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Random Rants XXXVII: The Server Is Too Busy

Discussion in 'Picture Threads Archive' started by choxorn, Jan 29, 2012.

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  1. Synsensa

    Synsensa Retired Moderator

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    Couple weeks, actually. ;)
     
  2. Save_Ferris

    Save_Ferris Admiring Myself

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    I have to rewrite (or at least rearrange) a 10-page paper. My thesis and supporting statements weren't clear enough.
     
  3. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Depressed.

    Just watched a Parkinson's patient perform manual tasks to assess his abilities before the therapeutic operation. Sigh, it's disheartening. The charities, gov't, and Big Pharma are all tightening their belts, and so we're scaling back research.

    Jesus Christ, some of these patients have predicted timelines, and we're not able to fund the research necessary to save them.
     
  4. madviking

    madviking north american scum

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    So like, your entire paper was unclear.
     
  5. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    The joke was mildly amusing; the response was classic. :)
     
  6. PlutonianEmpire

    PlutonianEmpire Socially Awkward Goofball

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    Rant: Crappy memory. :(
     
  7. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Western blot images didn't turn out right. Got to stay behind for an hour (or two) beyond the end of the workday.
     
  8. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    That seemed to be what he was saying, although I wasn't sure.
     
  9. Save_Ferris

    Save_Ferris Admiring Myself

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    I meant that my teacher said I had buried my thesis in the paper and didn't summarize my three major points. If you want to read it, the text (sans citation, pictures, and map) is here:
    Spoiler :
    Constructing the Impossible

    The Mound Builders and How They Built Wonders

    A civilization’s culture is what can be told from what its inhabitants left behind. The hieroglyphs in the Great Pyramid of Giza tell stories of pharaohs and the afterlives they were destined to. For two thousand years, Roman life has been immortalized in Pompeii. Across the Atlantic, the Mayans were also living their lives in Tikal, which would later be abandoned and left to archaeologists. In fact, another group, must less known and equally mysterious, thrived in the forests to the north. Some call them the Hopewell. Others refer to them as the Adena. Yet the term most often used in the lands they inhabited, from the Rockies to the Appalachians to the Gulf of Mexico, is the Mound Builders.

    Much about the Mound Builders is known from their sites- they built over 5000 mounds throughout North America. Four notable mounds are Poverty Point, Louisiana, home to evidence of some of the first mounds, the Great Serpent Mound in Ohio, the amazing product of decades of work, Cahokia, Illinois, a bustling trade center and home of North America’s largest mound, and Effigy Mounds National Monument, evidence of the Mound Builders’ widespread trading network.

    If one were to compare the Mound Builders’ villages to Rome, Athens, or Giza, they would seem like mere piles of dirt. However, the Mound Builders accomplished a lot considered that they mostly relied on hunting and gathering. They lived in an area where tribes would always fight with each other, and the death rate was high. They had no cows, pigs, or horses. They only had the forests, rivers, and grasslands around them. While their influence on the Americas was minimal at best, they did more than simply survive, unlike the other cultures surrounding them. Simply surviving was hard enough, but the Mound Builders had a desire for art, for knowledge, and for life. In the Adena culture, they sought out and used new technology by improving pottery and starting agriculture. In the Hopewell culture, the Mound Builders established a trading system that covered nearly half of what is now the United States. In the Mississippian culture, they created art and a social system that lasted over 500 years. What they accomplished is amazing, but how they got there from nearly nothing is simply incredible. This is the story of Mound Builders.

    The Mound Builders arrived thousands of years ago. How many years ago is still being speculated, although we do know they started around the 4th Millennium B.C.E. While the mounds eventually spread to half of America, they started in Louisiana, near the Mississippi River Delta. The first major construction of mounds has been pinpointed to one site.

    Pioneer, Louisiana is a humble village home to 171 residents. To the south, on a small tributary of the Mississippi River, lays the Poverty Point National Monument (see Map of Mentioned Sites, page 11). The place is not a major tourist destination like some mounds to the north, but it does have some artifacts. From stone in the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, simple tools were made. Soapstone, from Alabama and Georgia, was used for vessels. Most importantly, there is a partial octagon made up of mounds surrounding where the village would have been, indicating a simple knowledge of mathematics. The mounds were built between 1600 and 500 B.C.E., making them older than the Roman Republic. Today, many agree that this is where the Mound Builders were born.

