The Traditional Sherpa’s of Mount Everest

sherpa

The term “sherpa” is derived from the terms “shyar” (pronounced “shur”) which means “east” and “pa” which means “people” in Nepali. Migrants who populated the region around Mount Everest throughout antiquity came from the Tiber in the east, crossing the Nangpa La, which means “Elder’s Pass” in Nepali, to settle into Solukhumbu (pronounced “solo-koom-boo”), a region in which the minimum altitude is 4000 meters above sea level. Living a nomadic lifestyle is what made the sherpas expertise so desirable to British mountaineers who arrived a few centuries later. British mountain climbers realized the immense value that these expert travelers possessed which is how the relationship of domestic sherpas and foreign alpinists began. Sherpas were and continue to serve as porters and guides for foreign climbers and during the modern day, a sherpa trekking Mount Everest can expect to earn $6000.00 upon an expedition which intends to reach the summit

The Tallest Mountain On Earth

Mauna-Kea

Mauna Kea (pronounced “mah-nah kay-ah”) is the tallest mountain in the world, 1.6 kilometers taller than Mount Everest. The main difference between Mauna Kea and Mount Everest is that Mauna Kea ascends from the ocean, instead of from land as Mount Everest does. Mauna Kea is not only the largest mountain on Earth, it is also the largest land mass in the world

The Oldest Artwork in Human History

Chauvet-Cave-artwork

Near the Ardeche River (pronounced “arr-desh”) in southern France, less than 0.5 kilometers away, 3 explorers set out a few days before Christmas in 1994. While seeking drafts of air emanating from the ground which would point to the presence of caves, these explorers found a subtle airflow which was blockaded by rocks. The explorers found a narrow shaft which was cut into the cliffside, so narrow in fact that their bodies could just barely squeeze through it. Deep inside the cave the explorers stumbled upon the oldest known cave paintings in human history, twice as old as any other artistic depiction made by human hands. The cave itself had been perfectly sealed for tens of thousands of years which is why this 32,000 year old artwork was found in pristine condition. In honor of the lead discover Jean-Marie Chauvet (pronounced “zhan mah-ree sho-vee”), the cave was named “Chauvet Cave”. The French Ministry of Culture controls all access to the cave, an intervention which was rapidly implemented as this discovery was immediately understood as an enormous scientific find, perhaps one of the greatest anthropological and artistic discoveries ever made. Scientists and art historians are typically the only members of the public permitted access to Chauvet Cave, with archeologists, paleontologists, and geologists being the most common interdisciplinary teams provided entry

The Discovery of the Sunken S.S. Titanic

sunken-TitanicThe S.S. Titanic’s shipwreck site was found by the U.S. Navy whilst embarking upon a clandestine military submarine sea voyage operation in 1982. The intent of the mission was to surpass the Russians on every front, including land, sea, air, and space. Geologist and Navy Captain Robert Ballard was the person who developed the mission idea by suggesting that the U.S. Navy scour the seafloor to gather intelligence and search for evidence of Soviet placed hardware. The original intention of the mission was to locate and recover 2 U.S. Navy submarines which were classified as top secret nuclear attack vessels and lost during the 1960’s. The first submarine was the U.S.S. Scorpion, lost in 1968 with 99 onboard, and the second was the U.S.S. Thresher, lost in 1963 with 129 onboard. Recovery of these vessels during the 1960’s was limited to the Sound Navigation and Ranging technology of the era, commonly abbreviated as “SONAR”. Ballard only had 12 days to locate the S.S. Titanic during the mission without exposing his cover story, a feat which was unable to be completed by the French and the Americans, despite having much longer time spans and multiple expeditions to achieve this goal. Ballard narrowed down the search area to 80 square kilometers and focused towards the south as he believed that ocean currents would have carried sunken debris in that direction. Ballard continued searching for a trail of scattered debris from the S.S. Titanic and on the 9th day of the expedition, with time quickly running out, the operators of the remotely operated vehicle ARGO, found wreckage from a modern iron ship which appeared to be from the early 20th century. It was confirmed shortly after on September 1, 1985 at 12:48 AM that these remains were 1 of the 29 boilers belonging to the S.S. Titanic. It had been 73 years since the S.S. Titanic was last seen, resting nearly 4 kilometers below sea level, with it’s 1500 onboard passengers and crew

European Neolithic Mining Practices

Neolithic-mineDuring the Neolithic period, flint was as prized as gold was to the Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists. 4500 years ago, flint miners dug shafts up to 12 meters deep in search of more flint. Ladders and wooden platforms made extracting the ore easier. This task was Herculean as the only picks available were reindeer antler. When a mine was exhausted, a new hole would be dug and the rubble from that hole would be used to back fill the previous mine. Most flint can be found above ground and most of the flint found at Neolithic sites is indeed surface flint so it is unclear why such a massive undertaking was performed as much more readily available sources were freely available. Flint is black in color with a shiny, glass like appearance similar to obsidian. Flint chips easily and is fairly simple to make incredibly sharp by simply cracking off a piece with a harder rock. It’s possible that mine shafts were dug as a ceremonial coming of age tradition in that a prepubescent adolescent would enter into the mine, dig into the depths of the Earth, and then emerge back out as an adult. This theory is backed up by the fact that the majority of miners left their picks in the mine, possibly signifying that they had reached adulthood. It is unclear if these picks were left because they were considered to be spiritually polluted or if they offered their pick as an offering to the Earth itself in exchange for what has been brought to the surface. There is a site in Britain at which over 400 of these mines were dug a few meters from eachother giving the landscape a cratered appearance

