Friday, April 28, 2017

The Reality of Climate Change

The Bible provides considerable evidence for climate change. Consider how the part of the world where Biblical populations lived has changed in the past 12,000 years. Once the vast expanse of land from Central Africa to the Tigris-Euphrates Valley was very wet. Today this is region of earth is very dry.

Dufuna Boat
This 8000 year dugout was found 16 feet under the Sahara.

Noah lived in the region of Lake Chad in Central Africa. He lived during a time of extreme wetness know as the Gurian Wet Period or the Aqualithic. Today this area is dry and Lake Chad is but a fracture of its earlier size.

The ancient Saharan water systems (shown in gray) interconnected along the African Sheer Zone (black line). Mega Chad covered 139,000 square miles of Central Africa and the outlines of the lake's ancient shorelines are visible from satellites.

The Nile River was much wider than it is today. Mega Nile was home to a large fresh water lake that was 17374.597 square miles. That lake filled the White Nile River valley and was in the heart of Biblical Eden. The White Nile is one of the rivers named in Genesis 2. It marked the southwestern boundary of the well-watered region of Eden.

Dr. Tim Barrows (Exeter University) reports: “The eastern Sahara Desert is one of the most climatically sensitive areas on Earth, varying from lake-studded savannah woodland to hyperarid desert on a timescale of only thousands of years."

The vast wetlands of Central Africa supported cattle and herds of wild antelope and gazelle. Abraham's Proto-Saharan ancestors herded cattle in these wetlands. The bull became an important religious symbol for them. The Sun resting in the horns of the bull symbolized divine overshadowing. Those who were shown wearing the Y-shaped solar cradle were appointed by the Creator for some purpose. The men were to be rulers and the overshadowed woman was to bring forth Messiah. (See Luke 1:35.)

Hathor, the mother of Horus 
The Horite Hebrew believed that God has a son.

Below are examples of rock paintings (petroglyphs) found in the eastern Sahara. They show boats of shapes transporting people and cattle.The rock paintings date to between 4300 and 2900 BC.

Between 12 and 10 thousand years ago, the Nile connected to the western water systems of the Sahara. There were numerous shallow lakes stretching across what is now a desert. Because of this, the same plant and animal species are found at the Nile, Lake Chad, and the Benue Trough. The Benue Trough connects to the Atlantic Ocean at the southern tip of Nigeria.

These giant hand axes were found at the dry basin of 
Lake Makgadikgadi in the Kalahari Desert.

The now dry Botswanan lake basin was once a sea filled with water that ran down from the Angolan Highlands. Some of Africa's earliest human populations lived on the edges of this great lake as evidenced by thousands of man-made stone tools found there. The stone tools date to between 80,000 and 100,000 years.

Horticulture in the Ancient World

Emmer wheat


Wild grains were collected and eaten by Paleolithic populations as early as 30,000 year ago.

Emmer wheat was gathered 23,000 years ago near the Sea of Galilee in modern Israel. At the site of Ohalo II charred grains have been recovered, indicating that, Ohalo's residents processed the wheat into flour and baked it.

The ancestors of the Nes craftsmen of Anatolia cultivated einkorn and emmer wheat about 12,000 years ago, according to genetics and archaeological studies. Einkorn is one of the oldest wheats known to scientists. The German term einkorn means “single grain" and thousands of years ago it was found in abundance. Today it is found only in a few regions.

Humans learned to cultivate wheat by sowing wheat seeds in a furrow. The residents of Jericho sowed, tended and reaped the wheat around 5000 BC. 


There are two species of cultivated rice in the world: African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and Asian rice (Oryza sativa).  The two strains of Asian rice are Oryza japonica and Oryza indica, identified with Japan and India. Asian rice was domesticated 13,500 years ago in China's Pearl River valley, from the wild rice Oryza rufipogon,

African rice was domesticated from the wild ancestor Oryza barthii (Oryza brevilugata) by peoples living in the Benue-Niger floodplain about 3,000 years ago. Rice grain formed the basis of weight measurement from East Africa to Sulawesi. On Madagascar, the weight of one grain of rice is called vary, and corresponds to the Swahili wari and to the Dravidian verasu. These words indicates that people kept written records of commercial weights in ancient times.

Rice grain formed the basis of weight measurement from East Africa to Sulawesi. The Hebrew word for rice is orez and Arabic ruz.  These share the RZ root with Dravidian. The Dravidian word reflects the written records of commercial weights.

Sulawesians and Madagascans may be genetically related to the Dravidians, if the linguistic connections have a biological basis. The term Sulawe appears to be related to ancient Egyptian, Dravidian, and East African words for rice. Sulawe resembles the Egyptian word for writing ssw; and the Mande sewe; and the Dravidian ha-verasu (referring to written record of rice sales). Rice merchants who moved from island to island would have recorded their transactions.

Linguistic connections are further evident in Sulawesi and East African terms for slash and burn cultivation.The Sulawesi word trematrema (used in Northeast Betsimisaraa) refers to a 1-3 year old slashed-and-burnt field. It is related to the Swahili word tema, ‘to cut’, and the redoubled form tematema, ‘to slash, to chop. This technique is used in "dry rice" planting.

Dried Jujube fruit

Jujube Fruit and Dates

Jujube was domesticated in south Asia by 9000 BC. The fruit is smooth and green until ripe. When ripe, it turns brown to purplish-black. Jujube fruit tastes somewhat like apple and when it is dried it resembles a date with a pit inside.

Bundles of dates

Dates were harvested from date nut palms in Africa and the Middle East as early as 5000 B.C.  The date nut palm can produce hundreds of dates.  At the shrine city of Nekhen, the oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship, 5500 dates were identified from a beer cocktail excavated from a vat. The ancient Egyptians used dates to make date wine. Dates were also used by the Nilotic peoples to sweeten beer.


The earliest known record of sorghum use is among the Nabta Playa population in Sudan and dates 8,000 B.C. Wild sorghum was eaten by the cattle at Nabta Playa and at other archaic sites near the Nile, such as Bir Kiseiba, Wadi el-Arab and El Barga.

By 2000 BC, people in southern Sudan made sorghum beer and baked sorghum bread. They ate sorghum like oatmeal, or cooked like polenta.

From Sudan, sorghum farming spread east to Harappa, India, and from India it spread to Southeast Asia, and eventually to Australia.


Seeds and Insemination

The ancients observed that the seeds of plants that fall the to ground produce other plants of the same kind. It was therefore logical to assume that the seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. Likewise, the seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. This was regarded as a divinely-established fixed pattern. Therefore, the ancients regarded both onanism (spilling of human semen) and homosex to violate or express rebellion against the Creator's established order in creation. Ancient wisdom based moral law on observed patterns in nature.

Hurricane on Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft dove between Saturn and its rings on April 26, snapping the closest-ever views of Saturn's atmosphere. The images that streamed back indicated that the probe had survived its journey. They show intricate structures and a dark, swirling storm-like feature which NASA called a "giant hurricane".

See the photos here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Textiles of the Ancient World

Credit: Dailymail.UK

Textile technology is at least 77,000 years old. The world's oldest known mattress is an example. It was unearthed in South Africa at the Sibudu Cave site in KwaZulu-Natal. The mattress consists of layers of reeds and rushes. This mattress was discovered at the bottom of a pile of bedding made from compacted grasses and leafy plants. The bedding had accumulated over a period of 39,000 years, with the oldest mats dating to 77,000 years ago. (Read more here.)

Because fibers disintegrate, it is difficult to find intact samples of human-fabricated textiles from archaic times. Often the evidence of textiles is indicated by impressions left in burned clay. The earliest evidence of string appears about 40,000 years ago. Twined fibers were used to string beads.

Early cloth was made with string. The earliest known string-making was at the Ohalo II site in Galilee in Israel. There three fragments of twisted and plied plant fibers were discovered that date to 19,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have found 35,000-year-old flax fibers (Linum usitatissimum) at the Dzudzuana rockshelter in the former Soviet state of Georgia. The flax fibers had been twisted, cut and dyed a range of colors.

Archaic populations made foot coverings of animals hides. Bodies buried about 27,000 years ago at the Sunghir Upper Paleolithic sites in Russia appear to have had foot protection. A moccasin-type shoe was discovered at the Areni-1 Cave in Armenia that dates to 5500 years ago.

Sandals dating to between 12,000 and 6500 years have been found at several sites in the American southwest.

Silk proteins were found in 8500-year-old tombs at Jiahu in the Henan Province in central China. Silk was produced in significant amounts during the Longshan period in China (BC 3500-2000). Silk is made by extracting fibers from the cocoons of silkworms.

Evidence of silk has been found at ancient sites such as Palmyra in the Syrian Desert and in Egyptian tombs. Silk fibers were found in the hair of an Egyptian female mummy found in Thebes. The mummy has been dated to the twenty-first dynasty (c.1069-945 B.C.).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Contest Ends on Friday, May 5th

Student submissions for the new blog header must be received by the teacher by 3:20 pm on Friday, May 5th. You may submit these on a USB drive or by e-mail.

The guidelines are written in the class notes section of your Technology-STEM Discovery notebooks. The name of the school or the school logo must appear on the header. Also the header should have the name of the course: Technology-STEM Discovery, with emphasis on the word "discovery."

The submission will be shown to the 7th and 8th grades classes and the students will vote for the top three headers. Those headers will be improved, based on suggestions from the teacher and classes, and then a second vote will determine the top choice. The creator of the top choice will receive a $75.00 gift card.

If you have questions, see Ms. Linsley.

Related reading: Designing a Blog Header on Google;

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brick Making in the Ancient World

Unexcavated brick wall at Harappa

Mud or clay bricks were used throughout the ancient world. Mud bricks date back to Mehrgarh (4500 B.C.), and baked bricks were a hallmark of the Indus Valley Civilization. Archaeologists have found clay or mud brick structures, often in ruins, dating to as early as 4800 B.C.

The bricks were pressed into molds and then dried in the sun or baked in ovens (kilns). The molds made it possible to produce bricks that were uniform in size and shape.

Baked bricks form this fortification wall. The strength and height are increased by alternating rows of bricks running in different directions.

Kiln-baked bricks were stronger and were used for the outer defensive walls and for structures near flood zones. 

Brick kilns (shown below) were discovered at Egyptian Teudjoi (Ankyronpolis) south of Beni Suef, on the east bank of the Nile. 

Genesis 11:3 tells us that the towers in Mesopotamia were built of fired brick. Mud or clay bricks were used to build temples, palaces, entrances to royal tombs, houses, walls, and pyramidal towers called ziggurats. The Mesopotamian ziggurats were built with a core of sun-dried mud brick and an exterior covered with kiln-baked brick. The term "ziggurat" comes from the Akkadian word ziqqurratu, which is translated as "rising building" (from the ancient Akkadian zaqâru, "to rise high").

The Sumerians used bricks to create arched entrances to royal tombs. Sumerian arches were made by stacking bricks on top of each other in steps that met in the center. Around 3000 B.C, builders created a special wedge-shaped brick mold that allowed the bricks to fit even more closely together above a doorway.

The Sumerians and ancient Egyptians built shrine cities and fortifications using clay bricks mixed with straw. According to Exodus 5:7, Pharaoh ordered the Egyptian taskmasters: "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw."

To increase the brick production teams of brick makers competed against each other. This image (above) of men making bricks appears on the wall of the tomb of Rekmara, a ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty (1550-1292 BC). 

The land of Canaan and its principal cities, such as Hazor, Kadesh, and Jerusalem, were under Egyptian rule during the Eighteenth Dynasty. Cities under Egyptian rule were fortified with walls many feet thick. The north wall protecting Lachish was 17 feet thick and the outer walls of Gezer were 14 feet thick. These fortified shrine cities are called the "high places" in the Bible. Jerusalem was named Jebus because it was the city of the Jebusites who built their royal complex on the south-eastern hill of Jerusalem. The old Jebusite wall was made of stone. Most monuments and fortification walls built by high kings were made of stone.

Bricks were used to lay out the structure of a new building. Stacked bricks served as markers. Some buildings contained bricks that were inscribed with prayers and dedications, as is done today on the corner stones of many public buildings and churches.

Homo Naledi: another member of the human family

Archaic human bones found deep in a cave in South Africa show the full range of human physical features and are dated between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago.

The bones found in the Dinaledi Chamber represent the largest collection of human bones found in Africa. The bones are of 15 individuals, including infants, children and adults. (For more, read about the Rising Star Expedition.)

The Naledi hand and modern human hand are virtually identical, as can bee seen below.

The cave appears to be a site of ritual burial.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Enevoldsen's Periodic Table Highlights Uses

In high school chemistry we learn the periodic table, but rarely do we learn how these elements are used. Keith Enevoldsen from has come up with this awesome periodic table that gives you an example for every element except for the superheavy elements that do not occur in nature and can only be produced in the laboratory. Such elements are discovered by smashing together light nuclei and tracking the decay of the resulting superheavy elements.

Uranium was used to create "vaseline" glass and is moderately radioactive. This green-yellow glass is a popular collectable. Thulium is used for laser eye surgery, krypton for flashlights, strontium for fireworks, and xenon for lighthouse lamps. Samarium is used with cobalt to make magnets.

Discover more uses here.

Related reading: Element 117 Named; Four Newly Named Elements

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Judean Palm

When the Romans invaded Judea in 63 B.C., there were thick forests of date palm trees stretching over a range of 7 miles across the Jordan valley from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the shores of the Dead Sea in the south. The trees grew to a height of 80 feet and had branches all year round.

