Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Satellites Expose 8,000 Years of Civilization

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the scratching-the-surface dept.

Earth 138

ananyo writes "By combining spy-satellite photos obtained in the 1960s with modern multispectral images and digital maps of Earth's surface, researchers have created a new method for mapping large-scale patterns of human settlement. The approach was used to map some 14,000 settlement sites spanning eight millennia in 23,000 square kilometres of northeastern Syria — part of the fertile crescent of the Middle East. Traditional archaeology has focused on the big features such as cities or palaces but the new technique uncovers networks of small settlements, revealing migration patterns and sparking renewed speculation about the importance of water to city development."

cancel ×

138 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Wilkinson & Ur (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414333)

Wilkinson & Ur, the ones behind the project, have been doing this for at least 10 years. Check out the CAMEL project on the Oriental institute of the university of Chicago

doh! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414339)

How are young earthers going to explain this one?

Re:doh! (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414353)

How are young earthers going to explain this one?

Eight millennia - that's six since creation, and two more into the future.

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414481)

Wow, a good cliché never gets repetitive, right.

Re:doh! (4, Funny)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415417)

Look guys, stop messin with my friends. Here's proof:

[root@earth-sim173-265 ~]# uptime
  12:17:09 up 2,210,805 days, 20:27, 7,029,298,112 users, load average: 0.90, 0.90, 0.95
[root@earth-sim173-265 ~]#

Now leave me alone, and get back to learning how to be humans/gods without killing each other and destroying the universe.

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416689)

112 users. Something is not right with this sim

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39417959)

112 users. Something is not right with this sim

7,029,298,112

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414369)

Nice try. The 8000 years aren't shown by the satellite but by the assumptions of the person making the timeline. I'm sure historians and archaeologists would disagree to some extent about the exact number anyway.

Re:doh! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414449)

The same way they explain all the other evidence for a 14 billion years old universe: by ignoring or misunderstanding it.

Right at the most simple: we can triangulate the distance to a star and determine that what we see is as old as the amount of time light takes to get here. If they deny this evidence they either fail basic math or refute relativity: the scientific theory with the best proof track record ever.

Re:doh! (0)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414575)

The same way they explain all the other evidence for a 14 billion years old universe: by ignoring or misunderstanding it.

Right at the most simple: we can triangulate the distance to a star and determine that what we see is as old as the amount of time light takes to get here. If they deny this evidence they either fail basic math or refute relativity: the scientific theory with the best proof track record ever.

One creationist crank tries to explain this away by saying that the speed of light is infinite when it's headed toward you, and twice the real speed of light when it's headed away (presumably to conserve the overall travel time to a mirror and back).

Re:doh! (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415807)

basic math Isn't that what them rascals in Gomorrah were doin'?

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414583)

Don't get your relativity in my faith. It makes it taste weird.

Re:doh! (4, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414613)

While I have been apostate for more than a decade, I can put on my 'Bible Brainwash Hat' (TM) and tell you exactly how they deny it: the light and other EM radiation from those stars was created in mid-'flight' to give the universe the appearance of age. You really can't win arguing science with somebody whose foundation is 'it's magic!' That's why I focus on moral/ethical problems when messing with theists.

Re:doh! (4, Insightful)

rthille (8526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415383)

Right. God, being all powerful, could create all the evidence for an old universe. In fact, the universe could have been created a minute ago with all our memories and everything. Of course, that mean that God was a deceiver, and no different from Satan.

Really, it's all ridiculous bullshit, and if you don't get to children when they are young and vulnerable, you've got a much much harder time making someone believe it.

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415613)

That's the premise of Last Thursdayism.

Re:doh! (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416007)

What if an all-powerful, evil genius and implanted all senses, memory, and perception into your brain. How do you even know you are a 'self' and not a conglomerate of different input stimuli.

---- Someone better go read Rene Descartes....

Re:doh! (4, Funny)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416295)

---- Someone better go read Rene Descartes....

That pedantic ol' windbag? I think not.

