"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, December 26, 2020

The Megalithic Guadalperal Standing Stones of Peraleda de la Mata, Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain as The Stars of the Starry Night Sky ca. 4200 B.C. Based on the Solstitial Colure

The reservoir-flooded megalithic standing stones of Guadalperal reappeared in the drought of 2019 in the Tagus River Valdecañas Reservoir in Peraleda de la Mata, Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain.

We present here our decipherment of these megaliths, whose "stone circle" -- actually, more in the shape of a boat than a circle, as at Tanum, Sweden -- is clearly astronomical in nature.

We show through the images below that these stones represent the starry night of stars ca. 4200 B.C., based on our dating of the solstitial colure that we have located in the stones.

The underlying main photograph here of the Guadalperal megaliths -- essential for the decipherment -- is copyright of Rubén Ortega Martín, Raíces de Peralêda de la Mata https://raicesdeperaleda.com/. We use the photograph here as "fair use" for research purposes. 

The underlying aerial photo, equally essential for decipherment
-- which we clipped to better fit the decipherment image --
is attributed to 1080 Wildlife Productions at
We use the photograph here as "fair use" for research purposes.

This is our decipherment image of the megalithic standing stones of Guadalperal
(click on the image for the larger original image which can then be properly read):

The decipherment is fairly self-explanatory, with the solstitial colure in ca. 4200 B.C. running from Leo to the North Celestial Pole, marked by the central megalith in the center of the boat-shaped "stone circle" at Guadalperal.

The remaining standing stones mark groups of stars, known modernly as constellations viz. asterisms of definite shape, a shape determined by bright stars, all known well in modernity, and here represented by a clip of a star map via Starry NightPro astronomy software

-- but perhaps seen somewhat differently in ancient days, though the bright stars are the same, so that the analysis still holds, even if the star groups were somewhat different then --

going clockwise from the left after Leo and Coma Berenices -- Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Boötes, Hercules, Ophiuchus, Lyra, Aquila, Cepheus, Pegasus, Andromeda, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, the North Celestial Pole, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Lynx, Auriga, Gemini, Orion, Cancer and Hydra. We may have missed a few groups of stars, but on the whole, the analysis stands.


Landmarks by the Stars in Ancient Days: Amazonian Pre-Columbian Earthworks & Geoglyphs Represent Stars in the Sky in a Cosmic Geo-Hermetic Stellar Map "As Above, So Below"

Why would the ancients have used stars of the starry night to "map" their Earth?

Just imagine trying to make your way in a tropical climate in ancient days. How did you get around and know where you were?

We think stars and landmarks based on stars are the answer.

West & SW Amazonian Pre-Columbian village mounds viz. earthworks, geoglyphs and "enclosures" identified by archaeologists are shown here in our independent decipherment -- not related in any way to the publications of the archaeologists -- as having been located by the ancients to represent the Milky Way and corresponding stars in the stellar constellations Aquila, Sagittarius, [Scorpio perhaps via a natural mountain formation], Lupus, Centaurus, Crux, Musca, Carina, Vela, Pyxis, & Puppis. Note that the ancients may have grouped and designated the respective stars somewhat differently, but the principal star locations in the sky remain the same nevertheless, concentrating on the sky's brightest stars by magnitude, which form the "shape" of artificial star groupings.

The star correspondences shown below were discovered in December 2020 by Andis Kaulins after reading an article in Smithsonian magazine about Amazonian Pre-Columbian mound villages and other earthwork and similar constructions. See the article by Livia Gershon in Smithsonian magazine at These Amazonian Villages Were Laid Out Like Clock Faces https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/archaeologists-find-clock-face-layout-amazon-villages-180976553/.

As retained down to this day, we find that the ancients placed their religious "gods" in the heavens, i.e. stellar locations which provided a natural, fixed easily accessible map, which was mirrored geographically on Earth "as above, so below".

Please note that our decipherment star maps -- shown below -- were created using our clips of star maps produced via Starry Night Pro astronomy software, to which we have added explanatory texts, labels, and figures, as necessary.

See http://www.starrynight.com/

In the image below, the upper section shows a geographic map clip by us from

-- a geographic map at Iriarte, J., Robinson, M., de Souza, J., Damasceno, A., da Silva, F., Nakahara, F., Ranzi, A. and Aragao, L., 2020. Geometry by Design: Contribution of Lidar to the Understanding of Settlement Patterns of the Mound Villages in SW Amazonia. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, 3(1), pp.151–169. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jcaa.45 --

which shows the locations of the Amazonian archaeological sites in question, together with our added star labels and the appropriate Milky Way section of stars. These identifications were made independently by Andis Kaulins, Traben-Trarbach, Germany, who is not affiliated in any way with any of the authors of the article cited above. We use the geographic map as fair use for research purposes.

In the article cited above, Iriarte et al. mention a possible "cosmic" meaning to the locations, as follows:

"Arranged in symbolically significant ways with no clear hierarchy, the villages' circular layouts may reflect their Indigenous inhabitants' conceptions of the cosmos (Iriarte et al., Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology, under CC BY 4.0)".

To that we can independently add: YES ... the COSMOS ... We find that the cosmos referred to is comprised of specific "landmark" stars and  sections of the Milky Way of stars visible from the identified Amazonian locations.

One possibility to perhaps partially confirm the likelihood of the correctness of our stellar correspondences occurred to us after examining some additional neighboring earthworks viz. similar locations identified in de Souza, J.G., Schaan, D.P., Robinson, M. et al. Pre-Columbian earth-builders settled along the entire southern rim of the Amazon. Nat Commun 9, 1125 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-03510-7.

If our stellar analysis is sound, then neighboring Amazonian earthwork locations should also represent other stars in the sky located beyond those shown in the image above, and, indeed, we find it is possible to view those earthworks located to the West of those above as representing the stars of Aquila and Sagittarius, which identification fits into the system of star correspondences shown above.

Recall our original question: 

Why would the ancients have used stars of the starry night to "map" their Earth? 

Just imagine trying to make your way in a tropical climate in ancient days. How did you get around and know where you were?

We think stars and landmarks based on stars are the answer.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Origins of Writing: Where Would Our Modern World Be Without Alphabet Inventors? The Example of David W. Packard, Co-Founder of Hewlett-Packard [or did Google say "Alphabet"?]

Humans have been "inventing" things long before intellectual property law, and we are all the benefactors of what humankind has invented over the millennia.

Our interest in innovation extends far into our ancient human past, especially as concerns e.g. the origin of writing, without which our modern world would be impossible.

Just how was writing "invented"?
We have some ideas about that. See:

Below is an excerpt from Ancient Signs: The Alphabet & the Origins of Writing:

"The importance of the study of the origins of writing -- a fascinating field in its own right -- is often underestimated.
The ancient signs of written scripts manifest a communication technology not unlike that used by modern "high tech". It is not surprising, for example, that someone like David W. Packard, co-founder of computer giant Hewlett-Packard Co., wrote his college dissertation on Minoan Linear A, an undeciphered written script of Crete. [Footnote: David W. Packard, Minoan Linear A, University of California Press in Berkeley, California, 1974.]

Computer hardware and digital devices operate by means of software that is coded by signs which convert human language information into machine language. Ancient signs similarly converted spoken language into written language with the result that human communication expanded exponentially. Literacy brought humanity into a richer world.

Indeed, modern communication -- even at the simplest level -- depends a great deal on written language literacy by everyone.

Just think of social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter or [did someone at Google just say Alphabet]? All depend on the written word.

The written word not only communicates, but also permits recordation of human expression and knowledge for posterity, whether this be on paper, on microfilm, or as CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs or future technologies for the storage of digital materials. Written information is thereby communicated not only by letters and the written word in alphabetic writing, but also by logograms, such as Chinese characters, or by various combinations of numbers and symbols, such as mathematical expressions.

Written signs and symbols permit the creation of special types of "languages" whose function far exceeds the limits set by audible human speech. Modern software programming languages are a good example of this phenomenon.

The discovery of script had far-reaching consequences for everyday human life on our planet, initiating massive cultural changes which no one could have foreseen in early eras. With the onset of writing, mankind obtained a “history”, that started about 3200 B.C. Today, without writing, the mass of humanity would still languish in ignorance, as it still does in some regions of the Earth marked by widespread illiteracy. For those who do learn to read and write, the written word can open up magic worlds of individual potential and a seemingly endless reservoir of human talents and abilities from which most of us on this planet Earth profit every day.

Whatever the origins of writing may be, we are all indebted to the men and women who invented, introduced and dispersed this new technology to the world. These were great inventors indeed, and we should all know more about them."

Read and enjoy the whole book! Click that link.

We are miles ahead of the competition in analysis.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Technology Driving Innovation: A New Age of Flying Robots: UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Drone Law & Industry Info

We live in a complex era marked by the emergence of flying robots called drones, which in the USA and Europe, for example, have already led to pioneer regulatory legislation. See e.g. GleissLutz, Public Law: The German Government's Action Plan on Drone Regulation.

Drones are a rapidly developing industry and also a relatively new legal field.

"UA" means "Unmanned Vehicle", a UAV is an "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" while a UAS is an "Unmanned Aerial System", such terms having a U.S. military reconnaissance origin, and still being used in the drafting of legislation applicable to "drones".

Especially as regards commercial products, UAV's are commonly called DRONES, a term applied increasingly to recreational-like "multicopters".

Additional terminology for drones can also be found, e.g. RPAS "Remotely Piloted Aircraft System", or MAV "Micro Air Vehicle". See Altigator

Essentially, drones are "flying robots". See Nesta.

Drones are being increasingly regulated by governments because of the growing recreational and commercial use of drones and drone technology, which use raises security issues. Moreover, the drone industry is moving toward becoming a powerful economic force and thus subject to more government regulation.

See a Master List of Drone Laws at UAVCoach.com by country or US state.

See Drone Industry Insights at Droneii.com.

The Wikipedia entry for Unmanned aerial vehicle currently states inter alia that:

"An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) (or uncrewed aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone) is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers referred to as an autopilot.

Compared to crewed aircraft, UAVs were originally used for missions too "dull, dirty or dangerous" for humans. While drones originated mostly in military applications, their use is rapidly finding many more applications including aerial photography, product deliveries, agriculture, policing and surveillance, infrastructure inspections, science, smuggling, and drone racing.
The drone industry is still young and growing, but it will likely become one of the world's major economic forces in the not so far future. See GoldmanSachs.com at "Technology Driving Innovation" in Drones: Reporting for Work.
It is an industry that began just a few years ago with the first generations of drones serving as recreational playthings and as aerial surveying tools.
Such uses will of course continue, while drone technology will gradually also greatly impact agriculture, health and medicine, and the global transportation of goods and services via "cargo drones" viz. "delivery drones". 
"Taxi drones" for human travel are also in the works.

We imagine that "personal flying vehicles" are also in the offing.

See The Conversation.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Paul, Weiss Wins Law360 "Practice Group of the Year" Awards in Capital Markets, Fund Formation, Private Equity and Securities

My former law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, ("Paul, Weiss" viz. "Paul|Weiss" viz. "Paul, Weiss, et al.") headquartered in New York City, with law offices inter alia in Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, & Toronto, just won four Law360 Practice Group of the Year awards for the firm’s achievements in Capital Markets, Fund Formation, Private Equity and Securities.

How does the firm -- even after nearly 150 years of existence -- continue to maintain its top standards of performance in so many varied areas of law practice, not just those mentioned above?

It is enlightening here to read the Paul, Weiss "Statement of Firm Principles", authored in 1963 by the 1995 deceased firm patriarch Judge Simon H. Rifkind, who in his day was regarded by many to be the finest trial lawyer in the country, including such celebrity clients as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. As written by Eric Pace in the New York Times obituary for Simon H. Rifkind, November 15, 1995:

"[Former Justice] William O. Douglas wrote after his retirement from the United States Supreme Court that Mr. Rifkind became "the most outstanding advocate of all" the lawyers who appeared before the Court between 1939 and 1975." [emphasis added]

Before I left the firm in the mid-1970's to do essential Baltic pre-USSR-dissolution research in Europe, Judge Rifkind called me in to his office for a man-to-man talk.

Rifkind was born in 1901 in Merkinė, Lithuania (then Meretz, Russian Empire) and his family emigrated to America and New York City in 1910. Similarly, my family emigrated to the USA from Latvia and Germany when I was a young lad, in 1950. Rifkind and I thus shared some elements of a common background and destiny.

Rifkind was sympathetic to my motivation to do legal work on the Baltics, but he tried to get me to stay with the law firm. Rifkind was a powerful advocate, and his arguments were excellent, so my decision fell hard. I recall particularly Rifkind's manifest ability to focus his sharp concentration on the subject at hand.

One could sense how Paul, Weiss had risen to the status of a legal powerhouse under his forceful leadership, and why it attracted so many gifted minds. As an example, as we have written elsewhere, before the passage of the iconic "RBG" i.e. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, all three of the lady Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court had been Paul, Weiss, et al. summer associates, as this writer was as well, in 1970. The law firm would seem to have an attraction for the best of the best, and part of that "draw" is surely Rifkind's professional "principled" legacy.

The law firm's pursuit and achievement of legal excellence has of course involved many talented men and women at all levels of the law firm's attorney partnership and working staff, both before, during, and after Rifkind. That is a given.

See the impressive HISTORY of the FIRM for an instructive read.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Current General Challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court to the Constitutionality of Obamacare Will Surely Fail

Oral argument was held today on a Constitutional challenge to Obamacare.

