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Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Daily Drift

It's a generational thing!

Carolina Naturally is read in 193 194 countries around the world daily.
Teddy... !
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Maple Valley, Montebello, Eau Claire, Coral Gables, La'ie, Oxford, Lake Oswego, O'Fallon and Palatka, United States
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Bradford, London and Gloucester, England
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Taipei, Taiwan
Cape Town, South Africa
Cebu City, Philippines
Homebush and Melbourne, Australia

Today in History

28 BC The Temple of Apollo is dedicated on the Palatine Hill in Rome.
1470 Henry VI of England restored to the throne.
1760 Austrian and Russian troops enter Berlin and begin burning structures and looting.
1779 The Luddite riots being in Manchester, England in reaction to machinery for spinning cotton.
1781 Americans begin shelling the British surrounded at Yorktown.
1825 The first Norwegian immigrants to America arrive on the sloop Restaurationen.
1863 Confederate cavalry raiders return to Chattanooga after attacking Union General William Rosecrans' supply and communication lines all around east Tennessee.
1888 The Washington Monument, designed by Robert Mills, opens to the public.
1914 Germans take Antwerp, Belgium, after 12-day siege.
1934 In Marseilles, a Macedonian revolutionary associated with Croat terrorists in Hungary assassinates King Alexander of Yugoslavia and French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou. The two had been on a tour of European capitals in quest of an alliance against Nazi Germany. The assassinations bring the threat of war between Yugoslavia and Hungary, but confrontation is prevented by the League of Nations.
1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt requests congressional approval for arming U.S. merchant ships.
1946 Eugene O'Neill's play The Iceman Cometh opens at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York.
1949 Harvard Law School begins admitting women.
1950 U.N. forces, led by the First Cavalry Division, cross the 38th parallel in South Korea and begin attacking northward towards the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
1983 The president of South Korea, Doo Hwan Chun, with his cabinet and other top officials are scheduled to lay a wreath on a monument in Rangoon, Burma, when a bomb explodes. Hwan had not yet arrived so escaped injury, but 17 Koreans–including the deputy prime minister and two other cabinet members–and two Burmese are killed. North Korea is blamed.
1999 Last flight of the Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" stealth reconnaissance aircraft.
2006 North Korea reportedly tests its first nuclear device.

Non Sequitur


Did you know ...

That 24 polls show the repugicans in danger of losing the house due to shut down

That pilots are falling asleep at an alarming rate

That we are one step closer to light sabers

About why Meghan McCain is the worst

This is what it looks like ...

... When the repugicans, (excuse, me) the ignorant are in charge

The Taliban Says It Would Try to Kill Malala Yousafzai Again

Taliban Says It Would Try to Kill Malala Yousafzai Again (ABC News) 
The Taliban didn't target Malala Yousafzai because of her advocacy of education for girls but because she "attacked Islam," and the group would try to kill her again if they could, the official spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban said. "We targeted Malala Yousafzai because she attacked Islam and make a jokes on Islam, if we found her again then we would definitely try to kill her and will feel proud on her death," Shahidullah Shahid said. "We didn't target her for spreading education in her area, we targeted her for making jokes of Islam, and that was enough reason for attacking her."
Malala was 11 years old when she took a stand against the Taliban, who had issued an edict that all girls' schools should be closed. She began advocating for the right to go to school, writing an anonymous blog for the BBC and appearing in a New York Times documentary.
Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, ran a girls' school in the SWAT Valley, and had been targeted for death by the Taliban. And Malala's increasing visibility put her at risk as well.
"I wasn't scared, but I had started making sure the gate was locked at night and asking God what happens when you die," Malala wrote in her autobiography "I Am Malala," excerpted in Sunday's Parade magazine.
When the Taliban struck, on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, Malala was on a schoolbus in the northwest Pakistani district of Swat.
A gunman got on, asked for the girl by name and then shot her three times.
The bullet narrowly missed Malala's brain and she was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, six days after the attack. She spent nearly three months in the hospital and underwent numerous surgeries.
Now Malala and her family are living in Birmingham and she is back at school.
The Taliban's bullets did nothing to dim her commitment to campaigning for the rights of girls to receive an education.
She spent her 16th birthday giving a speech at the United Nations and has become the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
She has also founded the Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates for and supports girls education around the world through grants and partner collaborations.