<POOF!> <crickets>

Re:doh! (2)

rthille (8526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416567)

My "self" is simply the current pattern of my thoughts. Regardless of what "hardware/wetware" they are running on, my thought patterns and memories are my "self". If some all-powerful entity could re-arrange the atoms in my brain (assuming that's what is really running things in here :-), and replace my thoughts and memories with Rene Descartes, _my_ "self" would cease to exist, and my friends and family would testify to that, though my outward appearance would be unchanged.

tree falls in the forest (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39418107)

And here I assumed nothing existed before I starting perceiving things...

Re:doh! (3, Interesting)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415567)

Except that the Bible says that God is revealed through his creation as well. This would seem to indicate that God wouldn't make things appear to be a way they are not. (I say this as a Christian who does not believe that young Earth makes any sense. I could possibly see an argument being made that human's have only been around 6000 or so years (I don't personally believe this is necessary or accurate either, but I could at least see grounds for the argument (using the Bible, not science)).) Ultimately, those who claim the Bible says the Earth is only 6000 years old fail at both their own religion and science. The term translated as "day" more closely means age or period. Clearly, without a planet yet, you can't have a 24 hour day, so it doesn't even make sense to assume that the "days" referenced were literal.

Re:doh! (3, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416161)

Except that the Bible says that God is revealed through his creation as well. This would seem to indicate that God wouldn't make things appear to be a way they are not.

Yeah, it astonishes me that some creationists claim that God planted fossils to fool people.

And of course, would never consider that God could have written a book to fool people.

Re:doh! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416303)

Except that the Bible says that God is revealed through his creation as well. This would seem to indicate that God wouldn't make things appear to be a way they are not. (I say this as a Christian who does not believe that young Earth makes any sense. I could possibly see an argument being made that human's have only been around 6000 or so years (I don't personally believe this is necessary or accurate either, but I could at least see grounds for the argument (using the Bible, not science)).)

The evidence of humans dating past 6,000 years is just one more set of parentheses deep... Keep looking, i am sure you can find it!

Re:doh! (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39417669)

Perhaps my parens was confusing. I was pointing out that from a Biblical perspective, one could make an argument than mankind is only 6000 years old or so. You could also use it to point out that there is no problem with humanity being far far older. The context of my original comment was pointing out that there is effectively no way to use the actual way the Bible talks about creation of the world to indicate that the world itself is that young. I do not personally believe that people have only been around 6000 years, nor do I believe that even a literal interpretation of the Bible requires viewing humanity as having only existed for 6000 years.

Re:doh! (4, Funny)

ubergeek65536 (862868) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415691)

"While I have been apostate for more than a decade"

Congratulations on your first decade of sanity.

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415163)

or, you simply say that the star was obviously created with the light in the sky, just like thier book describes.

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415219)

refute relativity: the scientific theory with the best proof track record ever.

Eh? That'd be Quantum Mechanics.
Relativity still crashes horribly with very observable (and some highly unobservable) occurrences in the universe, throwing out infinities all over the place.
It is the most correct model so far, and is useful for anything we will need to do any time soon, but it is far from being complete. Good luck navigating the galaxy with that, you'll end up crashing in to Andromeda without realizing.
It's just another step towards a better theory, which might be helped greatly with LHC if we ever get to analyze the higgs mechanism and possibly a graviton.
Quantum Mechanics is pretty solid all around, with the exception of a few corner cases and the actual mass giver itself, Higgs.

Re:doh! (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416179)

refute relativity: the scientific theory with the best proof track record ever.

Eh? That'd be Quantum Mechanics.

I'm guessing that the Atomic Theory of Matter has a pretty good track record too.

Re:doh! (2)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415871)

Creationists agree that starlight is billions of years old. They just believe the solar system, what with its young comets and all, is young. Answers in Genesis does a good job of bringing a lot of creationist articles together. And by the way, they don't refute relativity at all. Relativity's gravitational time dilation is one of the theories as to how the universe can be old while the earth is young.

You can see their articles on Astrophysics here. Don't be surprised to see that most believe in old stars:

Astrophysics [answersingenesis.org]

If you would like to read what they believe about the age of the earth and why they believe it is young, Answers in Genesis sums it up here:

Young Age Evidence [answersingenesis.org]

Rather than continuing to misunderstand about the creationist perspective, read up and see what they believe. Then, if you disagree with them, you can at least stop with the unfounded attacks.

