Definitely thought-provoking and worth a moment to read! Such as #7 “So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish).”

Thought Catalog

Over the years I’ve learned dozens of little tricks and insights for making life more fulfilling. They’ve added up to a significant improvement in the ease and quality of my day-to-day life. But the major breakthroughs have come from a handful of insights that completely rocked my world and redefined reality forever.

The world now seems to be a completely different one than the one I lived in about ten years ago, when I started looking into the mechanics of quality of life. It wasn’t the world (and its people) that changed really, it was how I thought of it.

Maybe you’ve had some of  the same insights. Or maybe you’re about to.

1. You are not your mind.

The first time I heard somebody say that, I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter…

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A new book on a scientific analysis of the Shroud of Turin confirms what WND reported more than a year ago – the relic is not a medieval forgery. The latest tests date the shroud to between 300 BC and 400 AD. The results of the tests are documented in the book “Il Mistero della Sindone” or The Mystery of the Shroud, written by Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Italy’s Padua University, and Saverio Gaeta, a journalist.   Scientists measured radiation intensity using infra-red light and spectroscopy to analyze the shroud, which is kept in a climate-controlled case in Turin, Italy. Fanti said the imprint was caused by a blast of “exceptional radiation.” That is essentially what WND reported in Decemeber 2011, that the imprint on the shroud was likely caused by a burst of ultraviolet light that was beyond the technical capabilities of medieval forgers. Get the…

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Looks like Sharon Stone will have to give up her title of Most Frugal Oscars Dresser. (The actress famously stunned when she showed up at the 1996 Academy Awards in a Gap turtleneck.) Hunt has out-bargained Stone by wearing this midnight blue silk and satin strapless dress.”

Not even knowing the price or designer of Helen Hunt’s dress, I’d still say the style suited her and she wore it well…!

Style News - StyleWatch - People.com

Helen Hunt Oscars 2013
Jason Merritt/Getty

Never has the term high-low dressing been more applicable. Oscar nominee Helen Hunt hit the red carpet in a gown with a label we never expected to see on the Academy Awards red carpet: H&M.

But she didn’t skimp when it came time to accessorize the mall-store gown, adding a Martin Katz diamond brooch to the back of the dress, plus a necklace and bracelets from the jeweler, which Hunt noted totaled up to $700,000 worth of jewelry.

Looks like Sharon Stone will have to give up her title of Most Frugal Oscars Dresser. (The actress famously stunned when she showed up at the 1996 Academy Awards in a Gap turtleneck.) Hunt has out-bargained Stone by wearing this midnight blue silk and satin strapless dress.

Tell us: What do you think of Hunt’s H&M dress?

–Jennifer Cress

RELATED PHOTOS: Oscars Best Dressed Stars!

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melungeon family I recently came across an article posted in the British journal Mail Online, and wanted to share it’s discussion of a group of Appalachian people trying to avoid being racially tagged.

I have never heard of the Melungeons before reading this article, “Revealed: Ancient Appalachian people who boasted of Portuguese ancestry to avoid slavery were actually descended from African men and white women.”

Apparently the term refers to almost anyone of mixed-race ancestry, on the east coast from New York to Louisiana, but primarily to mixed native American or black blood, distinguished from the “mestizos” and “creoles” of Mexican or Spanish heritage further south in Texas and Louisiana. Other terms similar to Melungeon, in New York, included “Montauks”, the “Mantinecocks”, “Van Guilders”, the “Clappers”, and “Shinnecocks”. Pennsylvania had the “Pools. North Carolina the Lumbees, Waccamaws and Haliwas and South Carolina the Redbones, Buckheads, Yellowhammers, Creels and others.

As the article describes,

Some speculated they were descended from Portuguese explorers, or perhaps from Turkish slaves or Gypsies but a new DNA study attempts to separate truth from oral tradition.
Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin

However I began to disagree with the tone the article took, in their explanation as to why the group would ‘hide black ancestry with claims of being Portuguese in identity.’ In a day and age when “Southern high-bred people will never tolerate on equal terms any person who is even remotely tainted with negro blood, but they do not make the same objection to other brown or dark-skinned people, like the Spanish, the Cubans, the Italians, etc,” it was merely a matter of survival.

