New Search Engine Cuil’s Premiere Violates the First Rule of Startup Show Business : Don’t Go On Stage Until You are Ready

Cuil is a new search engine startup which had a faltering premiere online on Monday, July 28, 2008. The startup, headed by some search-savvy former employees of Google and backed up by a great deal of startup capital, began with a great deal of fanfare, but fell flat on its face out of the starting blocks.

The false start is epitomized by the fact that Cuil was named for a word which allegedly meant “knowledge” in Ancient Irish, although we have found no evidence for that alleged meaning online. Rather, ancient Gaelic keeayl meant “wisdom”, a quality which this startup at the moment is yet lacking.

Indeed, Cuil has presumably backed itself into a modern cuil (modern Irish for “corner”, old Gaelic cuilee “back room”) on various fronts, especially since it has also violated the most important rule of startup show business – or any other business for that matter.

That rule is:

Don’t go on stage unless you are READY.

The mere fact that Cuil search results are delivered in three columns and accompanied by images and more extensive text than at competing search engines may at first glance appear to offer some advantages, but it is not very helpful if the search results are not on target and if the image produced next to any given page description in the search results can actually stem from a completely different website than the website being described. In this regard, Cuil is a bit of a disaster. For example, when we entered the keyword LawPundit into Cuil, the search engine gave us a page full of links, some of them linking directly to LawPundit pages, but these pages were accompanied by graphics which are NOT from our LawPundit pages and from which we expressly distance ourselves. We see some severe intellectual property rights issues here if graphics or snippets of graphics not belonging to a given website are used to describe that website in a search engine.

Dear folks at Cuil, the way this looks right now, that is not going to work at all, practically OR legally.

Not just we, but many other commentators have also given Cuil relatively low marks:

The Outsidr probably has it right in Cuil Lives, Dies, Succeeds and Fails; All Within an Hour of Launch:

I can’t remember the last time I have seen anything like this. Cuil … literally went from being unheard of to web-famous to “able Google competitor” to crucifixion in a matter of an hour.

[W]hen a company tries to compete in a space dominated by multi-billion dollar giants, it had better bring something incredible to the table or appeal to a sizable niche. I don’t see either being the case in this instance and the stunning rush of negative press is quite likely going to be insurmountable.


Running a few searches left me underwhelmed….

Joe Duck:
TechCrunch and others are waxing almost poetically about the new Cuil search engines, designed by ex Googlers to compete with the mother ship. But after a few scattershot queries I’m just not feeling the power of Cuil. It still is failing to find itself for what seems like an obvious query of “Cuil Search Engine”, and for the query “computers” I’d expect a bit more than this among Cuil’s claimed inventory of 121 billion web pages:”

In fact, the rather inexcusable pre-launch euphoria at TechCrunch turned into sober reality very quickly as Michael Arrington wrote in Google Beats Cuil Hands Down In Size And Relevance, But That Isn’t The Whole Story:
It seems pretty clear that Google’s index of web pages is significantly larger than Cuil’s unless we’re randomly choosing the wrong queries. Based on the queries above, Google is averaging nearly 10x the number of results of Cuil.”

Of course, we couldn’t do a comprehensive test of Cuil’s 120 billion page index, but we did a couple of test searches and the results Cuil returned were often disappointing.

Fortune at CNN Money
So far, the site has been sporadically down because of the high volume of searches, which often happens to startups on opening day.

It is really a shame that Cuil has not gotten its act together before going live. We brought a lot of sympathy to Cuil at the beginning, if only because its home info page features a megalithic photo, a megalithic area about which we write frequently. However, when we plugged in the search words megalith, megaliths or megalithic into Cuil, the results were most certainly not optimal. Whatever the algorithms in use may be, they are currently still inferior to those found at Google.

This does not mean that all is lost. Perhaps the 3-column method of presentation and more detailed text presentation per page will turn out to be useful for some purposes, but in our case, it appeared to increase search time without any apparent corresponding information benefit.

Famed Country Lawyer Gerry Spence Starts a Blawg

Famed country lawyer Gerry Spence (see our previous posting about him) started a blawg a few days ago which has already drawn a good deal of comment from the blogosphere.

Take a look at his first blog posting, May we get together?

The American Lawyer 2008 A-List of Top 20 US Law Firms based on Revenue per Lawyer, Pro Bono Work, Associate Satisfaction & Diversity Representation

Looking for The American Lawyer 2008 A-List of the top 20 US Law Firms? The prestigious list is created by ranking 4 criteria: revenue per lawyer, pro bono work, associate satisfaction and diversity representation – with revenue per lawyer and pro bono scores counting double.

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP of New York City has the 2008 A-List online as a special .pdf.

A Los Angeles law firm topped the US list for the first time ever, as Munger, Tolles & Olsen replaced perennial winner Debevoise & Plimpton of New York City, which had won the award the last four years, but dropped to 5th place.

We are glad to see that our former firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, headquartered in New York City, made the list again (at 17th).

Some of the law firms on the 2008 A-List with various website pages mentioning or commenting on their selection:

Latham & Watkins (2nd)

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler (3rd) They get our award for using their position on this list to best advantage by means of making a special reprint of the A-List.

Weil Gotshal (4th)

Hughes Hubbard & Reed (6th)

Orrick (7th)

Arnold & Porter (8th)

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (9th)

O’Melveny (16th)

Sullivan & Cromwell (19th)

Morrison & Foerster (MoFo, 20th)

The blawg Above the Law has a nice posting about the A-List.

Moses, Exodus, 10 Plagues of Egypt & Ipuwer Papyrus : A Question of Evidence : Errors in the Chronology of the Ancient Near East, Egypt & the Bible

People trained in the law have regrettably left the formulation of ancient history to disciplines not trained in evidence, and the current chaos in Biblical and ancient chronology is the pre-programmed result, giving us an erroneous history which has resulted in catastrophic consequences for current-day events in the Middle and Near East.

