Underwater Pyramid: What is the Galilee Anomaly?

Recently, a team of researchers discovered a giant underwater pyramid beneath the Sea of Galilee. What is the Galilee Anomaly?

Underwater Pyramid: What is the Galilee Anomaly?

Underwater Pyramid: What is the Galilee Anomaly?
Description: Professor Aronnax and Captain Nemo visit the ruins of the lost world of Atlantis
Illustration by Alphonse de Neuville and Edouard Riou
Source: Wikimedia Commons

What is the Galilee Anomaly?

Well, it looks like we’ve got another Baltic Anomaly on our hands. Here are the details. During the summer of 2003, a sonar survey captured an image of a large cone-shaped structure in the southwest part of the Sea of Galilee. Almost ten years later, divers finally investigated the strange underwater pyramid.

They found “a conical stone pile built of large, natural, unhewn basalt cobbles and boulders” at a depth of 220 meters. The underwater pyramid rises 10 meters off the seafloor with a diameter of 70 meters. Incidentally, the individual boulders show no signs of human activity.

“Close inspection by scuba diving revealed that the structure is made of basalt boulders up to 1 m long with no apparent construction pattern. The boulders have natural faces with no signs of cutting or chiselling. Similarly, we did not find any sign of arrangement or walls that delineate this structure.” ~ Yitzhak Paz, Moshe Reshef, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Shmuel Marco, Gideon Tibor, and Dani Nadel, A Submerged Monumental Structure in the Sea of Galilee, Israel

Underwater Pyramid: Manmade or Artificial?

Although the boulders show no signs of being worked, the team is convinced this underwater pyramid is a manmade structure. The reason? It appears unnatural and other basalt boulders were not found in the area.

“The shape and composition of the submerged structure does not resemble any natural feature. We therefore conclude that it is man-made and might be termed a cairn. The boulders had to be transported at least a few hundred metres from the nearest basalt outcrop.” ~ Yitzhak Paz, Moshe Reshef, Zvi Ben-Avraham, Shmuel Marco, Gideon Tibor, and Dani Nadel, A Submerged Monumental Structure in the Sea of Galilee, Israel

They think the structure was built on dry land, possibly more than 4,000 years ago. This would match up with other megalithic architecture in the area. But while those ones were spared, the Galilee Anomaly was eventually washed over by the Sea of Galilee. Incidentally, the structure is located a mile north of the ancient city of Khirbet Kerak.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The Galilee Anomaly, as I like it call it, is an exciting discovery. But I’m not fully convinced this underwater pyramid is manmade. Just because it appears unnatural doesn’t mean it is unnatural. I’ve touched on this in a previous article, namely how people tend to think certain angles, shapes, and rock formations can’t exist in nature.

“After all, right angles don’t exist in nature right? Wrong. The right angle, contrary to popular opinion, does exist in nature. It’s not some secret invention of mankind. It is just as likely to appear in nature as any other angle. However, nature shows no bias toward the right angle while mankind, on the other hand, makes extensive use of it. Thus, when we see right angles in nature, we’re inclined to immediately suspect artificial origin.” ~ David Meyer, The Baltic Anomaly: Is it Natural…or Artificial?

Also, the team has yet to conduct a full search of the underwater pyramid. There may yet be signs of a basalt outcropping in the area. Until the team conducts a full archaeological excavation, it will be impossible to know for sure.

Beale Codes: Solving an Unsolvable Code?

Between 1819 and 1821, Thomas Beale buried a giant treasure in Virginia. It has never been found. The key to its location lies in one of the most mysterious codes in history…the Beale Codes. But how does one go about solving an unsolvable cipher?

Beale Code #1

Beale Code #1
Source: Archive.org

The Mysterious Beale Treasure?

Last Friday, I posted the first story in a short series about the mysterious Beale Treasure. On Monday, I posted the second installment. Yesterday, I discussed whether the Beale Codes are real or a giant hoax. To recap, Thomas Beale and thirty other people excavated a massive treasure between 1819 and 1821. They reburied it in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Then Beale created three ciphers now known as the Beale Codes.

“The Beale Ciphers were three codes which would enable one to locate the treasure and distribute it to the rightful heirs in the event that the group didn’t survive. The first Beale Cipher revealed the location of the vault. The second Beale Cipher described the contents of the vault. And the third Beale Cipher provided names and residences of the group members as well as their heirs.” ~ David Meyer, Beale Ciphers: A Lost Treasure?

