Sirius and the Dogon Tribe

250px-Position Alpha CmaThe dog-star, Sirius, is the brightest star visible from the northern hemisphere of Earth. This star has been known to humans since thousands of years as it is quite easy to spot in the sky. What to the eye appears as a single star is actually a binary star system, consisting of a white main sequence star of spectral type A1V, named Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DA2, named Sirius B. The reason for its brightness is not its intrinsic luminosity but its closeness to earth; at a distance of 2.6 pc or 8.6 light years, Sirius is one of our near neighbors. Sirius A is only about twice as massive as the Sun and, with an absolute magnitude of 1.42, has far less intrinsic luminosity than Canopus or Rigel.

Sirius Research
Researchers noticed that Sirius does not move like most other planets. There were irregularities in its orbit and it seemed quite obvious to scientists that it was being affected by an external body. They believed that the other celestial object with a huge mass must be close to it.

It was not until 1862 that Alvan Graham Clark discovered the other object that was affecting Sirius A and named it Sirius B. It was a tiny star close to Sirius but it seemed to be too small have been causing such a large effect on Sirius A.

It was not until 1920 that a scientist, Sir Arthur Eddington, suggested that Sirius B was a star that had collapsed in on it self and took on a density that was not proportionate to its size. It was suggested that a single cubic meter of Sirius B has the mass of 20,000 tons. This explained why it was able to affect Sirius A so dramatically.

Sirius B was finally photographed in 1970.

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The Egyptians and the Dogon

spdtThe ancient Egyptians called this star Sopdet. The star was worshipped as Sothis in the valley of the Nile long before Rome was founded. The Middle Kingdom of Egyptians based their calendar on the heliacal rising of Sirius, which occurred just before the annual flooding of the Nile and the summer solstice. The hieroglyphic for Sothis features a star and a triangle. Interestingly, Sothis was identified with the great goddess Isis who formed a part of a trinity with her husband Osiris and their son Horus. The hieroglyphic for Sirius was a triangle that suggests that each corner was for each of these gods.

Menagerie3The Dogon tribes of Mali are descendants of the Ancient Egyptians. They know this star as Sigu Tolo. Their religious beliefs claim that Sirius represents a trinity of stars. They have also charted the orbit of Sirius B and various other stars that interact with Sirius A. Dogon drawings show that the correct orbit of Sirius A and Sirius B. They had also determined that a complete orbit of the two stars was over a period of fifty years.
Furthermore, the Dogon beliefs and 400 year old artifacts show that there is a third star, Sirius C, near Sirius A and B. They claim that it has the star is four times lighter in weight than Sirius B that has an orbit that takes four centuries to complete. Scientists are currently debating this because some reports have shown clues of another star near Sirius A that matches the description of Sirius C given the Dogons.

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Other than the Sirius system, some Dogon artifacts and priests accurately mention the existence of the rings of Saturn, and the four moons of Jupiter. Both of these facts would be impossible to be known without access to powerful telescopes and equipment.

It remains a mystery of how these primitive tribes came to know about these facts about the universe with no tools at their disposal.
The Dogons claim that their ancestors were visited by beings from outer space who told them about the Sirius stars and the universe. They are said to have landed in North Eastern Africa in a a giant space ship. The visitors apparently told the Egyptians and Dogon ancestors that they came from a planet near Sirius. They call these aliens the Nommo.

Skeptics

Critics claim that the Dogon have been culturally contaminated. There is no solid proof that the religious beliefs that they have existed prior to 1862 when Sirius B was first discovered by scientists. Skeptics also believe in the possibility that the anthropologists, Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen, who first embedded themselves into the Dogon culture were the cause of the cultural contamination.

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Suicide at San Quentin

San Quentin State Prison is California’s oldest prison. It was opened in 1852 after being built by the same prisoners who were going to populate it. Hundreds of inmates have had their necks broken by hanging or, worse, painfully killed in a Hyrdogen Cyanide gas chamber. Inmates on death row would try to commit suicide but all of them failed, thwarted by the all-knowing surveillance systems in place, except one, William Kogut.

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William Kogut was brought to San Quentin State prison for the murder of Mayme Guthrie, a lady who ran a rooming house/gaming house/brothel. The motivation for the murder is not known but it was speculated that he killed her because of her alleged immoral ways. He mostly kept to himself and guards would notice him occasionally playing solitaire with a deck of cards that was provided to him by the prison. Nothing seemed amiss or strange about an inmate playing cards. After all, what was he going to do? Get a paper cut?

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The guards remained confident that nothing was amiss until October 9th, 1930, when a large explosion was heard in Kogut’s cell. The guards ran over to his cell and found only Kogut’s dead body sprawled on the floor and a note,

“Do not blame my death on anyone, because I fixed everything myself. I never give up as long as I am living and have a chance, but this is the end.”

After further investigation, It turned out that Kogut was never playing solitaire with his pack of cards. He was secretly cutting out the red hearts and diamond shapes and hiding them. He would then take those shapes to his room. Back in the 1930s, the red dye used on the pack of cards was made from nitrocellulose, an explosive chemical made from nitrate and cellulose. Kogut took off a hollow leg from his bed and stuffed all the hearts and diamonds cut outs into the bottom. Next he filled the hollow leg up with water from cell’s sink or toilet. Nitrocellulose reacts with water to create explosive energy. He then clogged up both ends of the make shift pipebomb and left it sitting there by the heating vents to speed up the reaction. After a little while, the bomb, the cell and Kogut all exploded, thus, ending his prison and death sentence.

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Some believe that Kogut acted out of remorse for his murderous act. Others believe that he was merely trying to die on his own terms and was too arrogant to let any one else kill him. Whatever his reasons, he definitely chose a very clever and unique way to get the results that he was looking for.

Maybe he was an ancestor of MacGyver?

The Incorruptibles

An Incorruptible is a person whose body is supernaturally being protected by a paranormal force usually after death. Incorruptible bodies have been found mostly by the Catholic Church but they also exist in Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim religions.

Here is a list of some famous incorruptibles:

  1. St. Bernadette Soubirous
    At the age of fourteen, Bernadette was out collecting firewood when she had a vision of a young lady. The stranger informed Bernadette about an underground spring that had miraculous healing powers. Apparently, Bernadette tasted the water from the spring but it had no apparent special effect on her. She told the Bishop and the bishop spread the news that Bernadette had talked to the Holy Virgin Mary. While the hidden spring became a famous pilgrimage location, Bernadette could not bring her self to believe that the spring had any magical powers. Bernadette died at the age of thirty-five in the year 1879 after many years of service to the convent of St. Gildard in Nevers. This is a photograph taken on the day she was buried:bernbw

    And this is what she looks like today:

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    She appears to be in the exact condition that she was on the day that she died even after being buried in a damp grave for over 100 years. She was originally exhumed in 1909 because she had become eligible for sainthood. Despite not being embalmed, she remains in near perfect condition. Elaborate hoax? Natural preservation? Miracle Water? or Divine Intervention?

    Unfortunately, the church has not allowed for any independent tests to prove the authenticity of the body. Skeptics have noticed a wax layer on the body and face and this could show that her decomposed features may have been “repaired”. However, a Doctor Comte was asked to examine the body in 1925 and he stated,

    “What struck me during this examination, of course, was the state of perfect preservation of the skeleton, the fibrous tissues of the muscles (still supple and firm), of the ligaments, and of the skin, and above all the totally unexpected state of the liver after 46 years. One would have thought that this organ, which is basically soft and inclined to crumble, would have decomposed very rapidly or would have hardened to a chalky consistency. Yet, when it was cut it was soft and almost normal in consistency. I pointed this out to those present, remarking that this did not seem to be a natural phenomenon.”

  2. Hambo Lama Itigelov Dashi-Dhorzho Itigilov was a Buddhist Lama who lived in Russia. Well versed in medicine and philosophy, he set out to help people in need by setting up hospitals, tending to the sick and taking part in many charitable undertakings. When he turned 75, he told his students to meditate with him because he was to die soon. He gave them specific instructions to bury him in a cedar box while he was still sitting in the lotus position. He also told him to exhume him after many years. He died soon after and his disciples did what they were told. He was buried in 1927.175px-Itigelov

    In 2002, members of his monastery exhumed Itigelov’s body and were surprised to find that he was remarkably preserved. Some Buddhists believe that he asked to be exhumed because he knew that his body would have been preserved. Now the body sits in his original monastery and still shows no sign of decomposing.

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    Although Itigilov’s body was never embalmed or mummified, it is said that his corpse still bleeds if punctured. The Buddhist monks approach him as a living person and shake hands with him. Some devotees even claim that Itigilov is still alive, only immersed in a hibernation- or nirvana-like state. “Buddhists say that only the most advanced masters can fall into some particular condition before death and purify themselves so that his dead body could not decay” [2]. Some scientists explain the state of Itigilov’s body by abnormal quantities of bromine discovered in tissues and muscles.

    On 23 April 2003, the Buddhist conference recognized the body of Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov as one of the sacred Buddhist objects of Russia. At that time, they laid the foundation stone for a temple entitled Itigel Khambyn ordon and consecrated to Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov. As of 2005, Itigilov’s body was kept outdoors, in contact with other people, without preserving any temperature or humidity regimens.

  3. Catherine of Bologna

    Catherine was both on September 8, 1413 and died March 9th, 1463. She was a talented artist and writer and claimed to have seen several visions of Mary, God and Satan. She was exhumed 18 days after her death after multiple reports of miracles around her grave. Her apparently unembalmed body is still on display in the chapel of Poor Clares in Bologna.