The study quotes from an 1874 court case in Tennessee in which a Melungeon woman’s inheritance was challenged.
In that instance, if the defendant Martha Simmerman were found to have African blood, she would lose the inheritance.
Her attorney, Lewis Shepherd, argued successfully that the Simmerman’s family was descended from ancient Phoenicians who eventually migrated to Portugal and then to North America.

Obviously, if one’s genetic heritage could mean the difference between being free or likely to be enslaved or treated differently under the law, it was very important to maintain their historic claim that they were Portuguese. However, both claims could have been equally true. Ancestors of the Melungeons would have immigrated from Portugal originally, yet not necessarily been of “phoenician blood”. Instead their ancestors could have arrived in Portugal from any Portuguese colonial territories in sub-saharan Africa, such as Mozambique, Angola, or Cape Verde. Thus present-day researchers would be correct as to the genetic heritage being south African, and the Melungeons claim that they were Portuguese, being equally true.

Adrian Piper 1991 exhibit Decide Who You Are-"Skinned Alive"

Adrian Piper 1991 exhibit Decide Who You Are-“Skinned Alive”


Adrian Piper is a first-generation conceptual artist and analytic philosopher who was born in New York City and lived for many years on Cape Cod, Massachusetts before emigrating from the United States to Germany. She began exhibiting her artwork internationally at the age of twenty, graduating from the School of Visual Arts in 1969 with an A.A. in Fine Art and a concentration in painting and sculpture. While continuing to produce and exhibit her artwork, Piper received a B.A. Summa Cum Laude with Research Honors in Philosophy and a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Musicology from the City College of New York in 1974. For graduate school in philosophy she attended Harvard University, where she received an M.A. in 1977 and a Ph.D. in 1981 under the supervision of John Rawls.

self portrait

self portrait

She also studied Kant and Hegel with Dieter Henrich at the University of Heidelberg in 1977-1978. Her formal education lasted a total of 27 years. Piper taught philosophy at Georgetown, Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, UCSD, and Wellesley College. Following in the steps of trailblazing pioneer Dr. Joyce Mitchell Cook, in 1987 she became the first tenured African American woman professor in the field of philosophy. But for her refusal to return to the United States while listed as a Suspicious Traveler on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s Watch List, Wellesley forcibly terminated her tenured full professorship in philosophy in 2008. Since 2005, she has lived and worked in Berlin Germany, where she runs the APRA Foundation Berlin and edits The Berlin Journal of Philosophy.

Adrian Piper is also bi-racial. Much of the early focus of her artwork, became the interpersonal dynamics of racism and racial stereotyping, as seen here, in her video installation, “Cornered” (1988).



Works that further explore racial themes include her pencil drawing “Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features” (1981); her collective performance and video “Funk Lessons” (1982-4); her unannounced “Calling Card” interactive performances (1986–1990); her mixed media installation “Close to Home” (1987); her video installation Cornered (1988); and Vanilla Nightmares (1986–1989), her series of racially and sexually transgressive charcoal drawings on pages of the New York Times. Her first retrospective in 1987 at the Alternative Museum in New York, reintroduced the art public and a new generation of viewers to the media, strategies and preoccupations of first-generation Conceptual art.

And yet Piper is also well-known for her principal philosophical publications in metaethics, Kant, and the history of ethics. Her scholarly two-volume study in Kantian metaethics, “Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume I: The Humean Conception” and “Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume II: A Kantian Conception”, was accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press in 2008. “Rationality and the Structure of the Self” was the culmination of 34 years of work.

A multi-faceted woman and creative genius, Adrian Piper founded the Adrian Piper Research Archive (APRA) in 2002, after being diagnosed with a chronic, progressive, and incurable medical condition. Although the condition had vanished within two years after she emigrated to Germany in 2005, she continued to develop APRA as a personal and public resource for students, scholars, curators, collectors, writers, and members of the general public who have a constructive curiosity or scholarly or professional interest in her work and life.



