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finicky

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« on: 31/10/2010 20:17:43 »
The alphabet is widely considered to have been 'invented' once [cf, Diringer, The Alphabet: A Key to the History of Mankind (1968: third edition) vol 1, p145]. Theories of its origin remain varied and inconclusive. In 1995 I discovered that several letters of the alphabet correspond in their positions within the alphabetic sequence, to phases of the moon in the lunar sequence.

The lunar cycle begins with two nights of darkness, when no lunar phase is visible in the sky. The first letter of the alphabet 'A' when laid on its side (as in the earliest alphabetic inscriptions) resembles a vertex, or sighting scope, with a cross-stroke through it - arguably signifying 'nothing visible'.

The second letter 'B' resembles a doubled vertex with a cross-stroke through it - signifying 'nothing visible' on the second night.

The third letter 'C' resembles the crescent moon - which appears on the third night of the lunar sequence.

The waxing half-moon which occurs on the ninth night of the lunar sequence is figured in the eighth letter of the early alphabet, 'Θ' theta (or teth in the Hebrew alphabet) - constructed as a circle bisected by its diameter.

The first full moon occurs on the fifteenth night of the lunar sequence. The fifteenth letter is 'O' (omicron, ayin).

Few people realize that there appear to be two nights of full moon in every lunar cycle. The sixteenth letter, 'Π' pi (pe in the Hebrew alphabet), outlines the square constructed on the diameter of the full moon - a 'squared' circle to distinguish it from the first full moon. The square was appropriate because the number 16 embodies a perfect square whose area equals its perimeter (4 x 4 = 4 + 4 + 4 + 4). Which is why 'pi' continues to represent the relation of diameter to circumference, in mathematics.

Night 17 ushered in the first waning phase of the cycle, a sad harbinger of decay for the ancient observer. Letter 17, our 'Q' (ancient qoph or kaph), depicts a full moon trailing a telltale descender - figuring downfall.

And letter 22, 'X' chi, presents an image of crossed diameters, reflecting the waning half-moon on night 23 (the 45-degree waxing oblique cancelled by the 315-degree waning oblique).

The alphabet, in other words, appears to have been conceived as a mnemonic of lunar cycle.

Those interested in further details will find nine abstracts and a video seminar available for free viewing at http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=drumbolis&sort=-downloads .

I've issued five books on the subject:

[1] God's Wand: The Origin of the Alphabet (2001);
[2] Shrouded in Scripture (2004);
[3] God's Shadow: A Chronological Supplement of Sample Figures Illustrating a Continuous Tradition of Covert Lunar Notation (2004);
[4] Myth as Math: Calendrical Significance in the Mosaic Census of the Sons of Israel (2007);
[5] Instructions for Restoring the Ancient Wisdom: A Primer of the Pythagorean Practicum (2009) - a succinct guide which may be found among the abstracts on-line.

Nick Drumbolis in Toronto
Sunday 31 October 2010

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« Reply #1 on: 06/11/2010 15:11:12 »
This is all highly something or other.

What about the letter 'M' or the German letter ''?

Equally you describe only the capital 'A', how about the lower case 'a'?

Similarly you refer to the lower case 'n', how about the upper case 'N'?

Sorry, your 'theory' (if it can be termed as such) seems to fall at the first, second and third hurdles.


Of course, I could also ask about these letters, 垃圾?

Or these;

You are basing your assumptions on modern letters, with a few older ones where it suits, and ignoring languages and writting such as Chinese and ancient Egyptian.

finicky

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« Reply #2 on: 06/11/2010 16:14:19 »
Thanks for your interest Don.

The salient point is that there are only seven lunar phases which one can identify on sight: opposing crescents; opposed half-moons; twin full moons; and the first waning phase.

These seven phases were accorded characters which resemble them.

The two dark nights were also figured with 'letters' which arguably depict the absence of visible phases on those nights.

