Companies are flocking to the major cities where customers are a stone's throw away. Their staff follows, followed by the shops where they did their shopping.
An important reason for the departure of people from villages is the poor accessibility by bus and train.
There are few passengers, which means that bus lines often run at a loss and are kept afloat with a lot of subsidies.
The prices in village shops are high, partly due to the high transport costs. This will drive even more customers away.
The solution: combine freight and passenger transport This problem could be solved if buses can also be used for transporting goods. Bus stations therefore serve as transfer stations. Mail could also be transported in this way and delivered by a local postman at the stops where the bus passes.
With the freight volume and parcel post included, the bus line becomes cost-effective. The bus line can probably run even more often than it is now.
Second solution: unmanned public transport At present, it has already been possible to drive unmanned vehicles for thousands of kilometers. Smaller, more efficient electric vehicles can be used on some bus routes.
In Nepal, 650 electric safa tempos are already running at a cost of seven cents per kilometer. It can seat up to six people in the back. This is ideal for sparsely populated areas where usually few people travel by bus.
The periodic table of high school chemistry class is facing competition.
Bosons, a certain group of elementary particles, do not appear to be able to form a stable bond in pairs, but in triples. This opens a window on totally new materials. And can we finally solve the riddle of quantum entanglement?
The Russian physicist Vitaly Efimov, who later emigrated to the US, predicted in 1970 that certain quantum particles that cannot form pairs can form triples under certain circumstances. These triples look a bit like Boromian rings: remove one and the other two rings let go.
Bosons and fermions: a matter of spin Spider is a bizarre quantum property that can be interpreted as the direction and speed of rotation of a particle. You can make a ball spin in all kinds of directions, speeds and left or right. A quantum particle can only spin left or right by whole or half units. A spin of, for example, 0.33 is therefore not possible.
In quantum terms, all particles can be divided into two groups: bosons with an integer spin and fermions (which have a half-integer spin). Bosons, for example light particles and helium-4 atoms, are the proverbial easy sheep. It is quite easy to bring them together. In quantum terms, their wave functions overlap.
This is very different for fermions (for example electrons and helium-3 atoms): the chance that they come close to each other is zero (the Pauli ban). Two fermions (think of electrons in a superconductor) can form a Cooper pair that has boson properties: the spin of both particles together becomes an integer. Superfluid helium-3, for example, consists of Cooper pairs of helium-3 atoms.
Efimov threesomes Efimov predicted in 1970 that particles with an integer spin, ie bosons, could form a stable trio under certain conditions. The interactions start to resonate and then keep each other exactly in balance. The effect is extremely weak with 'normal' atoms, which is why it was not until 2006 Efimov trios have been found in cesium vapor. Only then was there the technique to cool atoms to below a millionth of a degree above absolute zero.
What is the practical use?
At the moment, 13.5 billion years after the Big Bang: zero. Even in the icy space between the stars, the temperature is still three Kelvin, millions of times too high. Perhaps we could use it to build a new type of quantum computer or an ultra-sensitive detector, for example of gravitational waves.
More interestingly, we can create matter that is not limited to our three dimensions. Topological mathematician Nils Baas has much more complicated structures than the simple Boromian rings calculated. For which, of course, much more extreme cooling is required. Boss also thinks that these intricate structures may explain quantum entanglement, which has been causing headaches for science for eighty years.
Very distant future At present, cosmologists assume that the expansion of the universe will accelerate due to a runaway cosmological constant and that we will eventually be torn apart into atoms. If that theory is incorrect, and this will not be the first time in the history of science, then there is a good chance that our universe will cool down to millionths of a degree above absolute zero in the distant future.
In this distant future, stars have completely burned out. The "comfortable" three Kelvin of the background radiation has then become so low that Ephimov states become the rule. Who knows, then a new thin form of matter will form, which will react very slowly. A new Efimov chemistry. And new intelligent life, a kind of gas cloud, which our world may see as a devastating Big Bang ...
Israel is doing it. Spain is doing it. Morocco, Sri Lanka and China are doing it. The Soviet Union did. And there are many more countries that can participate.
All mentioned and unnamed countries have one thing in common: they systematically oppress minorities in their country. These countries (take Spain) try against the will of certain minorities (the Basques) to force those minorities to recognize the central government as their government. I say consciously try, because it is doomed to fail.