Only one of the Beale Codes – the second one – has ever been decoded. It revealed the exact contents of the treasure.

“I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford’s, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith: The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec. eighteen twenty-one, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.” ~ Thomas Jefferson Beale, Decoded Version of Beale Cipher #2

Solving Beale Code #2?

Beale Code #2 is a book code. The “book” is the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In order to solve it, you take each number from the code and compare it to the relevant word in the document. Then you take the first letter from that word. So, the first number is 115. The 115th word in the Declaration of Independence is “instituted.” And the first letter in “instituted” is i. Below, you can see Beale Code #2 for yourself, as presented in The Beale Papers, Containing Authentic Statements Regarding the Treasure Buried in 1819 and 1821, Near Bufords, in Bedford County, Virginia, and which has Never Been Recovered:

Beale Code #2

Beale Code #2
Source: Archive.org

This code was supposedly solved by a “friend” of Robert Morriss. The friend claimed to have stumbled upon the solution. I’ve always considered this one of the hardest parts of the Beale story to swallow. Without the key, a book cipher would’ve been pretty much impossible to solve at the time. Oh yeah, and the Declaration used to encode Beale Cipher #2 contains numerous mistakes. And yet, the friend was still able to figure out those mistakes. So, either the entire thing is a scam or the friend was using a similar version of the Declaration (actually, that second option isn’t impossible to believe…flaws abound in early reprintings of the Declaration).

Solving the Unsolvable Ciphers?

Assuming the Beale Codes are real, it stands to reason the remaining ciphers are encoded like Beale Code #2. That means there are two ways to solve them. First, a budding treasure hunter could search for the right key. This would involve seeking out texts of the time period and comparing them to the ciphers. One interesting idea presented by Tim Haydock in his book, Treasure Trove, plays off the fact that Beale’s full name was Thomas Jefferson Beale. Beale Code #2 was encoded with the Declaration of Independence, which is usually associated with Jefferson. So, Beale Code #1 might correspond to someone named Thomas (perhaps Thomas Paine). Beale Code #3 would then be deciphered with something having to do with the name Beale. An alternative suggestion is that all three documents might link to works published by Thomas Jefferson.

The second approach is to employ computers in a brute force attack. I believe this has been done in the past, but I’d be curious to know what modern computers could do with it.

Regardless, here are the remaining Beale Ciphers for those of you who wish to try your hand with them.

Beale Code #1

Beale Code #1
Source: Archive.org

Beale Code #3

Beale Code #3
Source: Archive.org

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Before you run off searching for old books, there are two things you should know. First, some scholars think the Beale Codes story is nothing more than a Masonic allegory.

Actually, of course, Beale and his treasure are illusory-merely part of an allegory meant to evoke the anticipated Masonic “discovery of the secret vault and the inestimable treasures, with the long-lost word” (as expressed in the Royal Arch degree). The contrast between the futile quest for gold and that for more spiritual wealth are didactically expressed in the allegory.” ~ Joe Nickell, Mysterious Realms: Probing Paranormal, Historical, and Forensic Enigmas

And second, in 1980 Jim Gillogly used the same Declaration of Independence in an attempt to decipher Beale Code #1. This resulted in some curious strings of letters such as AAA, TTTTT, and most interesting, ABFDEFGHIIJKLMMNOHPP. Gillogly concluded that Beale Code #1 was fake, created by randomly selecting words out of the Declaration that, at least in part, formed the alphabet. On the other hand, this could indicate a two-stage code. In other words, the alphabetic sequence might line up with a keystring. Regardless, it seems almost certain at this point that the Declaration of Independence was used in some manner to create Beale Code #1.

Beale Treasure: Real…or a Giant Hoax?

Between 1819 and 1821, Thomas Beale buried a giant treasure in Virginia. The Beale Treasure has never been found. The key to its location lies in one of the most mysterious codes in history…the Beale Ciphers. But is the Beale Treasure even real? Or is it a giant hoax?

Is the Beale Treasure real...or a giant hoax?

Is the Beale Treasure real…or a giant hoax?
Description: Cover of the Beale Papers (published 1885)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Mysterious Beale Treasure?

Last Friday, I posted the first story in a short series about the mysterious Beale Treasure. Yesterday, I posted the second installment. To recap, Thomas Beale and thirty other people excavated a massive treasure between 1819 and 1821. They reburied it in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Then Beale created three ciphers now known as the Beale Ciphers.

