Thursday, February 1, 2018

Mystery TRAINS

Photo: Wikimedia
Trains have a very exciting feeling that comes with them. If you enjoy solving mysteries then you may find a mystery train is a fun way to spend your time. You can make reservations with a group of your friends or you can go alone and meet new people who share your same interests. Mystery trains generally operate at night so that you can spend your time in an atmosphere that fits well with the scenario being played out.

Many of us remember the popular board game of Clue where you had to guess who committed the murder, what room it was conducted in, and with what weapon. Many of the mystery trains are set up with a similar type of layout taking place. Some mystery train games only last for the evening while others may last for two or three days. It all depends on how much time you want to invest in this fun activity.

Some of these mystery trains take place is places you would love to visit including the Rocky Mountains, Alaska, and even New York. If you aren’t interested in helping to solve the crime but you would like to see it take place, you can find mystery trains that offer a fantastic dinner. The murder mystery is performed while you enjoy your food by actors up on the stage. Sometimes they ask for audience participation to help keep everyone interested but it depends on the particular production you are taking part in.

In order to get the best prices on mystery trains, look for those that run all year long. This means that many of the local people will have already had a chance to take part in it. It also means not everyone will be fighting for the same tickets on set days. You will generally find mystery trains are less expensive during the week than on weekends. Those that offer a fine dining experience are going to cost more too because of the atmosphere and the food offered. 

Since there are so many different types of mystery trains out there it is important that you get all of the information in advance. Find out what will be taking place and what your role in it will be. Ask how long the actual mystery takes to unfold so you can plan in advance for it. If the mystery train is several days long find out about the meals and the sleeping quarters. The more information you have the more likely it is that you will thoroughly enjoy your mystery train experience.

Taking a train adventure to enjoy a great mystery that you take part in solving can be a wonderful vacation. The internet is a great place to find the various mystery trains that are offered as well as there locations. These types of events get wonderful reviews and the mystery trains fill up fast. You will want to plan your trip and secure reservations early in order to ensure you can attend the one you want. 

A mystery train can be a great way for a group of adults to spend a couple of days together. It also makes a wonderful birthday or Christmas gift for a friend or family member who is always watching those movies on TV where they solve the crimes. This is one gift that they would always remember. 

Another Look at INDIANS (Native Americans, Amerindians)

Native American chiefs in 1865 - Photo: Wikimedia
Native Americans are often cast in the role of victims of White aggression and unbridled avarice-driven or gratuitous violence, especially in the territories known collectively today as the United States. But the first massacre was perpetrated by Indians in the British colony Jamestown, in Virginia in 1622. They slaughtered 347 white men, women and children on that occasion.  

Europeans are also accused of importing pathogens, disease-causing agents, such as smallpox and measles, malaria and yellow fever. Indigenous people had no immunological resistance to these illnesses as they were never exposed to them.

But recent findings by a team of anthropologists, economists, and paleopathologists who have completed a massive study of the health of people living in the Western Hemisphere in the last 7,000 years - suggest that Native American's health was severely run down long before the Europeans delivered the coup de grace.

The researchers analyzed more than 12,500 skeletons - half of them pre-Columbian - from 65 sites in North and South America for evidence of infections, malnutrition, and other health problems.

 The study - "The Backbone of History: Health and Nutrition in the Western Hemisphere", edited by Dr. Richard H. Steckel and Dr. Jerome C. Rose - discovered that the haleness of Native-Americans declined markedly in the 1000 years before Columbus "discovered" them. 

The vast majority of the skeletons showed telltale signs of advanced degenerative joint disease, deteriorating dental health, stature, anemia, arrested tissue development, infections and trauma from injuries. These were attributed by the participants to limited diets and urban congestion. People became shorter and died earlier - on average at age 35 - as the centuries passed.

"Pre-Columbian populations were among the healthiest and the least healthy in our sample," Dr. Steckel and Dr. Rose said. "While pre-Columbian natives may have lived in a disease environment substantially different from that in other parts of the globe, the original inhabitants also brought with them, or evolved with, enough pathogens to create chronic conditions of ill health under conditions of systematic agriculture and urban living."

Moreover, there are signs that diseases hitherto thought to have been introduced by the white explorers were actually indigenous.1,000-year-old Peruvian mummies, for instance, were found to have been infected with tuberculosis in their lungs.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What Is The Best Historical Destination For A MEXICO Vacation?

