A Summary of Sumerians


So what does mankind really know about the ancient civilization of Sumeria? Around 4000 B.C. it was located in a geographical region known as Mesopotamia covering the area we know today as Iraq and Kuwait. The Sumerians called themselves the “black headed people” and they had a written language, cuneiform. They didn’t call their country anything other than “the land” but the people around them called their country Shinar or Sumer. The language they spoke is called Akkadian and means “land of the civilized kings”. It seems Sumeria had a reputation as having some very sophisticated leadership. Who were these kings and what made them so civilized compared to the nations around them?

Eridu is the first Sumerian city to be ruled by a king according to Sumerian religious mythology. Uruk is the oldest city to be established by historians and is also the oldest city in the world that is known to mankind. The “black headed people” who settled here are believed to be the Ubaid people who had evolved from a hunter-gatherer society into an agricultural society. Archaeologists have found remnants of tools and artifacts leading them to this conclusion.

The first record of a king is one named Etana of Kish. He is attributed with creating stability. He is featured in ancient mythology as ascending to heaven on an eagle. Utu-Hegal is next in line and created a document called the “King List”, basically a summary of Sumerian Kings. King Utu-Hegal felt it was an important responsibility to document human accomplishments because they were accountable to the gods who had created them. The manuscript contains names and kingdoms spanning hundreds of thousands of years. An English translation can be read here. Copies of the list have been found by archaeologists in numerous regions remote from Sumeria and recorded in different languages.

One of the reasons their kings may have had such acclaim as founders of civilization is that one of their cities was home to more than 80,000 people. The city rose out of the desert floor, constructed as a massive ziggurat with civilians living in a tiered, pyramid like structure. There were irrigation canals and a sophisticated plumbing network that delivered a water supply from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. At the time, it would have been the largest city in the world.

Amongst all of those notable kings there was a single woman. With humble beginnings as a tavern-keeper, she rose to monarch status. The King List credits her with firmly establishing the foundations of Kish and creating a dynastic legacy that lasted a century.

More recently, Sumeria’s King List has made the news with some historians speculating on the longevity of the kings. Well, the gringa should say eight kings in particular. They believe the manuscripts and tablets reveal a tale of eight kings who ruled for more than 240,000 years, only meeting their end in what is popularly known as the Great Flood. Archaeology does establish a devastating deluge which is recounted in the mythology of many religions. Historians wonder if these kings were even human, since the King List records that their “kingship was lowered from heaven”.

If they survived for hundreds of thousands of years, only dying because of the catastrophic flood, could they have been considered immortal? Or, were they just long-lived space aliens? Were some of their descendants the result of inter-marriage with shorter lived humans, producing children with long life-spans that inspired tales of characters like Methuselah? You know, the descendant of Adam and Eve who was Noah’s grandfather and lived almost one thousand years? Was Methuselah a space alien? Were all the pre-flood people space aliens or alien/human hybrids? Was the flood’s purpose, then, not to kill all of mankind but only to purge the space alien element?

That would explain the seeming contradiction of how life survived a catastrophe created by a god for the purpose of destroying mankind. It was actually only supposed to destroy the aliens posing as men. I mean, think about it. If these aliens established their kingdoms in desert locales, chances are it’s because they didn’t like water. Maybe the waters of the sea, saltwater, was deadly to them. Maybe a catastrophic flood that would mingle the water of the Earth’s oceans with the freshwater these aliens could tolerate would result in a toxic combination they could not survive. Maybe that’s the nugget of truth behind the legends of water killing witches, like depicted in the “Wizard of Oz“. Like the gringa says, stranger things have happened.

Sources:

www.ancient.eu

reflectionofmind.org

www.history.com

Image Credit: reflectionofmind.org

 

 

 

Advertisements

Poopbots Running Amok In The Muck


Yes, dear reader, you read the gringa’s post title correctly, poopbots. And they are literally running amok in Boston’s subterranean muck. Mario and Luigi are pioneering waste miners delving the stinky depths of Boston’s sewers. They are gathering data from human effluence for epidemiologists so they can uncover even darker secrets of human health and behavior. So what does the future of poop collection and dissection look like?

MIT researchers involved in Senseable City Lab’s project, aptly named Underworlds, are on a mission to help scientists predict outbreaks of dangerous and deadly diseases. They also want to help discover some of the causes of chronic diseases whose origins in human health remain a mystery. And they believe clues to solving these mysteries lie deep in the sewers, secreted in what’s been excreted.

Project leader, Carlo Ratti, uses the example of influenza to explain. Before a widespread outbreak is evident in local hospitals, the virus could have already been detected in the human waste produced by those first afflicted. Once a city makes poop monitoring a regular thing, they can isolate and respond to any outbreak much more rapidly. Hopefully, future widespread epidemics can be prevented.