“The Beale Ciphers were three codes which would enable one to locate the treasure and distribute it to the rightful heirs in the event that the group didn’t survive. The first Beale Cipher revealed the location of the vault. The second Beale Cipher described the contents of the vault. And the third Beale Cipher provided names and residences of the group members as well as their heirs.” ~ David Meyer, Beale Ciphers: A Lost Treasure?

Only one of the ciphers – the second one – has ever been decoded. It revealed the exact contents of the treasure.

“I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford’s, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith: The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec. eighteen twenty-one, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.” ~ Thomas Jefferson Beale, Decoded Version of Beale Cipher #2

Is the Beale Treasure Real…or a Giant Hoax?

The remaining ciphers constitute two of the most famous unsolved codes in history. Many people find this suspicious. After all, high-speed computers and advances in code-breaking have enabled easy decryption of once unsolvable codes. That being said, numerous cryptographers have studied the remaining ciphers and concluded that the sequences of numbers appear non-random.

The story behind the Beale Treasure is problematic. Why would Beale and his companions dig up a giant treasure only to hide it somewhere else? Why didn’t they split it up and go on spending sprees instead? Why would they haul it out to Virginia if they intended to stay out west? And why would they entrust the secret to a man they barely knew – and thus further divide the Beale Treasure – rather than to one (or all) of the heirs?

Other problems abound. The second cipher – a description of the Beale Treasure – seems entirely unnecessary. And the third cipher – which provides the names and addresses of the heirs – seems entirely too short. It’s 618 characters long. Assuming it’s encoded like Beale Cipher #2 (one number is equivalent to one letter), each heir gets about twenty characters. That doesn’t leave much room for a full-blown address. For example, “Thomas Beale, Lynchburg,” runs twenty characters by itself. On the other hand, it is possible some of the heirs shared an address.

Also, some of the words used in Beale’s letters don’t seem to make sense. According to Joe Nickell, the words, “stampeding,” “improvised,” and “appliances” did not appear in print until decades after Beale’s letters were supposedly written. This would seem to indicate the letters were written at a later date or someone edited them along the way. There is also some evidence to suggest that the person who wrote Beale Cipher #2 also wrote the pamphlet that revealed the story to the public (The Beale Papers, Containing Authentic Statements Regarding the Treasure Buried in 1819 and 1821, Near Bufords, in Bedford County, Virginia, and which has Never Been Recovered).

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The Beale Treasure suffer from the same problem as so many other legendary lost treasures…lack of falsifiability. There is simply no way to disprove the story. And there is no way to prove it either. Undoubtedly, Beale researchers will continue to study the codes, searching for a breakthrough. It may come someday. Or it may not.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at some possible ways to approach the Beale Ciphers from a treasure hunting perspective. See you then!

Beale Ciphers #2: A Massive Treasure Revealed?

Between 1819 and 1821, Thomas Beale buried a gigantic treasure in Virginia. It’s never been found. In order to locate it, one must first decipher one of the most mysterious codes in history…the Beale Ciphers.

What are the Beale Ciphers?

What are the Beale Ciphers?
Description: Cover of the Beale Papers (published 1885)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Mysterious Beale Ciphers?

On Friday, I posted the first story in a short series about the mysterious Beale Ciphers. To recap, Thomas Beale and thirty other people excavated a massive treasure between 1819 and 1821. They reburied this treasure in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Then Beale created a series of ciphers to make sure the treasure could be located in the event he and his group were killed.

“The Beale Ciphers were three codes which would enable one to locate the treasure and distribute it to the rightful heirs in the event that the group didn’t survive. The first Beale Cipher revealed the location of the vault. The second Beale Cipher described the contents of the vault. And the third Beale Cipher provided names and residences of the group members as well as their heirs.” ~ David Meyer, Beale Ciphers: A Lost Treasure?

In 1822, Beale locked the Beale Ciphers, along with two letters, in an iron box. He gave the box to Robert Morriss, a Virginia-based innkeeper, for safekeeping. Morriss placed it in a safe and proceeded to forget about it.

A few months later, Morriss received a letter from Beale. It was dated May 9, 1822. Beale claimed to be en route to the Great Plains on a two-year hunting trip. He told Morriss that the box contained papers that would “be unintelligible without the aid of a key…” He asked Morriss to keep the box for ten years. If no one came for it by then, Morriss was to assume Beale and the rest of his party was dead. He was then supposed to open the box and use a key (which would somehow be mailed in June 1832) to decipher the papers.