A general Constitutional challenge to the validity of the entire Act will surely fail -- even if a specific clause -- viz. specific clauses -- is -- viz. are -- ruled to be flawed.

The U.S. Supreme Court consists of legally trained persons versed in the vagaries of "the law" who will not fall like nine-pins for obvious jurisprudential sophistry.

There may be legislative flaws in the Affordable Care Act, but it is up to Congress to iron out such shortcomings, and not the Supreme Court, which perhaps could sever flawed clauses, however leaving the balance of the Act itself intact.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

U.S. Congress: Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Amy Coney Barrett's Nomination Brings Up a Legendary Moment: Where Are Your Notes?

At The Daily Wire, Amanda Prestigiacomo headlines her article on the United States Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings regarding Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Supreme Court Justice nominee:

Barrett Asked To Hold Up Notes She’s Using To Answer Questions.
She Holds Up A Blank Notepad

That is a moment for the ages.

This is an impressive judge who should be confirmed.

Take a look at that article.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Overbloated Writing in Science: Acronyms, Jargon, Wordy Text: When More Fluff is More than Enough

Nature Index tells us that

"Science is getting harder to read : From obscure acronyms to unnecessary jargon, research papers are increasingly impenetrable – even for scientists."

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Post-Oral-Argument : U.S. Supreme Court October 7 Google v. Oracle America, No. 18-956 : Android Java Software Interface Copyrights Fair Use Juries

This is the post-oral-argument update to our pre-oral-argument posting titled U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument October 7: Google LLC vs. Oracle America Inc. : Android Java Software Interface Copyrights Fair Use Juries.

We found oral argument in this case to be marked by highs and lows, the unexpected high being the continued, surprising participation of Justice Thomas, who seems to be thriving in the highly structured, telephonic, teleconferenced proceedings, where Justices are currently asked to speak in the order of their Court seniority.

The low point was marked by perhaps unavoidable gobbledygook arising from rapid question and answer discourse about a subject where no sitting member of the U.S. Supreme Court, nor the lawyers for the parties, can claim sovereign expertise, namely, computer software interface programming.

The present author, yours truly, many years ago -- for purposes of learning computer programming -- single-handedly wrote a compiled 10 MB computer game, Infinity One, quite a bit in those days, requiring multiple floppy disks. We wrote the code for one operating system in one computer language (STOS for Atari), and then ported that game to the Microsoft Windows platform in another language (Visual Basic for Windows), even sending the entire program code to Microsoft for testing to obtain a Windows compatibility badge, which was issued. One learned quickly in the course of those software projects that code commands were highly structured by the programming language being used, and had to be abided by, if one wanted to obtain a desired functional result. We never entertained the idea that our written code itself was a type of creative expression.

Understanding this whole case might be simpler than the oral argument indicates.

Programming languages are just that: written LANGUAGES, used for a purpose, specifically, these languages are used to write COMMANDS for hardware, i.e. for machines, viz. robots. They are not written for execution by people. People can not "execute" software commands. Only machines can. All software commands, regardless of copyright law, are purely functional texts COPIED by machines before they are executed by those same machines. Constitutional copyrights were never intended to apply to them.

Programming languages such as JAVA are written so that certain code segments kick certain other code segments into action, and that is the crux of the dispute between Google and Oracle. Oracle claims monopoly rights on operative segments, insofar as they appear in APIs ("application programming interfaces"), using copyright law as their whipping boy for a purpose never intended by Constitutional Founders. We do not understand why versed judges would condone that view, to the detriment of interoperability and software practice that spans back at least 30 years. The Courts here are in error to defer to Congressional lawmaking. The Constitution is the measuring stick, not the politics in Congress.

Copyright protection was intended by the Founders for "people"-text, not for "machine" code copied by machines. Machines do not copy software code because of any reason of creative expression -- their job is purely functional. Rather, machines want to be told what to do, and their options are greatly limited by the tasks that are to be commanded by the software code as written.

Just imagine if automobile manufacturers could not construct gasoline tanks and the filler tube inlets to match the dimensions of gasoline pump nozzles according to the written specifications existing for gasoline (petrol) station pump nozzles. APIs are interfaces in the same way that there must be agreement between car gasoline tank filler inlet openings and the diameter size of gasoline station pumps.

There is no issue of "creative expression" in software programming as in a book novel, where the author can theoretically write anything that the author wants in his "creative" writing role. Programming language is SEVERELY limited by its tasked purposes. "Creative expression" is not one of its purposes.

We might command a printing machine as follows by software code: "print A", or "PRINT A", or "print a", or "PRINT a", or "please print A", or "pretty please print A", etc. Regardless of the length of such a programmed phrase, the above principle prevails for ALL program code. Copyright-protecting e.g. the variant "pretty please do print A" as a suddenly "more creative expression" would be absurd. That principle of course also applies to larger segments of API code. Accordingly, we strongly oppose the use of copyright law to apply to software protection. The law of patents covers that, and that is enough.

Software interfaces can be likened to plugs for electrical sockets, and the Java program in question can be likened to the electrical power system that is being accessed when a plug is put into a "Java" program socket. At stake for all consumers is the question of interoperability, which, e.g. is a disaster for electrical plugs, as every international traveler knows. God forbid if something similar happens to the interoperability of the software industry.

Just as in the case of "APIs", a plug can be designed in many shapes, sizes and colors, etc., but it MUST conform in its essence to the specification of what the socket wants to have plugged into it, or it will not work.

That is why we are faced with having to have various electrical plug adapters when we travel overseas to different countries that use different sockets.

For all practical purposes, the actual "functional" leeway for a plug designer is thus virtually nothing, because he is tied to prongs viz. pins that are required.

That is also the same problem that arises as concerns software interfaces. To copyright an API is like giving monopoly protection to the plug "prongs" viz. "pins" that go into a socket

Copyrighting APIs in the USA (which APIs can not be copyrighted in the European Union) will lead without question long-term to the same consumer-unfriendly situation that exists for electrical plugs worldwide, exemplified by this Wikipedia map of the Types of power plugs and sockets used by country. Maps such as these just reflect human stupidity in action. Rather than cooperating peacefully and arriving at a common standard, everyone wants to be the king in his own realm, and, in the Google vs. Oracle case, to make a lot of money for virtually nothing ... a criticism which could be said to be directed, rightly or wrongly, to both parties:

Compiled computer code can also be likened to a compressed dictionary.

As a former dictionary author for the then world's largest dictionary maker, we understand dictionaries. We have written more than a few dictionary entries.