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  4. For more stories about Catholic Incorruptibles, you may wish to purchase the following book. The book is fairly one sided since it is written by a person who believes that there is irrefutable proof of the authenticity of all the Incorruptibles.

Evolution of the Toothbrush

The Chewing Sticks

The Toothbrush first appeared around 3500 BC and was used by Egyptians and Babylonians. People often chewed on one end of the stick until the fibers of the wood formed a brush which was then used to clean the teeth. These chewing sticks were the ancestors of the Miswak toothbrushes which are used the same way as the primitive chewing sticks but are made from the branches of the Salvadora persica tree. The Salvadora persica branches have healing and antiseptic qualities.  Miswak is still used today and is considered by many to be superior to modern tooth brushes (study comparing miswak and toothbrushes). The use of Miswak is especially popular amongst Muslim communities and can be purchased at most Indian, Pakistani or Arab stores.

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Other forms of early toothbrushes were strips of linen (used by ancient Greeks), bird feathers, animal bones, and porcupine quills but none were as effective as another early ancestor of the modern toothbrush, boar bristles on a bamboo stick.

The Modern Tooth Brush

During the period 1498-1600, Chinese “dentists” would pluck the hairs off of cold climate pigs and paste them on bamboo sticks or animal bones. These were then used just like a modern manual toothbrush to clean their teeth. Meanwhile, Europeans were still using the ancient Greek way of brushing their teeth; They were dipping linen cloth or sponges dipped in sulfur oils and salt solutions and rubbing away all the tooth grime. Then came William Addis, who introduced the Chinese way of brushing to England in 1780.

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The idea of the bristle bone tooth brush came to William Addis while in prison. Boredom and necessity drove Addis to take a bone left behind from his dinner and bristles that he borrowed from a guard and combine them to create a tool to clean his teeth. It was a far better alternate to a dirty cloth with soot and salt. After his release, William Addis became the first person to mass produce modern toothbrushes. The Addis version of the toothbrush used cow tail hair drilled and tied on to cow bones. It was a success! His company still exists today but they have moved away from using bones as the toothbrush handle. Later versions of the European toothbrushes used horse hair instead of boar hair because it was softer.

Bone and Boar Bristle Toothbrush:

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Napolean Bonaparte’s horse hair toothbrush:

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Patent number 18,653 marked the first toothbrush patent in the United States of America. It was registered by an entrepreneur, H. N. Wadsworth, in 1857. Mass production of tooth brushes began in 1885 and dental hygiene enthusiasts sighed a fresh breath of relief.

The World Wars

When first world war began, the need for soup bones far outweighed the need for brush handles. Once again, necessity was a catalyst that helped create Celluloid handles. Soup bones everywhere breathed a soupy sigh of relief. Molds were created in the shape of brush handles and celluloid was poured in and cooled. At this point, brush makers either dipped bristles into liquid celluloid or drilled holes into solid celluloid handles and then stapled them in.

The next evolution of the toothbrush took place in 1938 when nylon bristles were used instead of animal hair. A company called DuPont de Nemours introduced the first toothbrushes with nylon bristles. These were much more comfortable than boar hair. Boars, vegetarians, Muslim people and Jewish people (who don’t consume animal or pork products) breathed a sigh of relief. The first such toothbrush was called Dr. West’s Miracle-Tuft Toothbrush.

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DuPont de Nemours used the World Wars to their advantage and used a support-the-troops war marketing campaign. Your American Duty is to brush your teeth so you can win the war.

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Brushing teeth regularly became popular in the United States after US soldiers returned home and brought with them their strict habits of brushing their teeth. People were influenced by the actions of these US soldiers and brushing teeth finally became mainstream.

Late Modern Brushes

An electric toothbrush was invented in 1939 in Switzerland and it came out for public consumption in the 1960s. Broxodent, the electric toothbrush by Squibb, came out and was marketed for the “overly-vigorous type of toothbrushers”.

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Dr.Scott was also another early pioneer of the electric toothbrush:

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There exist over 3000 toothbrush patents today.

Oral-B is the current leading toothbrush creator and they have a wide variety of electric and manual brushes with the latest one being the Oral-B 9100.

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The Oral-B Triumph 9100 with SmartGuide wirelessly transmits a map of your mouth to an LCD display. It monitors how many times you have brushed certain quadrants of your teeth and lets you know where you have yet to brush or which areas still need more work. Once your mouth is perfectly clean, it signals you to stop brushing.

Another type of toothbrush, Tooth Tunes, hums songs and tunes silently into your ear while you brush. The music stops after two minutes, the dentist recommended time for brushing teeth.

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What does the future hold for toothbrushes? Will they go extinct and get replaced by something completely new or will they continue to innovate and get better? How much better can tooth brushes get any way?

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