The other characters in the original alphabet do not depict phases in the same way because the six phases between waxing crescent and waxing half-moon, for instance, all appear roughly similar.

Concerning your other points: the miniscule (or lower case) letters developed 2000 years after the conception of the original alphabet. And both the Chinese and Egyptian notational systems involved pictograms (later adapted as ideograms) not alphabets.

What you interpreted as a lower case 'n' is in fact the Greek letter pi which was constructed in the shape of a trilithon. It morphed into 'P' in the Latin alphabet.

The alphabetic notational system developed in one place. All subsequent alphabets were derived from it -- the German double 's' (eszett) for instance, appearing after the introduction of the minuscule.

These and many other matters are dealt with in works available for viewing at the url appended to my initial post.

allbest,

finicky

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« Reply #3 on: 06/11/2010 17:43:09 »
The trouble is we know where the letter A comes from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A
and it's not a sighting stick.

finicky

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« Reply #4 on: 06/11/2010 18:35:10 »
Fellow sceptic Bored Chemist, you refer of course to the prevailing THEORY of the origin of the letter 'A' (propounded relatively recently).

Despite the consensus regarding Ptolemy's model of the solar system (which endured for 1400 years), Copernicus demonstrated mathematically that in fact the prevailing view had merely been a THEORY.

A more accurate rejoinder would have been 'we THINK we know where the letter A comes from...'.

Authorities on the alphabet, such as David Diringer, are not quite as ready as Wikipedia to accept such expedient assumptions.

allbest,

finicky

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« Reply #5 on: 06/11/2010 19:11:04 »
Copernicus had evidence; do you?

finicky

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« Reply #6 on: 06/11/2010 21:34:52 »
BC: The evidence Copernicus presented did little to alter Ptolemaic convictions. Most conventional authorities simply ignored his work or refused to do the math. They preferred to adhere blindly to consensus rather than exercise themselves over alternatives. It wasn't until Galileo showed that satellites indeed orbit planets that the Copernican projections concerning the moon began to be widely entertained.

Myth as Math details mathematical evidence for the calendrical basis of ancient myths. The meaning of large numbers in ancient texts has long defied scholars, who have come to dismiss them either as fabulous or insignificant. That numerous ancient texts, however, relinquish unrecognized calendrical insights when such numbers are interpreted as measures of time, should prove at least arresting.

Consider the Hekat fractions in Egypt http://www.archive.org/details/TheLunarContextOfTheHekatFractions .
Or the Noah measures http://www.archive.org/stream/NoahByTheNumbers/NickNoah12BWPrint#page/n11/mode/1up .
Or the Number of the Beast http://www.archive.org/details/DclxviTheNumberOfTheBeast .
Or the solution to the disparate reigns of David presented in II Samuel V: 4/5 (History of Calendrical Innovation, pp62-7 in my Primer) http://www.archive.org/details/InstructionsForRestoringTheAncientWisdom .

I find it hard to dismiss such things as coincidence.

Statistical probability alone challenges the contention that coincidence might account for the convergence of so many letters of the alphabet with correlative phases of the lunation 8. Three perhaps; eight, not so likely. And inspecting the ancient texts under this lunar lens highlights further calendrical convergences whose corroborating mathematics have been preserved by the authors in subsequent passages in the same texts.

The evidence is there. You just have to examine it.

allbest,

finicky

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« Reply #7 on: 07/11/2010 10:18:22 »
So, you have evidence that the ancient people knew about the moon. That was never in contention.
The idea that there's a statistical probability argument is not valid either.
Works like "the secret bible code" show that you will always find evidence if you are prepared to look long enough and hard enough- particularly if you don't define what will count as evidence until after you find it.

