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

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Patents and Human Genes incl. A Nature Magazine Book Review by Heidi Ledford of The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA by Jorge L. Contreras

We are happy to report that Nature magazine has a timely book review by Heidi Ledford, reviewing The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA, a book authored by Jorge L. Contreras, Algonquin books, Workman.com, 2021. See also, e.g. Amazon.com.

As Nature writes about the book:

""Ably and affectingly detailed . . . This story stands as a guide to the forces that shape an increasingly important industry—and to the vexed influence of patents.” — Nature"

The book author, Jorge L. Contreras, has a seminal opinion editorial ("op-ed") at CNN, Don't let gene patents make a comeback, in which he writes that "gene patenting" was ended in 2013 by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, a decision that has since come under intense pressure by moneyed interests. As Contreras writes at CNN:

"The current prohibition on gene patents, however, could change. The biotechnology industry criticized the Myriad decision when it was released and has worked tirelessly to overturn it, along with other key Supreme Court decisions limiting patents. These opponents claim that unless the reach of patents is expanded, biomedical innovation will be stifled, research will not be funded and lives will be lost. But, as the unprecedented effort to analyze the virus responsible for Covid-19 has shown, this is not true. "

Contreras in that same CNN op-ed correctly writes about the great advantages of patent-free zones in the health and biomedical field:

"In January 2020, when the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first identified, researchers quickly sequenced its genome and uploaded it to the GenBank public database. They then raced to develop vaccines and treatments to combat Covid-19. One thing that enabled them to do so in record time was the absence of patents covering the virus and the hundreds of thousands of genetic variants that have emerged since. Without a doubt, this patent-free zone contributed to the speed at which the scientific community was able to respond to this global threat."

The treatment of human genes in patent law is a topic that -- in our opinion -- has thus far not been adequately covered by mainstream law school journals or legal scholars, although there are signs that they may be awakening out of their slumber. See Book Talk: The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA, "Co-sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law SchoolHarvard Law School Library, and Harvard Book Store, which is a locally owned, independently run Cambridge landmark since 1932."

Sometimes it seems to us that mainstream law has preferred to focus on what some may consider to be "politically correct" dialogue on various human rights issues involving minorities of every description, ignoring much of the rest of the legal spectrum that applies to both minorities AND majorities. To put it differently, the law also has the duty to protect the rights of average citizens, genes included.

While we do not deny the importance of human rights issues, there are many other important topics in our era that also deserve proper legal attention. The state of patent law as regards human genes is one such deserving topic. Indeed, we have been posting at LawPundit about the sad state of patent law in general for many years, and have specifically argued that human genes are an invention of "the Almighty" (insert the God of your belief here) and should not be patentable in any form, since human genes are not a human invention by any means.

We posted about the Myriad case already early in the court decision process. See Myriad Human Gene Patent Case Vacated and Remanded by U.S. Supreme Court in Light of Prometheus, writing:

"The logic we suggest is: if you cleave an orange in two, you can not claim the two orange halves as inventions, and so it is also with human genes."

In Are Human Genes Patentable? Their Patentability is Once Again on the U.S. Supreme Court Agenda we wrote about the patentability of genes as follows:

"“Are human genes patentable?”

How can the answer be anything but NO?

As posted by Dennis Crouch of Patently-O, Supreme Court has Granted Cert in the Myriad Case, Question: Are Human Genes Patentable.

Timothy B. Lee also has the story at Ars Technica in Supreme Court to rule on patentability of human genes.

We posted previously at LawPundit about this sordid legal farce of greedy companies trying to cash in commercially by claiming “patent” ownership of your genes and mine, as if the two halves of a cleaved orange would be an “invention”‘:

It is time for the U.S. Supreme Court to put an end to this nonsense.

The Almighty, whoever that might be or have been, in whatever shape or form, according to whatever religion you preach or not, “invented” the genes, whether via evolution, or creation, or intelligent design, whatever you believe,

it makes no difference,

but the inventor was NOT some human in a laboratory.

We hope the Supremes get that and make it clear to the recalcitrant judges on the Federal Circuit who think everything is a human invention worthy of monopolistic ownership for the profit of the few."

We also discussed the alleged difference between DNA and cDNA in Can Human Genes Be Patented? U.S. Supreme Court Answer Likely to Be "No", but the Ultimate Issue Down the Road is the Patentability of cDNA (Complementary DNA) viz. Is a Split Hair viz. Split Gene an Invention?, writing:

"Is an orange, a lemon, a fig or a tomato split in half and “peeled”, “a patentable invention”? How about a tree split by a logger into firewood? Patent-eligible? How about the patentability of a split hair?
Or is the excerpt of a paragraph of text taken from a book “a new patentable invention” just because it has been “lifted” from the original whole?

What will be the U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning the patentability of human genes and “split genes” in a case currently before the Court as Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., Docket No., 12-398, Argument Date: TBD (“to be determined”), which presents the following question:

Many patients seek genetic testing to see if they have mutations in their
genes that are associated with a significantly increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer.  Respondent Myriad Genetics obtained patents on two human genes that correlate to this risk, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. These patents claim every naturally-occurring version of those genes, including mutations, on the theory that Myriad invented something patent–eligible simply by removing (“isolating”) the genes from the body.  Petitioners are primarily medical professionals who regularly use routine, conventional genetic testing methods to examine genes, but are prohibited from examining the human genes that Myriad claims to own. This case therefore presents the following questions:

1. Are human genes patentable?

2. Did the court of appeals err in upholding a method claim by Myriad that
is irreconcilable with this Court’s ruling in Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 132 S. Ct. 1289 (2012)?

