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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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Daily Drift

Yes, Know your parasites ...!
Carolina Naturally is read in 200 countries around the world daily.   

For those interested: In World Cup play Argentina eliminated The Netherlands 4-2 in a shootout after the match ended on a 0-0 tie on the twenty-eighth day of the tourney.

Hey, Pass the mustard ... !
Today is  -  Hot Dog Night Day 
Don't forget to visit our sister blog: It Is What It Is

Some of our reader today have been in:
The Americas
Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro,  Brazil
Tipitapa, Nicaragua
Amlin, Anoka, Jber, Roseau, Katy and Ocoee, United States
Ottawa, Edmonton, L'ancienne-Lorette, Byward Market and Fort Saint John, Canada
Mexico City and Cuauhtemoc, Mexico
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Bogota, Colombia
Santa Cruz De Tenerife, Madrid and Torrent, Spain
London, Leeds and Ramsey Heights, England
Sarajevo and Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Reykjavik, Iceland
Vladivostok and Ryazan, Russia
Boulogne-Billancourt, Magenta and Veliz-Villacoublay, France
Milan, Ivrea and Campello Sul Clitunna, Italy
Riga, Latvia
Karlskoga, Helsingborg and Stockholm, Sweden
Ankara, Turkey
Tallaght and Dublin, Ireland
Covilha, Portugal
Warsaw, Poland
Chisiau, Moldova
Sofia, Bulgaria
Groningen. Netherlands
Hamburg and Berlin, Germany
Jakarta and Medan, Indonesia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bangalore, Chetput, Coimbatore, Patna, New Delhi, Bhavnagar and Cochin, India
Shanghai, China
Al Miqdadiyah, Iraq
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Tehran, Iran
Ouargla, Algeria
Shurugwi, Zimbabwe
The Pacific
Santa Cruz, Philippines
Sydney, Australia

Today in History

1520 The Spanish explorer Cortes is driven from Tenochtitlan and retreats to Tlaxcala.
1609 The Catholic states in Germany set up a league under the leadership of Maximillian of Bavaria.
1679 The British crown claims New Hampshire as a royal colony.
1747 Persian ruler Nadir Shah is assassinated at Fathabad.
1776 The statue of King George III is pulled down in New York City.
1778 In support of the American Revolution, Louis XVI declares war on England.
1850 Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 13th president of the United States following the death of Zachary Taylor.
1890 Wyoming becomes the 44th state.
1893 Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performs the first successful open-heart surgery, without anesthesia.
1925 The trial of Tennessee teacher John T. Scopes opens, with Clarence Darrow appearing for the defense and William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution.
1940 Germany begins the bombing of England.
1942 General Carl Spaatz becomes the head of the U.S. Air Force in Europe.
1943 American and British forces complete their amphibious landing of Sicily.
1945 U.S. carrier-based aircraft begin airstrikes against Japan in preparation for invasion.
1951 Armistice talks between the United Nations and North Korea begin at Kaesong.
1962 The satellite Telstar is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, beaming live television from Europe to the United States.
1993 Kenyan runner Yobes Ondieki becomes the first man to run 10,000 meters in less than 27 minutes.

Non Sequitur


The Art of Water Dowsing

Drought-stricken farmers and others are turning to the mystical practice of water dowsing, and many are convinced it works. Here's why.

A Wheelchair Route for the Bold

How well can you maneuver that wheelchair? You'd better be good, or you're going for a swim.
Annoying, but typical: the designers put the next save point on the far side of this path. If you want to continue the game, you'll have to spend a lot of time falling off this bridge.

Humpty Dumpty irreparably damaged after falling from wall

There will be no putting Humpty Dumpty back together again after he literally fell off a wall and smashed into pieces at the Enchanted Forest in Salem, Massachusetts, on Saturday.
It appears Humpty’s demise was accidental. Two men had climbed over the retaining wall and tried to get up on the wall with Humpty, but Humpty and the wall fell.
Made of cement, Humpty Dumpty was made by artist Roger Tofte and had sat on that wall since the park opened in 1970. Now 84, Tofte will try to make another one.
“It’s going to take a few hours to start from scratch again,” Tofte said. The two men who knocked Humpty off the wall have offered to pay for his repairs.