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« Reply #8 on: 07/11/2010 15:19:14 »
BC: You ignore the degree of knowledge about the moon which modern science has detected (or failed to detect) among the ancient data. For instance, the Hekat fractions, when applied to the generic Egyptian month of 30 days, not only elucidate the narrative which the ancient Egyptians concocted to introduce the Eye of Horus (from which the Hekat fractions were established), but also present an astonishing knowledge of the length of the lunation (as oppposed to the month) which has never before been suspected. The evidence is mathematical; the operation of the Hekat fractions on the calendar month produces a product [63/64 x 30 = 29.53125] which exceeds the modern measure of the mean lunation [29.530588 days] by a mere 57 seconds.

And texts throughout the ancient cultures repeatedly reveal complementary insights into lunar measure when the numbers in them are referred to the lunation. This doesn't occur when the numbers are applied to solar, stellar or linear measure.

Your equivocation of [1] a mathematical exegesis; with [2] a methodology like the Bible Code or the Baconian cipher, which is purely associative; fails to discriminate sufficiently between mathematics and numerology.

Perhaps you're under the impression that my theory requires transposition of alphabetic characters in ancient texts with their correlative lunar ordinals to arrive at these conclusions. No. The insight into the alphabet gave rise to an investigation of ancient texts which led to the examination of the numbers in those texts as mathematical givens.

The numbers in the ancient texts are, after all, explicit. They appear to represent equations involving an unknown, concerning lunar measure. Just as the number 1461 is readily perceived by those who recognize that it refers to the solar cycle, as the interval of 4 circuits; a mathematical operation is implicit in the number when interpreted as a product of solar measure [4 x 365.25].

The numbers were arguably put there to invite operation (as scientists have suspected since they began examining them). The discovery which makes sense of these numbers (a sense corroborated repeatedly in the narrative details of the respective texts) is the hypothesis that they address calendrical measure.

The statistical (im)probability of 8 of 22 letters of the alphabet corresponding with 8 of 29 phases of the lunation is not an argument but an observation.

finicky

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« Reply #9 on: 07/11/2010 15:38:50 »
For the sake of this debate I'm prepared that the ancients knew absolutely everything about the moon.

I just don't see any evidence for that knowledge being incorporated into the alphabet.

The probability or otherwise of 8 observations in 22 or 26 or whatever letters is basically determined by whether or not you are determined to find a match between all those 8 states and what you will consider to be a match. That means it's an observation about your beliefs, rather than about the origins of the alphabet.

A picture of a circle, like the letter O, might be a representation of the full moon, or it might be the sun or a fruit. You simply cannot know which because you were not there when the original decision was made.
If you insist on believing it's the moon then you will say that you have evidence. My point is that you might simply be wrong, in which case you have no evidence at all.

finicky

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« Reply #10 on: 08/11/2010 01:41:27 »
BC: Four of the eight letters in question are actually pictures of the correlative lunar phases which appear in the same places in the lunar sequence as those letters occur in the alphabet. 'C' depicts a crescent (third letter, third night); 'Θ' depicts half-moon (eighth letter, ninth night); 'O' depicts full moon (15th letter, 15th night); and 'X' depicts waning half-moon (22nd letter, 23rd night).

It's not just the full moon which is in accordance with an alphabetic figure, but three other lunar phases as well. If these characters were present in a parallel system, but held different ordinal positions, one might perhaps be justified in considering it coincidence, and any theory of correlation between them, the product of an intentional perception.

Another letter, moreover, presents an accurate representation of its correlative lunar phase by employing a directional stroke: 'Q' depicting the full moon with a tail, signifying descent (letter 17, night 17 the first night of the waning arc of the lunation, which appears in the sky as a full moon with a small sliver pared, as in the figure, from the right side). This oblique stroke is, furthermore, familiar to authorities investigating Palaeolithic parietal glyphs, as a mark of 'waning'.

That's five pictures of lunar phases occurring in the alphabet in the same ordinal positions as in the lunation.

