Off Topic: If you aren’t glowin’ green, than radiation isn’t a concern. What we can do to take care of our health with radiation hitting the West Coast off the US.

•March 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As the nuclear reactor partial meltdown continues in Japan and we move dangerously close to a full meltdown, the Japanese are trying a few desperate measures, such as dumping water from helicopters on to nuclear reactors, to stave off an even bigger disaster.  The world watches with held breath.  And no more so than here on the West Coast of the United States.  Numerous d-day for radiation figures have been floating around.  Some scientists predict that in the case of a full nuclear meltdown it would take 10 days for the radiation, traveling on the jet streams, for 750 rads to reach the west coast of North America.  How much radiation we’re hit with also depends on the winds and how the reactors melt down.  But, what can be said is that the radiation has already arrived and being reported in LA and probably soon Seattle, if they’re even testing here.

The media for the most part has played down the seriousness of the situation.  Calling on doctors, and nuclear scientists and experts to confirm that if you ain’t glowin’ green then it’s really not that serious of a matter.  They claim the radiation levels won’t be high enough to raise any concern.  That goes right along with the theory that eating some level of toxic material, if it isn’t enough to put you in the hospital right on the spot, then it’s not really THAT harmful for you.  Never mind the fact that it’s toxic, or radiation or poisonous.  We’ve become a society where ingesting harmful chemicals is normalized, and that’s scary.

I’ve gathered some practical and actual steps (no duck, cover and hide under the table as shown by a 1950s turtle) you can take to improve your health as we get exposed to some radiation. Here’s the rest of the article.

Advertisements

Egypt in the 21st Century: Hosni Mubarak has stepped down and the world changed

•February 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak addressed the nation. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

And so it has happened.  Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president of Egypt.  Who would have thought it’d happen?  I certainly didn’t think he would ever give up power.  He’s ruled Egypt with an iron fist for nearly 30 years.  Why would a few protests change the status quo.  As in Iran, all those marches, demonstrations could have gone for naught.  But, not this time.  Something different was in the air – revolution.  110,000 people peacefully (for the most part) gathering in Cairo and throughout Egypt for 18 days have forced Mubarak to step down.  Or more precisely, the military sided with the protestors and THEY forced Mubarak to step down.  Either way, the result is the same.  Peaceful protests en-mass forced a dictator out of office.

From my days living in Cairo while attending the American University in Cairo to study Egyptology, I still vividly remember life Egypt under Mubarak.  All the phones made that distinctive clicking sound of being wire tapped.  When I plugged my laptop into the AUC dorm’s Ethernet connection my computer was monitored.  The red screen that would periodically pop up stating “computer  XXXXX is monitoring your device” was a dead giveaway.  My first day at the University, all of the study abroad students received a call from the tech department stating that a virus had swept through the University affecting all computers.  We needed to bring our laptops to the tech department to have special anti-virus software installed.  Only their anti-virus software would prevent our computers from becoming infected and the viral plague from spreading.  I laughed and kindly informed them “No thank you.  I have Norton Anti-virus, which will get rid of any virus that tries to take down my computer.”  “Oh no,” they countered, “that will not work.  We must install our special software.  Only it will work…..Insha’Allah.”  Yeah right, special software, read “please let us bug your computer.”  I squashed their plans with a firm “no way can you install ANYTHING on my computer.”  And the creepiness continued.  The study abroad department at AUC warned us to be careful what we said at all times, particularly of a political nature.  The walls had ears.  A couple I knew who worked at the embassy routinely had their apartment ransacked.  Nothing was taken; the apartment was just searched by the Egyptian secret police.

When I stepped out of my dorms, the level in poverty in Egypt was mindblowing.  Cairo is one of the dirtiest cities in the world.  Go outside for a couple hours, your hands will turn black from the air pollution.  On a good day you can only see a few blocks, due to the heavy smog that blankets the city.  Beggars sit on street corners, usually missing a limb or two, covered in flies, and missing many teeth; pitifully raising their hands (if they have them) at anyone who passes by.  If you take a car or bus to areas outside of Cairo’s main city center, you’ll see dead animals lining the roads, dead animals in the drainage ditches, and the occasional dead person beside the road.  People are too poor and have too many problems of their own to care about removing the bodies of the unknown from the streets.

Anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square listen as President Hosni Mubarak speaks to the nation February 10, 2011. Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square listen as President Hosni Mubarak speaks to the nation February 10, 2011. Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

As a tourist you have a direct impact on so many families’ lives when you travel to Egypt.  There is money in Egypt from oil, the Suez Canal, and big money to be made in the tourist industry.  I would know.  I went to college with the children of the Egyptian billionaires.  This money stays among the uber rich and the highest levels of government.  Mubarak was more interested in keeping the population of Egypt repressed and subservient and himself rich, than instigating social programs and aid to combat this staggering level of poverty.

Mubarak controlled the People’s perception of their lives and the world both inside of Egypt and outside.  In towns outside of Cairo, loud speakers adorned street lamps emitting a steady stream of propaganda.  Blaring Mubarak is great, Mubarak protects you, Mubarak keeps Egypt safe, and so forth.  That’s brainwashing in action.  Then there was the state run news ERTU.  They wrote reported as news what Mubarak and the government wanted the people to believe.  They flooded the masses with fear and conspiracy theories.  Mubarak controlled the Egyptian people’s perception of the world.  All that the everyday Egyptian knew of the world was funneled through the twisted lens of Mubarak’s administrations’ filter.

I lived in Egypt in 2003, before Facebook had really taken off.  With the growth of Facebook, the internet and other forms of social media, the Egyptians have been able to gain better access to information from the outside world.  Facebook was one of the first sources to break the story of the protest s in Egypt, and has been a main tool utilized by the protestors to organize.

On January 25th, the first protests occurred in Tahrir Square.  For 18 days, the Egyptian People held that square and refused to leave.  Tahrir Square is where the American University in Cairo is located, along with the Egyptian Museum.  It was surreal to see a place I walked around every day on my way to class, now the peaceful battleground of a populace uprising in Egypt.  It is the heart of Egypt, and by planting themselves there, the protestors made a powerful symbolic statement

On Thursday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (They have only convened 2 other times in the history of modern Egypt.  They met in 1967 during the 6 Day War and 1973 during the Arab-Israeli War.) issued Communique #1.  In this Communique they stated that the military would take necessary measures to protect the nation and support the legitimate demands of the people

Historically in the middle east, when the military of a country issues Communiques it usually is right before a military coup.  And this poses the question, is this a military coup in another form?  If they force Mubarak to step down and then proceed to take over the government, the Egyptian people may have traded one dictator for another.  With the chanting Thursday by the crowds in Tahrir Square that the military was with the people, I couldn’t help but mentally urge the Egyptian people not to trust the military.  Something doesn’t ring true about this situation.  It seems more likely that if the people ask the military to take over, they will and then not give the power to a democratic government, rather , keeping it for themselves.  But only time will tell if democracy will prevail, or it the military decided to take the opportunity to “help” the People of Egypt out and thus supplant themselves in power.

A woman cries in Tahrir Square after it is announced that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was giving up power February 11, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Photo credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This morning reports were coming in that Mubarak and his family had left the Heliopolis Presidential Palace for sunny Sharm el-Sheikh.  Then the announcement was made, Mubarak was stepping down as president and giving all powers to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.  Jubilation erupted in Tahrir Square.  People celebrated in the streets all day and night.  They had claimed a large victory on the way to democracy.  And not through extreme violence, but they won by peacefully (relatively) gathering in large forces and refusing to budge until their demands were met.  Put another way, the people en mass stated that they were no longer going to participate in the dysfunction of their country.  They were not going to give power to their corrupt government through their silence and compliance.  Governments are in power because we give them power through our acceptance and their rule and our participation in society.  The Egyptians took back that power they had given the government by no longer participating in their society.

When I lived in Egypt, It was whispered around the country that if Mubarak left office the country would fall to ruin and chaos.  Different factions of the government, his son and members of the military, would vie for power.   We are about to see that moment.  What was not factored into the equation is that a relatively peaceful populace uprising would be what removed him.

Egypt is the corner stone of the Middle East.  What happens in Egypt will have rippling effects for the entire region.   Will Jordan be next?  If peaceful, nation-wide protest can oust one dictator, will other regimes in other countries fall because the people see that it is possible if they stand firm and refuse to continue participating in their own national dysfunction.  If they can form a democracy, it could trigger copycat revolutions aiming for the same goal.  People are waking up and ready for change, what’s going on in Egypt could just be the inspiration and encouragement they need.  We sit at one of those magic moments in history.  A crossroads where the world changes.   We have a stake in what happens in Egypt because it will affect the rest of the world.

Hands of the Great Benefic

•February 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

A giant Buddha watches over the monks at the Seoraksan. Seoraksan National Park, South Korea. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Today’s Travel Inspired Wisdom: You can lift a giant rock with your tiny finger if you just believe it so.

•February 8, 2011 • 2 Comments

Today’s Travel Inspired Wisdom: You can lift a giant rock with your tiny finger if you just believe it so.

You can lift a giant rock with your tiny finger if you just believe it so.  We keep ourselves from accomplishing great goals and feats simply because we give into doubt.  We let the voices of doubt shape our perception, instead of shaping our perception ourselves. The first step to making a goal or wish a reality is to believe it is so.  Just like the ancient Buddhist balancing a rock on his finger, making your dreams and desires a reality starts with belief and changing your perception to align with that dream.  What doubt will you kick out today to make your dream a soon to be reality?

Today’s Travel Inspired Wisdom brought to you by Guin-sa Buddhist Temple, South Korea.

 

Scene from Guin-Sa Temple Complex, South Korea. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

 

2010 in review

•January 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

4,200 views in my first!  Thanks everyone who viewed this blog.  It’s been a real joy to be able to share my quirky and fun take on archaeology and travel!