'House of Scandal' haunts the repugican cabal

by Alexandra Jaffe

The House repugican "Scandal caucus" isn't backing down, and their defiance now threatens to hurt their cabal at-large.
Scott DesJarlais (r-Tenn.), Michael Grimm (r-N.Y.) and now, Vance McAllister (r-La.) have all resisted calls to resign and are running for reelection anyway. In some cases, their defiance jeopardizes the repugican cabal's hold on their seats, but they're all proving to be a stench to the cabal's brand.
Their persistence provides easy fodder for Democrats grappling for a message to give them the upper hand as they pursue the improbable task of picking up 17 seats in a difficult political climate. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee already launched a standalone site outlining the repugican cabal's "House of Scandal" earlier this year, after the news of Grimm's criminal indictment on 20 counts came out, and DCCC spokesman Josh Schwerin said they won't let that message drop.
"repugican leadership promised zero tolerance but instead has taken zero action to deal with their members' seemingly endless ethics problems," Schwerin said in an email. "With the scandals piling up, voters can clearly see that House repugicans care more about staying in power than in governing responsibly."

Kentucky repugican: Climate change unproven because 'temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here'

State legislators in Kentucky held a meeting to discuss-i.e. react with frothy fury to-the new EPA rules meant to slow climate change. As you might expect, our entire species is doomed.
    I don't even know were to start on sharing some of the wisdom that was expressed by our state legislators during this hearing. No, actually I do. I give you the honorable Sen. Brandon Smith, (r-Hazard):
    "As you (Energy & Environment Cabinet official) sit there in your chair with your data, we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I don't want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I'm aware of."
    First of all, I did not make up that quote, it's quite real.
The average temperature on Mars, for any of you bastards that might want to dispute that, is somewhere in the neighborhood of minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit. As for all the other things that might be wrong with that, you're on your own. See if you can name them all!

These people get to be in charge of things, you know.

Fake christian Tony Perkins’ Out-of-Control Persecution Complex

Perkins is not a christian. If the day ever came that christians were rounded up, Perkins would have nothing to worry about…