We have posted previously about this topic at some length elsewhere (also here, here, here and here), but in this posting we point to yet another item of evidence which needs to be brought to bear on this issue, the Ipuwer Papyrus:

The sole surviving manuscript dates to the later 13th century BCE (no earlier than the 19th dynasty in the New Kingdom). Egyptologist Dr Halpern believed that the papyrus was a copy of an earlier Middle kingdom copy. The dating of the original composition of the poem is disputed, but several scholars, have suggested a date between the late 12th dynasty and the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1850 BCE – 1600 BCE).[4] The theme of this work has previously been taken either as a lament inspired by the supposed chaos of the First Intermediate Period, or as historical fiction depicting the fall of the Old Kingdom several centuries earlier, or possibly a combination of these.

Ipuwer describes Egypt as afflicted by natural disasters and in a state of chaos, a topsy-turvy world where the poor have become rich, and the rich poor, and warfare, famine and death are everywhere. One symptom of this collapse of order is the lament that servants are leaving their servitude and acting rebelliously. Because of this, and such statements as “the River is blood”, some have interpreted the document as an Egyptian account of the Plagues of Egypt and the Exodus in the Old Testament of the Bible, and it is often cited as proof for the Biblical account by various religious organisations[5][6].

The mass of Egyptologists and Biblical scholars virtually ignore this type of evidence, placing the Exodus and Moses in eras for which there is not one shred of archaeological evidence.

So-called “mainstream scholars” have been interpreting Pharaonic civilization for the last 200 years in what can often only be described as a comedy of errors.

For example, in the last 100 years, the age of the pyramids has been steadily lowered by these “scientists” by about 1000 years. At each stage, these “scientists” are sure that they are right, only to change their opinion down the road. Indeed, only recently have Egyptologists begun to accept that the pyramids were oriented to the stars, whereas for many years previous, they called anyone who made such a claim a pyramidiot. In fact, the true pyramidiots are likely to be found among the Egyptologists themselves.

Even then, as Egyptologists such as David Rohl have pointed out, the entire current chronology of Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East is built on sand, because it is quite clear that there are errors in the assignment of solar eclipses which serve as the cardinal dates for the chronology (see LawPundit). Rohl would move the chronology forward, whereas the Moses birth information from Artapanus which Rohl himself published suggests that Biblical chronology should be moved backward.

Under current chronological theory, for example, there is – for the time frame currently assigned to them – no archaeological evidence at all – none – to support the existence of Moses or the Kings David or Solomon of Israel. But there is such evidence about 400 years prior to the accepted date, and Rohl’s own evidence points to a birthdate for Moses around 1700 BC. See Ancient Egypt Weblog

I have officially challenged the official chronology of the Ancient Near East, and that challenge was posted by Joan Griffith to the then “authoritative” ANE (Ancient Near East) list, moderated at the University of Chicago, but there has been no answer to my challenge from those in academia who silently acquiesce to the currently erroneous Biblical and Egyptian chronology:

[ANE] Challenge
Joan Griffith
Tue, 08 Jul 2003 09:37:32 -0400

Previous message: [ANE] BASNY Lecture on Iraqi national heritage
Next message: [ANE] Challenge
Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]



Andis Kaulins, who has a website and yahoogroup list called Lexiline, sent this out. I thought I would forward it to this list since he thinks he cannot be challenged. I certainly know too little to answer him appropriately. And just maybe he did not expect any authoritative answers… Please post your comments on the ANE list, and I will forward them to Andis at (You have to be a member to post there.)

Andis Kaulins [wrote later]:

As you can see, there are no mainstream rebuttals forthcoming to my challenge to all of academia regarding the chronological errors made by Flinders Petrie, which is not surprising. There is no probative evidence out there to support the mainstream view.

Worse, world events day by day in the Middle East are guided by a completely false view of the history of this region. It is madness.

I repeat again. Men are sheep, especially in mainstream academia.


— In, “Andis Kaulins”
212 LexiLine Newsletter 2003 Flinders Petrie and Chronology at

Tell El Hesy (Lachish) Copyright © 2001-2003 by Andis Kaulins

[This is a challenge to the mainstream archaeologists. I claim the chronology of the Middle East is flawed – and it is flawed due to errors made initially by Flinders Petrie. My reasons are given
below. Any mainstream archaeologist out there who thinks he can rebut my arguments is invited to submit a contra e-mail – BASED on evidence – not on opinion (WHO you or your cited sources are professionally interests me not a whit – it is the EVIDENCE that counts – ONLY the evidence).]

Tell El Hesy (Lachish)
by W.M. Flinders Petrie, reprinted 1989 by Histories & Mysteries of Man Ltd., London, England, 1989, ISBN 1 854 17 052 X, is the foundation for modern chronology of the fertile crescent. I have read the book in detail, confirming my initial suspicion that Petrie made capital chronological errors in his dating of Tell el Hasy and Lachish – errors which mainstream chronology has blindly followed ever since, leading to a completely erroneous history of the Middle East.


Since Petrie’s dating of Tell El Hesy is the foundation for modern chronology of the fertile crescent, it is all the more remarkable that the book is out of print and virtually unknown – even though its conclusions are uncritically accepted and used to date Biblical and Egyptian history in general. Most men are sheep.


The fact is that Petrie made critical – if consistent – dating errors, based on his preconceived notion of the chronological history represented at the archaeological sites examined by him.



1. Tell el Hesy – 16 miles East of Gaza about a third of the distance from Gaza to Jerusalem – is an accumulated “residential” mound ca. 60 feet in heigth (from 278 feet above sea level to 340

feet above sea level).

The upper layer – at 340 feet – contained “regular black and red Greek pottery” which Petrie dated to ca. 450 BC. The bottom of the tell is at 278 feet.


There is a layer of a period of great destruction – a stratum of small stones “at the level of 286 to 291 feet” with a large layer of ash above that which Petrie calls “the great bed of ashes”.” Massive man-made walls of mud brick lie below the layer of small stones, pointing to a previous high culture.


