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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.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Daily Drift

Four Days To Go ....

Carolina Naturally is read in 194 countries around the world daily.
Celtic Tradition ... !
Today is - The Winter Solstice 

and Yule

Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Donegal, West Middlesex, Fond Du Lac, Lahaina, Bensalem, Umatilla and Venetia, United States
Mississauga, Ottawa, North York, Britannia, Toronto, Thunder Bay, Blainville, Pikangikum and Lansing, Canada
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Managua, Nicaragua
Quito, Ecuador
The Bottom Saba, Sint Eustatius and Saba
Mexico City and Villa De Alvarez, Mexico
Beunos Aires, Argentina
Rouen, Paris, salon-De-Provence and Lyon, France
Moscow, Russia
Warsaw, Poland
Stockholm and Kista, Sweden
Lucenec, Slovakia
Chelyabinsk, Vladivostok, Russia
Stuttgart, Muenchen, Rothe Erde and Berlin, Germany
Ivrea, Rome and Lucca, Italy
Dublin, Ireland
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Zurich and Basel, Switzerland
Madrid, Logrond and Teo, Spain
Sisli and Ankara, Turkey
Reading, England
Kiev, Ukraine
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Tallinn, Estonia
Reykjavik, Iceland 
Varna, Bulgaria
Riga, Latvia
Bangkok and Bang Rak, Thailand
Jakarta, Banjar Bali, Bogor and Depok, Indonesia
Pune, Thanjavur, Bangalore, Tirunelveli, Bhubaneshwar, Jamshedpur, Thiruvananathapuram and Pondicherry, India
Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth, Pekan and Buket Mertajam, Malaysia
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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Port Louis, Mauritius
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Dong Ha, Vietnam
Sanaa, Yemen
Tel Aviv, Israel
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Cape Town, South Africa
Cairo, Egypt
Tunis, Sfax, Tunisia
Lome, Togo
Homebush, Artarmon and Sydney, Australia
Makati and Quezon City, Philippines

Today in History

68 Vespian, a gruff-spoken general of humble origins, enters Rome and is named emperor by the Senate.
1620 The Pilgrims land at or near Plymouth Rock.
1708 French forces seize control of the eastern shore of Newfoundland after winning a victory at St. John's.
1790 Samuel Slater opens the first cotton mill in the United States (in Rhode Island).
1862 The U.S. Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor to be awarded to Navy personnel who have distinguished themselves by their gallantry in action.
1866 Indians, led by Red Cloud and Crazy Horse, kill Captain William J. Fetterman and 79 other men who had ventured out from Fort Phil Kearny to cut wood.
1910 Over 2.5 million plague victims are reported in the An-Hul province of China.
1928 President Calvin Coolidge signs the Boulder Dam bill.
1944 German troops surround the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne in Belgium.
1945 General George S. Patton dies at the age of 60 after being injured in a car accident.
1946 An earthquake and tidal wave kill hundreds in Japan.
1963 The Turk minority riots in Cyprus to protest anti-Turkish revisions in the constitution.
1964 Great Britain's House of Commons votes to ban the death penalty.
1965 Four pacifists are indicted in New York for burning draft cards.
1969 American draft evaders gather for a holiday dinner in Montreal, Canada.
1986 500,000 Chinese students gather in Shanghai's People's Square calling for democratic reforms, including freedom of the press.
1988 Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York explodes in midair over Lockerbie, Scotland, an hour after departure. All 259 passengers were killed in the explosion caused by a bomb– hidden inside an audio cassette player — that detonated inside the cargo area when the plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet. A shower of airplane parts falling from the sky also killed 11 Lockerbie residents.
1994 Popocatepetl, a volcano in Mexico spews forth gases and ash after nearly a half-century of dormancy.
1995 The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.
2004 A suicide bomber attacks the forward operating base next to the US military airfield at Mosul, Iraq, killing 22 people; it is the deadliest suicide attack on US soldiers during the Iraq War.

