Daily Archives: September 27, 2022

Is Big Oil Trying to Make Americans Hate Democrats?

Sep 27, 2022

Gas prices are rising and it could be a trick by Big Oil to make profit while throwing the upcoming election to the Republicans they have in their pocket.

Pakistan floods: Time running out for families in Sindh – BBC News

Sep 2, 2022

People in southern Pakistan face yet more devastation after record floods, blamed on climate change, submerged a third of the country, killing more than 1,100 people.

A surge of water is now flowing down the Indus river, threatening communities in southern Sindh province.

Local officials say 1.2 million people have been displaced in Dadu district in Sindh, where hundreds of villages are submerged, with mudslides and flood waters travelling down from the mountains towards villages in the area.

Warm waters turbocharge Hurricane Ian

Sep 27,

(27 Sep 2022) SHOT LIST: RESTRICTION SUMMARY: PART MUST CREDIT NASA ASSOCIATED PRESS West Bay Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – 26 September 2022 1. Various Heavy rains on residential neighborhood ASSOCIATED PRESS Highlands Ranch, Colorado – 27 September 2022 2. SOUNDBITE (English) Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University hurricane researcher: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++ “We have seen with Hurricane Ian rapid intensification, which is a storm that intensifies by at least 35 miles per hour in a 24-hour period.” ASSOCIATED PRESS West Bay Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – 26 September 2022 3. Heavy rains on residential neighborhood ASSOCIATED PRESS Troy, New York – 27 September 2022 4. SOUNDBITE (English) Kristen Corbosiero, University of Albany hurricane scientist: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++ “In the Atlantic Basin, yes, we are definitely seeing an increase in rapid intensification.” ASSOCIATED PRESS Troy, New York – 27 September 2022 6. SOUNDBITE (English) Kristen Corbosiero, University of Albany hurricane scientist: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++ “The warmer sea surface temperatures are probably the number one reason. With a warming atmosphere, it can hold more water vapor. If the atmosphere is more moist, that is good for the thunderstorms that make up the tropical storm.” ASSOCIATED PRESS Havana – 27 September 2022 7. Empty road with rain, wind ANNOTATION: While climate change doesn’t create hurricanes, scientists say that a warming world means an increase in rapidly intensifying storms. NASA – MUST CREDIT NASA International Space Station – 26 September 2022 8. Various of Hurricane Ian during space station flyover ++MUTE++ ANNOTATION: Sea level rise, increased moisture, and possibly a slower pace are other ways climate change is affecting storms. ASSOCIATED PRESS Troy, New York – 27 September 2022 9. SOUNDBITE (English) Kristen Corbosiero, University of Albany hurricane scientist: ++PARTIALLY COVERED++ “It’s fantastic that the governor and state officials have been trying to get people to evacuate because Tampa has not seen a major storm in a very long time. And there’s been a tremendous amount of growth in residents and buildings along the coast.” ASSOCIATED PRESS Tampa, Florida – 27 September 2022 10. Various of people boarding up home ANNOTATION: It’s been more than a century since a major storm like Hurricane Ian has struck the Tampa Bay area. STORYLINE: Hurricane Ian is quickly gaining monstrous strength as it moves over oceans partly heated up by climate change. As the world warms, this turbocharging of storms is likely to become even more frequent, scientists say. After getting 67% stronger in less than 22 hours from Monday to Tuesday, Ian is bearing down on Florida as a likely Category 4 hurricane that threatens to deliver a nightmare storm-surge to Tampa Bay. Ian’s so-called rapid intensification occurred after it traveled over Caribbean waters that are about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than normal, largely because of climate change. Although numerous factors contribute to the speed at which a storm intensifies, “the warmer sea surface temperatures are probably the number one reason,” said Kristen Corbosiero, hurricane scientist at the University of Albany. Sea level rise, increased moisture, and possibly a slower pace are other ways climate change is affecting storms. The National Hurricane Center defines rapidly intensifying storms as those that gain at least 35 mph in wind speed in less than 24 hours. It’s been more than a century since a major storm like Hurricane Ian has struck the Tampa Bay area.

Maps, Myths, and Men: The Story of the Vinland Map: Kirsten A. Seaver

The “Vínland Map” first surfaced on the antiquarian market in 1957 and the map’s authenticity has been hotly debated ever since―in controversies ranging from the anomalous composition of the ink and the map’s lack of provenance to a plethora of historical and cartographical riddles. Maps, Myths, and Men is the first work to address the full range of this debate. Focusing closely on what the map in fact shows, the book contains a critique of the 1965 work The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation; scrutinizes the marketing strategies used in 1957; and covers many aspects of the map that demonstrate it is a modern fake, such as literary evidence and several scientific ink analyses performed between 1967 and 2002. The author explains a number of the riddles and provides evidence for both the identity of the mapmaker and the source of the parchment used, and she applies current knowledge of medieval Norse culture and exploration to counter widespread misinformation about Norse voyages to North America and about the Norse world picture.


