10. The South Pole – no longer inaccessible.
9. Heroes don’t have to sleep with everyone who comes along.
8. North Korea is looking for respect and power on the world’s biggest stages.
7. Is there really an ocean of oil under the South Pole?
6. The atlatl is an actual, legitimate, weapon – sort of.
5. The division of Antarctica between so many nations is a volatile situation.
4. Unmanned military airplanes will continue to evolve.
3. Nanotechnology will change warfare in the near future.
2. The Switchblade may be the next generation of military aircraft.
And the Number 1 futuristic story line from “South Pole Vendetta”:
1. Where’s the evidence for global warming?
Tell the truth, “Do you even know how to pronounce ‘atlatl’?” I didn’t, when I began doing research for “South Pole Vendetta”.
Let’s try another question:
What weapon preceded the bow and arrow?
“It consists of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The atlatl is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup. The dart is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist. The throwing arm together with the atlatl acts as a lever. The atlatl is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the dart over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.
“Common ball throwers (molded plastic shafts used for throwing tennis balls for dogs to fetch) use the same principle.
“A traditional atlatl is a long-range weapon and can readily impart to a projectile speeds of over 150 km/h (93 mph).”
This concept, and brand-new idea for me, quickly caught my interest. While everyone is aware of the bow and arrow, I had never thought about what came before that. The notion was too delicious to disregard.
So what kind of history do they have?
For one thing they’re found – everywhere.
“The earliest secure data concerning atlatls has come from several caves in France dating to the Upper Paleolithic, about 21,000 to 17,000 years ago. The very earliest atlatl shaft found to date is a simple antler hook dated to the Solutrean period (about 17,500 years ago), recovered from the site of Combe Sauniere. (I don’t think there’s any reason to believe they have to be that old. That date comes from a very evolutionary way of looking at history.)
“It seems to have been introduced to America during the immigration across the Bering Land Bridge, and despite the later introduction of the bow and arrow, atlatl use was widespread at the time of first European contact. Complete wooden spearthrowers have been found on dry sites in the western USA, and in waterlogged environments in Florida and Washington.
“The people of New Guinea and Australian Aborigines also use spearthrowers.
“Australian Aboriginal spearthrowers are known as woomeras.
“As well as its practical use as a hunting weapon, it may also have had social effects. John Whittaker, an anthropologist at Grinnell College, Iowa, suggests the device was a social equaliser in that it requires skill rather than muscle power alone. Thus women and children would have been able to participate in hunting, although in recent Australian Aboriginal societies spearthrowers are in fact restricted by custom to male use.
“Whittaker said the stone-tipped projectiles from the Aztec atlatl were not powerful enough to penetrate Spanish steel plate armor, but they were strong enough to penetrate the chain mail, leather and cotton armor that most Spanish soldiers wore. Whittaker said the Aztecs started their battles with atlatl darts followed with melee combat using the macuahuitl.”
—This quote comes from Wikipedia.com
So, it was fascinating to actually run into the weapon on television just recently. To see “Atlatl Bob” live on the television screen after reading about him for so long, as “Weapon Masters” explored the weapon, was nearly etherial.
So, what do you think, ready to go back to the spearthrower of our ancestors?