Similar mounds in Egypt – as Petrie notes – rise 3 to 4 feet per century or 30 to 40 feet in a thousand years. At 3 feet per century, the earliest dwellings would be ca. 2000 years older than the Greek pottery at the top level and would date to 2450 BC. At 4 feet per century of accumulation, the earliest dwellings would be ca. 1500 years older than the Greek pottery and would date to ca. 1950 BC. Since none of these fit into the preconceived picture, Petrie sets the earliest dwellings at el Hesy at 1670 BC, based on a new proposed rate of accumulation of 5 feet per century, the faster rate allegedly because the “greater rainfall” in Syria would lead to “quicker” destruction of mud walls and thus to a greater rate of tell accumulation.


Petrie even goes so far as to call certain walls “the Amorite wall”, “Rehoboam’s wall”, “Manessah’s wall”, “the Wall of Ahaz”, etc., trying – in an “unscholarly” Schliemann-type manner – to fit his finds to the Biblical accounts.


Indeed, there is no evidence for such quicker accumulation whatsoever!


Rather, Petrie gently and almost imperceptibly “bends” the archaeological facts to fit his view of Biblical history.


2. Petrie bases his chronology on what he calls “Phoenician pottery”. As Petrie writes (p. 40), “The excavations at Tell el Hesy proved to be an ideal place for determining the history of pottery in Palestine. And once settle the pottery of a country, and the key is in our hands for all future explorations.” Indeed, as if knowing his error, Petrie writes at page 45 “I have under rated rather than over rated the age of the Tell el Hesy levels”. How right he was !


Pottery called bilbils by the Syrians (thin black vases with long necks) were found at the level of 305-325 feet above sea level on the East side of Tell el Hesy and “black bowls” known to be contemporary to the bilbils were found at the level of 295 to 315 feet at the Southeast side. (Please Note: Assyrian bil-bil means plural bil, i.e. “bowls” and NOT bil-bil !)


Petrie then states that although this pottery is not dated in Phoenicia, he had seen similar examples in Egypt, the earliest of which were dated to the late 18th dynasty in Egypt (Petrie dated this to ca. 1400 BC on the basis of two similar things of Amenhotep III – whose reign is dated today to ca. 1350 BC).


To an impartial observer, the bilbils and black bowls would BOTH be seen to span 20 feet of accumulated time – 305-325 feet on the East and 295-315 feet on the Southeast, i.e. a corresponding 20 foot time span, with SLANTING topography probably accounting for the difference.


Petrie, however, inexplicably puts the the two figures together and expands the Phoenician period to 25 feet of accumulated history at Tell el Hesy, placing the early Phoenician period at the level of 295 feet and running it to 320 feet, although in fact BOTH measured sites at Tell el Hesy point to only a 20-foot accumulated Phoenician time-period. Obviously, Petrie used this calculational “trick” – perhaps subconsciously – to mesh his preconceived notions about Biblical chronology with the chronology of Egypt and fit the Phoenicians in.


Correctly however, to be consistent in using the measuring rod of the 60 foot heigth of the Tell, the Phoenician pottery period could only have spanned 20 feet or 1/3 of the height of the tell, from the level of 305 to 325 feet above sea level, so that 305 feet above sea level at Tell el Hesy marked the earliest Phoenician pottery and not 295 feet, a difference of ca. 300 critical years (3 feet per century) of chronology! This indeed is the approximate margin of error in Biblical chronology between the correct date for Moses and Exodus (1628 BC) and the date currently assigned to Moses and Exodus by mainstream chronology (ca. 1300 BC).


If level 305 and not 295 corresponded to Petrie’s ca. 1400 BC – then 35 feet of accumulation separated the earliest Phoenician pottery from the top of the Tell, and 35 feet of accumulation would have occurred in ca. 1000 years. This would be a rate of accumulation corresponding to the verified 3 to 4 feet per century evidenced on corresponding Tells in the Egyptian delta.


The accumulation of 5 feet per century for Tell el Hesy alleged by Petrie is thus clearly erroneous. As he himself suspected, he had in fact VASTLY under rated the age of the levels of Tell el Hesy, simply because he wanted to mesh a Biblical chronology which was far older than he imagined.


Therefore, NO scholar anywhere in the world today – in any field dealing with ancient history in the fertile crescent – can possibly accept Petrie’s chronology and those current mainstream chronologies built upon his conclusions. Such chronologies are nothing other than fictions and must be amended to correct for Petrie’s obvious error.



3. Santorin explodes 1628 BC


Once the dating of Tell el Hesy has been corrected, the layer of ash (5 feet!) and the layer of stones above the massive walls below take on a new significance since the levels of ash and stones then apply to the period ca. 1628 BC.


As Petrie himself writes “These ashes were certainly spread by the wind”. “No deposit by hands could effect this, the stuff must have been wind-borned, and dropped by the breeze without interference.” (p. 16) Lacking any better theory, however, Petrie tries to account for them by the Bedawin (Bedouin) burning of plants for alkali and “the charcoal layers…the result of the sparks and dust of the burning, and the breaking up of the fires; while the white lime layers were the dust blown about after the lixiviation had washed away the alkali. The town must then have been deserted, or almost so, at the time when the alkali burners resorted here, and when their ashes blew about and settled undisturbed over a great part of the hill.”


What Petrie writes above is absolute nonsense of course, but Petrie had to explain the layers of ash somehow.


Of course, after the event causing these layers of volcanic ash, Tell el Hesy is deserted. Even more, as Petrie himself writes: “Now this we see just corresponds to the great break in the history of Palestine….”


This “break in the history of Palestine” of course did not happen because of plants being burned for alkali by nomads. This was the great period of conflagration due to the explosion of Santorin,

the volcanic ash, the earthquakes, fire from the heavens, apparently over several years. Petrie places the date for this layer of ash at ca. 1300 BC but of course he has a ca. 300-year error. The year is actually closer to 1628 BC.

4. Interestingly, Petrie’s dating of the so-called “Amorite” comb- face pottery on page 40 of his book as being ca. 1600 BC to ca. 1000 BC meshes exactly with my dating of the Phoenician levels at Tell El- Hesy. Perhaps this was the influence of the Phoenicians on the Amorites. It is Petrie’s misdating of the Phoenicians – based on his attempt to mesh historical data of Egypt with the erroneous chronology of the Biblical Jews – which was his undoing. Indeed, it has remained a great chronological problem down to this day.


