Category Archives: History

The Great Wall of China

This is another of my eight wonders. They are not posted in order of importance as I find it difficult to rank them in their order of amazing. I intend to post the each of them eventually. I have been fortunate enough to actually visit a few of these and the rest are on my “bucket list”:

The Great Wall of China is the collective name of a series of fortification systems generally built across the historical northern borders of China to protect and consolidate territories of Chinese states and empires against various nomadic groups of the steppe and their polities. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC by ancient Chinese states; selective stretches were later joined together by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first emperor of China. Little of the Qin wall remains. Later on, many successive dynasties have built and maintained multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known sections of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

 

The frontier walls built by different dynasties have multiple courses. Collectively, they stretch from Liaodong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, from the present-day Sino–Russian border in the north to Taohe River in the south; along an arc that roughly delineates the edge of Mongolian steppe. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the walls built by the Ming dynasty measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measures out to be 21,196 km (13,171 mi). Today, the defensive system of the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history. The strength of this wall lies in its construction mixture. The Great Wall of China was built by mixing sticky rice with mortar.

My Eight Wonders of the World

My Eight Wonders of the World

This is the first of my eight wonders. They will not be posted in order of importance as I find it difficult to rank them in their order of amazing. I intend to post the each of the next seven eventually. I have been fortunate enough to actually visit a few of these and the rest are on my “bucket list”:

Pyramids of Giza: Attractions, Tips & Tours | PlanetWare

The Pyramids at Giza, especially the Great Pyramid and the so-called Pyramid of Khafre (which is only slightly smaller). These pyramids display the best quality and are far superior to any that were constructed later. While Egyptologists generally agree that they were intended to house the tombs of the pharaohs that built them, the fact is there is no evidence that any of the three ever contained any mummies. The accepted dates of construction are circa 2580 to 2550 BC or about 4,600 years ago. However, an increasing few professionals are convinced that they were constructed much earlier for a different purpose and that the named pharaohs merely adopted the existing structures.

 Initially standing at 146.5 meters (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years until Lincoln Cathedral was finished in 1311 AD. It is estimated that the pyramid weighs approximately 6 million tons, and consists of 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite, some weighing as much as 80 tons. I have visited the great pyramid and been inside.

The most amazing feature, to me. is the Grand Gallery leading to the “kings chamber”. The Grand Gallery continues the slope of the Ascending Passage, but is 8.6 meters (28 ft) high and 46.68 meters (153.1 ft) long. At the base it is 2.06 meters (6.8 ft) wide, but after 2.29 meters (7.5 ft) the blocks of stone in the walls are corbelled inwards by 7.6 centimeters (3.0 in) on each side. There are seven of these steps, so, at the top, the Grand Gallery is only 1.04 meters (3.4 ft) wide. It is roofed by slabs of granite stone laid at a slightly steeper angle than the floor of the gallery, so that each stone fits into a slot cut in the top of the gallery like the teeth of a ratchet. The purpose was to have each block supported by the wall of the Gallery, rather than resting on the block beneath it, in order to prevent cumulative pressure.

The granite slabs they used to construct the corbelled vault in the passage and beams in the so called “kings burial chamber” weigh up to 50 tons each. Keep in mind that these were transported to near the very center of the interior of the pyramid.

Our Fragile Earth – Think about it

Our Fragile Earth – Think about it

I have a concern about our short-term thinking. The stock market moves up or down based on the news and/or psychology of the day. Publicly traded companies focus on quarterly results. Politicians focus on elections every two years. As a Homo Sapiens we have only been around for about 200,000 years (or about 6,500 years if you are a Creationist).

Mother Earth has been around for about 4.5 billion years and some form of life has existed for about 3.5 billion years. The Dinosaurs showed up about 250 million years ago and ruled for almost 200 million years. The Egyptians ruled for over 2,700 years and the Roman Empire took over for the next 500.

Our country has existed for less than 250 years and has only been a world leader for about 75 years. In the last 60 years the world population has doubled!

The land that we occupy is only about 1/3 of the surface of the Earth. The earth’s crust (that we depend on for life) is only about 18 miles thick below land. The remainder is mostly ocean that has an average depth of about 2 ½ miles. The crust below it only aveages about 5 miles. Think about these measurements in terms of the size of the earth which has a diameter of 4,000 miles.

What about the atmosphere that we require to breath? Healthy people can survive to 10,000 feet. Above that, most people need oxygen. From 12,00 feet to 50,000 feet oxygen and a pressure suit or a pressurized container is required. Above 50,000 feet a fully sealed suit or a space suit is needed.

To summarize these facts: We live on an extremely thin outer crust of the planet and rely of an extremely thin band of air to stay alive. As a species we have been around for less than .006% of the time since life emerged. Home Sapiens took the first 199,940 years to provide a population of 3.6 biiion and only 60 years to add another 3.6 billion. Do you see a problem here?