Of course, it’s the sphinx. Everyone knows that. Everyone. Since the beginning of time. Really? Odd. Did you know that when the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt in 450 BCE (Before the Christian Era), he did not see the sphinx?  Why not? Because it was covered with sand. Scientists say sand dunes in Egypt can be as deep as 1,500 feet and, shall we say, ‘move around.’ In 450 BCE, a century before Alexander the Great, the sphinx was buried in sand. It only ‘reappeared’ in the 1400s. Which leaves us to ask: what else is out there now, buried in 1,500 feet of sand, that Herodotus saw and we have yet to discover? And, for historical accuracy, French soldiers under Napoleon did not shoot off the nose of the sphinx. That was done in 1378 of the modern era by a Muslim named Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr. He was in control of Egypt and was outraged when he saw Egyptian peasants were making offerings to the sphinx for a more productive flooding of the Nile. He destroyed the nose of the sphinx in vengeance – and then he was executed for vandalism. If you get a chance, take a look at one of my short stories at https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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I’ll bet you think you are looking at flowers. WRONG!  These are ‘fields’ of abandoned bicycles in China.  Talk about a traffic jam!  In 2017, in an effort to make the citizenry more mobile, scores of business offered free bikes to the public. You used the bike when you needed it and left it when you were where you wanted to be. And it worked. Sort of. Suddenly there were millions of abandoned bikes on the streets creating traffic jams and pedestrian hazards. So cities were forced to pull the abandoned bikes off the street – and they ‘recycled’ them into artistic patterns as you can see in this photograph.  If you get a chance, take a look at one of my short stories at https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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OK, what time is it?  But there’s a real problem here – what happens if the instructions are to “put your hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2?” I can understand why 3 is at 90 degrees but what’s the 4 doing at 180 – and what’s the ‘g’ stand for?  And those other math formulas, not a clue! This, by the way, is a real clock. I snapped a shot of it on the wall in a high school mathematics class. In most cases I can read just about any clock.  If you live in Alaska you have to get used to clocks, analog and digital. By explanation, if you live in the Lower 48, “daytime” has a different meaning in June, July and August then in the rest of America. You cannot ‘tell the time’ by the position of the sun in the sky. During the winter, well, “daytime” is very short.  And, no, Alaska does not have six months of sunshine followed instantaneously by six months of darkness.  If you get a chance, take a look at one of my short stories at https://retreatsfromoblivion.com/2018/08/29/the-matter-of-the-smallgarian-wall-and-the-portuguese-undertaker-by-steve-levi/ [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Just a bunch of camels, right? Yeah, but there is something lurking under those waters.

 

