Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blackbeard's cannon salvaged from North Carolina shipwreck

Blackbeard's cannon salvaged from North Carolina shipwreck

2,000-pound weapon will provide more ammo for historical studies

Image: Blackbeard's cannonChuck Beckley / AP
Researchers led by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ Underwater Archaeology Branch rest a recovered 2,000-pound cannon on the back of a NOAA research vessel on Wednesday.
updated 10/27/2011 1:38:59 AM ET2011-10-27T05:38:59
  1. A 2,000-pound cannon pulled from the waters near Beaufort Wednesday will give archaeologists and historians more ammunition for separating fact from legend surrounding the infamous pirate Blackbeard.
    The Queen Anne's Revenge Project brought the massive gun ashore and displayed it to the public before taking to a laboratory at East Carolina University. Onlookers cheered as the 8-foot-long (2.4-meter-long, 900-kilogram) gun was raised above the water's surface. "The last people who saw this were pirates," QAR project director Mark Wilde-Ramsing told more than 100 spectators who later gathered in front of Beaufort's Maritime Museum for a closer look at the 18th-century weapon. Dozens of local residents turned out, while some Blackbeard enthusiasts drove in from other parts of the state. "We read about it last night, and I asked the kids: Are we going to skip school tomorrow and go see this?" said Joy Herndon, who made the roughly 230-mile (370-kilometer) trek from Greensboro with her children, Lucy and Kevin. Legend vs. factSeparating the Blackbeard legend from historical facts is one of the goals of the QAR recovery effort, which has so far netted some 280,000 artifacts, said Joseph Schwarzer, director of the North Carolina Maritime Museum. "This is about as close to that particular point in American history, and to piracy, as anybody is ever going to get," Schwarzer said. The recovery effort involves collaboration between the state departments of Cultural Resources and Environmental and Natural Resources, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, East Carolina University.
    The gun recovered Wednesday was the 13th cannon raised from the shipwreck. Other items have included medical supplies, dishes, gold dust, prisoner shackles, African jewelry and small weaponry. Schwarzer said researchers believe the ship was built as La Concorde, a French slave-trading vessel, but was commandeered by Blackbeard and his crew six months prior to its grounding near Beaufort Inlet. Historians theorize that the ship was intentionally scuttled by Blackbeard, who then took off in a smaller boat, because he could no longer afford the expense of four ships and a pirate following estimated at 400. Neal Stetson, 58, said he and his wife drove a half-hour from Newport to see the recovered cannon. "After we moved here, I became fascinated with Blackbeard, particularly all the tales and legends that surround him," said Stetson, who came to the area from Maryland six years ago. "It's amazing and fortunate that they found the wreck." Exhibit attracts thousandsAn exhibit of the items recovered from the ship opened at the Beaufort Maritime Museum in June and has already attracted more than 100,000 visitors, said N.C. Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle. Only about half the shipwreck has been examined so far, but Carlisle said the state has a goal of finishing the recovery effort by 2013. "We're really concerned about the site itself," she said. "We live through each hurricane season with trepidation." The project could move more swiftly if additional funding was available. Carlisle said it costs about $150,000 annually for the recovery and lab work, but state funding has not kept up with the need. Though some flakes of gold dust are the closest to pirate's treasure yet discovered, the project and museum exhibit has netted the state a valuable influx of tourism dollars, as well as drawn international attention to the state, Carlisle added. The cannon will be preserved at the lab at ECU while the research staff studies both the weapon and the cementlike shell of sand, salt and barnacles covering it, a process that could easily take five years, said Sarah Watkins-Keeney, chief conservator for the QAR project. Blackbeard was an Englishman whose real name may have been Edward Teach or Thatch. After capturing La Concorde in the Caribbean, Blackbeard and his men blockaded the port of Charleston for a time. He was sailing north from Charleston when his ship went aground in what was then known as Old Topsail Inlet, now Beaufort Inlet. After being granted a pardon from North Carolina Gov. Charles Eden in June 1718, Blackbeard was killed five months later by members of the Royal Navy of Virginia at Ocracoke Inlet.