Morriss never heard from Beale again.

The Beale Ciphers…Deciphered?

June 1832 came and went. Morriss continued to wait and didn’t open the box until 1845. Inside, he found two letters, detailing the story of the Beale treasure. He also found three papers, covered with seemingly random numbers. In his letters, Beale asked Morriss to find the treasure and distribute it to thirty beneficiaries. For his efforts, Morriss would be entitled to an equal share of the treasure. Unfortunately, Morriss had never received the promised key. He was unable to decipher the codes and thus, the treasure remained lost.

In 1862, Morriss passed the Beale Ciphers to a friend (possibly James B. Ward). If he was able to locate the treasure, the friend would receive one-half of Morriss’ share. The friend believed the code was a standard key-code, with each number standing for a separate letter or word. For the next twenty years, the friend worked on the Beale Ciphers, comparing them to various documents. Eventually, he came upon a solution.

The friend compared the second Beale Cipher to the Declaration of Independence. Each number corresponded to a word in the document. The friend took the first letter of each word and came up with the following:

“I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford’s, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith: The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec. eighteen twenty-one, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.” ~ Thomas Jefferson Beale, Decoded Version of Beale Cipher #2

In a cruel twist of fate, the friend now knew the sheer size of the treasure but not the exact location. He returned to the remaining codes with a renewed spirit. Unfortunately, he never managed to decode either of the other two Beale Ciphers. In 1885, the friend finally gave up. He proceeded to publish the whole story as a pamphlet entitled, The Beale Papers, Containing Authentic Statements Regarding the Treasure Buried in 1819 and 1821, Near Bufords, in Bedford County, Virginia, and which has Never Been Recovered.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we’ll take a closer look at the Beale Ciphers themselves. See you then!

Beale Ciphers: A Lost Treasure?

Between 1819 and 1821, Thomas Beale buried a whopping 2,921 pounds of gold and 5,100 pounds of silver in Virginia. It’s still there, waiting for someone to dig up. But there’s a catch. In order to find it, one must first decipher one of the most mysterious codes in history…the Beale Ciphers.

What are the Beale Ciphers?

What are the Beale Ciphers?
Description: Cover of the Beale Papers (published 1885)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Treasure Trove of Thomas Beale

In 1817, a man named Thomas Beale led thirty Virginians on a western hunting trip. They left St. Louis in May and arrived at Santa Fe in December. After several months of little activity, a few members of the group embarked on an excursion. Several weeks later, they sent word that they had discovered gold in a ravine, 250 to 300 miles north of Santa Fe. Immediately, Beale set forth to examine the site and found a large cache of gold and silver.

The group worked the ravine for 18 months, gathering a large quantity of gold and silver in the process. Afterward, they decided to transport the treasure to a cave “near Buford’s tavern in the county of Bedford.” After a long journey, part of Beale’s group arrived in Bedford. Unfortunately, the cave in question was being used by others. So, Beale’s group dug a vault in the Blue Ridge Mountains and buried the treasure. Beale later returned to the ravine, gathered more treasure, and proceeded to deposit it in the vault.

The Beale Ciphers?

The treasure was to be split into thirty shares, one for each member of the group. However, the group faced a problem. They didn’t want anyone to know about the treasure. At the same time, members were still actively hunting and prospecting at the ravine. As such, they were worried about Indian attacks and outlaws. If they were killed in a raid, no one would ever know about the treasure or who had rightful claim to it.

So, Beale created the Beale Ciphers. The Beale Ciphers were three codes which would enable one to locate the treasure and distribute it to the rightful heirs in the event that the group didn’t survive. The first Beale Cipher revealed the location of the vault. The second Beale Cipher described the contents of the vault. And the third Beale Cipher provided names and residences of the group members as well as their heirs. In a letter, Beale stated that the Beale Ciphers would “be unintelligible without the key…”

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The full story of the Beale Ciphers is long and complicated. So, it’ll take me a few days to go through it. Tomorrow, we’ll look into what Beale did with those ciphers and how they became public knowledge. Stay tuned…the best is yet to come!

Nazi Secret Weapons: The Rocket U-Boat?

Throughout World War II, Nazis scientists sought secret weapons to launch offensive attacks on American soil. What was the mysterious Rocket U-Boat? And how close did it come to destroying New York City?

What was the Rocket U-Boat Secret Weapon?