Ruins of Palenque - Photo: Wikimedia
When you think about history and Mexico there are a few locales that come to mind. The one that really stands out is the area of the Yucatan peninsula that encompasses the area once dominated by the Mayan people and where you can still find incredible evidence of their advanced civilization. Just a short drive from the high-octane resort towns of Cancun and Cozumel are examples to be found of the height of Mayan architecture and civilization.

Many travel providers can set you up with tours that will let you enjoy and explore several archeological sites and still put aside time to lounge on a beach to soak in the sun. This gives you the opportunity to have an educational experience as well as a relaxing vacation. Spend a few days traveling to several of the most well-known ruins and then kick back with some typical water activities.

The most famous Mayan ruins are at Chichen Itza, which is close to Merida, the capital of Yucatan. It is estimated Chichen Itza was established in 432 AD and is one of the finest examples of Mayan architecture ever excavated. You can climb the pyramid known as "El Castillo" and learn how it is set up to have significance in how the Mayans viewed astronomy. There is also the largest ball court in Mesoamerica located here, which hosted games where the losers may have been ritually sacrificed. The blend of science, religion, and architecture in the city can be very impressive.

Another more recently found site is at Palenque, in which in 1952 the mummified remains of Lord Pakal, a ruler during the sixth century, were found in a large sarcophagus. There are many exquisite examples of Mayan architecture located here, such as comb-like decorations on the roofs of the temples and intricately carved wall panels. There are over 200 buildings at this site, which are probably more than enough to keep you exploring most of the day. 

A visit to Tulum can provide some seaside ruins to explore for a half a day or so, but it also gives you the opportunity to snorkel and check out some of the underwater caves that are near there. After that, it is a short trip to either Cancun or Isla de Mujeres for some rest and relaxation so you can reflect on all the history you absorbed. And the margaritas are good there, too.  

Just south of Tulum you will find Sian Ka'an, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ecological reserve has a lion's share of natural beauty, but it also highlights 23 archeological sites of Mayan civilization and contains an ancient trade route that serviced the cities of Tulum and Muyil during the Mayan era. 

The entire Yucatan peninsula is chock full of the history and architecture of the Mayan civilization and it gives us a glimpse of what life was like in the prehistory of European colonization of the Americas. If your idea of a great vacation to Mexico is to learn about its history and heritage, then this is the number one place to go. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Basic Principles Of Theory Of EVOLUTION

Photo: Wikimedia
Evolution theory teaches that survival is for the fittest living organism.

What is life? What is fit? And what does it mean to survive?

Well, there are many definitions of course. A useful definition, in a scientific perspective, is the one that allows us to analyze myriads things with fewest principles. So here they are.

A living organism is a class of objects that share 3 traits.

1. Reproduce. A living organism can make copies.
2. Inherit. Living organism, in the process of reproducing, will inherit traits to the offspring.
3. Mutate. Living organism, in the process of inheriting, will make small mistakes.

That seems like a reasonable definition. If we look most living things around us, like dogs, cats, pigs, birds, Fido, virus, etc., they all share those traits.

However, based on those definitions, God is not alive, while computer virus, religious doctrines, ideologies, and ideas are alive.

I don’t think God will mind though. It’s just a definition.

The practical aspect is that we can use evolution theory to explain the sort of humans, cats, dogs, germs, doctrines, ideologies, and ideas that are common nowadays.

Different living organism performs those 3 traits differently. Those living organism that reproduces a lot becomes plenty. Those that reproduced a lot, become common.

That’s the basic of evolution theory.

For example, we see that peacocks tend to have long elaborated tails. From this, we can guess peacocks with long elaborate tail must have made more peachicks. Perhaps, peahen love peacocks with long elaborate tails. It’s true.

Suppose it were true. Then peacocks with longer tails will mate with more peahens. Those happy couples will then produce more peachicks.

Male peachicks will inherit long tails. Female peachicks will inherit preferences for the long tail. So, peahens like peacocks with a long tail.

It looks like a circular argument. It is. The truth is we don’t really know for sure, at least just from the reasoning, why peacocks have a long tail.

However, we do know that traits that lead to gene pool survival through sexual selection tend to be positive feedback.

Those are traits that either enhance gene pool survival through regular means or signal capability to survive on the females. Samples of the former are Cheetah’s speed and men’s wealth. Samples of the latter are peacock’s tail and sports cars.

The more peacocks have a longer tail, the more peacocks in the future will have even longer tails. The more peahens in the future will get turned on by long tail even more.

Now, most males are poor. Does that mean women like the poor? Does being poor serve gene pool survival?

