The Secret of the Ancients…

Easter IslandPyramids K030970

We’ve always been fascinated by such ancient architecture as the pyramids, Easter Island and Stonehenge.  How did ancient people move such enormous pieces of rock into place? Our ego and ethnocentric generation assumes these ancient’s were so far behind us mentally and idealistically they couldn’t have possibly built these structures without some sort of help or secret technique. The fact is these are amazing feats of human innovation and one way or another these supposed crude civilizations found a way to engineer these feats.  From watching enough National Geographic television about these structures and the people who built them I have developed a theory into how these structures appeared.  They weren’t done by magic or alien assistance, and not even by insane numbers of humans pulling on the same stone.   They were done by manipulating a simple tool we still use today, magnets.  To be more specific a concept I call reverse-magnetism.  Much like how high speed trains, such as those in Japan, use the power of two magnets working against one another to create a tight sliding fit without actually touching;  I believe that ancients harnessed magnets to push against one another to create lift.  Reverse magnetism, two magnets pushing against one another, if harnessed correctly can create a force strong enough to create lift.  The ancients then used this force to assist in moving large pieces of rock into place to build the ancient structures. With a modern application this force could be used to replace cranes, elevators and any other technology used to create lift.  We know these structures exist, we know they were built by man, yet we don’t know how they did it.  This is the question my theory will attempt to answer.

The power of magnets has fascinated many of us since we were children.  It was always fun to see the way household items would leap toward a magnet held near them in your hand.  But every now and again we would press two magnets against each other from the wrong direction. They would push back and we would attempt to manhandle them into staying together.  I always wondered what exactly caused this. Today I am still not educated properly to explain how magnets work, but my eyes tell my brain that the power of two magnets working against one another creates force which could be used.  Using what we all see from these magnets when working against one another, and knowing that magnets were present in ancient society.  Is it far-fetched to imagine ancient builders taking the power of magnets in opposition and using it to create a device used in building, much like today we would use a crane?

I’ve never seen the pyramids or Easter Island up close but one look in a picture or on TV tells me that gigantic blocks were somehow moved into place by people with a limited knowledge engineering.  Obviously hard work was involved, but in my theory the question of whether manpower alone maneuvered these huge blocks into position is a resounding no.  I believe they harnessed the power of two magnets working against each other and created a device to do the job for them.  I remember watching Mr. Wizard as a child turning paperclips into magnets, so why not the ancients using the same concept to create a lift system to move these giant pieces of rock for them.  Once they had magnetized a platform of metal, they could then put another magnet beneath it.  Using simple pulleys and ropes they could control the ascent of the magnet and much like an elevator move large hunks of rock with relative ease. Generation after generation of science has written these ancient people off as having been simple.  If that is truly the case then this is a relatively simple solution.

Why not use this technology to impact building and engineering in today’s world, eliminating elevators, overhead cranes and other devices used to generate lift.  Imagine a device where a window washer is pushed up from the ground instead of dangled from on high, safer and more efficiently revolutionizing building. It would be difficult to accept that ancient engineers created a tactic of engineering superior to our own, but does our lack of understanding of ancient technology and people in itself acknowledge that they may be equal to to the modern day task? Using modern technology to harness reverse magnetism would improve on the ancient model of ropes and pulleys for control and allow for these changes in building. Start with a magnet platform under which another magnet pushes against it. Add in a barrier that can be slowly removed to allow the magnets to push agains one another, providing adjustable force to impact both the speed at which the platform rises and the height to which it rises. Then add a cable at the top and enclose the platform in something akin to an elevator shaft and you’re in business.  It sounds like something out of an episode of Myth Busters, but with the proper technique, why not? The technology could change the world and make all kind of tasks safer and more efficient.

Obviously this is an unproven theory, both to whether or not reverse magnetism could create a considerable amount of lift and whether or not it was what helped ancient people create the structures we marvel at today. But I believe that reverse magnetism is real and that both hypothesis could be true.  Whether or not I could prove that the ancient structures were built as such may be impossible, but it’s one more theory to add to the discussion. The modern day application would be the easier of the two to test and we’d know pretty quickly whether or not it could revolutionize building and jobs accomplished at a staggering height.  Someday I may get a chance to test my idea and participate in creating my “reverse-magnet lift system,” (patent pending…).  Until then I’ll continue to muse as to whether or not this idea has merit.  If anyone has thoughts please share them with me.  And if you happen to be someone with the engineering skill to build a prototype then let’s connect and get to changing the world!