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416491)

He's only going to find slightly different insanity than his assumptions at AIG.
Does it really matter if someone makes an unfounded attack on creationist ignorance, when all creationists have is ignorance? Isn't the ignorance the problem rather than the attack?

Re:doh! (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414587)

How are young earthers going to explain this one?

There are all sorts of methods, some more creative and convincing than others(at the low end, if you and your target audience simply don't give a damn about this 'empiricism' nonsense and consider goddidit! to be a valid solution, things of any apparent age are no problem: an omnipotent entity wouldn't have any trouble magic-ing something that looks ten million years old into existence ten seconds ago...).

However, I have heard a number of stories from buddies who got into archaeology and did some fertile crescent digs; that there is an interesting demographic who has a real, visceral attack of this problem:

Your sharper breed of American christian fundamentalists, coming from an area where any evidence of human habitation is either a few hundred years old, max, or fairly subtle and 'radiocarbon dating/the flood/etc/etc. awayed' during their growing up decide that they want to do some biblical archaeology. So, off they go and they find themselves grubbing through masonry that just oozes OLD in a much more immediately dramatic way than some of the subtler isotopic dating results or other inferrential work does. Apparently some of them find it quite traumatic or transformative: The "This wall/building/house/whatever had already been standing for at least a few millenia at the point when God is supposed to have created the earth" thing is much more potent than the "Some scientists say that C14/C12 ratios in cave charcoal suggest timeline... yaddda, yadda..."

Re:doh! (0)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414857)

How many young earthers reading Slashdot? Show of hands, please.

Re:doh! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414913)

I'll wager not too many YECs, I've seen a few that are probably legit (largely because they were clearly cribbing quotes from ICR and AIG literature). Definitely a few OECs and IDers have posted here.

Re:doh! (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415703)

Yeah, I'll speak up as a very scientifically minded OEC who thinks the mechanisms of OEC were very likely the big bang and evolution. The order of events matches up closely and it's worth pointing out that the Bible doesn't say humanity was created separately, just Adam and Eve. In fact, it actually lends support to the theory that humanity existed either before or shortly after their creation and of independent lineage. (For those who aren't verst in Genesis, after Cain killed Able (Adam and Eve's sons), he was sent out of the region, but it directly mentions there being other people there and at that time, there were no other descendants mentioned of Adam and Eve.)

You are probably correct that there are very few YECs on Slashdot though as it is a completely unsupportable position (both religiously and scientifically) that is only held to by people that don't know how to do any kind of research or critical reasoning. Just simply looking at the actual language of Genesis indicates that the term for each "day" of creation is the same as the term for age, and until a good part of the way through creation, there would be no actual 24 hour day to begin with. Also, the Bible is beyond clear that time in God's eyes is vastly longer than our eyes.

Re:doh! (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415797)

Other than invoking a strange variant of the Adam and Eve story, you sound more like a Theistic Evolutionist to me. Can't really swallow the whole "Adam and Eve were separate creations" bit, but then again, I can't buy the "Jesus rose from the grave after being dead for three days" bit either, so I see no point to get too uptight about it.

Re:doh! (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416001)

Could be, my goal is to resolve my belief that Genesis is likely accurate if properly read and that scientific observations should also match up without convoluted reasoning. I do my best to try to resolve the two and it sometimes comes up with interesting conclusions that I don't know a whole lot of other people who hold, but thus far I have not found anything in way of scientific evidence that can not be incorporated to match a particular understanding of the description given in Genesis. The main area I still have issue resolving is the flood. My most likely explanation would be that for the flood to occur, it would have had to occur immediately prior to plate collisions driving up our current mountain ranges (when land mass would have been relatively flat and therefore there would have been enough water to actually cover the land), however the time scale we observe for the formation of mountains doesn't seem to gel nicely. Prior to that, there are a number of easy time-gaps that can be introduced (for example, man's days are not numbered prior to Genesis 3, so an alternate possibility would be some very very old people as society was developing).

Re:doh! (1)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416387)

Studies of mitochondrial DNA suggest that the human race was narrowed down to just several or even one female at a point in our past, possibly around 180,000 years ago [wikipedia.org] . Same narrowing with males appears with the Y-chromosome. I believe the flood of Genesis is telling the story of one or more catastrophic events that nearly killed off the human race and caused the genetic narrowing we can observe today. So I think that "flood" is a metaphor for one of any number of things that could have happened over time.