“Seaver has created the definitive portrait of the Vinland Map controversy and has shown us a route home.” — Science Magazine

“It is an enjoyable book to read, and the author writes in such an enthusiastic way that the book reads almost like a detective story.” — Canadian Journal of History

“In Maps, Myths, and Men, Kirsten A. Seaver provides a supremely well-researched and documented account of the map’s nearly forty-years of public controversy….As well as providing the most detailed account and analysis of the map available, Seaver has also provided a book which allows historians and scholars to reflect more widely on the ways in which personal lives and situations interfere with and inform objective scholarship.” — Itinerario

“…a fascinating and very readable investigation…” — Viking Heritage Magazine

“…the sustained and comprehensive argument presented here is a masterly synthesis that should represent the last word on one of the most contentious debates in modern medieval scholarship.” — Speculum

“In a superlative piece of cross-disciplinary detective work, Norwegian independent scholar Seaver deconstructs the machinations, manipulations, and odd strokes of genius that have played into the story of the Vinland map.” — Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Kirsten A. Seaver is an independent historian, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London, a novelist, and a translator. She is the author of The Frozen Echo (Stanford, 1996).

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Stanford University Press; 1st edition (June 2, 2004)

  • Language‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback‏ : ‎ 480 pages
  • ISBN-10‏ : ‎ 0804749639
  • ISBN-13‏ : ‎ 978-0804749633
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.47 pounds
  • Dimensions‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches

See related:

Yale putting high-tech tests to its controversial Vinland Map | YaleNews

The Vinland Map, widely considered a modern forgery, purports to be a 15th-century world map with a pre-Columbian depiction of “Vinland,” a section of North America’s coastline southwest of Greenland. (Photo credit: Jon Atherton)

The Vinland Map, a source of curiosity and controversy since it entered the public consciousness a half-century ago, is spread out on a table at Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH) underneath a geodesic-dome cage.

An array of cameras and lamps affixed to the dome will photograph the parchment map’s surface as light projects from different angles. The digital photos will be compiled using special software, creating a dynamic image that shows the map’s surface texture from dozens of lighting angles. The images will allow people to study the topography of the map’s parchment. A miniature version of the dome will allow researchers to explore the thickness and morphology of the map’s ink lines from a computer screen.

The images could reveal information about the map, which purports to be a 15th-century world map with a pre-Columbian depiction of “Vinland,” a section of North America’s coastline southwest of Greenland. Reflectance transformation imaging, or RTI, is part of a new scientific analysis of the map under way at IPCH’s laboratories at Yale’s West Campus to better understand its material composition and the relation of these materials to two medieval volumes with which the map was bound: part of Vincent de Beauvais’s encyclopedia, “Speculum historiale,” and the “Tartar Relation,” a history of the Turks, Mongols, and Tartars.

The results of the analysis, which includes a battery of non-destructive testing, will be published in a book about the map being edited and compiled by Raymond Clemens, curator of early books and manuscripts at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, where the map resides. In May, the map will go on exhibit for the first time in more than 50 years as part of an exhibition on Vikings at the Mystic Seaport titled, “Science, Myth, and Mystery: The Vinland Map Saga.” The IPCH analysis will help inform the exhibit.

A scientific analysis of the map under way at IPCH’s laboratories at Yale’s West Campus seeks to better understand the map’s material composition through a series of non-destructive tests. (Photo credit: Jon Atherton)

Yale sparked a sensation in 1965 when it announced the Vinland Map’s existence and published a scholarly book about it by Yale librarians and curators at the British Museum. The map, if genuine, would have shown that Norsemen were the first Europeans to reach the New World, landing in North America centuries before Christopher Columbus.

The university held the map’s unveiling on the day before Columbus Day. The revelation triggered outrage among New Haven’s Italian-American community, which celebrated Columbus as an emblem of Italian culture and a hero of the European Age of Discovery. (Archeological discoveries at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland confirm that the Vikings had settlements in the Americas long before Columbus set sail.)

Scholars immediately questioned the map’s authenticity, and an overwhelming consensus emerged over the years that the map is a 20th-century forgery. The current analysis is not intended to prove or disprove whether the map is genuine or refute past analyzes of it, but aims to expand scholarly understanding of the object.

“We’re trying to push the research on the map a little further,” said Anikó Bezur, the Wallace S. Wilson Director of Scientific Research at IPCH, who is directing the analysis. “We’re trying to better understand its materials — the chemical composition of inks and the origins of the parchment.”

Mapping the map

The full map was last examined in 2004 by scientists from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Conservation, and the Royal Library in Denmark, who measuring its color, thickness, flexibility, and transparency while assessing damage to its parchment.

The current analysis includes several techniques, such as RTI, never before applied to the map. Multi-spectral imaging with ultra-violet and infrared light will provide information concerning the optical properties and chemical composition of the inks.

While previous testing examined individual points on the map, technology available at IPCH will enable the analysis of whole swaths of it, Bezur said.

For example, elemental mapping with x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) will show the spatial distribution of elements along the map’s two-dimensional surface — both for the entire map as well as specific areas of interest.

Reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) creates a dynamic image that shows the map’s surface texture from dozens of lighting angles. (Photo credit: Jon Atherton)

Researchers will mine the data produced by XRF mapping and multispectral imaging for patterns and then try to determine how those patterns relate to the appearance of the map’s features, Bezur said.

“We can see how different elements are associated with different features: which elements are present in the parchment; which elements are associated with its yellowish ink lines; and which ones are correlated with the black ink that is flaking,” she said.

The analysis includes repeating and refining tests using Raman spectroscopy, a technique that reveals details about the map’s molecular structure.

“Raman spectroscopy has been used on the map, but we have a system with smaller spot size, more accurate positioning, and the capability to capture molecular maps of regions of the map rather than just performing spot measurements,” Bezur said.

She called the mapping with XRF and Raman spectroscopy the most exciting and potentially productive aspect of the new analysis, as it will show if the map’s chemical composition is relevant to explaining its visible features.

“It is easy to doubt the relevance of a single spot measurement, but much harder to argue with a non-random pattern in the map’s chemical composition,” she said. “If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then this chemical mapping is worth at least 30 times more than that.”

Inks, parchment, and wormholes

Clemens, an expert on early maps, is interested in the analysis of the inks used in the map’s text as opposed to its geographical depictions.

“There is text on the back of the map that comes from the medieval book that its parchment was taken from,” he said. “I’m curious to see how the ink in that text compares to the ink used on the map’s text. Are they two different inks that were made to look the same?”

A 1973 analysis of the map by the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago, which also has analyzed the Shroud of Turin, detected the presence of anatase, a form of titanium dioxide first available in pure form in the late 1920s, indicating the map was a modern invention, though some experts contest the accuracy of that analysis. The latest round of Raman spectroscopy testing should produce higher-quality data based on an entire letter or line segment, instead of a single point, Bezur said.

The portion of Vinland Map depicting Greenland, on the right, and the eponymous “Vinland” on the left.

Skeptics of the map’s legitimacy note that the map’s depiction of Greenland as an island — a fact that was not known in the 15th century— as evidence of forgery. They assert that various anachronisms in the map’s text, such as a Latin spelling of Leif Ericson’s name more consistent with 17th-century norms than medieval spellings, cast doubt on the map’s authenticity.

Radio carbon dating placed the origin of the map’s parchment between 1423 and 1445, according to a 2002 study. Wormholes in the parchment align with wormholes in the companion volumes. A test at IPCH using Mylar tracing paper confirmed the wormholes’ alignment, which shows that the map’s parchment and two books were once bound together but does not demonstrate anything about when the map was drawn, Clemens noted.

Small samples of the map and the two manuscripts will be sent to the University of York in England for DNA analysis to possibly determine the geographical origin of the animals used to make the parchment. Peptide mass fingerprinting will be conducted on the manuscript samples to determine the type of animal used to create the parchment. Earlier testing on the map determined its parchment was made from a cow.

“Do the animals used for the parchment of these three documents come from the same region in Europe?” Bezur said. “What else can we learn about them?”

A continuing conversation

Clemens believes the map is a modern forgery and his reasoning is simple: Medieval people did not tend to view the world pictorially.

“There really aren’t medieval maps in the way that we have maps today,” he said. “They didn’t think of travel using graphic maps. Travel was literary. You were 12 miles from this town, which was 12 miles from this town, which was 10 miles from a port. Travel documents were generally written.”

Why were people taken in by it? Why was the reaction to it so strong?

Raymond Clemens

Nordic sagas describe voyages to North America, but it is unlikely anyone would have documented those travels on a map, he said, adding that Columbus relied on ancient Ptolemaic maps.