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Is the Cold War Still at Minimum Luke-Warm?


I recently read a book titled The Company by Robert Littell, the same book that spawned the 2007 television mini-series starring Chris O’Donnell  I never saw the series but as usual it’s easy to assume the book blew away anything made into a TV show.  The book was a great read. I’d have to classify it in one of my favorite genres, escapist fiction, ala Vince Flynn, John LeCarre or Daniel Silva.  It centered on the rise of both the CIA and the KGB after World War 2 and their subsequent interactions throughout the Cold War up until and including the fall of the Soviet Union.  While a tad long for someone like me with the attention span of a fire-ant I did finish it in less than a week and consider it time well spent.

The book got me to thinking, and this is all seriousness here, about whether or not the Cold War has really ended.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t figure out all the world’s secrets from reading a fiction book but I did some fact-checking and much of it is historically accurate. The book details the back and forth one-upmanship between the KGB and the CIA and the games they would play with each other.  One of the lasting strategies the KGB always tried to deploy was to make the CIA feel they were gaining the upper hand and that the Soviet Union was collapsing.  In the spirit of this vein it got me wondering if maybe the whole “fall of the Soviet Union,” was an at least somewhat choreographed event made to have the US drop it’s guard.  I’m not saying the whole thing was 100% faked, but it wouldn’t have to be to be taken advantage of.  The KGB just capitalized on their own downfall to play the ultimate long con. All they KGB would have to do is fade into the shadows and continue to fight the United States much like they did in Vietnam.  After all, that’s what much of the Cold War was, us and them fighting in the shadows through more overt action.  From our failed attempts to lead a Hungarian revolt to their failed attempts to place nuclear weapons in Cuba.  Later their behind the scenes training and support of the North Vietnamese and vice versa with us and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

That was one aspect that the book focused on that I wasn’t as aware of, having not lived through Vietnam and being a young child during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.  Those two wars were completely fought with arms supplied by the opposing Cold War enemies.  The Soviets let the North Vietnamese do their bidding, we did the same with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.  These were covert operations funded and supplied via the shadows by the respective intelligence communities of the two powers.

One difference is that the Soviets had no worry of future backlash from supplying the Vietnamese unlike our worry while funding the Mujahideen.  At the time men with foresight in the US were worried sick that by supplying weapons, particularly Stinger missiles, the Mujahideen would one day turn our own weapons against us. This was exactly what would eventually happen.

It’s always rumored these days, and where there is smoke there is usually fire, that the modern-day Russians are supplying America’s enemies with x-ray goggles or other weapons of war that are used against them on the battlefield.  It’s not hard to imagine that these aid packages go a bit farther than simple goggles and kevlar vests is it?  And who is to know exactly what aid our enemies get from communist China or their proxy, North Korea.  (Yeah, I said it, I think China and even Russia, laugh with glee every time those backward-ass North Koreans make one of their high school quality video productions of an attack sonnet involving New York City, or rattle their saber in some weapon test off the coast of South Korea.)  We pretty much know China thinks it’s hilarious, and something tells me that the former Soviets have a cozy relationship with the only real bastion of current communism, China.

Given all of this conjecture, there is by no means hard proof of anything.  But it would surprise me none if some back channels of KGB operatives are still fighting the cold war and when the Soviet Union fell, got together and said “this is just what we need to ultimately pull the wool over the eyes of the United States.”  Even now, as that country has grown and prospered with the introduction of capitalism, the old cold war feelings of resent and mistrust persist, despite few seeming differences as to our societal and monetary policies. These guys are still pissed about their seeming loss in the Cold War, and much like an isolated Japanese soldier on a remote Pacific island, I don’t think some of them got the message (or accepted the message) that the Cold War is over.  By supplying the terrorists in places like Afghanistan and commiserating with known assholes like Ahmadinejad in Iran, these guys are still plotting the downfall of the United States.

I read another book by the author Brad Thor, in which China takes advantage of a terrorist network to attack the good United States. Something called “total war,” which is not dissimilar to what General William Tecumseh Sherman instigated to finish the southern states in the American Civil War.  I don’t remember the name because I read all of Mr. Thor’s books in a quick sitting of about a month, but the premise made a lot of sense.  Essentially they killed the leadership of an Arab terrorist network and planted new leaders to impersonate Wahhabbist assholes and plan and carry out attacks on the United States. However without the fanaticism getting in the way of sound strategy, the Chinese brought some Sun-Tzuesque Art of War to this battle.