It is amazing for that one who’s talents and knowledge have been so demonstrated, that physical features such as skin color could ever play a negative role in her life.

once every 2737 years

once every 2737 years


The pyramids of Giza in Egypt are currently aligned in exactly the same manner as three of the planets in our solar system, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury are aligned as of 12/3/12, 18 days before the famous and popular 12/21/12 which is the end of the Mayan calendar.

(This has been calculated using specialized software like Stellarium).

The planetary alignment on December 3, 2012 with the pyramids of Giza, occurs only once every 2737 years.

For more interesting stuff about the conjunction of dates, stars and the ancient calendar, you can read a related story, “2112 Decoded” at World Mysteries.

De Staalmeesters – van Rembrandt

reprise of the article “Black History: Black European nobility tucked away”

Black nobility in Europe? According to black Dutch researcher Egmond Codfried and author of the book “Belle van Zuylen’s forgotten grandmother” there was black nobility in Europe, but their history and images were later carefully hidden, edited out or painted over. His claims are controversial, and of course not accepted by European historians and the man in the street. Codfried has systematically studied hundreds of paintings of famous and less famous nobility. He regularly stumbled upon people who looked black or coloured, or although they were white, clearly had African facial features.

Maria Jacoba van Goor

Codfried writes: “This study of historical sources and literature on black and coloured historic persons was inspired by the chance finding of a portrait of Maria Jacoba van Goor. We get a view of the problems and of the methods to identify these Europeans. This beautiful painting was also a reason to cast an afrocentric view at Belle van Zuylens life and her works, the biographies en the origin of her financial fortune. Through her coloured grandmother, the Dutch Belle van Zuylen (1740-1805) also known as Madame de Charrière, joins the rank of writers as the Russian Alexander Pushkin, the French Alexander Dumas and Colette, the Britons Elizabeth Barrett and her husband Robert Browning. As well as the German classic composer Ludwig von Beethoven and Queen Charlotte of Britain. These are Europeans of great merit, who had black forefathers. Also we find that Belle was a friend of Pierre Alexander Du Peyrou (1729-1794), a brown coloured and wealthy Surinam plantation owner in Swiss. Belle is renowned as a close friend, benefactor and publisher of the most famous philosopher of the Enlightenment, Jean Jaques Rousseau.

Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Dumas

Jean Etienne Liotard

Also from writings of contemporaries to make that more black and colored people lived in Europe than they appear, writes Codfried. So was it written that someone “the milk of a black woman would have drunk” or “chocolate” would have eaten. Also, blacks by their surroundings as “the chimney sweeper” called. Or it was said that those “bad complexion” or had always “a burnt head”. Codfried: “Many portraits show pure white faces while it is established that the person sometimes black or chocolate brown was, as Constantijn Huygens, Charles II Stuart, Madame de Stael, Baron Aarnoud Joost van der Duyn and Pierre-Alexander Dupeyrou. Moreover it is known that the famous classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was quite black and nicknamed “the black Spaniard” bore. Habsburg emperor Leopold I, Holy Roman Empire was Swinburne described as “a short, big black man.” His portraits show “the dancing emperor” as a black man with very thick lips and a forward lower half of the face. Duchess Charlotte Sophie of Mecklenburg Strelitz (1740-1818), queen of George III of England and grandmother of Queen Victoria, had, according to her physician a “true mulattengezicht” . In this case show the paintings by Sir Ramsay clearly a woman of color. ”

Maurits Huygens

sophie von mecklenburg

van Beethoven

Codfried’s research is important, pioneering work. And though his book is now and then a little messy reading, it is nevertheless quite convincing. Mainly because of the dozens of images. Concepts of racism occasionally creep in, with all the talk about lip thickness, nose width, eye color, color, curliness of hair, the distance between the nose and upper lip, the protrusion from the bottom of the face, and so on. This raises associations with the skull measuring the Nazi “scientists”. On the other hand the theory, if you proceed, is justified in that there are many more black and colored people living in the Netherlands and Europe than normally assumed. Codfried is fortunately very clear that he is only comparing the appearance of people, and that he does not believe in the existence of “races”. “Skin color and ethnicity are in some ways more artificial social constructs than biological realities, but like other social structures such as gender or nobility very decisive for the individual,” he writes.

reprised from “Black and colored nobility stashed away”
and the Afro-Europe International blog