The Dating of Tell el Hesy is thus correctly:


A. Top of mound – 340 feet above sea level = ca. 500 BC (Greek pottery)(after several hundred years of dark ages – – Greek pottery had surfaced ca. 700 BC)


B. Last Phoenician (comb-face) pottery – 325 feet above sea level = ca. 1000 BC

This is the period of the invasion of the northern Sea Peoples who came to the rescue of the Hebrews, but were turned back by Ramses III = Biblical Shishak and the Assyrian Babylonians. This led to the end of the Pharaohs and was the period of the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews as well as the dark age in the fertile crescent – when building of temples etc. ceased and much was destroyed.

C. Earliest Phoenician (comb-face) pottery – 305 feet above sea level = ca. 1650 BC

This is the period of ca. 1628 BC, with earthquakes and the explosion of the volcano Santorin on Thera – which was the period of the Biblical Exodus, and also the period at which the Phoenicians become prominent, probably through migration to escape natural disasters. This is the period of the layer of stones and ashes at Tell El Hesy.

D. Earliest dwellings at Tell el Hesy – 280 feet above sea level = ca. 2500 BC

As Petrie notes, in the N.W. tower of Tell el Hesy, at level 295 feet above sea level (ca. 2000 BC by my corrected chronology of Petrie’s data), they found “a cylinder of coarse dull red haematite, now weighing 142.3 grains, probably 144 originally; this is the Egyptian kat weight. Several scraps of bronze were found, wire armlets, hair-pins, a knife, and a sheep bell; and some iron fragments, a knife, and arrow-heads.” This corresponds possibly to the building of a fort by the Egyptians here in the 24th year of reign under Amenemhet I ca. 2000 BC, who organized an expedition to Gaza – the northeastern border of united Egypt at that time – against the Asiatic desert dwellers. This corresponds to the position of Lachish.

Does that above date of 2500 BC seem unusual?



5. Who were the Phoenicians?


The mark of a great man of science is not that he always right, but rather that he recognizes the critical issues and adds new methods and insights to knowledge, even if they are not perfect. No one is right all the time.


My criticism of Petrie’s erroneous chronology by no means should take away from the greatness of his manifold achievements.

Also in his book on Tell el Hesy, Petrie shows the enormous breadth of his interests and, in his discussion of the styles of masonry in Palestine, points us toward a proper identification of the

mysterious Phoenicians. The Phoenicians are found referenced in Egyptian hieroglyphs of the Middle Kingdom under the term FENEKHW, which of course is an Indo-European term as in Latvian VEJNIEKI or VEJNIESHE “men of the wind”, (VEJNIESHI = PHOENICIANS) i.e. sailors.

The idea that the (Italian) sailing boat feluca derives from Arabic fulk “ship” is incorrect. It is the other way around, since the root is proto-Indo-European as in Latvian VEJ- “wind”. Latin retains this root in VELA “the sail” which is Latvian VELA “cloth, washing hung

up to dry – which resulted in the idea of a sail”. In the north of Europe these were probably the WENDs, people of the WIND. The terms BRIT- and PRUS- as in Britain and Prussia (Borussia) thus probably are related to the Latvian term BURAS “sails”, which explains another ancient term PRST for the “sea peoples” found in ancient sources.

The Phoenicians of course are not in any manner the Palestinians – as some claim, for these latter were not sailors but rather landlocked desert marauders, who are otherwise the Hyksos of

history, or the Midianites of the Bible.

Petrie recognizes in his book on Tell el Hesy that the style of stone dressing used by the Phoenicians was “flaking and pocking” – i.e. flaking by heavy blows and then bruising down the surface with a heavy pointed hammer – and that this style is found:


1) on the great monolith lying in the quarry in the Russian quarter of Jerusalem

2) in the galleries called Solomon’s Stables under the Haram

3) in the stone work of the temple at Hagir Kim in Malta

4) in the wrought stones at Stonehenge – Petrie writes “the best examples of it are on the flat tops of the uprights of the great trilithons.

And another curious formation occurs at Stonehenge as well as at Hagir Kim; the edge of an upright is somewhat raised, so as to form a sort of tray, and a corresponding cutting is made in the cap stone. This is of course in addition to the rough tenons at Stonehenge.” (p. 36)

In other words, Petrie has observed the clear connection between the megalithic cultures of old – certainly one of the first men ever to do so.


The desert dwellers, i.e. Palestinians, had a different style of masonry, found only in a few places since they were nomads and not ordinarily settled peoples. This masonry style is identified by

Petrie, as “long-stroke picking” – done with an edge or point, with no breadth of cut – and is see on

1) the great blocks of the first building of the Beit el Khulil near Hebron

2) dressing of the wall at Tell Safi – which Petrie says is probably the old Philistine fortress of Gath,


3) on the sandstone masonry and steps of Lachish ca. 700 BC, i.e. after the Babylonian captivity and AFTER the days of the Phoenicians, who were the Sea Peoples who had lost their seat of power in the fertile crescent in the days of Ramses III, who was Shishak.


Interesting is that Petrie regards Jewish style to be a mixture which is neither pure Amorite [Arab] nor Phoenician, but which consists of a mixture of characters of both peoples.



6. Ashdod, Ashkelon = Kadesh [Thick layer of ash also found here]


My redating of Tell el Hesy makes it relatively simple to also correctly date ancient cities of the Near East in that same region and correct some major errors of mainstream historical scholarship.

Here are the basic corrections
a. Ashdod was an ancient city on the “curve of the Mediterranean Coast” at the Wadi Lakhish (similar to Indo-European e.g. Latvian LIKS, LICIS “gulf”) on a what was probably the northernmost border of Ancient Egypt on a line running toward Lachish (Tell el Hesy).


The levels of occupation at Ashdod show the same dating errors as Tell el Hesy and are off by about 300 to 350 years. (Ashdod is similar to Greek azotus and Latvian azotis meaning “bosom” [of the Mediterranean], i.e. “gulf”, curved part of the Mediterranean).