Add to this that the first two letters ('A' and 'B') arguably figure vertices crossed through with a cancel stroke, which accord with the first two nights of the lunation when nothing is visible in the sky. In other words, the pictures employed for these letters remarkably accord with what occurs on those two nights of the lunation. Whether we can be certain that the ancient mind recognized the vertex as a figure of 'looking outward' is immaterial; the fact remains that the figures they employed ['A' and 'B'] sustain rather than vitiate the correlation with lunar sequence conspicuous in those five depictions of the focal (or recognizable) lunar phases.

Considered from your prospect (that of a fruit) these supplementary characteristics -- crescent, opposed half-moons, first waning phase and two introductory dark nights -- lend nothing to the perceived comparison between the 'O' and an apple. Yet with the lunar hypothesis we entertain a correlation between a natural phenomenon in at least eight of its aspects, with an artificial sequence which conventional wisdom maintains was, in all likelihood, drawn from a variety of natural sources (eg, bull, house, camel or stick etc).

Why might anyone prefer to endorse the conjectural origin of these characters in barely recognizable natural antecedents like those, when another natural phenomenon surrenders so many far more clearly corroborating correlations? Your argument concerning proof pertains as emphatically to this admittedly speculative bias as it does to my hypothesis of lunar phases. In other words, the conventional view might likewise 'simply be wrong in which case YOU have no evidence' either.

Which leaves the question of the origin of the alphabet open to conjecture. You're right, my lunar hypothesis IS based on belief. That's the nature of hypothesis. But the conviction I hold in it has developed steadily the past 15 years as I've endeavoured to find evidence for its disproof. On the contrary, I've encountered innumerable puzzles in the ancient texts which are consistently resolved in the light of lunar measure, substantiating the supposition.

I ventured the precis of my discovery on this site purely to share a previously unrecorded insight. Those who choose to entertain the possibility may be edified to discover how extensively it lends to their understanding of antiquity. Detractors unwilling to suspend their tireless disbelief long enough to examine the evidence, are welcome to the enigmas and incongruities of the prevailing view.

finicky

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« Reply #11 on: 08/11/2010 06:59:20 »
If I wanted to indicate the crescent moon that isn't a "C" shape I'd use a backward "C".
Why didn't they think of that?

finicky

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« Reply #12 on: 08/11/2010 15:36:45 »
DC: The early Semitic version of the alphabet renders the characters 'aleph' and 'beth' with vertices pointed left. The third letter 'gimel', accordingly, took the form of a backward 'C'. The early Hellenic alphabet, in contrast, renders the characters 'alpha' and 'beta' with their vertices pointed right; and the third letter 'gamma' resembles our 'C'. The Semitic priest-scribe apparently envisioned his characters as images of lunar phases seen from the earth. While his Hellenic counterpart arguably thought it would be more proper to depict then from the vantage of the moon. (The waning crescent, incidentally, is a mirror-image of its waxing correlative.)

finicky

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« Reply #13 on: 09/11/2010 06:56:37 »
Incidentally, what's the predictive value of this theory, and how would you test it?

finicky

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« Reply #14 on: 09/11/2010 14:44:06 »
BC: you might ask the same question of the prevailing theory of the origin of the alphabet. fn

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« Reply #15 on: 09/11/2010 20:00:46 »
If someone published it on a science website I probably would.

finicky

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« Reply #16 on: 10/11/2010 18:20:18 »
BC: I trust you aren't implying that the only ideas worth questioning are those posted on a science website! The question of the origin of the alphabet has been in the air awhile. You cite the prevailing view, which contends that the letter 'A' was drawn from a pictogram denoting "ox", leading to the presumption that you defer to this association.

A brief review of the methodology supporting the value of this reference, however, will show that its antecedent has been conjectured (a RECONSTRUCTED ancestral form). Which confines the predictive application to formative parameters. My point is that anyone defending a model restricted to formal limits, ought already to have questioned the value of its premise. It would appear, however, that you (and countless others) have taken it on faith.

