The masks are more than 3,000 years old, made from a mysterious metal, found in an exotic underground ‘temple’ that was sacred to a forgotten culture.

About ten years ago a collector of ancient Indonesian art contacted my husband and me to ask our opinion on a group of masks cast in an odd green metal in his possession. Some of these masks, he said, had been recovered from an underground temple in a remote site called Gua Made, north of the Brantas River in East Java.
I was immediately sceptical, and became steadily more so when the collector announced that ‘the masks are more than 3,000 years old’.

This date was based on thermoluminescence (TL) analysis of a terracotta brick from the ‘underground temple’. Assuming a temporal association between the masks and temple, the collector went on to propose that both could be the product of a lost civilization. Sounding like the plot of a pulp archaeological thriller, it contained the ingredients of a classic mystery: amazing ancient masks made from a mysterious metal, found in an exotic underground ‘temple’ that was sacred to a forgotten culture. All that was missing was publicity.

Not anymore. A recent article by A M Steiner and M Vidale in the pages of the renowned Italian magazine ARCHEO, supports dating the green masks to the early 1st millennium BC. They subscribe to the notion of a lost civilization, observing that the discovery of the masks and their date rewrites the archaeology of Island Southeast Asia, ‘opening a new, unexpected page of the fascinating book of the Eurasian lost past’.

To many authorities on the archaeology of Southeast Asia, this date seems far too early. It was a thousand years later that a great ‘classical’ civilization arose, based on Buddhist ideals. Could these new discoveries really antedate this civilization? Or was there another explanation? These questions came to concern me personally when Italian diplomatic authorities in Indonesia took an interest in the Gua Made masks. This led to the Italian Institute for Africa and the Orient (IsIAO) appointing me to direct an excavation campaign at the site. In July 2007, therefore, in full agreement with all the relevant Indonesian authorities, I began my first field season at Gua Made. (repost from http://www.world-archaeology.com)



The world in 2030 will be divided into three areas:

1-A Globalizing area (51.5 % of the population, 74.5% of the world GNI) with a growing middle class.

2-A backward area dominated by Islamism ( 34.5% of world population and only 3.5% of world GNI) with low incomes, economic regression and chaos

3-A declining area (European Union and South America: 14% of the world population and 22% of the world GNI).

According to our analysis, a limited globalization and a containment policy (Against Islamism) will shape the international scene in 2030. You will find here a single picture mapping these results.


LCROSS - Friday morning's excitement

Friday morning's excitement — blasting a lunar crater with twin 6,000 mile-per-hour impacts — left the LCROSS controller team dead on its feet, says NASA's Grey Hautaluoma. Meanwhile, the science team is frantically looking into observations flowing from telescopes, spacecraft and the LCROSS "shepherd" vehicle, which caught sight of its booster's 7:31 a.m. ET impact crater, before plowing into the Cabeus crater on the moon's South Pole itself, four minutes later.

NASA has selected a final destination for its Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) which will impact the crater Cabeus A on 9 October.

LCROSS will search for water ice by sending i

ts spent upper stage Centaur rocket to impact the permanently shadowed polar crater at the lunar south pole, while the satellite will fly through the plume of debris thrown up by the impact to measure its properties. After the first impa

ct, and just four minutes later, the LCROSS satellite will too meet its fate in the crater, while the Moon-orbiting Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Earth-based telescopes look on in the search for watery signatures. Shrouded in darkness for billions of years, this is the first time that such pristine material will be exposed to sunlight.

LCROSS Project Site
Visit the NASA Mission Site @ http://www.nasa.gov/lcross

Find out where and how to observe the LCROSS impacts on Oct. 9, 2009:

Mauna Kea Observatories LCROSS Impact Webcast
Look in as the greatest telescopes on Earth observe the LCROSS impact.
Friday, Oct 9 at 3:30 AM PDT to 6:45 AM PDT
WMV and Flash: http://dln.nasa.gov/dln/content/webcast/
Quicktime: rtsp://a1884.l1857041883.c18570.g.lq.akamaistream.net/D/1884/18570/v0001/reflector:41883
This webcast will also be archived for later viewing.


65 million people actively using Facebook from mobile devices

facebook announced today it has reached a milestone of 65 million people actively using Facebook from mobile devices. According to the company, that is an increase from just 20 million as recent as 8 months ago.

Facebook gets over a third of the number of unique visitors that Google does according to comScore. And it continues to grow. Compete shows the lines between Google and Facebook getting closer together:

"It seems inevitable that, given Facebook's sheer scale (180 million registered users and counting), it would at some point start referring a lot of users to some sites, but the development is surprising," says AdAge's Michael Learmonth. "Web users go to Google to figure out where to go next; they go to Facebook to, well, hang out."

"As we celebrate 65 million, we want you to be able to take Facebook with you wherever you go," says Facebook's Henri Moissinac. "That's why we are continuously making updates to our mobile products and working with some of the biggest names in mobile to make sure that Facebook is available on the latest devices and mobile operating systems."

Facebook Mobile

Moissinac outlines the various options users have for connecting with Facebook from their mobile devices:

- Mobile web sites
- Text messages
- Facebook Mobile for Devices
- Facebook Connect for Mobile Web

Facebook has two mobile web sites: m.facebook.com and x.facebook.com, the latter specifically designed for touch screen phones. Each of these sites has been translated into over 60 languages. Facebook Mobile for Devices means Facebook apps for different phones like the iPhone, and Nokia's N97 and 5800, and various apps for INQ, HTC, LG Electronics, Motorola, Palm, RIM, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, the T-Mobile Sidekick, and Windows Mobile devices. Facebook Connect is of course available from a multitude of sites, and Facebook says that starting today, you'll begin seeing Facebook Connect available on some mobile sites and applications, just like on the web.

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