Tony Perkins, who has previously and repeatedly said christians are being persecuted in this country, hasn’t changed his tune with Hobby Lobby winning the right to persecute people they don’t like.
Even fellow fake christian, Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, is willing to allow that the SCOTUS ruling puts his fellow bigots in a very strong position when it comes to persecuting imagined sinners. But Perkins is certain President Obama is going to start rounding up christians any day now.
Perkins, who has previously said that wingnut christians have more rights than other christians, told Faux News’ Todd Starnes on Washington Watch this weekend that,
I do think that it could very well come to that in our lifetime. A few years ago I didn’t think it would, not this quickly, but as we have seen the aggressive nature of this administration and this president and the open hostility of this administration toward orthodox faith – we have seen it in the HHS mandate, we have seen it in the numerous cases regarding marriage – I think it is going to come down to that.
I suppose Perkins could be right if he goads his misguided followers into some very un-christian and anti-jesus civil disobedience, which is precisely what he called for in the wake of marriage equality bans being struck down in Indiana and Utah.
The christians, you remember, are supposed to turn the other cheek. jesus didn’t tell them to get out and engage in civil disobedience, but to love their enemies and turn the other cheek. He was very clear on this point. A point Perkins seems determined to ignore.
How can you be a christian – a follower of the christ, the messiah – if you don’t listen to what the christ wants you to do?
Good question. Perkins’ solution is to simply pretend jesus never existed. jesus is just a name, a weapon to be wielded in his pet and quite often, un-christian causes.
Paradoxically, Perkins is big on the whole “orthodoxy” thing, which is interesting, given that he is not himself orthodox in his views. Orthodox comes from the Greek, “right opinion” – right opinion, not surprisingly, being determined by the majority. Heresy, also unsurprisingly, also from the Greek, means “choice” which in a totalitarian regime, is, of course, a bad thing. Heretics have made a choice to deviate from what the majority says. You do see where this is going, don’t you?
The problem for Tony Perkins is that he is not in the majority. The majority is dead set against him. Yet here is Perkins, the fake christian, berating the majority as “supposed” christians because they support LGBT rights.
Better sit down before you read this example of Perkins bearing false witness in contravention of the ten commandments he pretends to defend:
A straightforward reading of the bible shows that since the beginning god held human life to be sacred, and values human life, no matter the stage,” Perkins says. “I imagine that christians, supposed or true, who support Planned Parenthood either do not fully understand what abortion is, what its physical and emotional consequences are or what Planned Parenthood as an organization actually stands for and advocates.
Oh dear. I don’t know what bible Perkins is reading but mine doesn’t read like that at all.
Obviously, as I have shown here before, the god of the old testament shows no value for human life whatsoever, and examples abound. I will provide a couple of brief examples here to demonstrate how “god held human life to be sacred, and values human life, no matter the stage”:
While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the lord’s anger burned against them.
The lord said to moses, “Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the lord, so that the lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.”
So moses said to Israel’s judges, “Each of you must put to death those of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor” (Numbers 25: 1-5).
And here is a nice example of valuing life:
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the lord your god is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the lord your god. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the lord will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The lord your god will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19)
Not only people – all people, men, women, children, and obviously then, unborn children – but animals as well. Dead. All of them. Kill for god by god’s command.