    Explainer: 10 shipwrecks that have enriched our imaginations

    • Image: scroll fragment
      Ralph White / Corbis file
      The Titanic, the 46,000-ton "unsinkable" ocean liner that struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912 and sank within hours to the bottom of the North Atlantic, is the world's most famous shipwreck. To this day, the voyage, its passengers, even the mysterious Cold War details surrounding its 1985 discovery continue to capture the public's fascination. But the Titanic is not the only wrecked ship steeped in history — if not treasure — discovered on the bottom of the sea. Click the "Next" arrow above to learn about nine more shipwrecks that have enriched our imaginations.
      -- By John Roach
    • An ancient Greek oil ship
      Image: pottery shards
      Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities
      An ancient Greek cargo ship, described by one researcher as a UPS truck of its day, sank with what appears to be a load of oregano-flavored olive oil. At least, that's the result of a genetic analysis of residue in one of the ship's earthenware jars that were hauled up from the 200-foot depths of the Aegean Sea where the ship sank around 350 B.C. The wrecked ship, which was discovered by an underwater robot, contained several hundred of the jars, called amphorae. More than two-thirds were of the style of the one containing the olive oil. Other containers likely held wine, a well-known export from the island of Chios.
    • Diamond geologists find sunken treasure
      Image: Gold coins
      Geologists hunting for diamonds off the coast of Namibia stumbled upon a different sort of riches when they hit upon a shipwreck full of copper ingots, elephant tusks and gold coins. The discovery was reported by Namdeb Diamond Corp, a joint venture between diamond giant De Beers and the government of Namibia. Preliminary analysis indicates the well-worn Spanish or Portuguese ship likely went down in stormy weather in the late 1400s or early 1500s. Judging from the cargo, researchers said the ship was likely looking for material to build cannons or was perhaps trading in ivory. This image shows coins and a brass divider recovered in the wreckage.
    • Santa Margarita loot a long trail of discovery
      Image: Pearls
      Dylan Kibler / AP
      In 1622, a fleet of 28 Spain-bound ships laden with gold, silver, copper and other riches reaped from the New World was snared by a violent hurricane in the Florida Strait. At least six of the boats sank, their loot no longer bound for the crown. Modern day explorers, however, have scoured the waters for the sunken treasure. Riches from the heavily armed Nuestra Se�ora de Atocha started coming to light in the 1970s and the scattered fortunes of a second ship, the Santa Margarita, were hit upon in 1980. In more recent years, divers from Blue Water Ventures Key West have been hot on the Santa Margarita's trail, recovering millions worth of treasure including the pearls shown here.
    • Captain Kidd's ship discovered in Dominican Republic
      Image: possible wreckage
      Indiana University
      The wreckage of the Quedagh Merchant, a ship abandoned by Scottish privateer William Kidd in the 17th century, has been discovered in shallow waters off a tiny island in the Dominican Republic and turned into an underwater preserve. Captain Kidd spent much of his life as a privateer – and captured the Indian-owned Quedagh Merchant which was laden with satin, silks, silver, gold, and other riches. But he abandoned the ship in 1699 to address charges in New York that he was a pirate, not a privateer. According to historians, the men entrusted with the ship looted it, burned it, and set it adrift. It was found just 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island at a depth of only 10 feet.
      Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge Found?
      Image: cannon
      Chuck Beckley / Jacksonville Daily News
      Archaeologists believe the cannon shown here being hauled up off the coast of North Carolina was part of the notorious pirate Blackbeard's flagship. According to legend, Blackbeard, whose real name was thought to be Edward Teach or Thatch, commandeered the French slave ship La Concorde in 1717 and renamed it the Queen Anne's Revenge. Blackbeard abandoned the ship when it ran aground off the North Carolina coast. Several artifacts recovered from the wreck appear to support the belief that it was Blackbeard's flagship, though the findings have been questioned by some scholars. Ongoing excavations may one day solve the mystery.
    • HMS Victory, famous British warship
      Image: archaeological site in Masada
      AP Photo/Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. |
      A famous British warship sunk by a violent storm in 1744 was discovered 330 feet deep in the English Channel, more than 50 miles from a group of rocky islets long implicated in the vessel's demise. The discovery exonerates the HMS Victory's commander, Sir John Balchin, and a lighthouse keeper near the rocks who was prosecuted for failing to keep the lights on, according to researchers with Odyssey Marine Exploration who found the sunken vessel that carried at least 900 men. What's more, the 110-gun ship is thought to contain 4 tons of gold coins. This image shows one of the ship's bronze cannons with the royal crest of King George I.
    • Court battles over $500 million shipwreck loot
      Image: Found coins
      Odyssey Marine Exploration via A
      The governments of Peru and Spain are caught up in court battles with a Florida-based exploration firm that recovered an estimated $500 million worth of silver coins from a Spanish frigate sunk by a British warship in 1804. Marine Odyssey Exploration announced the discovery of the treasure in 2007, though tried to keep the ship's origins and exact Atlantic Ocean location a secret. The details began to leak in 2008 as the Spanish government laid claim to the treasure if it indeed was from the sunken Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes. Peru has since weighed in with a court challenge of its own, saying the coins were made with Peruvian silver and minted in Lima. In this file photo, Odyssey Marine Exploration co-founder, Greg Stemm, left, examines the loot with a co-worker at an undisclosed location.
      Ore ship found, mystery endures
      Image: Ore freighter ship
      The discovery of an ore carrier some 460 feet beneath the surface of Lake Superior has only raised the intrigue over why the vessel sank on just its second voyage. The Cyprus was hauling iron ore from Superior, Wisconsin to Buffalo, New York, when it encountered a moderate gale on October 11, 1907. But the storm was insufficient to bother other ships that day. At the time, some mariners suspected water entered through the ships newly designed hatch covers, though a labor riot at the time of the vessels construction could have created other flaws. While this remains unsolved, shipwreck researchers have another mystery to resolve: The Cyprus was found 10 miles north of where its sole survivor said it went down. The ship on her maiden voyage is shown in this image.
    • Graf Zeppelin, unused Nazi Germany carrier
      Wojtek Jakubowski / AP
      The Polish Navy is almost certain they've located the remains of Nazi Germany's only aircraft carrier, the Graf Zeppelin. The ship was launched in 1938, though it never saw action as Adolf Hitler's interest in the navy waned during World War II. The Soviet Union took control of the ship after Germany's defeat and used it for target practice in 1947, according to historical accounts. The carrier eventually sank but its exact whereabouts were unknown until the Polish Navy found remains with an underwater robot. In this image, Polish Navy Commander Daniel Beczek holds up a photo with three views of the ship: the top is a drawing, the middle is a sonar image made by the navy, and the bottom is a 1930s construction photo.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Russia wants to colonize the moon Posted on October 20, 2011 - 12:06 by Trent Nouveau

The moon may be a harsh mistress, but Russian scientists say they want to establish a colony below the lunar surface.
According to Russian space official Sergei Krikalyov, recently discovered volcanic tunnels could provide natural shelter for the first colonists.
Russia wants to colonize the moonIndeed, scientists believe the moon's volcanic past created a vast underground network of lava tubes - some of which may be accessible by a meters-deep hole recently discovered by Japan's Kaguya spacecraft.
"This new discovery that the moon may be a rather porous body could significantly alter our approach to founding lunar bases," Krikalyov explained in a statement quoted by Reuters.
"If it turns out that the moon has a number of caves that can provide some protection from radiation and meteor showers, it could be an even more interesting destination than previously thought."

To illustrate his point, Krikalyov presented a slideshow showing bunker-like inflatable tents on the lunar surface.
"There wouldn't be any need to dig the lunar soil and build walls and ceilings... It would be enough to use an inflatable module with a hard outer shell to seal the caves."

Boris Kryuchkov, deputy science head at Russia's Star City cosmonaut training center, estimated the first such lunar colonies could be built by 2030. 

In the meantime, however, Moscow is focusing on rebooting its lunar program by prepping the Luna-Glob probe for a 2014 launch. The probe is slated to explore the Moon's polar regions, with a specific emphasis on analyzing lunar permafrost.
"Possibly, comets brought water onto the Moon and also the Earth. There are two significant differences between the Earth and Moon: the Earth has a stronger gravitational field and a thick atmosphere. Owing to this the Earth could hold out, water and rivers, lakes and oceans appeared, and later, all this led to the origin of life," Igor Mitrofanov, a fellow at the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Science, told the Voice of Russia.
"The Moon has no atmosphere and has a weak gravitational field. Water on its surface can be only under the conditions of extreme cold. When question arises about manned expeditions and setting up of lunar stations, water resources should guarantee the station with oxygen and water for day to day use and can be used to produce hydrogen, an excellent fuel for rockets. At present, we are engaged in hydrology surveillance for the exploration of the Moon in the future."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"The Lady of the Lake" haunts White Rock Lake Park. Is the story nothing more than an urban legend? Or does it have some basis in fact?

   One of the best-known Dallas legends is the so-called "Lady of White Rock Lake," a ghostly figure who is said to haunt the park's environs. Everyone it seems has heard one or more versions of the story (which seem to have become more gruesome and embellished over time) but is there any truth to them? Or is the "lady" nothing more than an urban legend that has its counterparts in other U.S. cities? No one seems to know for sure.
      It appears the story has been circulating for quite a while. Students at Woodrow Wilson High School in East Dallas were telling the tale to one another at least as early as the 1930s, although whether it originated with them or not is uncertain.
      A woman named Anne Clark wrote what may be the earliest published account of the legend. Titled "The Ghost of White Rock," Clark's brief story was included in the Texas Folklore Society's 1943 publication, Backwoods to Border. It read:
One hot July night a young city couple, having driven out and parked on the shore of White Rock Lake, switched on the headlights of the car and saw a white figure approaching. As the figure came straight to the driver's window, they saw it was a young girl dressed in a sheer white dress that was dripping wet. She spoke in a somewhat faltering voice.
I'm sorry to intrude, and I would not under any other circumstances, but I must find a way home immediately. I was in a boat that overturned. The others are safe. But I must get home.
She climbed into the rumble seat, saying that she did not wish to get the young lady wet, and gave them an address in Oak Cliff, on the opposite side of Dallas. The young couple felt an uneasiness concerning their strange passenger, and as they neared the destination the girl, to avoid hunting the address, turned to the rumble seat to ask directions. The rumble seat was empty, but still wet.
After a brief, futile search for the girl in white, the couple went to the address she had given and were met at the door by a man whose face showed lines of worry. When he had heard the couple's story, the man replied in a troubled voice. "This is a very strange thing. You are the third couple who has come to me with this story. Three weeks ago, while sailing on White Rock Lake, my daughter was drowned."
      In 1953 a similar but much more detailed account was included in Dallas author Frank X. Tolbert's book, Neiman-Marcus, Texas: The Story of the Proud Dallas Store:
One night about ten years ago a beautiful blonde girl ghost appeared on a road near Dallas' White Rock Lake.
Mr. and Mrs. Guy Malloy, directors for display for the world-famous specialty store, Neiman-Marcus, saw the girl. Only they didn't recognize her, right off, for a ghost. She had walked up from the beach. And she stood there in the headlights of the slow-moving Malloy car. Mrs. Malloy said, "Stop, Guy. That girl seems in trouble. She must have fallen in the lake. Her dress is wet. Yet you can tell that it is a very fine dress. She certainly got it at the Store."
By "the Store," Mrs. Malloy meant the Neiman-Marcus Company of Dallas.
The girl spoke in a friendly, cultured contralto to the couple after the car had stopped. She said she'd like to be taken to an address on Gaston Avenue in the nearby Lakewood section. It was an emergency she said. She didn't explain what had happened to her, and the Malloys were too polite to ask. She had long hair, which was beginning to dry in the night breeze. And Mrs. Malloy was now sure that this girl was wearing a Neiman-Marcus dress. She was very gracious as she slipped by Mrs. Malloy and got in the back seat of the two-door sedan.
When the car started, Mrs. Malloy turned to converse with the passenger in the Neiman-Marcus gown. The girl had vanished. There was a damp spot on the back seat.
The Malloys went to the address on Gaston Avenue. A middle-aged man answered the door. Yes, he had a daughter with long blonde hair who wore nothing but Neiman-Marcus clothes. She had been drowned about two years before when she fell off a pier at White Rock Lake.
