Monthly Archives: December 2013

When in Afghanistan do as the Afghanistanis do

When Alexander the Great died and his generals divided his empire one of the most remote locations was the new Kingdom of Bactria in what is now Afghanistan. The Greeks colonized and ruled this area until 50 BCE when local kings took over. While the Greeks tried to Hellenize the area it is interesting that one of the Greek rulers in this period is well know in Indian tradition as a ruler who converted to Buddhism.

(The Great Courses – Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age)

They were practically counting each individual ship

In the years before D Day the overriding issue that determined if/when the invasion of France could take place was the number of landing craft available for the cross channel trip. Churchill had argued to Stalin during 1941 and 1942 that there simply weren’t enough LST’s (landing Ship-Tanks). When it finally decided that enough would be available in May of 1944 most LST’s that were being used in Italy were scheduled to be sent to England for ‘Overlord’. The Americans were vehemently against anything that might delay Overlord. The Americans even had to postpone an invasion in the Bay of Bengal in the East that Roosevelt had promised China. Those 15 landing craft from the East were sent to the Mediterranean to replace some of the 104 LST’s that were to be sent back to England for the Invasion but they were not scheduled to arrive in time for the Anzio invasion. Churchill argued to keep 56 LST’s in Italy for an extra three weeks in January. They needed 88 LST’s to land two divisions in the Anzio invasion in Italy which was to help liberate Rome. This was important in order to liberate the airfields just north of Rome which could then be used to bomb parts of Germany.

(Book – The Second World War – Winston S. Churchill)

Lead – boring but stable

The most stable nuclear configuration for all elements is 20 protons and 30 neutrons which is the element lead. All elements lighter than this are formed during the fusion process and these reactions give off energy as they become heavier. All elements heavier than lead are created using fission and require energy to create. The heavy ones are created in the explosion of the stars as they die where there is a lot of excess energy. After the heavier elements have been created they will eventually become lighter elements again by radioactive decay when they give off the energy used to create them.

(The Great Courses – The Physics of History)

I guess I will have to read my copy of “The Annals”

There are currently only two references to Jesus made in Pagan texts within 100 years of his death. Pliny the Younger makes a one line reference in one of his works and Tacitus makes a brief reference in his ‘The Annals’ where he mentions the followers of Christ and that he is crucified by Pontius Pilate while Tiberius was Emperor of Rome.

(The Great Courses – The New Testament)

The Italian people never liked the Germans anyway

During WWII Mussolini was ousted from power by the Italian government during the Allies invasion of Sicily. He was then escorted from Rome and put under the protection of the Italian King. The Italian government then contacted the Allies in secret to negotiate a surrender. The Germans had a large army in Italy so the Italians were very worried about retaliation against Italians if they surrendered. Despite this worry the Italian surrender was revealed to the world and to the Allies who were about to invade Italy while the boats for the invasion of Italy were on their way. Instead of fighting the Italian army the Allies had to fight the German ‘occupying’ army in Italy and the Italians became part of the Allied armies. One of the big benefits was that the Italian navy was immediately sent to Allied ports and then they were used to help fight the Germans.

(Book – The Second World War – Winston S. Churchill)

Four names I’ll bet everyone knows

The 27 books of the New Testament were written between 50 AD and 150 AD and written in Greek. The language of Jesus and his disciples was Aramaic and most were likely lower class people and at least two of them were known to be illiterate according to Acts. The four Gospels were written anonymously between 35 and 95 years after the death of Jesus and all are written in the third person. The titles of them as the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all made at least 100 years after they were written by well educated Greek speakers.

(The Great Courses – The New Testament)

Earth’s cycles around the sun

Earth’s seasons and global weather changes are caused by three separate events. The changes in the earth directional axis cycles every 23,000 years. The amount of the earth’s axis tilt cycles every 41,000 years. The shape of earths elliptical orbit cycles every 100,000 years.

(The Great Courses – The Physics of History)