Re:doh! (1)

AJH16 (940784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39417721)

Hmm, that is actually very interesting. I'm not sure how it factors in to my views, but it doesn't seem to disagree any. Is there a particular reason that you don't think there could have been some type of flood, perhaps associated with a plate collision as that seems to be consistent with the description given. I have not had the opportunity to look in to the topic as much as I'd like yet, so I'm truly interested in any evidence either supporting or contradicting.

Re:doh! (1)

georgenh16 (1531259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415903)

I believe the point of Genesis is the "who" and not the "how".

Though the Bible does pretty well on the "how" if you ask me:
"let there be light" = big bang
"streched out the heavens" = inflation, continued expansion of universe
land->vegetation->sea creatures->livestock->humans - order agrees with science so far.
How would you word it if you were explaining it to someone thousands of years ago?

P.S. Jesus on a moped is an amusing thought - just be careful who you mock!

Re:doh! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416045)

Except your forgetting that the sun was created after the vegetation in Genesis, and one has to do some artful footwork to make any of it actually coincide to science. This idea that it's just dumbed down cosmology, geology and biology doesn't really work, because the creative order is incorrect and why couldn't even a Bronze Age individual understand, when things were put in layman's terms, the gist of Big Bang cosmology and evolution?

To my mind, the Genesis story more owes its heritage to Sumero-Akkadian sources than to any Divine Creation for Dummies.

Re:doh! (1)

georgenh16 (1531259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416371)

Unless the sky was hazy akin to Venus up until that point, which is quite likely after continued bombardment and geologic activity. Bacteria and/or vegetation clean up our atmosphere and give oxygen now - it is only reasonable to think they preceded a clear sky. In keeping with explaining to laymen, the narrative is from the perspective of one on the surface of the earth, to whom the sun and moon would become visible at this point.

Where's the artful footwork? Do you not like the Bible's layman's terms?

Re:doh! (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416883)

Because it isn't for laymen. I go out to the library and get a book on geology and planet formation for laymen, it isn't going to use obviously incorrect language to describe an event. It is going to say "the atmosphere was hazy and the sun was not visible until such-and-such-a-time". You know that I know that.

The Bible's terms, if I take your interpretation, are bad word choices. The sun existed before the planet, and green plants could not have lived in a hazy reducing atmosphere that blocked out a good chunk of the spectra, humans bred domesticated animals (and thus they came AFTER humans), and even a liberal interpretation that includes the wild progenitors of cattle, pigs and the like, well, guess what, they evolved in the Pleistocene just like humans did.

Look, if it somehow helps your faith to believe that Genesis is some sort of a Evolution For Bronze Age Dummies, but I doubt you're going to get much traction not only with miserable non-believers like myself, but even with many theologians, who would find the whole exercise misses the point of Genesis, and only creates an ever increasing number of problems as one goes forward in trying to force the Bible to become a science text.

Re:doh! (1)

georgenh16 (1531259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39418347)

"misses the point of Genesis" - that was my first point in my first post on this.
Likewise when Jesus is talking about vines and fruit, he isn't giving a horticulture lesson.
The Bible does not purport to be a geology book, for laymen or not, nor do I ascribe it to be such a book. I wouldn't expect a detailed description of the atmosphere as this would only obscure the point that God is behind everything being created. (please forgive my awful word play)
All I'm saying is when you're not picking apart the meaning of the word "livestock" (is the connotation of domestication there in the Hebrew?) the broad outline matches what science says.
I make this point because it removes barriers to faith and reinforces it when you know that the Bible doesn't contradict reason and science. If people are stumbling on this stuff, they'll miss the point... (God is the creator).

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416807)

I actually am an OEC, but I find that labeling myself as 'Christian' also gives people the wrong idea. So, I'm a theist, and also have a better understanding of (our) planetary development than any other theist I've yet met, as well as many atheists. Surprised to find that any others have really posted. I usually don't see a point to posting my opinion in an arguments, since the proof isn't exactly forthcoming.

Sorry to be AC, don't feel like signing in.

Re:doh! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39417087)

Just to clarify here. From my old days on evolution newsgroups, OECs generally were considered to be people who believed in an old Earth, but believed humans were only a few thousand years old.

