Wired to the moon: Iraq's Transportation Minister

Wired to the moon: Iraq's Transportation Minister October 2, 2016

The ancient Sumerians were a pretty bright bunch, inventing stuff like writing and bookkeeping, board games, musical instruments, agriculture … and space travel, if Iraqi Transportation Minister Kadhum Finjan Al-Hamami is to be believed.
Unfortunately for Al-Hamami, his claim that the Sumerians built the earth’s first airport in Iraq 7,000 years ago and used it to send spaceships into space has exposed him to a considerable amount of ridicule.
“I swear to God, this isn’t a joke,” one Iraqi going by the pseudonym of Shimmariya Al-Iraq tweeted in disbelief.
Another user, Dawood Al-Basri, said.

Iraqi transport minister’s hallucinations about spaceships in Nasiriyah proves that the [Haidar] Al-Abadi government is full of fools, hashish addicts and the most worthless of humanity.

An Iraqi Al Jazeera journalist, Amer Al-Kubaisi, tweeted:

Can you believe that this imbecile is the current Iraqi transportation minister? I thank Allah for the blessing of a brain.

Al-Hamami said “the first airport that was established on planet earth was in this place,” indicating the city and climes surrounding Nasiriyah in Dhi Qar Province, 370 kilometres southeast of the capital Baghdad.
Not content with this bold claim, Al-Hamami added that angels “were all Sumerian” and that:

Sumerian spaceships used to launch from here towards the other planets.

Al-Hamami sought to back up his claims by asking sceptics to study the works of Sumerian experts such as Russian professor Samuel Noah Kramer.

The academic wrote about the Sumerian awareness of the solar system evident in the ancient society’s creation myths.
The Sumerians represent the oldest known civilization in Iraq and according to historians reached their peak in 2,700-2,400 BCE when Iraq – or ancient Mesopotamia –was regarded as the “cradle of civilisation”.

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  • The sumerians do have a claim for inventing civilization. The Muslims that live in those lands today are doing what they can to correct that mistake. Or so one would think watching what modern Muslims do.

  • Daz

    “The ancient Sumerians were a pretty bright bunch, inventing stuff like writing and bookkeeping, board games, musical instruments, agriculture … and space travel, if Iraqi Transportation Minister Kadhum Finjan Al-Däniken is to be believed.”

    Minor error, duly fixed.

  • What on earth does BCE mean? Is it yet more leftist nonsense? Incidentally, the oldest work of literature in the world (written on clay tablets) was composed by the Sumerians: ‘The Epic of Gilgamesh'(c. 2000BC). It is derived from five poems written several centuries earlier. In it, Gilgamesh goes in search of eternal life after the death of his friend Enkidu the Wild Man. It also describes the destruction of the world in a vast flood sent by the Gods as a punishment to mankind. The Babylonian version of the book is called ‘He Who Saw the Deep’. ‘Gilgamesh’ is available from Penguin Classics.

  • Rob Andrews

    “Sumerian spaceships used to launch from here towards the other planets”.
    This guy can’t even read Eric Von Daniken correctly. It was spaceships that came here FROM other planets. Not launched fom Sumer.
    “Religion will douibtles servive hundreds of years from now–stuffed and in a museum”.-Mark Twain

  • barriejohn

    Sumerian Spacecraft = ‘Sup, fanatic screamer?
    I came up with a better one using his name, but when I checked the official spelling it is Kadhim, not Kadhum. There has apparently been a typo somewhere along the line!
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/world-leaders-1/pdfs/IZ.pdf

  • Angela_K

    @Miss Floribunda Rose. We live in the common era, CE = post year zero according to the western calendar. BCE means “Before the common era. This notation has been around for some time and is used by scientists and freethinkers. The BC, “before christ” and AD, “in the year of our lord”are anachronisms.

  • Stephen Mynett

    Angela, it is a good idea to have a scientific point of reference as well, it cannot be open to interpretation. It amuses me to read some religious “historians” who claim their Jesus character was about four years old at the time many Christians refer to as AD. Though, the chance the guy ever existed at are pretty slim.
    Religionists are great for being “accurate” in many things, it took them centuries to decided on a birth date for the Jesus character and Easter is hilarious, probably the most vital event, to Christians, in their calendar and they cannot set a regular date for it but go for some phases of the moon or the seventh Tuesday when there is a R in the month. To any religionists butting in, yes I know you have a set way of working out when Easter is, but it is still a pile of crud.