What was the Rocket U-Boat Secret Weapon?
Description: Launch of a V2 Rocket (Summer 1943)
Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 141-1880 / CC-BY-SA
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nazi Secret Weapons: The Rocket U-Boat?

Throughout World War II, the Nazis sought to build long-range, secret weapons (such as the Amerika-Bomber and the Sun Gun). In 1941, this desire led Nazi scientists to research the Rocket U-Boat. They hoped such a U-boat could travel across the globe, targeting cities on distant continents. In 1942, scientists developed and tested the first Rocket U-Boat. It was relatively simple, just a few rocket launchers mounted on the U-511′s deck. The test was a mixed bag. On one hand, the missiles fired just fine at depths of up to 12 meters. However, the lack of a guidance system rendered the missiles useless.

In 1943, Nazi scientists developed another secret weapon known as the V-1 flying bomb, an early predecessor to the cruise missile. It had a range of 160 miles. Paired with a U-Boat, it would be capable of long-distance strikes on any city in the world. However, the Nazi Luftwaffe showed little interest in helping to create the Rocket U-Boat, probably due to inter-service rivalry.

That same year, Nazi scientists developed another secret weapon known as the V-2 rocket. The V-2 was the world’s first long-range combat ballistic missile as well as the first rocket to achieve sub-orbital spaceflight. It had a range of 200 miles. Again, this seemed like the perfect fit for a Rocket U-Boat. And in late 1944, resources were finally allocated to it under Project Prufstand XII. The target of the Rocket U-Boat?

New York.

The Race to build a Rocket U-Boat?

The V-2 was much larger than the V-1 flying bomb. In fact, it was too large for any existing Nazi U-boat. Undeterred, Nazi scientists developed a 500-ton specially-constructed container for the V-2. The plan was to have a U-boat tow it across the Atlantic Ocean. Then sailors would flood the ballast tanks, causing the rocket to shift into a vertical position. Afterward, the sailors would fuel the rocket, prepare the guidance system, and aim it at New York.

The Nazis ordered three of these containers. At least one was actually built. It is unknown if this container was ever tested in any fashion.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

The Americans were well-aware of Nazi attempts to build a Rocket U-Boat secret weapon and prepared a contingency plan known as Operation Teardrop. In March 1945, six Nazi U-boats approached America. The U.S. launched Operation Teardrop and ended up destroying the four of the boats. It was later determined that none of these were Rocket U-Boats.

But that doesn’t mean the Rocket U-Boat was never launched. In February 1945, the U-1053 was carrying out diving trials off the coast of Norway. With all sides closing in on Nazi Germany, this seems like an odd time to worry about diving trials. Some historians think the U-1053 may have had an ulterior purpose, perhaps to test out a Rocket U-Boat system. The U-1053 shipwreck was located in March 2010. To my knowledge, it has yet to be fully explored.

The Nazi Sun Gun: Death from Above?

Nazi Germany created many unusual, horrific weapons during World War II. One incredible weapon, however, failed to materialize. What was the Nazi Sun Gun?

What was the Nazi Sun Gun?

What was the Nazi Sun Gun?
Description: “Hermann Oberth presents the Hermann Oberth award to Dr. Wernher von Braun at a banquet hosted by the Alabama Section of the American Rocket Society (October 19, 1961).”
Attribution: NASA
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Birth of the Nazi Sun Gun?

In 1929, a German physicist named Hermann Oberth wrote Wege zur Raumschiffahrt (Translation: Ways to Spaceflight). The book described Oberth’s vision of a manned orbital space station created from prefabricated parts. He also described a way to create electricity using a 100-meter wide concave mirror. The idea was to concentrate sunlight onto a single area and use steam turbines to convert the heat energy.

While Oberth’s mirror was designed to create useful energy, Nazi scientists saw another use for it. Namely, an orbital weapon called Sonnengewehr…or Sun Gun.

Launching the Sun Gun into Space

Plans for the Sun Gun were worked out by Nazi scientists at Hillersleben. They proposed creating a giant three-kilometer square mirror out of metallic sodium. Then they wanted to break it apart and launch the individual pieces into an orbit of 8,200 kilometers. In order to do this, the Nazi scientists hoped to use the Aggregate A11.

The A11 was a multistage rocket intended to deliver people and/or small payloads into low Earth orbit. At the time, it was being designed by Wernher von Braun (who later became chief architect of the Saturn V launch vehicle via Operation Paperclip, which helped land Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins on the moon).