3. Did the court of appeals err in adopting a new and inflexible rule,
contrary to normal standing rules and this Court’s decision in MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., 549 U.S. 118 (2007), that petitioners who have been indisputably deterred by Myriad’s “active enforcement” of its patent rights nonetheless lack standing to challenge those patents absent evidence that they have been personally threatened with an infringement action?”

What has been invented by man? and what by God?

James D. Watson was the co-discoverer of genetic DNA together with Francis Crick, and both he and Crick and Maurice Wilkins won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material“.

Watson has filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in this case and has written there as follows:

“Human genes should not be patented…. First, a human gene is fundamentally unique–unlike any ordinary “composition of matter.” A gene conveys information–the instructions for life. As a product of nature, a human gene’s primary purpose is to encode the information for creating proteins, enzymes, cells, and all the other components that make us who we are…. Life’s instructions ought not be controlled by legal monopolies created at the whim of Congress or the courts.

Second, much of what we known about human genes traces back to the Human Genome Project, which was structured as a public works project, intended to benefit everyone by deciphering our genetic code… [M]uch but not all of the human genome was dedicated to the public…. It was a mistake by the Patent Office to issue patents on human genes and a mistake by those who filed for those patents.

Third, human gene patents are not necessary to encourage scientists…. Innovation will be rewarded based on [developments in technologies using human genes], not the patenting of the human gene….

“Human genes…are useful because they convey vital information…..”

In our view, awarding ANYONE any kind of patent or other monopoly on this information, in whole or in part, is simply theft of that universal information. What belongs to all is being stolen for the benefit of the few.

In terms of the law and the patentability of inventions and discoveries, when we talk about any form of human genes, we must ask: where is “the inventive step” or the “non-obvious” human discovery involved when “splitting” genes or “splitting” DNA that already exists? Cutting things apart is not “a discovery”. Imagine if firewood were patentable. Whatever is found was already there.

Andrew Torrance at SCOTUSblog in Nothing under the sun that is made of man suggests that the U.S. Supreme Court “likely” will reject the patenting of human genes in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.
[recommended citation at SCOTUSblog: Andrew Torrance, Nothing under the sun that is made of man, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 7, 2013, 12:24 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/02/nothing-under-the-sun-that-is-made-of-man/ ]

We agree. See our previous postings on this topic here and here.

Alas, however, that may not solve the “actual” practical legal problem presented in this case, where a finding that human genes are not patentable may not really resolve the real issue in this case.

One must fear, in fact that the U.S. Supreme Court could follow the simplistic and errant line of argumentation of the United States Government in its amicus brief which concludes that:

“The judgment of the court of appeals should be affirmed insofar as it holds that cDNA is patent-eligible, and reversed insofar as it holds that isolated but otherwise unmodified DNA is patent-eligible.”

The U.S. Government is thus urging that unmodified DNA be seen as a product of nature, but “modified” DNA be seen as “an invention”, even if that invention consists primarily of using and monopolizing code information that has always been there in the original product of nature.

We ourselves would never tolerate such an illogically split result, but it is a result which might be seen to provide Supreme Court Justices with “an easy out” in this case, replacing individual critical thinking by the judges.

In this manner they could issue a holding meeting “popular” demand that human genes are not patentable, but could at the same time then nevertheless carve out a large and significant “hair-splitting” viz. “gene-splitting” patent exception for “split-off” DNA. We might compare this to a teaspoon of sugar spread on a split lemon. NOT found in nature. Or we might compare it to a clipped paragraph from a book to which proprietary introductory and closing texts are newly appended to create “a new invention”.

If such a terrible decision on the law were to issue from the current U.S. Supreme Court, one would subsequently have no recourse but to argue that even if cDNA were found patent-eligible (as “split” from original human genes) it would nevertheless not be patentable because the “splitting” is obvious.

Making patentability in this field dependent on the obviousness of the splitting would, however, be a very unsatisfactory standard. To government institutions such as the USPTO and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, apparently virtually “NOTHING” appears to be obvious.

The U.S. Government writes in its amicus brief about cDNA as follows:

“Petitioners contend (Br. 49-53) that cDNAs are not patent-eligible because they contain the same protein-coding information — i.e., exon sequences — as DNA in the body. But the properties of any product originally derived from nature, including the bacterium in Chakrabarty, can be traced to the operation of natural principles. While the coding properties of cDNA molecules’ exons are determined by nature, those properties operate within a molecule (a DNA strand with the regulatory and intron regions spliced out) that does not exist in nature and that has increased utility relative to naturally occurring genetic materials or isolated but unmodified DNA. The fact that a cDNA incorporates nucleotide sequences whose significance is derived from nature therefore does not mean that the molecule as a whole is a product of nature.5 See Diehr, 450 U.S. at 187.”
5 It is possible that, given the prevailing level of knowledge in biotechnological fields, future patent applications directed to cDNAs and other synthesized DNA molecules may rejected as obvious. 35 U.S.C. 103; see In re Kubin, 561 F.3d 1351, 1358-1361 (Fed. Cir. 2009).”

If cDNA code information were found to be patent eligible in general as being “split” from an original non-patentable gene (as if the coded part were more patentable than the coded whole), the patent approach pointed out in footnote 5 would then be the correct one as a patent defense.

