean that people weren’t killing each other even before that. After all, the reptilian part of the brain, which we all have and which pushes us towards things like hate, envy, aggression, dominance, and territoriality among others, was also found in people more than 10,000 years ago. This means that before the discovery of agriculture and animal husbandry, people were only able to kill each other through the occasional murder or small family skirmishes. But after people began settling down and growing in number, more organized and coordinated forms of battle were invented; things like raids or wars, for instance. The fact that structured hierarchies and slavery also appeared during this time also helped wars along.

Nevertheless, an archaeological discovery made in 2012 in Kenya seems to indicate that small scale wars were also taking place even before agriculture appeared there. On the banks of the Lake Turkana, archaeologists came across 27 skeletons dating back to somewhere in between 9,500 to 10,500 years ago. These skeletons once belonged to men, women, and children which archeologists believe were members of a semi-nomadic tribe that settled close to the lake. All of the skeletons showed signs of blunt force trauma or wounds from projectile weapons.One of the women had both of her knees shattered and showed signs that her hands were bound when she died. Who attacked them, or what really happened is not known, but no other massacre on this scale has ever been discovered from so long ago.

8. Europeans and America

Christopher Columbus and his men are no longer believed to be the first Europeans to discover the American continent. Today it is fairly common knowledge that Leif Ericsson, an Icelandic Viking explorer, was the first European to come across to North America when he was blown off course on his way to Greenland from Norway almost 500 years before Columbus. In the Saga of the Greenlanders which talks about Leif Ericsson and his travels to Vinland, present-day Newfoundland, there is mention of a Bjarni Herjólfsson, who also made it to a land west of Greenland when he too was blown off course by the wind, even before Leif Ericsson himself. But whatever the case may be here, some newer archaeological evidence points to the fact that the Europeans made it to North America even before Europe had a name, or at least the name of “Europe.”

Several dozen stone tools have been found along the East Coast in six distinct locations. One in Pennsylvania, three from the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland, one in Virginia, and another one was discovered by a scallop trawler some 60 miles off the Virginian coast. All of these tools bear a striking resemblance to the stone tools used by the prehistoric Solutrean tribes from present-day western France and northern Spain. What’s more, all of them were dated somewhere in between 19,000 to 26,000 years ago. Because of this time period, most archaeologists have rejected the idea of being just a simple case of coincidence based on the too-similar design. Furthermore, one of the stone knives discovered in Virginia revealed under chemical analysis that it actually originated in France.

The reason for the relatively small number of tools found on the East Coast dating from that period also explains how those Stone Age Europeans got to America in the first place. Back in those times, the planet was going through an Ice Age, and like the Native Americans who crossed into America from Asia over the Bering land bridge, so did these Solutreans cross over what is now the north Atlantic, Iceland, and Greenland. As shown by that knife found by the scallop trawler 60 miles off the coast of Virginia, the sea level was far lower than it is today. And since these people stayed mostly around the coast, many of their tools are also underwater. Another archaeological discovery that places Europeans in North America longer ago than previously believed is an 8,000-year-old skeleton found in Florida. When subjected to a genetic marker test, this man’s remains revealed high levels of European markers, not found in Asians.

7. Australians and America

Another archaeological discovery, this time from Brazil, points to the fact that Australians also made it to the Americas long ago. Several human skulls discovered there match the characteristics of those from places like Australia and Melanesia. Similarly, some 33 skulls found on the Baja California peninsula in Mexico also point to this theory. And according to the stone tools and charcoal discovered at the site in Brazil, these people could have inhabited the area for nearly 50,000 years. The theory is that they arrived in the Americas by boat across the Pacific. Though seemingly impossible for people from 50,000 years ago, cave paintings in Australia have shown some boats that were actually built to withstand the ocean. Moreover, in 1947 Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and a few others made it across on a balsa wood raft.

Archaeologists also believe that these people died out with the appearance of the Asian peoples coming in from the north via the Bering land bridge. This is because the shape of the skulls changes from those with an Australian appearance to those with a Mongoloid appearance between 9,000 to 7,000 years ago. The only survivors could be tribes of people who lived in the Terra del Fuego region of South America. This is the southernmost tip of the continent, and the people who still live there show hybrid skull features of both mongoloid and negroid ancestry. If proven true then Native Australians could be the first Americans ever.

6. How Old is Our Friendship with Dogs?

There is no debating that wolves were the first animals ever to be domesticated by humans. Even before animal husbandry became a thing, man and wolves (which then turned into dogs) were hunting together in a sort of synergy that benefited both species. But how old is this interspecies collaboration, really? Common theories place the beginning of this relationship somewhere around 15,000 to 18,000 years ago and it happened separately in both China and the Middle East. This is without a doubt far older than any other domesticated animal in the world. Dogs were well established as part of human society around 10,000 years ago, and in Germany for instance, humans and dogs were sometimes buried together as long as 14,000 years ago.

But the discovery of a canine skull in the Altai Mountains in Siberia pushes this timeline by at least another 15,000 years. Radiocarbon dating has placed the skull somewhere around 33,000 years old, and its genetic markers indicate that it more closely resembled modern-day dogs than actual wolves. The similarity between modern dogs and this particular skull was also evident thanks to its shape and size. Another old canine fossil dates back to around 31,000 years ago and was discovered in Goyet Cave in Belgium. And even though its mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) indicates that it does not share its matriline with any extant wolves or dogs, its skull morphology is more similar to a dog than an actual wolf.

5. The Oldest Writing in the World

Three inscribed tablets that were found in what is now present day Romania may contain the oldest writing system in the world. Each of them is about two and a half inches wide, each has markings on it, and all of them are dated back to around 5300 BC. They were found in 1961 in a ritual pit, alongside other clay and stone offerings and the bones of an elderly woman, probably a sort of priestess. The Tartaria Tablets, as they are known, are thought to have belonged to theTurdas-Vinca culture that inhabited the area during that period. But despite the importance of the discovery and what they stand to represent if proven to be the real deal, the tablets are still shrouded in some controversy. For instance, Mesopotamian experts disregard the Tartaria Tablets by saying that the symbols on them are not actually writing, but only decorations. Other experts believe that these tablets actually contain an early form of Sumerian script since some of the symbols found here are identical to pictograms found in Jemdet Nasr in Iraq.

A German linguist and Mesopotamian script specialist by the name of Harald Haarmann strongly believes that the symbols on the tablets are an early form of writing. He bases his assumptions on the many other symbols that are part of the so-called Danube script found throughout the region on various other ceramic objects and which number roughly the same as the Egyptian hieroglyphs. A more recent discovery from 2009 has brought to light a Neolithic workshop that was once manufacturing clay tablets. Another 120 similar tablets were found at the site, some containing symbols similar to the ones at Tartaria. If these symbols are ever proven to be authentic and part of an actual ancient script, then the cradle of civilization could be moved from the Middle East to Eastern Europe.

4. The City of the Sun in North America

Native Americans usually lived in tepees, right? Well, yes… at least, some of them did. But in fact, many Native North Americans lived in large cities before the arrival of the Europeans to the continent. One notable example is Cahokia, or the City of the Sun. It is located in in the state of Illinois, close where the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers merge. This area is one of the most fertile on the continent and here one Native American culture, the Mississippians, made it their home. But they didn’t just live in tepees, but rather in grand cities of some 20,000 people strong. Cahokia was at its peak between 1050 and 1200 AD, and during this time, it was bigger than any other European counterpart.

And here is where this tepee misconception comes into play. It was so ingrained into white people’s imaginations that when they came across some earthen mounds in the region, they initially attributed them to retreating glaciers. When they did eventually realize that these were actually man-made, they attributed their construction to Phoenicians, Vikings, and even a lost tribe of Israel. Pretty much anyone other than the Native Americans themselves. And Cahokia is big. It spans over an area of about six square miles and had a total of 120 earth mounds. The city was carefully planned and organized, with plazas, residential areas, and elite compounds. The largest of the earth mounds found here is about 100 feet tall and contains more than 25 million cubic feet of earth, carried here in willow baskets 50 pounds at a time. Known as the Monks Mound, this is the largest earthen structure in the Western Hemisphere.