The repugicans Have Made America Into a Global Laughingstock With Their Government Shutdown

It is a sad commentary indeed that a group of anti-government terrorists have, in two years brought shame on a global leader like America because they cannot accept…
Liberty embarrassed 
Any nation’s population needs to have confidence that the people they elect to represent their best interests in government are indeed representing them in good faith, and that they are diligent in keeping the government operational. Americans have not been afforded that confidence for over four-and-a-half years because repugicans made it their raison d’être to obstruct and keep government impotent and unable to serve the population’s best interests. Indeed, it is an incredibly worrisome time in America and the unsettled state of government is rightly a legitimate concern that governance is fundamentally dead due to repugican anti-government machinations. However, as apprehensive as the American people are that Republicans brought the federal government to its knees out of spite, the rest of the world is watching and waiting for America to fail as a result of the repugican coup d’état to topple the government.
There is a palpable sense of disquiet among world leaders watching repugicans shutdown and befuddle the United States government’s ability to operate because they could not tolerate 30 million Americans having access to affordable healthcare insurance. In fact, most people around the world seriously cannot comprehend the inhumanity of repugicans and their funding machines spending hundreds-of-millions of dollars and shutting down the government to prevent Americans from having health insurance, and the sad joke is that they claim it is what makes America “exceptional” if exceptional means being barbaric.  The real concern among world leaders, though, is that repugicans unilaterally shut down the government and threaten (again) to default on the nation’s sovereign debt and plunge the world’s financial system into a depression.
In global capitals around the world, leaders are saying “At the moment, Washington is fighting over the budget and nobody knows if the country will still be solvent in three weeks. What is clear, though, is that America is already politically bankrupt.” Like S&P noted in 2011 when they downgraded America’s credit rating, world leaders recognize that repugicans are responsible for the “paralysis of the American government, where a rump in Congress is holding the whole place to ransom that doesn’t really jibe with the notion of the United States as a global leader” according to Michael McKinley, an expert on global relations at the Australian National University.
The embarrassment America is feeling at being a global laughingstock was best summed up by Secretary of State John Kerry who told world leaders at the APEC meeting “When we get this moment of political silliness behind us, we will get back on a track the world will respect and want to be part of.” However, it is unlikely that any nation in the world will ever respect a country, or a population, that allowed a political cabal to stage a coup d’état, shut down the government, and threaten a debt default because they refuse to accept the results of a presidential election, the democratic process that passed a healthcare law, and a Supreme Court ruling that the Constitutional process that enacted the health law was followed to the letter.
Now that President Obama had to cancel plans to travel to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Bali and the East Asia Summit in Brunei, world leaders’ concerns about America’s relevance in global politics will only get worse. The President had to cancel the trip because he had to deal with repugican terrorists who shut down the government and threaten to block a borrowing limit that will lead to an American credit default and initiate a financial crisis worse than the repugican-led crash in 2008. On Saturday, President Obama tried to reassure Americans, and world leaders, that the government could reopen very quickly because there are sufficient repugican and Democratic votes to pass a clean, and very austere, bill to fund the government, but Speaker of the House John Boehner will not allow a vote unless repugicans extract ransom demands to abolish the constitutional process for passing legislation into law.
President Obama also sought to assuage fears that America will cause a worldwide economic catastrophe by reassuring the world that America has never failed to pay its bills and reiterated that he is not going to negotiate with repugican terrorists over whether they do their jobs and pay the debts they incurred for shrub’s two wars, tax cuts for the rich, and legislation giving subsidies to corporations, the oil industry, and the religious community. The President did attempt to reassure the world that until 2011, no political cabal in American history ever threatened to force the nation to default on its debt or hold it hostage to gain leverage to impose their agenda on the nation. It is a sad commentary that the President of the United States had to tell the world that America cannot allow repugicans in one house of Congress to threaten economic collapse unless they are allowed to impose their agenda on the nation.
It is highly likely that world leaders are convinced that, like S&P, repugicans will not change their ways and will continue making “American governance and policymaking less stable, less effective, and less predictable.” Like world leaders are saying, America is a “nation where a rump in Congress is holding the whole place to ransom that doesn’t really jibe with the notion of the United States as a global leader,” and while the world laughs at America’s repugican dysfunction, they are frightened the “rump in Congress” will cause a financial collapse the entire world economy will suffer.
It is a sad commentary indeed that a group of anti-government terrorists have, in two years brought shame on a global leader like America because they cannot accept the results of an election or a legally passed law that does nothing more than give 30 million Americans access to affordable healthcare insurance. In fact, America’s reputation around the world is suffering another repugican disgrace in advancing the NRA’s agenda of gun proliferation that led foreign nations to issue travel warnings to America because of the certainty they are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the USA than any other country. Former Australian deputy Prime Minister issued the warning “because anyone can buy a firearm without a background check that is one of the most dumbest decisions so far in the litany of agony over the gun laws and gun policies of the NRA and the USA.”
It is tragic that after eight years of the shrub warmongering and a global financial collapse, the world began respecting American again with a President who brought financial stability to America just to be mocked,  disrespected, and frightened by the same repugicans threatening to repeat the 2008 financial collapse. It is telling that America’s Secretary of State and President had to reassure the world that the “political silliness” of a government shutdown and credit default threat is the result of extortionists in the repugican cabal attempting to impose their agenda on the nation. The world knows why the government is shut down and why a credit default is a very real threat with repugican criminals attempting to force, by extortion, their agenda on the nation. The world fully comprehends that if a cabal of racists and libertarian terrorists can bring down the greatest, richest nation in the world by easily shutting down the federal government and taking the economy hostage, that nation cannot be trusted to be a global leader.