Crunchy numbersFeatured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2010. That’s about 10 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 94 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 103 posts. There were 138 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 160mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 3rd with 58 views. The most popular post that day was Egypt: The Good, The Bad and the Archaeological.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, travbuddy.com, icebella.wordpress.com, and google.co.za.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for ed viesturs, tutankhamun, roman mosaics, archaeology conferences 2011, and cairo museum.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

Egypt: The Good, The Bad and the Archaeological March 2010

Tutankhamun’s Medicine Chest: Magic or Actual Medicine? October 2009

Cairo Museum: My Biggest Candy Shop October 2009

 

Tunisian Roman Mosaics: A window into the melding of two worlds March 2010

Tutankhamun’s mysterious demise: Could he have been skewered by a Hippo? October 2009

Important Celtic Tomb Found

•December 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

What do you do if you’re German and you discover a particularly juicy tomb?  Why cut the entire burial chamber of the

A piece of jewelry from the tomb. Photo from The Local. Photo credit: Patrick Seeger dpa/lsw

ground as one block of earth, load it on a truck and take it home with you.  That’s at least what  dig leader and state archaeological chief Dirk Krausse did this past week.

He discovered a 2,600 year old tomb belonging to a Celtic aristocratic woman.  The tomb was well preserved and appears to have not been completely looted.  Gold and amber jewelery were found, which allowed the archaeologists to calculate a pretty accurate date for the tomb. Or at least the date the jewelry was created and hope it’s not a 5 generational hand-me down.

Deciding that further analysis of the tomb was necessary, and why keep trudging back to the site, really?  Archaeologists, employing large cranes and trucks specially designed for transporting blocks of dirt containing tombs,  cut the ENTIRE tomb out of the ground and took it home.

Yes, I kid you not.  Next year for Christmas I’m asking Santa for a entire tomb.

Archaeologists, based on the jewelry found in the tomb, are hypothesizing that the tomb was constructed for and housed a noble woman from the nearby Heuneburg Fort.  Though further research and analysis is needed to confirm this.

The tomb being cut from the earth and loaded onto a truck. Photo from The Local. Photo credit: Patrick Seeger dpa/lsw

The Heuneburg Fort’s importance stems from it’s reflection of socio-political developments in Celtic Europe. Wealth, population and political power was concentrated in smaller groups after 700 BC, and the Heuneburgh Hill Fort is a prime example of this.  It is possibly also one of the oldest settlements north of the Alps.

The settlement also help a position of power and trade with other settlements and trade routes in Southern Germany. Heuneburg was a center for both location production and long distance trade, giving archaeologists a glimpse of the political, social and economic occurrences of the time period.

Source:

The Local: Germany’s News in English; http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20101228-32083.html

Heuneburg Hill Fort, Wikipedia

Happy Holidays!

•December 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Happy Holidays all!  Hope it was filled with family, friends, lots of yummy food, happiness and laughter.  And little nuggets of joy, whatever form they may take (for this bloggista it’s sprinkles and snow).

Mine was particularly specially because I got to spend another year with my little dog who is getting on in age.  She’s 15 which is something like 106 in dog years.  As we end one year and begin the next I like to take stock of my life, see if I am where I want to be, if I’m moving toward my goals and dreams, and more importantly, be thankful for all the wonderful people and experiences in my life.  Who knows if this is the only life we get to live.  But, we’re here, now.  So might as well make this one the best.

It was a stellar year to say the least.  Kicked it off right with a huge party surrounded by all my closet friend, except my twin, who was still there stride for stride with me via the cell phone.  Then came a flurry of climbs of over the next 8 months – ice climbing in Banff, ice climbing in Leavenworth, ice climbing in Ouray, more rock trips than I can remember, City of Rocks, Forbidden, Little Tahoma, Mt. Rainier via the Kautz, a trad and self-rescue class.  I balanced out all the climbing with fun trips and events with friends including one amazing birthday done pin-stripe 20s mobster style, spending the full week at Burning Man and a very relaxing week at the Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival with my family.  This Fall the whirlwind has continued – I quit my job and launched a woman’s alpinism magazine (Vertical Woman), ice climbed on the Coleman Glacier a bunch, traveled to Canmore to ice climb some great routes including This House of Sky, moved out from my apartment and in with a friend to save rent then this week storing all my stuff at my parent’s place.  2011 is going to be kicked off with a running start – Ouray for the Ice Fest (can we say Disneyland for Ice Climbers), ice climbing in Colorado, the Outdoor Retailer show, ice climbing and visiting ancient sites in South Korea, Angkor Wat and traveling with great friends in Cambodia.  And that’s just January and February!  Stay tuned at ArchaeoAdventures and IceBella for all my adventures, stories and travel tidbits.

I’m moving toward a life filled with archaeology, travel, climbing and sharing both this talent and love with the world.  More importantly, I’m surrounded by incredible people – family and friends.  And my little dog keeps truckin’ on strong.  So here’s to another great year with those I love.

Here’s a toast to all of those who make life so special, who touch our lives even in the smallest of ways and who love us both on our good days and our bad.  And to another year filled with many adventures and incredible experiences.