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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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Daily Drift

It IS Football season, you know ...!
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Some of our readers today have been in:
The Americas
Wauwatosa, Horsham, Hauppauge, Needham, Mascotte, Coraopolis and Epharta, United States
Saint John's, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec, Canada
San Juan and Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Managua, Nicaragua
Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Montevideo, Uruguay
Medellin, Colombia
Monterrey, Mexico City and Tlalenpantla, Mexico
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nikolayevka, Ryazan and Moscow, Russia
Torino, Naples, Treviso, Terlizzi, Padova, Pisa, Genova and Rome, Italy
London and Manchester, England
Rouen, Paris and Velizy-Villacoublay, France
Madrid, Spain
Oslo, Norway
Waterford, Ireland
Athens, Greece
Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Kharkiv, Mykolayiv and L'viv, Ukraine
Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
Frankfurt Am Main, Iserlohn and Nuremberg, Germany
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sofia, Bulgaria
Islamabad and Karachi, Pakistan
Jakarta, Wedoro, Yogyakarta and Medan, Indonesia
Kolkata, Bangalore, Patna, Jodhpur, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bikaner, Khambhat and Delhi, India
Vacoas, Mauritius
Hangzhou, Baotou and Changsha, China
George Town, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Singapore, Singapore
Hanoi, Vietnam
Petah Tikva, Israel
Tehran, Iran
Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
Ksar El Boukhari, Algeria
Abuja, Nigeria
The Pacific
Homebush and Melbourne, Australia
Sampaloc, Philippines

Today in History

1419 John the Fearless is murdered at Montereau, France, by supporters of the dauphine.
1547 The Duke of Somerset leads the English to a resounding victory over the Scots at Pinkie Cleugh.
1588 Thomas Cavendish returns to England, becoming the third man to circumnavigate the globe.
1623 Lumber and furs are the first cargo to leave New Plymouth in North America for England.
1813 The nine-ship American flotilla under Oliver Hazard Perry wrests naval supremacy from the British on Lake Erie by capturing or destroying a force of six English vessels.
1846 Elias Howe patents the first practical sewing machine in the United States.
1855 Sevastopol, under siege for nearly a year, capitulates to the Allies during the Crimean War.
1861 Confederates at Carnifex Ferry, Virginia, fall back after being attacked by Union troops. The action is instrumental in helping preserve western Virginia for the Union.
1912 J. Vedrines becomes the first pilot to break the 100 m.p.h. barrier.
1914 The six-day Battle of the Marne ends, halting the German advance into France.
1923 In response to a dispute with Yugoslavia, Mussolini mobilizes Italian troops on Serb front.
1961 Jomo Kenyatta returns to Kenya from exile, during which he had been elected president of the Kenya National African Union.
1963 President John F. Kennedy federalizes Alabama's National Guard to prevent Governor George C. Wallace from using guardsmen to stop public-school desegregation.
1967 Gibraltar votes to remain a British dependency instead of becoming part of Spain.
1974 Guinea-Bissau (Portuguese Guinea) gains independence from Portugal.
1981 Pablo Picasso's painting Guernica is returned to Spain and installed in Madrid's Prado Museum. Picasso stated in his will that the painting was not to return to Spain until the Fascists lost power and democracy was restored.
2001 Contestant Charles Ingram cheats on the British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, wins 1 million pounds.
2003 Sweden's foreign minister, Anna Lindh, is stabbed while shopping and dies the next day.
2007 Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister of Pakistan, returns after 7 years in exile, following a military coup in October 1999.
2008 The Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator—described as the biggest scientific experiment in history—is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.

Non Sequitur


The Geography of NFL Fandom

NFL football fans can "like" teams on Facebook. That company produced this map showing which teams were liked more than any others in a county. You can see a larger version here.
It's interesting that the Raiders are still popular in Los Angeles, though they are now in Oakland. There's also a big swath of Cowboy country in Nevada. One county in central Missouri also has a lot of fans of the Dallas Cowboys. That looks like Pulaski County, if I'm reading the map correctly.
We would like to note that the depiction of Alabama is misleading. The state doesn't belong to the New Orleans Saints, but the Crimson Tide and the Tigers--college football teams.