Oberth’s original plan was to send an unmanned rocket into space, containing six long cables. These cables would then unreel themselves, eventually covering a vast area. Nazi astronauts would then fly into space and attach pieces of the giant movable mirror to the cables.

How did the Sun Gun Work?

According to Life, Nazi astronauts would live inside the rocket, using large greenhouses to maintain fresh oxygen. They would remain in space, waiting for orders from radio or wireless telegraph. Upon receiving orders to attack, they would use rocket thrusters to move the mirror into position. The mirror would focus the sunlight, causing incredible devastation in the process.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Fortunately, the Sun Gun never went past the theoretical stage. In fact, newspaper articles from 1945 say it would’ve taken 50 to 100 years to harness the sun’s energy in this fashion. However, Oberth disagreed, claiming it would take just 10 to 15 years. Oberth admitted the original mirror’s design might not have worked. However, he came to believe that a larger mirror would’ve done the trick.

“If the mirror were double the size mentioned, however, the irradiation would be four times as strong, and so on. The temperature on the surface irradiated by the double-sized mirror would be 200° C (392° F).” – Hermann Oberth, Man into Space (1957)

Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. So, 392 degrees would’ve been plenty hot…perhaps hot enough to change the course of the war itself.

End the Fed: Cyprus vs. the Federal Reserve?

"Federal Reserve Board with bankers.

“Federal Reserve Board with bankers. Front: Warburg; Williams; Hamlin; Delano. In rear is large group of governors and bankers.” (1914)
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The government of Cyprus is dominating the headlines at the moment, thanks to an audacious scheme to seize the savings of bank depositors. Many Americans are aghast at the situation. But is it really all that different from what the Federal Reserve does to U.S. depositors on a daily basis?

The Cyprus Conspiracy?

Cyprus isn’t the first European Union government to find itself in financial straits. However, the approach to dealing with those straits is unique. Usually, the EU provides immediate bailout money to such countries. In exchange, those countries agree to cut costs, raise taxes, and restructure debts.

This time, the EU required Cyprus to raise 5.8 billion Euros in order to receive a 10 billion Euro bailout. In order to pay for part of the bailout, the Cyprus government is effectively confiscating money from bank accounts worth more than 100,000 Euros (roughly equivalent to $129,000). Losses on those excess deposits might be as high as 40%…or perhaps even higher.

The Federal Reserve Conspiracy: Revisted?

The Cyprus seizure is theft by government, plain and simple. Ordinary Americans may find it hard to imagine this sort of thing ever happening in the U.S. But is the Cyprus Conspiracy all that different from the Federal Reserve Conspiracy? Not at all. Here’s more from Thomas Sowell at The American Spectator:

The U.S. government is very unlikely to just seize money wholesale from people’s bank accounts, as is being done in Cyprus. But does that mean that your life savings are safe?

No. There are more sophisticated ways for governments to take what you have put aside for yourself and use it for whatever the politicians feel like using it for. If they do it slowly but steadily, they can take a big chunk of what you have sacrificed for years to save, before you are even aware, much less alarmed.

That is in fact already happening. When officials of the Federal Reserve System speak in vague and lofty terms about “quantitative easing,” what they are talking about is creating more money out of thin air, as the Federal Reserve is authorized to do — and has been doing in recent years, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a month…

(See the rest at The American Spectator)

Whiskey Rebellion: A Rebellion against Taxes?

What caused the Whiskey Rebellion?

What caused the Whiskey Rebellion?
Description: “Famous whiskey insurrection in Pennsylvania”
Attribution: Our first century: being a popular descriptive portraiture of the one hundred great and memorable events of perpetual interest in the history of our country by R. M. Devens (1882).
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The history of the Whiskey Rebellion is shrouded in myth. Many scholars consider it a victory for the young U.S. government. But was it really a win for the anti-tax patriots?

What caused the Whiskey Rebellion?

The Whiskey Rebellion was the second major internal uprising in U.S. history (preceded only by Shays’ Rebellion). It was a response to an excise tax created by Alexander Hamilton, who served as Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington.

The U.S. government racked up $79 million in debt during the Articles of Confederation period. The Federal government owed $54 million of that amount. The individual states owed $25 million. Alexander Hamilton saw this as an opportunity to centralize government. He proposed to consolidate the debt. In order to pay it back, he would create a tax on domestic spirits. This was seen as a relatively safe luxury tax. In addition, he had support from those who viewed alcohol as a sinful indulgence. Thus, the Whiskey Act was passed into law in 1791.