The Postal Service couldn’t be more troubled, but no help is coming

The United States Postal Service is sending out all sorts of mixed signals; getting rid of employees while asking for applications. Puzzling! …
The full frontal wingnut political and corporate beat down continues on the United States Postal Service and, if anything, it’s getting more vicious and insidious. To put it bluntly, the USPS is barreling toward a virtual collapse before our very eyes.
It all started with HR 6407, a putrid piece of legislation called the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, the fault of repugicans. It called for a 75-year pre-funding of retirement health benefits within 10 years, a requirement of no other public agency or corporation. On the plus side for UPS, FedEx, Pitney Bowes and other competitors, it guarantees destruction of the USPS and its unions.
The Senate has recently crafted a bill, S 1486 paying down an obligation of 40 years instead of 75, but, incredibly, it allows for the cutting of health and retirement benefits. In testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last month, American Postal Workers Union (APWU) President, Cliff Guffey, excoriated the effort.
Fredric Rolando, President of the National Association of Letter Carriers also testified before the committee with equal negative fervor. PostalReporter.com quoted the additional objections that the bill eliminated Saturday mail delivery and business door delivery, phased out household door delivery and created a two-tier postal workforce. In his opinion (and mine) all designed to “Drive the Postal Service into a death spiral.”
The turncoat Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urged inclusion in the bill of removal of postal workers from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. He also testified before the committee that he wanted the Postal Service to cut retirement benefits, reduce services and compensation for injured workers and alter the collective bargaining process. “With friends like Donahoe…!!!”
As most people are aware, the postal service is a self-sustaining entity, thanks in large measure to so-called “junk mail.” Taxpayers are largely off the hook with the exception of kicking in a few bucks for voter materials abroad and for the disabled.
What most people are not aware of is a burgeoning population of older postal workers who are closing in on retirement, especially at the EAS (Executive and Administrative Schedule) supervisory and managerial levels. So the great irony is that while these people are heading to the old fishing hole, the USPS has begun offering early retirement to some 15,000 current employees. Contradictorily, higher-ups in certain regions are holding meetings urging employees to apply for EAS jobs. Talk about a cluster-f! That’s after the workforce has already been cut by nearly 200,000 since passage of the 6407. Hatchet man , Postmaster General, Patrick Donahoe, claims 100,000 more workers will need to go to make a profit.
Politically, Salt Lake City has been the benefactor of the imminent closure of the next-to-the-last of the Data Encoding Centers (DEC) in Wichita, Kansas. A DEC is an imaging center for unreadable addresses. Such addresses are scanned into special technology and an indecipherable scratch or scribble becomes a name and/or address. There were 55 DECs in operation in 1997; SLC will be the only survivor, though the other DEC in Wichita is still operational while SLC strains to find enough qualified bodies. A reasonable question being asked by postal employees is, “What happens if there’s a problem in Salt Lake?” Reasonable because there have been such problems on at least 3-4 occasions in the last MONTH. With Wichita as backup it was business as usual. Without that backup facility???
As other DEC’s dropped like flies, PostalReporter.com revealed that the SLC DEC moved and expanded from 28,000 square feet to 74,000 square feet. A friend pointed out that the Utah capital is certainly not the most practical choice. It’s certainly not. Living expenses are higher than the vast majority of options. The unemployment rate is 4.6 in Utah, 4.2 in Salt Lake City as compared to 7.3% nationwide and two major corporations (and their jobs) moved into SLC this year.
So good luck finding a Salt Lake rental home or apartment that’ll accommodate kids for less than a grand a month. Buying? A recent Zillow Home Value Index listed a range of $150,000 to over a half-million even in these relatively lower-priced housing times. So the SLC location is definitely not ‘P’ for Practical, it’s ‘P’ for Political.
Political being the most important consideration should surprise no one insofar as this wildly repugican state gave empty suit Mitt Romney three-quarters of the presidential vote in 2012 and now features a newly-minted Senator Mike Lee, a witless boob who describes himself as a “tea party revolutionary” (whatever that is). It was Lee who stood by the side of nutzoid Ted Cruz during the latter’s infantile Obamacare-defunding filibuster and even gave him a breather. All we really know is that Cruz can talk for 21 hours and 19 minutes without having to revert to 1 or 2, quite amazing considering that #2 made up virtually all of the Senator’s filibuster.
Barring a wingnut return to political sanity, you get to pay 49 cents for your first-class stamps in the very near future after an increase to 46 cents in January. Same old repugican propaganda strategy. Hate the USPS for something that isn’t remotely the fault of the Postal Service. But in Dumb Wingnut America (DWA), it works every time.
There’s a solution. Add services to the USPS roster, especially assorted banking services. Europe is way ahead of the curve on that one with innovative digital services the latest initiative in some venues. The Daily Kos and other intelligent and aware Websites have been proffering reasonable and, in some cases, obvious panaceas for the artificial ailments that Congress has intentionally inflicted on the USPS. Here’s a Salon.com example from earlier this year.
See, it’s an ailment with a relatively easy cure that must, of course, include the repeal of the asinine HR 6407. If we, as consumers, continue to be victimized by yet another corporate-sponsored repugican blockade, we can lose all of our political leverage over delivery services and pricing.
It’s clear that the USPS has zero allies on the repugican side of the aisle and, frankly, not enough ballsy Democrats to make up the difference. What’s that old saying? “Vote the bums out?”