Re:doh! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416213)

How many young earthers reading Slashdot? Show of hands, please.

The problem is that you can't tell the true believers from the troll bedevilers. It's almost impossible for a troll to tip his hand by being too OTT, on this topic.

Re:doh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39417941)

Poe's Law [rationalwiki.org] : "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing."

Re:doh! (1)

sighnaps (2151610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415549)

easy! Archaeology is one of the many tools of Satan!

Re:doh! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415877)

My step-mother was a complete lunatic and religious fanatic who used to tell everyone that dinosaur bones were put in the ground by Satan to encourage disbelief and heretical interpretations of the Bible. Fun lady.

Speculation? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414463)

revealing migration patterns and sparking renewed speculation about the importance of water to city development

Do we need to speculate that human settlements need water?

This sounds like it should be fairly obvious ... you need water for people, livestock, plants ...

Re:Speculation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414599)

Actually, more than enough water can be obtained simply from human waste. Where do you think our tap water comes from?

We don't need to bother with things like rain or the ocean any more. We can survive by drinking our own urine and dookie.

Re:Speculation? (2)

Cyrus20 (1345311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414665)

"The method has already renewed speculation about the importance of water to city development. Surprisingly, this study found that a handful of sites are unexpectedly large given that they are not located near rivers or in areas of high precipitation. “The settlement known as Tell Brak, for example, is far too large for what one would expect at such a marginal position,” says Ur. “This is where things get interesting.” I know no one does actually RTFA but here you go so you understand what was actually meant.

Re:Speculation? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414705)

I know no one does actually RTFA

Where's the fun in that? ;-)

Re:Speculation? (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416057)

Exactly. Human settlements need easy access to water. This is why the first cities were founded near rivers (ala the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley). This should be very obvious to all. And even if it wasn't, I think we had this covered in 3rd grade.

Re:Speculation? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416219)

Again, RTFA; the answer apparently isn't as simple as you think.

Well, if you call Syria civilized. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414473)

With some of the shit that's been happening there lately, civilized might be a bit of a stretch.

Re:Well, if you call Syria civilized. (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415669)

With some of the shit that's been happening on Planet Earth lately, civilized might be a bit of a stretch.

FTFY.

Only 8000? (4, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414483)

The Barada river area has been settled for at least 11,000, Jericho for at least 11,000, Byblos for at least 9,000.

Did you know (0)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414591)

Humans already caused climate change once. Specifically the huns with Genghis Khan burning down forests all over Asia and Europe. He not only left a trace in our DNA by having many "wifes" making a fair share of Eurasians descendents of him, he also had a measurable impact on the climate on that time.

Wicked! Some [current.com] src [mnn.com] for claims [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Did you know (3, Informative)

Psion (2244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415243)

Julia Pongratz is the only citation in your listed sources for Gengis Khan's impact on climate. She arrived at this conclusion not through examination of empirical data, but through computer modeling of Khan's actions. It's an interesting hypothesis, but hardly one that can be stated as a certainty.

Re:Did you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415349)

Don't forget the Mayans. They made a huge influence on their environment that they ended up wiping their own society out due to causing terrible weather for crops.
The area has only just recently (geo-times) managed to recover naturally.

It's going to happen all over again with Brazil as more of those forests get burnt to the ground.
The wonders of all those species in those forests that could die just like that without us ever learning of them.

Re:Did you know (3, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415595)

The Mayans were probably not having a significant impact on their own weather (I smell some green cultist with an agenda). Bad weather/seasons can happen to anybody anywhere and have been a common cause of famine and social disruption in antiquity worldwide.

The reality of the Mayan collapse was based on the confluence of population growth and soil depletion. The Mayans never developed crop rotation, so while their society grew their crop yields shrank, and everything collapsed.

Re:Did you know (1)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416199)

The Mayans were probably not having a significant impact on their own weather

Or, y'know, they were.

(I smell some green cultist with an agenda).

Or, y'know, scientists.

The reality of the Mayan collapse was based on the confluence of population growth and soil depletion.

Or, y'know, not that. [theatlantic.com] YMMV.