Dictionary definitions are similar to lines of software code in that they are functional in nature. They have an explanatory function and are not written for purposes of creative expression. You can copyright a dictionary as a separate work, but not the individual definitions, which allow too little leeway in formulation to claim any copyright protection as copyrightable expression -- in and of themselves. If a word is defined correctly in a dictionary, then it must by its very nature be similar with comparable entries in all other dictionaries that are or could be written, or else the definition is faulty.

But can an API be regarded as a "separate copyrightable work" just because it contains multiple lines of single line text viz. code? "Code" is nothing more than machine-understood text in command form, REGARDLESS of the number of lines.

Below we have constructed an example of software programming "goto" (go to) lines of hypothetical code. Lines 1 to 6 represent material that is not (should not be) copyrightable, and which is comparable to the code of an API, just simpler, whereas line 7 represents creative expression that is (should be) copyrightable, but comparable to virtually nothing in computer command programming -- the text difference could not be more clear -- indeed, it almost always IS quite clear:

1 a=1 goto 2
2 If a=1 goto 3
3 p=4 goto 4
4 If a+p=5 goto 5
5 i=7 goto 6
6 If a+p+i=12 goto 7
7 Print: Twelve the months in every year, copyrights forever near, every text is not a stave, worth the law's protective save. Catch the cresting barrel wave, ride the pocket, share the rave. Cast aside this legal knave, in the land, of the brave!

With kudos to the famed BurmaShave road signs!

In any case, it remains likely in our estimation, that the manner in which the jury verdict was handled by the Federal Circuit, will lead to the case going back to the Federal Circuit, because it is the easiest way out for a Court looking not to make a catastrophic mistake on the software interface copyright issue.... where they all need to read up on this matter a bit, to make the right decision down the road.

We shall see.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Google LLC vs. Oracle America Inc. : Android Java Software Interface Copyrights Fair Use Juries : U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument October 7

Please Note: We have edited our original October 6 posting on October 7, but prior to oral argument.

At the United States Supreme Court, oral argument is scheduled for October 7, 2020, in the landmark case of Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc. which, as noted at SCOTUSblog and elsewhere, raises the following issues:

#1 -- Whether copyright protection extends to a software interface;
#2 -- Whether, as the jury found, the petitioner’s use of a software interface [API] in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use. [emphasis added by LawPundit]

Kris Kemp of Kemp IT Law writes in Google v Oracle: the Copyright Case of the Decade:

"It will be interesting to see if the US Supreme Court is influenced by the view of the Court of Justice of the European Union that “copyright in a computer program does not protect either the programming language in which it is written or its interfaces (specifically, its data file formats) or its functionality from being copied.”9 [LawPundit includes here the actual footnote 9: Per SAS Institute Inc v World Programming Limited [2013] EWHC 69 (Ch), following C-406/10 SAS Institute Inc v World Programming Limited, ECLI:EU:C:2012:259)]"

Years ago, already, we posted at length at LawPundit about this case at: 

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

We thought that the case had been decided once and for all in favor of Google, but the Federal Circuit has once again upset the apple cart in now finding in favor of Oracle and negating and nullifying the jury verdict, so that the case has gone via the grant of writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, in a case upon which the future of software -- at least in the USA -- hangs in the balance, as written by Tom Krazit at Protocol.com in Google and Oracle are headed to the Supreme Court. The future of software hangs in the balance.

"A generation of software built around shared assumptions for interoperability faces an uncertain future depending on the outcome of a yearslong legal fight between Google and Oracle."

Ronald Mann has a shorter detailed analysis at SCOTUSblog titled Case preview: Justices to weigh in on landmark copyright battle between Google and Oracle. See Ronald Mann, Case preview: Justices to weigh in on landmark copyright battle between Google and Oracle, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 5, 2020, 3:03 PM), https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/10/case-preview-justices-to-weigh-in-on-landmark-copyright-battle-between-google-and-oracle/

What is to be made of this case, which is so critical for the entire digital industry?

The legal issue of the copyrightability of software interfaces is so old that Jonathan Band has written extensively about it since 1995, most recently at Interfaces on Trial 3.0: Oracle America v. Google and Beyond, 148 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2016 Last revised: 22 Jun 2018 -- the link to the pdf online is https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/Delivery.cfm/SSRN_ID3197233_code1754101.pdf?abstractid=2876853&mirid=1&type=2.

Initially, as one can read there, software interfaces were correctly viewed as non-copyrightable, but, alas, weak judges and weak legislators in the USA and internationally have steadily eroded the inescapable conclusion that software interfaces were necessary for interoperability and were thus not "creative expression" in terms of copyright law. Rather such interfaces were solely functional and not within the ambit of the creative expression that the Founders intended to protect by establishing the Constitutional basis for copyright law.

Jonathan Band writes, to start out his most recent 2018 revision, Interfaces on Trial 3.0: Oracle America v. Google and Beyond, as follows:

"Here We Go Again.... [emphasis added by LawPundit]

In 1995, I coauthored the first volume, INTERFACES ON TRIAL: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND INTEROPERABILITY ON THE GLOBAL SOFTWARE INDUSTRY (“INTERFACES ON TRIAL 1.0”), with Masanobu Katoh. At the time we published INTERFACES ON TRIAL 1.0, we thought that the interoperability debate was largely over. In the United States, several appellate decisions established that copyright did not protect interfaces specifications, the information necessary to achieve interoperability, nor did it prevent the reverse engineering necessary to determine the interface specifications. The European Union adopted a software directive that required member states to enact exceptions permitting reverse engineering for the purpose of achieving interoperability. 

However, contrary to our expectations, the interoperability debate continued. This continuation of the debate between 1995 and 2010 is chronicled in our second volume, INTERFACES ON TRIAL 2.0. That volume focused on two new threats to interoperability that emerged in the United States. First, several courts enforced contractual restrictions on reverse engineering, even when the vendors placed the restrictions in “shrinkwrap” or “click-on” licenses for widely distributed consumer software. Second, the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, adopted in December 1996, required signatories to take adequate measures to prevent the circumvention of copy protection technologies for purposes of infringement. As Congress was implementing this requirement, interoperable developers recognized that the broad prohibition Congress was considering would allow dominant firms to frustrate interoperability by placing “locks” on their software. Accordingly, the interoperable developers lobbied for and secured an interoperability exception in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).

INTERFACES ON TRIAL 2.0 also examined the interoperability debate in the Pacific Rim after 1995. Dominant U.S. companies, with the assistance of the U.S. Trade Representative, vigorously opposed the adoption of reverse-engineering exceptions based on the EU Software Directive in Australia, Hong Kong, and Korea.