Here's a deal for you ...

A Map With Each Country's Favorite Website

Two researchers, Mark Graham and Stefano De Stabbata, at the Oxford Internet Institute have depicted the world's 'Internet empires' in a map. The map shows each nation's most popular website, with the size of nations altered to reflect the number of Internet users there.

The map makes for a brief, informative look at how geographic - and universal - certain web tastes and habits are.

Woman arrested after 27-mile chase on three tires

A woman from Beaverton, Oregon, drove 27 miles on only three tires during a police chase late on Thursday night. A Washington County sheriff's deputy reported seeing a 1999 Volkswagen driving erratically, getting very close to other cars and making abrupt turns and stops for no reason at around 9.00pm. Concerned that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the deputy tried to pull over the car to investigate.

Translated Cambridge University Latin court records reveal illegal 'turd in thy teeth’ insult

Telling someone they had "a turd in their teeth" or suggesting their wife had had sex before marriage were once punishable offences, newly-translated Cambridge court records reveal.
The Latin records date from the 16th Century when the university courts tried some cases in the city. About 4,000 cases have been summarized so far as part of an online project.
Cambridge University's Chancellor's Court had wide-ranging powers during the 16th and 17th Centuries for criminal and civil cases as well as ecclesiastical matters.

Archivist Jacky Cox worked for a year to summarize a selection of the papers and put them online.

Daily Comic Relief


Forensic artists recreate face of 14th century monk

The 21st century descendant of a medieval monk has come face to face with his ancestor thanks to researchers from Lancaster University.
Forensic artists recreate face of 14th century monk
Forensic artists recreate face of 14th century monk
Peter Moore Dutton (below) and his medieval ancestor
William Dutton [Credit: Lancaster University]
The skull of a man buried at Norton Priory in Cheshire was used in the facial reconstruction by forensic artists Richard Neave and Denise Smith, responsible for the reconstructions in the recent BBC series, Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The skeleton is believed to be that of William Dutton, a man born into the important Dutton family who were benefactors of the Priory at the time, and who himself took monastic orders and became a canon at the priory.

Living relative Peter Moore Dutton from Shropshire, who has traced his family back to the original patrons of the Priory, sees some family resemblances.

He said:  “He has the typical Dutton nose!”

The research into the man, who was at least 46 when he died, also shed light on what may have been a more eventful life than might have been suspected for a holy man.

A William Dutton from this period was accused of a number of thefts, of cattle and also of horses, carts and axes.

According to Dr William Cook of Lancaster University,  this same William also appeared in court in 1307 for “ takinge away Matilda, one of the daughters and heyres of Richard Stockport… whence they tooke her out of her chamber into the Courte, & there stript her of all her cloathes but her smocke…”.

Did this William, later in his life, regret his crimes and take holy orders? Or was it another William Dutton, a parson of Thornton church who lived a less colourful life?

Whoever he was, his skeleton tells us that he clearly suffered from Paget’s disease and Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH).

Research is continuing into William and the many other fascinating individuals who once lived here.

Two PhD graduates in Medieval History, Dr William Cook and Dr Michele Moatt are working with the Trust’s Senior Keeper, Lynn Smith, and Director, Frank Hargrave, to research the backgrounds of key individuals in Norton’s history whose skeletal remains have been excavated at the Priory.

Lynn Smith, Senior Keeper at Norton Priory said: ‘We’re delighted that Lancaster University thanks to funding from the AHRC, is bringing all of these secret histories back to life. To be able to look into the eyes of someone who saw the grandeur and beauty of the 14th century Abbey at Norton is something very special.”

The research and facial reconstruction will all feature in Norton Priory’s Arts Council England funded £100,000 project, which includes multi-media guides, projections, film and more facial reconstructions. 

Certain Fat Could Help Humans Lose Weight

A diet high in a certain type of fat may actually increase metabolism, according to recent research by Texas Tech University nutrition scientists. After studying genetically modified mice, the discovery could lead to supplements and […]

New advances in the study of human mitochondrial DNA

A study concerning the evolution of mitochondrial DNA, performed by researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), has allowed to determine the frequency and pattern of heteroplasmy in the complete mitochondrial genome using a representative sample of the European population. This phenomenon, which indicates the presence of different mitochondrial DNA types in a cell or an individual, can be found in more than half of the population. The data obtained indicates that many of the newly arising mutations found never reach fixation at the population level due to the effect of evolutionary mechanisms such as genetic drift or selection. The study, published in PLOS ONE, may open a new perspective on medical, evolutionary and forensic research.
New advances in the study of human mitochondrial DNA
Structure of the human mitochondrial genome [Credit: WikiCommons]
The mitochondrial DNA copies of an individual are not necessarily identical. The presence of different types of mitochondrial DNA is known as heteroplasmy. This is an obligatory phase in the evolution of the mitochondrial DNA, an intermediate stage between the mutation origin and its fixation at cellular and individual level. The study of heteroplasmy is proving to be useful in the study of mutation patterns, the role of selection and the mitochondrial DNA recombination in mammals.