It would then in fact be the ONLY defense remaining, since “creating” cDNA’s
— for those who want to call it “creating” rather than “splitting away from” —
is child’s play these days if you have the right kit.

Indeed, creating cDNA is so simply done that it has already generated a lively market for “cDNA Synthesis Kits”. Just plug that term into Google to view links to any number of them.

We quote from the SMART cDNA Synthesis Kit description online:

“SMART (Switching Mechanism at 5’ End of RNA Template) is a unique technology that allows the efficient incorporation of known sequences at both ends of cDNA during first strand synthesis, without adaptor ligation. The presence of these known sequences is crucial for a number of downstream applications including amplification, RACE, and library construction. While a wide variety of technologies can be employed to take advantage of these known sequences, the simplicity and efficiency of the single-step SMART process permits unparalleled sensitivity and ensures that full-length cDNA is generated and amplified.“

As written at the Wikipedia:

“In genetics, complementary DNA (cDNA) is DNA synthesized from a messenger RNA (mRNA) template in a reaction catalysed by the enzymes reverse transcriptase and DNA polymerase.[1] cDNA is often used to clone eukaryotic genes in prokaryotes. When scientists want to express a specific protein in a cell that does not normally express that protein (i.e., heterologous expression), they will transfer the cDNA that codes for the protein to the recipient cell. cDNA is also produced by retroviruses (such as HIV-1, HIV-2, Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, etc.) which is integrated into its host’s genome where it creates a provirus….

Though there are several methods for doing so, cDNA is most often synthesized from mature (fully spliced) mRNA using the enzyme reverse transcriptase. This enzyme operates on a single strand of mRNA, generating its complementary DNA based on the pairing of RNA base pairs (A, U, G and C) to their DNA complements (T, A, C and G respectively).
To obtain eukaryotic cDNA whose introns have been removed:
  1. A eukaryotic cell transcribes the DNA (from genes) into RNA (pre-mRNA).
  2. The same cell processes the pre-mRNA strands by removing introns, and adding a poly-A tail and 5’ Methyl-Guanine cap.
  3. This mixture of mature mRNA strands is extracted from the cell. The Poly-A tail of the post transcription mRNA can be taken advantage of with oligo(dT) beads in an affinity chromatography assay.
  4. A poly-T oligonucleotide primer is hybridized onto the poly-A tail of the mature mRNA template, or random hexamer primers can be added which contain every possible 6 base single strand of DNA and can therefore hybridize anywhere on the RNA (Reverse transcriptase requires this double-stranded segment as a primer to start its operation.)
  5. Reverse transcriptase is added, along with deoxynucleotide triphosphates (A, T, G, C). This synthesizes one complementary strand of DNA hybridized to the original mRNA strand.
  6. To synthesize an additional DNA strand, you need to digest the RNA of the hybrid strand, using an enzyme like RNase H, or through alkali digestion method.
  7. After digestion of the RNA, a single stranded DNA (ssDNA) is left and because single stranded nucleic acids are hydrophobic, it tends to loop around itself. It is likely that the ssDNA forms a hairpin loop at the 3′ end.
  8. From the hairpin loop, a DNA polymerase can then use it as a primer to transcribe a complementary sequence for the ss cDNA.
  9. Now, you should be left with a double stranded cDNA with identical sequence as the mRNA of interest.

The reverse transcriptase scans the mature mRNA and synthesizes a sequence of DNA that complements the mRNA template. This strand of DNA is complementary DNA.“

In other words, cDNA is simply a modified form of mRNA that is “created” from KNOWN coded information according to fixed rules that are essentially the same for all cDNAs. There is NO INVENTION as such. Unpatentable coded information is simply “reformatted”. That does not make the info patentable.

We ourselves would not find cDNA itself patent eligible in ANY form. Rather, if anything should be patented here, it is the cDNA synthesis kits — and ONLY these.

The correct decision in this case is to view human genes — as explained by James D. Watson previously — as living strands of coded information. The innumerable parts of that coded information make up a gigantic book, i.e. the book of the coded instructions for life, for making a human being. Taking a clip of that information out of that book and perhaps cutting off the chapter heading or dropping the ending period of a sentence still does not make that text or information a new “invention” of any man or commercial undertaking.

It remains at all times the SAME coded original information of nature, and hence is NOT patentable, in ANY form. So our opinion."

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Neolithic Northern Arabia Archaeoastronomical "Camel Site Decipherment Image" by Andis Kaulins Updated October 20, 2021

Please note:

The graphic Neolithic Northern Arabia Archaeoastronomical
"Camel Site Decipherment Image" by Andis Kaulins
presented in full in previous postings
was updated on October 20, 2021 with some additions
and improved color management of the figures,
thus, for example, retaining a clear view of the legs of the camel.

See the updated decipherment.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Neolithic Rock Art "Camel Site" in Arabia Deciphered as Astronomy: Interactive Lesson #6: Our Full Decipherment Image

The Neolithic Rock Art "Camel Site" in Arabia Deciphered as Astronomy

Please note: the graphic below
was updated with some corrected star placements on October 20, 2021.

Our Interactive Lesson #6 consists of our independent archaeoastronomical decipherment of the Rock Art so-called "Camel Site" located in Northern Arabia.

This is the last interactive lesson in this series of postings, which we will follow up with some explanatory postings about various aspects of our decipherment below. 

There are many unexpected surprises, especially for the era in question.

