Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Holy Cow!

Strangely, the Cultural Heritage News thinks that this is news:
Tehran, 28 September 2005 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations in Gohar Tepe, in Mazandaran province in Iran, led to the discovery of the remains of the statues of some cows which were most probably used in religious ceremonies.

The discovery of these sculptures indicates that the people of the region worshiped cows 3000 years ago.
Mazandaran is one of the most ancient provinces in Iran. Archaeological excavations indicate that the province has been inhabited by human beings since 400,000 years ago until the present time, and that around 5000 years ago, urbanization flourished in the area. Gohar Tepe is a proof to this claim.

“Some cow statues have been discovered in the archaeological excavations of Gohar Tepe, one of which is left almost intact. These sculptures which are in shape of rhytons were being used in religious ceremonies,” says Ali Mahforouzi, head of the excavation team of Gohar Tepe, Mazandaran, who is undertaking the forth season of excavations in the historical site.

So, what are they trying to tell us here? Is this the origin of the expression 'Holy Cow'? If so, they're on the wrong track. The article states:

Mahforouzi believes that rhytons reflect the beliefs of the ancient people of the region. These statues are evidence that the people of the region worshiped oxen and humped cows 3000 years ago. “Even today we can see some kind of respect towards the animals in the region,” added Mahforouzi, referring to kinds of cows being regarded as symbols of hard work and fertility.

I've got a better example for evidence that the people of [a] region worshiped oxen and humped cows . In some regions, cows are regarded even today as symbols of hard work, fertility, and...



(image credit)

(Thanks to Free Republic for original link)

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Oh Oh!

Just when we once again thought it was safe to go in the water...

Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina

by Mark Townsend Houston
Sunday September 25, 2005
The Observer

It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly.

Leo Sheridan, 72, a respected accident investigator who has worked for government and industry, said he had received intelligence from sources close to the US government's marine fisheries service confirming dolphins had escaped.

'My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire,' he said. 'The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?'

This story comes via a Free Republic link. In the comments it is pointed out that the Leo Sheridan mentioned in the article has been associated with reporting on war dolphins before. I don't know if this fact helps or hurts his credibility in any way.

Anyway, just another thought for the grist mill, or another facet of some conspiracy theory. Go read!

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