Fairly little is known about the civilization that built it, however. We do know that their trade network was vast, reaching from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians and from the Great Lakes to Florida. They practiced human sacrifice and relied heavily on corn for nourishment. Today, however, only 70 of the original 120 earth mounds have survived and there is a four lane highway running right through the historic site.

3. Cambodia’s Medieval Cities

The Khmer Empire was one of the most powerful in Southeast Asia, and probably in the world at the time. It existed in between 802 AD to 1431 AD and extended over what are now Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. They ruled over the region including where the temple complex of Angkor Wat is located. The temple complex itself is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia and consists of many architectural marvels besides the obvious temples found there. Back in 2012, a team of archaeologists made use of state of the art laser technology called LiDAR. This technology has the ability to see through dense vegetation and map the topography under the jungle canopy. What they discovered was amazing, to say the least. They used LiDAR again in 2015, in a project that became the most extensive airborne survey used for archaeological purposes ever. Some 734 square miles of terrain was scanned and it revealed an unimaginable network of roads, water ways, and densely populated cities, unrivaled anywhere in the world at the time.

Lead archaeologist on the project Damian Evans had this to say about the discovery: “We have entire cities discovered beneath the forest that no one knew were there – at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and, it turns out, we uncovered only a part of Mahendraparvata on Phnom Kulen [in the 2012 survey] … this time we got the whole deal and it’s big, the size of Phnom Penh big.”

Phnom Penh is the current capital city of Cambodia. This survey has shown that the Khmer Empire was able to design and implement an elaborate water system on a grand scale, centuries before archaeologists believed the technology even existed. This new discovery also disproves the theory on how the Khmer Empire eventually collapsed. Up until 2015, it was believed that they were invaded from the north and people fled south. But the lack of any cities in that direction disproves this theory. In any case, Angkor is now, without a shadow of a doubt, the most extensive urban settlement in the world prior to the Industrial Revolution. This is, of course, if LiDAR technology doesn’t discover any others.

2. The Gold Crucifix of Denmark

One beautiful afternoon in 2016, an amateur metal detector in Denmark came across a gold crucifix in a field near the town of Aunslev, Østfyn. After he posted his discovery on social media, some people advised him to take it to a local museum, which he did. Here, the curator dated the Birka crucifix to somewhere in the first half of the 10th century AD. It is made out of finely articulated goldthreads and small filigree pellets, and has a loop through which a chain once went. What is really interesting about this find is that it’s dated between 900 and 950 AD, leading historians to believe that the Danes were converted to Christianity earlier than previously believed.

Prior to this discovery, the earliest representation of Jesus on a cross in Denmark came in the form of the Jelling Stones – two large rune stones dated to 965 AD, and which are located in Jutland. These stones commemorate Harald Blåtand, or Harald Bluetooth, for his role in converting the Danes to Christianity. What this tiny cross does is push back the period when these Vikings became Christians by several decades, at a minimum.

1. The Appearance of Agriculture

It’s a common belief that agriculture started off in what are now Armenia, eastern Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Iran around 11,000 years ago. Then it spread to the rest of the Old World. And while this is still true, new archaeological evidence shows that agriculture actually developed in two distinct parts of this particular region, known as the Fertile Crescent, and each then spread to different parts of the world independently. Genetic evidence has proven that there are stark differences between people living in the southern Levant, like Israel and Jordan, and those from across the Zagros Mountains in western Iran. Each of these groups of people developed their own style of agriculture and animal husbandry, favoring different plants and animals for domestication. They lived in complete isolation from each other for centuries or even millennia before they actually met.

And it is believed that they only came in contact in eastern Turkey when both groups were in search of obsidian needed for all sorts of tools. It’s also believed that these people met, intermingled, exchanged agricultural techniques and ideas, and then migrated westward into Europe. Those who remained behind, however, went their own separate ways, spreading their distinct forms of agriculture to other parts of the world. Those living in the southern Levant eventually traveled to East Africa, going through present-day Egypt and down the Nile and the Red Sea coast, while those living in western Iran made their way north into the Eurasian steppe and then eastward into present day India and Pakistan. While this discovery doesn’t seem like much given that both of these populations emerged from the Fertile Crescent region, it does change our perspective of how history and the start of civilization actually played out.


