Tuesday, February 27, 2007

German Vice-Chancellor Muntefering Challenges Lawmaking and Presidential Selection Procedures in the European Union

The European Union has a very dubious system of lawmaking, whereby laws are drafted and proposed by the EU's super-bureaucratic 25000-employee European Commission, rather than by the elected European Parliament.

This has led to a terrible situation whereby the European Union has come to be governed day-to-day by this anonymous body, which is not only not democratically elected but which is following its own specific agenda without any meaningful contact to the wishes of the citizens of the EU Member States.

As reported by Mark Beunderman in the EU Observer, this situation has rightly become a thorn in the eye of Germany, which is one of the main funders of the EU without at the same time having much say about what the EU does. Germany's Vice-Chancellor Franz Muntefering is quoted as saying that:

"We should be asking ourselves the question who decides what is on the agenda in Europe. Only the [European] Commission? Something should change in this respect. More possibilities for political initiatives by the European Parliament would be good," Mr Muntefering, the second-highest member of the German government, told Sueddeutsche Zeitung over the weekend."
Muntefering also criticized the anonymous manner in which the European Commission president is chosen:

"[W]e should think further whether the current system can remain so anonymous and indirect. "

Muntefering is a practical man and not one given to simple speculation in the newspapers. Accordingly, we take his statements to be indicative of serious changes in the offing for the way that the European Union is governed. These changes may not take place immediately, but we are sure they are forthcoming to counteract a non-democratic EU Commission which has become more and more disliked as time goes on.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sweden Ancient Astronomy and the Gerum Cloak

Bring on Sherlock Holmes . . .
and at least one lawyer, trained in evidence . . . pro bono publico.


The more than 2000-year old Cloak of Gerum (photos and info below) provides us - as we will show - with the greatest "real" (non-fiction) cloak and dagger mystery of all time, unsolved up to now, but - as we allege - for the most part solved (but not entirely) in this posting.

The technology that we use to solve this mystery is demonstrated in the following graphic - which contains a secret message - to which we give the simple and ultimately helpful clue:
42 (read further below to understand its significance in the context of this posting). Any change to this graphic by, e.g. compression, destroys the secret message:

The mainstream archaeologists recently determined,

via the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities
and the Swedish National Laboratory of Forensic Science
(which "performs laboratory analyses of samples collected from various scenes of suspected crimes" and uses the most modern investigatory criminal forensic techniques available to man - the Scandinavians are indeed top in many scientific and engineering fields)

(stated in our free translation from the Swedish using the assistance of Systran)

"[T]he Gerum Cloak has five cuts made by knife or dagger and that these stabs [if the cloak had been worn at the time] would have struck the body in the chest, abdomen, spine and neck."

This is cloak and dagger at its best. You have an - alleged - ancient cloak and you also have - alleged - multiple dagger incisions, but - thus far - you have no dagger, and no corpse.

Worse, when the Gerum Cloak was subjected to follow-up tests for blood and DNA, none were found. No human remnants. None.

How is this to be explained?


The Gerum Cloak, neatly folded and almost perfectly preserved - a great rarity for archaeology - was found in the year 19201 by peat bog diggers in Gerumsberget, Sweden, along with three small stones (found sitting on top of the cloak) which from the photos appear to be about the same size as a super-oversized computer mouse, interpreted - questionably - by the mainstream archaeologists as weights to weigh down the cloak in the bog.


[Please note: All photographs below are copyrighted by their owners. We use them here in reliance on the fair use copyright exception for non-profit research. See the original linked articles for more details about each photograph. For the analysis below, one of the photos used MUST be the original, and we do use it.]

Photograph left above by ATA - Photograph right above (3 small stones) by Falbygdens museum in Falköping, which is also a very important Swedish megalithic site

Photo left above by ATA of cloak 1920 - Photo middle (virtual cloak and stones) & photo right (cloak hung) by Falbygdens museum

Gerum Cloak Overhead View
(Original Photo Essential for Forensics)

ABOVE: Overhead photograph of the Gerum Cloak by Gabriel Hildebrandt / SHM
(The discussion below shows that it is important to use the original photograph for analysis)

Gerum Cloak "On the Table View"

ABOVE: Photograph of the Gerum Cloak investigation, photograph by Christer Åhlin / SHM
The white points on the cloak here played a role in our solution of the mystery.


The lower two photographs above were the key photographs for the solution of this mystery:
1) the table photograph because we wondered what the white points were; and, 2) the overhead photograph because we looked for those white points, wondering where they had vanished.