Clemens noted two additional reasons he believes the Vinland Map is a fake: First, the map’s creator did not account for the fact that the map would be bound and information on it would be buried in the book’s gutter — the inner margin separating the pages.

“Maps bound into books would be overdrawn to account for the space lost in the gutter,” he said. “The rest comes together and looks nice. Other than the Vinland Map, I’ve never seen a map drawn on a single piece of parchment that was simply stuck into a book. That doesn’t make any sense because a lot of information would be trapped in the gutter and nobody would see it.”

Second, the map, which is based on a world map by 15th-century

Italian cartographer Andrea Bianco, is off-center. Vinland, Greenland, and Iceland are added to it, but no effort was made to create a centered and proper map of the world, he said.

“Almost certainly the mapmaker would have included those land masses as part of the world, not something tacked on outside of it,” he said.

Whether or not it is genuine, the map is a fascinating object that ought to be studied and shared with the public, not hidden away, Clemens said.

“I’m very interested in why it became such an important object,” he said. “Even as a fake, it has shown up in almost every historical atlas. They’ll say that it is assumed to be a fake, but it’s still there. It’s got a cultural purchase in some respects. Why were people taken in by it? Why was the reaction to it so strong?”

Good scholarship requires being open to all possibilities surrounding an object like the map, he said.

“We rightly ought to be skeptical of it,” he said. “Scholarship at its best allows us to have a continuing conversation as knowledge expands. We shouldn’t be afraid that the conversation undoes something, or makes us look stupid, or anything else. It’s a continuing process.”

By acquiring and publishing the map, Yale ignited a valuable debate that has broadened people’s understanding of the medieval world, Clemens said.

“In that process, we’ve learn a tremendous amount about mapmaking in the 15th century,” he said. “That was part of the problem: Most medievalists in the early 1960s didn’t know what a medieval map looked like. If you don’t have a concept of medieval mapping then an object like the Vinland Map could be very convincing. Fields grow and we learn.”

The team conducting the map analysis is composed of Bezur and her IPCH colleagues Richard Hark, a visiting professor from Juniata College, and Pablo Londero, a conservation scientist; and Marie-France Lemay, paper conservator; Karen Jutzi, conservation assistant; and Paula Zyats, assistant chief conservator, from the Yale University Library’s Preservation Department.

The Vinland Map will be on view at the Mystic Seaport from May 19 through Sept. 30. A companion exhibition, “The Vikings Begin,” opens the same day.

See related:

The Vinland Map Saga: An Interview with Author John Paul Floyd

Much like the Voynich Manuscript, the purportedly fifteenth-century Vinland Map continues to be a subject of study and debate in the rare book world. Earlier this year, the map underwent multispectral imaging at Yale University (its owner) and was the focus of an exhibition called Science, Myth, and Mystery: The Vinland Map Saga at the Mystic Seaport Museum. Now, Scottish researcher John Paul Floyd has published a book, A Sorry Saga, that offers tantalizing new details about the role theft and forgery played in the map’s history. We asked him about it.

Briefly describe the Vinland Map for our readers.

It’s a medieval-style map of the world, which depicts North America as an island named Vinland. When Yale University announced the map’s existence in a 1965 book, it created a sensation. Experts claimed that the map had been drawn around 1440: over fifty years before Columbus set sail. Latin inscriptions on the parchment linked the map to Norse explorations made around the year 1000 (voyages already known to scholars from ancient Icelandic records). The Yale book sparked a heated debate over who deserved the credit for “discovering” America, and the map’s authenticity was challenged. The verdict of scientific tests of the ink in 1974 seemed damning: Yale had to concede that the map might be a forgery. But in the 1980s other scientists, using different techniques, called the earlier results into question, and in 1996 a second edition of the Yale book hit the press. Other studies followed, reaffirming forgery, and the debate grew very confused.

Why did you find its story so appealing? And how long have you been researching it?

Back in 2011 I came across a 1971 book of conference proceedings which caught my attention and led me to investigate further. I read about how the map had emerged onto the antiquarian bookselling scene in 1957, in association with two genuine medieval manuscripts: the “Tartar Relation” of C. de Bridia (an unknown friar), and a fragment of the Speculum historiale of Vincent of Beauvais. Clearly these two manuscripts must have had some prior history, whether the Vinland Map was authentic or not: yet in 2011 their pre-1957 provenance was as much shrouded in mystery as the map itself. So I began a casual search for “C. de Bridia” online. Within a few hours I came across a Spanish exhibition catalogue from 1893, proving that both documents had formerly belonged to Zaragoza Cathedral Library (significantly, the catalogue description makes no mention of a map). That evening, so far as I could tell, I was the only person in the world who knew about this connection. It was an exciting moment!