What happened during the Whiskey Rebellion?

The Whiskey Tax was extremely unpopular, especially on the frontier (back then, the frontier consisted of Kentucky as well as parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia). Many people in these areas just refused to pay the tax. But in western Pennsylvania, protestors fought back.

In July 1794, more than 500 people attacked the tax inspector’s home. George Washington sent a massive militia, 13,000 people strong, to quell the rebellion. By the time the militia arrived, the rebellion had dispersed. Some 20 people were arrested, but no one was ever convicted of a crime.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Many scholars consider this a victory for the federal government. In his book, Character: Profiles in Presidential Courage, Chris Wallace provides a fairly typical pro-state treatment:

By acting decisively to quell the threat, Washington had proven that the federal government would stand behind the law. Many continued to fear that the government would destroy their dearly purchased freedoms. But as President Washington noted in his farewell address, a strong government, not a weak one, was the “main pillar…of your tranquility at home; your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty which you so highly prize.”

However, the true story of the Whiskey Rebellion lies elsewhere, namely in the frontier. The U.S. government was never able to collect the Whiskey Tax on the frontier. In fact, it hardly tried. In fact, the Whiskey Rebellion, by and large, was mostly a non-violent tax protest. People just refused to pay it. Eventually, Hamilton and his fellow Federalists lost power and all excise taxes were repealed.

Here’s more on the Whiskey Rebellion from Murray Rothbard at LewRockwell.com:

The Whiskey Rebellion has long been known to historians, but recent studies have shown that its true nature and importance have been distorted by friend and foe alike. The Official View of the Whiskey Rebellion is that four counties of western Pennsylvania refused to pay an excise tax on whiskey that had been levied by proposal of the Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton in the Spring of 1791, as part of his excise tax proposal for federal assumption of the public debts of the several states.

Western Pennsylvanians failed to pay the tax, this view says, until protests, demonstrations, and some roughing up of tax collectors in western Pennsylvania caused President Washington to call up a 13,000-man army in the summer and fall of 1794 to suppress the insurrection. A localized but dramatic challenge to federal tax-levying authority had been met and defeated. The forces of federal law and order were safe.

This Official View turns out to be dead wrong…

(See the rest at LewRockwell.com)

The Lost Apollo 11 Engines?

Apollo 11 Launch

“At 9:32 a.m. EDT, the swing arms move away and a plume of flame signals the liftoff of the Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle and astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A.”
Source: NASA

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched from Kennedy Space Center, sending Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on a date with destiny. In the process, two massive F-1 engines were jettisoned into the ocean, seemingly lost for all time. Now, after a year-long expedition, billionaire Jeff Bezos has salvaged this history-making technology.

Salvaging the Apollo 11 Engines?

We first reported on this story in March 2012, calling it one of the most incredible salvage efforts of all time, ranking up there with Robert E. Peary’s search for “The Tent.” The cost of the recovery and restoration remains unknown but according to NASA, the engines will be displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum as well as Seattle’s Museum of Flight, respectively.

Who owns the Apollo 11 Engines?

The exact ownership of the engines remains unclear to me. I’m sure the U.S. government claims ownership. However, this would appear to fall under the Homesteading Principle. In essence, governments cannot legitimately own private property, since everything they have (including tax dollars) has been, in effect, taken with force. Even if you disagree with that assessment, NASA abandoned the engines, making no plans to ever recover them. Thus, I would argue no one owned the engines prior to discovery. Bezos Expeditions, on the other hand, is the rightful owner of its own labor. By salvaging the engines, it added its labor to the engines and thus, became the rightful owner.

Here’s more on the discovery of the lost Apollo 11 engines from Jeff Bezos at Bezos Expeditions:

What an incredible adventure. We are right now onboard the Seabed Worker headed back to Cape Canaveral after finishing three weeks at sea, working almost 3 miles below the surface. We found so much. We’ve seen an underwater wonderland – an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program. We photographed many beautiful objects in situ and have now recovered many prime pieces. Each piece we bring on deck conjures for me the thousands of engineers who worked together back then to do what for all time had been thought surely impossible.

Many of the original serial numbers are missing or partially missing, which is going to make mission identification difficult. We might see more during restoration. The objects themselves are gorgeous…

(See the rest at Bezos Expeditions)