Game Changing Archaeology

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

– WABAC Discoveries

“Food Crimes” – Shocking New Drama from WIF

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Astounding Facts

About

Food Waste

Climate change is a serious problem – probably the most dangerous predicament humanity has ever been in. And every second that goes by and we’re not doing anything about it, the more dangerous things are going to become, and the harder it will be to fix them. But let’s not kick off this list on such a gloomy note, and instead look at what can be done to change that. The answer is as simple as what caused all of this in the first place – namely, the little things. Slight tweaks in our habits can go a long way, without us having to revert to a pre-Industrial, 18th century-lifestyle to get there. And yes, we are on topic here, in case you were wondering.

 Some call this the Age of Efficiency, in which Mother Earth forces us to, in a manner of speaking, evolve or get out of the away. And one of the first and easiest ways to become more efficient as a species is to address food waste. Up until fairly recently in our history, we didn’t have to bother ourselves with waste of any kind. But in more recent decades, however (with the spread of consumerism), we can no longer afford this luxury. Luckily, in what some call “the world’s dumbest problem” many see an opportunity – and that is, of course, wasted food.

10. The Overwhelming Statistics

There is a tremendous amount of food being wasted around the world. In fact, roughly one third of all food goes to waste, either during production and retail, or thrown away by the consumers themselves. That’s about 1.3 billion tons per year, or about half of the world’s entire cereal production. In the already developed parts of the world, like Europe and North America, consumers’ behavior plays a bigger part in food squandering than in developing countries. Here, on the other hand, technical, managerial, or financial constraints have a much larger role. The lack of infrastructure, agricultural grants, advanced harvesting and transportation technology, or adequate cooling facilities, account for most of the food waste. In all, developing countries lose 40% of their discarded food during harvest and processing, while already developed countries waste 40% of their food at the retail and consumer levels.

On average, rich countries produce almost 2,000 pounds of food per person per year, whereas poorer regions produce slightly above half, or 1,014 pounds. Out of these, European and North American consumers alone squander some 230 pounds, whereas consumers from Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are responsible for 17 pounds each. Every year, consumers from these rich areas waste almost as much as the entire food production in Sub-Saharan Africa – 222 million and 230 million tons, respectively.

9. Food Equals Money – Wasting One Means Wasting the Other

Tax cuts seem to be a trending topic nowadays. Now, regardless of the fact that taxes are what make a middle class broad and stable, governments usually sell these tax cuts to us as a great way to save money. But we have a much better alternative for you. While the planned tax cuts are said to save low-income households some $40 per year, the average household of four can save around $2,000 just by being more conscious about their food management behavior. It is said that, on average, one American family throws away about a quarter of all the food they buy, which is the equivalent of anywhere in between $1,365 to $2,275 annually. In total, the United States wastes 35 million tons of food this way every year, which is the equivalent of $165 billion. Worldwide, this sum jumps to roughly $1 trillion.

In an estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste has risen in the United States by 50% since 1990 and is now three times as high as it was during the 1960s. One element that has exacerbated the problem, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), is the steep rise in portion sizes and calorie density. Over the past 20 years, hamburgers have expanded by 23%, soft drinks have increased by 52%, while chips and pretzels have grown by 60%. Pizza, on the other hand, remained more or less the same, but it now has 70% more calories than it had in the ’80s. An average Caesar salad doubled, and a chocolate chip cookie quadrupled their respective calorie counts. Supermarkets have also employed various psychological tricks and tactics to make their customers impulse-buy. From offering various product samples, to providing us with big shopping carts, and strategically placing products around the store, they make us buy more than we actually need. One great way of avoiding these traps is to make a shopping list and then stick to it.