Non Sequitur


Xmas Countdown Xmas Stories

Xmas Tree

In 16th-century Germany fir trees were decorated, both indoors and out, with apples, roses, gilded candies, and colored paper.
The Xmas Tree was brought to England by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert from his native Germany. The famous Illustrated News etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family of Victoria, Albert and their children gathered around a Xmas tree in Windsor Castle, popularized the tree throughout Victorian England. It was brought to America by the Pennsylvania Germans.

John Waters Loves Christmas

The stress of the Christmas season can make normal people go all weird. But the converse is true, too: Christmas can make weird people act almost normal! John Waters, the filmmaker behind Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, loves Christmas so much he throws a Christmas party every years and even makes his own Christmas cards. He says,
“Christmas cards are your first duty and you must send one (with a personal, handwritten message) to every single person you ever met, no matter how briefly.” And of course, “you must make your own cards by hand. ‘I don’t have time’ you may whine, but since the whole purpose of life is Christmas, you’d better make time, buster.”
Not that the Christmas cards are "normal." Waters' card shown here is from 2006, featuring his real mug shot. Another year, each card was accompanied by a dead cockroach. Read more about Waters' Christmas traditions at Open Culture.

The Origins of 27 Winter Holiday Traditions

Christmas as we know it is an amalgam of traditions that come from Christianity, older pagan celebrations, and winter customs from various places. It all gets thrown into the mix, including modern traditions like Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Besides, there are other winter holidays such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years Day, winter solstice, and St. Nicholas Day, which all contributed more traditions to our "holiday season." John Green explains a bunch of these traditions and where they came from in the latest mental_floss video.

In case you didn't catch it in time, I'll make it easy for you to find the recording of Jingle Bells from Space.

Did you know ...

That in Japan, adult diaper sales are about to surpass baby diapers

That Australia is having it's hottest year ever

About these super-expensive gadgets for the millionaires on your Xmas list

Why U.S. parks are full of squirrels

Which Hollywood-style climate-change disasters will strike in your lifetime?

These 20 things the poor do every day that the rich never have to worry about

These 6 green alternatives to toxic holiday decorations

Harry Reid Tells repugicans Do Your Jobs or No Xmas

Harry Reid Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has had enough of repugican obstruction. He’s not even going nuclear—oh, no. Reid is threatening to kill Xtmas for Senators if they won’t do their job.
On the Senate floor, Reid took repugicans to task for dragging their feet on Obama’s nominees. If they want to drag things out until Xmas Eve, that’s fine with Harry, but he’s going to keep the Senate open until the repugicans do their job.
Reid countered the repugican narrative that the posts are “non-essential” (a silly and inaccurate argument) per his prepared remarks, “None of these posts are “non-essential.” On the contrary, these are absolutely essential nominees. It is their job to carry out justice, to protect our country and to safeguard our economy. It is the Senate’s job to confirm them. How long it will take the Senate to complete that job is up to my repugican friends.”
Reid took the repugicans’ obstruction head on, “I read that the repugican leadership may also force the Senate to work through the weekend and into next week by dragging out the consideration of several important executive nominations. The Senate could wrap up work on the budget bill, pass the Defense Authorization legislation and confirm these nominees by Thursday afternoon. The only thing keeping us here is more repugican obstruction.”
Non-essential? Not so much. Reid, in his usual understated way, said he was “troubled” to hear the repugican leader say that the nominations are “non-essential.” He drove home the point, “Does the repugican leader consider the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security – the individual tasked with protecting us from terrorist attacks – “non-essential?” Does the repugican leader consider the Secretary of the Air Force or the diplomats who run the State Department “non-essential?” Does the repugican leader consider the judges that try criminal and civil cases in overcrowded courtrooms across the nation “non-essential?”"
Reid listed other repugican “non-essentials” like the chairman of the Federal Reserve, “who sets this nation’s monetary policy” and the director for the Internal Revenue Service and the deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Then there’s a district court seat that “has been declared a judicial emergency. His nomination has been pending for almost two years.” Oh, gee, nothing to see here. Must get home for Xmas after dragging feet Boehner style.
The repugicans are threatening to boycott their own jobs if they have to work over Xmas, according to Politico. So, would that be like a labor strike? Just asking.
Working over Xmas is for You People. Not for them. They have no problem leaving these “non-essential” positions vacant, just like they left airport security vacant for years, no doubt hoping for an incident they could pin on Obama. Do we really need a deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security? If not, repugicans would do well to remember this come appropriations time.