The answer to the first question is no. The answer to the second is, well, sort of due to various unnatural sex laws against consensual sex. It’s tricky.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

COIN COLLECTING Values: The Importance of Research

A great collection of old Indian coins! Jai hind! - Photo: Wikimedia
Is coin collecting an activity that you would like to start enjoying?  Or, have you just recently started collecting coins?  If you have, do you have hopes of creating a profitable coin collection that can later, one day be sold for profits or passed down to your future family generations?  If you do, you should take the time to examine coin collecting in general.  With that being said, be sure to place a large focus on coin collecting values, as coin values should have a significant impact on the worth of your coin collection.

Although it is nice to hear that coin collecting values and researching those values is important to coin collecting, especially for profits, many are curious as to why that is.  Of course, coin collections are invaluable until they are sold. With that in mind, not all coin collections sell and for amounts that collectors had hoped for.  For example, a full collection of Statehood Quarters is likely to sell for much less than a collection of rare coins from the early 1900s.  Unfortunately, many collectors do not realize this without first doing the proper research concerning coins, their values, as well as their conditions.

To research coins and their values, it is first important to start with the basics.  Coin collecting basics are extremely important to beginners and their success.  The most important coin collecting basics, that concern value, includes never overpaying for a coin, even a rare coin, and never paying full value for a coin that is damaged or distorted.  Following these basic tips can do wonders for a coin collection and its value.

Additional research that you may want to do includes examining the exact values and conditions of coins.  This is important right before you choose to make coin purchases, especially from someone other than a professional coin dealer.  Many dealers are considered experts in the filed and will provide you with detailed information, including an exact value or a coin rating from the Sheldon System.  In fact, this system and other popular coin rating systems are ones that you may want to examine.

One of the best ways to research coin values or the Sheldon System is by using the internet.  Online, you will find a number of great coin collecting resources at your fingertips.  A standard internet search may lead you to rare coin dealers or other professional coin dealers, who may be operating with or without a specialty.  Although many recommend buying coins of value in person, purchases can still be made online.  If you take this approach, however, be sure to request pictures and detailed descriptions.

Printed resources are another one of the many ways that you can go about researching and examining coins and their values.  A number of printed resources can be ordered online or found in local libraries or bookstores.  When examining a book that highlights coin collecting values, it is important to take date into consideration.  Look for updated resources, as they are likely to provide you with the most valuable and accurate information.

As a reminder, research is important to coin collectors who are collecting for the sole purpose of profits.  With that in mind, researching coin values can also benefit you if you plan to pass down your coin collection to family members.  Carefully keeping track of coin values can lead to profits for them in the future.

Friday, January 26, 2018

NEW YORK City of Diversity

New AYork - Photo: Pixabay
If you've never been to New York City, you may be surprised to know that there is so much more to this great city than skyscrapers, lots of people, and really fantastic parades. While it is, in fact, the wonderful people of this city that make it the exciting place to visit that it has become, there is so much more to this city than what you'll see on the television shows and in the news. 

New York City is a city full of exciting people from all kinds of backgrounds with all kinds of hopes and dreams of the future and experiences of the past. You will find artwork here like few other places in the world, you will see more nature here than in most big cities around the world, and you will enjoy seeing more cultures and nationalities represented in the space of an hour in this city than most people who live elsewhere experience in their entire lives. New York City is the true melting pot of the world and the rest of America is simply trying to catch up.

You will find music and art that is representative of the many cultures that call this grand city home. You will experience the sights, sounds, and scents of worlds that are exotic and foreign simply by walking down neighbourhood streets where people are cooking dinner at night. You will hear more languages in one day than you probably ever dreamed imagine and while you may stand around with sensory overload thinking anyone would be crazy to live like this, most of them are looking at you thinking you'd be crazy to live anywhere else. 

This is perhaps the greatest thing about visiting New York City. You get to experience for a moment the excitement that comes from living in this fascinating city. You get to understand what it is like for those living there. And you get to understand first hand what it is like to be alone in a city of millions and yet by being there, being one of them, belonging somehow to this giant community of strangers from different cultures, different pasts, and different futures. 

Most people visit New York with certain preconceived ideas and certain goals for their visits. Hopefully, the preconceived ideas will all be challenged and the plans that you have made are flexible. There is so much to do and see that you could go one block each way from your hotel and probably notice something new each and every single time you went by. My point in this is that you need to leave time to experience the wonderful things you won't discover in the guidebooks. There is only so much of this city that any one person could possibly find to write about. I can imagine that there are New Yorkers that could eat in a different restaurant each and every day without eating in the same one twice in five or ten years. I find it hard to believe that a guidebook is going to be able to hold everything you might find interesting in this city and if you spend your entire visit with your head in the book you might miss something truly worthwhile. 