  • The common era? Before the common era? Then it is just as I thought: Leftist nonsense. Sinister Leftist nonsense–the manipulation of language used as a method of manipulating thought–which of course it generally tends to achieve (the average IQ being a mere 100 points). In the meantime, if nobody minds, I myself shall continue using the ‘anachronistic’ BC and AD when dating the years.

  • Daz

    Sinister leftist nonsense which has been going on since the early eighteenth century, no less. Damn that Marx and his time-machine!
    Personally I was happy using BC/AD as I’d learned at my mammy’s knee, until a non-existent edict passed down from non-existent BBC department of political correctness created—via Peter Hitchens’s fevered imagination—a media shitstorm. At which point my reactionary side said “Sod it. From now on, Daz, we’re using BCE/CE, just to annoy the morons.”

  • Angela_K

    @Miss Floribunda Rose. CE, BCE is nothing to do with politics or “political correctness”, it is a method of notation that dispenses with the religious nonsense, especially the Jesus myth. It would be great if we could have an absolute year zero as we have absolute zero of temperature, but we’ll never find out exactly when the universe started, so we have put a stick in the sands of time and measured from there.

  • Leftists have always been rather fond of the Year Zero, especially after the latest revolution has proved successful……after which follows the endless Five-Year and Ten-Year Plans….

  • CoastalMaineBird

    Angela_K says: “ It would be great if we could have an absolute year zero
    Not really. filling out your forms could be a problem:
    Today’s date: Oct. 2, 4,505,623,944
    Your Birthday: Jun. 7, 4,505,623,896
    Spouse’s Birthday: Feb. 22, 4,605,623,898

  • Daz

    Akshully, a Year Zero would be quite useful. As it is, we’re stuck with a system in which the year −1 is quite incomprehensibly followed by the year 1.

  • Tarvin

    Give the guy a break – jeepers – he only thinks that the Sumerians could launch space craft. What is wrong with that compared to muslims who collectively know that there is an all powerful big boss sky fairy up there controlling everything and who has given muslims the right to act like petulant bullies when in fact muslims have been retarded and stupefied by their stupid dogma. Christians are not much better though. Apparently an old dried up hateful uncaring philandering albanian hag could work miracles.

  • barriejohn

    Angela et al: There is no Year Zero. We had that argument when we had the Millennium celebrations. The first year is still Year One (CE or BCE), which makes perfect sense to me!
    Stephen Mynett: Actually, Easter is the only date that they have correct! The Crucifixion supposedly took place at the time of the Jewish Passover, which does depend upon the phases of the moon. All other dates, like the Annunciation & Nativity, are pure, er, moonshine, but amazingly correspond with pagan celebrations, wouldn’t you just know?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover#Date_and_duration

  • Stephen Mynett

    Afraid I have to disagree there barriejohn, while the time of passover depends on moon phases, something like an execution takes place at a set point in time, there should be a date for it.

  • Angela_K

    Barriejohn. Yes there is no year zero using the current calendar system because zero as a value is a relatively recent concept. However, if we were to have a zero, there would still be time measured from zero up to to year one. Zero is rather important in Mathematics and Physics.

  • Daz

    I agree with Angela_K. “Year one” is a cardinal number, while “first year” is ordinal. We get it right with centuries, after all. “Two thousand and…”is the “twenty first” century.

  • barriejohn

    So there is no Year Zero; 1BCE is followed immediately by 1CE.

  • 1859

    Well, all I can add to all this erudite joie-de-blogging, is that Mr. Al-Hamadi, the minister of transport, will soon be going to where many men have gone before – straight to the madhouse. Because logic dictates that if the Sumerians left 7000 years ago, they must still be out there looking down on us. They were clearly the world’s first atheists and they left in despair at the religious nutcases infecting Mesopotamia at the time (this has all been well documented by such films as ‘The Life Of Brian’). The fact that they haven’t returned to Earth shows they want to stay as far away as possible from the mess the human race has created since they left.

