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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Daily Drift

Nineteen Days To Go ....

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
Miner ... !
Today is - Miner's Day

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Today in History

1492 Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Santo Domingo in search of gold.
1776 Phi Beta Kappa, the first scholastic fraternity, is founded at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
1812 The majority of Napoleon Bonaparte's Grand Armeé staggers into Vilna, Lithuania, ending the failed Russian campaign.
1861 Union General George G. Meade leads a foraging expedition to Gunnell's farm near Dranesville, Virginia.
1862 President Abraham Lincoln orders the hanging of 39 of the 303 convicted Indians who participated in the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota. They are to be hanged on December 26.
1863 The monitor Weehawken sinks in Charleston Harbor.
1876 Jack McCall is convicted for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok and sentenced to hang.
1877 Thomas A. Edison makes the first sound recording when he recites "Mary had a Little Lamb" into his phonograph machine.
1906 Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge flies a powered, man-carrying kite that carries him 168 feet in the air for seven minutes at Baddeck, Nova Scotia.
1917 The Bolsheviks imprison Czar Nicholas II and his family in Tobolsk.
1921 Ireland's 26 southern counties become independent from Britain forming the Irish Free State.
1922 Benito Mussolini threatens Italian newspapers with censorship if they keep reporting "false" information.
1934 American Ambassador Davis says Japan is a grave security threat in the Pacific.
1938 France and Germany sign a treaty of friendship.
1939 Britain agrees to send arms to Finland, which is fighting off a Soviet invasion.
1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues a personal appeal to Emperor Hirohito to use his influence to avoid war.
1945 The United States extends a $3 billion loan to Great Britain to help compensate for the termination of the Lend-Lease agreement.
1947 Florida's Everglades National Park is established.
1948 The "Pumpkin Spy Papers" are found on the Maryland farm of Whittaker Chambers. They become evidence that State Department employee Alger Hiss is spying for the Soviet Union.
1957  Vanguard TV3 explodes on the launchpad, thwarting the first US attempt to launch a satellite into Earth's orbit.
1967 Adrian Kantrowitz performs first human heart transplant in the US.
1969 Hells Angels, hired to provide security at a Rolling Stones concert at the Altamont Speedway in California, beat to death concert-goer Meredith Hunter.
1971 Pakistan severs diplomatic relations with India after New Delhi recognizes the state of Bangladesh.
1973 US House of Representatives confirms Gerald Ford as Vice-President of the United States, 387–35.
1975 A Provisional IRA unit takes a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London, and a 6-day siege begins.
1976 Democrat Tip O'Neill is elected speaker of the House of Representatives. He will serve the longest consecutive term as speaker.
1992 The Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India, is destroyed during a riot that started as a political protest.
2006 NASA reveals photographs from Mars Global Surveyor that suggest the presence of water on the red planet.