The repugican Budget Cuts Are Literally Causing People to Freeze to Death In the Streets

In Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s State of the Union address in 1944, he suggested America adopt a second bill of rights to guarantee every American six fundamental rights as citizens. Besides a decent job, education, Social Security, medical care, and freedom from monopolization, Roosevelt believed every American deserved housing. Seventy years later, repugicans are eliminating decent jobs, freedom from monopolization, and are attempting to eliminate medical care, education, and Social Security. Unfortunately, in 2012 their policies were responsible for keeping well over 640,000 American citizens without housing and their precious sequester will increase those pathetic numbers for the next nine years. It is appalling that, like ravaging hunger and poverty, the richest nation in the world has any homeless Americans, but that is the state of the nation with Republicans setting economic policy.
Accompanying the depressing statistics that hundreds-of-thousands of Americans are homeless is the seriously disheartening number of homeless citizens that perish every year because they lack housing. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately 700 homeless Americans die every year from hypothermia; typically on the East Coast and Midwest because of harsh winters. But this year while temperatures have repeatedly dipped below freezing in California, thousands of homeless people were in danger of dying and sadly in the Bay Area, seven American citizens froze to death because they lacked housing.
Last week, a 50-year-old man who wanted to work but was only able to find occasional odd jobs that prevented him from affording a place to live was forced to sleep outside in freezing temperatures because there were no available emergency shelters for single men. The man, a father and grandfather, who had lived on the streets for several years, was looking forward to permanent shelter because he moved up to second place on a list to get permanent supportive housing after waiting in line for months. On December 10th the man was found dead in an old city hall courtyard wearing only a hoodie and shorts because he had been robbed of a new winter coat his sister had sent him less than a week before. Police said the man’s death was weather related after temperatures fell below freezing the day he died; he was the seventh homeless person to die of hypothermia (freezing to death) since a cold spell hit the region around the end of November. As tragic as the number of Americans freezing to death for lack of shelter is, it is the number of Americans who are homeless that should shame politicians into taking action, but as Americans know, repugicans are incapable of being shamed as they are barbaric and inhumane toward American citizens.
About 62,000 (13%) of all homeless persons are veterans, and these men and women who put their lives on the line for their country, these heroes that men like compassionate wingnut Paul Ryan calls “takers,” are living on the streets because they cannot find work or affordable housing. President Obama and Democrats attempted to create a jobs and housing assistance programs to help them, but Senate repugicans prevented a vote on both jobs and housing programs using their favorite weapon the filibuster; as repugican Pat Toomey said, “some on my side did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.” It was also likely because as repugican Tom Coburn said, “We ought to do nothing now that makes the problem worse for our kids and grandkids,” which is just one of the repugican cabal’s phony reasons to withhold spending for anything to help any Americans. Such is the state of America, and why tens-of-millions of Americans living in poverty and face the very real prospect of not only being jobless and hungry, but sick and homeless as well.
Even for Americans finding low-paying jobs repugicans claim is why they are ending unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans, a full-time worker with a family earning minimum wage could not afford fair-market rent for an apartment anywhere in the U.S. according to estimates from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It leaves hardworking Americans to make a hard choice of whether to feed their family and live on the streets, or put all their pay into meager shelter and let their families and themselves go hungry. They can hardly count on food assistance anymore because repugicans intend to slash more from food stamps to keep pace with their cuts to housing assistance because depriving “takers” from their right to nutrition is on par with keeping them homeless in repugican circles.
The repugican sequester drastically cut housing assistance for Section 8 candidates, and many of those on waiting lists were informed earlier in the year their prospect for finding affordable shelter was so remote that counselors began warning new, prospective, and existing recipients not to sell their vehicles because they would need them for shelter. Sadly, many homeless people suffer from mental illness as a result of repugican man-turned-god ronny 'raygun'  who not only emptied every mental hospital flooding California streets with homeless mentally ill residents, but he and repugicans eliminated President Jimmy Carter’s Mental Health Systems Act before the ink had barely dried on the legislation.
This is the America repugicans began creating thirty years ago when they initiated their crusade to shrink the  government that exists to serve the people; particularly those who are in need through no fault of their own. Over the past five years, they ramped up their assault on domestic programs at the behest of groups headed by the Koch brothers who will see their “vision of a transformed America” to fruition one way or another and despite the cost in Americans’ lives. As many Americans are witnessing, that vision includes poverty, hunger, and hundreds-of-thousands of American citizens living on the streets with no prospect of ever having a decent job, healthcare, education, Social Security, or even housing; basic rights that Roosevelt attempted to procure for every American 70 years ago. Sadly for Americans, repugicans have spent all 70 years attempting to eliminate those basic human rights and tragically they are nearing the point of victory.