In this study, researchers Amanda Ramos, Cristina Santos and Maria Pilar Aluja, from the Unit of Biological Anthropology of the UAB, determined the frequency and pattern of heteroplasmy in the complete mitochondrial genome of 101 unrelated healthy individuals, which are representative of the European population. The results demonstrate a high frequency of mitochondrial heteroplasmy, being heteroplasmic a 61% of the individuals analysed.

"This is an important data. Until now no one had established these frequencies, probably due to methodological reasons -- we detected, with a sensitivity of 100%, mitochondrial DNA mixtures in which minority variants were present with a frequency of only 10% -- but also because for a long time the research carried out on heteroplasmy was associated with the study of mitochondrial diseases. Given the high frequency of heteroplasmy at population level, the research demonstrates that the presence of heteroplasmy is not necessarily associated with specific diseases; in fact, it is likely that most of us are heteroplasmic without affecting our health negatively," states Amanda Ramos, lead author of the article and the PhD thesis on which the research was based on.

Researchers determined how many heteroplasmic positions presented each analysed individual and in which positions of their mitochondrial genome were located. as well as the percentage of each of the genetic variants. With this information, they detected that several of these mutations in heteroplasmy had not been previously described at population level.

"Many of these mutations will probably not be fixed at population level. We detected the presence of heteroplasmy at highly stable positions of the mitochondrial genome. This suggest that some evolutionary forces may be acting to lower them at population level. Especially, those stable heteroplasmic positions that could have a negative effect on the individual, which suggest that purifying selection could be operating to prevent their fixation within individuals," says Cristina Santos, co-author of the article.

The present study represents an important advance in the research of the mitochondrial DNA. "By taking into account the large amount of data presented and the scarce information available up to date, we are convinced that it will open a new perspective in the research of mitochondrial DNA-related diseases, as well as in population studies, and evolutionary and forensic field," concludes research director Maria Pilar Aluja.

Random Photos

A 1,500 year old massacre found in Sweden

Archaeologists at Lund University have found what they describe as a moment frozen in time by a brutal massacre, leaving a fort untouched since the 5th century.
1,500 year old massacre found in Sweden
An archaeologist works to uncover one of the skeletons found lying within the
5th-century fort on the Swedish island of Öland [Credit: Lund University]
“There are so many bodies, it must have been a very violent and well organized raid”, says Helene Wilhelmson, a PhD student in historical osteology, who was astounded when the skeletons kept emerging from the Sandby fort site on Öland, an island just off the Swedish coast.

During the Migration Period in Scandinavia it was customary to burn the dead, and very few uncremated remains have previously been recovered. The archaeological site therefore offers important clues about the period, and five bodies have been discovered in one house alone. Human bones have been found in other parts of the fort, making it highly likely that many more bodies are yet to be dug out.
1,500 year old massacre found in Sweden
The excavated site of Sandby was similar to the reconstructed Eketorp borg
at Stora alvaret, Öland, Sweden [Credit: WikiCommons]
Precious items have also been recovered, raising questions over why they were not plundered in the wake of the massacre. The team has now gone over the site collecting all precious metals to avoid modern plundering.

Only a few houses have been excavated so far, and the archaeologists believe that hundreds of people could have lived within the walls of the fort. Lund University archaeologist Nicoló Dell’Unto is creating 3D-models of the site, using groundbreaking 3D technology, in order to reconstruct how the crime scene unfolded, and to get a more complex overview of the site.

“Using 3D-modeling gives us the unprecedented opportunity to see all the bodies simultaneously, even though the skeletons were removed one by one”, says Nicoló Dell’Unto.

Why the fort has been left untouched for 1,500 years remains a mystery. One theory is that the location became taboo after the massacre, but the archaeologists hope the answer will become clearer with further excavations.

“It’s a day in life of the Migration Period, and that’s completely unique. We have nothing to compare it to”, concludes Helene Wilhelmson.

Bronze Age farmstead found in northern Sweden

Archaeologists in northern Sweden have located the remains of a farm from the Bronze Age, a find which challenges the established history of the area around Umeå and the province of Norrland.
Bronze Age farmstead found in northern Sweden
Post holes of the Bronze Age Long House and a stone axe-head found at the site
[Credit: Vasterbotten Museum]
"It is completely unique," Jan Heinerud at Västerbotten's Museum in Umeå told The Local on Friday. "We have never previously found a long house like this so far north."

The farm was discovered in the area between Backen and Klabböle in an area known as Klockaråkern and it is thought that the farm was in use for almost 600 years from around 1100 BC.