  • Angela_K

    OK barriejohn, I agree that with the CE/BCE thing there is no year zero but that is only because of the relative time measurement I mentioned above of picking a point and saying this is year one, as the religious have done with our calendar. Sorry to nit-pick but in absolute time measurement, zero is critical and does exist.

  • Stephen Mynett

    The thing is what is called year one is actually the first year, it does not become year number one until 12 months have passed. Immediately after one BCE has ended we enter the first year CE, passing through zero, not at year one but a part of it, however small you want to measure, it could be one nano-second.
    There is a point between 1BCE and 1CE which in mathematics is zero and, as Angela said, from a mathematical measurement point of view is important.
    Perhaps we could get on to i (the square root of minus 1) soon, that is a real brain-bender.

  • L.Long

    Sorry Stephen there are NO set points in history as dating is totally arbitrary and changing. Who care about BDC or BC!!! Fix the damned centuries!!!

  • barriejohn

    I used to teach Maths, so I am well aware of the significance of Zero.
    SM: You appear to be contradicting yourself when you say that the first year in the system “does not become number one until 12 months have passed”. It is Year One, as you correctly say, from the very first second. The year 2001 was 2001 from January 1st, not on December 31st. I thought this had all been cleared up when it was pointed out that the famous Millennium Celebrations, so very much enjoyed by our Dear Queen (Gawd Bless Yer, Yer Majesty) should really have been held at the close of the year 2000, not its commencement, though it is understandable why they weren’t.

  • Daz

    Eh? If Y = 1 then Y − 1 should equal 0.
    Instead, the system we have claims that Y − 1 = −1.
    Put it another way. If I’ve run three-quarters of my first mile in a marathon, I am running my first mile, but I have run, in whole numbers, zero miles.

  • Daz

    Damnit, I missed the edit window, sorry.
    Also note that in centuries, we do have a century “zero.” The year forty-five, for instance is (implicitly, zero-hundred and) forty-five.

  • Barry Duke

    What you gonna do, Miss Floribunda Rose. Bend me over and give me a jolly good caning for using BCE? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. When I was in high school in apartheid South Africa around 50 years ago, I used to get straight ‘A’s in history until I used BCE in one test paper, and was failed for doing so.
    When I demanded to know what the teacher’s objection to BCE was he screamed “it’s anti-Christian”. then demanded to know whether I was a communist. “Absolutely!” I replied. “Viva Che Guevara!”
    I was then subjected a vicious birching,

  • RussellW

    barriejohn,
    Yes, however, it was difficult to convince many people that there’s never been a year zero. Their reasoning was if the year 19 something is the 20th century then the year 2000 must be the 21st. We need more maths teachers.

  • Daz

    Barry, suddenly my conversion to BCE/CE via having to read the likes of P. Hitchens and R. Littlejohn seems so much less painful.
    RussellW, no one here is saying there is a year zero in the system we have; just that it would make more sense if there were. The system we have is an unholy mix of cardinals* for the centuries and ordinals for the years.
    * An unholy mix of cardinals! See what I did there?

  • RussellW

    Miss Floribunda Rose,
    Agreed, the Epic of Gilgamesh is far more insightful than any of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic drivel that infests the modern world. It should be compulsory reading for the followers of the ‘Abrahamic’ religions.

  • barriejohn

    Daz: What on earth are you on about? A runner hasn’t run zero miles before he reaches the one mile mark, any more than a baby is zero years old before his first birthday, as if he doesn’t yet exist. That’s why we say that he is in his first year. And there is no “century zero” where the numbers are concerned , otherwise where would you draw the line? Year 0000045, for instance, like an odometer? You can put as many noughts as you like in front of the number, but it’s still 45! A thermometer may have a zero mark, but above that will immediately be, say, 0.001 degrees, and below it will be – 0.001 degrees. It’s not until you get down to Absolute Zero that you can’t measure any heat whatsoever. Time for bed, I think; my brain hurts!

  • Daz

    Barriejohn, my apologies; you’re right. Cardinal numbers on a measuring device label points along a scale. The label applicable to the spaces (in our discussion, the years) is the ordinal series. “Zero” is the exact stroke of midnight between 1BCE and 1CE. After that we’re in year №1.