8. Fridges, Plates and Food Trays

In general, humans love wide open spaces. Interestingly enough, however, the same thing doesn’t apply to food. Like portion sizes, plates have also grown over the years. Whether it was the larger food portion or the larger dinner plate that came first, we have no way of knowing, but since the 1960s, average plates have increased by around 36 percent. And when we have a big plate, we tend to pile on more food, regardless of whether we will be able to eat it or not. Color contrast also plays a role here. Scientists have discovered that people tend to add more food to their plate if their colors –the food’s and the plate’s – match. The opposite happens, however, if the plate is similar to the background (such as the tablecloth). So, in other words, if you want to eat more greens, you should do it on a green plate against a red tablecloth.

Something similar applies to food trays. A big tray will make people add more to it, with much of the food ending up going to waste. Jill Horst, the director of residential dining services at the University of California Santa Barbara, noticed this in her college dining hall. In 2009, Horst decided to eliminate food trays altogether, and food waste dropped by 50%. Students can still eat as much as they want, but they now have to manage their trips and portion sizes.

But when it comes to our homes, oversized fridges are the main cause for food going bad. Like the plate, fridges have also increased in size, especially in the United States, where we have 25 cubic feet (and larger) models. By contrast, most European fridges are around 10 cubic feet. We’re not comfortable with a seemingly empty fridge, and we tend to want to fill it. But a lot of food products can still spoil in a fridge after only a week, and a big one makes us buy more than we would be able to consume during that time. Refrigerators were also proven to decrease the value of food we put inside. Surveys have shown that we feel less guilty if we drop a carton of eggs that’s been sitting in the fridge for several days, as opposed to when we just got home with it from the supermarket.

7. Land, Water, and Biodiversity Simply Wasted Away

Another way of looking at our own inefficiency when it comes to food is to analyze the three criteria listed above. In 2007, the total land area used on food that eventually ended up at the dump was around 1.4 billion hectares. That’s more than Canada and India put together! The major contributors when it comes to food waste are meat and dairy. Now, even though these make up just 4 and 7 percent of all the wasted food, respectively, these squandered animal-based products take up a whopping 78% of the surface area mentioned above. To better understand this phenomenon, we should be aware that an area roughly the size of the entire African continent is made out of pasturelands, while a third of all arable land available is used for animal feed.

What’s more, roughly 10 million hectares of forest worldwide are being cleared annually. Food management inefficiency contributes to a large degree here – over 74% – with agricultural lands expanding into wild areas at an unprecedented rate. Overfishing is of serious concern, as well. It’s estimated that by 2048, there will no longer be any more commercially viable fish left in the oceans. This is in part because fishing is still seen as hunting, where fishermen catch as much as they possibly can – not because of demand, per se, but because other fishermen might catch them if they don’t. Secondly, size-selective fishing has cut the average size of fish in half over the past four decades, and has severely hindered their capacity to replenish their populations. Moreover, bycatch – or marine species caught unintentionally and then discarded – amounts to 27 million tons annually (since 1994). Over 300,000 whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and porpoises also die in fishnets every year.   

When it comes to our fresh water supply, 70% goes into agriculture, 20% is used in industry, while the remaining 10% is for everyday, domestic use. Wasted food accounts for a quarter of all available fresh water on the globe. That’s equal to 3.6 times the amount of total water used in the United States, the annual discharge of the Volga River (the largest in Europe), or about 60 cubic miles in total.

6. Just a Quarter of All Food Waste Can Feed All the World’s Hungry

Yes, this is the sad reality we are currently living in. On average, the United States throws away enough food to fill up 730 football stadiums to the brim every year – half of which is untouched, fresh, and completely edible food. That’s equal to 20 pounds for every man, woman, and child per month. In other words, the United States, like many European countries, has twice as much food stacked on supermarket shelves and in restaurants than it actually needs to feed the American people. If we were to take into account the amount of corn, oats, and other edible plants used as animal feed, the United States has four times as much food as its population needs. And yet, 1 in 7 Americans need to use food banks or are struggling to put food on the table. That’s nearly 50 million people.