Millions of Americans Are Going Hungry and repugicans Plan to Make It Even Worse


While the wealthiest 1% of Americans' fortunes increase dramatically, millions of Americans are going hungry and repugicans plan to make the hunger crisis much worse.…
Wingnut 'christians' adamantly claim America was founded on the bible and is christian by design, but christian America’s legacy over the past three years will be they precipitated repugican efforts to drive tens-of-millions of their fellow citizens into poverty and hunger; just because they could. 2013 was a very bad year for working-poor Americans, children, senior citizens, and Veterans, but they should count their proverbial blessings because by all accounts, 2014 is shaping up to be an incredibly worse year. America is the richest nation on Earth, but it is, as one writer put it,  rich in name only or RINO, because while the wealthiest 1% of Americans’ fortunes increase dramatically, millions of Americans are going hungry and repugicans plan to make the hunger crisis much worse.
In a report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors titled the 2013 Hunger and Homelessness Survey, food insecurity and poverty is rising significantly with no end in sight for the richest nation on Earth’s hunger crisis. Of the 25 cities in the survey, 83% reported an increase in demand for emergency food assistance over the course of 2013, and fully 72% reported that declining federal aid means they will have substantially fewer resources to meet the demand in 2014. One director of food initiatives said, “What we’re seeing is the reduction in federal resources impacting folks in Boston, and since close to 32% of the budget for the Greater Boston Food Bank comes from federal and state funding, when there are cuts in that funding it impacts their ability to provide for their constituents.”
It is important to note that in 2012 alone, the Department of Agriculture reported that 50 million Americans suffered from food insecurity, and when the 2013 numbers are released they predict the numbers will be even more dramatic. Since the November 1 food stamp cuts ($5 billion) went into effect, food banks around the country began reporting stark increases in the number of Americans seeking emergency food assistance. The true travesty of the increase is that many hungry Americans seeking emergency food assistance are employed and some earn too much to qualify for food stamps. One non-profit reported that 59% of their clients suffered from the November 1st cuts to food stamps, and 41% worked at poverty-level jobs; there were no numbers for senior citizens who were unable to go to food banks or how many suffered from sequester cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels. There were also no numbers for children affected from cuts to Head Start or food stamps.
These depressing figures will only get worse in 2014 when 1.3 million unemployed Americans lose jobless benefits on December 28, and that number will increase as benefits run out for other out-of-work Americans over the coming months and throughout 2014.  The November food stamp cuts affected all 48.8 million recipients and increased their hunger, but Republicans are calling for at least $39 billion more. Compassionate conservative Paul Ryan’s request for $135 billion in his Path to Prosperity budget was revised down to $90 billion in a farm bill iteration of sheer heartlessness. Ryan justifies his disregard for hungry Americans because “you have to get savings in some of these areas” all the while claiming he “wants people to dream again, but you don’t dream when you’ve got food stamps.” You also do not dream when you go to bed hungry and lay awake hoping there is adequate food the next day.
It is a sad commentary that while many Americans are making plans to celebrate Xmas, millions of their fellow citizens will wonder how to feed their children when schools close for the winter break and free and reduced-price school lunches and Head Start breakfasts disappear. Still, while some Democrats celebrated the budget agreement that left 99% of sequester cuts in place and eliminated unemployment benefit extensions, and wingnuts complained the budget failed to cut enough spending from safety nets, 50 million Americans will face more hunger, steeper poverty, and no hope for 2014 except more hardship, less food for their children, and no hope of earning more than poverty wages; especially in the South. In fact, in Texas, a celebrated right to work for less state, child poverty increased by 47% and across the South food assistance that working families, children, and seniors depend on will be slashed well in excess of the $5 billion in November by politicians they support in every election.
It is incomprehensible that in the richest nation on Earth there is a hunger crisis affecting one in six Americans facing food insecurity every day of their lives. Tens of millions of Americans go to work every day for poverty wages and return home wondering how they will feed their children. Senior citizens and disabled Americans live day to day knowing their Meals on Wheels face steeper cuts due to the sequester repugicans kept in place for nine more years. With steeper cuts to federal programs food banks can hardly keep up with the increasing demands since the November food stamp cuts, and they know repugicans will cut billions more to, as Paul Ryan says, “find savings in  some of these areas.”
It is possible most Americans are unaware there is a hunger crisis in America, but that seems unlikely. One wonders how much more the people can take; especially in the Southern states where poverty and hunger is rampant. The top 14 states with the highest child poverty rates are in the South, and nationally nearly 25% of children live in poverty ranking America number two behind Romania with only a slightly higher rate among the world’s developed nations. Republicans are surely to blame for America’s hunger crisis, but the media share the blame for not reporting that the richest country is home to 50 million Americans who lack “access to adequate food limited by a lack of money” and a political cabal determined to use a debt ceiling crisis to increase America’s hunger crisis.

2013: A year of very bad cops

(and some good ones)

Vice's Year in Bad Cops rounds up the worst American police stories of the years: cops who executed peaceful housepets in front of children, cops who forgot about jailed innocents and left them to drink their own urine, cops whose dogs only attack brown people, cops who only stop-and-frisk brown people, and, of course, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. But the article also singles out Chris Burbank, the Chief of the Salt Lake City Police who sounds like an awesome guy. He arranged for a peaceful, respectful eviction of SLC Occupy, refuses to have his officers enforce immigration laws, and won't turn his cops into militarized SWAT goons. His motto: "[The cops] aren't an occupying force. We are a part of the community."
Most Cowardly Pet Killing, Dog Category: Antoine Jones of Georgia On October 7, Antoine Jones, a six-foot, 300-pound probation officer, went to the Albany, Georgia, home of Cherrie Shelton, as he had multiple times in the past in order to check up on her son. As Jones walked to the door, Shelton’s 12-pound Jack Russell terrier Patches ran outside barking at him. Shelton told the local news she tried to explain that Patches didn’t bite, but before she could finish, Jones shot her dog, who died half an hour later. The officer said in a report he was threatened by the tiny dog, but though the Georgia Department of Corrections initially supported him, an internal investigation of the incident was reportedly opened at the end of October.
Most Cowardly Pet killing, Non-Dog Category: Unnamed NYPD Officers According to a lawsuit filed by Evelyn Lugo, during a legally dubious raid on her home in September 2012 a New York cop stomped the family’s pet parakeet to death while yelling, “Fuck the bird!” The injuries to several family members are documented in photographs, so it’s quite possible the bird-murder portion of the complaint is accurate as well. RIP Tito the bird.
Most Cowardly Pet Killing, in Front of Children Category: Barry Accorti of Ohio On June 10, a North Ridgeville, Ohio, police officer responded to a call to remove five feral kittens from a yard. According to the homeowner, officer Barry Accorti told her that the cats were going to “kitty heaven,” as the shelters were full, then shot them all 15 feet from her door. Her children saw the whole thing and were naturally hysterical, and the woman was baffled that Accorti would murder cats so casually within their earshot. Though the North Ridgeville Police Department’s Facebook page was swamped by threats and complaints when the story came out, chief Mike Freeman said his officer’s “actions were appropriate.”