Look at the decipherment graphic and draw your own conclusions.

The Neolithic Rock Art "Camel Site" in Arabia:
Interactive Lesson #6: Our Full Decipherment Image
The Camel Site Portrays the Night Starry Sky
ca. 4800 B.C. by Figures

Click on the graphic below
to obtain a larger, more readable image! 

Please note that the graphic below
was updated on October 20, 2021
with improved color management of the figures
and some corrected star placements


Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Neolithic Rock Art Camel Site in Arabia: Interactive Lesson #5: Auriga the Goatherd Left of Perseus and Cepheus, Cassiopeia, and Andromeda Right of Perseus

The Neolithic Rock Art Camel Site in Arabia: Interactive Lesson #5: Auriga to the Left of Perseus and Carved Figures and Cupule Stars to the Right of Perseus

The stars of Auriga at the Camel Site are represented by the head of a goatherd with typical headdress, plus the head (and fleece ?) of an adult goat with several goat kids. This corroborates the correctness of our previous placement of the stars of Perseus to the right of Auriga. The fleece viz. the "wool" of Auriga is carved in the rock in an appropriate "ruffled" texture way. The adult goat appears to have several goat kids behind it, plus maybe a goat dog ("sheepdog") to the back left. 

The Neolithic Rock Art Camel Site in Arabia: Interactive Lesson #5
Auriga the Goatherd is to the Left of Perseus
Auriga includes a Goat head profile and several goat kids, plus goatherd dog.
Cepheus, Cassiopeia, and Andromeda are to the Right of Perseus

Please click on the graphic below to obtain a larger image.

The figures to the right of Perseus are more difficult to assign with certainty, as they are very strongly characterized by the megalithic style of carving figures within figures within figures, which makes identification more speculative.

We think those figures mark stars of what we moderns identify as the stellar constellations of Cepheus, Cassiopeia, wife of Cepheus, and their daughter Andromeda -- a heavenly family as it were -- whose origins, e.g., in Egypt, and even by mainstream archaeology, reach back far and at least into predynastic ("pre-Pharaoh") times. Just how old these heavenly figures assigned to groups of stars in the starry sky actually are -- nobody really knows, but it is clear from the Neolithic Rock Art Camel Site in Arabia that they are much older then previously thought by the mainstream of researchers.

Just as an aside:
We think the term Auriga originally meant "sheep, lamb" as arguably in what we see as a hypothetical proto-Indo-European root found e.g. in Latvian jēr- jēruk- (=*aurig-) meaning "of (a) lamb".

The Latin meaning of "charioteer" may arise out of a linguistic confusion of "auriga" with e.g. the root of a word like "quadriga" and similar terms, which at their root have the meaning "yoke" in proto-Indo-European, as in archaic Latvian "jūgs, jūg-".

The next posting in this series is Interactive Lesson #6. 

Can you already find the stars portrayed on the left side of the carved rock but not yet identified?

Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Camel Site in Northern Arabia: Interactive Lesson #4: More Figures at Perseus and Stars of the Camel Leg to the Left

The Camel Site in Arabia: Interactive Lesson #4: More Figures at Perseus and the Stars of the Leg to the Left

In the image below we see the figure of Perseus, and an additional coiled (?) figure below it -- above the Hyena -- that emerges when we look at the stone-carved figures in detail.


Click on the image to view a larger image version.

Perseus appears to wear a military-type (?) plumed hat and we can only ask ourselves if the figure below him is Medusa or a serpent-type figure, for this is very speculative and not perfectly clear. Such a hat is not likely to date back to 4800 B.C. Perhaps such figures were added later in time, in another era, by ancients who knew which stars the carved Camel Site represented in the sky.

Posting #5 of this decipherment series on the Camel Site of Northern Arabia follows, deciphering figures and stars to the right of Perseus, including the camel's leg to the right.

Saturday, October 09, 2021

The Camel Site in Northern Arabia: Interactive Lesson #3: Where are the Stars of Perseus Marked by a Figure and Cupmarks? And Where is the Hyena?

Once one recognizes that the large camel at the Camel Site marks the Celestial Equator, the Celestial Meridian and the Celestial North Pole by its features...

and if we also have a good idea of the date of the human stone carving work...

then the general positions of the stars at the Camel Site are inevitable...

because their position is thereby determined by the major astronomical parameters.

The stars can not be elsewhere, and we can thus not place them subjectively,

although it is also true, however, that individual stars may be difficult to identify with perfect certainty. Everything is not always as easy as it appears.

We started out with the figure and cupmarks of the stars of Perseus because their placement at the Camel Site is eminently obvious. Just look at the Starry Night Pro star map below, a stellar map which we have already posted previously. Find Perseus on that star map and you will then know where to look for Perseus at the Camel Site stone relief.

Image clip 2021 A.D. by Andis Kaulins via Starry Night Pro astronomy software

 Click on the image to view a larger image version.
(image updated on 7 October 2021)

As one can see from above, Perseus is to the far right of the Vernal Equinox on that 4800 B.C. star map and that is where we expect to find Perseus represented on the large camel at the Camel Site ... and so it is, as seen below.

We have previously written that:
"Significant for our discussion of ancient celestial poles
is the fact that the Arabic Bedouins in Egypt, instead of a dragon,
saw a circle of camels at heaven’s center that was being attacked by hyenas.

 Click on the image to view a larger image version.