Member of FIFA’s financial watchdog arrested on suspicion of money-laundering

FIFA has asked for an explanation from Canover Watson, a member of the body’s financial watchdog, after he was arrested on suspicion of corruption and money-laundering in the Cayman Islands. Watson, one of eight members of Fifa’s Audit and Compliance Committee and a vice-president of the Caribbean Football Union, has denied the charges and has been released on bail. “In agreement with the Ethics Committee we have asked Canover Watson whether he can share with the Audit and Compliance Committee any additional information,” said Domenico Scala, head of the committee. “Once we have more information we will consider appropriate measures.”
The Fifa committee is charged with ensuring the “completeness and reliability of the financial accounting” of world football’s governing body. The Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Commissioner David Baines said that Watson was suspected of a “breach of trust contrary to section 13 of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law, as well as abuse of public office … and conflict of interest.”
Those allegations refer to Watson’s time at the head of Cayman’s Health Service Authority and follow a police investigation into the introduction of a swipe card system. Baines also cited “suspicion of money-laundering contrary to section 133 of the Proceeds of Crime Law” in the Watson case. Watson denied the allegations. No charges have yet been filed against Watson who under his bail terms is due to report back to police on 29 September.

Egypt’s first belly-dancing TV show shelved after muslim backlash

by Patrick Kingsley
Stock photo of an Arab belly dancer. (Shutterstock.com) 
Few breathed easier than Egypt’s belly dancers when the Muslim Brotherhood was ousted last summer. But its successors have hardly smiled on the profession either. This week, Egypt’s first X Factor-style belly-dancing show – al-Raqisa, or The Dancer – was scrapped after just one episode, following a backlash from the country’s religious authorities.
Egypt’s Dar el-Ifta, a wing of the justice ministry that issues non-binding religious edicts, said al-Raqisa would destroy the moral structure of the country. Shortly after, producers of the show – hosted by Egypt’s pre-eminent belly-dancing star, Dina – voluntarily announced its suspension.
“Though the Muslim Brotherhood is no longer in power, Egyptians remain pretty conservative,” explained Diana Esposito, aka Luna of Cairo, an Egypt-based US dancer who opted out of the show for contractual reasons.
Egypt’s government has waged a year-long crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and seeks to stamp out religious extremism. But religion and state are by no means separate: the government is conservative, and officials have no wish to upset religious sensibilities in a country where Islam is deeply entwined with public life.
The juxtaposition between Dar el-Ifta’s reaction to al-Raqisa and its other recent outburst highlights the government’s complex position. Last week, Dar el-Ifta denounced Isis, the extremist group that lays claim to parts of the Middle East in the name of Islam. But within days, it had also condemned online contact between members of the opposite sex. Days later, it turned on belly dancing.
Isis is not Islam, said Dar el-Ifta, but al-Raqisa is not the answer either.
Members of the dancing community nevertheless say that things are still slightly better than they were under the Brotherhood. Randa Kamel, a well-known Egyptian dancer, says that before the Brotherhood’s fall, she was dancing just twice a week, as the economic crisis and increased conservatism that accompanied the Brotherhood’s tenure prompted venues to curb their dancing expenses. Now Kamel is back to dancing every night, even if audiences still have not reached their pre-revolution peak.
“Under the Brotherhood, everyone was afraid,” said Kamel. “The Brotherhood didn’t just like oriental dance – they didn’t like life. But now, that’s all changed. A lot more people want me to dance.”
The change is cultural and economic, says Lorna Gow, aka Belly Lorna, the only British belly dancer working in Cairo. The rise of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Egypt’s new president, prompted more consumer confidence. And though belly dancing is sneered at by many, including Dar el-Ifta, audiences do not feel as judged as they did under the Brotherhood.
“Since Sisi got in, a lot more venues are spending money on their venues, looking into entertainment, and pushing everything that is Egyptian,” said Gow. “I’ve seen a huge increase in Egyptians coming to see dance shows, hiring belly dancers for their weddings again in the last few months.”
There is a third reason for the mini-resurgence: Safinaz, a controversial Armenian dancer who emerged from obscurity last year to become one of the biggest stars of the Egyptian dance scene. Safinaz has become so popular that she threatens the rule of al-Raqisa’s host, Dina, Egypt’s best-known homegrown dancer. This has sparked a backlash from Dina’s supporters, who say Safinaz has vulgarised the profession.
“Dina is Egyptian,” said Kamel, a Dina loyalist. “She understands this country’s 7,000-year-old history. She knows how men look at her, she knows how to make them respect her. But if you look at pictures of Safinaz, you will feel shame.”
According to Esposito, it was Dina’s desire to wrest back her crown from Safinaz that led her to set up the show, which then triggered accusations of immorality. “The idea was to shoot down Safinaz’s popularity in Egypt,” Esposito said. “She figured [the show] would distract from Safinaz. At the same time, she didn’t want to create new stars. So the contract said that you couldn’t perform in anything until six months after the last episode. And they’re allowed to renew that contract at any point [in that six months] without telling you.”