'Walter White,' meth dealer, gets 12 years in prison

Walter White, meth dealer.
A Montana man who "dealt methamphetamine out of his home and got shot in his driveway in a gunfight with his son over a drug debt will spend more than 12 years in federal prison. On Monday, Walter Jack White, 53, was sentenced to nine years on a meth possession charge and to a consecutive 3.5 years for a firearms conviction.

Random Celebrity Photos


A Surreal Grass-Covered House

Ever wish you could take a step into an M.C. Escher drawing? Well this house in Frohnleiten, Austria might just be the closest you could ever get. The artificial turf laid on the exterior makes it match the grassy landscape where it sits. There are staircases all over the building, some sideways, some backwards and practically all of them going nowhere. And the windows all feature a second window laid on its side that hangs off the side of the building.
Read more about the fantastic and chaotic building over at Homes and Hues.
Love dream homes? Then you'll love these other great houses we've covered as well:

A Third of US Tourists Think That Haggis Is an Animal

A survey of American tourists in Scotland found that 33% of visitors thought that haggis is an animal and that 23% thought that they could catch one:
The company said it had interviewed one tourist who thought the haggis was "a wild beast of the Highlands, no bigger than a grouse, which only came out at night". Another claimed it sometimes ventured into the cities, like a fox.
I regret to inform my fellow Americans that there is no such magical animal. No, that great Scottish delicacy must be painstakingly assembled. Haggis consists of the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep ground up, then boiled in the sheep’s stomach.
I’ve eaten haggis only once, but it was wonderful. No, you will not be able to merely catch and eat a haggis. There’s a lot of prep work involved. But it’s worth it.

Facebook User Makes a Big Splash

A woman from Taiwan needed a police rescue after being so engrossed in Facebook that she fell off a pier.
The unnamed woman was visiting St Kilda’s pier in Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne, Australia. While clutching her cellphone, she fell off the pier at around 11.30 pm at night.
The good news is that the pier is relatively low to the water so there wasn’t too much of a drop. The bad news is that police say it appears the woman didn’t know how to swim.
Thankfully a witness called the police who in turn called water police units. They rescued her around 20 meters from the pier. According to water police officer Dean Kelly, speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, when officers first arrived the woman told them that “I was checking my Facebook page on the phone and I’ve fallen in.”
The woman was in the water for around 20 minutes. Kelly said that although she couldn’t swim, she was able to float on her back, thanks in part to her wearing a backpack.
Although the woman was taken to hospital and described by police as “lucky to be alive,” the police drily added that “There will be no need for a lost property report as the woman kept hold of her mobile phone throughout the entire ordeal.”



Why Do We Laugh?

Laughing is weird if you think about it -- a physical response to something we find funny, or even uncomfortable. Guest host Annie Gaus explains why we do it.

Do You Sound Tall?

You can tell a lot about a person based on how they speak. But can voice alone tell you things about a person, like their height and weight? Laci looks at the connection between a person's appearance and the way they sound.

New stone armor found in the tomb of China's first emperor

Xi'an, the capital city of West China's Shaanxi Province, is world famous for Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum, otherwise known as the site of the Terracotta Warriors. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, the mausoleum is the largest underground Imperial tomb ever discovered. And recently, archaeologists have made some new finds.
New stone armour found in the tomb of China's first emperor
Detail of the coat of stone armor was found in the tomb of the first Qin emperor, Qin Shihuangdi (d. 221 BCE), and is currently on display in the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, Shaanxi, China. It may have been a burial or ceremonial suit for an important person [Credit: Xinhuanet]
At the Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, some newly-restored stone armor is now on display. Each piece of armor is in a different shape and is connected by bronze wires, to ensure its flexibility.

"This is the first collection of amour we restored. It consists of 612 pieces, and is divided into three parts. Each piece has small holes for the bronze wire to pass through and is delicately designed. Take a look at this helmet. It was made to fit the shape of our face. It's a very human design," Zhang Weixing, Deputy Director of Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, says.