The arguably older representation is the tapered relief-carved figure of Perseus.
The arguably younger presentation consists of cupmarks
(carved holes in stone) of the brighter stars of Perseus,
as still used in modern astronomy to portray the figure of Perseus in the sky.

The hyena at the heel of the camel -- supporting ancient heavenly depiction --
is proof of the correctness of our decipherment of "The Camel Site" in Arabia.

 Lesson #4 is forthcoming in the next posting.


Thursday, October 07, 2021

The Camel Site in Northern Arabia: Interactive Lesson #2: What is the Camel Carrying? The Camel Carries the Starry Sky

The Neolithic Rock Art Camel Site in Northern Arabia as Astronomy:
Interactive Lesson #2:
What is the Camel Carrying?
The camel carries the starry sky.

The mid-center Celestial Meridian as the prominent left foreleg of the camel and the top of the camel's hump at the location of the North Celestial Pole indicate that the camel carries the stars in the sky, i.e. the vault of heaven.

Arab sources of antiquity place the camel at a position near the North Celestial Pole. Citing to Richard Hinckley's Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (Dover edition, 1963)

We have previously written that:

"Significant for our discussion of ancient celestial poles is the fact that the Arabic Bedouins in Egypt, instead of a dragon, saw a circle of camels at heaven’s center that was being attacked by hyenas."

Before we present our decipherments, the reader may try to identify stars represented at the Camel Site by carved figures and holes carved in stone to represent bright stars or groups of bright stars. Good luck!

Groups of stars can be represented by figures, as we still do in modernity by the stellar constellations.

But stars can also be represented individually by "cupmarks" (cupules, holes carved in stone to represent stars).

Usually -- the larger the hole, the brighter the magnitude of the star.

Please note:

The carved figures at the Camel Site are likely to be older than the identifiable cupmarks, which appear to be younger, because they cover less space than the corresponding figures. We see this at the representation of the stars of Perseus, which we add to our decipherment image in the next posting.

This same phenomenon is found at sites such as Lascaux in France -- but, to our knowledge, is something not recognized by mainstream archaeologists -- where cave paintings cover rocks that were already previously carved to mark the same stars as the later paintings.

People often see what they want to see or things easy to see ... and miss the rest. No less an observer than Albert Einstein said that he had little patience with scientists who drilled only where the drilling is easy.

The Neolithic Rock Art Camel Site in Northern Arabia as Astronomy: Interactive Lesson #1: Where does the Camel Stand? It Stands on the Celestial Equator

The Neolithic Rock Art Camel Site in Northern Arabia as Astronomy:
Interactive Lesson #1:
Where does the Camel Stand?
It Stands on the Celestial Equator

Our interactive decipherment begins with a clip of the section of sky that we regard to be represented by carved figures and cupmarks at "The Camel Site"
-- figures and holes carved in stone to mark bright stars viz. star groups.

The starry sky corresponding to the stars represented by the Camel Site is found
in the image below -- applying to stars ca. at or above the Celestial Equator on which the camel stands ... carrying the heavens. Our image clip from Starry Night Pro astronomy software is the year 4800 B.C., close to the dates of ca. 5600 to 5200 BCE estimated by archaeologists for human inhabitation of the site.

Image clip 2021 A.D. by Andis Kaulins via Starry Night Pro astronomy software

 Click on the image to view a larger image version.
(image updated on 7 October 2021)

The Celestial Equator in the star map above is the red nearly horizontal line running through the Vernal Equinox. The Celestial Equator at the Camel Site is the line drawn below -- and identified by us -- upon which the camel stands:


Click on the image to view a larger image version.

That line provides the foundation for the astronomical decipherment. Once such an important astronomical parameter is correctly identified, the rest follows. 

See if you can now identify the stars represented at the Camel Site without referring to our decipherment. You have the star map above.

This posting begins a series of experimental interactive presentations of our recent, independent, and unaffiliated archaeoastronomical decipherment of the so-called archaeological "Camel Site" in Northern Arabia...

as that site is described by the following authors
Maria Guagnin, Guillaume Charloux, Abdullah M. AlSharekh, Rémy Crassard, Yamandú H. Hilbert, Meinrat O. Andreae, Abdullah AlAmri, Frank Preusser, Fulbert Dubois, Franck Burgos, Pascal Flohr, Pascal Mora, Ahmad AlQaeed, and Yasser AlAli...

in their article
Life-sized Neolithic camel sculptures in Arabia: A scientific assessment of the craftsmanship and age of the Camel Site reliefs
, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 2021, 103165, ISSN 2352-409X
as found published online at...


More Camel Site photos are also published at Artnet.com in Thousands of Years Before the Pyramids, Neolithic Peoples Were Carving Camels into Saudi Arabia’s Rocky Desert, an article by Sarah Cascone online at :


In order to avoid copyright image issues -- we make our own drawings for use in the course of our decipherment and refer readers to original photographs in the above cited sources for review. We have no affiliation with any of the above.

We now look at the Celestial Meridian and Celestial North Pole in Lesson #2, i.e. the next posting. The question is: What is the Camel Carrying?

Friday, July 30, 2021

From Legislated Laws to Natural Laws: General Relativity Theory of Albert Einstein Proven Again as Stanford University Astronomers Detect Surrounding Light in Space Bent Behind the Black Hole I Zwicky 1

From Legislated Laws to Natural Laws

Once again, Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity has been proven right, as Stanford University astronomers have detected for the first time ever that light surrounding a black hole in space (I Zwicky 1) is bent around that black hole and comes into view at its back, as predicted by Einstein's theory "that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time, which is felt as gravity" (Libertore).