Heinerud said that the museum's experts have been unable to establish exactly who would have lived at the location, but that they have a number of theories.

"There were hunters and fishermen in the area at that time. My colleagues and I at the museum think that they may have come up from the south," he told The Local.

Heinerud explained that the find changes the history of the region around Norrland's main city of Umeå and raises further interesting questions over how the area was used between 500 BC and 500 AD, of which little is known.

"With more research perhaps we can fill in this gap and the picture may change," he said.

The farm is thought to have contained a main residence in the form of a long house in which the farmer would have lived together with the animals, as as well a series of other smaller buildings.

The team from the Västerbotten Museum is digging at four locations, two on either side of the river, and will do so at least until the first snow arrives.

Early Clovis knew their land and stone

Some 60 km southeast of Socorro, N.M., a low gravel ridge runs above the Chupadera Wash in the Rio Grande Rift Valley. The remote Mockingbird Gap is a dry, narrow strip half a mile long, but thousands of years ago it was a lush wetland – and a popular site for an early Clovis culture, judging by the wealth of projectile points found there.
Early Clovis knew their land and stone
Stone spear point, Clovis (11,500-11,000 BC), Illinois
[Credit: John Weinstein, © The Field Museum]
Recently, anthropologist Marcus Hamilton, a postdoctoral fellow at SFI and the University of New Mexico, and colleagues examined 296 projectile points from two locations: Mockingbird Gap and a region in the central Rio Grande Rift collected by the late geologist Robert Weber over 60 years ago, the earliest and biggest collection of Clovis tools yet found.

The broad, bifacial spear points fit the manufacturing pattern the Clovis used 13,000 years ago. Geological analyses link all the points’ obsidian, chert, and other high quality stone to a handful of rock outcrops, mostly nearby but some hundreds of kilometers away.

“The two assemblages are probably linked, as all the raw materials are coming from known outcrops in the northwest corner of New Mexico,” Hamilton says. “It suggests strongly that the same people probably settled in this region for a while.”

The clusters of artifacts suggest different camping events, possibly by groups coming together, briefly, over many years, to camp seasonally amid a verdant Pleistocene riverside.

Hamilton’s research interests include understanding how human ecology evolved, particularly its shift from hunter-gatherer lifestyles to more settled agrarian societies.

The study of Clovis points “gives you a nice flavor of what human adaptation and human ecology looked like at the time, where Mockingbird Gap was a summer camp,” he says.

One distant source of obsidian, Cow Canyon, is so small that residents “would have to know it, not stumble across it,” he says.

A novel find was a set of miniature points, just a few millimeters long, that might have been children’s toys or pieces flintknappers practiced on while learning point making techniques.

The rich findings in this poorly documented region indicate that early human arrivals to North America adapted to the landscape in part by learning a vast geographic region in great detail, the paper notes.

Early agriculture had dramatic effects on humans

The introduction of agriculture in Europe was followed by regional population crashes despite trends of demographical growth, reports research published in Nature Communications this week. Sean Downey, assistant professor in the University of Maryland's Department of Anthropology, was co-author of the paper. The work suggests that these sharp population decreases weren't due to changing climatic conditions, and therefore the authors propose internal causes. The research represents a major revision to our understanding of how the introduction of agricultural technology impacted humans.
Early agriculture had dramatic effects on humans
Map of Central and North Western Europe. Points indicate archaeological site locations and colours delineate the sub-regions used to estimate demographic patterns [Credit: Nature Communications/doi:10.1038/ncomms3486]
Stephen Shennan, professor of theoretical archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, received grant funding from the European Research Council to study early agriculture and its impact on populations across Europe. His multidisciplinary team of researchers includes co-author Downey, and Mark Thomas, Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, who designed the statistical analysis necessary to produce the findings.

Agriculture was introduced in the Aegean (modern day Turkey) around 8,500 years ago and steadily spread across Europe, reaching France around 7,800 years ago, and Britain, Ireland and northern Europe approximately 6,000 years ago. In all instances, the introduction of agriculture meant a drastic change in food production and consumption patterns, which led to a population boom. Utilizing radiocarbon dating, and an innovative new method for improving the accuracy of this data, the study's authors examined how population levels changed over time across Europe during the late Mesolithic, ("Middle Stone age") and Early Neolithic ("New Stone age").

The research team discovered that, in all of the 12 different European regions studied, from the South of France to Scotland and Denmark, drastic population fluctuations can be observed. In fact, they note that in some cases population declines were as significant as 30-60 percent from the highest levels achieved after the introduction of agriculture. These dramatic changes in population are of similar scale to the decrease estimated for the much later "Black Death".

The authors found that those fluctuations cannot be associated with climatic factors; however, the exact reasons for this population decline remains unknown.

"It's striking that the development of agriculture – one of humanity's major evolutionary steps – failed to buffer against widespread social collapse during this early period of rapid population growth in Europe," explains Downey. "At this point in the research we can only speculate at the direct causes, but the study demonstrates that agriculture-based societies in the past were vulnerable to population collapse on a broad scale." Downey continues by explaining the study's finding: "There were no correlations between the collapse of regional populations and known climate shifts. It wasn't the climate, so we think it must have been the long-term impact new agricultural technologies had on local environments in reducing resources. The stress this caused among farmers was likely exacerbated by other well-known consequences of living in higher-density populations: increased incidence of social conflict and of disease."

The Incredible Fungus That Looks Like An Octopus

Clathrus archeri resembles a strange cross between a toadstool and an octopus. Yet this is not the result of some subterranean gene-splicing enterprise to bring the world a spore-bearing cellaphod. This is exactly how nature intended the Octopus Stinkhorn. The shape and form you see here is an integral but short-lived part of its life-cycle.

Although it has been introduced to North America, Asia and Europe, the Octopus Stinkhorn is native to Australia. The fungus emerges from an egg which is called superumpent - this means that rather than hatching or germinating it, effectively, erupts in an explosion of enlargement.

Climate puzzle over origins of life on Earth

The mystery of why life on Earth evolved when it did has deepened with the publication of a new study in the latest edition of the journal Science.
Climate puzzle over origins of life on Earth
Ancient air was trapped in old and well-presereved rocks in north
Australia (Credit: Manchester University]
Scientists at the CRPG-CNRS University of Lorraine, The University of Manchester and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris have ruled out a theory as to why the planet was warm enough to sustain the planet's earliest life forms when the Sun's energy was roughly three-quarters the strength it is today.

Life evolved on Earth during the Archean, between 3.8 and 2.4 billion years ago, but the weak Sun should have meant the planet was too cold for life to take hold at this time; scientists have therefore been trying to find an explanation for this conundrum, what is dubbed the 'faint, young Sun paradox'.

"During the Archean the solar energy received at the surface of the Earth was about 20 to 25 % lower than present," said study author, Dr Ray Burgess, from Manchester's School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences. "If the greenhouse gas composition of the atmosphere was comparable to current levels then the Earth should have been permanently glaciated but geological evidence suggests there were no global glaciations before the end of the Archean and that liquid water was widespread."

One explanation for the puzzle was that greenhouse gas levels -- one of the regulators of Earth's climate -- were significantly higher during the Archean than they are today.

"To counter the effect of the weaker Sun, carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere would need to have been 1,000 times higher than present," said lead author Professor Bernard Marty, from the CRPG-CNRS University of Lorraine. "However, ancient fossil soils -- the best indicators of ancient carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere -- suggest only modest levels during the Archean. Other atmospheric greenhouse gases were also present, in particular ammonia and methane, but these gases are fragile and easily destroyed by ultraviolet solar radiation, so are unlikely to have had any effect."

But another climate-warming theory -- one the team wanted to test -- is that the amount of nitrogen could have been higher in the ancient atmosphere, which would amplify the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide and allow Earth to remain ice-free.

The team analysed tiny samples of air trapped in water bubbles in quartz from a region of northern Australia that has extremely old and exceptionally well-preserved rocks.

"We measured the amount and isotopic abundances of nitrogen and argon in the ancient air," said Professor Marty. "Argon is a noble gas which, being chemically inert, is an ideal element to monitor atmospheric change. Using the nitrogen and argon measurements we were able to reconstruct the amount and isotope composition of the nitrogen dissolved in the water and, from that, the atmosphere that was once in equilibrium with the water."

The researchers found that the partial pressure of nitrogen in the Archean atmosphere was similar, possibly even slightly lower, than it is at present, ruling out nitrogen as one of the main contenders for solving the early climate puzzle.

Dr Burgess added: "The amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere was too low to enhance the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide sufficiently to warm the planet. However, our results did give a higher than expected pressure reading for carbon dioxide -- at odds with the estimates based on fossil soils -- which could be high enough to counteract the effects of the faint young Sun and will require further investigation."

Retro Photos


Mr. & Mrs. Congeniality 1960s
Mr. & Mrs. Congeniality 1960s

Massive Dinosaur Found

A massive dinosaur fossil has been found by a pipeline crew near Spirit River, Alta. The 30-metre-long fossilized skeleton was found Tuesday when a backhoe operator working on the Tourmaline Oil Corp. pipeline installation moved some earth, inadvertently breaking off a piece of the fossil.
Massive dinosaur fossil unearthed in Alberta
A 30-metre-long fossilized dinosaur was found by a pipeline crew working
southwest of Spirit River, Alta [Credit: CBC]
Thinking he had simply chipped off a section of rock, the backhoe operator laid the piece to the side and turned to resume excavation work. That’s when he saw the exposed fossil in the embankment in front of him.

As soon as he saw the fossil, the operator stopped digging and work on the site was shut down until experts could be brought in, said Art Wegner, speaking for the Acuren Group Inc.

Palaeontologists from the Tyrell Museum and National Geographic arrived at the site Wednesday and will soon be joined by Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative head palaeontologist, Dr. Matthew Vavrek.