This is the first time armor from the Qin Dynasty has been found. And there is certainly a large stash.

The area archaeologists are planning to work on covers some 13,000 square meters. But only 500 square meters has been excavated so far.
New stone armour found in the tomb of China's first emperor
The coat of stone armor was found in the tomb of the first Qin emperor, Qin Shihuangdi (d. 221 BCE), and is currently on display in the Museum of the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, Shaanxi, China. It may have been a burial or ceremonial suit for an important person [Credit: Xinhuanet]
"In this area, we found dozens of pieces of stone amour, including helmets. They are displayed here in four lines," an archaeologist says.

So far, 87 pieces have been found. But archaeologists predict that the total amount could exceed 6000. Although they look similar to us, specialists say they can see a strict principal of hierarchy from the designs.

"These pieces of armor are quite large and rough, but those pieces are very delicate. The large pieces were for soldiers, and the delicate ones were worn by army generals," an archaeologist says.

Besides armor and helmets, archaeologists have also discovered armor for horses, and spare parts from carriages. These finds indicate that a huge armor storehouse is part of the sprawling Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum.

Are You Related to Neanderthals?

Neanderthals and Denisovans bred with our ancestors and left behind their genetic heritage.

Random Photos

Earth News

Antarctica might have a new kind of ice — diamonds might exist there.
A hunk of rock found in a private collection is a rare meteorite with organics from 1873.

Space Stinks

Astronauts fart a lot, because weightlessness hampers your ability to burp and, thus, any gas that builds up in your digestive system has to come out the other way.

Astronomical News

Flying robotic missions into space is expensive, but winning the $636 million jackpot would go a long, long way.
Astronomers scoping-out the vicinity of the famous star Fomalhaut have discovered that its mysterious stellar sister is also sporting a rather attractive ring of comets.
Scientists have found organics from Earth's swamp trapped inside of glass created by a meteor impact almost a million years ago.
NASA on Tuesday postponed a cargo mission to the International Space Station and instead scheduled three spacewalks so that astronauts can fix a broken cooling system at the research outpost.
In new images of Vesta, an unusual, yet beautiful, look at the massive asteroid's mineral history has been made possible.
A NASA spacecraft that last month began measuring gases and dust coming off the surface of the moon got a science bonus this weekend with the arrival of China’s Chang’e 3 lander and Yutu rover.
By combining two cutting-edge astronomical techniques, researchers have been able to, for the first time, resolve the visible light of the two stars in the famous Capella binary system -- could the same be done for exoplanets?

Daily Comic Relief


Device converts dog brain waves to human speech

The Nordic Society for Invention claims to have developed a working prototype of a device called No More Woof that reads a dog's brain signals and converts them into English phrases that match the dog's emotional state. Phrases include: "This is splendid!" "Leave me alone." "I am so very weary." "Who are you?" "Em, why are you guys leaving?" "Is that really you?" "Night-time!" "He must be a very nice animal."

The Bizarre Hammerhead Worm

Some people just don't like worms despite the fact that their usefulness to humanity is long established and recorded. Worms aerate the soil, break down organic matter and even excrete fantastic fertilizer.

Yet still they are hated: if accidentally picked up they are flung away with Olympian exuberance, often with ear-shattering shrieks as accompaniment. What, then, would those haters make of this, the bizarre hammerhead worm? Prepare to meet a strange beast indeed - not to mention one of the messiest eaters on the planet.

The World of Reindeer Racing

Reindeer racing, in which competitors on skies are pulled by reindeer galloping down the snow-covered trail, is a popular sport in Norway, Finland, and Russia. The indigenous Sami people are reindeer herders, and know which are the fastest for the sport. Reindeer that run the fastest are highly prized for breeding purposes, and sometimes reindeer are the actual prize for winning a race!
Variations on the sport include reindeer pulling sleds, and reindeer teams of two or more. In Anchorage, Alaska, people actually race against reindeer, which ends up looking like the running of the bulls in Pamplona. See pictures and videos of these various reindeer races at Atlas Obscura.

Animal Pictures