We all hate when people impose themselves. Nobody likes difficult salesmen trying to sell you something, believers who insist on you listening to them, or, for the famous among us, journalists almost pushing a microphone in your nose. And that all makes sense. After all, you can do just fine without those people, and most likely you are not interested in them if they want to get your attention at all costs. This is also how it works with governments; in some areas they are needed. But if you feel that you don't need the government, and that same government thinks differently about it, it can be even more annoying than the salesman, the believer, and the journalist.
Especially as long as that government does not stop imposing itself on you, and it goes so far that you are even prepared to use force to keep that government away from you. At such a moment, the government should actually have a light on. And that light should say, "If those people don't want to have anything to do with us, who are we to determine that they don't have a choice?"
I'm not leaving
Unfortunately, that light does not always come on. Instead, in many cases, the government brings a different kind of light. That of weapons, that is. The idea is that people who do not want to have anything to do with the government, or as they are also called 'separatists', must be forced to listen to the government by means of violence. It still does not occur to the state that those people may rightly not want to have anything to do with the government. It should be clear that violence does not solve anything. Unfortunately, people think differently in Sri Lanka. The government army fought there against a group of separatists, the Tamil Tigers. On May 18, 2009, the government army claimed victory: the Tamils were defeated. The entire battle, which lasted for decades, had obviously cost the necessary lives on both sides. But at least the government felt it had achieved its goal: no more insurgents.
If you don't leave, then there will be ...
But shouldn't the island's government have asked itself first: if we kill activists, does that mean that their ideas disappear from society? The answer to this would of course have been 'no'. It is ridiculous to think that you can quell the desire for independence by killing its fighters. That will not make separatism disappear, in fact, you will only fuel more aversion to the government.
Because separatism is nothing more than a logical consequence of two factors: Number one is that people like to be able to decide about themselves, or that a group of people wants to be able to make decisions about their own group. Number two is the fact that some governments do not respond to this. It is not difficult to understand that these two data collide, and that the government itself is thus responsible for people's aversion to its policies of oppression.
Why groups are naturally separated
There are many different cultures and groups in this world.
They all have different habits and customs. People who share the same norms, values, traditions, language and history logically form a group. After all, they share certain qualities and live the same way.
However, as soon as you put a group next to it, or worse, above it, while those groups have nothing to do with each other, that is asking for problems. Because you cannot hope that people will live with you just because you draw a line on the map and those people happen to live within that same line. That one line on the map is simply not a binding factor for the different groups; certainly not if they don't recognize that line. And certainly not if they speak different languages or have a different historical background or different customs.
Not only is it therefore logical that the government of a country such as Spain asks for difficulties by imposing its will on minorities, it is also justifiable that, for example, the Basques stand up for themselves. A people should have the right to self-determination at all times. Just as we consider it only natural that an individual person should be allowed to determine his own life, this should also apply to groups of people. Ultimately, a group of people is a sum, even more than that, of individuals, so why should not personal human rights also apply to groups of people?
That does not mean, of course, that all methods of greater self-determination are defensible. Just as violence by the government is counterproductive, the same applies to independence fighters: by using violence you turn people against you. Nobody benefits from that. It may be understandable, but it is by no means effective.
Moreover, violence is not necessary if other methods are available. For example, the residents of the Western Sahara recently set up tent camps as a protest against Moroccan rule. Those tent camps were cleared. Regrettable. The international community should have rebelled strongly against this. Because these people did nothing but stand up for their rights.
Unfortunately, nonviolent protest in Western Sahara was therefore unsuccessful. But there are examples where peaceful protests and the exertion of pressure on politics did have an effect. For example, at the end of the Cold War, many peoples gained the right to govern themselves, when Moscow no longer made them compulsory part of the USSR.
Moreover, giving minorities more rights to their own government need not directly lead to the disintegration of a country. A process of federalization has been going on for some time in Belgium. The Dutch and French speakers are gaining control in more and more areas. This will probably lead to Belgium sooner or later being divided, officially or not. This does not necessarily have to be an unhealthy development if the separate parts of the country and sub-cultures agree.