The fossil was found buried about 1.5 metres deep in the Saddle Hills area southwest of Spirit River.

Holy, Wombat!

A 40,000 year old fossilized skeleton of giant wombat found in SE Australia  
The fossilized skeleton of a giant marsupial the size of a small car has been found near Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia.
40,000 year old fossilised skeleton of giant wombat found in SE Australia
An artist's impression of the diprotodontid, described as a giant wombat [Credit: SMH]
The prehistoric creature, a diprotodontid, was common in coastal areas during the Ice Age and has been described as a giant wombat. It would have weighed almost a tonne.

Museum Victoria palaeontologist Erich Fitzgerald said the discovery was exciting because the fossilised skeleton was not only well preserved but relatively complete. The mega fauna fossil is at least 40,000 years old but may prove as much as 200,000 years old. ''This is probably the most superb example of this giant extinct marsupial yet discovered in Victoria,'' Dr Fitzgerald said. ''Pending our final round of fieldwork it may yet prove to be one of the most significant examples of this kind of animal in Australia.''

Some of the specimen has been removed from the site but the painstaking work of extracting the entire fossil is still under way, almost nine months after the fieldwork began. It will be months before it is completed.

The fossil was found at the start of the year by two Sorrento locals, who noticed what appeared to be some bones sticking out of rock in an undisclosed area of the Mornington Peninsula National Park.

Dr Fitzgerald said after remaining hidden for tens of thousands of years, the fossil would have been revealed by erosion.

During the Ice Age, Australia was not covered by ice but conditions would have been cool and dry. The rock the fossil was found in would have been part of an ancient coastline marked by sand dunes and beaches.

''When this animal died it would have been very close to the sea ... ambling among the sand dunes.''

Dr Fitzgerald said the size of the skeleton indicated that the diprotodontid would have been an adult.

Mornington Peninsula National Park ranger in charge Kris Rowe said the fossil site was not open to the public because it was so unstable.

Big sick dog stretchered from burning veterinary clinic

A veterinarian in Brisbane, Australia, says he was overcome with relief when he learned firefighters had rescued three sick dogs from his clinic as it burst into flames. One of the dogs, a 40kg Rottweiler, was carried on a stretcher from the burning building in Sunnybank, in Brisbane's southwest, at about 3.40am on Saturday.
"Once I got there and found out the animals were okay there was a feeling of relief,'' Sunnybank Veterinary clinic owner Terry Martin said. "When I was driving in and saw the fire I thought they wouldn't have survived. The firefighters did a fantastic job. I'm very, very pleased they got the animals out safe and well.''
The three sick dogs were the only animals in the building at the time of the blaze, Dr Martin said. The fire which started in a news agency at a small complex of shops soon spread to a nearby hairdressing salon and vet clinic where three dogs were trapped. The news agency was ablaze when firefighters arrived and it was an hour before they brought the fierce fire under control.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service duty manager Brett Finnis praised the six crews who attended the blaze. "When they arrived, the news agency was well alight and in that sort of shop our crews are going to be busy," he said. "But to be able to manage the fire and save the animals as well is a really good effort on the firefighters' part."

Russian couple rescued after bear broke into home in pursuit of borsch

Police in the Siberian region of Irkutsk have rescued a couple after a bear broke into their holiday home, attracted by the smell of fresh soup. A patrol turned up at their dacha near Ust-Ilimsk in the early hours after a neighbor raised the alarm. They found the couple hiding in their bath-house as the bear digested the hot beetroot soup in their garden.
A warning shot was sufficient to scare off the intruder. No-one was hurt, although there was damage to the house. According to a police statement, the couple said they had left the soup to cool when they went to bed. Because of decorating work inside the dacha, they were sleeping out in the bath-house, when they woke to "loud banging".
Peering out, they saw a bear breaking the windows of their glassed-in porch. It then hauled itself inside and devoured "all of the borsch, which was still hot". After receiving the alert at 1.00am, police sent a patrol to the scene. Officers found the bear padding around the snowy garden and fired a shot into the air.
"Startled, the unwelcome guest bounded off into the forest," the police statement said.  Bears, it noted, had been known to come looking for food around dachas in the area before but happily no attacks had been reported. While splashes of the bright red soup were found at the scene,

Shoplifting bear eats apples and leaves

A small black bear recently went on a late night shopping trip for apples at the Vons supermarket in Mammoth Lakes, California.

As employees stocked shelves in the early hours of Friday morning, a nearly two-year old bear, familiar to Wildlife Officer Steve Searles walked through the electronic doors and helped himself to some apples.
Searles said the bear is one of the cubs that survived after its mother was killed in a traffic accident last year. He said the bear grew up with another mother bear. He called it a very tame animal. Earlier this year the bear walked into homes where the doors were open and took a loaf of bread and some fruit.

Searles said the bear then stopped entering homes and spent the last two months in the Lakes Basin. He only returned to town a week ago. Vons employees peacefully coaxed the bear outside after his 1.00am entrance into the store.

Animal Pictures