Stacy Liberatore has the story at Dailymail.com with useful accompanying graphics. The original article, Light bending and X-ray echoes from behind a supermassive black hole, was published in Nature magazine just two days ago.

See: Wilkins, D.R., Gallo, L.C., Costantini, E. et al. Light bending and X-ray echoes from behind a supermassive black hole. Nature 595, 657–660 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03667-0

Download citation

For more, see our blog, Einstein's Voice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

NCAA Student-Athletes Representing Over 100 Nations are Participating at the Currently Ongoing Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo Japan

More than 1000 (!) NCAA student-athletes
of U.S. colleges and universities
-- representing more than 100 countries around the world --
are participating in the current 2021
"2020" Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan

For the stories see:

NCAA student-athletes at the 2020 Summer Olympics


Olympic medal tracker for NCAA student-athletes in Tokyo

That global stat tells us something very positive about the state of the world
-- regardless of the Olympic nay-sayers.

The Olympic spirit, as envisioned by the Ancient Greeks,
is alive and well as a positive example
of the global cooperation and work
that is possible among humankind.

It urges us all,
and our planet's young generations especially,
to forge onward toward the creation of a better and more peaceful world.

Or, as the recently passed Prince Philip was quoted to say
as a general wisdom applicable to everyone....
Don't drop your countenance....
"Get on with it" and do your job.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Copyrights and Digital Tokens: NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens, e.g. in Digital Art) and Fungible Tokens (e.g. Cryptocurrency)

Fungible and non-fungible "tokens" have emerged as new forms of digital assets first popularized by cryptocurrency (fungible, i.e. interchangeable tokens) and followed by non-interchangeable NFTs, Non-Fungible Tokens, e.g. in digital art.

As written at the BBC in What are NFTs and why are some worth millions?

"Digital tokens can be thought of as certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets."

Cryptocurrency is controversial. "Caveat Emptor!" (Buyer Beware!).

As for the newly emergent NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), it is important to recognize that they are separate from copyrights. As explained at the Wikipedia:

 "A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable.[1] NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.... NFTs are tracked on blockchains to provide the owner with a proof of ownership that is separate from copyright." ....

"The unique identity and ownership of an NFT is verifiable via the blockchain ledger. Ownership of the NFT is often associated with a license to use the underlying digital asset, but generally does not confer copyright to the buyer: some agreements only grant a license for personal, non-commercial use, while other licenses also allow commercial use of the underlying digital asset."

 Harrison Jordan at TechCrunch in "No, NFTs aren't copyrights", writes:

"[T]he reality of NFT ownership is much more complicated than one might imagine. As a new crypto asset class, NFTs appear to exist almost unbound by current regulatory systems. But when combined with art, there are overlaps to consider. Understanding the legal pitfalls of the contemporary NFT ecosystem is the first step in unlocking its potential....

The NFT purchaser owns nothing more than a unique hash on the blockchain with a transactional record and a hyperlink to the file of the artwork."

Digital tokens represent brave, new digital AND legal worlds and it probably behoves us all to keep informed about them.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

The Exploitation of College Student-Athletes Limited by the U.S. Supreme Court, Leading to a Landmark Change by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Regarding Permissible Player Compensation

At the New York Times in Supreme Court Backs Payments to Student-Athletes in N.C.A.A. Case, Adam Liptak and Alan Blinder write that:

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled ... that the N.C.A.A. could not bar relatively modest payments to student-athletes ... [in] a college sports system that generates huge sums for schools but provides little or no compensation to the players.

In a concurring opinion to the Court's unanimous 9-0 decision, Justice Kavanaugh said it best (National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston):

Nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their  workers a fair market rate. And under ordinary principles of antitrust law, it is not evident why college sports should be any different. The NCAA is not above the law.

The regrettable exploitation of college student-athletes has been a topic at LawPundit for the last 10 years, as we have loudly challenged the notion that colleges and universities can forcibly impose an "obey or not play" "amateur status" on their student-athletes to subsequently deny them various kinds of compensation for their efforts.

See some of our postings about sports and the NCAA generally.

We quote here from a previous posting of ours as follows:

[C]ollege athletes are being exploited to the hilt [while] coaches ... command princely salaries so high that the highest paid government employee in most every state is a head college sports coach. So writes Matthew Michaels in Business Insider,The highest-paid public employee in most states is a college football or basketball coach, according to a new report from ESPN.”)

The NCAA has now begun to see the writing on the wall, not only because of the Supreme Court decision cited above, but also because of impending State laws impacting player compensation. Alan Blinder has the story at the New York Times in College Athletes May Earn Money From Their Fame, N.C.A.A. Rules. As Blinder writes:National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston

The N.C.A.A. agreed ... to allow college athletes across the country to capitalize off their fame for the first time. The decision will allow students from coast to coast to strike endorsement deals, profit off their social media accounts, sell autographs and otherwise make money from their names, images and likenesses, potentially directing millions of dollars to college athletes every year....

The [Division I Board of Directors] acted less than 12 hours before state laws designed to challenge the N.C.A.A.’s generations-old rules were scheduled to begin taking effect from Alabama to Oregon.