I am having a difficult time finding that value for human life Perkins spoke of.
On the other hand, I am having no difficulty at all in determining that Tony Perkins is a liar. Perkins speaks dishonestly of the “disdain for the rule of law promoted by the Obama administration” but his own disdain of jesus’ will is the true sin here.
Let’s be clear: Tony Perkins is not a christian. Not to put too fine a point upon it, but if the day ever came that christians were rounded up, if they start “rolling out the boxcars” as Perkins tastelessly claims in comparing the non-persecution of christians in the U.S. to the murder of millions of jews in the Third Reich, Perkins would have nothing to worry about, because it will be fake christians like him driving the trains.

Man cleaning gun shot himself in the hand and woman in both legs

An Indiana man was cleaning his handgun when he accidentally shot himself and another woman in their Elkhart home just before 6pm on Sunday.

The next great financial crash: How our corporate overlords are setting us up to fail (again)

While profits soar, wages continue to stagnate and anti-tax zealots gut the safety net - a recipe for disaster
Thom Hartmann

 The denial of fundamental economic principles is setting the world up for another Great Crash.
Although wages have been flat or declining since the West started following Thatchernomics and Reaganomics in the late '70s and early 1980s, the stock market has risen to all-time highs. Billions-hundreds of billions-have been made by individuals on Wall Street.
Meanwhile, over 60,000 factories have closed in United States just in the past 14 years, and over 50 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed.
In Europe, with the exception of the Scandinavian countries who are ignoring our economic advice, the situation is very similar. Other then Germany, which is becoming a major extractor of wealth from the rest of the EU, European countries and Great Britain are following the same fallacy that has been driving U.S. economic policy for more than 30 years.
The Financial Times lead their front page on June 29 with the warning that "'Europhic' Capital Markets Are Out of Step With Reality, Warns BIS."
The article notes that capital markets are "extraordinarily buoyant," according to the Bank for International Settlements, and argues that central banks around the world "should not fall into the trap of raising rates 'too slowly and too late.'"
They correctly point out how low interest rates have caused an explosion worldwide of corporate debt.
Though it's not noted in the article, for-profit corporate banks have also discovered that instead of lending money to working-class people to buy homes or cars, it has become more profitable to simply borrow from central banks at very low interest rates, often less than 1%, and then park that money in government treasuries which pay 2% or 3%-in effect loaning the country's money back to the same government at a profit.
Similarly, huge transnational corporations from tech companies to pharmaceutical companies are hoarding cash in offshore tax havens where it's not available to stimulate local economies, or are making acquisitions based on fiscal strategies rather than how to best manufacture the best product.
Completely lost in the debate between the BIS and the IMF over stimulative central bank strategies is a simple economic fact. Economies are driven by demand, and the principal component of demand is wages.
Instead, the Financial Times noted that the Bank for International Settlements is "calling for policymakers to halt the steady rise of debt burdens around the world and embark on reforms to boost productivity."
This echoes the old Reaganomics line that increased productivity equals a growing economy. Make more things and people will buy more things.
Productivity has been rising steadily in the United States since the 1930s, but since the early 1980s it has become uncoupled from wages, which have remained flat or fallen.
Even as individual companies become more productive, producing more goods with lower costs and less labor, the economy has been stagnant because there is little demand for those goods. And that's because of the simple Econ 101 maxim, dating back to Adam Smith: demand is what drives economies, and wages are the principal driver of demand.