It makes sense to me that this is entirely possible.  The enemies of the United States all working behind the scenes together to bring us down, with the strings really being pulled by former Soviets.  Far-fetched?  Maybe, maybe not.  The US is facing major problems, that threaten to end our reign much like the fall of ancient Rome. Politicians are too busy arguing with each other to realize what is happening under their noses and pull together to get something done.  As we fall further into debt, the value of the dollar decreases, and we spread our selves thin by policing the world, we become susceptible to the fall of an empire.

Russia is governed by a former KGB lieutenant in Vladimir Putin.  He’s an old cold-warrior who like a spurned lover continues to plot and encourage the fall of the American empire. China is more overt but make no mistake, Putin is no friend of the United States.  He’s also smart, smart enough to realize that playing the long-game with regard to the fall of the Soviet Union is sound strategy.  As the United States intelligence community is distracted fighting the War on Terror, and American armed forces are spread thin around the globe.  An old foe continues the battle by playing possum.

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V identifies some other random things

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Veronica identifying Grandpa Todd in picture.

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Let the Healing Begin

I reinjured my arm while wakeboarding last week! Like Phil Mickelson after blowing the US Open “I don’t know what I was thinking, I’m such an idiot.”  Despite injuring myself I was under a lot more control than last time and I was even jumping wake!

My elbow now has these two bruised dots the size of nickel’s, they look like my forearm bones wanted to “pop,” right out the back of my elbow. Amanda is a bit worried so I have to humor her by taking it easy.

I’m going to take serious rest and hope that my arm heals right. I had a wrestling coach in junior high with arms shaped like John Wayne Bobbit’s enlarged, post-op penis. Rumor was that he had “taped it up,” and gone back in one too many times.  I don’t want that happening to me.

Being of the board is killing me!  Not blogging hurts too, but not boarding is the worst!  It gives me some time to really concentrate on my “daddying,” skills. Amanda’s mom, Sue, is in town, so today I’m taking the family to the shores of beautiful Lake Arcadia.  Amanda’s yelling at me to burn some Zeppelin to listen to at the lake so I better go. It’s a beautiful day, can’t wait to hit the lake! Maybe I’ll blog about that.

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Insulting Injury…to its face!

The Elbow                      

I believe my injury is severe bruising of the UCL. 

This weekend included multiple sessions and I would have normally blogged about each. However, Friday nights session included two falls which left my wrist and hip badly scraped and bruised. The committed boardrider that I am, these discomforts didn’t keep me from heading back to the garage Sunday afternoon for a couple hours of solo skating. Session in the books, heading to my car, I hit a stupid yellow pole with my front-left-wheel and was violently thrown to the ground.  

I’m getting ahead of myself, let me rewind to Friday night and go through all the events that have left me in this sad state.  

Rod called to say that he and his dad, Troy, were heading to the garage Friday night to skate.  I was really wanting to go with them because Troy is a salty old skater from the 70’s who was an early influence originally pushing Rod, myself and the rest of our crew to begin to skate.  I had seen Troy a few weeks ago and he mentioned that he wanted to check out the garage and get back into skating himself-Troy’s a great guy, I can imagine him back in the day skating some G&S toothpick pretending to be Tony Alva.  

I called Bill who also said he would be there Friday night and my mind was made up, I had to figure out a way to get there.  The problem was that I worked until after 9pm and was supposed to pick up Veronica at mom’s afterward.  Mom would normally have no problem watching her a couple extra hours, however getting over the “hand, foot, mouth,” virus, Veronica has been more of a handful than usual. Still I decided to ask mom if she could watch her a bit.  “Oh Matt she’s been soooo fussy tonight, and then I have her in the morning.  I don’t know if I can do it.”  “She could just stay the night,” I replied. “So you can skateboard?” Mom is still figuring out how serious I am about skating, can you imagine that she doesn’t always think it’s a good reason for her to watch extend Veronica’s visit!  Still she relented and I had a couple of hours to go to the garage.

Racing from work, Tool screeching from the speakers, my pre-skate ritual had begun.  Jumping around, singing into mirrors or banging my head to the loudest music I can find, my ritual is very informal. Once complete, I feel juiced as a bucking bull ready to bust from the shoot complete with back sweat and spray coming out of my nose.  Nothing, at that point, can keep me from getting on my board.  