Modern chronological dating shows the Gerum Cloak to originate around several hundred years before the birth of Christ (ca. 360-100 BC). The cloak is thus at least 2000 years old and is the oldest intact piece of "clothing" (or what is alleged to be clothing) ever found in Sweden.

Given its oval nearly elliptical shape, the identification as a cloak (rather than, for example, as a tablecloth or wall tapestry) is however certainly susceptible to doubt. We have many cloaks but we have never seen one with an oval shape and with no cut or incision for the head. The peat bog finders, not knowing what else to do with their finding, threw it over their shoulders as if it were a cloak and it has been regarded as a cloak ever since, but it is most likely NOT a cloak. Indeed, if not a cloak, then the dagger marks of the archaeologists are not stab marks at all, which seems likely given their overly wide distribution on the cloak, mostly near the edges.

The shape of the cloak, as we shall see, as well as the dagger slashes on the cloak, are, however, important clues to the resolution of the real secret of the cloak.


If someone had committed a murder and was trying to hide a bloodied cloak, they would not use three such unusually-shaped and differently weighted stones this small to sink the cloak in a bog, nor would they first fold the cloak neatly. The fact that the cloak was still neatly folded when found indicates additionally that the stones had no effect on sinking the cloak, which, if effective, would have destroyed the folding. Rather, it appears that the cloak and stones were intentionally and neatly hidden together - but possibly too near an inviting bog, probably by someone who thought that he or someone else might recover them soon. Perhaps they were hidden in the bog by someone thinking they could not be found there, would not sink too deeply and could be retrieved shortly. But no one came to retrieve them and so they sank slowly (retaining the folding) into the bog which preserved them for over 2000 years.

The bottom stone looks almost like an iron for ironing clothes or fabric, i.e. something to slide along a surface, and in my opinion the upper two smaller stones appear to be made to fit exactly on top of the larger stone. Each of these smaller stones has what appears to be a sculpted straight edge, suggesting a maneuverable usage intended for marking something, much like modern markers for lines or locations on a map, perhaps a kind of angle-setter? We leave this issue to the engineers out there in cyberspace.


Does the Gerum Cloak hide a different real secret, and if so, what is it?

We have discovered that all that is required to reveal the hidden secret of the Gerum Cloak are the right tools and the right detective work in using them.

With apologies to other forensic experts, but in the case of the Gerum Cloak, every internet user potentially possesses tools necessary for decipherment success in the instant case.


All that one needs to decipher the Gerum Cloak are:

1) an otherwise unformatted original overhead photograph copy of the Gerum Cloak laid down flat, such as the original photograph of Gabriel Hildebrandt (who we do not know personally) reproduced above, and;

2) a graphics program such as Paint Shop Pro ("PSP", by Corel, formerly JASC) having a "threshold level" menu option for showing the most minimal color differences in any image. We use the German version of PSP 7.00, where the threshold value menu option is found under the colors menu as the option "Schwellenwert": [Farben/Farbeinstellungen/Schwellenwert]. Note that this menu is activated only after an image is loaded into PSP.


The ability to depict very precisely the minutial differences in color of adjacent pixels on a photograph allows the identification of marks or etchings on surfaces which are as good as invisible to the human eye or which can otherwise only be found with great difficulty - or not at all - by more modern technologies. To our knowledge, we were the first ever to use precisely this graphics technology in archaeology, already applying it to the study of figures found on photographs of megaliths, megalithic sites and petroglyphs (see Stars Stones and Scholars).


Using Gabriel Hildebrandt's original photograph above and available at Gabriel Hildebrandt / SHM, anyone having the graphics program Paint Shop Pro (it may also work with other graphics programs having a comparable menu option) can duplicate our results by using the threshold settings that we provide below. The three rows below show the color blue (#0000ff) progressively differentiated by 1) brightness, 2) saturation and 3) hue.

Each of the 46 colors above (48 boxes but 3 are identical) is a different RGB blue color. The differences in blue in each color row above are very hard to discern with the human eye, though the eyes do "see" these colors, as shown by our comparison of the leftmost and rightmost elements of each row (you need true color on your monitor to see all of these colors).