Buffett’s Wisdom

CCamerer-FB-NEWS-WEBNeuroeconomists Confirm Warren Buffett’s Wisdom

Investment magnate Warren Buffett has famously suggested that investors should […]

7 Myths About The Brain

There are certain bits of knowledge that are repeated so many times in popular culture that we eventually start to believe them. Many of these “facts” are oversimplifications and exaggerations of early research which is later refined and found to be not true at all. One of my kids recently discovered the “right brain-left brain” trope thanks to a Facebook quiz, and she’s going around pegging her friends as left-brained or right-brained on the basis of their personality quirks. Sigh.
AsapSCIENCE debunks some of the myths about the brain by looking at the latest research in their latest video. Your brain is probably just fine -and not so much different from other people’s brains.



North Korea's creepy fake civilian village fools no one

Alastair Bonnett welcomes you to a fake place. The lights go on and off, and the roads are periodically swept clean, but the windows have no glass and there are no residents behind them. Kijong-dong, also called Peace Village, was built in the 1950s to lure potential defectors to North Korea, a display of the communist state’s progress and modernity. The question is, what remorseless logic keeps it going?
Full-scale simulated cities are rare. They are sometimes called Potemkin villages, after the Russian minister who supposedly had fake villages built, complete with glowing fireplaces, in the recently conquered lands of the Crimea. It is said that he hoped to convince Catherine II that this was a prosperous and well-populated land. Unfortunately, there seems to be little truth in this legend. Better examples come from the Second World War, when decoy towns were quite common. One of the largest was a fake Paris, built to attract enemy bombers away from the real city (see “Arne,” page 12). But this was a hasty job, gimcrack in comparison to Kijongdong. The idea of a permanent fake civilian village, deployed to make people across the border think things are going well, seems to be uniquely North Korean.
Peace Village is a product of the armistice treaty signed in 1953 between North and South Korea. A 4-kilometer-wide demilitarized buffer was established between the two nations and each was permitted one settlement within this 250-kilometer- long no man’s land. The South decided to retain the rice-farming village of Daeseong-dong. The North Koreans chose to build Kijong-dong directly opposite it, about a mile across the frontier. It was a much larger place, and images from Google Earth show a sprawling town comprising three main centers, interspersed with farmland. Each of the centers has rows of what appear to be very large houses or public buildings, many with large gardens. Although it does not feature on many maps of the country, Kijong-dong was built to impress. The costly blue-tiled roofs on many of the concrete buildings and the electric power supply proclaim an anachronistic vision of luxury and success. In the context of the thatch-roofed peasant buildings typical of the area in the 1950s, Kijong-dong must have looked like the future. At the time, mass housing and electrification were symbols of communist progress, but it is unlikely that observers from south of the border find them impressive today. They know that North Korea is poor and that it is one of the least illuminated countries in Asia. Nighttime satellite photographs show it as a pitchy emptiness surrounded by brightly lit neighbors.
The official North Korean position is that Kijong-dong is a thriving community; that it contains a large collective farm (run by two hundred families) and many social services, such as schools and a hospital. Yet Kijong-dong is so close to the border that, with the aid of binoculars, people can see it is empty. And plenty of people do. During lulls in the level of hostility between the two countries, the border crossing draws a steady flow of tourists. They are eager to step across the demilitarized zone into the rarely visited nation to the north. Visitors, who are warned not to make eye contact with North Korean soldiers or gesture at them in any way, are taken to the nearby village of Panmunjom, from which Kijong-dong is even closer, clearly visible in the distance, though it is still very much off-limits. Panmunjom’s only attraction is the pleasure of straying into a forbidden zone. Tourists may also thrill to the official South Korean warning that their little journey across the border “will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action.”
Other, newer propaganda tools also compete for the skyline. A nearby 525-foot North Korean flagpole, erected in retaliation for South Korea’s putting up a 323-foot flagpole in Daeseong-dong, was, for a while, the world’s tallest. Yet Kijong-dong remains a potent and, until recently, noisy symbol. Until 2004 loudspeakers on its empty buildings pumped out denunciatory speeches and patriotic operas across the fields almost every hour of the day and night. After a few years of silence, in 2010 the speakers went back on, not long after the North Koreans had sunk a South Korean submarine, killing forty-six of its crew.
Kijong-dong may seem like a novelty, but it is part of a twentieth-century tradition of hollow architectural spectacles. Communist regimes from Moscow to Beijing often indulged in monumental and monumentally useless buildings. They were built as expressions of revolutionary zeal and the permanence of the new order. What are we to make of the 1,100 rooms of Bucharest’s Palace of Parliament (a.k.a. the House of Ceau˛sescu), the second-largest building in the world, which was still being furnished when Nicolae Ceau˛sescu was thrown from power in 1989? Or Bulgaria’s Buzludzha Monument, a vast spaceship-shaped tribute to communism, filled with garish murals, that sits, remote and inaccessible, on the top of a mountain? Kijong-dong is part of a long tradition of clumsy architectural propaganda. It is a tradition that celebrates symbolism over utility, gesture over substance. It seems desperate for everyone to admire it but only at a distance — it’s a psychopolitical complex that doesn’t just spawn fakes but lovingly maintains them.
Across North Korea, monuments to prosperity and progress abound. The country is home to an Arc of Triumph, the largest arch in the world, which stands over a mostly empty highway. Built in 1982, the arch is inscribed with the “Song of General Kim Il Sung” and made up of 25,550 bricks, one for each day of Kim’s life. There are also the vast stone women that make up the span of the Three Charters for National Reunification monument, which yawns over another empty road. High above the capital, the 170-meter Juche Tower commemorates the seventieth birthday of the man who brought the country to its present parlous state, Kim Il Sung. It looks down at military parades during which fake missiles are trundled out for the benefit of an admiring world.
As part of their unsuccessful efforts to cohost the 1988 Olympics, held in South Korea, the North Koreans also built cavernous and little-used sports arenas. In the capital, Pyongyang, Chongchun Street is lined with a huge table tennis stadium, a handball gymnasium, and a tae kwon do hall. Most spectacular of all is the 105-story Ryugyong Hotel, one of the world’s largest hotels and the tallest building in North Korea. Its colossal pyramid shape dominates the capital. Building started in 1987, but it is still not finished, and it is unlikely that the hotel will ever attract the foreign tourists or investors it was supposedly designed for. It is another fake, a nostalgic ruin of the future that pretends, like Kijong-dong, to want to lure us in but actually doesn’t want anyone anywhere near.

When you gotta go ...