  • Paul

    Does anyone actually give a shit about the Spacemen?

  • H3r3tic

    Too much maths people! Let’s get back to disparaging the lunacies of religion FFS!

  • Angela_K

    I seem to have opened a can of worms and we have argued over semantics rather than Mathematics as barriejohn has pointed out above.

  • 1859

    And it was the Hindus who invented the number ‘zero’ not the Sumerians – which proves the Hindus built the first spaceships and left for planet Theta long before the Sumerians. Fact.

  • Oy Ler

    All you maths “experts” out there need to go study Dedekind’s Cut. When you have that clear in your mind you can start commenting about numbers without looking dumb.

  • barriejohn

    1859: So true.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_India#Indus_Valley_Civilisation
    The civilisation is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multistoreyed houses and is thought to have had some kind of municipal organisation, plus a highly successful space exploration programme.
    (Some of that may not actually be correct.)

  • Prof Mattieu Matique

    Oy Ler is right. Dedekinds cut holds the key to this meta paradox. You cannot say with strict accuracy that a person is 10 years old. You can only say he is MORE THAN 10 Years Old. The point in time coincident with a TEN YEARS time period is infinitesimally small so marking the exact point in time when the 10 Years has elapsed is impossible. You can only say that the person is MORE THAN 10 YEARS OLD. And then you have to add the Einsteins complication of relative time frames. Maybe its best for you all to stop blathering about Year Zero and just realise that Kadhum Finjan Al-Hamami is a stupefied halfwit loon. And in my experience Maths Teachers are ok at basic Euclidian geometry, Linear Algebra and suchlike but they have a rather flimsy understanding of mathematical philosophy. There thats my answer.

  • Barry Duke, I fear we may perhaps both of us share the same sexual abnormalities…….though (alas) both of us are on the Bottom rather than the Top…..Lawks!

  • barriejohn

    Oh Christ, all the fucking internet “experts” have emerged from the woodwork. We all know that there is no such thing as a “point in time”, just as there isn’t such a thing as a point on a plane. They’re both an approximation. It’s not, er…rocket science!

  • I’ve never quite been able to see the point of mathematics, to be honest. Does it actually exist in the world outside, or is it merely a product of the mind? But who cares anyhow? The subject is unutterably tedious and can appeal only to total geeks. Incidentally, would a God be able to make 2+2=5? No? What a tw@t.

  • Prof Mattieu Matique

    Miss Floribunda Rose … you are a prat. Nothing, not a damned thing, that you use in your life or that others use to provide all the stuff you consume from your breakfast cornflakes, the condoms I hope you use, your mobile phone, your medications, the fertilisers that grow your food, your satnav, your socks, the fuel you put in your car, the gas you heat your home with, the elastic in your knickers, the time of day, the plane that takes you on holiday, the money in your pocket, the credit card in your wallet, the flouride in your toothpaste, the spectacles you need to see … everything, every damned thing you use, eat, consume and enjoy is brought to you courtesy of mathematics. You sir are a twat.
    And BJ you depend upon experts for your very survival. Example. Your Doctor is an expert. Everthing that you use is facilitated by experts. But we don’t need know-alls like you. You have opinions on everything and I wish that you would keep them to your self.

  • Prof Mattieu Matique

    And BJ, talking about points, there is rarely a good point in anything you post.

  • barriejohn

    Oh dear, I see that someone else had a gun pointed at his head and was cruelly forced to read comments on the Freethinker site. Whatever is this sad world coming to?

  • Angela_K

    @barriejohn. Is Prof Mattieu Matique a spurned ex of yours 😉

  • Daz

    Prof Mattieu Matique
    Blimey! Do you over-react in this fashion to every discussion you see on the internet which doesn’t live up to your oh-so-fine philosophical standards, or is this a new hobby?
    Please, do us all the favour of fucking off.

  • barriejohn

    There are so many rude responses to that question, Angela, but my lips are firmly sealed.
    Daz: Be careful – you’ll be the next target!