Book and manuscript theft, particularly from the Zaragoza Cathedral Library in the 1950s, plays a larger role in all this than previously thought. Can you tell us a bit about that?

The reason the Zaragoza connection is so important is that the man who “found” the Vinland Map — an Italian book dealer by the name of Enzo Ferrajoli — was convicted of stealing books and manuscripts from Zaragoza Cathedral Library. The Vinland Map can’t be traced beyond Ferrajoli’s ownership (perhaps for good reason), but the manuscripts associated with the map came from that library. The Zaragoza affair is one of the great forgotten scandals of twentieth-century bookselling; hundreds of valuable stolen items were smuggled from Spain and found their way into institutional collections (not all of which, sad to say, acted with propriety at the time). The Vinland Map story cannot be properly understood without a proper understanding of this context.

Was untangling that part of the story the impetus for your book?

Yes, in part. There is no detailed narrative in English of the Zaragoza affair, so I’ve done my best to remedy the situation using archival documentation as well as published sources. I’m not in any sense a manuscript scholar, but I have been able to identify for the first time the Zaragozan provenance of a number of items in present-day collections. However, my main aim in writing was to vindicate one of the main persons suspected of forging the map (the cartographer Father Josef Fischer), and to present a new, compelling argument against its authenticity. I believe the creator of the Vinland Map made a fatal blunder, in copying details from an eighteenth-century engraving by Vincenzio Formaleoni (1752-1797). The mapmaker’s dependence upon Formaleoni is, to my mind, very obvious; interested readers can look at the images in my book, and decide for themselves. It is a simple, basic discovery; one which decisively settles the forgery issue without the need for scientific analysis — yet it somehow escaped the experts for half a century!

Regarding the multispectral imaging and analysis by Yale earlier this year: what did that contribute to the saga of the Vinland Map?

I’m impressed by the thoroughness of the Yale scientific team’s investigation, and look forward to the final publication of their research. There was an interesting preliminary presentation at a recent symposium on the map, which can be found on YouTube. I shall have to revise the scientific chapter of my book to take account of the new studies, but there’s one finding in particular that I am very pleased about. In my book, I discussed a puzzling inscription on the back of the map at some length, and concluded that it was half-fake and half-genuine. When a slide appeared on the screen at the symposium substantiating my prediction, I pretty much leapt in the air.

Tell us about yourself: an independent historian? collector?

I am 49, from Glasgow, Scotland. I have a science degree (metallurgy), although I’ve never really used it. I’ve been known to buy and sell the occasional rare book, and I enjoy investigating historical mysteries, but I am a total amateur in the fields of cartography and manuscript studies. To steal the title of Betty MacDonald’s comic memoir, I like to think of my first book as evidence that “Anybody can do Anything.”

Image courtesy of John Paul Floyd

…(read more).

Kirsten Seaver on Father Josef Fischer (1858 – 1944) and the forgery of the Vinland Map

Listen also to the subsequent clarifying question put to Dr. Seaver about the context of Father Fischer’s forgery of the Vinland Map.

Dr. Seaver’s presentation and answer given here is part of a full session at the Library of Congress on: “Facts or Fictions: The Mysteries of Renaissance Cartography,” chaired by Dr. John Hessler. who introduced the entire session with a tribute to the life and career of Ralph Ehrenberg, the retiring “Chief of the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.”

Full session:

Maddow: Endgame Of GOP Undermining Elections Is To Evade Accountability To Voters

MSNBC – Sep 27, 2022

Rachel Maddow looks at the strides authoritarianism is making against democracy around the world and emphasizes that Republicans in the United States attacking elections infrastructure are trying to do more than mess with elections, they’re trying to bring about a system of government that does not need to appeal to voters in order to wield power.

Jan. 6 Committee Member Slams GOP For Conspiracy Theories

MSNBC – Sep 27, 2022

House January 6 Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin last week rebuked Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., after Massie floated a conspiracy theory related to January 6. The Morning Joe panel discusses how the GOP moves from one conspiracy to the next.

‘Let’s Get Right To The Violence’: Roger Stone In New Documentary Footage

MSNBC – Sep 27, 2022

The House Jan. 6 Committee this week will show footage of Roger Stone recorded by Danish filmmakers in the documentary ‘A Storm Foretold’. The film’s directors Christoffer Guldbrandsen and Frederik Marbell join Morning Joe to discuss.