"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bruniquel Cave "Ring" Construction in France Represents a Sky Map, But it is Not 176000 Years Old and Likely Not Constructed by Neanderthals

The world is greatly indebted to Jacques Jaubert, Sophie Verheyden, and the other listed authors and unlisted assistants for their just-published Letter in Nature magazine titled Early Neanderthal constructions deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwestern France, 25 May 2016, doi:10.1038/nature18291. Thank you for this new, wonderful site out of the pages of human history!

However, there are serious problems with the interpretation of the site, including its "ceremonial significance", its chronological dating and its assignment to the Neanderthals. We offer some new solutions below based upon our decipherment of the site. Our purpose is not to criticize, but to add new understanding. Thank you.

That Letter contains the following Abstract which we quote for background:
"Very little is known about Neanderthal cultures1, particularly early ones. Other than lithic implements and exceptional bone tools2, very few artefacts have been preserved. While those that do remain include red and black pigments3 and burial sites4, these indications of modernity are extremely sparse and few have been precisely dated, thus greatly limiting our knowledge of these predecessors of modern humans5. Here we report the dating of annular constructions made of broken stalagmites found deep in Bruniquel Cave in southwest France. The regular geometry of the stalagmite circles, the arrangement of broken stalagmites and several traces of fire demonstrate the anthropogenic origin of these constructions. Uranium-series dating of stalagmite regrowths on the structures and on burnt bone, combined with the dating of stalagmite tips in the structures, give a reliable and replicated age of 176.5 thousand years (±2.1 thousand years), making these edifices among the oldest known well-dated constructions made by humans. Their presence at 336 metres from the entrance of the cave indicates that humans from this period had already mastered the underground environment, which can be considered a major step in human modernity."
The mainstream scholars do not know what the Bruniquel Cave "Ring" Construction signifies beyond some inkling that the site may have had some "ceremonial significance". That lack of knowledge is not surprising. Archaeologists are not astronomers. Astronomers are not archaeologists. This has left an expertise vacuum in scholarly study of the history of humankind. Even archaeoastronomy concentrates too much on lunar and solar alignments and leaves out the stars -- which for prehistoric peoples were more important.

We are pleased to report here that we have deciphered the stalagmite circle constructions at Bruniquel Cave as astronomy -- specifically, as a sky map of the heavens in the hermetic sense of "as above, so below". Individual stalagmites portray stars in the heavens. The entire sky is portrayed as a female human head facing right with Orion as the head of an infant child also facing right. Groups of stars are formed into figures by the stalagmites, especially on the larger "ring". The Solstices and Equinoxes are marked. Pisces is the head of a fish, Cepheus is a person prostrate sidewise, with another person kneeling "bedside", presumably at birth. Auriga is a canoe. Aquila and Cygnus are flying birds. Boötes and Virgo are represented at the side also by carved intact stalagmites. Boötes is the regally crowned head of a man sitting on a throne with a thin ceremonially dressed (based on the carvings) female beside him. Hydra is a curled serpent. Corona Borealis is the head of an animal like a cat. There will be more. We mention only those that were most apparent.

We present our decipherment of the Bruniquel Cave "Ring" Constructions below in two drawings.

The first image further below is our own fully independent "rough" decipherment illustration that we have prepared to meet any possible copyright complaints. We use it for decipherment purposes only, with no claims to accuracy in the illustrative part, which is very "approximate".

The second image is a "fair use" reproduction of the original "Figure 1" in the Nature letter with our labeling of the identification of our deciphered stellar constellations and astronomical parameters (North Celestial Pole, Solstices, Equinoxes).

It is eminently clear that the sophistication of this hermetic star sky map and attendant astronomical parameters can by no stretch of the imagination be dated anywhere near the claimed age of 176.5 thousand years. What the source of this error could be is discussed subsequently.

Moreover, the constructors of the Bruniquel Cave rings are unlikely to have been "Neanderthals", but, rather, relatives of an emerging Cro-Magnon human culture defined as "Magdalenian", a culture which coincides with modern DNA evidence of the advent of "modern-like" humans in Europe ca. 40000 B.C. That date also meshes well with a burned bone found at Bruniquel in 1999 that could not be older than about 45000 B.C., based on radiocarbon dating.

Indeed, the astronomical system of notation used at Bruniquel Cave shows some parallels to nearby sites such as Lascaux, the "notation" found at the Temples of Malta, and also at Ancient Britain's Kents Cavern "Cave of Inscriptions", all of which we have  previously deciphered as astronomy (Lascaux, Malta Temples) long before others saw any astronomical connection. Indeed, the stellar orientation of Bruniquel is the same as our general megalithic sky map of France at megaliths.net.

Our astronomical decipherment completely contradicts the idea that the age of the Bruniquel Cave "Ring" Construction is 176.5 thousand years, a date based on speleothem dating. Our astronomical decipherment shows a sky of stars ca. 6500 B.C., or, if we add one precessional turn, ca. 32500 B.C. The ring construction can not be much older than that and we think that 6500 B.C. looks pretty good, otherwise you have too many years inbetween high tech invention and then -- nothing -- for thousands of years. That is not believable.