Internationally, well over 800 million people endure regular hunger or are malnourished. The 1.3 billion tons of food discarded for various reasons worldwide is enough to feed more than 3 billion people, or 10 times the population of the United States. Now, if we were to save a quarter of all the food wasted, we would be able to feed over 870 million people – more that the world’s entire hungry population. When looking at these numbers, we can see why some people call this the world’s dumbest problem. This incredible amount of excess can only be characterized as a success story that started some 12,000 years ago with the Agricultural Revolution. But our incredibly poor management pushes the planet’s ecological limits to the brink of collapse, and this success is quickly turning into a tragedy. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be over 9 billion people on Earth. Will the other 1.5 billion people have enough to eat, or will they go hungry?

5. Unsustainable Beauty Standards

Over the past several decades, we’ve gotten so used to the food abundance all around us that we’ve begun to grade our food in terms of its appearance. Never mind the fact that ‘ugly’ foods are totally good to eat – if they don’t meet absolute perfection in terms of their shape, size, or coloring, we simply throw it away. And by we, we’re referring to the farmers who grow this food in the first place. They’re not really to blame here, however, as they are the ones who have to bear the financial cost of this wasted food. A slight bump, a variation in color, or any other simple imperfection can downgrade a piece of fruit or vegetable from a Class I to a Class II, with a price decrease of two thirds or more.

This makes it completely unprofitable for the farmers to even pick them up – spending even more money, time, and energy in the process. Under normal circumstances, farmers throughout the entire agricultural industry have to leave more than a third of their harvest to rot on the ground because of these government-approved grades and standards. But these undesirable fruits and vegetables could easily find their way into the hands of people who actually need it, right? Yes, but unfortunately the cost of picking, packaging, storing, and shipping this produce is not covered by any reliable government grants or tax breaks, and farmers have to, first and foremost, look after their own bottom line.

And once these top grade foods do make it onto the shelves, supermarkets and grocery stores have to overstock so as to give the appearance of abundance. They are fully aware that if only a few items remain on display, people generally don’t want to buy them. This trend happens because we tend to assume that the last option is, more often than not, a bad option – which in this case is just false. And as a result, this overstocking leads to many items going bad, either on the shelves or in the store’s warehouse.

4. If It Was a Country, Food Waste Would Be the Third Largest Emitter of Greenhouse Gases

See? We told you that climate change stuff in the intro was on topic. Agriculture is, without a shadow of a doubt, humanity’s biggest impact on the planet. It takes, by far, the largest amount of land and water of any other activity. Soil degradation and water pollution are topics that we won’t even begin to touch on in this list, and instead, we’ll only try and focus on air pollution instead. After all, the change in the chemical composition of our atmosphere is what causes global warming and climate change in the first place. Worldwide, food waste accounts for 3.3 billion tons of CO2 and CO2 equivalents in the atmosphere. To put this into perspective, if it were a country, it would rank as the 3rd highest emitter after China and the United States – and that’s without actually subtracting these countries’ own share of wasted food. Nevertheless, these emissions can be broken down into two parts.

First, we have methane gas emissions coming from rotting food. If we were to throw away an apple core or a banana peel somewhere in the woods, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But when hundreds upon hundreds of tons of organic material are piled in landfills, this food waste begins to decompose in an air-depleted environment, which leads to the creation of methane gas. And as some of us know, methane gas is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. American landfills are responsible for 17% of all the country’s methane emissions. Second, we have all the energy that’s used to produce this food in the first place. It is estimated that for every one kcal of food, farmers use 3 kcal of fossil fuel energy. And this is before taking into account food processing, transportation, or storage. In 2003 alone, the United States consumed over 300 million barrels of oil on food that made it straight to the dump, where it almost immediately began churning out methane gas.

3. Misleading Expiration Dates

We don’t know about you guys, but we here at TopTenz used to suffer mini heart attacks every time we realized that the yogurt we’ve been so feverously munching down on was two days past its expiration date. But if you are anything like us (and if you are, our sincere condolences), then rest assured because as it turns out, almost all of these dates are complete BS. The bad news here is that these expiration dates are at best an approximation, and at worst, a way for food manufacturers to make a quick buck by indirectly telling us to throw away perfectly edible food and then go out and buy more. To date, only baby formula has a federally-required expiration date stamped on it, while all the other ‘best-by’ labels are up to the manufacturers themselves.

