G'day folks,

 One of the world’s largest collections of petroglyphs records 2,000 years of human activity. 

For approximately 2,000 years, Native Americans have been carving petroglyphs into a single slab of sandstone located in San Juan County, Utah. While the precise meaning of the petroglyphs is not fully understood, the panel nonetheless provides an intriguing insight into human activities in the area.

Petroglyphs are hard to date, but archaeologists believe the earliest petroglyphs on Newspaper Rock likely date back to the Archaic, Basketmaker, Fremont, and Pueblo cultures, up until around 1300. Later, Utah, Navajo, and Anglo tribesmen added to the panel. In the Navajo language, the rock is aptly known as Tse’ Hane, or “the rock that tells a story.”

 About 650 individual designs cover the surface of the 200-square-foot rock, making it one of the largest collections of petroglyphs in the world. The petroglyphs were made by chipping away at the desert varnish, a dark coating found on exposed rock surfaces in arid environments, to reveal the lighter rock beneath.

 The designs range from abstract shapes and symbols to more recognizable human and animal figures. Some of the stranger designs include wagon wheel-like shapes and bizarre, broad-shouldered humanoid figures with horns on their heads. Others depict deer, buffalo, bighorn sheep, lizards, snakes and turtles.

More recent carvings, beginning around 650 years ago, show men on horseback, some armed with bows and arrows. The relative age of the petroglyphs can be determined by the amount of desert varnish covering the figures, with the older designs typically being darker in color due to the repatination of surface minerals.

Clancy's comment: I could stare at these for hours. Simply stunning. 

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G'day folks,

The Fukushima disaster was a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in Japan that began on March 11th, 2011. It resulted in a nuclear meltdown of three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors. The failure occurred when the plant was hit by a tsunami that was the result of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. 

The following day, March 12th, substantial amounts of radioactive material began to be released. This made it the largest nuclear incident since the Chernobyl disaster that occurred in April of 1986. Although no fatalities due to short-term radiation exposure were reported, approximately 300,000 people were evacuated from the area. 


Due to various reasons, the people who were evacuated were not able to take their pets or farm animals with them when they were evacuated. This is where Naoto Matsumura comes into the picture. He is a fifty-five year old construction worker. He lives in the evacuated zone to care for the animals left behind. Why would he do that you might ask? Because they needed him.

Every day he is there, he is risking his own health and safety to care for the many animals that were abandoned when the area was evacuated.

 He knows that every day he is there, his body is getting subjected to major radiation. He says that he, “Refuses to worry about it.” He does take steps, however, by only eating food imported into the zone.




 He is currently the only human brave enough to live in the evacuation zone, and a lot of animals were chained up by their owners, so he set them free.


Clancy's comment: Go, Nato! What a great human.  Naoto has now been in the evacuation zone for about 4 years and has no plans to leave. If you are wondering where he gets the money to pay for all of the food for the animals, the answer is pretty great. All of the money comes from donations from supporters of his cause. If the donations ever dry up, he would no longer be able to feed and care for all of the animals in the evacuation zone.

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G'day folks,

 As everyone knows, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Or did he? He was certainly granted a patent in 1876 for the device. But over a 20-year period the Bell Telephone Company which he founded faced more than 600 court challenges over the issue.

None succeeded, but things certainly looked grim for Bell in 1887 when the US Government moved to withdraw his patent on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation. An eventual Supreme Court ruling supported Bell.

It is certainly true that other scientists, including Antonio Meucci and Elisha Gray, were working on similar ideas at the time Bell received his patent. They both lost out partly because instead of applying for a full patent, they simply registered what was known as a patent caveat.

No longer issued, this was a preliminary patent, which meant that the inventor had 90 days to come up with a full detailed application. In that time anyone coming forward with the same or similar invention would have to give way. But the patent caveat had to be renewed annually.