There is a very thick layer of ash at Ashdod at the level which corresponds to the thick layer of ash at Tell el Hesy. This layer of ash dates to ca. 1628 BC whereas mainstream scholars date that level of ash erroneously to 1300-1200 BC (without the benefit of Petrie’s imagined “alkali burners” theory). Hence, all other levels at Ashdod are correspondingly falsely dated.


It is only AFTER the volcanic eruption of Santorin that the Philistines occupy the city, including the neighboring Ashkelon.


Indeed, ALL the cities Jericho, Debit (Tell Bet-Mirsim), Lachisch, Bet-El, Gibeon and Hazor (Tell el Qedaz) were all destroyed by fire and ash at the same time – and – as David Rohl has noted for Hazor, this occurred at least a hundred years previous to any possible destruction by the Israelites – in fact 300 years previous.


b. Scholars in the 20th century have erred in locating Lachish at Tell ed-Duwer. Rather, Petrie already and correctly identified Tell el Hesy in the 18th century as Lachish, i.e. La-cHish (cHish = Hesy). Tell (k)ed-Duwer is in fact the Biblical site of Kadesh which scholars have unsuccessfully and falsely tried to find in a completely other region. KaDesh was later used as the “reference” city for the battle in the Bible, and the battle here was a battle for the northern border of Egypt. Indeed, there is strong evidence of ancient military battle here, e.g. ancient Assyrian ramps have been found at (k)ed Duwer, i.e. Kadesh.


c. At the time of King Ramses II (who was King Solomon – the battle of Kadesh took place in the fifth year of his reign, 480 years after Exodus – which is 1147 BC), and the winning of this battle is found inscribed in the reliefs at Karnak, where the battle is said to have been won for Eskarun which is similar to Indo-European e.g. Latvian aizskarin “border, curtain”. Assyrian sources refer to Eskarun as Asqualuna and refer to it as a “region” with a definite BORDER, and we retain this term as the historical city name Ashkelon on this border.
[end of the Challenge]

A Shambolic Woolly Paper : Baroness Murphy at Lords of the Blog Draws a Bead on Lord Chancellor Jack Straw and his Proposals for Lords Reform

Imagine if someone called one of your written projects “shambolic”.

What would it mean?

Baroness Murphy of the UK House of Lords at Lords of the Blog in her posting Laws are Like Sausages? did just that a few days ago to Jack Straw, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, calling his White Paper proposals for Lords reforma shambolic woolly paper”.

It certainly sounds like something one would not like one’s work to be called.

What did Straw write? The BBC tells us:

Under the proposals most, if not all peers, would be elected and serve terms of between 12 and 15 years.

The Lords would be reduced in size from more than 700 peers to no more than 450. The bishops would stay, but the 92 hereditary peers would be abolished.

Such a reform, if promulgated, is viewed as the virtual abolition of the House of Lords by some.

See the definition of shambolic here.
And woolly is not an appellation of endearment either.

The Law of King Athelstan of England Revisited : Some Wide Speculations about Prehistoric Megalithic Culture

This crossposting from the LexiLine group is in part a revisitation of the Law of King Athelstan of England about which we posted previously at LawPundit and is intended only for those of our readers who are interested in some relatively wide speculations about the prehistoric megalithic era.

22 LexiLine 2008 Dalarran Holm Stockie Muir & The Whangie

Dear LexiLiners,

One of the readers of my book, Stars Stones and Scholars has drawn my attention to Standing Stone NX639792 at Dalarran Holm, of which I was previously not aware. I have some new discoveries as a result, though let me say that this is VERY speculative and may be quite a stretch. But is quite interesting, nevertheless.

This location of the megalith NX639792 at Dalarran Holm is very close to the White Cairn at Corriedow (probably better called Corriedoo for GPS map purposes), which according to my book Stars Stones and Scholars marked t-Eridani in the ancient survey of Scotland. See also

If the rest of my identifications are accurate, then this megalith at Dalarran Holm must mark the star gamma-Eridani (Zaurak) in the system that I have published.

In 3117 BC (i.e. -3116 by astronomy), Zaurak is exactly on the celestial meridian, i.e. on the line running from the North Pole through the Vernal Equinox to the South Pole, about 30 degrees angular separation from Aldebaran, which I presume was the star which the ancients took to mark the Vernal Equinox in that era.

Pursuant to my system in Stars Stones and Scholars, Aldebaran is marked in Scotland by the cairn at Stockie Muir. We now can also add a bit of color to this location because Stockie Muir is close to a singularly unique location called the Whangie (meaning “slice” [of the Earth?]). Here is where we get onto rather speculative footing….

The Whangie is described shortly at as “A strange geological feature that is about 50 ft deep and 300 ft long. and was probably caused by glacial movement way back in the dim and distant past. The more colourful explanation however is the local myth suggesting that it was a crack caused by the devil whipping his tail during a meeting with witches and warlocks. Either way it’s an interesting walk and popular with climbers although they were hiding on our visit.

Presuming that the ancients did not carve the Whangie out of solid rock to mark the celestial meridian in ca. 3117 BC (we do not know if this could have been done, given the puzzling geological explanation currently in vogue), they may nevertheless have regarded the Whangie – if it is in fact a natural geological formation – as part of their megalithic survey system. Or they may have used a natural formation and “customized” it. Here is a longer description of the Whangie well worth quoting from at Rambles Round Glasgow New Kilpatrick and the Whangie:

Descending the farther side of the hill, we soon descry the gray storm-beaten rocks of the Whangie. On approaching the spot the first thing that strikes the visitor is an immense confused heap of jagged trap, piled against the hillside, and threatening in various places to topple over, while countless fragments of every size and shape are strewn about in the wildest irregularity, as if a congregation of demons had been, in some past epoch, engaged here in a diabolical stone-battle. On closer inspection, however, it is seen that a vast section of the hill has been by some means or other wrenched asunder, leaving a lengthened and deep chasm yawning along the line of separation, and that the shattered appearance of the external surface has been produced by the violence of the convulsion which caused the original disunion. Entering the narrow ravine, we proceed as it were into the bowels of the firm-fixed earth. The passage is tortuous and uneven, the projections of one side corresponding with singular exactness to the hollows on the other. In width the Whangie, as this terrible fissure is called, varies from 2½ to 10 feet; its medium depth being about 40 feet, while its length is 346 feet. The external wall, if we may use the term, is fearfully fractured in several places, and on peeping through the crevices and beholding the apparently tottering masses overhanging the steep below, the spectator involuntarily shrinks back as if his touch would send them thundering down. Save a stunted rowan-tree or two, projecting from the rifted summit of the chasm, the Whangie is utterly devoid of sylvan adornment.