However, such subtle color changes, when close to each other, are turned by the brain into flowing color schemes by a process called optical mixing. This facility of our brain was exploited in Neo-Impressionism, a school of art founded by Georges Seurat, whose computer-futuristic and greatly underestimated Pointillism (try it out here) consisted of painting by small dots too small to be seen individually, which gave his paintings a tremendous brilliance because of the miniscule white space surrounding those dots. Pointillism clearly anticipated pixel technology on television screens and computer monitors.

In a similar way, the PSP threshold value menu option permits us to isolate real but otherwise imperceptible color differences between pixels and to discover actual figures present in an image which we otherwise would not recognize as such.

In PSP the color threshold settings can be given a minimum value of 1 and a maximum of 255.

Below you see Hildebrandt's original photo viewed using the Paint Shop Pro color threshold settings of 81 in the first case, and 85, 86 and 87 in the second case. We presume these settings work identically on all computers running the same program. Run the threshold values on the original photograph first and not on a resized version of it, which gives less accurate results:

The Hildebrandt photograph shown at PSP threshold level 81
Look at the middle of the above 81-PSP-thresholded image. What do you see?
Lots of dots, right?
Do you see anything familiar in those dots?

The Hildebrandt photograph shown at threshold levels 85, 86 and 87
We call your attention again to the center of those three Gerum Cloak images, using PSP threshold settings of 85, 86 and 87, and we ask you, what do you see? If you see nothing recognizable, we suggest you call in your resident astronomer for advice and assistance.


Do not read further here
if you do not want us to tell you what you see
and/or if you want to decipher the Gerum Cloak on your own. Otherwise, read on.

What those images clearly show in the middle of the Gerum Cloak - thresholded at 81 by PSP - are the stars of Ursa Major (the Big Dipper, the Great Bear, the Wain), Virgo, Boötes, Hercules and Lyra - and they show those stars pretty exactly. Recall that we are seeing here just a tiny photographic image of a large piece of fabric. More sophisticated photo equipment taking OPTICAL close-ups of sections of the Gerum Cloak will give even better results.

Below are two digitally-made close-ups of the Gerum Cloak photo. In the first we compare the Gerum Cloak with the stars of Ursa Major, Virgo, Boötes, Hercules and Lyra as shown by Starry Night Pro. We have a clear match of stars.

In the second close-up we view the images representing the threshold values of 85, 86 and 87 as compared to the stars produced by Starry Night Pro. Opposite of Ursa Major we clearly find the stars of Draco marked on the Gerum Cloak (this is at the North Ecliptic Pole):

Some of the star groups in the course of life of the Gerum Cloak appear to have been painted over with an appropriate figure, for example, Cygnus, which is shown as a bird (head at the top middle) at threshold level 74, although the stars iota and kappa Cygnii are clearly identifiable:

Also important are the images which result for the stars Orion and Scorpio - which are across from each other in the heavens and build a traditional historic ancient celestial meridian. At the identical PSP threshold value of 54 for both of these groups of stars, a threshold identity which suggests that these stellar groups were both marked on the Gerum Cloak in the same manner at nearly the same time, the main stars of Orion and Scorpio can clearly be identified (see the close-ups in the final decipherment image below.

Knowing now the position of the above stellar groupings on the Gerum Cloak, we can possibly identify the knife or dagger marks on that cloak, as intentional dagger slashes acting as permanent edges for major astronomical lines of orientation, specifically the Equinoxes and Solstices and the 24° degree axis tilt of the Earth relative to ancient cardinal points at Orion and Scorpio. Perhaps the cloak was hung on an ancient wooden wall using sharp objects at the focal areas. Seasonally seen - the tilt of the Earth's axis is "equalized" at both the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes, when the days and nights are equally long everywhere, and when the ecliptic (angled 24° to the celestial equator) crosses the celestial equator at the two crossing nodes.


Armed with the above knowledge, knowing that an oval viz. elliptical shape is the shape of the heavens, it is easy to see, using the threshold value of 81 as the basis for the graphic below, that the Gerum Cloak is a sky map of the heavens of the northern hemisphere. It is an ancient planisphere.

We have added the positions of the North Ecliptic Pole and the North Celestial Pole to our decipherment graphic for purposes of understanding, but these circles are not marked on the Gerum Cloak directly as far as we can tell, although the fact that the heaven's pole positions are centered in the middle of the cloak would seem clearly to demonstrate a knowledge of those positions on the part of the cloak's makers, as we have seen for Scandinavia in the rock drawings.