Exiting from Broadway, Bill called with unsettling news.  “Rod fell and busted his head open. Him and Troy are gone, and its kinda killed the vibe,”  Bill was ready to leave too!  “That’s why you and I wear helmet’s and I’m practically here, wait for me.”  Bill relented, turns out he was a little dehydrated and a promise to bring water kept him around for a few more runs.

Stepping off the elevator, Bill was waiting for water.  He gave me a brief synopsis of Rod’s fall and I made a silent promise to myself to not let the pavement ruin my night.  Only one thing left to do…RIDE! 

I was really owning it Friday.  I had a breakthrough Wednesday in the neighborhood and some old surfing techniques were coming back to me.  I finally remembered that you have to steer with your rear foot and to push my legs forward when turning backside.  I had also read a great quote from Laird Hamilton about lessons learned from surfing that I was able to apply to my longboarding.  

“You can’t kind of catch a wave. You either catch it or you don’t. It’s a commitment.  That’s just like anything else-you either go or you don’t. He who hesitates is lost in the end.”  USA Weekend, July 4-6, 2008  

That advice is great for anyone trying to get better on a board.  You have to go for it!  If you’re worried about getting hurt you will hesitate and hold something back.  Unlike surfing, holding back may not instantly cause you to eat shit, but it will keep you from breaking through to new heights.  When I ride, I push the limit and go for broke, I try to commit and leave it all on the, figurative, pavement. 

Eventually Amanda called saying she was off work and I invited her to head to the garage to see what I’m always off doing.  Upon her arrival she utters “I’m only watching one run and heading home.”  After a long shift, Amanda bordering on starvation, she was more interested in eating than watching me skate.  Finally I knew her priorities! 

After enjoying herself more than expected Amanda stayed for several runs.  On about the 5th or 6th that she watched I tried a particularly hard slide and went headfirst into the ground, my helmet and wrist guards breaking my fall.  Unfazed I continued to skate several more runs.  On about run 9, I was carving and tail-sliding particularly hard, showing off basically.  For the second time in 5 minutes I again fly headfirst over my board, sliding on my wrist guards right at Amanda and Bill (he had stopped for a breather near where Amanda sat).  I popped up and relatively unscathed I hollered “Now that’s what pads are for!”   And it was! Having fallen twice, my wrist was a little bruised and my hip skinned, but other than flesh wounds was completely fine.  I left the garage thoroughly satisfied with my session and quite proud of my skating.  I even enjoyed the falls!

Fast forward to Sunday.

Sitting at the house, trying to bug John into taking out the boat; I decided screw it, I’m heading by myself to the garage to get some exercise. I had resolved to get on my board at least 5 days a week, and having nothing else to do, why not go by myself?  I would stay within my limits to assure I didn’t fall again on my heavily bruised palm and wrist.  

Skating for almost two hours, I was thoroughly exercised and felt I had continued to improve on my Friday night session.  Turning towards my car I tried to skate out a very narrow space between a pole and a curb, and dammit if I didn’t clip that curb with my wheel!  The board creeping like molasses, it was still enough that I went flying to the pavement.  Immediately, feeling faint and lightheaded,  I knew I had hurt myself. Sweat pouring out, my entire arm numb, I struggled to remove my pads and get into the car.

Arriving home, Amanda and I assessed the damage.  I had shooting pains down from my elbow, my lower arm had a spot of black and blue, and my elbow was a mess- a swollen piece of meat and bone.  I could already hear the “I told you so’s,” and resolved early to avoid the doctor. However, after consulting my old friend Michael, now a NYC-ER doctor, we decided to head to OU Med Center to be assessed.  

I waited like 4 hours in serious pain!  Finally I told Amanda that if the triage nurses didn’t think it was an emergency, why did I!  “Let’s avoid the co-pay and call it a night.  See how it is tomorrow. If they tell me to go home and ice it I’ll be really pissed.”  And with that we left.  

It’s now Tuesday night and my arm continues to improve.  I think I badly bruised my UCL and jammed my arm from wrist to shoulder. No more shooting pain, but it does continue to ache.  No matter,  I fully plan on boarding this weekend! 

My conclusion…injuries are temporary.  So is adrenaline, but the rush keeps you high for a lifetime.  When boardriding or doing anything else, commit to it, go for it and don’t be defeated by a little pain or fear. Life is short, live it to the fullest!

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The Boardrider Learns to Wakeboard

First time ever, so don’t laugh too hard.  I fully plan on owning the wake on my next trip!  Hats off to Jiz for the epic editing!

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