When we submitted the book for publication in 2010, we once again assumed that the interoperability debate was over. We believed that there was a global consensus that copyright should not interfere with interoperability. And once again, we were wrong. In May 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”) issued a decision in Oracle American v. Google that ignored the evolution of software copyright law over the past thirty years. In reaching its conclusion that copyright protects the elements necessary to achieve interoperability, the CAFC relied on a long-discredited Third Circuit decision, Apple Computer v. Franklin Computer, 714 F.2d 1240, 1253 (3d Cir. 1983), which stated that compatibility is “a commercial and competitive objective which does not enter into the somewhat metaphysical issue of whether particular ideas and
expression have merged.”
In addition to the CAFC’s disruptive decision, there have been developments relating to interoperability in the context of the DMCA’s prohibition on the circumvention of technological protection measures. Furthermore, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in its 2012 decision in SAS Institute v. World Programming interpreted the European Union Software Directive in a manner consistent with U.S. law prior to the CAFC’s decision in Oracle America. These various developments have prompted me to write this third volume, this time without my friend and coauthor Masanobu Katoh.

Have the Federal Circuit judges read Band's work? We sincerely doubt it.

In the last 15 years we have never been wrong in pointing to decisions of the Federal Circuit that we thought would be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and we hope that our streak does not end here in this very important case, as we again predict that the Supremes will find it an error that the jury decision was negated and nullified and replaced by the Federal Circuit's decision -- made only for the second jury trial and not for the first (!) -- that Google's actions were not fair use "as a matter of law" (the Federal Circuit opinion wrote that "we conclude that Google's use of the Java API packages was not fair as a matter of law").

In other words, we think the Supremes will formally skip the controversial copyright issue (#1 above) as such, and decide via the jury issue (#2 above), though there may be opinion dictum viz. dicta on the copyrightability of software interfaces, such interfaces being essential for software interoperability and which -- by their very strictly limited functional nature -- do not fall in any way under the creative "expression" required for a claim of copyright protection. Software interface code is not a book novel written for publication -- expressing an author's creative ideas -- rather, it is functional text, regardless of how it is written.

Historically, the Supreme Court has been very skeptical of the broad brush with which the Federal Circuit Court too often paints its decisions, and a court finding that certain challenged actions by Google -- contrary to the jury finding -- did not constitute fair use as a matter of law thus squarely puts the Federal Circuit at odds with the increasingly recognizable legal sanity found in modern Supreme Court decisions on intellectual property law, a common sense approach which recognizes that "fair use" -- "as a matter of law" -- is not such an easy thing to identify nor could one easily draw a "standard" from the Federal Circuit Court's decision here that could be applied to other cases.

Indeed, if the decision in favor of Oracle were upheld, it would lead to mass confusion everywhere in the world software industry -- especially if it is different from EU law -- as to what is protected and what is not protected by copyright law, not even mentioning the totally undeserved windfall profit that Oracle is trying to achieve via Java in this case, a result which was never intended by the Founders or the drafters of the U.S. Constitution. Obviously, American law and the U.S. Constitution prevail unequivocally, but one should also be aware of the rest of the world and be concerned about prevailing rules, especially in IP law.

Speaking of "the matter of law", American law has a four-factor test-- as a matter of law -- for fair use, and the jury found that fair use had not been violated. Mann, in his article cited above, in our opinion correctly identifies the standard to be applied: "Because the jury found that the use was fair, all agree that the verdict should be upheld if the evidence would have permitted a reasonable jury to reach that conclusion on any understanding of the factors."

It is obvious, we would think, that it is not the job of Federal Circuit Court judges to substitute their -- in our view -- oft errant opinions for those of "reasonable" juries. And we, for one, find the jury finding here to be eminently reasonable.

Case closed (or so we hope) -- for it all now depends on the opinions and decision of the Justices of the Supreme Court.

The upcoming oral argument will tell us more.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Einstein's General Theory of Relativity Confirmed Convincingly by the First Astrophysics Photograph of a Cosmic "Black Hole"

The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic once again drives home the recognition that humankind inhabits a universe harboring many mysteries at microscopic but also macroscopic levels. "Viruses" that are 1000 times smaller than a human hair and that are by definition not even "alive" can wreak havoc on our "living" biological organisms. As previously written at andiskaulins.com [moderately edited]:

"[Our] theory of the universe derives from the observation that every human being is a PART of the universe. We are neither "outside" looking "in" nor "inside" looking "out". We are inside looking inside.

Our structure -- whatever it is -- must be the same as the rest of the universe.... For those more "physically" and/or "technically" inclined, see [our] blog at Einstein's Voice, which has some thoughts on various theories of Physics [i.e. explanations as to how the universe works].

We started the blog Einstein's Voice many years ago to support the deceased Albert Einstein's incomparable theories about how the universe works against some -- in our view -- questionable recently formulated alternative theories, such as "string theory". We adapted the blog name from the famed His Master's Voice.

Albert Einstein's "General Theory of Relativity" (to differentiate "Big Al's" Special Theory of Relativity) remains the primary cornerstone of modern physics, but overwhelming proof of the theory has been hard to come by, as we posted already in 2005 at NASA Gravity Probe-B and Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, quoting Stanford University's Bog Kahn via the Stanford Newsletter as follows:

"For the past 17 months, NASA's Gravity Probe-B (GP-B) satellite has been orbiting the Earth using four ultra-precise gyroscopes, about a million times better than the finest navigational gyroscopes, to generate the data required for this unprecedented test....

This year, physicists celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein's "miraculous year," in which he received his doctorate in physics from the University of Zurich and published four seminal papers, including the special theory of relativity and a paper on light that garnered him the Nobel Prize in 1921. But Einstein's crowning achievement came in 1916, with his publication of the general theory of relativity, in which he expanded the special theory of relativity to include the elusive concept of gravity. With general relativity, Einstein forever changed our Newtonian view of gravity as a force, postulating rather that space and time are inextricably woven into a four-dimensional fabric called spacetime, and that gravity is simply the warping and twisting of the fabric of spacetime by massive celestial bodies. Even though it has become one of the cornerstones of modern physics, general relativity has remained the least tested of Einstein's theories. The reason is, as Caltech physicist Kip Thorne once put it: "In the realm of black holes and the universe, the language of general relativity is spoken, and it is spoken loudly. But in our tiny solar system, the effects of general relativity are but whispers." And so, any measurements of the relativistic effects of gravity around Earth must be carried out with utmost precision. Over the past 90 years, various tests of the theory suggest that Einstein was on the right track. But, in most previous tests, the relativity signals had to be extracted from a significant level of background noise. The purpose of GP-B is to test Einstein's theory by carrying out the experiment in a pristine orbiting laboratory, thereby reducing background noise to insignificant levels and enabling the probe to examine general relativity in new ways.

As just reported, we now have the

"First photo of a black hole [and it] supports Einstein's theory of relativity" as headlined at CNN by Ashley Strickland. She writes, inter alia:

""Using the gauge we developed, we showed that the measured size of the black hole shadow in M87 tightens the wiggle room for modifications to Einstein's theory of general relativity by almost a factor of 500, compared to previous tests in the solar system," said Feryal Özel, study coauthor and University of Arizona astrophysics professor, in a statement. "Many ways to modify general relativity fail at this new and tighter black hole shadow test." [emphasis added by us]

Now that researchers know they can use images of black holes to test the theory of gravity, it opens up more possibilities for the future.