The world's most extreme toilet is located in Siberia, 8,500 feet above sea level. It's not just the height that makes it scary; the toilet is perched rather precariously on the edge of a cliff.
It's meant to serve just five people - employees at the remote weather station at Kara-Tyurek. Kara-Tyurek, which means 'Black Heart' in the local language, lies in the Russian Altai Mountains. Its weather station has been operational since 1939, and the five people working there have just the one toilet to use.

50 Nightmare Locations

We often assume that the nightmarish places found in works of fiction are wholly a figment of the creator’s imagination, but to those explorers who have seen some of the darkest and most nightmarish places on earth firsthand, Hell is a very real place on earth.
Here's the Door To Hell in Turkmenistan, a natural gas field that has been burning since it was lit by Soviet petrochemical scientists in 1971:
Of course, we’re not talking about Hell in the biblical sense, just a place that scares the bejeezus out of folks, like the Isla de las Muñecas (Island of Dolls) in Mexico City:
People have been hanging dolls from tree branches there since at least the 90s, claiming they're a dedication to a girl who drowned in the canal decades ago.
And then there are the ruins which surround the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in Pripyat, Ukraine, which needs no explanation as to why it's considered a terrifying place:
There are even a few places that conceal sinister secrets behind their beautiful outer appearance, like Aokigahara, the "Suicide Forest", located at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan:
So many people have committed suicide in this otherwise lush and gorgeous looking forest (57 in 2010 alone) that the mysterious place has earned a nightmarish reputation, and is believed by many Japanese people to be cursed by Demons.
Are you brave enough to venture forth and discover more terrifying travel destinations? Read on to discover 50 Places Straight Out of Nightmares, compiled by The Weather Channel.

Coastlines From Around The World

Opinions abound on travel websites about the world's greatest coastlines. Indeed, it is a difficult list to narrow down due to the sheer number of breathtaking coasts that exist all over the world. Here are just a few examples of popular coastlines from around the world.

American Sahara

Sand and grit from the Sahara are suspended thousands of feet up in the air and are then carried by the wind.

Retro Photos


The car hop service is just lovely at this place (1954).

The Nimrud lens

The Nimrud lens or Layard lens is a 3000-year old piece of rock crystal, which was unearthed by Austen Henry Layard at the Assyrian palace of Nimrud, in modern-day Iraq. It may have been used as a magnifying glass, or as a burning-glass to start fires by concentrating sunlight, or it may have been a piece of decorative inlay. The lens is slightly oval, and was roughly ground, perhaps on a lapidary wheel. It has a focal point about 11 centimetres (4.5 in) from the flat side, and a focal length of about 12 cm. This would make it equivalent to a 3× magnifying glass...
The function of the lens is not clear, with some authors suggesting that it was used as an optical lens and others suggesting a decorative function. Assyrian craftsmen made intricate engravings, and could have used a magnifying lens in their work. The discoverer of the lens noted that he had found very small inscriptions on Assyrian artefacts which he suspected had been achieved with the aid of a lens. Italian scientist Giovanni Pettinato of the University of Rome has proposed that the lens was used by the ancient Assyrians as part of a telescope, and that this explains their knowledge of astronomy. Experts on Assyrian archaeology are unconvinced, doubting that the optical quality of the lens is sufficient to be of much use. 
More at Wikipedia.

