• Meeting the ancestors!


    One memory that always makes me smile is an occasion in the Borthwick Institute for Archives – the specialist archive service of the University of York and one of the biggest archive repositories outside London. I was there carrying out some research into the family tree of my late mother. I was not alone. There was another person in the reading room doing the same thing. We struck up a conversation and this very “county” lady who spoke with a marked SSR accent (think dowager Lady Grantham played by Maggie Smith, dear reader) who grandly advised me to search for wills. “You will find so much detailed family information in wills. So much.”
    I smiled and could not resist the riposte, “I’m sure. But one needs ancestors who had property and money to leave.”
    To which the grand lady gave a wan smile and replied, “Of course.”

    Researching family history is of course one of the popular occupations of the retired middle classes. They have the time and the money (in terms of travelling around the country) to do this. When they do they discover a curious regressive social distinction. The more aristocratic and high status you and your ancestors are the cheaper and easier it is to do family research. For these people the issue is moot as they already know it and it is easily accessible. The most glaringly obvious example of this is with the Royal Family and the aristocracy in general. All these people have to do is to go to a couple of websites!
    GOTO: http://www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk/
    GOTO: https://www.angelfire.com/realm/gotha/gotha.htm

    For those of us with less “high falutin’” lineages, the task is harder and much more expensive! For the poor whose ancestors were poor the task is very hard, very expensive for anything before 1837. For research back to 1837 there are the public records.

    There is however a point of equality. This is where the highest among us, HM Queen Elizabeth and the lowest among us have an equality of absence. Absence that is of information about our ancestors. It is of course a FACT that all of us had ancestors lining on Planet Earth 100,000 years ago. It is also a FACT that there are no records – other than the DNA each of us carry.

    For those of us who fit the currently “in vogue” description of ethnicity, “white European”, we all to a lesser or lesser still extent DNA from ancestors of the human species, Neanderthal.

    Now there has long been a debate amongst scientists as to how intelligent (or not) the Neanderthals were. The consensus how appears to be “not quite” – in comparison with the competitor humans the “Cro Mangons”. What is NOT in debate is the FACT that those of our country’s population who not only are described as “black British” but wholly so having no other lineage apart from African have NO Neanderthal DNA.

    Of course, we have to be very careful how we write about issues of ethnicity as the subject has become hyper-sensitive with accusations of racism made at the drop of a hat by the VEOs (Very Easily Offended).

    If the VEO’s want an example of real and not imagined racism, herewith a couple of links below.

    One of the most chilling English language films was Conspiracy (2001) which was a dramatisation of the Wannsee Conference – a meeting of senior government officials of Nazi Germany and Schutzstaffel (SS) leaders, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20th January 1942. Herewith a 4 minute 35 second YouTube video clip featuring Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh. It is perhaps one of the most chilling and stark portrayals of what real and not imagined racism is: https://youtu.be/WKwvA8ns9wo
    For those with stomach enough to watch the 1 hour 27 minute of “Die Wannseekonferenz”, a 1984 German language film of the same event. There is an English language commentary and English sub-tiles for those of us who do not speak German: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URSNN5mnI2g
    When I look at these portrayals of these dreadful events, I can’t help thinking that it was Hitler’s so called Übermensch that had/have the highest (on average) levels of Neanderthal DNA in them whilst those who hail from West Africa have precisely zero! This of course is not surprising since the Neandertal (sometimes called “the Neander Valley” in English) is a small valley of the river Düssel in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, located about 12 km (7.5 mi) east of Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia.

    So, where am I going with all this:

    Well straight to the pen of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, CBE, FRAS in fact. Sir Arthur is one of my favourite “Sci-Fi” authors as his works contain are more fiction and less fantasy than other authors of the genre.

    Sir Arthur formulated three adages that are known as Clarke’s three laws, of which the third law is the best known and most widely cited. They are part of his ideas in his extensive writings about the future. These so-called laws are:

    When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
    The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    Suffice it to say, if one was able to borrow Doctor Who’s TARDIS and travel back 50,000 years to meat the gentleman in the image at the top of this blog-post and show him something like a smart phone, he would be terrified!

    It is FROM THIS POINT this blog-post moves from the realm of political commentary into speculative ramblings esoteric only to lunatics and the certifiably insane!

    This blog-post has referenced two chilling films relating to a dreadful set of events. There are of course many films about many dark events. Some fact, some fiction and many complete fantasies with little or no basis in reality. Of course, apart from those state/tax payer funded productions, the producers when making these films have a constant eye on the bottom line. The idea after all is to make a profit! And that means “bums on seats”.