The systemic model which I've tendered, exceeds the limits of your untested bias, in affording several already associated variables for factoring convergence. For example, the third letter in the alphabet ('gimel' or 'gamma') which was initially identified as a symbol for "camel" is currently held to signify "curved throwing stick". My hypothesis pursues a far less arbitrary line of predictive refinement.

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« Reply #17 on: 10/11/2010 19:40:14 »
If someone posts on a foody site that  beans on toast is the worst meal in the world then that's just an opinion. There is no "right" and "wrong".
If someone posts that it is an unusually poor meal from a nutritional point of view then I'm quite likely to point out that it has a lot going for it. The beans and bread together provide all the essential amino acids, it's fairly low on fat etc etc.

Anyway I have an alternative theory. The letters of the (Roman) alphabet are actually representations of people with whom I work, in particular they are the people with desks near mine and representations of the associated furniture.
The A represents the triangular layout of the desks- It should be shaped like the Greek Delta but that's just sloppy editing over the years. The B represents the young woman who sits opposite me. She's expecting at the moment, so it's about the right shape. The letter C is a figurative description of my boss- He's as bent as a nine bob note. However, of course they wouldn't dare say that to his face so they do it as an analogy.
The letter D is, I regret to say, quite clearly someone who I will just refer to by his initials. D.M. is, rather more D shaped than most people consider healthy- I think he's a bit too fond of the Beer and the food.
That brings us to E which as anyone will see is a representation of the bookshelving (they only drew 2 layers- but you get the point).
The letter F is a sketch of me, I'm generally easily bored at work so I'm often to be found at someone else's desk (or bench) with my hands stuck out in front of me propping me up and my head bowed down looking at what someone else is doing (I could have lied and said it was me working at my own bench, but nobody would have believed me).
That brings us to G.
Have you ever wondered why there's that funny T shaped bit stuck on what would otherwise look like  C?
It's an odd representation but the curve is the back and seat of the chair and the T shaped bit is the armrest.
That brings me to H which, as I guess you have all realised, is a representation of the window that I gaze out of.

OK, that's 8 letters out of 8 accounted for, so My theory, while clearly nonsense, has every bit as much going for it as yours.

It even has predictive value. There's Neil who is tall and thin. I predict a letter that's roughly that shape, My God! it works the very next letter is I! (that only works if you are reading this in a sans serif font, but that's not my fault.)

Seriously, if you look hard enough you can find "evidence" of just about anything anywhere.
I could have said they were all animals- the A is an ox head, B is a butterfly, C is... I don't know- ask a biologist and so on.

« Last Edit: 10/11/2010 19:42:35 by Bored chemist »

finicky

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« Reply #18 on: 10/11/2010 19:54:34 »
And still you support the view that we know where the letter 'A' came from.

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« Reply #19 on: 10/11/2010 20:37:52 »
I support that idea that it seems anyone's guess is as good as anyone else's- some seem to have the backing of people who ought to know and that's the best evidence currently available to me so, on balance, I tend to believe it. That's not to say I'd be shocked if it were wrong.

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« Reply #20 on: 10/11/2010 22:56:04 »
BC: It's, of course, not my place to rebut your masterful disproof of ALL theories, but I am prepared to rejoin perceived flaws in mine. The argument that 'perception is intentional', after all, moots exchange. Physical relativity too often leans for emphasis on linguistic relativity. But if my theory holds, Saussure's premise that 'abstracts are fundamentally arbitrary', is obviated.

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« Reply #21 on: 11/11/2010 07:09:49 »
Much as I'd like to claim credit it wasn't me who first said that, to be useful, theories should be testable and they should predict things. The testability requirement is, I think, down to Popper. I'm not sure about the origins of the claim that theories should predict things.
The point was that theories that don't make the grade are not disproved as you claim. They just are not scientific theories.
Also I think you need to remember that, outside of mathematics, theories are never proven true, only false.