  • Daz

    Barriejohn, I think I can live with it. Why is it, though, that so many people who invoke the term “philosophy”turn out to be complete arseholes when discussing anything non-abstract?
    Oh, and how did Miss Floribunda Rose suddenly turn into a “sir”?

  • I suspect that the Mad Professor Matique may perhaps be prone to gender fluidity. Make sure you don’t get any gender fluid trapped up your ass Prof and you should come to no harm.

  • barriejohn

    I’m suspicious of the Nutty Professor’s comments. Mattieu’s a rather obvious misspelling, and he doesn’t seem to post elsewhere. There IS a Matthieu Matique (musician):
    https://musicbrainz.org/artist/76d6be0f-fe42-4413-a3e6-1aa1bac251b1

  • Cali Ron

    LOL! Just read this thread and I am thoroughly amused. On a scale of -1 to 0 I give this a zero. It was one hundred and zero percent enlightening. All this over the lowly zero. What mayhem could ensue if the topic of irrational numbers comes up. Am I going to have to break out the old calculus books and bone up on derivatives and integration? I never realized zero was such a controversial topic.
    Here’s my math insight contribution: Is the area of a circle, pi are squared? No, pi are round. And especially yummy with a la mode.

  • 1859

    Arrrg! please stop posting on this thread – my mail box is exploding!

  • RussellW

    As for the Indus Valley civilisation, its script hasn’t been deciphered, so we have absolutely no idea what they invented. Has anyone seen the topic?
    1859
    The Maya also invented the concept of zero, about the same time as the Hindus. There’s a very famous painting of a Mayan pilot at the controls of his spaceship.

  • barriejohn

    RussellW: I was thinking about that as well. It’s actually the famous carving from Pakal’s tomb, featured in Chariots of the Gods, which I read many moons ago now, though there are many other figures which resemble spacemen too.
    http://thewondersexpedition.com/TWE/2012/ceiba/

  • RussellW

    barriejohn,
    Yes, you’re correct, carving not painting, it’s a very long time since I read the book. It’s rather like any fantasy, all the reader needs to do is suspend belief and ‘Chariots’ is a fascinating read. (The ‘pilot’ is even wearing a spacesuit.)
    Another book that’s entertaining drivel is ‘1421’ by Gavin Menzies. It’s also disappointing, because, unlike von Daniken’s crap, I assumed initially that it was a serious effort at myth busting.

  • barriejohn

    RussellW: Yes, and then just when we thought we were safe from such unadulterated bullshit, along came Discovery Channel with hour upon hour of Graham Hancock’s nonsense. If you’re looking for the antidote, you may find it in this excellent blog:
    http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog
    Barry: Is there still a page anywhere on the Freethinker that directs readers to appropriate sites? I found that really useful, but I don’t see it now.

  • RussellW

    barriejohn,
    Interesting site. I usually only visit legit archaeological and history sites and read books by academic historians, so I’m often amazed at the crap that members of the public believe about the past. It could be argued that what does it matter if the average person believes historical myths and that if history nerds become annoyed, it’s only their problem. It’s important that we understand the historical process. ‘History’is so often invoked in contemporary political discussions eg the claims of Islamic ‘tolerance’,’it all started with the Crusades’ and people in the Middle Ages thought that he earth is flat are the most irritating examples.

  • barriejohn

    RussellW: Pierre Plantard has admitted ON FILM that the whole “Priory of Sion” business was a complete – but very skillful – hoax, yet when programmes about the Holy Grail were aired some years ago, and also when The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail later came to notice, swarms of people visited the sites mentioned, searching for the “evidence” that supported the “myth”. You need look no further for evidence of mankind’s weird obsession with, and complete faith in, the mystical and “transcendent” as opposed to the rational and logical.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priory_of_Sion
    PS I was taught in Junior School that Christopher Columbus sailed to America to prove to people that if you kept sailing west you wouldn’t fall off the edge of the world; but, then, we were being prepped for the 11-Plus, so we did very little history or geography – they were totally worthless subjects as far as our teachers were concerned!

  • Paul

    Well this is good.
    3 British born sceinetists win Noble Prize!
    The BBC news web page said this:
    “All three researchers used maths to explain strange physical effects in rare states of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids and thin magnetic films.”
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37486373