Re:Did you know (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39417043)

Wow. 'Did too!' Is the best argument you can make? Oh and an argument from authority (with no citations!) fallacy thrown in for free? Tell me more! (Actually, don't.)

Also, I am very annoyed that you snookered me into looking at a really long article that had nothing to do with the Mayan collapse on the pretense that it was relevant. Hey, I know, how about some real scholarly work that is, y'know actually relevant? [pnas.org]

Here's a relevant bit for people who won't RTFA:

However, analysis of Puuc soils and apparent cropping system indicates that maximal yields would likely have been sustainable for only about 75 y, with significant declines in fertility and yields certainly setting in after about 100 y (74). This duration is coincident with the apogee of most Terminal Classic Puuc centers (ca. 770â"870 CE).

Now scurry off back into whatever hole of ignorance from whence you emerged.

(I will grant, by the way, that diminished soil fertility cannot be blamed on farming practices exclusively, but my original opinion was based on information I stumbled upon more than a dozen years ago. Nonetheless it was at least based on valid research, and I was only offering it in the shortest form as a contradiction, not as an expansive and detailed explanation, which anybody with the most marginal of research skills should be able to do for themselves. Sadly, time and time again people fail to reach even that meager standard.)

Re:Did you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416449)

So if I give up eating bean burritos can I apply for carbon credits?

Re:Did you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416593)

hun!=Genghis Khan

only 8000 years? (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414641)

Well I'll be... It sounds like the biblical fundamentalists were correct about the ago of the earth, after all.

Re:only 8000 years? (1, Flamebait)

AlphaLop (930759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414771)

Please don't give them more blocks to prop up their religion, we need religion like we need a hole in the head.

Religion has killed more people than drugs so I keep waiting for the U.S. to declare war on it. (I can only hope.)

Re:only 8000 years? (1)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415537)

*Laugh* Seriously but no, it's not an arbitary few thousand years. They're insisting that it's less than 6,000 years because of a literal reading of genealogies leading back to Adam and Eve while being illiterate in ancient Hebrew culture and numerology, and there's an obsession in christian circles with a 7,000 year cycle with a sabbath millenium at the end.

They're just trying really hard to live in another world and damn the physics.

Re:only 8000 years? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415845)

Can you say "whoooosh"?

Re:only 8000 years? (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39416197)

7000-year cycle? As a Christian that thinks there is more to YEC than most people (who haven't read any of it) believe, I've never once in all my travels heard of a 7000-year-cycle.

In any event, the 8000 sounds a lot closer to the 6000 year YEC position than the evolution perspective (100,000? or is it 2,000,000 now?, it changes so frequently and everyone disagrees so much I can't keep track).

The shame of it is (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414719)

Its going to be 8000 years before we can send someone to investigate given the current political climate :( /Cynicism

Or just a few decades (5, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414735)

I once used the satellite view of Google Maps to look for old train tracks that have been torn up and gone for decades. It's actually pretty interesting. If you go out and visit spots where the tracks used to be, you can't see anything out of the ordinary. But a satellite shot clearly shows the "scars" of where the tracks used to be. Where they cut through forests, the trees are a little shorter. The soil in farm fields is colored differently. Roads bend to intersect the track at a right angle, things like that.

Here's a good example [g.co] in Washtenaw county. You can see the "ghost tracks" going southwest/northeast. If you follow them northeast, you'll see that a new subdivision was built on an area of land that they used to cut through. Curiously, the developers built no houses where the tracks were. Instead, they added footpaths, gave some houses larger backyards, and left "gaps" where houses could have been built. (I'd love to know why this was done. Any developers in the audience?)

You can follow the tracks southwest as well, but eventually you get to a region where the images were taken with a different satellite at a different time of year and the loss of contrast makes the tracks impossible to follow any further.

Re:Or just a few decades (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414829)

There were probably ownership issues with the former track land.

Re:Or just a few decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414891)

It seems that the ghost tracks are the ones bending to cross the roads at a right angle. Are you sure they're former railway lines? Those curves look far too tight.

Re:Or just a few decades (2)

Nexusone1984 (1813608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39414985)

I do the same thing follow old rail line.