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« Reply #22 on: 11/11/2010 19:12:55 »
BC: On my discovery of the ordinal and formal convergence of far more letters of the alphabet than might be attributable to coincidence, with phases of the lunation, I proceeded to investigate ancient myths and texts from the putative period of the alphabet's inception, for corroboration. I reasoned that if an ancient culture had indeed contrived the letters of the alphabet to reflect lunar cycle, they would have been conspicuously alert to the vagaries of this highly enigmatic phenomenon.

Was there evidence of such absorption? Not according to the majority of scholars from the classical Greek, through to the modern, periods. The prevailing concern of celestial observers before the classical Greek period was, in their view, largely solar or stellar. Nor were the ancient insights into lunar mechanics discernible from an even earlier age, considered other than rudimentary.

The evidence, however, reveals that the measure of lunar cycle was, in contrast, focal to the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Levant and Europe. These data incorporate mathematics which address lunar periods. Their products project compound intervals of reconciliation (where calendar cycles require adjustment to restore convergence with their celestial counterparts). While myths concerning intervals of an equivalent duration, accord with the requisite intercalations.

This is all news.

Two discrete sources of ancient data from the same period, each harbouring numerous unsuspected detailed convergences with lunar cycle! Too many for coincidence. Neither the meaning of the myths and texts, nor the origin of the alphabet, moreover, have ever been established conclusively (though we lack no shortage of interpretations; none, however, affording nearly the degree of convergence of the hypothesis at hand).

A discovery leads to unsuspected corroborating data. Further discoveries emerge. The associations are consistent with the original premise and mathematically substantiated.

Potentially a solution to two seminal puzzles which in fact concern science; not, as you persist in emphasizing, semantics.

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« Reply #23 on: 11/11/2010 19:45:43 »
"The evidence, however, reveals that the measure of lunar cycle was, in contrast, focal to the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Levant and Europe. "

Like I said,

"For the sake of this debate I'm prepared that the ancients knew absolutely everything about the moon.
I just don't see any evidence for that knowledge being incorporated into the alphabet."

Incidentally, was the maths needed to model the moon's cycle available to the Ancient Greeks?

BTW, have you seen this?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouba/kiki_effect
I think it's more likely to be related to how we first chose to pick symbols for sounds than the phases of the moon might be.

finicky

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« Reply #24 on: 11/11/2010 20:49:36 »
BC: If the ancients were as knowledgeable about the lunar cycle as you are prepared to allow, and their writing system incorporates more ordinal and formal convergences with the lunar cycle than coincidence admits, the evidence you can't see 'for that knowledge being incorporated into the alphabet', might stem from the fact that you haven't looked.

Ancient 'Greeks' both observed and computed lunar cycle. The history of their calendrical advances, however, conforms to the widely-held belief that something interrupted Hellenic traditions sometime between the Heroic and Archaic periods. The generation of Thales and Solon had grown blind to the calendrical significance of Homer's works, for instance (not to mention Egyptian iconography); yet their heirs went on to perfect the 19-year calendar (which formed the basis for the modern Jewish measure) on the principle of an inherited 8-year variable-month antecedent.

An alternative view is that the symbols weren't, in fact, selected for sounds; sounds may, instead, have been appended to the symbols as a mnemonic key. In my hypothesis, the alphabet is held to represent a serial mnemonic employed to track a highly variable cycle through an extended interval of several years. Every 18.6 years, for instance, the course cycle of the moon recurs; which may have been delimited by marking the progress of lunar emergence every night through 230 lunations. Even when obscured by cloud...

Add to this the fact that the interval between successive focal lunar phases (such as waxing crescent and waxing half-moon -- which extends on average, six nights) may vary as much as 36 hours from lunation to lunation, and you may better appreciate the enormity of the exercise. A series of distinct notational markers would obviously prove invaluable for reviewing and digesting the evidence.

 

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