The Advent of the Worlds First Parliament in Iceland

Iceland-Alþingi

When the Vikings settled Iceland, no monarch was installed, which forced these settlers to find a new system of government; democracy. The early decades of settlement were effectively without structured law, but after 2 generations, 36 leading farmer Vikings banded together to develop the concept of an assembly to govern Iceland referred to as the “Alþingi” (written “Althingi” in English) (pronounced “all-thing-ee”) in 930 A.D.. The council met once every year for 2 weeks to create laws, preside over and judge disputes, and appoint a legal speaker, whose responsibility it was to remember and recite the law. The Althingi convened at Þingvellir (written “Thingvellir” in English) (pronounced “thing-vet-lear”) which is a unique location as it is a gorge where 2 of the Earth’s tectonic plates meet and 45 kilometers east of what later became the capital city of Reykjavík, Iceland (pronounced “rake-yah-veek”). The term “Althingi” means “thing field” or “assembly field” in the Icelandic language. This form of government met for the next 800 years at this exact spot, even after merging with Norway in 1262, with the location eventually moved to Reykjavík in 1800. The Althingi is the oldest parliament in the world, which is astonishing as it is still functioning and currently running the country of Iceland as a whole

The Annual Hindu Rain Festival of Ambubachi Mela

Ambubachi-Mela-Devi-Kamakhya-menstruation-statue

For 3 days each June, typically always starting upon June 22 and ending upon June 26, but fluctuating due to various influences, the Hindu festival of Ambubachi Mela is observed. Sadhu’s, that is, holy men of the Hindu faith, and pilgrims from all over India gather at the Kamakhya Temple (pronounced “kah-mah-kee-yah”) in Guwahati, India, a site located upon a hill near the Brahmaputra River, to pray for rain. It is believed by Hindus that the presiding goddess of the temple, Devi Kamakhya, who is the Mother Shakti, goes through her annual cycle of menstruation during this festival. The Kamakhya Temple becomes closed for 3 days during the mela as it is believed by Hindus that the Earth, commonly associated as Mother Earth, becomes unclean for 3 days and therefore should be secluded in the same format that some traditionally practicing Hindu women seclude themselves during their own menstrual cycles. During these 3 days, some restrictions are observed by the Hindu devotees (e.g. cessation of cooking, cessation of performing worship which is referred to as “puja”, cessation of reading holy books, cessation of farming etc.). After 3 days, Devi Kamakhya is bathed by cleaning the statue which represents her with red pigment flowing from her vaginal canal, alongside other rituals which are carried out to ensure that the devi retrieves purity. The doors of the Kamakhya Temple are reopened on the 4th day and devotees are permitted to enter Kamakhya Temple to worship Devi Kamakhya. The devotion of these pilgrims is believed to bring rain and fertility back to the Earth

The First Mass Produced Items of the Ancient World

Ancient-Egyptian-Aquamarine-Shabti

The first mass produced pieces of artwork were the ancient Egyptians shabtis which were essentially miniature mummies that the ancient Egyptians believed had magical powers and were therefore buried with the dead. Shabtis were comprised of Egyptian faience which is a type of glass ceramic material made from sand. Egyptian faience is referred to as such in order to distinguish it from faience, which is a tin glazed pottery associated with Faenza, Italy. The idea of Egyptian faience was to replicate semiprecious stones like turquoise lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, which at the time was more expensive than gold. The recipe for Egyptian faience is 90% crushed silica, crushed fine natron salt to act as a flux, crushed limestone, and then the coloring with blue being the most popular, a color achieved through the use of pure copper oxide. Water was introduced to turn this composition from a granular mix into a dough like substance. Natron salt which is a type of baking soda, is the key ingredient to this recipe as it rises to the surface when baked and lowers the overall temperature at which sand melts and becomes glass. The statues are left to stand for 24 or more hours as this helps the salt grow on the surface through a chemical reaction process as oxygen within the ambient environment mixes with the ingredients inside the Egyptian faience

Snow in Iran During the Summer

Mt.Damavand

Iran experiences snow during the winter every couple of years and even during the summer on occasion due to the topography and geography of Iran which includes high altitude mountains. Iran is a mountainous state referred to as a “plateau”. Mount Damavand, the highest peak in Iran, is a primary example of Iran’s ability to produce snow. With an elevation of 18,403′ in height, Mount Damavand always has snow to some degree, even if relatively minute, with snow occurring even during the peak summer months of June, July, and August

The Reason Why Underground Caves Naturally Form

cave

Cave systems form when acidic water etches its way through rock. Rainwater becomes acidic as it takes in carbon dioxide and groundwater can become acidic due to the acids found in nearby soil. Water causes existing cracks within the rock to widen into passages which the water flows through to create even wider channels. Over time caverns begin to form as the rock weakens and falls