Remains of Long-Lost Temple Discovered in Iraq

Life-size human statues and the remains of an ancient temple dating back some 2,500 years have been discovered …
Life-size human statues and column bases from a long-lost temple dedicated to a supreme god have been discovered in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.
Remains of Long-Lost Temple Discovered in Iraq
The discoveries date back over 2,500 years to the Iron Age, a time period when several groups — such as the Urartians, Assyrians and Scythians — vied for supremacy over what is now northern Iraq.
"I didn't do excavation, just archaeological soundings —the villagers uncovered these materials accidentally," said Dlshad Marf Zamua, a doctoral student at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who began the fieldwork in 2005. The column bases were found in a single village  while the other finds, including a bronze statuette of a wild goat, were found in a broad area south of where the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey intersect.
For part of the Iron Age, this area was under control of the city of Musasir, also called Ardini, Marf Zamua said. Ancient inscriptions have referred to Musasir as a "holy city founded in bedrock" and "the city of the raven."
A lost ancient temple
"One of the best results of my fieldwork is the uncovered column bases of the long-lost temple of the city of Musasir, which was dedicated to the god Haldi," Marf Zamuatold Live Science in an email. Haldi was the supreme god of the kingdom of Urartu. His temple was so important that after the Assyrians looted it in 714 B.C., the Urartu king Rusa I was said to have ripped his crown off his head before killing himself.
He "threw himself on the ground, tore his clothes, and his arms hung limp. He ripped off his headband, pulled out his hair, pounded his chest with both hands, and threw himself flat on his face …" reads one ancient account (translation by Marc Van De Mieroop).
The location of the temple has long been a mystery, but with the discovery of the column bases, Marf Zamua thinks it can be narrowed down.
Additionally, Marf Zamua analyzed an ancient carving of Musasir, discovered in the 19th century at Khorsabad. The carving, he found, shows hillside houses with three windows on the second floor and a doorway on the ground floor. Such a design can still be seen today in some villages, the bottom floor being used as a stable and storage area, he noted.
Life-size statues
This long-lost temple is just the tip of the archaeological iceberg. During his work in Kurdistan, Marf Zamua also found several life-size human statues that are up to 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) tall. Made of limestone, basalt or sandstone, some of these statues are now partly broken.
They all show bearded males, some of whom "are holding a cup in their right hands, and they put their left hands on their bellies," said Marf Zamua. "One of them holds a hand ax. Another one put on a dagger."
Originally erected above burials, the statues have a "sad moment" posture, Marf Zamua said. Similar statues can be found from central Asia to eastern Europe. "It is art and ritual of nomads/pastorals, especially when they [buried] their chieftains," Marf Zamua said.
Mostof the newfound statues date to the seventh or sixth century B.C., after Musasir fell to the Assyrians, and during a time when the Scythians and Cimmerians were advancing through the Middle East.
Modern-day dangers and ancient treasures
Over the past few weeks, conflict in Iraq has been increasing as a group called the "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant" (ISIS) has taken several cities and threatened to march on Baghdad. The Kurdistan area, including this archaeological site, is autonomous, and its militia has been able to prevent ISIS from entering it.
Marf Zamuasaid there are risks associated with living and working in the border area. Due to the conflicts of the past few decades, there are numerous unexploded land mines, one of which killed a young shepherd a month back, he said. Additionally the National Iraqi News Agency reports that Iranian artillery recently fired onto the Iraqi side of the border, and there have been past instances where planes from Turkey have launched attacks into Iraqi Kurdistan.
Despite these risks, there are also terrific archaeological finds to be made. In addition to the statues and column bases, Marf Zamuafound a bronze statuette of a wild goat about 3.3 inches (8.4 centimeters) long and 3.2 inches (8.3 cm) tall. Researchers are now trying to decipher a cuneiform inscription on the statuette.
Marf Zamua presented the discoveries recently in a presentation given at the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, held at the University of Basel in Switzerland. In addition to his doctoral studies, Marf Zamua teaches at Salahaddin University in Erbil, which is the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Earthen Rings Predate Amazon Rainforest

Square, straight and ringlike ditches scattered throughout the Bolivian and Brazilian Amazon were there before the rainforest existed, study finds.

There is a celestial map at Hoover Dam

From the Bureau of Reclamation's webpage on artwork at the dam:
Surrounding the base is a terrazzo floor, inlaid with a star chart, or celestial map. The chart preserves for future generations the date on which President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated Hoover Dam, September 30, 1935.
The apparent magnitudes of stars on the chart are shown as they would appear to the naked eye at a distance of about 190 trillion miles from earth. In reality, the distance to most of the stars is more than 950 trillion miles.
In this celestial map, the bodies of the solar system are placed so exactly that those versed in astronomy could calculate the precession (progressively earlier occurrence) of the Pole Star for approximately the next 14,000 years. Conversely, future generations could look upon this monument and determine, if no other means were available, the exact date on which Hoover Dam was dedicated.
Photo from a gallery of images.  The claim of calculating an "exact date" sounds fanciful; calculating the correct century or decade would perhaps be more likely.

Daily Comic Relief


Scientific Research Suggests Plants Can Hear Themselves Being Eaten

Many vegetarians/vegans feel that raising animals for food is an inhumane and barbaric practice, yet they gladly chomp down on fresh fruits and vegetables without a care in the world for what those plants are feeling:
Okay, so maybe saying a plant has feelings is a bit of an overstatement, but a new report from the University of Missouri-Columbia has revealed that plants respond to the sound of a caterpillar chewing on them by going into combat mode and releasing chemical agents meant to protect them from harm:
In the study, the researchers put caterpillars on Arabidopsis, a small, cabbage-like plant, and pointed a laser at a reflective section of the plant's surface. That way, they were able to measure the different ways the plant moved in response to a chewing caterpillar. Then, the scientists removed the caterpillar from the equation entirely and only played back recordings they'd made of the crunching caterpillar's vibrations. For another plant, they played back only silence.
After placing live caterpillars back on both sets of plants, the researchers found that the set that had been exposed to the caterpillar's feeding sounds produced more mustard oil, a chemical that's meant to fend off hungry critters.
These findings suggest that plants exhibit self preservation instincts, considered one of the basic instincts found in humans and animals that suggests they "feel" themselves being consumed by a caterpillar.
Will these new findings challenge the vegan argument that meat consumption is bad because "They can all feel pain, fear and happiness", or will they stop eating plants when we discover that plants have feelings too?


The Art of Fishing with Cormorants
Ukai is the Japanese name for a traditional fishing practice used in east Asia. In ukai, the fisherman takes a cormorant bird and ties a loop around its neck. The loop lets the bird breathe and swallow small items. But it stops the bird from swallowing large fish.
The fisherman then pushes or throws the bird into the water. The bird hunts for fish and swallows a few. The fisherman reels in the bird and gets it to spit up its catch.

In Japan, ukai is not practical compared to modern commercial fishing, so it's mostly done in grand spectacles to amuse tourists along the Nagaragawa, Hozu, and Uji Rivers.
In China, however, cormorant fishing can still be a practical means of acquiring food.

And you can see why. These birds can catch big fish!

The Biggest Dogs In The World

Let's face it, some people like their pets big! If you are looking for a large dog there are a number of breeds which are generally referred to as giants. Be careful, though - you should only consider these breeds if you have lots of space, lots of time and quite a deal of money.

Take a look at the giants of the canine world.

Are Prehistoric Monster Sharks Still Swimming Our Oceans?

Shark sizes
The prehistoric Megalodon shark is one of the largest vertebrate predators in history. With 7-inch teeth and measuring up to 54 feet long, the monster sharks were three times the size of current Great Whites. They lived from around 28 million to 1.6 million years ago, when they were wiped out during the Pleistocene extinction.
While some people aren’t so sure about that last part, there’s no direct evidence to support the possibility that Megalodons may still be with us. As reported in a June 27 I Fucking Love Science post, a 1942 photograph of what might have been an enormous shark next to a submarine was proved to be a fake. Other sketches and eyewitness accounts are unverified. And while examples of the Coelacanth, a 15-foot species of fish previously thought to be extinct, have been caught and spotted, there’s no correlation to Megalodons. Some say the monster sharks could be living in great ocean depths, but fossil evidence shows they preferred shallower waters heavily populated by their prey. Finally, the I Fucking Love Science post says if Megalodons were still swimming about, we’d have evidence of bite marks on whales and other likely prey.
So, sorry folks. As cool as the notion of living monster sharks might me, it’s probably not a possibility.

Animal Pictures