If the Gerum Cloak is a cloak at all, then it is similar in function to the heavenly cape found in e.g. Verse 33854 of the Latvian Dainas,2 where the Moon is seen to ride his steed in the sky with a cape of stars on his back. It was surely an important motif in ancient astronomy. Indeed, Johann Bayer, a German lawyer and amateur astronomer, published his famous star atlas Uranometria in the year 1603 with Diana pictured on the front cover of the book as the Moon goddess wearing a cape of stars. When we view some smaller modern fabrics, such as "banners", for example, the flags of the United States of America or the European Union, then we see that the stars have not lost their importance as symbols of choice.

We hope that the archaeologists in Sweden, perhaps with the help of this posting, may elevate the Gerum Cloak to the noble position in ancient astronomy which it would seem to deserve.

1 Post, L.v., Waltersdorff, E.v. & Lindqvist, S., Bronsåldersmanteln från Gerumsberget i Västergötland. (Der bronzezeitliche Mantel von Gerumsberget in Västergötland.) 1924–25. Out of print.
2 Latviešu tautas dziesmas, (Chansons populaires lettonnes), in 12 volumes, volumes I — XII, edited by Arveds Švābe, Kārlis Straubergs, Edīte Hauzenberga-Šturma, Copenhagen, Imanta (publishers), 1952-1956, Vol. XI, p. 375. In Latvian, Verse 33854 of the Latvian Dainas reads [with our translation next to it]:

[Daina number 33854]

Mēnesītis nakti brauca, [The Moon rides the heavens,]
Zvaigžņu deķis mugurā; [A blanket of stars on his back;]
Rīta zvaigzne, vakarāja, [The Morning Star, (and) Evening Star]
Tie Mēneša kumeliņi. [Are the steeds of the Moon.]

This electronically searchable text of the Latvian Dainas at the University of Virginia is one of the great book digitization achievements of historical literature in the modern era and we heartily congratulate all of those who made it possible, some of whom are listed here and here.


We were of two minds about our initial result for the astronomical lines on the Gerum Cloak, so that we have recalculated the entire thing by placing several layers of thresholded pictures on top of one another to give a composite photograph - which allows a more accurate placing of the lines, and give the somewhat amended results below.

The positions of the stars have not changed, but we do interpret the lines a bit differently. Theoretically, the angle between the vertical celestial meridian running between Scorpio and Orion and the dagger mark on the upper left edge of the cloak (presumably the Autumn Equinox) gives an angular separation by Starry Night Pro of about 30°, which would in fact correspond to around 300 BC, the date to which the Gerum Cloak is dated by the archaeologists.

As for the Spring Equinox (the right lower corner of the Gerum Cloak), this is a troublesome cloak region for interpretation. We previously calculated it as 24°, measured from Orion's bow viz. shield, which gave us a date of ca. 1750 BC, so that we were concerned about that date, as it did not mesh with the archaeology dating of the cloak at ca. 300 BC.

In the recalculation above we now have the alternatives of 15°, measured from Bellatrix, i.e. the right edge of Orion, which would measure to Aldebaran and the Hyades, whereas 30° would measure from Bellatrix to the Pleiades and it is about a 50° angular separation to the Spring Equinox in 300 BC. This corner of the decipherment one can best view as "unclear" and we have marked it so in the revised decipherment above. Perhaps the ancients marked Aldebaran and the Hyades and the Pleiades in that era, but we are sceptical.

What should happen now?

The first thing that must be done - based on the results of our work - is for the Gerum Cloak to be examined in Sweden by the forensics experts there to confirm or deny whether stars of the heavens are marked on that Gerum Cloak, as we allege they are.

The second thing to be done by the forensic experts in Sweden is to mark exactly the contours of the dagger incisions (i.e. the slits in the cloak made by some kind of a sharp object) and then to draw the various possible lines which can be drawn to and from these various slits (both from the back as well as the front of the slits) across the cloak to see what kinds of exact angle measurements one obtains.

Only then would one be in a position to determine exactly where the lines were originally intended to run and then one could measure the resulting angles exactly, thereby permitting a more dependable interpretation.

Even then, we have no assurance that the astronomy depicted on the cloak necessarily coincides with the era in which the cloak was made. The cloak could be a copy of an earlier cloak or some other planispheric object. (We have this problem, for example, with chronologies found on cuneiform tablets - which in part have simply been copied from much earlier predecessors - see our discussion of MUL.APIN ).

We think that our discovery of star representations on the Gerum Cloak can be reproduced and substantiated. We think it is less clear as to how the lines of astronomical orientation on the cloak may ultimately be interpreted.

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