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“The El Dorado Machine”, How Lidar uncovered the lost city of “La Ciudad Blanca”

temp9La Ciudad Blanca, or “The White City”, (also Xucutaco in nahuatl and Hueitapalan in mayan), is a legendary lost city in the Mosquitia region of Honduras. The city was originally sought by the conquistador Hernando Cortes for the rumors it held vast quantities of gold. It was also the supposed birthplace of the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl. The source of the legend is unclear; some claim it originates in the time of the Spanish Conquista while others claim to originate from the indigenous Pech and Tawahka peoples.

Over the years a mix of treasure hunting and scientific expeditions have yielded findings that have fueled the legend of the lost city.

One of the first documented archeological explorations of the region was performed in 1933 by archeologist William Duncan Strong for the Smithsonian Institution. The 1933 expedition included areas in the Bay Island Department of Honduras as well as areas in the Mosquitia region of Honduras and Nicaragua. In his field journal we recorded the existence of archeological mounds, among many the Wankibila or Guanquivila mounds on the banks of the Rio Patuca and the Floresta Mounds on the banks of the Rio Conquirre.

For centuries, explorers tried to find la Ciudad Blanca, a fabled city in the rain forests of Central America. Dense jungle impeded efforts to uncover it. On Talk of the nation, Douglas Preston told the story of a team who used light detection technology (lindar) to survey the iconic ruins from the air.

temp9The Latest expedition took a 21st Century Approach and seems to have been successful in finding the lost city, “La Ciudad Blanca”. Using a simple single engine airplane equipped with a modern laser called a Lindar; Douglas Preston and his team scanned the canopy of the Honduraian rain-forest.You’ll be amazed at what they’ve found. Listen to the “Talk of the Nation” video above for more information.

**UPADTE 05-08-2013**

The rain forests of Mosquitia, which span more than thirty-two thousand square miles of Honduras and Nicaragua, are among the densest and most inhospitable in the world. “It’s mountainous,” Chris Begley, an archeologist and expert on Honduras, told me recently. “There’s white water. There are jumping vipers, coral snakes, fer-de-lance, stinging plants, and biting insects. And then there are the illnesses—malaria, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, Chagas’.” Nevertheless, for nearly a century, archeologists and adventurers have plunged into the region, in search of the ruins of an ancient city, built of white stone, called la Ciudad Blanca, the White City.

Rumors of the site’s existence date back at least to 1526, when, in a letter to the Spanish emperor Charles V, the conquistador Hernán Cortés reported hearing “reliable” information about a province in the interior of Honduras that “will exceed Mexico in riches, and equal it in the largeness of its towns and villages.” The claim was not an impossible one; the New World encountered by Europeans had wealthy cities and evidence of former splendor. In 1839, John Lloyd Stephens, an American diplomat and amateur archeologist, went in search of a group of ruins in the jungles of western Honduras—and found the stupendous remains of the Maya city of Copán, which he bought from a local landowner for fifty dollars. Stephens explored scores of other iconic ruins in Central America, which he described in a lavishly illustrated, best-selling book; serious archeology soon followed. Researchers have since determined that, beginning around 250 B.C., much of Mesoamerica south of Mexico had been dominated by the Maya civilization, which held sway until its mysterious collapse, in the tenth century.

But the grand Mesoamerican cultures, which stretched from Mexico southward, seemed to end in Honduras. The regions east and south of Copán were inhabited by peoples whom early scholars considered more “primitive” and less interesting, and the jungles were so dense, and the conditions so dangerous, that little exploration was done. Nonetheless, rumors persisted of lost cities—perhaps Maya, perhaps not—hidden in rugged Mosquitia. By the twentieth century, these legends had coalesced into a single site, la Ciudad Blanca, sometimes referred to as the Lost City of the Monkey God. . . .

Sources: The New Yorker, Wikipedia.com and NPR.org
Compiled By: Josh Martin
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Pirates Steal ‘Game Of Thrones’: Why HBO Doesn’t Mind? – Audio Blog

April 7, 2013
Original Aired on: All Things Considered

More than 1 million fans illegally downloaded the first episode of Game of Thrones Season 3 this week, within 24 hours of its premiere.

That set a record, according to TorrentFreak, a blog that reports the latest trends on file-sharing. The blog also named the popular HBO series the most illegally downloaded television show of 2012.

The illicit popularity of the show, based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy books, has wider implications for the future of TV. Wired.com writer Graeme McMillan tells NPR’s Jacki Lyden how online piracy is shaping what we watch.

Interview game-of-thrones.jpgHighlights:

Who are the Game of Thrones pirates?

“They’re international. The majority of people for this particular episode were actually American, which is a first. Previously they have been predominantly Australian, oddly enough. But this time Australia was the third most popular country for piracy. It was U.S., U.K. and then Australia.”

On how HBO’s surprising reaction to the piracy

“Traditionally, studios and networks are very much on the line of ‘Downloading is bad, illegal piracy is bad, we do not support this at all.’ HBO has been surprisingly polite if not kind about the illegal downloads. You had HBO’s programming chief, Michael Lombardo, saying a couple weeks ago that his bigger concern wasn’t the people who were downloading, but that by downloading they’d get an inferior product.”

On not giving fans what they want

“Currently if you want to stream HBO content online, you have to sign up for the cable channel. There was an online campaign called ‘Take My Money, HBO’ that was essentially, ‘We’d love to stream the shows, we’d like to pay for this, but we don’t want to sign up for a cable subscription. Can you offer something else?’ And HBO has teased the option. Before, they’ve said, ‘Maybe, if we can get the math correct,’ but they’ve never really come out and said, ‘This is something we’re interested in.’

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“Their concern is in order to stay competitive with other streaming services, they would have to have a low price point for streaming, which would undercut the cable subscription.”

On whether online piracy of Game of Thrones hurts HBO

“I’m not sure it does. I think it really raises the profile of the show and raises the profile of HBO in general. One of the HBO directors for Game of Thrones, a guy called David Petrarca, actually said, ‘No, it’s great. It really helps the show’s cultural buzz, and it does not impact the bottom line because HBO has more than enough money to keep making the show.’

“So what this is, is, this makes HBO the center of a cultural conversation about illegal downloading, about streaming content, about the production of content and distribution of content, which is probably somewhere they really want to be.”

On the future of online TV

“Television is heading online. It is just something that, at this point, is going to happen. There was a Deloitte report that came out last month that said in 2012, tablet ownership exploded. It went up significantly from previous years. Tablet owners watch far more television than people who do not own tablets. So as that grows, the amount of television grows, it’s just that they’re watching it online.”

Source: NPR news
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 
 

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