When the people greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem, they greeted him with palm branches as a king to be enthroned. Ceremonial installation of rulers with palms was an ancient tradition in Jesus' time. Fresh palms are still used among many peoples of Central and East Africa at the enthronement of a sovereign and a priest of high rank.

In greeting the King, palm fronds and olive branches were used in Biblical times among the Jebusites who controlled Jerusalem (Yebu). Even today. fresh palm tree fronds are used ceremonially at the installation of Ijebu rulers and to decorate places of worship. Jude Adebo Adeleye Ogunade writes in his memoir about growing up Ijebu. He was warned not to touch the leaves of the Igi-Ose tree because, as his Mama Eleni explained, "That tree is the tree whose leaves are used to install Chiefs and Kings of Ijebu and as your grandfather was a custodian of the rites of chieftaincy and kingship you must not play with its leaves." The University of Oxford, Institute Paper, n° 7, (1937) on Medicinal Plants lists the leaves of the Igi-Ose as a blood purifier.

Palm branches were also used to decorate sacred places and in worship. Watch this video of Christian women worshiping with palm branches.

In ancient Israel the Judean nut palms were stripped of many branches for the Jewish festival of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot). Branches were cut to make roofing for the booths. The palm branches also were used to thatch the roofs of homes and sheep cotes, to create canopies over open market spaces, and for ceremonies like weddings, etc. They were used so extensively that the Judean date nut palms disappeared from the Jordan valley.

Hayany Date Nut Palm of Upper Egypt

There are efforts to bring back the Judean nut palm. In 2005, Dr. Elaine Solowey germinated a 2000-year seed that had been recovered decades earlier from an archaeological excavation at the fortified high place Masada. The so-called "Methuselah Tree" (shown below) is growing in a protected environment at a laboratory in Jerusalem. Genetic tests indicate that Methuselah is closely related to an ancient variety of date palm from Egypt known as Hayany (shown above). The ancient flora and fauna of the Jordan Valley and the Nile Valley are similar.

Ten years after sprouting from the ancient seed, the Methuselah date palm is now producing dates. These are the kind of palm branches that would have been used to hail King Jesus as he entered Jerusalem.

The Methusleah Tree

In the ancient world palms grew in arid regions at oases. These trees provided shade for those who lived at the oasis and the dates were eaten and used to sweeten foods. Dried dates were used to make date cakes and these were usually eaten at celebrations. At Bedouin weddings guests are typically served dates and Arabic coffee as they arrive for the days-long celebration. According to 1 Chronicles 16:3, after David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and distributed to each person a date cake.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Georges Cuvier

Georges Cuvier

"Why has not anyone seen that fossils alone gave birth to a theory about the formation of the earth, that without them, no one would have ever dreamed that there were successive epochs in the formation of the globe." -- Georges Cuvier, Discourse on the Revolutions of the Surface of the Globe

Davis Jones
Grade 7

Mary Anning (1799-1846) has been called "The Greatest Fossilist" in the world. She explored the cliffs of Lyme Regis in Dorset, England, where she collected fossils. She spent more than 30 years collecting and describing fossils found mostly in rocks of the Jurassic age. Anning discovered fossils that she later described as a plesiosaur, an early marine reptile. The discoveries of Anning and the French naturalist, Georges Cuvier, provided a better understanding of organic life in the Jurassic age.

If  Mary Anning is the "mother" of paleontology, Georges Cuvier is certainly the "father" of paleontology. Besides their love of fossil hunting, they shared the Christian Faith. Both made important discoveries and confronted opposition based on limited religious beliefs. Anning faced a challenge from Christians who believed that the earth is only about 6000 years old. She considered that many of the fossils she found were older than 10,000 years. Anning’s work helped to change the way people thought about prehistoric life on Earth.

Georges Cuvier proposed that there had been an "age of reptiles" before the time of mammals. This idea of earth’s organic life changing over time presented a challenge to the Young Earth Creationism of the churches in Cuvier’s time. Cuvier was a Lutheran who regarded his faith as a private matter. He supervised government educational programs for Protestants in France and was instrumental in founding the Parisian Biblical Society in 1818. From 1822 until his death in 1832, Cuvier was Grand Master of the Protestant Faculties of Theology of the French University in Paris.

Cuvier served in Napoleon's government and served under three successive Kings of France. He was knighted and made a Baron and a Peer of France. He was respected for his devotion to science. His contribution to understanding vertebrate and invertebrate zoology and paleontology is significant.

Cuvier is credited with demonstrating the reality of extinction over time. However, he did not believe extinction confirmed Darwin's evolutionary theory. Instead, he believed that all species were created around the same time in the past and that some species became extinct due to natural causes such as environmental catastrophes.

Related reading: Baron Georges Cuvier