The Mayan Collapse

November 19, 2012 · Posted in Ancient History · Comments Off on The Mayan Collapse 

New evidence into the mysterious cause of the extinction of an ancient empire.

Yok Balum cave

Douglas Kennett, Penn State

Description of photo:  The interior of Yok Balum cave in Belize, where scientists harvested a telltale stalagmite

The agriculture-based Mayan Civilization occupied the Central America region, what is now know as Guatemala, and the surrounding area, beginning in 1,800 B.C. They were known for their magnificent stone monuments; the last one erected before their collapse was the Kukulkan pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico.

The Mayan culture experienced a remarkable expansion, which has been studied and evidenced in architectural, political and textual artifacts from what is known as the Classic Period, until its decline beginning around 800 AD. Just 300 years later the culture suffered its eventual fate of devastating and absolute demise.

As reported in the recent issue of Science, anthropologist Douglas Kennett lead an international team of researchers, in an investigation of a cave located within 1.5 km (.9 mi.) of one significant Mayan site and 19 mi. (30 km) of three others.

The scientists harvested a stalagmite from this cave in the jungles of Belize, for the purpose of determining how long ago it started growing. Since they know that the rate of growth for stalagmites to be about four one-thousandths of an inch to about 0.5 years, they were able to calculate the birth of the one they confiscated to be 40 B.C.

Why is this information important? Why bother to go to such effort and expense to measure the life of a hard to reach stalagmite?

Because it is believed that the up and down cycles of the Mayans and their ultimate decline, may have been climate related and specifically drought related. Rainfall absorbed by the ground seeped into the cave and was incorporated into the composition of the caves stalagmites.

This process of nature allowed the scientists to determine which time point, what century, during the stalagmite’s development, had wet or dry climate cycles. They reported their findings of droughts lasting at least a few decades each and that they occurred from 200 to 1100 AD.

The droughts coincided repeatedly with times of upheaval in the Mayan culture, which point to climate as one possible culprit of the downfall of the great Mayan civilization.


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First Veterans Day Proclamation

November 11, 2012 · Posted in America, Military History · Comments Off on First Veterans Day Proclamation 
Eisenhower signs Vets Day resolution

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts

On October 8th, 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation.

It was on June 4, 1926, that Congress passed a resolution to observe the anniversary of the end of World War I, Nov. 11, 1918.

In 1938, before the holiday was known as Veterans Day, Congress made Nov. 11 a legal holiday called Armistice Day.

Veterans Affairs Goal of Updating IT Infrastructures

November 11, 2012 · Posted in America, Military History · Comments Off on Veterans Affairs Goal of Updating IT Infrastructures 

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs’, Eric. K. Shinseki, message for Veterans Day 2012 can be viewed on the VA website.

In his message he talks about the VA “renewing our country’s historic covenant with its Veterans”. He spoke about how, with 21st century technology and a committed workforce, the VA is dedicated to making strides in its efficiency of providing benefits for those who have served in the armed forces.

An article on the Rock Hill Herald Online states that Nelson Enterprise Technology Services (NETS), has been awarded a contract having a start day of Oct. 15, 2012. The NETS job is the modernization of  the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs large IT infrastructures. It is a huge undertaking in that the VA serves 500,000 American service veterans and their families.

NETS has been involved in the designing, developing, and deploying of a world-class optical network for the administration, so that this newly awarded contract will be in conjunction with projects that are already underway.


History of VA Home Loan Program

November 11, 2012 · Posted in America, Economic History, Housing, Military History · Comments Off on History of VA Home Loan Program 

On October 26, 2012 the 20 Millionth VA Home Loan was purchased by the spouse of an Iraq War Veteran who passed away in 2010.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan program first got its start as part of the GI Bill of Rights in June of 1944. The GI Bill, officially named the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, was established to provide benefits for those returning home after serving in World War II.

Besides the government backed, low interest home loans, the bill also served to provide veterans with college scholarships. The legislation was of such immense influence it  is credited with helping to establish the American middle class.


Source: VA Website , Time Magazine

Second Term Presidents

November 8, 2012 · Posted in America, Presidential history · Comments Off on Second Term Presidents 

There were 17 elected two term presidents:

Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, McKinley, Wilson, F. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush43, Obama

There were four presidents who served two terms, but one term was not from election, but from serving after their deceased predecessors. After finishing out the term of other Presidents, they were then re-elected:

Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, and LBJ

There were three presidents that were elected to a second term, but did not finish the second term:

Lincoln and McKinley were assassinated

Nixon resigned from office


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