Sunday Reads: Headless Corpses and Alien Noises


With all that has happened over the last few weeks, let’s just stick to a few non-political stories…while we look at images of Godzilla…a symbol of man’s self-destruction in a nuclear age.

Telescopes pick up huge number of unexplained signals coming from alien galaxies | The Independent

The blasts of radio waves are still unexplained – with some blaming extraterrestrial intelligent life

Telescopes have picked up a huge number of mysterious signals coming from deep in space, Australian researchers have announced.

The radio telescopes have nearly doubled the number of the known “fast radio bursts” – bright flashes of radio waves that make their way to Earth from deep space.

And the signals represent the closest and brightest of the bursts that have ever been found.

Fast radio bursts are one of the most mysterious phenomena in the universe. They are blasts of incredible energy – equivalent to the amount released by the Sun in 80 years – that last for just a moment, and come from a mysterious source.

Some have suggested they are being emitted by an extraterrestrial intelligence. Harvard University scientists suggested last year that they could be leaks from vast transmitters that are usually shooting at light sail ships to push them across the universe.

Others have suggested that less intelligent but equally spectacular causes, such as black holes or dense stars smashing into each other.

Now scientists have far more examples to study as they attempt to find where the blasts are coming from.

Lots more at the link above…

That is one possible coded language being sent across the universe. Here is another, possibly from the distant past:

Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing | New Scientist

A painstaking investigation of Europe’s cave art has revealed 32 shapes and lines that crop up again and again and could be the world’s oldest code

When she first saw the necklace, Genevieve von Petzinger feared the trip halfway around the globe to the French village of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac had been in vain. The dozens of ancient deer teeth laid out before her, each one pierced like a bead, looked roughly the same. It was only when she flipped one over that the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. On the reverse were three etched symbols: a line, an X and another line.

Von Petzinger, a palaeoanthropologist from the University of Victoria in Canada, is spearheading an unusual study of cave art. Her interest lies not in the breathtaking paintings of bulls, horses and bison that usually spring to mind, but in the smaller, geometric symbols frequently found alongside them. Her work has convinced her that far from being random doodles, the simple shapes represent a fundamental shift in our ancestors’ mental skills.

The first formal writing system that we know of is the 5000-year-old cuneiform script of the ancient city of Uruk in what is now Iraq. But it and other systems like it – such as Egyptian hieroglyphs – are complex and didn’t emerge from a vacuum. There must have been an earlier time when people first started playing with simple abstract signs. For years, von Petzinger has wondered if the circles, triangles and squiggles that humans began leaving on cave walls 40,000 years ago represent that special time in our history – the creation of the first human code.


More at the link, that article is from two years ago…but I still find it interesting.

Dutch Museums Discover Hundreds of Artworks Stolen by the Nazis—and They’re Already Starting to Return Them | artnet News

Forty-two Dutch institutions have found 170 works of art that they suspect may have been stolen or confiscated under duress during the Nazi era. They include 83 paintings, one of which is in the royal collection, 26 drawings, and 13 Jewish ceremonial objects thought to have been lost between 1933 and 1945. The potentially looted art ranges from a Hans Memling in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam to a watercolor by Wassily Kandinsky in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

The findings come from the Museale Verwervingen project, which since 2009 has undertaken thorough investigations at the 163 member institutions of the national Museums Association. The only museum where research is still ongoing is Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. A team of five experts has been dedicated to sniffing out tainted provenances at the museum since 2012 and has thus far identified 22 potentially Nazi-looted objects.

“This research is important to do justice to history,” Chris Janssen, a spokesman for Museale Verwervingen, told the Guardian. “A museum can only show a piece of art properly if the story and history behind the object is clear. In other words: a museum must know which road a piece of art has traveled before it came to the museum. That’s the way possible to inform visitors in a good way.”

The original owners are already being contacted…as the article continues. Take a look.

Archaeologists in England find Skeleton of two men with legs chopped off | HISTECHO

Archaeologists in England find Skeleton of two men with legs chopped off

The graves of 2 men whose legs were chopped off at the knees and placed carefully by their shoulders before burial have been discovered by archaeologists working on a huge linear site in advance of roadworks in Cambridgeshire.

The best scenario the archaeologists can hope for is that the unfortunate men were dead once their legs were mutilated.

It also appears their skull were smashed in, although that could be later damage.

Headless Vikings the “most exciting & disturbing” archaeological discoveries in Britain in recent years | HISTECHO

Headless Vikings the “most exciting & disturbing” archaeological discoveries in Britain in recent years

Fifty beheaded young men found in a burial pit at a 2012 Olympics building site were most executed Vikings.

About 50 skeletons were found in an old quarry pit at Ridgeway Hill, in Dorset, in 2009, amid the construction of the Weymouth relief road. All had been decapitated – their bodies were thrown into shallow graves with their heads piled up to other side.

The people are thought to have been executed at the graveside and stripped of their clothes, with defence wounds on their hands, arms and skulls and wounds to their necks and shoulders suggesting a bloodbath in which several blows were required to remove each head.

The Ridgeway Hill Vikingburial pit at Ridgeway Hill close Weymouth, Dorset, was a mass grave of 54 skeletons and 51 heads of Scandinavian men executed some time between AD 910 and 1030.

The men are believed to have been Vikings executed by local Anglo-Saxons. The dismembered skeletons were found by archaeologists in June 2009, and their identity and inexact ages were later confirmed by forensic analyses.

Did ya think of this:

The 54 skeletons were all of males, almost all aged from their late teens to around 25 years old, with a handful of older people. They had all been killed at the same time with a substantial, very sharp weapon such as a sword.

They had not been cleanly murdered, as many of them had suffered multiple hits to the vertebrae, jawbones and skulls. One man had his hands sliced through, suggesting that he had endeavored to grab the sword as it was being swung towards him.

They had no obvious battle wounds and were most likely captives. Judging from the lack of any remains of clothing or other possessions, they had likely been naked when they were thrown into the pit. There are more bodies than skulls, suggesting that a several of the heads – perhaps of high-ranking people – were kept as souvenirs or put on stakes.

The executions were first thought to have occurred around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain circa AD 43, but radiocarbon dating of the remains found that they dated to some time between AD 910 to 1030.

More at the links above.


This is an open thread.

18 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Headless Corpses and Alien Noises”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. quixote says:

    Another take on the fast radio bursts from the Astrobio site. And an article talking about a recent addition which will expand their capabilities.

    Fascinating stuff. It’s going to change things if they really do find the signature of technology in it. Be nice if it changed things for the better!

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Really interesting post. Thanks!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    • quixote says:

      Maybe somebody needs to explain to the Air Force that these things can fly? Usual procedure is to move things like that to another base, out of the path of whichever disaster needs avoiding. Loss of institutional memory is obviously more serious than we realized.

    • roofingbird says:

      Reportedly, they were in the hanger for maintence and not cleared to fly, due to safety concerns.

  6. NW Luna says:

    JJ, thanks for the piece about Genevieve von Petzinger. She’s written a book, The first signs : unlocking the mysteries of the world’s oldest symbols which goes into her work in more detail. I found it fascinating although at the same time frustrating because she doesn’t go into attempts at transliteration other than extremely general discussion. Still well worth reading.

  7. NW Luna says:

    I love the blockprint style Godzilla illustrations.