It is particularly the length of the Whangie, 346 feet, which captured our attention. Could a part of the Whangie be a man-made “slice” of the Earth? 346 feet is also the length of the outer circumference edge of the ring of Sarsen stones at Stonehenge.

Martin Doutré argues at that :

The outer ring was based upon two PHI reductions of the Aubrey Circle and was coded to a circumference of 345.6 feet (172.8 X 2). This was 1/378000th of the size of the Earth under the sexagesimal system, which broke the circle of the Earth into degrees, minutes and seconds of arc.

I disagree with Doutré that this length was intended to represent 1/378000th of the circumference of the Earth. Rather, I think the ancients thought it represented 1/360000th of that circumference, which would be a circumference of 124560000 modernly measured feet or 4152000 yards or 23590 miles (ca. 38000 km), which compares well to the modern calculations of the Earth’s circumference at the Equator of 24901.55 miles (40075.16 km) as well as the Earth’s circumference between the North and South Poles of 24859.82 miles (40008 km).

In terms of ancient measures, I also think it likely that these 346 feet as measured by today’s foot would have been 400 feet in ancient days, giving this ancient foot a value of .865 in terms of our modern foot. The ancient 400 feet as 1/360000th of Earth’s circumference would have meant that the ancients calculated that circumference as 144000000 of their feet which would make one degree of the Earth equal to 400000 of their feet, which derives from dividing the circumference of the Earth of 144000000 feet by 360 = 400000 ancient feet which equals about 346000 modern feet.

That is pretty close to the Law of King Athelstan of England (see which has elsewhere been calculated at 365000 feet for one degree of Earth measure.

346000 feet is about 65 miles.
So how far is Standing Stone NX639792 at Dalarran Holm from Stockie Muir? It is about 65 miles. See

For these coordinates, see
Stockie Muir (alternate name: Aucheneck)
Nearest Town: Milngavie (10km ESE)
OS Ref (GB): NS479812 / Sheet: 64
Latitude: 55° 59′ 58.2″ N
Longitude: 4° 26′ 21.26″ W

For these coordinates, see
Dalarran Holm
Nearest Town: New Galloway (2km SW)
OS Ref (GB): NX639792 / Sheet: 77
Latitude: 55° 5′ 18.09″ N
Longitude: 4° 7′ 57.62″ W

If the ancients were measuring the size of the earth along the celestial meridian in ca. 3117 BC, using, inter alia, Stockie Muir (represented by the star Aldebaran) and Standing Stone NX639792 at Dalarran Holm (represented the star gamma-Eridani (Zaurak)), then the distance between them may have been measured by the ancients as one degree of Earth longitude.

Accordingly, Standing Stone NX639792 at Dalarran Holm could very well be viewed to be an important stone in the ancient astronomical survey by astronomy.




As written in Glasgow’s Evening Citizen 100 years ago by Hugh MacDonald:

The Whangie is a vast section of the hill that has by some means been wrenched asunder, leaving a lengthened and deepened chasm yawning along the lines of separation.” It must have caught the public’s attention, for The Whangie became one of the most popular walks in the Glasgow area, overlooking the Stockiemuir towards Loch Lomond and the hills of the Trossachs.

The Whangie runs virtually East-West. See Edenmill Farm and its walks.

Geologically, The Whangie and Auchineden Hill have been explained as follows:

The Whangie is a strange geological phenomenon, being the result of “glacial plucking” caused by extreme temperatures which froze the slabs of rock to the glacier. As the glacier moved, it “plucked” the hillside, causing a split, leaving the rock walls rising sheer on either side of the gap.

We might note that a speculative analysis of the name of Stockie Muir near the Whangie might support our speculative interpretation, as Stockie is similar to German Stock meaning “stick” and Gaelic stoc meaning “pillar” while Muir is similar to Greek μοίρα meaning “degree”, i.e. in this case “one measuring stick as a degree”, though we must recall that muir in Gaelic generally means “sea” but can also mean “spear”, whereas the modern interpretation of place names has muir meaning “moor” or “hill”, both of which fit this wet, boggy location.

There is nevertheless an unmistakeable connection between Stockie Muir and The Whangie. As noted at The Modern Antiquarian, the rocks that form the Stockie Muir Chambered Cairn “undoubtably came from the Whangie“.

That Whangie means “thick slice” in Scottish dialect shows that the term is perhaps related to Indo-European terms for “furrow” such as Latvian vaga (*vanga) or the Finno-Ugric Finnish vako or Estonian vagu.

One argument for suggesting some human intervention in creating this stone corridor is the flatness of the path through the rock, as if made for being walked through, and that there is not a one-to-one correspondence of the sides of the Whangie on each side, denying the theory that they walls were split naturally in all cases. Again, man may have helped here or there to make this split the length it is. See, for example, the photos at In addition, there appear to be anthropomorphic figures carved in the sides of part of the Whangie. For more photographs of the Whangie, see the Air na Creagan Mountaineering Club, biotron at Flickr, British Blogs, and Allan Gilliland.

A video walk through the Whangie is found at this YouTube Video but the piercing music attached to the video may not be to your taste, in which case you may want to turn down the sound in the event that you view the video.

Do You Scrobble? Next Generation Makeover at Social Music Website

Do you scrobble?

Scrobbling a song means that when you listen to it, the name of the song is sent to and added to your music profile.

Once you’ve signed up and downloaded, you can scrobble songs you listen to on your computer or iPod automatically. Start scrobbling yourself, and see what artists you really listen to the most. Songs you listen to will also appear on your profile page for others to see.