That being said, it is a good idea to make plans according to your budget and the things you wish to see, I'm just urging you to leave room on that schedule for a change. The Statue of Liberty is great, but it takes a while to get there and back. Could it be that you take some photos, buy some postcards and do two or three other activities that you could have enjoyed in the space of time it takes to get there and back? Plans are made to change whenever possible-especially while on vacation. I seriously recommend that you reserve two hours minimum each day to do something that you discovered rather than something you planned. 


Chinese Gold Digger- Photo: Wikimedia
On a bright May day in 1869, railroad workers, businessmen, and government officials gathered in Utah for a historic event. Soon the ceremonial driving of a solid gold railroad spike would complete a six-year effort at building a railroad across America. Of course, the pricy $350 spike was quickly replaced for safekeeping. Still, it represented the bridging of 3,500 miles of railroad, and thus also symbolized an enormous amount of human labor. Much of this labor was Chinese.

Americans had contemplated constructing a transcontinental railroad since the 1830s. Without an “iron road”, overland travel from the eastern states to the California Territory entailed four to six months of hardship. A railroad would facilitate westward expansion and help realize America’s “manifest destiny”. 

In 1862, President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act. This granted a charter to two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, for the building of a railway and telegraph line. The companies would work from opposite directions: the Union Pacific would start construction in Omaha, and the Central Pacific would start in Sacramento. The separate projects would eventually meet and become linked. 

The companies broke ground in 1863, but their projects didn’t gain full speed after the Civil War ended. In 1866 the Union Pacific increased its labor force with mostly Irish immigrants. The Central Pacific hired more than 25,000 Chinese immigrants to move through the Sierra Nevadas. 

Chinese people had ventured to North America as early as 450 A.D. Still, few Chinese resided in North America until the California Gold Rush was publicized. When news of golden soil reached the Chinese mainland, peasants recognized an opportunity to escape poverty. Some men were so destitute that they had sold their children. Earning a few hundred American dollars would allow their families a life of luxury. So, thousands of men boarded tightly packed ships for passage to “the Golden Mountain” of California. 

The Chinese workers were especially valuable to the Central Pacific Company. With their goal of moving east from Sacramento, they needed an estimated 5,000 workers. There weren’t enough Anglo-Americans available in California, and when men were brought from the eastern states, they tended to take off for adventure! The Central Pacific hired as many Chinese immigrants as they could, and then sent agents to Hong Kong for additional recruits. By the time the rails were joined in Utah, about 90% of the Central Pacific workers were Chinese. 

The Chinese immigrants, despite being crucial laborers, were not treated as well as white laborers. White men were paid $35 each month and also received a tent, food, and supplies. The Chinese were usually paid less and did not have the “benefits” of company-provided food, shelter, or supplies.

The Central Pacific workers risked their lives every day when scraping through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Sometimes they wove man-sized baskets to suspend themselves over cliffs, 2,000 feet above the ground. They used dynamite and nitroglycerine, which sometimes exploded prematurely. For many months, some lived entirely beneath the mountain snow, creating labyrinths from home to work and living by lantern light. Entire camps of men were lost to avalanches. 

Once the men reached the desert, they faced another set of hazards. There they could lay rails more quickly, but the temperature reached 120 degrees! Alkali dust made most bleed from the lungs. 

By January of 1869, the work was nearly complete. The federal government calculated where the two railroads should meet, ultimately deciding upon Promontory Summit. Eight Chinese men placed the final section of rail on May 10, 1869. Just five days later, passenger train service began. The overland trip from Omaha to Sacramento would now require only four days of travel!

Californians expected the railroad to bring prosperity. The most immediate effect, however, was that California’s fledgling manufacturing industry was threatened by cheaper items from the Eastern US. Californians were further irritated by the influx of job-seeking immigrants who arrived via train. The ensuing economic depression was blamed upon the Chinese immigrants who had constructed the iron road. California passed numerous anti-Chinese laws. Fortunately for the Chinese American community, however, the railroad employees had earned the immigrants a reputation for being good workers. They were recruited to work elsewhere across the United States. 

Every year in May since 1965, the celebration of completing the nation’s first transcontinental railroad is re-enacted at the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Brigham City, Utah.