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Messages - Doobie Keebler

Games / Re: Image Association
Introductions / Re: Eh yeah so like cool hi

Ancient data, modern math and the hunt for 11 lost cities of the Bronze Age

A clay tablet with cuneiform inscription from Anatolia circa 1875-1840 B.C. Researchers have extracted numbers from thousands of these tablets to create a database of trade in ancient Assyria. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

Using numbers scrawled by Bronze Age merchants on 4,000-year-old clay tablets, a historian and three economists have developed a novel way to pinpoint the locations of lost cities of the ancient world.

Trade, Merchants, and the Lost Cities of the Bronze Age (behind paywall)

The ancient city of Kanesh, located in the middle of modern-day Turkey, was a hub of trade in the Anatolian region four millennia ago. Modern-day archaeologists have unearthed artifacts from the city, including more than 23,000 cuneiform texts, inscribed in clay by ancient Assyrian merchants.

The texts themselves are mostly "business letters, shipment documents, accounting records, seals and contracts," according to the working paper by Gojko Barjamovic, Thomas Chaney, Kerem A. Cosar and Ali Hortacsu. Barjamovic is an expert in the history of Assyria, the ancient Middle Eastern kingdom founded near the Tigris River in what is present-day Iraq. His co-authors are economists from, respectively, the Paris Institute of Political Studies, the University of Virginia and the University of Chicago.

A typical passage from the clay tablets, translated by the team, reads something like this:

From Durhumit until Kaneš I incurred expenses of 5 minas of refined (copper), I spent 3 minas of copper until Wahšušana, I acquired and spent small wares for a value of 4 shekels of silver

Most tantalizing to archaeologists are the mentions in the tablets of ancient cities and settlements -- some of which have been located, others of which remain unknown. In the record above, for instance, while Kaneš (Kanesh) has been located and excavated. Durhumit is, at present, lost to history.

Traditionally, historians and archaeologists have analyzed texts like these for bits of qualitative information that might locate a site -- descriptions of landscape features, for instance, or indications of distance or direction from other, known cities.

But Barjamovic and his co-authors had a different idea: What if they analyzed the quantitative data contained in the tablets instead? In the passage above, for instance, you have a record of three separate cargo shipments: Durhumit to Kanesh, Kanesh to Wahshushana, and Durhumit to Wahshushana.

If you analyze thousands of tablets and tally up each record of a cargo shipment contained therein, you end up with a remarkably comprehensive picture of trade among the cities around Kanesh 4,000 years ago. Barjamovic did exactly that, translating and parsing 12,000 clay tablets, extracting information on merchants' trade itineraries.

What they had, in the end, was a record of hundreds of trade interactions among a total of 26 ancient cities: 15 whose locations were known and 11 that remain lost.

Here's where things get really interesting: In the ancient world, trade was strongly dependent on geographic distance. Moving goods from Point A to Point B was a lot more difficult at a time when roads were rough, goods had to be transported on the backs of donkeys and robbers lurked everywhere.

Cities located closer together traded more, while those farther apart traded less. This is the key insight driving the entire paper. Let's say we have an ancient city, such as Kanesh, that we know the location of. We also have two lost cities, Kuburnat and Durhumit. If we know Kanesh traded more with Kuburnat than with Durhumit, we can reasonably assume that Kuburnat is closer to Kanesh than Durhumit is.

The figure above is a conceptual illustration of this idea. Kanesh is in the center, Kuburnat is somewhere in the inner light-blue region, and Duhurmit is somewhere farther out, in the dark-blue area.

If you have decent data on trade volume (from, say, thousands of clay tablets), you can do one better than this: You can actually plug the trade data into an algorithm that uses other pieces of known data, such as commodity prices and population size, to estimate the distance between two given cities, given the volume of trade between them.

Updating our example illustration, you can see that if we know the rough distance between two cities, we can narrow our concentric circles down to concentric rings.

That still leaves a large area to search if we're trying to find these lost cities. But recall: the clay tablet data set includes trade volumes for 14 other known cities in addition to Kanesh. We can run our trade algorithm for any given lost city, such as Durhumit, against any other city we already know the location of. That gives us an estimate of the distance to Durhumit from each of those cities.

If a number of those distance estimates overlap in the same region, that's a pretty strong indicator that Durhumit would have been located in that region.

In the end, the trade data contained on 12,000 ancient clay tablets allowed Barjamovic and his co-authors to estimate the locations of the 11 lost cities mentioned therein. As a sanity check, they mapped their own estimates against some qualitative guesses produced by historians over the years. In some cases, the qualitative and quantitative estimates were in precise agreement. In others, the quantitative model lends credence to one historical assessment vs. another. In others, the model suggests that the historians previously got it completely wrong.