In the end, giving certain minorities the right to self-determination is simply the best solution: the state does not have to wage war in its own country and the minorities get what they are entitled to: a life they can decide for themselves, and in their own way.
In a groundbreaking study, it has now been shown that evolution can proceed much faster than has hitherto been thought possible mathematically.
For creationists, the supposed mathematical impossibility of rapid evolution is a popular argument for pointing the theory of evolution to the realm of fables.
The chance that, for example, the ancestor of the birds or the bats suddenly started flying due to spontaneous mutations is virtually impossible.
Mathematician Herbert Wilf and two retired professors assume in their model that every step in between provides a small evolutionary benefit. They show that in this way a new property can develop relatively quickly.
It is already known from previous computer simulations that an eye can develop from an eyespot in just a few hundred generations. A rigid mathematical model has now been drawn up for the first time.
In short: the creationists can again look for a new argument.
Many people think that jobs are scarce, so that there are only a limited number of jobs for many more people. But is that really so?
A common argument against immigration is: 'they are taking our jobs'. This is the reason for some parties to be against the use of Polish or Romanian workers, for example.
Others feel that way too. For example, some proponents of part-time work believe that in this way the available jobs are distributed fairly between employed and unemployed people. Incidentally, there are other, very good, arguments for being in favor of part-time work, such as the advantages for parents and volunteers.
The Endangered Job All these ideas stem from one assumption: there is a fixed number of jobs. Jobs are created through a mysterious process by so-called employers with a great sense of social responsibility. If enough political pressure is exerted, for example through the countless consultative bodies that include trade unionists and talkative ex-managers of large companies, more jobs will automatically be created.
What also helps: the government that hires a lot of people, because that's how there are even more of the wonderful jobs. Of course that has to be paid, but that's what taxes are for. The strongest shoulders carry the heaviest loads. Very sensible and just, right? Well, no.
How does an employer think? Entrepreneurs with staff, employers, are people just like you and me. Just like you are not going to hire a babysitter for your three sweethearts if this mister or madam costs more per hour than you earn per hour net (unless you really can't handle it anymore and there is no willing partner, mother or mother-in-law to get you out of the fire. helps), neither does an entrepreneur.
An employer has to get his employee's wage costs out. If an employee costs five thousand gross per month and the entrepreneur does not earn at least six thousand from it, he will not send out a job advertisement for the time being. Unless that employee relieves him of so much worries that he is happy to pay for the extra costs.
The actual 'employer': added value A company that is running well usually produces a lot of added value. Sometimes not, but after a while the customers walk away or there is an investigation by the competition authority. A greedy entrepreneur from a thriving company (and there are quite a few of them, yes, the prejudices are correct) will then hire extra staff, because that way he earns a lot more.
Suppose you invent a way to store ten times more energy per liter of battery than is now possible in the best battery. In short: you provide THE breakthrough for electric cars. Or steal that way from a businesslike inventor, as unfortunately often happens. In your factory you need a thousand people to meet the global demand for your miracle battery billions of dollars. Each additional staff member will certainly increase your profit by a few million euros. Obviously, you loot busloads of staff at the same time from employment offices or collapsed EU countries.
Where does added value come from? A company is a collection of people, machines and capital that convert starting materials into a desired end product. The more popular those end products, the more profit the company makes and the more jobs will be created. In general, the higher the quality of end products, the more value they generate for customers, the more popular they are. People want things that are different and better than they have until then. The entrepreneur who can deliver what his customers do not even dare to dream of for a reasonable price does not have to worry much.
Unfortunately, there is also a negative way of creating 'value' for customers: building dependency. Infamous examples: opium (the source of English profiteering in China), devices that can only contain patented, very expensive refills, or software packages.
The magical X factor: knowledge and fantasy
Everything around us, including ourselves, consists of atoms. The raw materials that make up precious electronics may cost a few dimes. The high added value consists of the large amount of information, ie knowledge and imagination that has been put into the products. A programmable scientific calculator costs less than two hundred euros. This device can do more than the millions of devouring ENIACs the size of a house, boiling for weeks on end.