Non Sequitur


Xmas Countdown Xmas Stories

The Selfish Giant

Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant's garden.
     It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl, and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games in order to listen to them. 'How happy we are here!' they cried to each other.
     One day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre, and had stayed with him for seven years. After the seven years were over he had said all that he had to say, for his conversation was limited, and he determined to return to his own castle. When he arrived he saw the children playing in the garden.
     'What are you doing here?' he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.
     'My own garden is my own garden,' said the Giant; 'any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself.' So he built a high wall all round it, and put up a notice-board.
     He was a very selfish Giant.
     The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it. They used to wander round the high wall when their lessons were over, and talk about the beautiful garden inside.
     'How happy we were there,' they said to each other.
     Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still Winter. The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again, and went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. 'Spring has forgotten this garden,' they cried, 'so we will live here all the year round.' The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down. 'This is a delightful spot,' he said, 'we must ask the Hail on a visit.' So the Hail came. Every day for three hours he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice.
     'I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming,' said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; 'I hope there will be a change in the weather.'
     But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant's garden she gave none. 'He is too selfish,' she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, and the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees.
     One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the King's musicians passing by. It was really only a little linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. 'I believe the Spring has come at last,' said the Giant; and he jumped out of bed and looked out.
     What did he see?
     He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still Winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly. The poor tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. 'Climb up! little boy,' said the Tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could; but the little boy was too tiny.
     And the Giant's heart melted as he looked out. 'How selfish I have been!' he said; 'now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children's playground for ever and ever.' He was really very sorry for what he had done.
     So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the garden became Winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he died not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant's neck, and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came the Spring. 'It is your garden now, little children,' said the Giant, and he took a great axe and knocked down the wall. And when the people were gong to market at twelve o'clock they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.
     All day long they played, and in the evening they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye.
     'But where is your little companion?' he said: 'the boy I put into the tree.' The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him.
     'We don't know,' answered the children; 'he has gone away.'
     'You must tell him to be sure and come here to-morrow,' said the Giant. But the children said that they did not know where he lived, and had never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad.
     Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend, and often spoke of him. 'How I would like to see him!' he used to say.
     Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not play about any more, so he sat in a huge armchair, and watched the children at their games, and admired his garden. 'I have many beautiful flowers,' he said; 'but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all.'
     One winter morning he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring asleep, and that the flowers were resting.
     Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder, and looked and looked. It certainly was a marvellous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were all golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the little boy he had loved.
     Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He hastened across the grass, and came near to the child. And when he came quite close his face grew red with anger, and he said, 'Who hath dared to wound thee?' For on the palms of the child's hands were the prints of two nails, and the prints of two nails were on the little feet.
     'Who hath dared to wound thee?' cried the Giant; 'tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him.'
     'Nay!' answered the child; 'but these are the wounds of Love.'
     'Who art thou?' said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child.
     And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, 'You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.'
     And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.

Something Extra

In Celtic Belief: December brings the mating time of wolves. The wolf gestation lasts a mere nine weeks and so the whelps are born in Imbolg light. The litter born consists of four to six young pups that have no sight for ten whole days. And so it was that Gwydion the bard did not become a wolf before he first had been a deer and then a shaggy boar and only then did he become a wolf; for first there comes the bellowing of stags and then draws nigh the rut of all the swine and, last of all, there come the mating wolves amidst the darkest days before rebirth.

Did you know ....

That the tea party leadership fund exposed as a fraud

That the Alaska woman on anti-Obamacare ad is an actress from Maryland

The NRA is calling for armed revolution

That Obamacare will cost billions less than original estimated

Georgia repugican Brags About Sabotaging Obamacare as Governor Gets Paid by Health Care Industry