We are not versed in the dating of speleothems viz. cave stalagmites or broken-off stalagmite pieces, but this study likely involves a significant mainstream dating error. According to Emil Silvestru at Caves and Age, absolute dating using speleothems is fraught with enormous difficulty and involves many totally unproven assumptions, so that the dates obtained are of little value for absolute dating and are little better than reading tea leaves.

Most chronological dating systems are based on "assumptions" and those can be and often have been proven to be faulty. The cave art at Lascaux, for example, not too long ago was dated to well over 30000 years ago, a date we strongly criticized at the time. Now one reads much lower "mainstream" estimated dates for the Lascaux cave art such as ca. 17000 years ago, and even that will be too high, given what our astronomical decipherments tell us.

In the unlikely case that the stalagmite dating were correct, the only remaining possible source of mainstream error would be in assuming that the date of construction of the Bruniquel rings coincided with the date of the breaking off of the stalagmites -- dates which do not have to coincide.

We do think, however, in fact, that the stalagmites were cut intentionally and specifically for the astronomical recording viz. ceremonial task at hand....

Below is our astronomical decipherment of the Bruniquel Cave "Ring" Construction, in two images, as explained earlier in this posting:

Image 1 (below) Bruniquel Cave Ring Decipherment as Astronomy
Unique Own Drawing but not that Accurate,
Used for Our Decipherment Purposes


Image 2 (below) Bruniquel Cave Ring Decipherment as Astronomy
Stars and Stellar Constellation Labels Placed On a Background
of the Original Nature Letter Image as published at Ars Technica
 

Conclusion: This was not a difficult decipherment and was completed in a couple of days because most of the stellar identifications were fairly obvious. As always, numerous questions remain, especially concerning the chronological dating of the Bruniquel Cave ring and appurtenant constructions. Decipherment improvements in detail surely can and will be made down the road, especially in terms of identifying the figures portrayed by stalagmite groups. The photographs available online are too limited in scope to allow the making of certain identifications of portrayed figures. However, there is no doubt about the general correctness of the astronomical decipherment here presented. The fundamental analysis is simply too clear to be subject to any kind of serious, sustained challenge.

Jury Finds in Favor of Google Against Oracle in Android v. Java Fair Use Copyright Case

The jury has decided. Google, Android, sane IP law and the public win against Oracle, Java, confused IP law concepts and monopolists. Joe Mullin reports at Ars Technica in Google beats Oracle—Android makes "fair use" of Java APIs.

Read here our previous posting at
Android and the Oracle Java API Copyright Scam Against Google.

OK, so we were right again, keeping our record of over 12 straight years of being on the right side of intellectual property law case outcomes in cases involving the deluded Federal Circuit.

As Mullin writes at Ars Technica:
"Following a two-week trial, a federal jury concluded Thursday that Google's Android operating system does not infringe Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by "fair use." The verdict was reached after three days of deliberations....

Google said in a statement that its victory was good for everybody. "Today's verdict that Android makes fair use of Java APIs represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products," a Google spokesperson said via e-mail.

Oracle, however, vowed to appeal."
Rather than wasting everyone's time and resources by appealing a hopeless situation -- because the best of judges will never support Oracle's monopolistic position (bad judges at the Federal Circuit may, meaning again that the U.S. Supreme Court would ultimately decide, surely in favor of Google) -- our advice to Oracle is that it spend its time and money improving upon its own octogeneric Java programming and graphic user interface. Every time that we get notice of an update for Java on our PC our hair stands on end because of the antiquated, user-unfriendly manner in which that all is implemented. Terrible. Awful. Inexcusable. Monopolistic arrogance!
 
Oracle, get your act together!

As for Google and Alphabet, well done!!
It is clear to see which company is for the best interests of the consumer!!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Android and the Oracle Java API Copyright Scam Against Google

One of the biggest problems in modern law is that people well-versed in technology often do not understand the fundamental legal and logical considerations that are at the base of intellectual property (or other) law.

A good example is the Federal Circuit Court, made up primarily of judges with tech backgrounds, whose tech-oriented decisions are often reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court for crass failings in legal judgment and a broad failure to understand what "the law" is fundamentally about.

The Federal Circuit's criticism of Judge Alsup in this case falls into this category of clear error. No judge on the Federal Circuit has as good an understanding of what is at stake in this case than Judge Alsup. Indeed, we have a great deal of doubt that the Federal Circuit "gets it" at all here.

Worse, over the past months we have been reading curious commentary about the case involving Oracle's suit against Google for alleged "copyright infringement" of their Java program APIs by Android.

A recent series of pro-Oracle articles at FOSS Patents typify the problem. We disagree strongly with the conclusions drawn at FOSS Patents and elsewhere and so it is time to focus on the broader considerations of big picture "LAW".