Been using it to keep track of the last remaining Wooden Trestles a long a 100+ year old line here in the Western part of NC.

https://picasaweb.google.com/104509350788295110986/TripleCRailRoad [google.com]

Re:Or just a few decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415731)

The old Key Line through the east bay of San Francisco that ran till the 40s still has vestiges like the Key Line Ave. and this odd angled leftover:

http://g.co/maps/3jasy

Re:Or just a few decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415029)

'd love to know why this was done. Any developers in the audience?

Probably one of 3 things. Unsuitable to build on (drainage whatever), Do not own it (considered right of way), Do not own it (the rail may still own the land but not care what is built on it). My guess is the 3rd one. The rail line still owns it and cant even be bothered to sell it or no one may even really 'know' who owns it. So nothing built on it = no problems...

Re:Or just a few decades (2)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415153)

Utility lines perhaps, or the railroad still technically owns the right of way.

Re:Or just a few decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415245)

MANY years ago, my uncle took me on several trips - trails and the like. One time we went on an abandond RR path. We knew what is was for one key reason: They removed the RR ties, and the 'bumps' were still there. After reading your story; I though I could look it up, and sure enough, I found it. You can see here [google.com] , the former RR track going north / south. Last time that I saw it, there were no houses around the adajcent lake.

Re:Or just a few decades (1)

benzaholic (1862134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415985)

That example is interesting. Scrolling a little south, you find the names Powerline Trail and Pipeline Trail, suggesting that your north-south remnant is related to a pipeline rather than a railroad, but only suggesting.

Re:Or just a few decades (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415247)

It's a buried pipeline, not a "ghost track".

Re:Or just a few decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416167)

I have to agree. Explains why the line is bent to intersect the road at 90 degrees. Minimizes how much of the road is tore up to install the pipeline.

Re:Or just a few decades (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415255)

Many times the old roadbed is perfect for trails, such as the W&OD trail or the Capital Crescent Trail. Others get repurposed as roads, like Old Dominion Drive.

Re:Or just a few decades (3, Interesting)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415481)

That particular run goes reasonably close to my house. The totally apocryphal explanation for those "tracks" was that Norfolk Southern, or whatever the iteration of the railroad was named at the time the development was planned, bought the rights to that land with the plan of bridging Ford Lake (why they would I have no idea. That'd be an expensive bridge at that point) and connecting to the auto plants (at the time GM Hydramatic and GM Willow Run Assembly), the Airport (Willow Run, with the idea of being a sort of intermodal hub) and the NS line just north of the airport that runs East - West.

In the end they backed out on cost and opted to serve both plants from the East - West line, even though it necessitated a longer trip to connect. (Incidentally, Amtrak will eventually own that stretch of line all the way from K-zoo to Detroit, adding to their longest continuous track track section outside of the Northeast corridor.) That ghost trail was also part of the line that crossed US-23. Not under, crossed. A two lane divided highway that at one point had a live rail crossing.

Interestingly, the http://www.historicaerials.com/ [historicaerials.com] images don't show the 'ghost' trail until 1963. The 1955 images don't show anything. NS also owns property much closer to bridge road (take Textile west from Bridge, look to the right. You'll see a large section of land with NS branded 'no trespassing' signs).

Re:Or just a few decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416153)

>>A two lane divided highway that at one point had a live rail crossing.

Is that so uncommon? Here is a heavily traveled four lane divided highway that still has a live rail crossing. Trains cross it regularly.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=bowie+md&hl=en&ll=38.900873,-76.736155&spn=0.001651,0.002411&sll=38.935404,-76.616028&sspn=0.013203,0.01929&hnear=Bowie,+Prince+George%27s,+Maryland&t=h&z=19

What would be interesting is to find out the largest or most heavily traveled roads with live rail crossings. Or ones with the most untimely crossings (trains crossing during rush hour, in the middle of a race, etc.)

Re:Or just a few decades (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39415589)

It looks like a gas line to me. Following the tracks (southwest?) I found a utility building, pipes, and valves right over the footprint of the line

https://maps.google.com/?ll=42.092699,-83.702388&spn=0.000843,0.001234&t=h&z=20

Re:Or just a few decades (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415687)

Hmm, Path of the Beam [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Or just a few decades (3, Informative)

dwillden (521345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39417095)

Are you sure it's a former trackline? Looking at how clear-cut the trail is through some of the wooded areas, makes me wonder if there isn't an oil or natural gas pipeline of some type running there. Thus the reason for not building over it, and keeping the land clear of trees. I also find it odd that there is no elevated trackway present anywhere along the several miles I looked at. Also indicative of a pipeline rather than a railroad.