by Allen Clifton 
It comes as no surprise to liberals when we hear about efforts by wingnuts to do whatever they can to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”), but it’s rare when we see one of them admit to doing so.
Sure, it’s obvious with the lies they perpetuate, the myths they spread and their seemingly endless campaigns of misinformation that they will do whatever they can to impede the progress of the law.
Well, Georgia repugican Ralph Hudgens, who serves as Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner, openly admitted that his state was doing all it could to “obstruct Obamacare.
“The problem is Obamacare.  We’ve got to now determine what we can do to solve that problem.  Let me tell you what we are doing; everything in our power to be an obstructionist.  You.. probably have heard about the exchanges.  Well exchanges are coming to Georgia, but the state is not setting them up.  The federal government is going to set them up.  But we have passed a law and with the help of Senator McCoon and others, we have passed a law that says that a navigator, which is a position in that exchange, has to be licensed by our Department of Insurance.  The Obamacare law says that we cannot require them to be an insurance agent, so we said fine, we’ll just require them to be a licensed navigator. So we’re going to make up the test, and basically you take the insurance agent test, you erase the name, you write ‘navigator test’ on it.”
Basically what this gentleman is saying is that the State of Georgia is doing whatever it can to bypass laws and make the implementation of the new health care law so difficult that it fails.
He also goes on to brag about the “drastic” rise in health care premiums the people of Georgia will experience due to the Affordable Care Act.  Going as far as to say they’ve passed a law that says insurance companies must send letters with certain documents stating that it isn’t the State of Georgia that’s responsible for their possible hike in health care cost—it’s “Obamacare” that’s responsible.
So they’ve passed a law which forces insurance companies to lie.  Because reality is showing that the states which want the Affordable Care Act to work are showing much lower premiums than previously expected.
Then if you’re going to put out some propaganda flier which is meant to promote some kind of realistic professionalism, at least call the law by its real name.  But that’s the thing, most repugicans have no clue what the name of the law actually is.  If you were to call the health care law anything other than “Obamacare,” most repugicans would be absolutely clueless as to what you might be talking about.
But this admission by Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner shows the underlying issue that’s causing most of the problems with implementing the new health care law—repugican obstruction.
Except this particular case in Georgia has a twist.  Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, also a repugican, has been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars funneled through a Political Action Committee called “Real PAC” — much of it from health care industry giants like Aetna, BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia, Humana, United Health Group and WellCare of Georgia.  Oh, and most of them have voiced at least some sort of opposition to “Obamacare.”
But why should Georgians expect any better from Governor Deal?  After all, he resigned from Congress to avoid an ethics investigation into (take a wild guess) — his business dealings with the state.
While repugicans have spent years trying to perpetuate these myths about the Affordable Care Act, it’s their actions to sabotage the law which are causing the main issues with seeing that it’s properly carried out.
Nothing quite like complaining about a problem which you are the primary cause of.  And in this case, we have possible collusion between the state’s Insurance Commissioner, Governor Deal and some of the biggest health insurance companies.
Because who cares about providing affordable access to health care for people who need it, right?  When there’s a buck to be made and a Democrat in the White House to obstruct, what’s best for the people of your state doesn’t matter, apparently.
Though at the end of the day, the truth will come out.  The states with legislation which want the law to work will see it perform well and the states that have legislation trying to sabotage the law will see a lot of problems and complaints.
But the funny thing is this, we already have a great example of how “Obamacare” will impact the country. We don’t need to look any further than Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney (former repugican presidential candidate) signed the landmark health care bill into law back in 2006.  A law which is still popular with 63% of the state’s residents.
And while rhetoric and propaganda might be something wingnuts often rely on, luckily for liberals all we need to turn to is reality.

The Truth Be Told

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost.  She lowered her altitude and spotted  a man in a boat below. 
She shouted to him, "Excuse   me, can you help me?  I promised a  friend I would meet him an hour ago,
but I don't know where I am."

 The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're  30 feet above sea level.  You are at  31 degrees,
14.97 minutes north latitude and     100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude."

 She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Democrat."

 "I am," replied the man.  "How did you know?"

 "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea  what to do with your information, and I'm still lost.  Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

 The man smiled and responded, "You must be a repugican."

 "I am," replied the balloonist.  "How did you know?"

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you're going.  You've risen to where  you are, due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise that you have no idea how to keep,  then you expect me to solve your problem.  You're in the same position you were in before we met but, somehow, now it's my fault."

This repugican Governor is Pushing to Loosen Child Labor Laws

by Allen Clifton
And the repugican march to return us to a society similar to that of the late-1800′s continues.  The latest move comes by way of the repugican Governor from Maine, Paul LePage, announcing that he will continue to push for the loosening of child labor laws through the new year.  He apparently thinks children as young as 12 should learn what it’s like to get paid a lousy wage gain some new perspective on life.And yes, Governor LePage really supports allowing 12-year-olds to work.
“I’m all for not allowing a 12-year-old to work 40 hours,” LePage said.  “But a 12-year-old working eight to 10 hours a week or a 14-year-old working 12 to 15 hours a week is not bad.”
Well, I’m sure glad he’s against 12-year-olds working full-time jobs.  That’s a relief.  Though as ridiculous as the thought of 12-year-olds working jobs is, would it really be so far-fetched to imagine that “10 hours a week” could turn into 15, 20, 30 — you get the picture.
On, and there’s another caveat to this whole situation.  He’s been pushing for quite some time to install a new “children’s training wage” at somewhere around $5.25.   But this new $5.25 wage he’s been pushing for isn’t just for 12-year-olds — he wants it to be applicable for all workers in Maine under the age of 20 during their first 180 days of employment.
So not only is he advocating to allow 12-year-olds (otherwise known as middle schoolers) the right to work, but he also wants to undercut the federal minimum wage to open the door for businesses to hire people under the age of 20 at an even crappier starting wage.
And I’m sure businesses wouldn’t be tempted at all to “let go” of workers once they hit their 180 day mark.  Businesses are always looking out for the betterment of their employees, right?
This is absolutely ridiculous.  He’s literally advocating a return to the time when children were used for low-skilled and very low-paid workers.
How did this fool even get elected?   Granted, I live in Texas and Rick Perry is hardly the most intelligent individual to represent a state, but last I checked he wasn’t advocating for 12 year olds to become part of the workforce.
The repugicans are really trying to do what no society in human history has done — regress to times that society has evolved from.  I really believe these wingnuts long for the days of the late-1800′s or early-1900′s when women couldn’t vote, gays were kept in the shadows, minorities had few rights, African Americans were blatantly treated like second-class citizens and the only people thriving were straight, white, christian males.
It’s absurd that in 2013 we have a United States governor actively trying to bring us back to the days of cheap child labor.
But when it comes to the repugican cabal (where satire and reality seem to go hand in hand), nothing really surprises me anymore.