Consider the following reasoning which exposes the main underlying and practical legal ISSUE in the Oracle-Google case:

Our electrical system requires standardized sockets which permit the use of untold millions of electrical gadgets and appliances, which all connect to that standardized system via standardized plugs.

But let us assume that the inventors of electricity [as a public utility] had intentionally designed a dongle -- purchasable only from THEM -- that had to be inserted into any and every socket in order to access that electrical system. Would that kind of a "forced monopoly" have been legal then -- and would it be legal today -- to require that every gadget and appliance maker viz. user buy that dongle from a monopolist for each and every gadget or appliance or be barred from using the electrical system?

In our view, we find that kind of a requirement clearly illegal, then and now, as an illegal monopoly. Indeed, it is for this reason in the digital and general tech world that "standards" have developed so that every computer keyboard, for example, attaches workably to existing systems without users having to buy a dongle of some kind from "ONE company only" to make it work.

APIs (declaring code texts) are comparable "standards" in software.

That is why Google CEO Larry Page, as reported at Ars Technica by Joe Mullin,  testified that "declaring code is not code", and he is exactly right in pointing to the great distinction between APIs and normal software code.

In the Oracle v. Google case, Android was designed as an independent program, much like our electrical "plug" above, to be able to plug into the already existing "socket" of Java. To be able to do that, they had to include the Java APIs. There is no controversy about that.

But Oracle demanded monopoly rights, grounding their claim in copyright law.
  • FOSS Patents quotes Andy Rubin, then-SVP of Google in charge of Android:

    "Java.lang apis are copyrighted" and that since "[S]un . . . own[s] the brand and ip[,]" "[S]un gets to say who they license the tck to[.]"
  • FOSS Patents further quotes the testimony of Thomas Kurian of Oracle Software Development:

    "Q. [...] Mr. Kurian, what did you say to Google?

    A. I specifically discussed -- we specifically discussed with Mr. Rubin that the Dalvik implementation and their implementation of Java needed to comply with the Java Standard specifications, which meant you had to implement the class libraries completely and also pass the TCK.
    [emphasis added by LawPundit]

    Q. Did Google accept that?

    A. No.
    "
  • Nor could the APIs, i.e. the "class libraries" be altered! FOSS Patents quotes Dan Bornstein, a technical expert at the time as saying:

    "We don’t ‘own’ the java.* API and so can’t go around altering it."
Essentially, the position of Sun and now Oracle Java was that if you wanted compatibility with their "system" you --- and that means also Android --  had to pay the protection, viz. extortion money demanded by them and buy the "fixed" software dongle, represented by the APIs, for which Oracle now absurdly claims "copyright" protection and vast sums of alleged "damages".

It is in fact very questionable whether legal copyright protection is intended and extends to protect this kind of "non-expressive text" and we, as a judge, would find that such fixed "declaring code" can not be copyrighted, because its purpose is not one of expression but rather of fixing standards of operation.

This case is not a question of Google "copying" expressive text for profit where they could have written their own text, rather and quite the contrary, they are barred from writing their own text. At issue is a matter of incorporating standard text (as code) that is absolutely required for something to work. That is an entirely different legal matter in terms of IP law. Is that "expression" as protected by copyright? Not in our book.

Of course, the damages that Oracle request relate not to the value of the APIs but to the immense success of Android as an operating system, from which Oracle wants an absurd cut, having failed to develop their own Java system further, which they had an option to do, but were unable. As written at Ars Technica by Joe Mullin:
"As for the copyrighted APIs, they were a tiny part of the language. The 11,000 lines of code they represent are "less than one-tenth of one percent" of the 15 million lines of Android code. Later in his statement, Van Nest compared the code to the labels on a filing cabinet."
For those few lines of code Oracle wants BILLIONS of bucks. We see here again, as in the case of the Apple firm's absurd patent actions against Samsung, that some companies view intellectual property law as a golden goose to reap billions of dollars in windfall cash which THEY themselves DID NOT EARN, but which someone else DID EARN, through their hard work, applied marketing skills, through their own software coding, etc. Even if Oracle were entitled to any damages, which WE would NEVER grant to them, these would rightly be minuscule amounts, compared to what is being asked for.

If the final resolution of this case were ultimately to be in favor of Oracle, it would be a dark chapter in the progress of technology and would constitute the denial of common sense in the law, with vast negative ramifications for the entire software programming industry, which would be faced with "dongle"-like API monopolies everywhere, greatly stifling software programming and thus development of the technology sector of industry.

No court whose judges had half a brain in the Wizard of Oz sense would permit that kind of foolishness.

That the Federal Circuit in their initial view of this case could not see through this obvious scam is no surprise, as disappointing as it may be, so that there is no doubt that this case will ultimately go to the U.S. Supreme Court, where we expect the Supremes to once again lecture the Federal Circuit about their failed understanding of the fundamentals of law and legal common sense.

Have we been wrong previously in identifying flawed Federal Circuit Court decisions? At LawPundit, not yet, in over 12 years of posting about the law.

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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