The point of this story - for our purposes - is not that Mr. and Mrs. Guy Malloy, a hard-working, sober, no-nonsense couple, say very firmly that they saw a ghost. Other folks say they have seen the beautiful girl ghost of White Rock. The point of this story is that she was a very well-dressed ghost. And Mrs. Malloy at once identified her as wearing Neiman-Marcus clothes.
      A contemporary Dallas writer, Rose-Mary Rumbley, confirms this story, more or less, in her more recent book, Dallas Too, which was published in 1998 by the Eakin Press.
      "My good friend Barbara Rookstool," Dr. Rumbley writes, "vows that her daddy, Guy H. Malloy, was the one who created the Lady of the Lake legend." One Friday night, she continues, he worked late on a window display at the Neiman-Marcus store in downtown Dallas. It was after 2 a.m. on Saturday morning when Mr. Malloy, driving home to East Dallas, "first spotted the Lady of the Lake rise from White Rock." Afterward, reports Rumbley, "he told the story of the sighting" and it "has been told ever since."
      "As time passed," Rumbley remarks further, "the story grew," adding, "Malloy just saw her. He never took her home." Although this story does not match Tolbert's account in every detail (Rumbley has it taking place in the 1930s, for instance), the former schoolteacher agrees that the alleged spectre "was wearing a dress from Neiman-Marcus."
      Was there really someone named Guy H. Malloy, who worked as window dresser for Neiman-Marcus? The answer is most definitely "yes." He and his wife Josephine are listed in Dallas telephone books of the time and some of the earlier directories confirm his occupation. But did he, or he and his wife together, really see a ghost? That question is a bit more difficult to answer.
      Another contemporary Dallas author reports that the "Lady of the Lake" has been seen, not in a Neiman-Marcus dress but in a flowing negligee and that she is believed to be the ghost of a despondant young woman who committed suicide by drowning herself in the reservoir. This begs the question: Has anyone ever done such a thing? Again, the answer is yes.
      On Friday, July 5, 1935, Mrs. Frank Doyle found a suicide note left by her sister, Louise Ford Davis, who resided at the Melrose Court Hotel. Mrs. Doyle immediately alerted the police, who sent seven squad cars racing to White Rock Lake, in hopes of preventing a tragedy. But they were too late. "Detective Bryan," reported the Daily Dallas Times Herald, "who was driving along the Garland road, turned on to the lake road [East Lawther Drive] and shortly afterward saw Mrs. Davis' head bobbing in the water."
      "It was estimated," reported the paper, "that she had been in the lake five minutes when he [Detective Bryan] dragged her to shore." Although artificial respiration was employed in an attempt to revive Mrs. Davis, it was in vain and police remarked that if they had been called only "two or three minutes sooner," they might have saved her. The woman's car was parked nearby, a reporter added, and a "sheet and a pair of white gloves were found on the car seat." However, there was no mention of what she was wearing and the contents of the suicide note were not revealed. After a Saturday funeral service in Dallas, Mrs. Davis' body was taken to Albany, Texas for burial.
      On November 24, 1942, another distraught woman, 35-year-old Rose Stone of Mansfield, Texas, also committed suicide by drowning herself in the lake. Her body, dressed in sweater and skirt, was discovered in eight feet of water near the muncipal boathouse by Johnnie Williams, who assisted the park superintendent and city fireman in the search. A note was pinned to her sweater asking that relatives in Fort Worth be notified of her death. Mrs. Stone's coat and hat were found on the shore.
      So is Louise Davis or Rose Stone the "Lady of the Lake?" Is it the spirit of one of these unfortunate women that people have seen over the years, rising from the lake? Or is the alleged ghost the troubled soul of a young girl who fell off a pier and drowned, a girl who lived with her parents on Gaston Avenue and had a preference for clothes from Neiman-Marcus?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Interesting facts about my New Home State Texas

