A Crappy Game


Ancient artifacts thought to be early gaming pieces will have to be reclassified after new research which claims they were actually used to wipe bottoms.

The flat, disc-shaped Roman relics have been  in the collection at Fishbourne Roman Palace in Chichester, West Sussex, UK, since  the Sixties.

Up until now museum experts thought the items were used for early games like draughts, but an article in the British Medical  Journal has now proposed that they have a very different function.

'Now they are suddenly engaging items': Dr Robert Symmons, curator of the Fishbourne Roman Palace reserve collection, said he thinks the new 'hilarious' explanation of the disks will help people better relate to them‘Now they are suddenly engaging items’: Dr  Robert  Symmons, curator of the Fishbourne Roman Palace reserve  collection, said he  thinks the new ‘hilarious’ explanation of the disks  will help people better relate to them
How far we've come: These are the ancient Roman artefacts thought to be gaming chips that experts now believe were an early equivalent to toilet paperThese are the ancient Roman  artefacts thought to be gaming chips that experts now believe were an  early  equivalent to toilet paper

It is well publicized that Romans used sponges mounted on sticks and dipped in vinegar as an alternative to toilet paper.

Yet the idea these ceramic discs might also  have been used for such personal hygiene is a revelation.

The broken pieces – known as ‘pessoi’, meaning pebbles – range in size from 1in to 4in in diameter and were  excavated  near to the museum in 1960.

It had been thought that they were  chips  used to play an ancient game, also known as ‘pessoi’,  but  research  published last month in the BMJ drew from classical sources to  present evidence  that they were also used to clean up after going to the toilet.

Noting the ancient Greek proverb  ‘three  stones are enough to wipe one’s a***’, Philippe Charlier,  assistant professor  in forensic medicine at the Raymond Poincaré  University Hospital in Paris,  points to archaeological excavations which have uncovered pessoi inside the pits of Greek and Roman latrines  across the Mediterranean.

In one such dig in Athens, American  archaeologists found a range of such pessoi 1.2-4in in diameter and  0.2-0.8in  thick which, Professor Charlier wrote, were ‘re-cut from old  broken ceramics to give smooth angles that would minimize anal trauma’.

THE FIRST FACEBOOK WALL?

Ancient Roman householders revelled in having graffiti on their walls, especially if an election was coming up, researchers  believe.

Hundreds of political slogans have been found in Pompeii and the walls of the wealthiest voters offered prime advertising space for candidates.

It would have been the Roman equivalent of  posting a Facebook message, hiring an advertising hoarding or sticking a campaign poster in a front window.

Graffiti was commonplace in Pompeii and thousands of messages have been preserved.The discovery of slogans on the walls of the  homes of Pompeii’s riches inhabitants would have meant that homeowners gave  their active approval to whoever scrawled the messages, archaeologist Eeva-Maria  Viitanen said.

‘The facades of the private houses and even  the streetwalks in front of them were controlled and maintained by the owner of  the house, and in that respect, the idea that the wall space could be  appropriated by anyone who wanted to do it seems unlikely,’ she told  LiveScience.

Other evidence from the classical world has  been passed down to us in the form of ceramics painted with representations of  figures using pessoi to clean their buttocks.

According to Professor Charlier’s article,  the Greeks and Romans even inscribed some of their pessoi with the names of  their enemies or others they didn’t like.

Thus everytime they went to the toilet they would literally be wiping their faecal matter on the names of hated individuals.

Examples of such stones have been found by archaeologists bearing the names of such noted historical figures as Socrates, Themisthocles and Pericles, Professor Charlier reported.

Museum curator Dr Rob Symmons said: ‘When pottery like this is excavated it is someone’s job to wash it clean.’

‘So, some poor and unsuspecting archaeologist has probably had the delight of scrubbing some Roman waste off of these pieces.’

‘It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we could still find some further signs of waste or residue.

‘However, these pottery pieces have no  monetary value because we are essentially talking about items once used as  toilet roll.’