For some background, this is a photo of Guelta d’Archei, an oasis located four-day journey across barren sands of the Sahara Desert from the capital of Chad, n’Djamena. Every day hundreds of camel from caravans water in these waters, excuse the pun. Which is why the water is black. From camel poop. There is no escape for the poop-water so it simply festers. Algae feeds on the camel poop and, in turn, fish feed on the algae. But that is not the top of the food chain in this not-so-pristine oasis. There is a colony of Nile crocodile in these waters which feed on the fish. Yes, crocodiles. They are the last of the crocodiles which inhabited the Sahara when it was a lush land. But that was then. This is now. What’s the real-world lesson here? Not everything is as it seems. There is always something lurking in the shadows, so to speak. Or, in the case of Guelta d’Archei, in the poop-filled waters. So, next time someone tells you that something is ‘as clear as the nose on your face,’ don’t be too sure. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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This is one of my favorite editorial pictures.  His name is “Has No Horses,” or, in the parlance of our era, “poor boy.” He was part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in about 1910 so he was probably making good money then.  Every society from the cave until today has had the rich and ‘has no horses.’ History of the story of the battle between the haves and havenots. Has No Horses was born in a poor Sioux family but he improved his lot in life. He may not have died a rich man but he was certainly better off with Buffalo Bill than starving on an Indian reservation.  I cannot speculate how he was able to hook up with Buffalo Bill but, since this is America, I’m willing to bet it was a lot more than just luck. We make our own luck. As the old saying goes, “I’m a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more luck I have.” [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Nine miles Southeast of Skwentna and 59 miles north of Tyonek – and, yes, these are actual Alaskan communities – is Bulchitna Lake. And, yes, that is the actual name of the lake. Legend has it a homesteader used the term frequently and thus was the lake named. In Alaska, when someone says something of ‘questionable veracity,’ someone is sure to say – politely – “sounds like the lake to me.” [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Once upon a time, in a city far away, a tire dealer had a special understanding with a highly-placed person in city-government. Everyone knew of the freebee but no one could do anything about it because, well, you know, the rich have special immunities. (If you are unsure what is meant, ask any member of the Trump family.) But that does not mean you cannot pull the tail of the tiger.  Someone did. Since the tire dealer signed off on the proof for his yellow-page advertisement, well, you know, that’s the way things go. Moral of the story?  No matter how clever you think you are, there is always someone smarter. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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Sadly, President Trump has killed a time-honored Alaskan institution: fake news. The REAL fake news. In the ‘good old days,’ tourists came to Alaska believing the most outlandish tales. It’s not surprising that many Outsiders believe we have six months of total darkness followed instantaneously by six months of unbroken sunshine. And it is not uncommon TODAY to hear tourist in a United States Post office in Anchorage buying a United States stamp with a United States dollar asking how long it will take a postcard to ‘get to the United States.’ Anchorage proper, the largest city, has a population of 400,000 but sees 1.2 million tourists in the 90 days of summer – every one of them believing an Alaskan myth. It does not take us long to get tired of setting the record straight. So we don’t. We lie. It’s called absurding. Whatever myth a tourist believes, we confirm it and build on the absurdity. If tourists ask where they can see penguins, we tell them to go to the park strip around midnight ‘when the penguins come out of their igloos.’ Alas, now that President Trump has labeled all news as fake, where does that leave us bonafide Alaska fake news purveyors? And I swear this Alaska fur bearing trout is real because I got the picture from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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On July 22, 1916, San Francisco held a Preparedness Day Parade to show its readiness for World War I.  Just as the parade started, a bomb went off and wiped out a contingent of the marchers.  San Francisco was in the midst of a number of violent labor strikes and the San Francisco chamber of commerce used the horror to railroad two labor organizers, Tom Mooney and Warren Billings, to death row where they lived until they were pardoned in 1939.  The conviction was IN SPITE OF THE FACT Mooney could prove he was nowhere near the site of the bombing.  He was, in fact, on top of a building more than a mile away from where bomb exploded.  This is the photo he presented to prove where he was – and the arrow on the left identifies a clock on the sidewalk with the exact time the photo was taken. Just because you do not like someone does not make them guilty. If you get dragged from the truth by your beliefs, you will never learn the truth. To date, no one knows who set off the bomb or why. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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A century ago, this was a good job! Every era has its “good jobs” and those you “just have to take.” Over the next ten years, AI, Artificial Intelligence, will be the reason for hundreds of thousands of jobs disappearing. But AI will create millions of jobs. It is just the transition period that will be economically frightening.  The industrialization of Europe in 1848 lead to revolutions in every county, the reason 1848 in Europe is known as the Year of Revolution.  But there is a significant upside to AI.  Humans DO NOT have to do routine jobs like the one pictured here.  We will be able to do what evolution designed us to do: think, create and develop.  We are entering a golden age of creation. Ten years ago, book publishers did not publish good books; they published books that sold. Art galleries did not display good artwork; they displayed artwork that sold. Today authors and fine artists do not have to depend on publishers or art galleries.  Buyers are looking for artists, not the other way around. There will be plenty of jobs for the uncreative in the AI era.  But the future belongs to the humans who will think, create and develop on a scale never before seen in human history. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime. See my webinar at http://bit.ly/2zjyiYG.]

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