In addition to the necessary hard work, it was mainly the technical cleverness and visionary insight of a number of mill builders and hydraulic engineers that turned the Netherlands from a twice-daily flooding swamp into one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
The real job creators: practical scientists, inventors, creatives and visionaries
Every economic revival in more modern times was the result of a group of technical breakthroughs. The basis for this is the work of inventors who usually did not reap very much fruit from their ideas themselves. The revival at the end of the nineteenth century, for example, was the result of electrification, the rise of the oil and car industry and the like. Also think of the internet hype of recently. So let smart and creative people with a sufficient sense of reality have full scope, because in the end it is their ideas that will make the world a better place. For the same reason, the government's policy to exclude non-Western immigrants is also not so sensible. It is much wiser to only let in here smart, positive people who are full of knowledge, imagination and good ideas, regardless of origin.
Volgens berekeningen van wetenschappers blijken de ringen ontstaan door de vernietiging van een maan ter grootte van de Saturnusmaan Titan, 5000 km doorsnede.
Volgens de berekeningen vond de ramp 4,5 miljard jaar geleden plaats, vlak na het ontstaan van de aarde.
De ringen en de ijsmaantjes in het ringenstelsel zijn het overblijfsel van de ijsachtige schil. De rotsige kern werd opgeslokt door Saturnus.
De maan werd afgeremd door de toen nog aanwezige gasenvelop rond Saturnus en bewoog naar binnen. De getijdekrachten, die op aarde eb en vloed veroorzaken, kneedden de maan tot het ijs smolt. Na ongeveer tienduizend jaar bereikte de maan het punt, de Roche-limiet, waarop de getijdekrachten zo sterk werden dat de maan in stukken gebroken wordt. De ijsfragmenten en het gesmolten water werden langzamerhand van de maan los getrokken en belandden in de ring, terwijl de zwaardere rotskern langer zijn samenhang behield en werd opgeslokt door de planeet.
De gasenvelop is ondertussen verdwenen: opgeslokt door Saturnus of weggeblazen door de zonnewind.
Deze nieuwe theorie verklaart waarom het ringenstelsel van Saturnus voor 95% uit ijs bestaat en niet voor een groot deel uit rots. Ook verklaart de theorie waarom zich dicht bij Saturnus ijsmaantjes vormden, terwijl manen die verder van de planeet staan veel rots bevatten.
De definitieve test van deze theorie volgt in 2011 als ruimtesonde Cassini de massa van de ringen gaat meten.
Introducing basic benefits for everyone would save a lot of bureaucracy. And there are more good arguments.
In principle, nobody has to starve to death in the Netherlands. Workers pay taxes to help people who are unable to work for whatever reason - due to illness, old age or lack of work, for example - to receive an income.
Over the years, this system has evolved into an extremely complex system implemented by multiple ministries and governments, so complex that it takes years of study to understand all the finer points.
Social security is monstrously complicated A small selection: we know WW, WAO (now: WIA), WaJong, sickness benefit, IOAW, AOW, ANW, AWW, redundancy pay, social assistance, student finance and a number of more. For each type of benefit, a specially trained body of civil servants is available to decide whether these benefits are properly paid. Special inspectors examine benefit recipients to see whether they are complying with the conditions, not earning extra extra, owning more than is allowed and the like.
False thinking behind social security: solidarity with the rich and 'pitifulness' This system is based on two serious fallacies. These are the direct cause of the problems that continuously occur.
The main fallacy is the curious interpretation of the concept of solidarity. The Unemployment Insurance Act, WW, is a compulsory unemployment insurance (or tax) whereby, in exchange for a premium, the employee is insured against loss of income due to unemployment. The more the employee earned, the more unemployment benefits they receive. If solidarity is so important, why is the unemployment benefit or disability benefit of a high-paid employee much higher than that of a low-paid employee?
The second fallacy is to assume the degree of pitifulness instead of what is the best solution for that person and society. People entitled to social assistance without a cent are pathetic, so they receive social assistance benefits. If someone with a low wage has been so stupid as not to use up his wages immediately with an expensive holiday, for example, but to save it and he is fired, then after a few months of unemployment benefit he will first have to 'eat' his savings. The amount of savings and other assets that a single social assistance recipient is allowed to have is approximately € 5,400. Anything above that must be 'eaten' first. The result: an extra call on all kinds of pots because the person entitled to social assistance does not have enough money to, for example, replace broken equipment or pay bills.
A basic salary: the benefits Every person has the right to a dignified existence, is stated in the universal treaty of human rights. Without income or support in kind, there is no dignified existence. Something like social assistance benefit is therefore logical. It is less logical to punish thrift, which is the case with the current system.
The introduction of a basic wage will put an end to the huge mess of benefits. Every Dutch person who lives in the Netherlands and is older than eighteen receives a basic benefit of, for example, five hundred euros. Workers receive an employment bonus of two hundred euros. The child benefit is replaced by a tax deduction equal to the child benefit. Medical aids for the seriously ill will be free. A fixed flat tax of, for example, forty percent must then be paid on all income. So one tax bracket. All deductions are abolished. Students have to pay their own tuition fees, but receive a much higher tuition allowance.
Students who want to live at home get as much as those who want to live on a stand. No room shortage.
On the other hand, everyone can earn as much as they want, as long as he or she pays tax on it. This will actually significantly lower the minimum wage, which will create a lot of new jobs. Even someone who earns zero euros per hour, extremely unlikely, will still be left with six hundred euros net. In practice, there will be so much competition between employers that wages will be comparable to today.
Much fewer officials needed Administration can be much simpler in this way. The social insurance bank SVB, which now provides the AOWs, can easily transfer these benefits without additional staff. The other benefits agencies such as UWV (16,000 employees), social services (a comparable number) and the like can all be discontinued.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment can also be considerably smaller. The simplified tax system also saves many civil servants, with an estimated total of 100,000 civil servants involved in all aspects of social affairs and related policies. The salary costs of this are high: about 2 billion per year, one hundred euros per Dutch person.
Costs: 78 billion per year, yield: at least 120 billion The costs are quite easy to calculate. Today there are about thirteen million people over eighteen. This means 78 billion euros in benefits and tax credits per year. Everything that is paid out in terms of unemployment benefits, student finance, AOW and the like, as well as all tax deductions, can be canceled out. This plus the lower salary costs for civil servants.
From oppression to open opportunities Right now, the social insurance system revolves around control and repression. There must be sufficient sadness, otherwise no benefit will be paid. This has a devastating effect on the self-confidence of people on benefits.
If this is replaced by an amount that everyone is entitled to on the basis of the fact that they are human, there will be room for starting entrepreneurs who are supported during the period without income, for artists, for volunteers and for people with a craft business where a marginal income can be derived from.
Through biotechnology, we may succeed in developing animals that no longer require feeding.
At present there are already some animal species, all invertebrates, that cooperate with single-celled organisms capable of photosynthesis. Most animals that interact with algae house the single-celled organisms in their bodies, where they harvest the sugars that the algae make.
Sea snail on its way to plant life
The biggest success story is the sea snail Elysia chlorotica. This leaf-shaped snail is capable of producing chlorophyll itself, the green pigment in plants that captures sunlight.
The snail harvests algae once in its life, which, with the exception of the chloroplasts, leaf green grains, are completely digested. If the snail sees a meal of algae passing by later in its life, it will not despise it, but it is no longer necessary to stay alive. Elysias have been cultivated that could rely on the chloroplasts of one algae meal for a year - the life of the snail.
And that is remarkable, after all chloroplasts can multiply, but they do need a source of chlorophyll and other building blocks. Researchers found genes of the algae in the DNA of the snail that did just this and that also became active when the snail was exposed to light. The only bottleneck for the snail is the chloroplasts themselves. The snail fails to transfer the chloroplasts in its eggs to young snails.
Big benefits The conversion of sunlight into animal tissue is quite an energy-wasting process. The plant first converts sunlight into glucose, the building block of sugars. This glucose is converted into other substances that the plant needs, such as proteins, fatty acids, starch and cellulose.
If the plant is eaten by an animal, these substances must be converted into parts that can be digested by animals (which in turn costs energy). Some molecules, cellulose for example, cannot digest animals at all. The animal does not need other molecules in the quantities. Bacteria must also first break down animal excrement into mineral salts so that plants can absorb them.
If the animal can skip these steps itself, this means that the yield will be many times greater and cheap animal protein will come within reach. At the moment, animal husbandry is causing enormous environmental problems: every kilo of meat (with 60% or more water) takes two to twenty kilos of dry vegetable feed to produce. The animal can then receive a small amount of feed rich in minerals and produce the rest itself. Large areas that are hardly suitable for agriculture can then be returned to nature. Malnutrition will be less of an issue.
If humans were able to extract energy from sunlight as effectively as plants, a day of sunbathing would be equivalent to a small meal.
Craft your own plant fish In order to incorporate photosynthesis in fish, for example, the first step is to incorporate part of the algae genome into the fish's DNA.
The technique for this, DNA recombination, is known and is already widely used. That is not enough: a trigger mechanism must also be built into it that produces components of chloroplasts when they are needed, under the influence of light, for example. Nitrogen binding bacteria would also be useful, nitrogen is essential for proteins.
An alternative may be to dissolve ammonium salts in the water. The most efficient algal coral produces about 80 grams of carbon (equivalent to 160 grams of dry weight) per square meter per day. The fish will need to have a large tail or flat body to get a lot of surface.
Most suitable place Naturally, the tropics, surprisingly especially the desert areas, are the most suitable for these cultivation installations. To produce one kilo of meat, 20,000 liters of water are needed. This is only a few liters for these fish.
There is currently no single theory that really conclusively explains where the first planets came from and how a cloud of dust condensed. The problem that occurs again and again is the necessity of the presence of condensation cores. For example, raindrops do not need much for this, electromagnetic forces (which are responsible for condensation of water) are strong.
Gravitational condensation cores Gravity is much, much weaker, which is why gravitational condensation nuclei must be much larger: at the temperatures in an interstellar dust cloud, about the size of a large asteroid or small moon. According to current theories, condensation would start with very small particles. Most dust particles in interstellar dust nebulae are about the size of the wavelength of infrared radiation: a few micrometers (thousandth of a millimeter). According to the theory, the substances would first attract each other by electromagnetic attraction, then by gravity.
The 'missing link' between substances and asteroids is missing The problem with this theory: gravity is far too weak for small objects. For example, the gravity exerted by two human bodies at a distance of one meter from each other is about the weight of a large bacterium. Yet, from the decay rate of radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium, we know that the ancestor star of the sun must have exploded not too long ago and produced the dust cloud. Something must have made the process of fusion much faster, so seeded the cloud with large gravitational cores.
The family story of the sun We may have to go further back in time for this, to be precise with the explosion of the ancestor of the sun, an enormous oxygen-rich O-star. In technical terms, this was a type IIa supernova. When stars of that size die, they are made up of concentric shells of fusion products. From new computer simulations and also out observations of supernova 1987A turns out that the explosion of supernovae is a very chaotic process.
Little remains of the beautiful concentric shells on the right. Chunks of shell, such as the nickel-iron core and silicon-oxygen in the middle, are then thrown far away.
Ancestor sun sowed planet seeds
Perhaps this explains why Earth and Mercury have such a large nickel-iron core. Simply a large piece of exploded star that has swallowed up other debris over millions of years. In some meteorites rocks from other supernovae found.
Another big riddle is also solved in this way. This is probably why the products of the so-called r process, a process in which atomic nuclei keep trapping neutrons up to the neutron limit, say, in a natural nuclear reactor, has not been observed in supernova 1987a. The r process is necessary to explain why nuclear nuclei on Earth are usually close to the maximum neutron limit.
Of course you will not notice those products if they are not in the form of gas, but massive lumps of strong core. Seeds, as it were, that will later develop into new planets and stars. A hypothesis that we have not yet seen in print.
Jesus of Nazareth is the most famous and at the same time one of the most fascinating persons in human history. What did he really want?
The environment of Jesus
Jesus was born as the son of a carpenter in unpleasant surroundings. Whether that is in Galilee, present-day Northern Israel or in Bethlehem, as the bible says, we do not know. The oldest and most reliable gospel, the Gospel of Mark, does not speak out about this.
Palestine was terrorized at the time by often violent religious sects. There were the Zealots, people who wanted to overthrow the Roman yoke by force. The more peaceful Samaritans were the descendants of the poorer Israelites who, unlike the highest Jewish castes, had not been carried away to Mesopotamia by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Between them and the returned Jewish exiles there was intense hatred - the background to the famous Bible story of the Good Samaritan.