How big corporations and government spy agencies surveil and sabotage activist groups

In Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage Against Nonprofit Organizations [PDF] a November 2013 report from a DC think-tank called The Center for Corporate Policy, researcher Gary Ruskin documents the scary, corrupt relationship between major corporations, private security firms, and secret police agencies like the FBI. These entities engage in highly militarized spying and sabotage campaigns against activist organizations from Greenpeace to the Camp for Climate Action, to Occupy and more; planting spies and provocateurs in their midst, compiling dossiers on organizers, and going through their trash for evidence of plans. Included in the opposition are active-duty CIA agents, who are allowed to moonlight for private clients in their off-hours, and the FBI, whose involvement in corporate anti-activist espionage was condemned in a 2010 report from the Office of the Inspector General in the US Justice Department.
The FBI's involvement in corporate espionage has been institutionalized through 'InfraGard', "a little-known partnership between private industry, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security." The partnership involves the participation of "more than 23,000 representatives of private industry," including 350 of the Fortune 500 companies.
But it's not just the FBI. According to the new report, "active-duty CIA operatives are allowed to sell their expertise to the highest bidder", a policy that gives "financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation's top-level intelligence talent. Little is known about the CIA's moonlighting policy, or which corporations have hired current CIA operatives."
The report concludes that, due to an extreme lack of oversight, government effectively tends to simply "rubber stamp" such intelligence outsourcing:
"In effect, corporations are now able to replicate in miniature the services of a private CIA, employing active-duty and retired officers from intelligence and/or law enforcement. Lawlessness committed by this private intelligence and law enforcement capacity, which appears to enjoy near impunity, is a threat to democracy and the rule of law. In essence, corporations are now able to hire a private law enforcement capacity - which is barely constrained by legal and ethical norms - and use it to subvert or destroy civic groups. This greatly erodes the capacity of the civic sector to countervail the tremendous power of corporate and wealthy elites."

Sriracha Flavored Vodka

You can get vodka flavored with peppermint, fruit, even chocolate and marshmallows …but if you don't want anything that reminds you of sweetness, here's one that might be right up your alley. UV Vodka introduces their UV Sriracha Vodka. Recommended for inclusion in a Bloody Mary or in one of their other recipes. Prepare your digestive system! 

Youthful Alzheimer's?

People who carry a high-risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease show changes in their brains beginning in childhood, decades before the illness appears, new research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) suggests. The […]

Health News

For children with autism, a dose of oxytocin -- the so-called love hormone -- seems to fine-tune the activity in brain areas linked to social interactions, according to a new study.
Secrets are not something you should keep locked away. Do that, and they'll eat you from the inside out! That's according to scientists studying a secret's psychological impact on the secret-keeper. Laci Green details their findings.
An hour after downing energy drinks high in caffeine and taurine, healthy adults experienced increased heart contraction rates, a new study said.