"Together with gravitational wave observations, this marks the beginning of a new era in black hole astrophysics," said Dimitrios Psaltis, lead study author and University of Arizona astrophysics professor, in a statement.

The black hole shadow test of relativity discussed in the above article is illustrated by the following explanatory graphic, which is linked here from the CNN article, with the following accompanying text (if the image fails, go to the CNN article):

"This visualization, including the first image of a black hole, shows the new gauge developed to test the predictions of modified gravity theories against the measurement of the size of the M87 shadow."

Look especially at the differing sizes of the blue circles
drawn on the black hole by the researchers,
which emphasize the theoretical differences
between Einstein's General Theory of Relativity
and those proposing alternative theories.

Even if the image above is not shown perfectly via the CNN link,
do ultimately go that CNN article to get the entire story!

For those statistically inclined,
we can say that the score here was

Albert Einstein 500 Competitors 0.

Einstein's Voice Rejoice!


Our image below was made by us
using Starry Night Pro astronomy software
and was added a few hours later
after posting the above material.
  The image shows the location of M87 in the starry sky. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Improving Education in the Modern World: Teaching The Dry Facts Prior to the Teaching of Conceptual Ideas and Cognitive Concepts

"Bad Teaching is Tearing America Apart" is an article by Naomi Schaefer Riley at the Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2020, reviewing "How to Educate a Citizen", by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., a timely book just published by HarperCollins, in which Hirsch examines important aspects of the teaching focus of the American educational system and its connection to problems of culture and race.

Naomi Schaefer Riley writes inter alia:
"The current fashion is for teachers to be a “guide on the side, instead of a sage on the stage,” [Hirsch] says, quoting the latest pedagogical slogan, which means that teachers aren’t supposed to lecture students but to “facilitate” learning by nudging students to follow their own curiosity. Everything Mr. Hirsch knows about how children learn tells him that’s the wrong approach. “If you want equity in education, as well as excellence, you have to have whole-class instruction,” in which a teacher directly communicates information using a prescribed sequential curriculum." [emphasis added by us]
The valuable -- if also surely controversial -- educational issues of our time presented by Hirsch in his book would appear to be essential reading for everyone, not just educators, and at all levels of teaching and learning.

Studies show that many teachers prefer to teach "concepts" rather than "facts", which is understandable, since concepts can be far more fun to teach, being a creative focus of attention, but it is of course the often dry "facts" that people must learn and utilize first, since they provide the necessary practical knowledge usage base for teaching and learning, and -- in later application -- since they establish areas of accepted expertise in all fields of life. 

"Conceptual ideas" viz. "cognitive concepts", on the other hand, are important dynamic tools down the road that are necessary to obtain more or improved knowledge beyond that which has already been taught and learned or is allegedly "known" to be true of thought to be true.

But the foundation of facts must have initial precedence, and must be taught in the schools, rather than the conclusions based on such facts -- and this also applies to the religions, and similar "conclusory" disciplines -- whose concepts may be true or not. This order of priority should apply especially -- but not only -- to primary school teaching and learning levels, and should also take priority precedence at undergraduate college and university graduate research levels.

FIRST the facts, and only then can we rightly ponder what those facts mean, always checking those same alleged facts for veracity and up-to-datedness. The state of the art of knowledge is always in flux, and what is seen as true today, may not be seen as true tomorrow. Get your facts straight and only then let your conceptual thoughts and conclusions follow. Tempus fugit. Consider that what "is known" is always much less than what can still be known or will be discovered as new facts in the future, with new concepts to follow -- that in any case is the history of human knowledge.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Connect the Dots: The Midheaven Plaquette of Les Varines, Jersey, Channel Islands, UK: Perimeter Stars, the North Celestial Pole and Carved Figures in Stone

Connect the Dots: The Midheaven Plaquette of Les Varines, Jersey, Channel Islands, UK: Perimeter Stars, the North Celestial Pole and Carved Figures in Stone

This is a follow-up on our previous posting A Lesson in Critical Analysis for Archaeology and Astronomy: The Midheaven Plaquette (Plaquette #2) of Les Varines, Jersey (near St. Helier) ca. 7600 B.C.

We show in the graphic image below*** how the perimeter [Wikipedia: Greek περίμετρος perimetros from περί peri "around" and μέτρον metron "measure"] of the Midheaven Plaquette follows a shape that is outlined by brighter stars of the midheaven starry night sky.

We claim that one can try to place this stone plaquette shape anywhere else in the night's starry sky and it will not fit as well in terms of the stars located at the plaquette shape's perimeter. One could of course draft a mathematical algorithm comparing star magnitudes in the heavens as a means to fit a plaquette like this in the stars of the sky, but this shape would surely fit best at midheaven anyway. 

Similarly, the North Celestial Pole on the plaquette is in a unique place not duplicated elsewhere in the starry sky. Indeed, together with the positions of the Celestial Meridian and Ecliptic Meridian in that era, which arguably have their plaquette comparables, the plaquette origin can be dated to ca. 7600 B.C.

There is really very little that can be disputed here on those parameters.

Where the fun starts -- for those interested -- is in identifying any possible figures carved onto the plaquette via the lines carved in the stone and, so we allege, following the corresponding connected lines viz. dots of stars in the heavens.

Such figures would be expected for a prehistoric portrayal of the stars at heaven's center -- e.g. perhaps comparable to the predynastic Egyptian figures at midheaven of one or even two guardian falcons or a similar high-flying bird, such as an eagle, perhaps including also a guardian dog and a precessionally-winding serpent, all of which we could easily draw above on the plaquette by connecting the dots accordingly (see our sample figure drawing below).

But what figures are really there? No one knows for sure. Perhaps detailed microscopic analysis by experts of the carved incisions could give us more probative information. Otherwise, it is all guesswork.

Moreover, there are numerous other figures that could be identified on the Midheaven Plaquette above -- e.g. we see perhaps what could be two large horse heads (or similar) one above another in the middle of the plaquette, looking right -- which would be "old" carvings perhaps even preceding the Holocene, a "prehistoric" hand-me-down plaquette possibility that is not totally excluded by us -- as also numerous human faces on the plaquette and also on the perimeter of the plaquette -- especially when the plaquette is magnified viz. zoomed digitally so that the star connections "by dots" can be subjectively drawn in detail.

Indeed, the plaquette seen as a whole could also be said to mark a human head looking right, with the hair represented by numerous comparably drawn lines, and a hair bun or animal hat on top of the head marking the North Celestial Pole, which also may have a face figure marking the pole star looking up.