Also notorious was the rivalry between the Pharisees, religious fanatics, and the more rationalistic Sadducees.
Jesus' home region of Galilee was home to a mixed population who lived together in a reasonably harmonious manner. That was different in the region around Jerusalem.
Palestine was ruled by the king at that time Herod the Great which does not come off well in the bible. Herod, of Gentile descent and therefore hated, came to power as a reward for his military support of the Romans when they helped Cleopatra to power. He had to take into account the extremely precarious geopolitical situation: his powerful southern neighbor, Cleopatra's Egypt, was on good terms with the Roman emperors and was eager to swallow his empire. He ruled Palestine brutally, hated by the people, but skillfully. Later Herod was succeeded by his less competent sons Antipas and Archelaus. Later all of Palestine would be annexed by the Romans.
Religious dictatorship The Jewish sect of the Pharisees, best compared to Saudi Arabia or some kind of Taliban, demanded strict obedience to the Sabbath and Jewish dietary laws. The Pharisees were the forerunners of what would later become Talmudic Judaism. Stoning and public flogging were commonplace, and the Romans too had a reputation for bloodthirsty punishment.
The Romans didn't really care. They just wanted order to be maintained and large treasures shipped to Rome regularly.
Jesus as a person From the Bible we can infer that Jesus was a gifted and sensitive man. A later gospel states that at an early age he discussed religious matters with rabbis, Jewish religious scholars. The gifted people's common sense of justice and his sensitivity can be found in the famous episode, in which he saves the life of a woman accused of adultery who was threatened to be stoned. Much of the soul of Jesus can be found in Christian ethics.
The Bible records that Jesus gave talks in the synagogue. At that time, as now, this was reserved for rabbis. So Jesus was a rabbi and well versed in the Jewish laws of the torah. These laws, like for example Sharia law, are rather cruel and barbaric by today's standards. For example, a woman who had not called for help during a rape in a town or city had to be stoned or married her rapist. Gays and worshipers of gods other than the Jewish supreme god Yahweh were executed.
Jesus was a courageous, principled man who did not mince words. Jesus' "heretical" statements did not like the religious leaders. Hence, he was banned from the synagogues and increasingly held open-air gatherings, attracting thousands of people. Ultimately, this would kill him.
How Jesus Blew Up Rabbinical Judaism With his visionary and brilliant mind, Jesus found the solution to deal with the revolting Old Testament laws for good. In the torah it says: love your fellow man as yourself and love God above all. That is the highest law. In other words, if you put this basic commandment, which goes beyond the Golden Rule, into practice, the other laws are no longer necessary. You do not become unclean by not following the strict Jewish halacha, the dietary laws, but by lies and backbiting. Jesus put it succinctly: nothing that enters man from outside can make him unclean (cleanliness and uncleanness is an obsession in many primitive religions), but what comes out of man's mouth makes him unclean (Mark 7:15) .
Until then, it was believed by the Jews that only following Jewish laws to the best of your ability could save you from hell, as if you were maneuvering through a maze in the dark with a flashlight. Only by sacrificing an animal and putting your bad things in it, the scapegoat, could you free yourself from all kinds of bad things, sins, that you had committed. The core of the great ritual on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.
Jesus' brilliant insight was: what you should sacrifice is not a sacrificial lamb, but your sinful nature. You should not put yourself, but God at the center of yourself. Then the urge to do wrong things disappears more and more. If you love your fellow man as much as you love yourself, you no longer feel the need to steal, murder and rape your fellow man. What Jesus did with this was to show a way in which people could rise above their selves and structurally solve the sin problem. In short, Jesus was a visionary such as few have lived.
Jesus, not a prophet but a spiritual Einstein It is often claimed by Muslims that Jesus was a prophet, a kind of errand boy from God. This, as shown above, is incorrect. You can best compare Jesus with a spiritual Einstein, someone who brings a completely new paradigm through which individual puzzle pieces fall into place in one fell swoop. Of course, Jesus' insights go much further than can be covered in this short article. More about this in a next article. Until then: the Gospel of Mark succinctly describes Jesus' ideas.