Single Fear

Twenty-one Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2013

Its been quite a year for tech developments, although you might not realize until you see a list of them together. Stem cell transplants that keep AIDS at bay. A prosthetic leg that is controlled by the user's mind. Artificial skin that responds to touch -for now made for robots, but who knows what the future holds? There's also a few that are more silly than earth-shattering, like the glow-in-the-dark ice cream in a list of 2013's science fiction-to-fact developments at Buzzfeed.


The discovery of the Imperial Japanese Navy's mega-submarine, the I-400, solves a decades-old mystery.

'Secret' Labyrinth of Roman Tunnels Mapped

Ancient quarries under Rome threaten modern buildings and streets with collapse, leading geologists to go underground to map the passageways.

Chachapoyas sarcophagi discovered in Amazonas, Peru

Archaeologists working in the Amazonas region of Peru have discovered 35 sarcophagi belonging to the Chachapoyas culture.
Chachapoyas sarcophagi discovered in Amazonas, Peru
Diminutive size of sarcophagi has led archaeologists to believe that it may be
a cemetery exclusively for children [Credit: Peru21]
Peru21 reports that the find was made this past July with the help of a super long zoom camera. In September, researchers were able to reach the site to confirm the find and discovered that the sarcophagi were only about 70 centimeters tall on average. Researchers believe that the group of sarcophagi may constitute a cemetery in which only children were buried.

According to Peru21, the burial site is unique in that the sarcophagi were buried facing west, which is unusual for Chachapoyas cemeteries.

Manuel Cabañas López of the regional Ministry of Exterior Commerce and Tourism told press “Because of the magnitude of the find, we’re dealing with a discovery that is unique in the world, which should be protected and integrated into the touristic circuit.”

The Chachapoyas culture (sometimes referred to as “The Warriors of the Clouds”) were a powerful civilization that flourished from about 800 AD until shortly before the Spanish conquest of the New World, when they were conquered by the Inca empire. They are known for constructing the jungle fortress of Kuelap, an impressive complex located in Chachapoyas, Amazonas, in northern Peru.

China tomb raiders rescued, then arrested

Two grave robbers trapped underground in a Chinese Tang dynasty tomb for more than 24 hours were rescued by police, who promptly arrested them, state media said Monday.
China tomb raiders rescued, then arrested
Tomb raiding occurs with some regularity in China, whose ancient civilisation has left
a wealth of relics buried underground [Credit: AFP]
The pair were among five suspected thieves in the northern province of Shaanxi who were excavating a grave which was among a cluster of emperors' mausoleums and tombs dating from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).

Two of them became stuck in a chamber 20 metres (66 feet) underground, the official Xinhua news agency said, adding they feared the structure could collapse or they could suffocate from a lack of oxygen.

It quoted police officer Sun Weidong as saying rescuers pulled them out through a crack at the top of the chamber. All five suspects were detained, it added.

Tomb raiding occurs with some regularity in China, whose ancient civilisation has left a wealth of relics buried underground. Police investigated 451 tomb-raiding cases in 2010, state media said.

Skull find shows women were sacrificed in neolithic China

Archaeologists in China have unearthed the skulls of more than 80 young women who may have been sacrificed more than 4,000 years ago, state media reported on Monday.
Skull find shows women were sacrificed in neolithic China
The Shimao Ruins, the site of a neolithic stone city in Shenmu county, northern
China's Shaanxi province [Credit: AFP]
The skulls were found in what appears to have been a mass grave at the Shimao Ruins, the site of a neolithic stone city in the northern province of Shaanxi.

The women’s bodies were not present, the official news agency Xinhua said, adding that archaeologists concluded that the skulls were “likely to be related-china to the construction of the city wall” in “ancient religious activities or foundation ceremonies” before construction began.

There may have been an outbreak of mass violence or ethnic conflict in the region at the time since “ancient people were prone to use their enemies or captives as sacrifices”, it added.

The discovery is not the first instance of researchers unearthing remains related to human sacrifice in early China. Kings and emperors were regularly buried along with their servants and concubines, who were sometimes killed first – and on other occasions buried alive.

