Writing On Pottery Corroborates Jeremiah

A group of archaeologists have reported the discovery of writing on pottery shards which confirm the Biblical writings in Jeremiah.

The writing was found on pottery dating back to the First Temple Era.  The language used is Paelo-Hebrew, the language of ancient Israel.  The items in the largest collection of the First Temple era pottery dates back to 8 B.C.

“Among the personal names are those of the priestly families Pashur and Meremoth, both mentioned in the Bible. (Jeremiah 20:1; Ezra 8:33) Some of the letters were addressed to the commander of the citadel of Arad, Eliashiv ben Ashiyahu, and deal with the distribution of bread (flour), wine and oil to the soldiers serving in the fortresses of the Negev,” the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained. “Also, in one of the letters, the ‘house of YHWH’ is mentioned.”

“Scholars suggest that the King of Arad mentioned in the Bible was in fact the ruler of the Kingdom of Arad, ‘the Negev of Arad’ (Judges 1:16), whose capital was another city,” it adds.

The items were first discovered in 2000 and studies of the items are finding new writings and materials dating the items to Biblical times.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a report last week saying the scholars had found the Jeremiah communications.

“Scholars have taken this as a confirmation of the biblical narrative of Jeremiah, which recounts that Azekah and Lachish were the last fortresses of Judah to fall before Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II,” the publication explains.

The Scripture referenced is Jeremiah 34:7, which reads, “When the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defensed cities remained of the cities of Judah.”

The scientists who continue the study of the items are based at Tel Aviv University.

CIA Helped Program Spying On U.S. Cellphones

A new report shows the CIA gave vital help in the Justice Department’s development of technology that would scan and steal data from the cellphones of Americans.

The CIA and the U.S. Marshals Service created a device that attaches to a plane or helicopter and mimics a cellphone tower.  This will cause phones within the range of the device to send all its identifying information to the unit.

The program flies planes around the country to cover almost the entire population.  The units not only collect data from large numbers of citizens not involved in any kind of illegal activity, it can also interrupt actual cellphone service.

The reason the CIA is working with the Marshals is because the CIA is banned from doing domestic spy work.  Even if the CIA provides the equipment, the actual gathering of data is done by a domestic law enforcement organization.

The system works by identifying a target’s cell phone and then having the aircraft circle the area until they pinpoint the target within three yards of his actual position.  The technology has been used in the middle east to track terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There’s a lot of privacy concerns in something this widespread, and those concerns only increase if we have an intelligence agency coordinating with them,” Andrew Crocker of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told the Wall Street Journal.  The EFF has filed a lawsuit seeing more information on the program and its funding.

None of the major cell companies would comment to the Journal about the operation or their customer’s information being collected without a warrant.

Israeli Divers Discover 1,000 Year Old Coins

A group of Israeli divers are being hailed as heroes after uncovering what one government agency calls the “biggest ancient coin find in the nation’s history.”

The divers said they first found what looked like a toy coin from a children’s game on the ocean floor.  Curious to see how it came to rest there, they discovered that the coin was part of a treasure trove of coins with Arabic writing.

The coins were dated to the 11th century when the Fatimid Islamic dynasty was the dominant power of the Middle East.

“(This is) a great treasure from a (vessel) that was probably taking the hoard, possibly tax revenue, to Cairo but sank in Caesarea harbour,” Jacob Sharvit of the Israel Antiquities Authority told Reuters during a visit to the site.

“Perhaps the treasure of coins was meant to pay the salaries of the Fatimid military garrison which was stationed in Caesarea and protected the city,” Sharvit added.

The value of the gold is around $240,000.

Archaeologists that have studied the coins say they have found tooth marks and bent edges that indicate the coins were tested as part of trading.

Britain’s Lower House Approves Three Parent Babies

Great Britain is now the first country in the world to approve genetically modified children with DNA from three parents.

The vote in the House of Commons was 328 in favor and 128 against the process that scientists say would stop genetic diseases from being passed from a mother to the child.  The pro-genetic modification crowd said it was a “light at the end of a dark tunnel” for many families.

The bill now moves to the House of Lords for approval.  If the House of Lords approve the measure the first genetically modified babies could be born in 2016.  Estimates say 150 modified babies could be born each year.

Prime Minister David Cameron tried to quell criticism of the process.

“We’re not playing god here, we’re just making sure that two parents who want a healthy baby can have one,” the PM said.

Critics were quick to point out no one can know the future of this process.

“This will be passed down generations, the implications of this simply cannot be predicted,” MP Fiona Bruce said.  “But one thing is for sure, once this alteration has taken place, as someone has said, once the gene is out of the bottle, once these procedures that we’re asked to authorize today go ahead, there will be no going back for society.”

Drone Aircraft Crashes On White House Lawn

A drone aircraft crashed onto the White House lawn overnight while the President was out of the country.

Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told reporters the device was a quadcopter about two week in diameter.  The unmanned aircraft was flying at a low altitude before crashing on the southeast side of the executive mansion around 3:08 a.m. Monday.

“There is a device that has been recovered by the Secret Service at the White House,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said when asked if a drone was found. “The early indications are that it does not pose any sort of ongoing threat to anybody at the White House.”

While the President and First Lady were in India, the President’s children were inside the White House because they had to stay behind to attend school.

The White House was darkened and the grounds placed on lockdown for around two hours while the Secret Service conducted their investigation.  The Secret Service would not say if there were cameras on the device that were transmitting to a remote location.

The incident is the latest in a round of security breaches at the White House over the past year.  Former director Julia Pierson was forced to resign last year after a Texas man with a knife was able to get inside the White House.

Mummy Mask May Contain Oldest Discovered Gospel

A team of researchers accidentally discovered what could be the oldest known copy of a gospel in existence.

The scientists were looking at a papyrus wrapped mummy mask when they discovered a piece of the Gospel of Mark.  The papyrus dates back to around 90 A.D., at least 10 years older than any previously found Biblical gospel text.

The Smithsonian said that the mummy mask for the average person turned into a mummy was recycled material like papyrus.  The classic image of ancient mummies with jewels and golden sarcophagi was only for the wealthy.

The research team will be using a method to unglue papyrus that will keep smearing the ink.

“We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries,” Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, told Live Science.

Evans said that the mummy mask’s text could show that the Gospel of Mark has been changed over time by multiple translations.