Here is some interesting facts about my new HOME state of TEXAS.  I use to live in New Mexico and would visit my sisters in Texas often.  I never really new much about Texas now I do.

the Republic of Texas.  The map was created in 1846

  • Texas is popularly known as The Lone Star State.

  • The Alamo is located in San Antonio. It is where Texas defenders fell to Mexican General Santa Anna and the phrase Remember the Alamo originated. The Alamo is considered the cradle of Texas liberty and the state's most popular historic site.

  • The lightning whelk is the official state shell.

  • Texas is the only state to have the flags of 6 different nations fly over it. They are: Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States, and the United States.

  • Although six flags have flown over Texas, there have been eight changes of government: Spanish 1519-1685, French 1685-1690, Spanish 1690-1821, Mexican 1821-1836, Republic of Texas 1836-1845, United States 1845-1861, Confederate States 1861-1865, United States 1865-present.

  • The King Ranch in Texas is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

  • During the period of July 24-26, 1979, the Tropical Storm Claudette brought 45 inches of rain to an area near Alvin, Texas, contributing to more than $600 million in damages. Claudette produced the United States 24 hour rainfall record of 43 inches.

  • More wool comes from the state of Texas than any other state in the United States.

  • Edwards Plateau in west central Texas is the top sheep growing area in the country.

  • Texas is the only state to enter the United States by treaty instead of territorial annexation.

  • The state was an independent nation from 1836 to 1845.

  • Texas boasts the nation's largest herd of whitetail deer.

  • A coastal live oak located near Fulton is the oldest tree in the state. The tree has an estimated age of more than 1,500 years.

  • Sam Houston, arguably the most famous Texan, was actually born in Virginia. Houston served as governor of Tennessee before coming to Texas.

  • Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.

  • When Texas was annexed in 1845 it retained the right to fly its flag at the same height as the national flag.

  • The first offensive action of the Texas Revolution occurred in Goliad on October 9, 1835 when local colonists captured the fort and town.

  • On December 20, 1835 the first Declaration of Texas Independence was signed in Goliad and the first flag of Texas Independence was hoisted.

  • The Hertzberg Circus Museum in San Antonio contains one of the largest assortments of circusana in the world.

  • The capital city of Austin is located on the Colorado River in south-central Texas. The capitol building is made from Texas pink granite. It served as the capital of the Republic of Texas in 1840-1842.

  • Austin is considered the live music capital of the world.

  • Texas is home to Dell and Compaq computers and central Texas is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of the south.

  • Professional sports teams include the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Houston Astros, Houston Comets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Rangers.

  • Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. The Dublin Dr Pepper, 85 miles west of Waco, still uses pure imperial cane sugar in its product. There is no period after the Dr in Dr Pepper.

  • The first suspension bridge in the United States was the Waco Bridge. Built in 1870 and still in use today as a pedestrian crossing of the Brazos River.

  • In 1836 five sites served as temporary capitals of Texas: Washington-on-the-Brazos: Harrisburg: Galveston: Velasco: and Columbia. Sam Houston moved the capital to Houston in 1837. In 1839 the capital was moved to the new town of Austin.

  • The capitol in Austin opened May 16, 1888. The dome of the building stands seven feet higher than that of the nation's Capitol in Washington, D.C.

  • Texas comes from the Hasinai Indian word tejas meaning friends or allies.

  • The armadillo is the official state mammal.

  • Texas has the first domed stadium in the country. The structure was built in Houston and opened in April 1965.

  • The Houston Comets are the only team in the country to win four back-to-back WNBA championships. 1997-2000 Cynthia Cooper remains the only player to win the WNBA Championship MVP.

  • The worst natural disaster in United States history was caused by a hurricane that hit Galveston in 1900. Over 8000 deaths were recorded.

  • The first word spoken from the moon on July 20, 1969 was Houston.

  • Texas' largest county is Brewster with 6,208 square miles.

  • Texas possesses three of the top ten most populous cities in the United States. These towns are Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

  • El Paso is closer to Needles, California than it is to Dallas.

  • Texas includes 267,339 square miles, or 7.4% of the nation's total area.

  • The state's cattle population is estimated to be near 16 million.

  • More land is farmed in Texas than in any other state.

  • More species of bats live in Texas than in any other part of the United States.

  • Laredo is the world's largest inland port.

  • Port Lavaca has the world's longest fishing pier. Originally part of the causeway connecting the two sides of Lavaca Bay, the center span of was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.

  • The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world's largest rose garden. It contains 38,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses set in a 22-acre garden.

  • Amarillo has the world's largest helium well.

  • The world's first rodeo was held in Pecos on July 4, 1883.

  • The Flagship Hotel on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built entirely over the water.

  • The Heisman trophy is named for John William Heisman the first full-time coach and athletic director at Rice University in Houston.

  • Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other comparable area in North America.

  • The Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.

  • Jalapeno pepper jelly originated in Lake Jackson and was first marketed in 1978.
  • Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Famous Female Archeologist

    The Grande Dame of Famous Archaeologists

    The biography of Dame Kathleen Kenyon

    The Grande Dame of Famous Archaeologists
    British archaeologist Dame Kathleen Kenyon was one of the most famous archaeologists to excavate in the Holy Land and was a great figure in the history of archaeology. Photo: Bettmann/Corbis
    In the history of archaeology, many famous archaeologists have made their mark. As it happens, most of them—thus far—have been men. But a few extraordinary women transcended the misogyny of their times and achieved great things in the field (literally). Kathleen Kenyon was one such, and her biography Dame Kathleen Kenyon: Digging up the Holy Land by Miriam C. Davis chronicles the life and achievements of one of the grande dames in the history of archaeology.
    Famous archaeologists of both the 19th and 20th centuries have worked in the Holy Land. It is, as reviewer Magen Broshi points out, the most archaeologically researched piece of land in the world. Throughout the history of archaeology in this region, borders have changed, as have areas of focus with regard to specific archaeological sites. The history of archaeology in Israel/Palestine is dotted with famous archaeologists of diverse nationalities; American, British, French, German and later Israelis have all worked—and are working—to piece together the archaeological history of this region.

    Dive into the depths of darkness in an elevator
    One of the most famous archaeologists to work in Israel, William Albright, is considered to be the “father” of Biblical archaeology. If this is true, then perhaps Dame Kathleen Kenyon is the “mother” of the field. Her work was certainly prolific enough to rival that of Albright; she conducted excavations in Samaria, Jericho and Jerusalem during the course of her career. Dame Kathleen Kenyon’s excavation methods, including an emphasis on stratigraphy, helped to pioneer a more scientific approach to archaeology.
    Certainly this remarkable doyenne of famous archaeologists deserves her eponymous Kenyon Institute—as the British archaeological research institute in Jerusalem was renamed in 1998—as a nod to her achievements. She deserves a well-written biography as well and that, according to Broshi, is exactly what she has in Dame Kathleen Kenyon: Digging Up the Holy Land.

    Ancient art studio uncovered in Africa

    TWO shells containing a primitive paint mixture have been uncovered in South Africa, revealing what researchers believe may be the remnants of a 100,000-year-old art studio.
    The abalone shells held a paste containing ochre, an earthy iron ore offering yellow or red hues, which may have been used for painting or body decoration, said the study in the journal, Science.
    The shells were found at Blombos Cave in Cape Town near other tools, which suggested the users were scraping off ochre flakes and mixing them with other compounds to form a liquid paint.
    Stone Age artists likely rubbed pieces of ochre on quartzite slabs to make a fine red powder. Any chips of ochre were probably crushed with quartz hammers and mixed with hot crushed animal bone, charcoal, stone chips and some liquid.
    The concoction was then transferred to the shells and "gently stirred", said the study led by Christopher Henshilwood from the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
    "A bone was probably used to stir the mixture and to transfer some of the mixture out of the shell," said the study.
    The discovery suggests that humans of the era understood some basic chemistry and were able to plan ahead to store the paint for future use, whether ceremonial, decorative or protective.
    "Ochre may have been applied with symbolic intent as decoration on bodies and clothing during the Middle Stone Age," said Mr Henshilwood.
    "This discovery represents an important benchmark in the evolution of complex human cognition in that it shows that humans had the conceptual ability to source, combine and store substances that were then possibly used to enhance their social practices."
    Scientists were able to date the quartz sediments in which the shells were found to 100,000 years ago using a process called optically stimulated luminescence dating (OSL).
    The absence of other archeological remains in the area suggests the "site was used primarily as a workshop and was abandoned shortly after the compounds were made", said the study.
    "Sand then blew into the cave from the outside, encapsulating the toolkits."
    The two specimens will be on display at the Iziko Museum in Cape Town beginning on October 14.

    The Big Bang

    Ok so you are thinking so what?  The Big Bang has always and will always be a topic of pros and cons.  Well to fill you in on something about me, I was born and raised in Los Alamos New Mexico.  The "Atomic" City as it were.    I even had friends that were like the characters of the TV show "Big Bang Theory".  I have found science a fun topic to read about even though I have not the mind to have gone into a career about it. That would be my daughter the wonderful Marine Biologist that she is becoming.
    Now imagine growing up in a world of science and being raised a Christian, blows the mind.
    My mom, who I lost over a year ago, did what most people do today and that is raise their family in a religon based setting.  She did her best to make sure we were in the good eyes of God, but then she never really said anything against science.
    So you can say the Big Bang Theory for me is the center of both worlds.
    I had a friend that would argue while we were in Middle school that the world was create only by the Big Bang and that no Unseen mystical being did the work.  My comment back was, "God could have clapped his hands together, and that was the Big Bang."
    The Big Bang to most will always be this being discussion on it was what started it all, but for me it makes me think about what it created.  What is out there and what else is there to discover.