‘The pieces had always been catalogued as as  broken gaming pieces but I was never particularly happy with that explanation.’

‘But when the article produced the theory  they were used to wipe people’s bums I thought it was hilarious and it just appealed to me.’

‘I love the idea we’ve had these in the museum for 50 years being largely ignored and now they are suddenly engaging  items you can relate to.’

Ancient: An article in the British Medical Journal by a noted French pathologist said that examples of the stones - known as 'pessoi' - had been unearthed in excavations of latrines across the classical worldAn article in the British Medical Journal by a  noted French pathologist said that examples of the stones – known as ‘pessoi’ – had been unearthed in excavations of latrines across the classical world
Uncomfortable: Study author Philippe Charlier suggests the abrasive texture of the pessoi could have led to skin irritation, mucosal damage, or complications of external haemorrhoidsStudy author Philippe Charlier suggests the abrasive texture of the pessoi could have led to skin irritation, mucosal damage, or complications of external haemorrhoids

Dr Charlier’s research indicates that the use  of such stones would have probably been rather hard on the rear ends of the  ancients, and could have caused a variety of medical issues.

He suggests the abrasive texture of the  pessoi could have led to skin irritation, mucosal damage, or complications of  external haemorrhoids.

He wrote: ‘Maybe this crude and satiric  description by Horace in his 8th epode (1st century BC) — “an a*** at the centre  of dry and old buttocks mimicking that of a defecating cow”— refers to  complications arising from such anal irritation.’

Dr Symmons, who has been at the Fishbourne Roman Palace museum  for seven years, added: ‘We will obviously have to think about re-classifying these objects on our catalogue.

‘But we hope the pieces will make people  smile when they learn what they were used for.

‘They would have probably been quite scratchy  to use and I doubt they would be as comfortable as using toilet roll.

‘But in the Roman era it was that or very  little else.’

Attribution: Damien Gayle

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New Site


I am in the midst of tranferring my site to a new self hosted format. I am not exactly tech-savvy and am trying to do most myself. I will continue to provide as much content as I can during the transition, so forgive me if it falls off a bit. This ain’t easy for a dope like me.

I’ll keep everyone up to date of my progress any redirects of my site.

Thanks

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Forfeit Your Guns


Forfeit Your Guns Bill Introduced In House of Representatives

Representative Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) introduced HR 226 in the House of Representatives.  What does the bill  seek to do?  I looks to amend the 1986 Internal Revenue code and allow a credit  if taxpayers “surrender” their guns to the government.  The Act is said to be  cited as the “Support Assault Firearms Elimination and Reduction for our Streets  Act.”

According to the text of the bill, the allowance of the credit is:

(1) In general.–In the case of an individual who surrenders a specified  assault weapon to the United States or a State or local government (or political  subdivision thereof) as part of a Federal, State, or local public safety  program to reduce the number of privately owned weapons, on the election of the  taxpayer there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this  chapter an amount equal to $2,000.  Continue Reading

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Christie, Facing Re-election, Attacks NRA Ad


There he goes again.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday became the most prominent Republican to criticize the National Rifle Association — calling its advertisement referencing President Barack Obama’s daughters “reprehensible.”

“I think any of us who are public figures, you see that kind of ad and you cringe,” Christie said at a news conference where he introduced a task force on guns and mental health.

Christie, facing re-election this year in heavily Democratic blue state New Jersey, appears to have made beating up on fellow Republicans and their supporters a central theme
of his campaign.

The NRA’s ad called Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for not supporting armed guards at schools, even though his daughters receive armed protection at school.

Obama’s children attend the Sidwell school, an elite private academy in Washington, DC. The school has approximately a dozen armed security guards. Continue Reading

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Hole in the Wall Gang


Robbers tunneled 100 feet underground and  through three feet thick concrete walls to break into a bank’s vault,  stealing money and valuables estimated to be worth more than €10 million (£8.3  million, $13 million).

