Pat Shingleton: "Ploughing and Volcanoes..."
Punxatawney Phil believers are not alone. This is the annual ploughing season in Thailand and during the Ploughing Ceremony two sacred oxen will determine the quality of the harvest. Placed in front of the decorated oxen are rice, beans, alcohol, sesame seeds and corn. The item most selected by the beasts will determine the yield. If the oxen consume more sesame seeds or corn, bad weather will follow while the other selections will provide abundant rainfall. In Greenland, native tribes, along with the Cherokee of North America and the Samoyeds of Siberia believe that rainbows are the hems of the garments of the gods. In Roramia, Brazil in 1998, two Shaman extinguished a fire lasting two month with a rain ceremony. Scientists noted in the publication, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics that art could reveal how past volcanic eruptions affected the atmosphere. Researchers from the National Observatory in Athens, Greece, studied 554 paintings showcasing sunsets. They matched the red and green tinted sky scenes in each picture. Sunlight is scattered by volcanic aerosols and create a red sky and paintings depicting the reddest sunsets depicted the dirtiest skies. The research showed that most of the paintings with increased red-to-green ratios were painted within three years of a volcano. The color ratios displayed the amount of atmospheric dust, like the eruption in Laki, Iceland in 1783. Works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and 181 different artists between 1500 and 1900 were examined.