    By 400 B.C.E., the first major Mound Builder culture had emerged. Since 1000 B.C.E., the Adena culture had existed in Ohio, but had by then spread to the surrounding areas. The Adena culture was the first sign of political, or at least religious, unity among tribes. They apparently improved technology, through the use of tools such as stone hoes, flint blades, and stone scrapers. The Adena also had pottery, which was made from the grit of crushed limestone. Agriculture was not yet the primary source of food for the Adena; their diet consisted mainly of meat such as freshwater fish, elk, deer, and rabbit, and plants such as hickory nuts, walnuts, and gooseberries. Although less is known about the Adena than the Hopewell, they were the foundation for much of Mound Building culture. It is commonly believed that Adena culture spread through trade with other tribes, although they were certainly not the first to build mounds. The Adena culture, however, had larger mounds, built one basketful of dirt at a time, which usually had several bodies buried underneath them over several decades. (Some mounds took over 100 years to build.) The more important Adena were laid in log tombs underneath the mounds, while other Adena were cremated and had their ashes placed within the mound. Their largest mound is the Grave Creek Mound in the appropriately named Moundsville, West Virginia. The circular mound is 70 feet tall and 900 feet in circumference.

    While it is certainly true that the Egyptians built much larger mounds during the same time, it is important to note that the Mound Builders were originally a hunter-gatherer society. Almost all civilizations started due to a food surplus resulting from agriculture. The Mound Builders defied this stereotype. Eventually, the Mound Builders incorporated farming into their lifestyle. Corn, the food staple of North America, topped their diet with squash and beans providing for nutrients. Then again, why would they have a need to farm? They lived on the river valleys of the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi, where there was much to hunt and much to gather.

    The Mound Builders were excellent at making good use out of their surroundings. Maybe the ability to do so is simply instinctive. Still, it is fascinating that this culture had such a deep appreciation of nature. From what is known about similar cultures, they may have seen it as their protector. Even with this fondness of the wilderness, they were actually rather unfortunate. Unlike the Europeans, they had no domesticated animals except for the dog, which did not provide additional workforce. In the flat Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys, the lack of hills meant that the Mound Builders could not easily defend their territory like Athens, founded on the Acropolis. A large part of the workforce built mounds for protection. While the rivers did provide fresh water aplenty, this also becomes a problem: With everything they needed at hand nearly all throughout the seasons, the Mound Builders never stored water. Due to this, researchers have no evidence of pottery before 500 B.C.E. This, combined with the lack of roads in the thick forests, ultimately resulted in the Mound Builders never using the wheel. The Mayans and Incas used the wheel as well, yet were admittedly technologically superior. The Mound Builders had no need for astronomy like the Mayans; their hunting-gathering society had no use for an agricultural calendar. Unlike the Incas, they did not have potatoes, but, at least until 100 C.E., only what they could find. Without a food surplus, the birthrate is low, and the population does not grow.

    The supposed fact that a society relying mostly on hunting and gathering could not become a major culture was proved false with the emergence of the Hopewell culture around 200 B.C.E. (The Hopewell culture was named after the Hopewell farm in Ross County, Ohio, near one of the first mounds to be discovered.) The Hopewell culture spread quickly; this is possibly what led to the fall of the Adena culture around 1 C.E. From 200 B.C.E. to 500 C.E., the Hopewell culture influenced nearly all Mound Builder tribes. (Hopewell refers to a culture rather than the time Period, chronologically it mostly fits within the Middle Woodland Period, which lasted from 100 B.C.E. to 400 C.E.). The Hopewell culture was centered in south-central Ohio, but extended to Iowa. Much had changed since the Mound Builders settled in Poverty Point. The architecture in villages slowly transitioned from soil and wood to stone. Maize, which was once grown exclusively in Mesoamerica, finally made its way into Mound Building culture, although it did not become a staple like squash and beans until C.E. 800-1000. (Other plants farmed included sunflower, may grass, goosefoot, and erect knot weed). Agriculture had become the main focus of some economies, partially replacing hunting and gathering. Knowledge of making pottery had finally spread, and would continue through the Mississippian Period. The pottery was also now thinner and was often decorated. Following the Adena Period, the Hopewell started the Hopewell Interaction Sphere, which undoubtedly brought the Mound Builders to their height.

    Unlike Rome, North America during the time of the Mound Builders had hardly any roads. The lack of horses made it even more difficult for the Mound Builders to travel across North America. Although the Mound Builders obviously had to have crossed the Mississippi River, it is unlikely that they traveled up or downstream. Nevertheless, they found their way across the continent, or, more likely, other tribes found them. Some mounds contain obsidian, which is nearly nonexistent in the Midwest due to the lack of volcanoes. The obsidian has been speculated to have come from South Dakota or even western Oregon, over a thousand miles away from the nearest Mound Builder tribe, which indicates that trades were made with tribes from other areas. The Mound Builders also traded amongst themselves. Contrary to dreams of settlers who were to come a thousand years later, gold was not to be found; Silver from Ontario was the main luxury. Although the Mound Builders never mastered smelting ores, they used native copper and silver nuggets. Villages to the south did not have much copper, so they traded some from the Great Lakes to the north. Perhaps it is in this way that the Mound Builders were saved by the mounds. With everything they needed in their little niches, and low population density, they had no reason to go “outside” of their region. They must have, however—mounds in Wisconsin had shells from the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe it is this, the natural human desire for what is pretty or different, which started the trade network that would eventually encompass half of North America. There is a reason for travelling across the continent for shells, however. They served as ornaments and jewelry, and were always buried with the dead. It is only logical to conclude that, much like Egyptian pharaohs, the Mound Builders thought of it as a way of preparing for the afterlife.

    As opposed to the Mayans and Aztecs, who had writing, archaeologists have no clear idea what religion the Mound Builders followed. What is known is that they did have a religion of some sort. The religion included shamanic rituals such as smoking tobacco, native to the region, from pipes. The Mound Builders were actually the first culture to domesticate tobacco. During ceremonies, they would often wear headdresses, and frequently made clay figurines. In the Mississippian Period (600 to 1300 C.E.), temples replaced the simple burial mounds of the Adena and Hopewell cultures. The Mound Builders’ deities were most likely animistic, as mounds from the Mississippian Period are often in the shape of birds, snakes, or other animals.

    The most famous of these animal-shaped mounds, perhaps the most famous of all mounds in North America, is the Great Serpent Mound near Adams County, Ohio, which is only 22 miles from the Ohio River (see Map of Mentioned Sites, page 11). Since 1000 B.C.E., the Ohio River Valley had been home to hundreds of villages, winding through West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. As the name suggests, the Great Serpent Mound is in the shape of a snake, winds for 1000 feet, is 20 feet wide, and one yard tall. The mound was built by what is referred to as the Fort Ancient culture around 1075 C.E., which means it was constructed in the middle of the Mississippian Period. The Fort Ancient culture was named after a fort near Lebanon, Ohio, which is 50 miles to the northeast. Similar mounds have been found in the Mississippi River Valley as well, especially Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Some speculate that the Mound Builders were influenced by the Mesoamericans, although that idea is now mostly discounted.

    The next site of mound-building culture is actually right next to the Mississippi River itself. Just across the river from what is now St. Louis, the Mound Builders constructed what may have been their largest city—Cahokia (see Map of Mentioned Sites, page 11), which is also the largest in all of North America. Unlike other villages, which were basically hamlet systems, Cahokia would have technically been a city. Estimates indicate that the city had over 10,000 people, which would make it the one of the largest cities in the Midwest at that time. At the center of the town is a mound that is 975 feet long, over 100 feet tall, and covers 16 acres of land.

    Life in Cahokia, and other towns in the Mound Builder region, is still somewhat of a mystery. The mounds indicate that there was a social ranking, just like in other tribes across the world. Social prestige was held at a high priority, and was marked by luxuries such as mica, silver, obsidian, and shells. While Adena and Hopewell villages were usually in the forest, most Mississippian villages were in open areas. Like other large Mississippian towns, Cahokia had barricades, indicating that warfare was relatively common in Mississippian culture.

    Historians also have evidence of warfare from the mounds circling settlements, such as those at Poverty Point. The mounds were quite efficient, as they proved to be an obstacle to get past. One of the reasons that the Mississippians had large villages was that so they could have more defenses. Many historians have concluded that it was either civil war or attacking outsiders that caused Hopewell culture, as well as the number of burial mounds, to decline around 500 C.E. The collapse meant less trade and political unity, but did not lead to any decline in population.

    Soon after the Hopewell culture fell, bringing to an end the Woodland Period, a new era emerged—The Mississippian Period. (This is not to be confused with the Mississippian Period in geology, which marks the period of time between 360 and 320 million years ago.) Named after the population shift from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River Valley in the 7th Century, the Mississippians (also known as the Temple Mound Builders) never quite reached the same level of interaction and unity that the Hopewell culture had, but proved the Mound Builders’ cultural dominance once again. That having been said, trading was still active in the South, which made copper axes during the time period. Unlike the Hopewell Period, the villages’ only similarity with outsiders was religion, although despite cultural differences it was enough to bring them together. This gave the Southern trading system during the Mississippian Period the name “The Southern Cult.”

    The Mississippian period notably helped spread the domestication of maize, which became a food staple. With agriculture slowly replacing hunting and gathering, the Mound Builder population rose. Mississippian culture was split into chiefdoms, and a social ranking was clearly in place. While the Hopewell Period was known for its conical and dome-shaped mounds, the mounds were now noticeably flatter and shaped in the form of animals, such as the Great Serpent Mound back in Adams County. Animals also show up in artwork, including the falcon and jaguar, which may mean that Mesoamerica actually did contact with the Mound Builders. Many of the mounds of this Period are referred to as “temple mounds”, as they served as the platform for religious temples. Others were platforms for meeting places or the houses of priests. Some platform mounds have measured up to 60 feet in height and 770 feet in width at their base.

    The Effigy Mounds National Monument in eastern Iowa is a good example of Mississippian culture (see Map of Mentioned Sites, page 11). Their name came from their representations of animals in their mounds, much like the Fort Ancient culture had done around the same time frame. The Effigy Mound culture had five main shapes of mounds: Birds in flight, animal skins or animals seen from above, tailed animals lying on their sides, tailless animals laying on their sides, and humans. Fifty effigy mounds still remain in Iowa; Twenty-four are in the Effigy Mounds National Monument alone. Interestingly, mound effigy mounds point downstream. The Effigy Mounds National Monument also confirms that there was still a trading system to the north. The mounds contained obsidian, shells, and mica, much like burial mounds in the Hopewell culture had.

    By 1350 AD, the Mississippian culture was on a decline. Like the Hopewell culture, this can be explained by plague or warfare. The Mississippian culture still had a strong influence, however, until 1600. When the Spanish had arrived, smallpox traveled from Mesoamerica to the north, killing much of the remaining Mound Builder population. The Mound Builders did have brief contact with the Europeans, and even legends about them:
    “The neighboring Winnebago had a legend that a chief was told by his spirit to construct an effigy mound and that this would be a place of refuge when the tribe was attacked. Winnebago tradition also held that the tribal homeland was far to the southwest, from whence they had been forced to flee by constant and extremely cruel attacks by the Spanish. According to this tradition, the Winnebago were given refuge in the Iowa—Wisconsin area by their linguistic cousins, the Sioux.”
    By this time, however, the construction of mounds was long over. When asked about the mounds in the 1700s, tribes around the area said they knew nothing about them.

    The history of the archaeology of the Mound Builders is as interesting as the Mound Builders themselves. When the mounds were first discovered, they were assumed to be the work of Eurasians who had traveled across the Atlantic. To the settlers, the idea that Native Americans could build such massive mounds was inconceivable. However, by 1894 Cyrus Thompson had concluded that, indeed, it was the Native Americans who built these mounds. Some mounds, such as the aforementioned ones, were protected as national monuments. Most of them were razed by settlers to make roads or buildings. Still, American historians have barely started to scratch the surface as to what Mound Building life was like. A few years ago, a snake mound twice as long as the Great Serpent Mound was discovered in Ohio. Many do not regard it as being snake-shaped, but others are calling an incredible feat of human engineering.

    It may have been the Mound Builders who constructed that mound. No one can say for sure. What is known is that the Mound Builders built what could be described as marvelous feats of human engineering. Their mounds, humble to some eyes and glorious to others, were made basket by basket. The Mound Builders certainly had determination. Even if they were just a group of tribes throughout North America, they created wondrous structures that would take decades of hard work to complete. Somehow, maybe due to the adventurous, curious, and imaginative human spirit, they finished it, and left behind their architecture for the tribes, settlers, and researchers to come.

    The Mound Builders were clearly enthusiastic about life. They expressed it through trading with far away lands, and their love for foreign goods. They expressed it through forming villages and interacting with their community. They expressed their enthusiasm the most with their mounds, however. The mounds clearly gave them something to use as a form of both knowledge of what they had learned and what they thought of the afterlife to come. Every culture appreciates what they have been given through nature, but none have done this to quite the extent that the Mound Builders had.


    Looking back on it, I guess I can see why my teacher would say that.
     
  10. Whiskey_Lord

    Whiskey_Lord Deity

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    I'm sick of people complaining about vampires in Skyrim being "weaker." It's obvious that the game developers wanted to include werewolves but also keep the game balanced, so they gave the Oblivion vampires' stat boosts to the werewolves. Vampires are now tailored to a more subtle, sophisticated play style and they work well if used in that way. Werewolves are the brute strength monsters now. Play however you want, but don't whine and complain half the time during your LP about perfectly reasonable changes to the game. Noobs.
     
  11. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I'll often recommend just doing duplicates at the same time, in case one membrane doesn't work out. It's not a problem if you're not lacking for sample. If you put the membranes back-to-back (separated by a piece of plastic), you can put them into the same primary antibody solution and not even use any extra antibody (which, for our audience, is the expensive part)
     
  12. Takhisis

    Takhisis is it fall yet

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    up yours!
    Whiskey_Lord, seems like you are playing Twilight.exe.
     
  13. Whiskey_Lord

    Whiskey_Lord Deity

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    Skyrim vampires don't sparkle, and they don't go to high school. So no.
     
  14. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    Sadly that was the case. It's my first blot, so I can't waste too much of the sample. Getting the hang of the procedure for now. I think I can run a gel one more time. If that fails, I'll have to seed new cells.

    That's interesting, thanks :). I should suggest that to my lab supervisor. She does a lot of blots, and all too often there's two separate antibody baths for the same proteins. Although I'm curious about whether the membrane on the bottom would get enough exposure to the antibody. Might introduce some variability to the results if that's the case.

    Also, she reuses the antibody solution after the incubation. It's good for about a month usually, although today it didn't seem to work out. Had to mix a new batch.

    With that mentioned, rant: that extra hour and a half staying behind made end up with a worse set of films.
     
  15. PlutonianEmpire

    PlutonianEmpire Socially Awkward Goofball

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    I looked at my last 300 posts lists, and couldn't find anything that resembled the rant I made on the previous page, so was it really that short a time ago that I had already made that rant?
     
  16. Takhisis

    Takhisis is it fall yet

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    up yours!
    A significant part of those 300 posts is from forum games I think.
     
  17. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

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    It also happens to be a self-fulfilling rant. The more you moan about people not liking you, the more readily they will do that.
     
  18. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall Ghost Agent

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    Just learned that my grandpa passed away :(.
     
  19. rugbyLEAGUEfan

    rugbyLEAGUEfan Deity

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    Sorry to hear that . Keep your chin up
     
  20. PlutonianEmpire

    PlutonianEmpire Socially Awkward Goofball

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    Ah, thanks. I'll keep that in mind. :)
    My condolences... :(
     
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