    What I am however going to speculate upon is the Universe and how we (at present) understand it to be.

    What we do know is that the Universe is a very big place and that IF intelligent civilised ET life exists then it is a very long way away!

    We do not know much more than this.

    We can however make some sensible guesses.

    Just suppose there was an advanced ET civilisation with technology sufficiently advanced to traverse the vast distance of inter stellar space in a sensible time frame from their planet to ours………………..

    Just suppose this advanced ET civilisation had a malign or malevolent purpose………………..

    Let us further suppose that such an ETC had already made contact with humanity………………..

    Now at this point one must refer to a US writer who described the difficulty of attempting to keep such a momentous event secret would be like “……trying to hide a brontosaurus in Central Park!”

    However, in my opinion this underestimates the capacity and capability of our leaders (both democratic and totalitarian) to keep things they don’t want their publics to know from knowing about them!

    Of course, Holywood’s movie makers have always been fond of imagining a direct military style invasion from outer space eventually being defeated with the ETs sent packing by a square jawed all American hero who saves not only the USA but the entire world whilst at it – with the rest of the world barely getting a mention – although London, “England” sometimes gets an honourable mention!

    That such scenarios are childishly ridiculous is obvious – but we must again refer to the movie makers principal objective and that is to make a profit and that means “bums on seats”. The principal audience (market) for this sort of tripe are heterosexual American teenage boys around the age of 14. For these boys they want to put themselves in the place of the craggy handsome square jawed All American hero who saves the world and gets the girl! This last point ladies is very important. The girl has to be beautiful – and of course becomes in a state of some undress during the film. She can sometimes be English. But English or American she will always swoon and flutter her long eyelashes in the direction of our hero.

    OK then, let us speculate (wildly) on what could happen were a malign and malevolent ETC to set their eyes or antennas on Planet Earth.

    Of course, we tend to end up back in the ball park of our less imaginative US friends. We’ve nothing to go on but how we humans approach such a task. The establishment of Great Britain’s Raj in India is instructive here. It was done (relatively) peacefully and it was done via trade through the East India Company. Britain ruled India largely through India’s indigenous rulers, the so called “Indian Princes”. They weren’t princes but Kings but this did not suit the British government or British monarch.

    An intelligent ETC (and any ETC capable of developing technology to travel many light years of space in a sensible time frame is by definition intelligent) would seek to achieve it’s aims and objectives by dealing with the existing human authorities.

    Absolute secrecy would be essential as any public announcement of the arrival of an ETC would cause the relatively rapid collapse of existing industrialised societies. I know many people would disagree and dispute this but I’m not going to make this long blog-post any longer than necessary by citing evidence.

    Let us suppose for whatever reason the ETC desired to introduce changes and this included technology to human society. Human societies have gone through epochs and these have been described as the “stone age” the “bronze age” and the “iron age”. I suppose you could continue this with the “coal age” and the “oil age” and sub divide the latter into the “pre-nuclear” and “nuclear age”.

    Of course at the moment “fossil fuels” have grasped the attention of the public. There is a belief amongst a great number of people that the use of “fossil fuels” and the resulting CO2 emissions is causing “climate change” and this is going to cause great environmental damage that will lead to very dire situations for humanity.

    Now of course readers of this blog will know that the blog takes a different viewpoint! That CO2 is a trace element in Earth’s atmosphere and if there has to be any concern at all about the level of atmospheric CO2 it should be concern about the lack of the gas and not a excess of the stuff!
    GOTO: http://www.british-gazette.co.uk/climate-change-the-truth/
    The FACT of the matter is this: If CO2 levels start moving from the present low (c. 420 ppm) levels downwards then that really is potentially dangerous!

    A possible way of introducing ETC tech would be by replacing “fossil fuels”. The most efficient PV panels are around 20-22% efficient. Which is good. Suppose ETC tech could double, triple or even quadruple this? Suppose large scale battery storage became practical? In any event, if the politicians are determined to replace all petrol and diesel vehicles – including HGVs – with battery powered vehicles. Therefore the generating capacity of the country is going to have to increase – very substantially!

    That brings us to “Why would they?”

    Well consider what the “Greens” are also urging on us: a reduction of the population. This is based on the erroneous belief that more humans means more CO2 and more methane and thus a great threat to the environment. Reducing human numbers (they argue) reduces the threat to the planet – which some insist of calling Gaia.
    NB: Exodus 20:3-5 (https://www.biblegateway.com)
    I’m not going to speculate further, but will conclude today’s ravings by stating that speculation is not assertion and that apart from the scriptural text above, this speculation is more than likely complete baloney and utter cods-wallop!

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