Proving any such figures is next to impossible in our modern day, because there are so many uncertain subjective possibilities, and because there is a clear indication that a multiplicity of figures can be drawn, often appearing to exist as overlays on top of murky, previously drawn viz. carved figures, so that the figures drawn on the plaquette may have been the subjects of time-differing work carved by succeeding generations separated by eras.

Connect the Dots:
What Figures Were Carved on the Midheaven Plaquette? ***

See by comparison the figures found on the Pharaonic Egyptian palettes marking Midheaven via:


*** The decipherment images above consist of a map of stars -- created by Andis Kaulins, August 28, 2020, using Starry Night Pro astronomy software -- which map is superimposed on a lightened graphic of Plaquette 2 to better show the imposed stars, a graphic based on photos found at PLOS ONE in Artists on the edge of the world: An integrated approach to the study of Magdalenian engraved stone plaquettes from Jersey (Channel Islands) and BBC News of 19 August 2020 at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53835146. See the *** footnote at the end of this posting for full credit to the photographic original image, governed by a Creative Commons Attribution License.

*** Credits taken directly from the cited PLoS article are as follows:


Sunday, August 30, 2020

A Lesson in Critical Analysis for Archaeology and Astronomy: The Midheaven Plaquette (Plaquette #2) of Les Varines, Jersey (near St. Helier) ca. 7600 B.C.

Plaquette 2 of Les Varines, Jersey (near St. Helier) is deciphered here in this posting as representing the stars of Midheaven ca. 7600 B.C., marked as points, figures or lines of joined stars, just as modern stellar constellations are drawn.

The Midheaven Plaquette of Les Varines, Jersey
Please click on the image to obtain a larger, resizable image.

The decipherment image above consists of a map of stars -- created by Andis Kaulins, August 28, 2020, using Starry Night Pro astronomy software -- which map is superimposed on a lightened graphic of Plaquette 2 to better show the imposed stars, a graphic based on photos found at PLOS ONE in Artists on the edge of the world: An integrated approach to the study of Magdalenian engraved stone plaquettes from Jersey (Channel Islands) and BBC News of 19 August 2020 at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53835146. See the *** footnote at the end of this posting for full credit to the photographic original image, governed by a Creative Commons Attribution License, .

As per our decipherment, the top left of Plaquette 2, the "Midheaven Plaquette", which shows the midheaven of stars of the starry night, is focused on the star Tau Herculis as the North Celestial Pole (which thus dates Plaquette 2 to the approximate date we use for our star map, ca. 7600 B.C.):
"Tau Herculis is a visible star located within 1° of the precessional path traced across the celestial sphere by the Earth's North pole. It was the northern pole star around the year 7400 BC, a phenomenon which is expected to reoccur in the year 18,400 due to precession....

The current pole star is, of course, Polaris. Among the 14 stars that could be reasonably ... considered eventual northern pole stars, Tau Herculis is the dimmest, but only Polaris itself and Thuban are closer to the precessional path."
Recall that we are comparing a map carved onto stone 10,000 years ago with a modern map of the stars made with high tech today, so that one can not expect exact overlapping when large star sections of a star map are shown. But if one examines smaller sections of the star map, one can see the identity of some sections easily, starting with the brighter stars that formed the outer perimeter shape of the plaquette, and moving inward to stars that marked unique shapes of lines in the stars, even though these can be somewhat shifted in position.

For example, look at the curved line of stars underneath the North Celestial Pole, or view the tail of Draco, clearly outlined in the middle the plaquette, just as it is drawn on a modern star map. Note also the near match of the Celestial Meridian and Ecliptic Meridian and the relative positions of the North Celestial Pole and the North Ecliptic Pole.

We have made a graphic of one smaller section of the star map, somewhat shifted in superimposed place to show the identity of positions of the stars with the lines drawn on Plaquette 2, as follows, for stars just to the right of Pherkad and Kochab in Ursa Minor:

Connecting the Dots

The identity is indisputable and it is impossible that it exists by chance, since the resulting figure is complex and intended as such. It is clear that the ancients were drawing the stars by "connecting the dots", as it were.

A few things must be said about the academic professions involved in this work.

The profession of Archaeology has a lot to do with discovering viz. "digging up" ancient artefacts. Such work can be painstaking and rigorous and we have a great deal of respect for those who do it.

However -- this MUST be said -- the ability to "find things" of prehistoric interest buried in the ground does not necessarily go hand in hand with the subsequently necessary talent to analyze correctly what has been found, a task for which not every "finder" is predestined. Human abilities are specialized. We have no interest to criticize anyone, rather, our goal is to make sure things are "gotten right", which they currently are not, about mankind's ancient history.

The profession of Astronomy has become a high tech industry in our modern day, but astronomers need to develop a better understanding of how ancient stargazing led to modern rational science long before the invention of the telescope or our modern focus on theoretical black holes and dark matter. Ancient prehistoric astronomy had a direct relationship to Earth and mankind. Modern astronomy oft provides no direct connection to humanity and sometimes forgets the importance that the starry night of stars once had to everyday life.

The "Midheaven Plaquette" of Les Varines, Jersey, Channel Islands, UK -- for so we have herewith named it -- is very much a case in point as a kind of avant-garde object lesson.

That plaquette is known in the original research paper as "Plaquette 2" of the 10 plaquettes found at Les Varines, but one can see from the image above that Plaquette 2 is correctly called the "Midheaven Plaquette", because it represents the "mountain" of stars seen at Midheaven by the ancients, as explained by us in our recent previous postings at:
We repeat.

Please understand that we are not criticizing any particular individual in this posting or in our decipherment work. Criticism of people is not our objective and it brings nothing to anyone.

Rather, we aim to help "educate" the various disciplines that deal with prehistoric periods -- occupations and professions that in our view are in great need of up-to-date reform and improvement through the use of probative evidence, as we have previously posted over many years, e.g. recently in The Donald Trump Presidency: Expectations and Results in Our Age of Disruption in a Rapidly Changing World, where we wrote:
"The Trump political situation can be compared with the problems of modernity confronting establishment Archaeology and related disciplines such as Oriental viz. Biblical Studies, which remain stubbornly backward (of course, in part by the retrograde nature of their study), and out-of-date, because they are not sufficiently pushed from outside to get out of their cozy rut.

The "history industry" is dominated by academics who continue doing what they have always done, story-booking how they think the past was, based on often tenuous authority-based rather than evidence-based "opinions", as presented, e.g. in conclusory documentary films, as if no alternative "stories" existed and as if all questions had been resolved, which is by no means the case.

Hence, the history industry has gotten many things wrong historically viz. pre-historically. The entire field of ancient studies, historical and prehistorical, is marked by what we view to be a glaring absence of analytical critical thinking and a lack of sober consideration of alternative explanatory solutions.