Expiration dates began appearing around the early ’70s when much of the population stopped growing and making their own food and began buying it from grocery stores. These stores then came up with the idea of an ‘Open Dating’ system, which is when a manufacturer voluntarily stamps a date on its food product, loosely indicating when the item will reach peak freshness (not when it will go bad). This method was used by retail stores to determine for how long to display it on their shelves. The ‘Closed Dating’ system, on the other hand, shows the date when the item was produced. Though helpful at first, this system ended up being taken too literally by consumers and is now a much bigger problem than a solution. Even though it’s almost impossible to determine how much edible food is thrown away based on these dates, surveys have shown that 54% of consumers believe that eating food past their best-by date is a health risk. What’s more, 91% of consumers have said that they occasionally throw away food past their ‘sell-by’ date, while 37% said that they always toss their food after its ‘best-by’ date.

The US government had several pieces of legislation in the works regarding these expiration dates, but with the exception of baby formula, none of them went into law – except maybe in our heads. In any case, this is by far the fastest and easiest way for any government to begin tackling the problem of food waste. In the meantime, everyday consumers shouldn’t take them too seriously and only use them as a base of reference. Even though they look official, they’re not.

2. The Landfill Lunch

With all the facts presented here about food waste, it could be quite hard to understand why politicians don’t talk about this issue, let alone do anything about it. To be fair, governments are oftentimes nothing more than the ‘mirror-reflection’ of the people they represent, and only after enough citizens actively demand something will things begin to change. Nevertheless, it’s never a bad idea to bring up the topic of food waste with the world’s political society. This is everyone’s problem, after all, and we all need to find a solution. And what better way to make politicians start talking food waste than to serve it to them at lunch, right? Well, this is exactly what happened during a 2015 UN Summit, where over 30 world leaders, including France’s then-president François Hollande and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, were seated at the dinner table and catered to by some of the world’s most prestigious chefs.

Everything seemed normal until they were presented with the US-themed menu. Prepared by renowned New York chef Dan Barber and former White House chef Sam Kass, the meal was comprised of, for starters, the so-called ‘Landfill Salad’, made out of vegetable scraps and sub-par apples and pears. The veggie burger was made out of “pulp left over from juicing,” and a “repurposed bread bun.” The fries were actually a kind of starchy corn used in animal feed, which makes up 99% of all the corn produced in the United States. And as refreshment, the distinguished guests were served “Chickpea Water”… or the liquid that’s drained from a can of chickpeas. In an interview, Barber said, “It’s the prototypical American meal but turned on its head. Instead of the beef, we’re going to eat the corn that feeds the beef. The challenge is to create something truly delicious out of what we would otherwise throw away.”

1. The Awesome Power of the Individual

As average citizens of the world, living in the relative comforts of anonymity, we oftentimes find it daunting and feel almost helpless to do anything about the global state of affairs. Even if we were to do our best and waste little to no food whatsoever, it would still feel like a drop in the ocean. But never underestimate the power of leading by example. Instead of feeling down – or worse yet, being part of the problem – disregard your negative feelings and focus on the positive. Convince several of your friends of the benefits of not wasting food, and before you know it, you might start a chain reaction that can alter the face of the world.

But let’s tone down the inspirational talk for a moment and focus on a real-life example instead. Selina Juul, a graphic designer living in Denmark, has been credited by the Danish government for singlehandedly helping the country reduce its food waste by 25% in just five years. Today, Denmark is the leading country in the worldwhen it comes to managing its food waste. The whole thing started several years ago when Juul established a lobby group called Stop Spild Af Mad (Stop Wasting Food). As a Russian immigrant, she moved to Denmark when she was 13 and was shocked by the sheer amount of food people were wasting on a daily basis.

“Coming from a place where there were food shortages and people queued for bread, I was amazed at how much was wasted in Denmark, so I started a Facebook page,” she said in an interview. Juul then began offering tips like, “encouraging people to make a list before they go to the supermarket or take a picture of the inside of your fridge with your phone, if you have no time.”