Friday, June 18, 2021

Morning Brew Reports that SCOTUS Gives the ACA (Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare") its 3rd "You may pass Go" Card

*Morning Brew" is easily one of the most refreshing news-oriented additions to the digital world ever since the World Web Web was invented, and so we honor its University of Michigan-based origins and its now global effervescent style by citing to its readable report on the most recent of the sometimes otherwise dry United States Supreme Court decisions on the Constitutionality of Obamacare. We quote Morning Brew, below, and "You may pass Go" there for more at http://morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2021/06/17/aca-survives-third-supreme-court-challenge....

"Yesterday, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) nabbed its third "You may pass Go" card from the Supreme Court. In a 7–2 vote, justices ruled that Texas and 17 other Republican-led states don't have the legal standing to challenge the law in federal court."

Monday, April 12, 2021

Google Wins Landmark Android Java API Declaring Code Intellectual Property Copyright Case Against Oracle Via a Fair Use Defense

"The copyright case of the decade".

In a major far-reaching digital intellectual property law landmark case
the Supreme Court of the United States ("SCOTUS"),
as reported by Adam Liptak in the New York Times
at Supreme Court Backs Google in Copyright Fight With Oracle,

decided in a 6-2 holding
in an opinion written by Justice Breyer
that Google's use of Java declaring API code in Android software
was "fair use" under the prevailing copyright laws,
although the question of whether such software code was at all copyrightable,
was left unanswered, as an issue whose resolution was not required to decide the case. See Google v. Oracle America, (Google LLC, Petitioner v. Oracle America, Inc., No. 18-956, Apr 05, 2021, Judgment REVERSED and case REMANDED. Breyer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Roberts, C. J., and Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Alito, J., joined. Barrett, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

We posted at length about this eminently significant case previously at LawPundit, for which see:

We are thus happy to report that the Supreme Court's holding in this case keeps intact our spotless record of predicting correctly the Supreme Court reversal of appealed cases that we have regarded to be wrongly decided in the lower instance by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

We were also happy to see via the court records of the proceeding that Kannon K. Shanmugam in the Washington D.C. office of the international New York City headquartered law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP -- our former law firm -- represented the petitioner Google before the Supremes.

Well done lads and ladies !

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Hebrew Calendar Starts Autumn 3761 B.C. Why? Because the Autumn Equinox Location in the Stars Was Virtually at the Center of Our Galaxy in that "Creation" Era

We came to the conclusion some years ago that the main focus of Stonehenge alignments (our independent discovery) is the galactic center of our Milky Way Galaxy (the "Galactic Centre"). 

Megalithic culture seems to mirror an ancient belief of mankind that the galactic center of our galaxy was the origin of souls, a location in the stars to which human souls were correspondingly also believed to return upon worldly passage.

We examined the origin of the Hebrew Calendar and found it to be similar.

What reason did the Hebrew forefathers possibly have for starting their calendar in Autumn, 3761 BC?

People did not likely say, "Oh, let's start a calendar today!" just any day. They surely had a very strong TIMELY reason for their choice.

We were then not surprised to find that the Autumn start of the Hebrew Calendar in Autumn 3761 B.C. corresponds to the location of the Autumn Equinox in that era at the Galactic Centre of our Milky Way of stars.

At TimeAndDate.com, Konstantin Bikos writes at The Jewish Calendar that:

"12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides established 3761 B.C. as the biblical Date of Creation". [link added by us]

That post facto later date creationist-type explanation arguably reflects ancient astronomical religious knowledge, myth or legend as conceivably passed down over the generations by astronomically calendric-savvy Jewish diaspora priests.

We present below an image of the stellar center of our Milky Way galaxy, via an underlying clipped star map made by us via Starry Night Pro astronomy software, to which the present author of this posting, Andis Kaulins, the LawPundit, has added a circle to represent the Galactic Centre with arrows added to show the "striking" lines of stars pointing to the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

There is of course no way to fully "prove" that this theory of the origin of the Jewish Calendar in 3761 B.C. is correct beyond doubt, but we think it adds some new astronomical and calendric sense to the origin of mankind's calendar time-keeping by the positions of the "Sun, Moon and Stars".

Note that the position of the Center of our Milky Way Galaxy must have been known by the ancient stargazers already in that era. These ancient "astronomers" likely formed the "purposeful" if also subjective figures of the nearest surrounding stellar (star) constellations viz. asterisms or similar groupings of stars to correspond to their astronomical knowledge of the location of the Galactic Centre.

These ancient "druids", for lack of a better term, also surely drew prominent "pointing" lines of stars using bright magnitude stars in their subjectively drawn figures, precise intended lines that point to the Galactic Centre, specifically:

  • the tip of the arrow of Sagittarius points to the Galactic Centre
  • the stinger of Scorpio points to the Galactic Centre, and
  • the lowered (we think, then serpent head of Ophiuchus), or one could view it as the bottom head of the "staff" around which the serpent of Ophiuchus perhaps twined, also points to the Galactic Centre. One can be of different minds about which precise stars the ancients actually intended, but the posited scheme is clear.

 "Striking" Stars at the Milky Way Galactic Centre

Some might suggest that this confluence is chance only, but such a pure coincidence would be unlikely given the "striking" nature of the figures used.

The three constellations Ophiuchus, Scorpio and Sagittarius not only "surround" the Galactic Centre but are specifically characterized and marked by what might be called "striking" directional lines of stars aimed at the Galactic Centre. In our view, such an unusual merging of purpose was INTENDED by the ancients.

As one can read in our other postings, it was this galactic center that was the focus of attention of major later megalithic sites, e.g. Stonehenge in particular.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Words, Acts and Cognition in Life and Law: Speech as an Act of Performative Utterance: Language Performativity Suggests Rethinking the ImpACT of the Human Word

What a superb article by Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
at Why We Care About the Royal Family Feud.

Noonan's "performativity"-centered discussion about the British Monarchy has had a special bonus for us, by opening up a new way of thinking about human communication and interaction in the form of "speech acts", which analysis also provides an unexpected connection to "critical legal thinking" (see the link below).

The Wikipedia writes: "Performativity is the concept that language can function as a form of social action and have the effect of change. The concept has multiple applications in diverse fields such as anthropology, social and cultural geography, economics, gender studies (social construction of gender), law, linguistics, performance studies, history, management studies and philosophy." [link added]

Indeed, "performativity" suggests to us that the unending mainstream media discussion about controversial social topics such as e.g. White House lies and untruths over the last four years have completely -- and we mean completely -- missed the point in their analysis of the significance of an avalanche of Twitter Tweets from the past U.S. President and from his similar performative utterances. Something else -- arguably more important than truth -- was at work.

As the language professionals writing about performativity suggest to us, it is not the content of spoken words per se or even the truth or falsity of that content that is at issue, but rather the purpose viz. societal influence of a given "speech act",
ala John L. Austin.

Read on below .... where we find to our astonishment ... really, in a fascinating turn of analysis ... that the assertion of truth or untruth has nothing to do with it.

Who would have thought it. Performativity is even applicable to basic science.

It is thus likely e.g. that the truth of history or other content being written about is not the chief issue in academic publications, as otherwise alleged by the powers that be, but rather the often hidden ulterior motives lurking behind such publications that are among the main driving forces of science. Scientific periodicals and human interactions at gatherings such as congresses can thus fundamentally be viewed as forums for performative acts. Recall that the motto is "publish or perish" but NOT "publish the truth or perish".

We have always known the above to be true, but never understood why.

Now we suspect to know a little more.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Amazon Mounds and Earthworks Updated: Too Difficult for Contemporary Archaeologists or Modern Astronomers?

One of the primary obstacles that we face in our megalithic research -- an obstacle that is greater than the difficulty of astronomical decipherment of standing stones themselves -- is the lack of a wide, knowledgeable audience.

Many contemporary archaeologists and people in related professions erroneously seem to assume that e.g. megaliths or earthwork mounds erected by prehistoric societies are properly the realm of study of Archaeology, even though most archaeologists seem to know little about megaliths, and even less about astronomy. The sky above is exactly the opposite of their chosen "geo-bound" interest. Who cares about the far distant stars above them? Pots rule.

Similarly, those few researchers who call themselves archaeoastronomers or astroarchaeologists, often do not go beyond elementary solar and lunar considerations, virtually ignoring the starry night of stars -- thus suggesting to us that their understanding of ancient mankind is very limited. We expect little help from their ranks.

We have found, contrary to flawed prevailing directions of research -- research is an area in academics that we taught at the university level -- that the starry night of stars and the ever-present band of the Milky Way DOMINATED ancient society as the domicile of their gods.

As we have written at Megaliths.net

"Megaliths.net is a systematic graphic-supported analysis of megaliths and megalithic sites around the world which shows that ancient megalithic sites are land survey sites located by prehistoric astronomy. As observed by Alice Cunningham Fletcher (Alice C. Fletcher) in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist, there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska, geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens. FLETCHER, A. C. (1902), STAR CULT AMONG THE PAWNEE —A PRELIMINARY REPORT. American Anthropologist, 4: 730–736. doi: 10.1525/aa.1902.4.4.02a00050."

However, that knowledge has not seeped into so-called mainstream science. Unless one is shooting rockets into the sky for war or putting new satellites into orbit, the stars are ignored. Indeed, even the Zodiac of stellar groupings has been relegated to the realm of esoteric Astrology. Any hermetic "as above, so below" explanation for prehistoric mankind's cultural focus is not taken seriously.

Sadly, the profession of astronomy itself has not persevered where Archaeology and related professions have dismally failed, thus leaving a "black hole" in science as regards serious research regarding the megaliths and similar constructions. 

Paradoxically, so-called modern astronomers and people in related professions spend a lot of resources studying "black holes" in far distant space that bear little relation to human life on Planet Earth, now or ever. A stellar connection for ancient human technology is of no interest to them. Indeed, your average academic astronomer seems no longer to know much about the visible stars -- those that we humans see above with the naked eye. How ancient mankind viewed the wide expanse of the starry sky above them is not a scientific question for modern skywatchers. That is "below them". Their eyes are focused on distant space, where billions are spent on NASA, planetary visits (mostly by machines), and the search for extraterrestrials.

Those same dedicated people, however, seem to consider it lunacy to allege that ancient mankind ALSO had an overriding interest in the stars.

You figure it out, we can't.

Perhaps mainstream scientists just find this entire field to be too difficult for them. Just two months ago we posted 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", which contains an explanatory map for perusal by contemporary archaeologist and/or modern astronomer. That posting at our Ancient World Blog has 27 hits thus far. It should be hundreds of times more than that.

Too tough? We post an elementary explanatory visual update below:

and here is how we explained it in the previous posting:

"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.


Still too difficult?

-- given the map update further above in this posting??? 

Take another look at the updated explanatory map.

You want to go contra? Forget it.

It is time for you all to bring your "science" up into the modern age.