Meucci, an immigrant from Cuba, worked in New York on an electronic communications device that linked various rooms and floors of his house. He couldn’t afford a full patent application so he filed a cheaper patent caveat. But by 1874 he was so broke that he could not afford to renew the caveat.

Elisha Gray, who grew up on a farm in Ohio, studied electricity at college. He received his first patent – for an improved telegraph relay – in 1867 and went on to secure many patents for his inventions.

A patent caveat for a telephone device that he had been working on was filed on February 14, 1876. It was called “Transmitting Vocal Sounds Telegraphically.” Unfortunately for Gray, Bell’s patent application had been filed a few hours earlier. Bell’s was the fifth entry of the day while Gray’s was 39th.

Accordingly, on March 7 Bell was awarded the first patent for a telephone. It came after years of hard work.

Born in Edinburgh in 1847, Bell’s father was a professor of elocution. The boy began inventing things at an early age and at 12 came up with a device of great interest to the farming community – it quickly removed husks from wheat grain.

The Bell family moved to Canada in 1870 and to the United States the following year. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Bell went on to establish speech therapy practices that helped deaf children to speak. His work also benefited his mother who was deaf despite being an accomplished pianist.

In the 1870s Bell began working on a way to send voice signals over a telegraph line – a system known as the "harmonic telegraph”. Working with him was Thomas Watson, a young electrician whose services he had enlisted.

Mary Bellis, the film director who specialised in writing about inventors and inventions, described their success: “On June 2, 1875, while experimenting with his harmonic telegraph, Bell and Watson discovered that sound could be transmitted over a wire.

“It was a completely accidental discovery. Watson was trying to loosen a reed that had been wound around a transmitter when he plucked it by accident. The vibration produced by that gesture travelled along the wire into a second device in the other room where Bell was working.

“The ‘twang’ Bell heard was all the inspiration that he and Watson needed to accelerate their work. They continued to work into the next year.

“Bell recounted the critical moment in his journal: I then shouted into M [the mouthpiece] the following sentence: 'Mr. Watson, come here – I want to see you.' To my delight, he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said.”

Like Elisha Gray, Antonio Meucci claimed Bell had stolen his ideas. But author Tom Farley wrote: “[For that] to be true, Bell must have falsified every notebook and letter he wrote about coming to his conclusions. That is, it is not enough to steal, you must provide a false story about how you came along on the path to discovery.

“You must falsify each step toward invention. Nothing in Bell's writing, character, or his life suggest he did so. Indeed, in the more than 600 lawsuits which involved him, no one else was credited for inventing the telephone.”

Bell worked on hundreds of projects throughout his life and received many patents for his inventions. They included the metal detector, which he came up with to locate the bullet inside the body of assassinated President James A. Garfield.

Ironically, Alexander Graham Bell, who died aged 75 from diabetes complications, always refused to have a telephone in his study, fearing it would distract him from his work.


Clancy's comment: Wow, 600 court challenges, and now every man and his dog and cat have a mobile / cell phone. 

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G'day folks,

When going through almost every town in the United States, you are bound to find at least one Wal-Mart. 

But what happens when a Wal-Mart closes down? Although this doesn’t seem to happen very often, it leaves behind a very large, vacant building. Most cities don’t want to let this type of building just sit there. In McAllen, Texas their Wal-Mart did close their doors leaving a large building vacant. Rather than letting this store just sit there, they did something amazing. Check out the photos below of this Wal-Mart turned library! It’s now the largest single floor library in America! Very impressive!


Inside you’ll find a cafe, a used book store, an auditorium, along with self checkout stations to make it a great experience.  They even updated the outside landscaping and building’s exterior to match with the modern design inside.


Clancy's comment: Well done, Texas.

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21 October 2021 - WHAT WAS 'RED OCTOBER'?




G'day folks,

No doubt, you have heard this term before, but what does it signify?

After the February Revolution in 1917 overthrew Russia's centuries-old monarchy, the conflict between the Provisional Government led by Alexander Kerensky and the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin intensified around the country.