Police were left stumped when they discovered  the giant hole cut through the wall with what appeared to be four cylindrical  devices at the Volksbank in the western Steglitz district of Berlin, Germany.

It is believed the thieves began tunnelling weeks ago, starting from a nearby lock-up garage rented under a false name which  they used to gain access to the strongroom.

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Robbers tunnelled 100ft from a car garage into a bank in Berlin to steal money and valuables worth more than 10 million EurosRobbers tunnelled 100ft from a car garage  into a bank in Berlin to steal money and valuables

The ‘professionally dug’ tunnel was only discovered after the gang set the tunnel alight, destroying DNA  evidence and  fingerprints on wood and tools they used to break in.

The tunnel was nearly 4.5 feet high and 3  feet wide and was supported with wooden shoring to prevent it collapsing.

Around 100 safety deposit boxes were raided  in the vaults and local media reported that panicked customers  besieged the Volksbank’s main switchboard to try to learn the fate of  their cash, gems and  other treasures they assumed were safe in lockers  protected by three feet of  concrete.

Police have since released a sketch of  one of the possible culprits, among the raiders who used silenced pneumatic drills to break into the vault.

Police believe that the robbers may have spent weeks digging the tunnel after renting the garage under a false name and removing rubble and their spoils under the cover of darkness.

Police believe that the robbers may have taken weeks and began in a nearby lock-up garage, rented under a false name Police believe that the robbers may  have taken weeks to create the tunnel and that it began in a nearby lock-up  garage, rented under a false name
The tunnel, nearly 4.5ft high and 3ft wide, was supported by wooden shoring to prevent it collapsing. Police believe the perpetrators removed rubble and their spoils at nightThe tunnel, nearly 4.5ft  high and 3ft wide, was supported by wooden shoring to prevent it collapsing.  Police believe the perpetrators removed rubble and their spoils at night

It is believed that the robbers made their heist after close of business last Friday afternoon. The tunnel was not discovered until 6am on Monday morning when the robbers set fire to the  impressive tunnel which breached one of the bank’s walls. The robbers then  simply used crowbars to smash open the safety deposit boxes.

The garage had been rented since February 2012, it was reported in German newspaper Die Welt.

Police remain unsure how many people  were  involved in the heist but are investigating the possibility that  the organizers  hired professionals to cut through the walls.

The tunnel was only discovered after the robbers set the tunnel on fire, destroying DNA evidence and fingerprints on wood and tools The tunnel was only discovered after the robbers  set the tunnel on fire, destroying DNA evidence and fingerprints on wood and  tools
It is thought the robbers used silenced pneumatic drills to break into the vault after tunnelling through a bank wallIt is thought the robbers used  silenced pneumatic drills to break into the vault after tunnelling through a  bank wall, gaining access to safety deposit boxes

Police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said: ‘It was professionally dug. It must have taken some while to complete  it.’

Witnesses reported seeing construction  workers near the garage and it is thought the robbers may have disguised  themselves this way.

The parking space was room enough for three cars allowing enough room to store earth dug during the tunnel building process.  The space was also separated from the rest of the garage in the multi-storey  carpark with a roller door.

Attribution: Allan Hall and Alex Ward

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A Funny


A Funny

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Young Americans to Buy Guns


60 percent of young Americans plan to purchase firearms, study reveals

Sixty percent of high school and college students say they plan on owning guns at a later stage in life, an academic study from American University revealed on Monday.

According to a brand new study, sixty percent of young Americans plan on purchasing firearms in the future.

According to the study, about 40 percent of the American students surveyed said they definitely planned to own firearms once they had established their own households. Another 20 percent said they were “contemplating” owning guns.

Those findings were part of a broader study conducted by American University professor Jennifer L. Lawless and Loyola Marymount professor Richard L. Fox which focused on the political opinions of young Americans. The study was conducted prior the recent Newtown massacre, but after the Aurora theatre shooting.  Continue Reading

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