Monday is my busiest work day, so I’m a little pressed for time today. Therefore, I will leave you with a few random tidbits on ancient astronauts, Scott Wolter, and the British Museum.
Another Starlet Falls for Ancient Aliens
First: Why do young starlets love Ancient Aliens? After both Megan Fox and Katy Perry revealed their undying devotion to Giorgio Tsoukalos and the ancient astronaut theory, 21-year-old songstress Demi Lovato has apparently been telling her fans about her love of Ancient Aliens, posting online the following statement:
Self care is so important.. and so is Ancient Aliens Friday the 13th + Ancient Aliens + cozy blanket + fire place + organic food = my Friday night… And I am loving it!! Life is amazing
There you have it: Ancient Aliens is as “important” as self-care. Lovato did not explain how her love of ancient astronauts squares with her self-described spiritual Christianity. Can one serve both God and Martian? Or, more specifically, how does one pray, as Lovato says she does before each concert, to a God that Ancient Aliens says is really a space ship packed with Grey aliens?
Worse: When celebrities jump on pseudoscience bandwagons, it only brings more attention to false claims, never more depressing than when the audience is children and teens.
Scott Wolter Accused of a Rockwall Cover-Up
Well, this was bound to happen: One viewer of America Unearthed is already claiming that Scott Wolter and America Unearthed are part of a widespread conspiracy to suppress the truth about the “obviously” artificial rock wall of Rockwall, Texas. Wolter determined, correctly, that the site was in fact a natural formation. The viewer floated the theory of a sinister subtext in a message board posting on the conspiracy-oriented Godlike Productions website:
Well TPTB have managed to cover up another HUGE find that is an obvious ancient intelligently made structure. I guess this will be debated just like the Yonaguni structure underwater in japan. Funny how the so-called "experts" are so easily swayed to think mother nature creates these inexplicable structures. The ROCKWALL in Texas has been studied enough to know that it goes 7 stories deep has some type of mortar between the stones and is reported to be some 20 miles long, yet good ole mother nature created it? LOL.
Notice the way this viewer fails to distinguish between scientific study, which since 1874 has consistently found the formation to be natural, and fringe writers’ conspiracies; any examination of the site is a “study” and all are of equal weight, I guess. Otherwise, how can one simultaneously claim that the “experts” studied the site and found it natural but that it was also “studied” and found to be artificial? Logically, that must mean that only amateurs think it’s artificial, which in fringe world is a badge of honor.
British Museum Images
Special thanks go to Matt Mc for sharing with us the fact that the British Museum has made available more than one million pre-1900 photographs, etchings, drawings, and maps from the Library’s collection of books. It’s an amazing archive of interesting stuff, all now in the public domain and free for use. (Quibble: Microsoft, who digitized the images, could have made high resolution scans for printing rather than low-res versions.) The Library hasn’t indexed the pictures, so right now they’re completely random and can’t be searched. They hope to use crowdsourcing to make them searchable.
Obviously, I haven’t looked at all one million pictures, but those I have seen are a fascinating slice of mostly Victorian art, history, and ethnography. It’s interesting to see just how much of our image of the past has been shaped by Victorian artistic impressions, which have lingered in the popular imagination, not least because U.S. and international copyright laws have essentially frozen the public domain in 1923.
Here is a picture of a tomb near Giza:
This Scottish drawing shows the devil preaching to witches.
It’s a fascinating resource, and I’m sure there are some amazing treasures buried in its more than 10,000 pages of photos.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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