Millions of songs are scrobbled every day. This data helps to organise and recommend music to people; we use it to create personalised radio stations, and a lot more besides.“ is a free global music service available in 12 languages that became a part of CBS last year.

David Chartier writes at ars technica on July 17, 2008 about, “The Social Music Revolution” and its Next Generation makeover:

Music streaming and social community has redesigned for a more mature experience, adding more integration and ubiquity across a variety of devices. became a bit more interesting some time ago with the introduction of a plug-in for various software….

Read that posting at ars technica for more.

Satire and Parody in the US Presidential Campaign 2008

Shakespeare depicted life as either comedy or tragedy.

Barack Obama, for example, has recently been the subject of a satirical cover at The New Yorker magazine. Laugh or cry.

In case you are not familiar with it through Jay Leno, the website has some videos which parody various subjects, including the US Presidential Campaign:

It is all a matter of taste (or not), but see Time for Some Campaignin’ by JibJab.

Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Dish writes that it is “their best yet”.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

The Science of Nudging and Why Barack Obama Might Be Elected President of the United States : Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Who will win the US Presidential Election in 2008?

Behavioural economics might tell us.

According to its theories, the election might then well go to the candidate who best masters “the science of nudging“, and at the moment that candidate might well be Barack Obama, whose vision of change is what a behavioural economist might call an exercise in “choice architecture” – a classic nudge.

Aditya Chakrabortty writes about the nudge as follows at The Guardian, Saturday July 12, 2008, in From Obama to Cameron, why do so many politicians want a piece of Richard Thaler?

What is the big idea of Richard Thaler, the economist quoted by David Cameron and Barack Obama? It comes down to this: you’re not as smart as you think. Humans, he believes, are less rational and more influenced by peer pressure and suggestion than governments and economists reckon.

“Economists assume people have brains like supercomputers that can solve anything,” says Thaler. “But human minds are more like really old Apple Macs with slow processing speeds and prone to frequent crashes.”

According to this view, voters are less Mr Spock than Homer Simpson and they could do with a bit of help – what Thaler terms a “nudge” – to save more, eat more healthily and do all the other things that they know they should.

Cameron is so interested in the idea that in a speech last month he mentioned Thaler, his co-author Cass Sunstein and even the fact they had a new book out, Nudge. He then summed up their argument: “One of the most important influences on people’s behaviour is what other people do … with the right prompting we’ll change our behaviour to fit in with what we see around us.” It was surely the best plug two Chicago academics with a book about the obscure discipline of behavioural economics could hope for.” [emphasis added by LawPundit]

Read the whole article here.

Nudge co-authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein are interviewed at the page of their book, providing us with an introduction to the science of nudging and “Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness“: What do you mean by “nudge” and why do people sometimes need to be nudged?

Thaler and Sunstein: By a nudge we mean anything that influences our choices. A school cafeteria might try to nudge kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front. We think that it’s time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gentling nudging them in directions that will make their lives better. What are some of the situations where nudges can make a difference?

Thaler and Sunstein: Well, to name just a few: better investments for everyone, more savings for retirement, less obesity, more charitable giving, a cleaner planet, and an improved educational system. We could easily make people both wealthier and healthier by devising friendlier choice environments, or architectures…. What is “choice architecture” and how does it affect the average person’s daily life?

Thaler and Sunstein: Choice architecture is the context in which you make your choice. Suppose you go into a cafeteria. What do you see first, the salad bar or the burger and fries stand? Where’s the chocolate cake? Where’s the fruit? These features influence what you will choose to eat, so the person who decides how to display the food is the choice architect of the cafeteria. All of our choices are similarly influenced by choice architects. The architecture includes rules deciding what happens if you do nothing; what’s said and what isn’t said; what you see and what you don’t. Doctors, employers, credit card companies, banks, and even parents are choice architects. [emphasis added by LawPundit]

We show that by carefully designing the choice architecture, we can make dramatic improvements in the decisions people make, without forcing anyone to do anything. For example, we can help people save more and invest better in their retirement plans, make better choices when picking a mortgage, save on their utility bills, and improve the environment simultaneously. Good choice architecture can even improve the process of getting a divorce–or (a happier thought) getting married in the first place! Are we humans just poorly adapted for making sound judgments in an increasingly fast-paced and complex world? What can we do to position ourselves better?

Thaler and Sunstein: The human brain is amazing, but it evolved for specific purposes, such as avoiding predators and finding food. Those purposes do not include choosing good credit card plans, reducing harmful pollution, avoiding fatty foods, and planning for a decade or so from now. Fortunately, a few nudges can help a lot….

A final hint: Read Nudge. “

Hat tip to Edge.

US Foreign Policy under President Obama : Senator Barack Obama’s July 15, 2008 Speech Outlines his New Strategy for the United States and a New World

Barack Obama has just delivered a major speech, setting forth his major foreign policy strategies for his campaign battle against John McCain in the 2008 US Presidential Election.

Obama’s speech is found online at Senator Barack Obama’s New Strategy for a New World, where it is available both in a video as well as a print version.

The YouTube video version is embedded here at LawPundit and runs 36:24 minutes:

It is quicker to read the print version.

Compare McCain’s Strategy for Victory in Iraq.

Choosing the Right Law School: What About Golf ? Equal on the Tee : US Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts, Golf Pro Tiger Woods and Golfist Mike Park

The Golf Digest College Guide to Golf 2007-2008 ranks Stanford University at Number 1 for golf. We definitely agree. Stanford’s championship course was one of the variables which in part determined our own choice of law school out of ten possibilities a number of years ago.

Man does not live by law alone. Golf matters.

As written at Golf Digest’s Political Golf Rankings:

… Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, a longtime player whose 14.5 Index hasn’t been updated since 2000, declined to approximate his handicap, saying he hasn’t been playing enough to have one.

This, obviously, is a regrettable lapse of judgment on the part of a Chief Justice who got where he is by p(l)aying golf its proper due in his formative years. We are certain that the Chief Justice’s opinions would improve all the more if he played golf often enough to maintain a handicap rating. Let each man swing for what he is worth in a game which levels all classes of humanity.