The Shimao Ruins cover more than four square kilometers and were discovered in 1976.
Skull find shows women were sacrificed in neolithic China
A mass grave protected with plaster at the Shimao Ruins [Credit: AFP]
The total includes 40 skulls that the Shaanxi provincial government said earlier had been discovered at the site last year.

Sun Zhouyong, deputy head of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, told state broadcaster CCTV that the initial batch “show signs of being hit and burned”.

“This collective burial might also have something to do with the founding ceremony of the city,” he said.

Archaeologists have also found more than 100 remains of murals as well as large amounts of jade ware at the site of the ancient city, which sits in the Yellow River basin and is believed to date back to 2000 BC.

In 2005 archaeologists at Hongjiang in the central province of Hunan found an altar devoted to human sacrifice as well as the skeleton of one victim.

A separate altar was used for sacrificing animals at the 7,000-year-old site, which is believed to be the earliest human sacrificial site ever found in the country.



Foggy Hole

A rare weather event has filled the Grand Canyon with fog, offering an even more stunning view than is typical.


Amazing Arctic Circle Anomaly

The archipelago of Lofoten in Norway is north of the Arctic Circle. Yet throughout the year it has temperatures which belie its position. This is because of the largest positive temperature anomaly in the world relative to latitude.

It makes Lofoten an unexpected delight - its early settlers must have thought they had stumbled across an arctic paradise. Prepare to have your breath taken away.

Wolfe Creek Crater

A Natural Garden inside a Meteorite Crater
300,000 years ago, a meteorite hit western Australia, boring a hole 400 feet deep and 2,880 feet across into the surface of the earth. This crater, now known as Wolfe Creek Crater, gradually filled with sand. But it’s still 200 feet deep and the second largest meteorite crater in the world.
Water collects in the basin of the crater, so the center of this hole in the desert is filled with green plants. You can see more photos of the interior here.
Although aboriginal peoples of Australia knew about the crater for a long time, the Western world confirmed its existence in only 1947. It quickly captured the popular imagination and served as the setting for a popular murder mystery novel.

A new theory on the origins of desert glass

Libyan Desert Glass is opaque, greenish glass formed when the desert sands fused in some sort of extremely hot incident. (Alternately, Sandman Volume 2 Number 9 proposes that the glass is the remains of an ancient city.) What, exactly, created the heat that made the glass is a source of scientific debate, but a new paper suggests it might have been the result of a comet impact. Why a comet and not, say, an asteroid? Scientists studied a stone found in conjunction with the glass and discovered that it contained a mixture of elements that you'd be unlikely to get from an asteroid impact. Instead, the elements suggest an origin outside our solar system's asteroid belt.

Not good: Study documents catastrophic collapse of Sahara’s wildlife

Daily Comic Relief


Astronomical News

How does a country preserve its mark on the moon for decades to come? It may not seem like the moon is a busy space-traffic hub these days, but in the not-too-distant future, that could change.
When it comes to space and energy, we need to think big. That's what one Japanese company is doing -- and they're reaching for the moon, literally.
For those who understand the Cosmos, or at least part of it, hold the key to explaining some wonderful sights.

Kiss of Death

Black Mamba: Kiss of Death

Black Mamba

The bite of the black mamba is known by South African locals as the "kiss of death." A single strike can deliver enough neurotoxic venom to kill 15 grown men. It has one of Africa's worst reputations, but does it deserve its bad rap? Behind the bad press lies a mercurial reptile that is quite shy. Follow a female mamba looking for a home to incubate her eggs while avoiding her main enemy: humans. Then join snake bounty hunter Simon Keys, whose black mamba sanctuary offers a unique look at the secret behavior of this much-maligned snake. This Snake’s Venom Will Kill You in 20 Minutes A black mamba’s venom is so lethal that even after the snake is dead, its venom can kill if it enters the bloodstream.

Animal News

The Burmese python is one of the most evolutionarily advanced creatures on Earth.
To conquer the cold, animals have astounding survival skills such as antifreeze blood, lounging by hot springs, and even having gender-bender orgies.
An extremely well preserved fossil of a baby dinosaur appears to hop out of the rock in which it was fossilized.
Koalas have relatively low voices, especially males.

Animal Pictures