Diet and Gas

Dietary recommendations may be tied to increased greenhouse gas emissions

If Americans altered their menus to conform to federal dietary […]

Reacting to Personal Setbacks

Reacting to Personal Setbacks: Do You Bounce Back or Give Up?

Sometimes when people get upsetting news – such as a […]

Skinny Jeans are bad

They may be all the rage, but skinny jeans do cause problems for some wearers -- numbness in the legs, for example. Trace and Tara have the skinny on the potential health problems caused by these fashion staples

The Way It Is


For Faux News, a Tired Old Hoax Trumps Obama Outperforming Reagan

Where does a strong economy get you when you're a black president and outperform Reagan on job creation? It gets you to Benghazi.…
So Faux News has come back in a frenzy to their old Benghazi hoax, even though House repugicans have admitted Obama did nothing wrong. So absurd has their bubble reality become, you begin to wonder if these are the sort of people who would admit the sun had set if it was dark.
Because airing already debunked claims on Thursday’s Special Report, and repeating them on Friday with their 13 Hours at Benghazi: The Inside Story was not enough, Mitt Romeny was trotted out on Faux News Sunday to repeat the “stand down” routine we’ve all become so fond of over the past months. Even Romney, who loves himself some Romney, was willing to sling mud at Obama before talking about what a great president he would have been.
Yes, this is “Which Mitt,” the guy who holds every position on everything, depending upon what he thinks you might want to hear. Since Faux News wants to hear tired old, oft-debunked Benghazi lies, that is what Which Mitt gave them.
The economy is improving. Did you hear? We already know that the economy does better under Democratic presidents. The mainstream media ignored this, let alone the Faux echo chamber.
But not only has the media ignored an improving economy but they’ve ignored repugicans doing their level best to destroy the economy. And now Forbes just reported Saturday that “It’s Official: President Obama Is the Best Economic President In Modern Times.”
Best. In. Modern. Times.
If they don’t shout loud enough, their little bubble will burst, and they can’t have that.
And so it is the mantra they repeat while blocking out any hint of good news. Obama could dismantle ISIS on Saturday and Sunday we’d hear, BENGHAZI!
It becomes increasingly difficult to understand how they can do this without rolling on the floor laughing. I mean, how do they keep straight faces? Are they pumping drugs into these people while on camera? Are they people at all, and not some clever CGI animations?
What is stunning is that other networks are not airing specials on Faux News’ Benghazi obsession. The real scandal here is that Faux News created a lie out of whole cloth and has turned it into a self-sustaining industry.
Why is THIS not news?
Isn’t that the least bit scandalous?
I suppose other networks might if they weren’t as deeply mired in repugican corporate politics as Faux News. I mean, look, even MSNBC, the network Faux decries on a regular basis for being communist lapdogs, said Rachel Maddow is too partisan, but that Morning Joe is not.
You seriously think they’re going to point fingers at Faux News? And CNN, really? CNN, which regularly avoids reporting things that might hurt the repugican narrative? MSNBC and CNN, which prefer endless John McCain narcissism to real news?
Yeah. About that…
Liberal media elite.
Liberals should be so lucky to have a slice of mainstream media pie.
Ain’t happening.
Remember, it was Obama, the shrub was pretending, who invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and created the conditions for ISIL!
Sunnis and Shiites? Obama the muslim was there at Mohammed’s death to manipulate the schism.
Look, if the mainstream media isn’t going to cry foul over this lie it isn’t going to defend Obama on Benghazi. There’s just too much corporate money to be made selling Faux News.
The reason for all this is clear.
If Obama were Solomon, he would still be black. If he were Moses, and could lead Americans to the promised land, no repugican would follow.
That tells you where a strong economy gets you in the mainstream media.
It gets you to Benghazi.
Go directly to Benghazi. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Texas school districts militarize campus cops with free surplus weapons, armored vehicles

Taking advantage of U.S. Defense Department offers of free or low-cost military hardware, Texas school districts have been helping themselves to high-powered weaponry, bullet-proof vests, and armored vehicles to militarize their campus police officers.