"For a majority of cases, our quantitative estimates are remarkably close to qualitative proposals made by historians," the authors conclude. "In some cases where historians disagree on the likely site of lost cities, our quantitative method supports the suggestions of some historians and rejects that of others."

As a final check, the authors ran the model against the location of known ancient cities to see whether its results matched the actual archaeological record.

One two out of three of the known cities they tested against, the model nailed it. But it whiffed on the third.

The authors suspect their algorithm performs better for cities located near the center of the Assyrian trade network. The "estimation of the location of lost cities is reliable for central cities, but less precise for peripheral cities," they write. Whether you're a Bronze Age merchant of a modern-day economist, long distances remain treacherous.

Still, the authors say their approach for finding lost cities can be used to supplement more traditional methods, helping historians fill in gaps of knowledge in the archaeological record. Beyond that, the paper is a fascinating illustration of how modern knowledge can breathe new life into numbers inscribed on clay tablets 4,000 years ago.

I can dig it.
I suspect that the real danger is that the generation(s) that grew up with console gaming are about to enter the retirement homes and I predict there will be lots of injuries like broken hip and collar bones as a result of fights over whose turn it is and who is taking too long a turn on the XBox.  :getoffmylawnoldman:
Politics and Current Events / Re: Comic relief thread
Games / Re: Image Association
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / Re: Invertebrates
Science / Re: The Cool Science Image Thread

Checkmate NASA!

Sounds like, but not necessarily, a man with a daughter or two.

The response being given from the right about that mall ban now is that some guy came forward who used to manage the mall and said he wasn't aware of any ban. The response to that is that this guy didn't take that position until 1981, several years after the alleged behavior. And this also doesn't address that even cops have come forward that heard about it.

I haven't read any good source on this new angle yet, just the comments on that ABC article which are largely a mixed pot of Jesus thumping and Moore apologetics.

Roy Moore accuser: I got him banned from the mall

An Alabama woman who has accused Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually harassing her in the late 1970s said he was banned from the mall where she worked after she complained about his repeated, unwanted advances toward her.

"I went to my manager and talked to him about it and asked him, basically, what could be done," Becky Gray told ABC News late Wednesday night. "Later on, he...came back through my department and told me that [Moore] had been banned from the mall."

Gray said she has grown increasingly frustrated with critics who continue to question the veracity of numerous women's claims of being sexually harassed four decades ago by the embattled former Alabama chief justice.

"It also upsets me where I read where a person says, 'Well, why didn't they come forward 40 years ago?'" Gray said.

She went on, "These women have no reason to lie about their sexual encounters... so I just don't understand people that don't believe that it's true. There's a lot of shame to this, and for those women who did have sexual encounters with Moore, I commend them for coming out - I really do. It's about time."

Moore has emphatically denied ever sexually harassing women, and is not currently facing any criminal charges. He has not addressed Gray's allegations.

In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Moore's lawyer said because of unrelated litigation, he is familiar with the complaint procedures at the mall. "From what I have been told, [there] has never been a list with Roy Moore banned from being at the mall," he added.

Moore and his attorney have challenged claims by another accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, that he sexually harassed her when she was 16 years old. The upcoming Dec. 12 special election to replace former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who was appointed attorney general by President Donald Trump, is key to Senate Republicans. If Moore's Democratic challenger Doug Jones wins the election, it would narrow Republicans' majority from 52-48 to 51-49, and threaten to derail the GOP's legislative agenda. Senate Republicans have repeatedly called in recent days for Moore to withdraw his candidacy - a request he has vehemently rejected.

Gray said she was in her early 20s and working at a department store in the Gadsden Mall when Moore took a "creepy" interest in her. She said that she doesn't recall the specifics of their interactions, but "I just remember he asked me out [and] I told him that I was in a relationship, because basically to me he was kind of creepy."

"I mean, you've got to understand - when you're that age, somebody in their 30s might as well have been 40 or 50 - to me anyway," she said.

Gray said Moore was undeterred by her rejection.

"He'd come back through [the department store] and if I was working, he would stop by and chit chat and that sort of thing, and it just kind of got creepy to me," she claimed.

Gray said she found it strange that a grown man was hanging around the mall on weekend nights.

"Every Friday and Saturday night, he was down at the mall. Nobody his age is at the mall! You know, parents are dropping off their 12 year olds and 13 year olds, 14 year olds. I mean, come on, I just thought that was really creepy even way back then," she said.