Equal on the Tee*

After all, golf humbly teaches every golfer who has had the courage to swing a club, that on the tee, all men are equal**… unless, of course, you are Tiger Woods.

And even then, that Stanford grad has recently been brought to the “knee” by the Golf gods …. (see Woods to miss the rest of the year with knee surgery).

No one is spared. Everyone has to pay his just due.

Mike Park speaks for the soul of golf when he writes in Golf is good for you:

Read the USGA rules of golf and you see the New England Primer, the U.S. Constitution, and the Rule of St. Benedict: words that bring structure and order to a stochastic universe. Playing golf, then, is a celebration of a way of life. How can you live without it. If you can’t live without it, how can it be a luxury? Any way you look at it, a year of golf is cheaper than a year of Prozac and counseling, and better for you. How is that a luxury? Playing golf means you aren’t flirting with women who aren’t your wife, it means taking the time to think about the meaning of your life and your place in the world, and being a better person.

On the course, you are a better man than you are off of it. You let people through. You report your sins and assign your own punishment. You keep a respectful silence as other people go about their business. You offer to share your cigars. If all of the world adhered to golf etiquette, we would have none of the current mess we are in.


* The LawPundit phrase “equal on the tee“(TM) is hereby copyrighted and trademarked and may not be used in any golf or other context for commercial or other proprietary purposes of any kind without contractual permission from LawPundit. We do not plan to exploit this phrase commercially, but this notice means that no one else can (or should) either, as it is our invention (Google does not find that phrase today, prior to our coining of it).
** That all men are equal on the tee is something that some golfers, curiously enough, seem not yet to have learned.

Make Love Not War : The Barcelona Process : The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is Approved at the Paris Summit

Here is an interesting geopolitical question. What country in Africa, NOT located on the Mediterranean, is a part of the just approved Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)? See UfM map. This country is geographically larger than either France, Germany or Spain, more than twice as large geographically as Iraq, nearly six times the geographic size of Syria, and also larger geographically than either Egypt or Turkey. The answer is: Mauritania. (See world map).

On July 13, 2008 Barcelona Process : Union for the Mediterranean (Union pour la Méditerranée) was approved at the Paris Summit of the leaders of the member countries. The organization, though in somewhat different form, was originally the brainchild of French President Nicolas Sarkozywho said its aim was to ensure the region’s people could love each other instead of making war.”

The Union for the Mediterranean is a 43-member community, encompassing 750 million people (ca. 25% from Arab States), and comprised of the Member States of the European Union plus the “states” bordering on the Mediterranean Sea and participating in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (the so-called “Barcelona Process”).

The goal of the Union for the Mediterranean is to improve relations between the EU, North Africa and the Middle East and to tackle common problems such as immigration, pollution and political unrest.

But already one day after approval of the Union there are signs that the leadership of the non-EU countries will have to struggle to muster up the maturity and the discipline needed to carry out such an ambitious project, which has been cautiously supported by the USA in the hopes of “spurring on Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.

There is also negative opinion that the Union for the Mediterranean could serve to accelerate general devolution in the European Union.

Nevertheless, in spite of the obvious political problems involved, main areas of focus of the Union for the Mediterranean will be:

  • improving energy supply
  • fighting pollution in the Mediterranean
  • strengthening the surveillance of maritime traffic and “civil security cooperation”
  • setting up a Mediterranean Erasmus exchange programme for students, and
  • creating a scientific community between Europe and its southern neighbours.

For an interactive map (in French) relating to details about the UfM (Union for the Mediterranean), see Making Mediterranean waves at the blog of MESH, Middle East Strategy at Harvard, a project of the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Net Neutrality a Rising Issue as FCC warns Comcast About File Exchange Restrictions placed on Web Use by Paying Customers

Net neutrality encompasses the idea that providers of Internet access services should not be able to place any discriminatory restrictions on web use by their users.

The issue in the instant case is a ComCast practice of restricting BitTorrent file exchanges without even informing the affected users as to the nature and extent of the practice. Since ComCast is the largest cable company in the USA, this is a significant matter.

As written by Saul Hansell in the New York Times Technology section under F.C.C. Chief Would Bar Comcast From Imposing Web Restrictions:

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said Friday that Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, should be sanctioned because it had interfered with the Internet connections of users who were exchanging files with other people.

Mr. Martin’s recommendation is a strong push for network neutrality, the idea that Internet access providers like Comcast should not be allowed to favor some uses of their networks over others….

“The normative message is that it is wrong to block the Internet,” said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School who is the chairman of Free Press, an advocacy group that filed the complaint about Comcast for which Mr. Martin is proposing a resolution.

“The deeper message he’s sending here is that users are sovereign. If two people want to send a file between each other, the carriers are not to get in the way.”

Professor Wu said the issues at stake go back to the common-law concept of a common carrier, which defined certain businesses — from blacksmiths to ferries — as so essential to commerce that their owners could not discriminate against any paying customer.

These ancient concerns are increasingly relevant to the Internet as an ever-greater share of commerce is conducted online. Companies that sell products or offer content over the Internet have worried that without regulation, the Internet access providers might chose to offer better and faster service to some companies — perhaps those that pay for preferred treatment — than to others.

Internet service providers on the other hand are legitimately looking for solutions to the problem of heavy broadband use by Internet file exchangers in particular, e.g. in the present case:

Comcast argues that its approach is legitimate, and that the commission does not have the authority to impose any sanctions.

“We believe that the network management technique we chose at the time was reasonable,” said Sena Fitzmaurice, a Comcast spokeswoman. She added that Comcast had already said it planned to change its approach to dealing with heavy use. It is developing a system that will slow the Internet connections of people who are moving large amounts of data at busy times.

Read the entire article to get a good bird’s eye view of the immensely significant issue of net neutrality which will become increasingly important in the future as Internet service providers battle to keep heavy file-exchanging broadband use from clogging the Internet.

We definitely support net neutrality in principle. On the other hand, we also think that Internet service providers should be permitted to have non-discriminatory means at their disposal to restrict heavy broadband use as needed in order to maintain the ability of EVERYONE to access the Internet and not have the online rights of all to be burdened by the few.