Three months later, and based on her ideas, Denmark’s largest supermarket chain began replacing its quantity discounts like “buy two get the third free” with single item discounts to minimize food waste. An average supermarket wasted on average 100 bananas per day, but after they put up a sign saying “take me I’m single,” the number of discarded bananas dropped by 90%. Today, every supermarket in Denmark uses at least one food-saving strategy. “She basically changed the entire mentality in Denmark,”said Maria Noel, communication officer at a Danish retail company.


“Food Crimes”

– Shocking New Drama from WIF


 

Allegiance vs. Protest – The Great Divide (Op-Ed)

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Allegiance vs. Protest – The Great Divide

…A mixed(up) message…

One Woman’s Opinions

It usually takes something BIG to draw me into the open. I usually play things pretty close to my chest, my chest being the last place people would look. But the events of the past few days, specifically the to-do about protesting football players and a megalomaniac in the Oval Office.

It certainly was not Mike Pence. He was out of the office at the time, probably hosting a luncheon for a delegation stumping to make Puerto Rico the 51st state of our present (dis)union. They need not bother, because in my last book “The Null Solution”, sometime around 2050 I have made it so… the book is Science Fiction after all.

But I digress.

Full disclosure: I voted for & still support that megalomaniac.

Nevertheless, I am so worn down by the state of current events that I try not to watch the 1st (first) 15 minutes of the “news”, as to avoid being beat down by politics, murder and natural disasters.

  • – I avoid discussions on politics
  • – I cannot fathom the act of murder
  • – I do not live on a fault-line or in a hurricane prone state

The weather and sports come on 17 mins into a newscast.

My precious Lord has taught me how to deal with anger OR at least the best ways to avoid it. BUT, the day has come when no remote control or bomb shelter can disguise the hate that is flooding, like a stubborn tropical depression, onto the entire landscape that I like to call the United States of America.

Due in part to the age of social media (admittedly I am a blogger) and the immediate nature of how we receive our information, fake or not, segments of society can unite in a matter of hours. Movements that used to take a year to pick up steam, are now spread by Instagram, hot mics or Mark Zuckerberg even before they can be explained or retracted.

What started with one San Francisco 2nd-string quarterback and his expressing his displeasure with how Blacks are being treated by the police, has exploded into a name-calling discourse of overblown proportions. Colin K. may have been more upset about being on the bench.

Are there bad cops? Yes. Is there economic disparity in the world? I can attest to that myself. Does it mean that the issues are not being addressed? The answer is one-big-fat NO.

Neither am I questioning the allegiance (to the USA) of these protesters. Everyone wants their everything, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.

Fast food workers are being assaulted for not getting peoples’ orders out fast enough or God forbid, the order is wrong. Fast *&#(#@! Food for crying out loud.

The problems with our society can be summed up with one two-word phrase: Immediate Gratification. No longer is God’s time good enough for us. We want what we want & we want it NOW.

Instead of trusting God to work on our behalf (for our own good), we choose to hold our breath until we are blue in the face… and we make sure everyone knows about it. Toss in an incriminating video or whip some Facebook friends into a frenzy and there you have it. Immediate results without having to wait.

With luck it goes “viral”, a word that is used far too much.

I ordered curly fries not regular!

What was my original point? Oh yes, “Allegiance versus Protest – The Great Divide”, was my title. That seems to be the bridge too far.  For those who do not understand what the hoo-ha is all about are questioning the allegiance of the protesters; allegiance to God & country. Personally I think that is a bit much about too little, but it is just enough to divide a nation like the English Channel separates Britain from France. Why isn’t it called the French Channel? Protest @ 6P.

In the end, this is all about a mixed(up) message and cauliflower ears. When God set up the Tower of Babel, he did his usual dandy job & it still exists in theory.

Evil on both sides, has turned a simple issue into a garbled hot mess. Even the not-so-evil are caught up in the fray.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is the Word given to the Apostle Mark, as he quotes in The Holy Bible.

If whole world could adhere to that Fatherly advice, the world would be a Garden of Eden for all.


—  The preceding portrays the views of Gwendolyn Hoff alone. I welcome everyone to “Love thy neighbor as yourself”, even if they don’t live next door.


Allegiance vs. Protest

– The Great Divide

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

Contents TRT