Mario and Luigi scan for industrial toxins, human biomarkers, and other chemicals related to contagious disease and chronic illnesses such as diabetes. It’s kind of like an urban poop census. The Environmental Protection Agency is completely on board with the idea of an urban poop census. They see this ambitious project as the latest advance in an inexpensive way to monitor public health in a timely manner that is relevant. The gringa believes that EPA agents are probably just glad to say good-bye to the days of scooping poop to fill their sample quotas.

Luigi and Mario are controlled remotely and use a GPS system to navigate. Within fifteen minutes of a flush, a fresh sample can be collected. By gathering samples so soon after a dump event scientists can determine the difference between chemicals a person is exposed to as opposed to chemicals a person ingested. The most common food products found in human waste thus far in the project are rice, wheat and beans. However, the occasional pomegranate seed collection makes for a nice surprise.

If the underworld of human poop analysis by robots interests you, Underworlds has its own website. Interested poop fans can gaze in wonder as data is disseminated to reveal what types of viruses are in the local water supply right alongside any bacteria or chemicals. If all goes well with Mario and Luigi, the state of Massachusetts may expand their poop inspection territory. The gringa suspects this will, indeed, be the case considering that even Kuwaiti poopers have been so impressed they have implemented their own poopbots in partnership with Underworlds.

Although MIT has long been heralded for the many scientists and engineers and mathematical geniuses who have graduated there, now, it will forever be remembered as the institute of poop pioneers. Better a pioneer than just a lowly pile, is what the gringa says!

Sources:

qz.com

underworlds.mit.edu

senseable.mit.edu

 

Image Credit: https://blog.adafruit.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2368.jpg

 

 

 

1991 Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act


January 30, 1991, Senator Ted Kennedy sponsored a bill and President George Bush, Sr. thought it would be a great idea to sign it into law. This legislation was an amendment to current immigration law which would include reform specifically designed for military personnel. The new legislation provided special immigration status for military personnel who had served honorably for twelve years. This status was to include spouses and children. For non-citizen military personnel who had not yet served twelve years, if they had committed to re-enlistment to cover a twelve year span, they and their family would have their status adjusted to permanent resident until such time as they completed their duty requirements. Then they would be eligible for naturalization.

What the gringa doesn’t understand, is why do they not qualify for naturalization within five years like other immigrants? Why would any immigrant want to serve in the military if it meant they would have to serve twelve years before qualifying for citizenship? They could just remain a civilian immigrant, renewing their visa, staying employed or enrolled in school, and qualify in five years as a civilian. After the evidence of statistics and senior officer testimony in 1968 affirmed the quality of service provided by immigrant military personnel, why would the U.S. government do anything that would deter immigrants from enlisting? As the gringa scratched her head over this one, it took quite a bit of digging around to discover what this legislation was really all about. Once I did, it finally met with my approval.

The 1968 legislation only provided for expedited naturalization for military personnel involved in hostilities. The Vietnam War and Cambodian Civil War both ended in 1975. Although the U.S. was involved in many military operations around the world after 1975, the country was not involved in an actual war until August 2, 1990, when the Persian Gulf War officially began as Operation Desert Shield. There was a gap of time where many non-citizen military personnel did not qualify for expedited naturalization because they were not involved in hostilities during the time of their enlistment. This legislation was to remedy that fact and honor those service men and women with the citizenship status they deserved.

Provision was also made for 2,000 immigrants annually from countries the U.S. had treaties with (not including their spouses and children) and 100 annually from countries the U.S. did not have treaties with (not counting their spouses and children). This inclusion of immigrants from countries the United States may or may not have had treaties with was important because, at the time of this bill’s passage, the Gulf War was still going on, although its conclusion was in sight. In fact, it was actually less than a month away. There would be foreign nationals who had assisted U.S. efforts and it would not be safe for them to remain in their countries of origin. They and their families would need to flee to a place of safety. The gringa is proud of the United States for considering these humanitarian needs as well as remaining loyal to those who served in such a capacity. These special immigrants were considered refugees, given permanent resident status and provided with resettlement appropriations.

The scope of this immigration reform bill was narrow and specifically designed with the non-citizen soldier in mind. Tweaking immigration law in such a way as this reflects upon a government that is much more aware of what really needs to be done for immigration reform than they let on. Oftentimes the nation’s politicians throw up their hands and act as if immigration reform is so complicated they can’t possibly put together a bill the majority of legislators will agree on. That’s a big, fat lie. If they stick to simple, narrow measures, tweaking details here and there, they can, over time, get much done. A little bit of progress is better than none. The citizens of the nation have to put pressure on government leaders on behalf of the non-citizen who does not have any real influence as a non-registered voter. The citizens who care must speak for them and demand meaningful immigration reform.

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1991_armed_forces_immigration_adjustment_act.html

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/102/s296

https://www.congress.gov/bill/102nd-congress/senate-bill/296

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/87576.pdf

Photo credit: http://www.slideshare.net