gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
History and fantasy literature and filled with tales of lost cities and tribes, people cut off from the main course of events and left to their own devices for centuries, until found by accident. There are still places in the world where tribal people still live in the stone age. The vast Amazon basin in South America potentially has thousands of isolated tribes living in its vast reaches. Papua New Guinea also still hold many mysteries, including constant tales of uncontacted tribes wholly unaware of the modern world. Even in the frozen wastes of Siberia, there are reports of nomadic peoples who run from any contact.

But none of them can hold a candle to the people of North Sentinal Island. More than 745 miles from mainland India and just 87 miles from Sumatra at the nearest, North Sentinel Island is found at the west of the Andaman Islands. It is a mere 27.8 square miles, roughly twenty percent bigger than the area of Manhattan. The island is surrounded by jagged reefs, with only a few openings usable only at high tide. The local climate is stormy, with unpredictable storms and surges. All of which has made the Sentinelese the most isolated people in human history.

How isolated? It wasn't until 1867 that anyone was known to have landed on the island when an Indian ship called the Ninevah was wrecked on its beach. The 106 survivors set up a temporary camp and were attacked a few days later.

They managed to fend off the worst of the onslaught but, if it hadn’t been for a Royal Navy steamer which arrived shortly after to rescue them, it is unlikely the terrified group would have survived. After that, the island was wisely left along for another century. In 1974 a documentary crew from the National Geographic Society accompanied and Indian Navy contact team to North Sentinal.

The team left gifts; coconuts, knives, small tools, and the like, and retreated to their boats to wait. Only after the boats had moved a fair distance into the lagoon did the Sentinelese emerge. The replied to the gifts with aggressive posturing, similar to ritual war dances seen around the globe. When that didn't drive the boats off, they started shooting arrows using their huge longbows. The film director was hit in the leg. The arrow was over 8 feet long.

After a few more attempts at contact, the Indian government placed a ban on visiting or even approaching North Sentinal Island. It was a good plan, until to fisherman who had been poaching in the region drifted too close to the island. The Indian helicopter that tried to retrieve the bodies from where they had been killed was driven off by arrow fire coming from the dense jungle.

Here's the kicker. The tribal people on the other Andaman Islands refer to North Sentinel only as a place of death, they've never gone near it for as far back as their histories go. We know from archeological research and genetic heritage testing that the Andamans were first settled as long as 60,000 years ago. It's possible that the Sentinelese have been living in xenophobic isolation for ten times the length of human recorded history. It is entirely possible that they are the direct descendants of the first humans to move out of Africa.

It's possible. The island is practically a second Garden of Eden. The Andaman chain is home to many wild fruits and berries, and the wide lagoon is filled with fish. Migratory birds make nests on the island, providing a source of meat and eggs. So food isn't an issue. The island is large enough for an estimated population of anywhere between 400 and 1,000. Large enough to prevent inbreeding issues. The reef even provided a natural barrier to the effects of the 2004 Christmas Tsunami.

They've never had to develop the ability to sail the ocean. Never, as far as we can tell, had any need to tame fire. No need for clothing. None of the modern vices, as far as we can tell. They are a people frozen in time, a snapshot of our Neolithic ancestors.

But I can't stop wondering who they are as a people. We know, from the abortive contact programs of the 60s and 70s that they have a language. We saw what appeared to be a social order where one man was given orders. They laughed, told each other things that made them laugh, maybe laughing at their visitors. Then with no warning bows were raised and the threat-dancing began. What did we do?

How do they live? Do they sing tales of their ancestors? Where do they live? Do they build shelters? Who is in charge at home? What do they think of us? Why are they so hostile to outsiders?

Just how long have they been on that island?

All questions I'm never going to learn the answer to in this lifetime. Because the Sentinelese have made it clear that they aren't interested in our world. And as I watch the grainy video of their children playing on the beach under the watchful eyes of family, I have to wonder if maybe they aren't the ones who got it right.
gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)
I bring you the finest nuts to be found on the interwebs.

Behold the Netscape Navigator-optimized wonder that is Barry S. Roffman's Ark Code and Mars Research Home Page.

My new best friend Barry is a dedicated nut. Along with believing that the Bible (in Hebrew, natch) is a coded treasure map (does Nicholas Cage know about this?) he is also convinced that Mars has an atmosphere as thick as Earth's because dust devils form there.

In other news, the Türkçe word for cake is pasta. I forsee a few confusing yet delicious and sweet dinners for on the trip.
gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)
I'm working my way through The West Wing as a way to kill time and revisit some of the best television ever made. I'm onto Season 4, and notice this when I put the DVD into the drive.

Where The White Women At
gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)
Morning chat with [personal profile] kshandra

me: Check. Wasn't planning on buying anything. Other than my Ferrari Testosterone, but I can get that Saturday.
Kirsten: Where are you planning to park it?
me: I'm going to paint flames on the hood, and hire Guy Fieri to drive it.
Kirsten: /snort
me: Just so I can say "Fieri, fetch the fiery Ferrari!"
Kirsten: You're weird, sir.
gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)
Today, I had to do laundry. Currently on my umpteenth load. But to do laundry, one needs quarters. Had to run to the library and store this morning, so took the time to grab two rolls from the service desk.

Get home, unwrap the first roll... and they are all the same. A design I'd not seen before. Do a little checking, and see that these are the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial Quarter.

Released by the Treasury on April 1st. Which means this roll went straight from the mint to a bank and then was delivered to my local Safeway. Now they sit in my apartment's washer and drier.

Such is the life of money.

But still, pretty cool to get a roll like that.

For more money travel geekery, I suggest
gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)

Can the world handle me with my own Titan II missile silo?
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Norton)

With non-stop CAPSLOCK action! )

This came from a thread on Whirlled Nuts Daily. Shocked, I know.

gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)
Check out this Sluggy Freelance strip:

Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray the next year.
gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)
Actual email I just got from Groupon:

Father's Day deals for the man who felt you kick inside him for nine months

Wait... what?!?

Did we hit the Biosingularity while I wasn't watching? If so, I have a list of replacement parts I need ASAP!
gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)
Movie mash-up: Titanic and The Usual Suspects

The crew realizes Rose made up her whole story about Titanic from clues in the room. As Rose walks to the stern, her stride becomes more confident. She tosses the Heart of the Ocean to her "granddaughter", waiting in a speedboat, then climbs in. Jack is at the wheel. It speeds off.
gridlore: One of the penguins from "Madagascar," captioned "It's all some kind of whacked-out conspiracy." (Penguin - Conspiracy)

No need to thank me. :)
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Baseball - Giants animation)
Worldcon slips into an alternate universe!

Yes, that's me in a Dodgers cap. No, I wasn't drunk. No, I didn't lose a bet. I was talking baseball with a Dodgers fan I see at various cons and thought it would be a funny picture.

Or I'm posting from an alternate dimension.

Got to see Dr. Demento live tonight, he is awesome.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
Rare Manuscript: Butch Cassidy Survived Bolivian Shootout! - Entertainment - The Atlantic Wire

With Hollywood as a guide, you know that legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy died in a blaze of gunfire in 1908 after being chased down in Bolivia and surrounded by cavalry. That established history is being challenged by a rare book collector and author, Brent Ashworth and Larry Pointer, who are enthusiastic about the idea that Cassidy shook free of his pursuers, hightailed it to Europe to get plastic surgery, and then retired to Washington state to pen his memoirs under a pseudonym. And the Associated Press, who reported the imaginative theory, entertains the notion for a bit:

A rare books collector says he has obtained a manuscript with new evidence that may give credence to that theory. The 200-page manuscript, "Bandit Invincible: The Story of Butch Cassidy," which dates to 1934, is twice as long as a previously known but unpublished novella of the same title by William T. Phillips, a machinist who died in Spokane in 1937.

Now in my mind, Butch escaped, mortally wounded, and stumbled upon a Bolivian shaman. Who nursed him back to health and told him the spirits had saved him for a reason. Armed with his skills as gunfighter and brawler mixed with Incan magics, he became The Jaguar, a masked hero of the 20s and 30s before vanishing.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Gordon is not impressed)
superheroes batman superman - Green Arrow Is Quite the Chef
see more
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Atheism - God)
Rick Perry’s Jesus Imperative: A Report from Saturday’s Mega-Rally | Politics | Religion Dispatches

By the time Texas Governor Rick Perry took the stage at his scheduled time at The Response on Saturday, the crowd had been softened to receive him. Perry, as scheduled, emerged from behind the prayer and worship band shortly before 11:30, his coiffed hair and toothy grin filling the enormous television screens behind him. The audience, still aglow and groggy, almost, from a frenzied prayer session devoted to individual repentance had been called upon, through the throb of the praise music, to “lay yourselves bare” for Jesus, your “first love,” and to “repent for putting other things before Jesus.”

This was no idle command—in fact “command” and “obedience” were the day’s chief buzzwords for many speakers; as repentance was required on behalf of yourself, your church, and your country for having failed to commit yourself to Jesus, for having permitted abortion and “sexual immorality,” for failing to cleanse yourself of “filthiness,” and to repent for having “touched what is unclean.” As the individual repentance portion of the day reached its climax, just before Perry’s remarks, people lay flat on the floor; others raised their arms in charismatic receipt of God’s word. Others danced. Some spoke in tongues. A woman wearing a fatigue green “M.A.S.H.” t-shirt (that’s Mobile Army Spiritual Hospital) prostrated herself on the floor.

“Like all of you, I love this country this deeply,” intoned the governor who once publicly mused about his state seceding. “Indeed the only thing you love more,” he added, as the audience held its collective breath, praying he wouldn’t say something that fell short of expectations, “is the living Christ.” A collective exhale for him getting it right; the governor was exalted.
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguins - Pyschotic)
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Flying Bunnies)
So, I did a meme... )
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Believe in Shadows)
Fernley, Nevada. A wide spot on I-80, east of Reno and west of a whole lot of nothing. 35.4 square miles (91.7 km2) with between 12,000 and 13,000 people living there. There are thousands of towns like this in the US and Canada, rest stops on the major highways or slowly dying remnants of a bygone era. I've never heard of 99% of them, including Fernley.. until about a week ago.

That's when [ profile] kevin_standlee and [ profile] travelswithkuma announced that they might be buying a house there due to a long dramatic series of events. Then [ profile] kshandra mentioned that she had stopped to eat there after the end of one Burning Man. I could accept this, Kiri does drive out that way for the event, and the reason for the move made sense when explained. But today? Today things got weird

This morning I got links from several of the news organizations I follow on Twitter about a hate crime committed against a Native American family by some skinheads in Fernley. Then I'm checking the shipping on an Amazon shipment and here's the only status update: Fernley NV Shipment has left seller facility and is in transit - July 5, 2011 12:29:43 PM

Is this a message? Am I being summoned? If I go will I meet a bunch of people who were drawn to the site by aliens? I am seriously expecting tonight's Countdown to end with "Good night, and Fernley Nevada!"
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Penguin - Eat you)
After watching this video demonstrating a heavy duty shredder, I can only assume that the guys making the piece were completely stoned. They started off innocently enough. But as the awesomeness of the shredder penetrated their weed-befuddled monds, they were seized with a driving need to feed everything in the shop to their new god.

Personally I'm happy to know that should I ever find myself in need of a shredder that can handle both tampons and maxi-pads my needs will be met.


gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)

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