Gray told ABC News she shared her stories about Moore with co-workers and family members over the years, but didn't come forward publicly until The Washington Post first reported earlier this month the allegations against Moore from other alleged victims.

"I [have] repeated this story...many times. People who know me know what I've always said about him, and that he was not Christian, and that he was a pervert," she said.

She said she is heartened that other accusers have come forward - even after all these years.

"You've got to think back at the times, really, and how you were taught not to, you know - I mean, you just didn't believe children when they come out and said anything. You didn't come forth [to say] that you had been abused," she said.
Games / Re: Image Association
Games / Re: Image Association
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
And when Trump was flogging the Iran "deal" during the campaign and after the election he spun the return of their frozen money, now worth something like four times as much decades later, in the same highly dishonest manner.

He talks in over-simplification and makes it sound like Russia was actually getting uranium out of the country just like he made it sound like the US was giving taxpayer funds to Iran as part of the nuclear deal. The Uranium One mining operation in the US is still run by the same American management/workforce (that was part of the deal insisted on by the NRC, IIRC) and nothing is exported, just like the cash Iran received was always their money that was frozen in an account when we reneged on an arms deal back in the hostage days. It's been sitting there earning interest for decades.

We "gave them" 20% of our uranium just like we "gave them" billions of dollars that was always theirs.  Russia gets nothing but some profits for mining an element they don't even need for themselves anyway, they have plenty of their own, and Iran got returned what was always theirs. Try telling that to some of these far right fruit-loops and they'll insist you don't know what you are talking about and tell you what a dumbass libtard you are.

ETA: Shit like this ...

"We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 percent of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? It's this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things. Nobody talks about that."

Who knows what the Russians will do with all that uranium. Including some bad things.

Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
sessions having some integrity over this dumb idea of appointing a special counsel over the clinton / uranium one conspiracy theories

even if you take the conspiracy theories seriously, the special counsel idea doesn't make sense.  you appoint a special counsel to avoid conflicts of interest, because a regular prosecutor would be investigating someone above them in the chain of command.  hillary clinton is not in the chain of command.  so there's no reason to appoint a special counsel instead of a garden-variety counsel.

Shep Smith debunked that crap on Fox News the other night in the midst of all the other hosts flogging that Clinton Cash bullshit and the right wingers went apeshit all over social media demanding Shep's head. I assume the same meltdown occurred when Sessions all but  ::)  under questioning on the matter. (ed- nevermind, I forgot Sessions' response was part of the context until I just watched the vid again)
Yeah, Alabama. And he's a massive piece of shit too. This cropped up in the Twitter conversation uncool posted.

He got a suspension a few years ago from the Alabama Supreme Court for ambulance funeral chasing a family whose 13 year old son was killed in a car wreck. Told them he was a pastor and a lawyer and was referred to the parents by another family member, only he was neither a pastor nor referred. Told the wife her husband had already discussed legal matters with him when he hadn't to try and prompt her cooperation.

His self authored "about Trent" is pretty hilarious. It's like a mixture of shit Trump and/or Davie Doodles would say and frosted with a bit of Al Bundy. The latter having scored four touchdowns in a single game when he was quarter back for the Polk High School Panthers in the 1966 city championship game against Andrew Johnson High School.

Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
Don Jr in contact with Wikileaks.

Hey Don. We have an unusual idea.

Leak us one or more of your father's tax returns.


If we publish them it will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality. This is the real kicker. That means that the vast amount of stuff that we are publishing about Clinton will have much higher impact, because it won't be perceived as coming from a "pro-Trump" "pro-Russian" source, which the Clinton campaign is constantly slandering us with.

Is this guy drinking his own kool-aid?

What's extra interesting about Jr's contacts with Wikileaks is that he emailed a bunch of people in the transition/admin (edit- actually campaign team) and told them about it right away, then The Dotard tweeted and ran off at the mouth in concert with those communications, and later a few of them including Pence directly denied any knowledge of anyone talking to or working with Wikileaks in multiple interviews.

ETA: Also, the scumbag Mercer's/Cambridge Analytica getting (or attempting to get) involved with collating/organizing the hacked emails. According to Maddow last night CA was officially part of Trump's campaign team by then.
TR Embassy and Animal Shelter / Re: Vertebrates; Misc.
Games / Re: Image Association
I feel stupid for not seeing this one coming.   ::)   It was inevitable.

Games / Re: Image Association

Our avian friends certainly managed to pull their share of tail (feathers) back in the day.

Politics and Current Events / Re: Comic relief thread
damn she looks like she's been raised from the dead.

People used to joke and post side by side images comparing the aging Robertson to the Crypt Keeper.

Conway kicked that joke into retirement by her mere existence.