What are needed in the historical disciplines are disruptive people and ideas to "shake" the establishment out of its slumber.

Even in modern technology and media, We Live in an Age of Disruption. Just imagine then how rusty things are in the other "older" arts and sciences."
What we thus see here in the case of the "Midheaven Plaquette" of Les Varines is in our view quite typical for Archaeology as also for the History of Astronomy. Our lesson in critical analysis applies to these disciplines broadly and equally. Let's start to get it right with ancient artefacts, many of which are, as Eusebius wrote long before us, devoted to the subject matter of "astronomy".

Let us now turn again to Les Varines and especially "Plaquette 2". As reported by Paul Rincon, BBC Science Editor, just last week (19 August 2020) at the BBC News website in Earliest art in the British Isles discovered on Jersey in the course of a cooperation between the Ice Age Island project and the British Museum, ten archaeologically so-called small flat "engraved" stone "plaquettes", some with drawings and sketches -- but only on one side -- were excavated between 2014 and 2018 at the allegedly Magdalenian site of Les Varines in Jersey (see in 3D) (just North of St. Helier), Channel Islands, United Kingdom. See also Archaeology Magazine.

We say "allegedly Magdalenian" because -- based on the stars in our decipherment -- we must date Plaquette 2 to ca. 7600 B.C., long after the end of the Magdalenians according to current mainstream chronology.

We have held a long-standing megalithic interest in the Channel Islands and especially in the great mound of La Hogue Bie on Jersey (located not far from Les Varines), about which we find written at Wikipedia:
"La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic ritual site which was in use around 3500 BC. In Western Europe, it is one of the largest and best preserved passage graves... [A]t sunrise on the Spring and Autumn equinox ... the orientation of the passage ... allows the sun's rays to shine through to the chamber entering the back recess of the terminal cell....

Just look at that massive megalithic entrance! The above photos via Megaliths.net show the author of this posting in front of and then entering the "terminal cell" inner sanctum of La Hogue Bie, Saint Saviour, in Jersey, UK (49°12'02.2"N 2°03'49.7"W), September, 2000.

Our astronomical interpretation -- already from the year 2002 -- of the figures found in that inner sanctum of La Hogue Bie, as illuminated by the Sun at the Equinoxes, is shown below. See the inner sanctum video at La Hogue Bie on Facebook.

Contrary to the irritating "newbie" spelling La Hougue Bie and the folks-etymological "big hill" etymology assigned to it, which we view as incorrect, we think that the name has a derivation related to Scottish Hogmanay, start of the New Year. Note that the inner sanctum figures mark Midheaven at the focal point and that in our decipherment of the figures there is a direct representation of the Celestial Meridian marking the Spring Equinox:

It is significant that La Hogue Bie, dated to 3500 B.C., and Les Varines and its plaquettes, in our opinion incorrectly assigned to the Magdalenians and through that erroneously dated ca. 10,000 years older than La Hogue Bie, are only about 3 kilometers viz. 2 miles apart on Jersey. And what happened in the intervening more than 10,000 !! years!?

Our date of 7600 B.C. for the Les Varines plaquettes, on the other hand, meshes well with the beginning of a resettlement era in northern Europe after the last Ice Age known as the Holocene, starting about 10,000 years ago.

Here is a comparison of the location of megalithic La Hogue Bie to the location of the Les Varines plaquettes of an alleged much earlier Magdalenian Era. Please note that our location map below is made up of two composite Google Maps, as we have added the label here for the location of Les Varines.

The original research on the discovery and interpretation of the ten Les Varines (49°10'59.6"N 2°05'01.2"W) plaquettes was published at PLOS ONE in Artists on the edge of the world: An integrated approach to the study of Magdalenian engraved stone plaquettes from Jersey (Channel Islands).

Take a close look at the published photographs of the original plaquette ("Plaquette 2") in question and then compare the interpretative drawings reproduced there, supposedly representing the subject matter drawn on the plaquette.

We can state here categorically that those subjectively selective, simplistic drawings and interpretations are clearly erroneous. But, you, the reader must ultimately decide.

Take a look at a zoomed photo of "Plaquette 2" and compare the markings on that plaquette to the recently published interpretative drawings.

Our opinion: those incomplete drawings are purely subjective interpretations, which is no surprise, as mainstream archaeologists and astronomers in fact apparently have no real idea what those markings on "Plaquette 2" represent. Well then, guesswork is no answer. By contrast, we are not "guessing". Rather, we are superimposing a star map on a plaquette and saying, "there you are" -- that is the answer. LOOK and see for yourselves.

We suggest therefore, that the situation can be corrected by following a few simple rules of "simple scientific method", which are as follows:
  1. Until a researcher or research team has examined all alternative possible explanations, one should not draw any subjective conclusions about what has been discovered. For example, in a worst case scenario, a researcher who subjectively hopes to find mammoths or wooly rhinoceroses drawn on an artefact, because that would fit the alleged artefact era, may indeed claim to find such drawings, even though they may not really be there. Wishful thinking is not science, Check and recheck. THAT is science. Consider EVERYTHING as a possibility, not just a pet theory, or the school of thought of prevailing academic opinion.

  2. As regards prehistoric drawings, figures, carvings, paintings, etc., always consider as a possible explanation the alternative solution that the paintings, drawings, carvings or figures that you see, as also those found on the background of such "art" -- such as the carved stone on which the Lascaux paintings were made  (which the mainstream has thus far ignored) -- had an astronomical significance.

    The ancients wanted to know where they were and what they were doing here on our planet Earth. The sky was their heavenly map, applied to the ground, "as above, so below", and surely became the origin of their "heaven-based" religious beliefs.

    We have been interpreting megalithic culture for 40 years and can state without doubt that many archaeological findings worldwide of ancient cultures are in fact astronomy-based, i.e. "ancient stargazing" as it were.

    We use the term "stargazing" because many modern astronomers seem to discount any kind of astronomy, particularly of the ancient kind, that is made without telescopes and without modern paraphernalia. They are "above it". But it may be advisable to understand the importance of astronomy to humanity, by relearning the beginnings of stargazing  to see the starry sky as ancient mankind saw it.
*** Credits taken directly from the cited PLoS article are as follows:



Sky Earth Native America -- in Two Volumes
Native American Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds
Deciphered as Land Survey & Astronomy by Andis Kaulins

paperbacks in color print
Volume 1, 2nd Edition, 266 pages

ISBN: 1517396816 / 9781517396817
Volume 2, 2nd Edition, 262 pages
ISBN: 1517396832 / 9781517396831

Sky Earth Native America Volume 1-----------Sky Earth Native America Volume 2
by Andis Kaulins J.D. Stanford                                         
by Andis Kaulins J.D. Stanford
(front cover(s))  

(back cover with a photograph of the author and book absract text)