Grinding corn, making tortillas.


It turns out that corn, maize, that great staple, is not so nutritious on its own, potentially causing a vitamin-deficiency disease called pellagra. But ancient people noticed that soaking it in strongly-alkaline lime water (pH 11) made it more satisfying (or, at least, more easily processed for dinner), thus bypassing a dietary problem. And combining corn with beans made a more complete protein.  Here’s a fascinating peek at some food history:

Corn crib full of ear corn in a Maya village north of Piste

Did climate change impact ancient Maya?

Maya culture is alive and well today, if not thriving economically. Indeed, their population is burgeoning. But there is clear evidence of a serious decline in ancient times, a decline which may return with a vengeance. A new study discusses the issue. And it sounds like history is repeating itself today, including among those living NoB (north of the US border). If this hypothesis is correct, it could get worse, as there has been significant illegal harvesting of huge trees throughout central America and into southern Mexico, including the Peten jungle of southern Mexico. Will history repeat itself? Here’s a link to the article mentioning the study: (don’t miss the paintings in the slide show at bottom of link):

CLICK:  Maya Collapse Tied To Drought, Deforestation

Ancient ceiba tree in a Merida backyard is safe from loggers.




Izimina was once a suburb of Merida where families went to spend leisure time. But now, Merida has sprawled past those antique boundaries and encompassed her. But it’s still a destination. Simple, flavorful lunch fare is a big draw at this local spot, on the corner of c.20 y 15, just north of the parque and iglesia.


Google Mx, in cooperation with the Mexican National Institute of Archeology, has launched virtual tours of 30 famous ruins, soon to be 80. The ruins seem to lack documentation or explanation, but they may be of interest to prospective tourists who are trying to choose among various possible destinations. (If the images are unfocused initially, wiggle the cursor over the photo. It will eventually render sharply.)


Uxmal. Ancient pyramid an hour west of Merida, Yucatan.

CLICK:  Red de Zonas Arqueológicas


David Hume’s pocket watch*, found in the creek behind my barn. Photo credit:  E.Chaffee

The time date 21:11 12/21 2012 of the Mayan long-count calendar cannot freeze the universe in time. Here are some thoughts on why not:

* 22.  A man finding a watch or any other machine in a desert island, would conclude that there had once been men in that island.  And here it is constantly supposed that there is a connection between the present fact and that which is inferred from it.

~ An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.  By Sir David Hume.

Or perhaps it was Rousseau’s watch, which he threw away in winter of 1750?

Confessions Book 8, OEuvres, I, 363.


Everybody’s interested in narrative. We love to tell stories; we love to listen to and read stories. We read the world as one big story-puzzle about reality. But stories are difficult to grasp when we fail to begin at the beginning — like walking into a movie late.


                        WARNING!    SPEED BUMP AHEAD.   TOPE ALERT!  

THIS POST MIGHT MISTAKENLY BE READ AS RELIGIOUS (but really, it’s well beyond that). This is a timely topic, what, with the Mayan long-count calendar about to flip. Grappling with new beginnings is bold and engaging, if we’re up for it. So, if/then/click — to do some deep pondering, please visit here to consider what my friend Wayne, who teaches philosophy in WV, sent me today: