US archaeologists have used satellite imaging to discover 17 buried pyramids in Egypt, as well as a thousand tombs and 3000 buildings dating back to the time of the Pharaohs.
Some of the infra-red imaging, taken 692 kilometres above the Earth, showing entire street plans of ancient towns.
At least two of the pyramids have so far been confirmed by archaeologists digging on the sites located by the satellite, and the technique is being hailed as a major breakthrough in archaeological surveying.
The discovery gives hope to Egypt’s struggling tourism industry. From the famous Pyramids of Giza to the Red Sea resorts, tourists numbers have plummeted to just a trickle this year following the ousting of president Hosni Mubarak.
The extraordinary discovery, documented in a film to be broadcast by the BBC this week, “show us how easy it is to underestimate both the size and scale of past human settlements,” said Dr Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama.
Dr Parcak also used the same technique to identify tombs that had been broken into by looters during the chaos of the recent revolution in Egypt.
The technique picks out the more solid mud brick structures used by ancient Egyptian builders from the sandy terrain in which they are often submerged.
When is a fee a tax? When Grover Norquist says so.
The Inquirer reported last week that anti-tax guru Norquist was the wizard behind the Oz-like fiscal contortions of the GOP-controlled state legislature, which has refused to consider raising revenue of any kind in the face of a massive debt.
It was Norquist and his D.C.-based group, Americans for Tax Reform, who advanced the “no tax” pledge signed by hundreds of elected officials, including Gov. Corbett and 34 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
The state House – in keeping with Corbett’s “no way, no how” to new taxes – has buried any proposals to place a levy on Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction.
But this month Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) bit the bullet and offered up a shale gas “impact fee” with proceeds funneled to affected areas.
Over in the governor’s office, Corbett remains unwavering in his campaign-era hard line over tax increases, but in recent months has shown some hint of openness – if not support – of the prospect of an “impact fee.”
Because Grover -arbiter of all things fiscal throughout the land – said so.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today reports that Norquist sent a letter to Sen. Mary Jo White (R., Venango) whose committee would have to consider the shale fee pronouncing it, in fact, a tax.
“Make no mistake, this proposal is a tax increase based on any honest and objective analysis,” Norquist wrote.
“As such, a vote in favor of Senate Bill 1100 also represents a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a commitment which Gov. Corbett and 34 members of the legislature have made to their constituents to impose any and all efforts to raise taxes.”
I wonder who voted for this guy. Oh, that’s right: NOBODY.
You remember Rep. Rob Woodall – he’s the GOP asshole who told people at a public meeting that they should start taking responsibility for their own health care instead of letting their employers do it: