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David Summers
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Someone else posted there Aztec mask made from a human skull so I thought I would put mine up.  It is from the British Museum....
Mosaic mask of Tezcatlipoca
Aztec/Mixtec, 15th-16th century AD
From Mexico

The skull of the Smoking Mirror

This mask is believed to represent the god Tezcatlipoca, one of the Aztec creator gods. He was also the god of rulers, warriors and sorcerers. His name can be translated as 'Smoking Mirror'. In fact, in many depictions during the Postclassic period (A.D. 900/1000-1521) his foot is replaced by a mirror.

The base for this mask is a human skull. Alternate bands of turquoise and lignite mosaic work cover the front of the skull. The eyes are made of two discs of iron pyrites set in rings made of shell. The back of the skull has been cut away and lined with leather. The jaw is movable and hinged on the leather.

Turquoise was sent as tribute to the Aztec capital from several provinces of the empire. Some of those provinces were located in present-day Veracruz, Guerrero and Oaxaca. The turquoise was sent as raw chunks or as cut and polished mosaic tiles decorating a variety of objects, such as masks, shields, staffs, discs, knives and bracelets. We know from a tribute list issued by the emperor Motecuhzoma II that ten turquoise mosaic masks, made by skilled Mixtec artisans, were sent each year from a province in Oaxaca.
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The discovery of an earth sized planet in a habitable zone is the news today.  As sign of a well conceived mission, Kepler gave real statistics.  Those had been saying that Earthlike planets would be fairly common (maybe 0.01% to 0.1%?  Which is a lot of given how many stars there are.)  But actually seeing one still gives a thrill.

What does it mean that the star is a red dwarf?  Life on planets around such stars is still under discussion, but nobody has come up with a good reason why it can't exist.  And these are the most common stars there are!

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Increasing questions about methane on Mars.  Not sure that it changes our out look for life on Mars a lot.  The methane had a chance to really push the chances forward, but as of now it still needed more confirmation (hence the experiment on Curiosity) and even then its biological source would need to be established.  As of now,  you can't rule out even current life on Mars, but it remains a speculative thing.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24165219

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pretty sceptical about....
http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/scientists-find-life-coming-to-earth-from-space-1.309972

He places a lot of faith on the premise that we know all mechanisms that could carry particles up that high and an hasn't seemed to rule out hat the balloon itself did function as a mechanism for carrying particles up.  Also, evidence points to life arising from a universal ancestor but if extraterrestrial life was "raining" in, this would seem to be unlikely.  Finally, there is the unanswered question of where this life is coming from.  It is probably even more unlikely that life could survive an interstellar trip and so you have the question, "What source of extraterrestrial life exists in the solar system that is ubiquitous enough to produce the amounts of infall he implies but which has evaded all detection?"

For anyone who might be in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a game in South SF.  We play Lunars and the system is a variant (based on older RQ with a d20) written by Ray Turney.  We meet every 3-4 weeks.

Reports that rumours of a big discovery being are overblown seems reasonable. It seems too early.
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