In fact go north to the subdivision where they haven't built over the trail. And use street view on E Bemis Road right where the trail crosses into the subdivision. If you look to the north you can plainly see the Pipeline warning poles, placed next to the road on to either side of the trail. There are also such poles on the south side of the road but they don't stand out quite as clearly. It's a pipeline not a railroad track.

Re:Or just a few decades (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39417623)

Could be both. Railroad tracks are notoriously convenient for running infrastructure under. No need to dig up a street or risk somebody building over it.

A lot of fiber is run under tracks.

Re:Or just a few decades (1)

dwillden (521345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39417711)

Could be, but as I noted there is no track hill. anywhere along the line, it's all flush with the surrounding terrain which is not indicative of there having been a rail line there. The farmers would have leveled it, as would the construction crews for the housing areas but in the wooded areas as well?, And they lowered all the crossings to be flush as well? I grew up near an abandoned line, the tracks are long gone, but the raised rail bed is still there.

Beer (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39414871)

You can't make beer without water.

Re:Beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416339)

Whoever modded this off-topic apparently isn't aware of just how old beer is.

Civilization in America (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415171)

Who knows... within a few thousand years we might have civilization here in North America too.

Heard it before (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415195)

Presumably they will come to the ultimate frantic crazy conclusion that it was cavemen until 0BC then all christian with no margin for error... :0)

Cool, but for the fact that... (0)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415425)

We don't even learn from recent, known history and act accordingly, so why expect much from this new (mostly irrelevant) information? This is a fun project for young elites whos parents are filthy rich enough to send them to Harvard. For the rest, who are just elite enough (say top 20%) to have any leisure time to even care, there might be a website set up where you can click on an interactive map (table scraps). Yeah, cultures need water and water comes after the civilization is formed when the soil dries up. Mind blowing. Yeah, that's a lot more pertinent than hmm say information from 60 years ago that might slow our march to fascism. For some, this is information your big distraction, for others (the bottom 80%), it's American Idol. Whatever, as long as you're not thinking of the big fat ugly elephant that's sitting in the middle of the room. Must take a lot of discipline to be so blind. The type of discipline they teach at Harvard and on TV.

Re:Cool, but for the fact that... (2)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415695)

The promotion of ignorance under the guise of passionate populism... that's fabulous. Your novel approach of 'HEY GAIZ STOP LEARNING AND JOIN CLASS WARFARE!' has earned you a place on my foes list.

Re:Cool, but for the fact that... (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39415849)

Yeah, add a foe here, add a foe there. I don't keep friends with your mentailty anyway.

Re:Cool, but for the fact that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39418523)

That has to be the stupidest post I have ever seen in my entire life. If I was as stupid as you I'd shoot myself.

Lost Mayan civilizations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416105)

I don't remember what show it was but there was a archelogist who was on a mission to try and map all the lost mayan cities that were burried in the jungle and by happenstance a friend of his gave him a satellite map, he noticed ligther color areas and asked his buddy who gave him the map did he manipulate the colors, he said no.

He had noticed when he discovered other Mayan ruins that the lime stone had seeped into the soil causing the area to be lightter in color.

So he used his GPS to map out the corodinates on his Satellitle map and woudln't you know he was able to find lost temples burried deep in the rain forests.

Pretty cool stuff!

the topic vs the conversation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39416229)

the topic: "researchers have created a new method for mapping large-scale patterns of human settlement."
a minor detail: "used to map sites spanning 8 millennia"

posts:
L How are young earthers going to explain this one?, +5, Insightful
L by ignoring or misunderstanding it, +3, Interesting
L One creationist crank tries to explain this away, +2
L I can put on my 'Bible Brainwash Hat', +5, Insightful
L it's all ridiculous bullshit, +4, Insightful
L My step-mother was a complete lunatic and religious fanatic, +2

L I once used the satellite view of Google Maps, +5, actually germane for fucking once
5 hidden comments (you know, the only ones that might have something to do with the article)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?