On 7 November (25 October in Old Style) Bolshevik forces under Lenin's command seized government buildings in Petrograd (or St. Petersburg) and the following day the Winter Palace. This began the Soviet rise to power, and on 9 November the Bolsheviks proclaimed the creation of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the first socialist state so created.

The revolution did not end the struggles. Over the next 5 years the country descended into the chaos and anarchy of the Russian Civil War; the Soviets would triumph, leading to the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922.

Clancy's comment: Now you know. My personal experiences in Russia were delightful. That's all I will say.

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G'day folks,

One of London’s poshest shopping streets opened in 1819  – in a move to clamp down on litter louts and “undesirables”.

At the time Lord George Cavendish lived in Burlington House and was fed up with “ruffians” throwing rubbish – in particular, oyster shells – onto his property. He could, Trump-like, have built a wall, but decided on something far more ambitious.

He told his architect, Samuel Ware, to design a covered promenade of shops. This would not only solve the rubbish problem but enable Cavendish to enjoy the kudos of having created a development “for the gratification of the public and to give employment to industrious females”.

And so London’s famous Burlington Arcade was born. Linking Piccadilly with Bond Street in London’s exclusive Mayfair district, it was the world’s first shopping arcade and is now regarded as an architectural treasure.

The walkway was originally lined with 72 small two-storey units but mergers and changes of ownership mean that the opulent arcade now has only 46 shops. None of them are cheap.

Fancy a David Duggan Rolex watch or Manolo Blahnik shoes? They’re here. Or perhaps an exquisite Victorian gold-coiled snake bracelet, studded with rose diamonds and a pear-shaped sapphire from Hancocks the 150-year-old jewellery business? Yours for the asking.

Prices? As the old saying goes, if you need to ask, you can’t afford them.

But if you feel you would not be brave enough to enter a treasure house such as Hancocks, they would understand, knowing as they do, all about courage. During the Crimean War (1853 - 1856) Hancocks were asked to create designs for a new medal – the Victoria Cross. It would be the highest award in the British armed forces for gallantry “in the face of the enemy”. The final design was approved by Queen Victoria and Hancocks have produced every one of the 1,350 VCs that have been awarded.

There being no police force when the arcade opened, Lord Cavendish created his own – the Burlington Arcade Beadles. Recruited from his old regiment, the Royal Hussars, the earliest members included veterans from the Battle of Waterloo.

Charged with upholding a strict code of conduct dating from Regency times and dressed today as they were in 1819, the Beadles still patrol the arcade in traditional top hats and frock coats designed in nearby Savile Row. 

Pickpockets posed one of the problems that the early Beadles had to deal with and were sometimes thwarted when the thieves would whistle a warning to accomplices that a Beadle was close. Ever since, whistling has been banned in the arcade.

Today’s Beadles like to tell the story of an encounter in the 1980s when a Beadle was about to politely reprimand a shopper who started to whistle as he was gazing in one of the windows. The shopper turned around and was instantly recognised by the Beadle.

“Oh, Mr McCartney, I'm very sorry,” said the Beadle to the Beatle. “I didn't realise it was you. You are hereby given a lifetime exemption from the rule. You can whistle here any time you like.”

And so, the story goes, Paul McCartney is the only person allowed to whistle in Burlington Arcade.

Lord Cavendish’s former home, Burlington House, was sold to the British Government in 1854 for £140,000. The Royal Academy took over the main block in 1867 on a 999-year lease with rent of £1 per year.

And Burlington Arcade? In 2010 it was purchased for £104 million (130 million US dollars) by American property tycoon Joseph Sitt and European private equity firm Meyer Bergman. In January 2017, they put it back on the market with a price tag of £400 million (502 million US dollars).

Not bad for a development originally built mainly to deter litter louts.

Clancy's comment: Been there. Bought some woollen gloves for my girlfriend. No, I didn't whistle, but I was tempted.

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