Corporate interests put full-court press on Michigan teacher union-busting effort

Across America, it is back-to-school time for students ... and teachers.Within the next week or so, virtually all of the elementary and secondary schools on traditional schedules will be back into the classroom, and summer vacation gives way to a new school year for students and teachers around the nation.
In Michigan, teacher unions are confronting a perilous new reality, as a recently passed "right to work" law now gives individual teachers the ability to opt out of their unions. Predictably, a coalition of right-wing ideological and business groups have put maximum effort into their drive to crush the teachers unions:
With the teachers given a 31-day window in August to decide, representatives for the state's largest public-sector union are imploring them to stay or risk losing their clout in how schools are operated.
"If I don't stand up and stay in my union, then we don't have a voice," said Chandra Madafferi, a high school health teacher and president of a 400-member local in the Detroit suburb of Novi.
Meanwhile, conservative groups are running ads and publicizing the chance for teachers to "grow your paycheck and workplace freedom."
Americans for Prosperity, the right-wing front group bankrolled by the Koch brothers, are among the most active architects in driving the opt-out effort. They paid for a full page ad in the Detroit Free Press with a pre-printed form for opting out of their local union. Other groups are running ads trying to goad teachers into leaving their unions.



Jack the Ripper identified through DNA traces

Jack the Ripper, one of the most notorious serial killers in history, has been identified through DNA traces found on a shawl, claims a sleuth in a book out on Tuesday.
The true identity of Jack the Ripper, whose grisly murders terrorized the murky slums of Whitechapel in east London in 1888, has been a mystery ever since, with dozens of suspects that include royalty and prime ministers down to bootmakers.
But after extracting DNA from a shawl recovered from the scene of one of the killings, which matched relatives of both the victim and one of the suspects, Jack the Ripper sleuth Russell Edwards claims the identity of the murderer is now beyond doubt.
He says the infamous killer is Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish emigre from Poland, who worked as a barber.
Edwards, a businessman interested in the Ripper story, bought a bloodstained Victorian shawl at auction in 2007.
The story goes that it came from the murder scene of the Ripper's fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, on September 30, 1888.
Police acting sergeant Amos Simpson, who had been at the scene, got permission from his superiors to take it for his dressmaker wife -- who was subsequently aghast at the thought of using a bloodstained shawl.
It had hitherto been passed down through the policeman's direct descendants, who had stored it unwashed in a box. It briefly spent a few years on loan to Scotland Yard's crime museum.
- Victim disemboweled -
Edwards sought to find out if DNA technology could conclusively link the shawl to the murder scene.
Working on the blood stains, Doctor Jari Louhelainen, senior lecturer in molecular at Liverpool John Moores University, isolated seven small segments of mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down through the female line.
They were matched with the DNA of Karen Miller, a direct descendant of Eddowes, confirming her blood was on the shawl.
Meanwhile stains exposed under ultra-violet light suggested the presence of seminal fluid.
Doctor David Miller, reader in molecular andrology at the University of Leeds, managed to find cells from which DNA was isolated.
With the help of genealogists, Edwards found a descendant of Kosminski through the female line, who offered samples of her DNA.
Louhelainen was then able to match DNA from the semen stains to Kosminski's descendant.
For Edwards, this places Kosminski at the scene of Eddowes' gruesome murder.
Eddowes, 46, was killed on the same night as the Ripper's third victim. An orphan with a daughter and two sons, she worked as a casual prostitute.
She was found brutally murdered at 1:45am. Her throat was cut and she was disemboweled. Her face was also mutilated.
The belief is that the shawl was left at the crime scene by the killer, not Eddowes.
- Calls for peer review -
Kosminski was born in Klodawa in central Poland on September 11, 1865. His family fled the imperial Russian anti-Jewish pogroms and emigrated to east London in the early 1880s. He lived close to the murder scenes.
Some reports say he was taken in by the police to be identified by a witness who had seen him with one of the victims, and though a positive identification was made, the witness refused to give incriminating evidence, meaning the police had little option but to release him.
He entered a workhouse in 1889, where he was described on admission as "destitute". He was discharged later that year but soon ended up in an insane asylum.
He died from gangrene in an asylum on March 24, 1919 and was buried three days later at East Ham Cemetery in east London.
Some have cast doubt on Edwards' findings.
The research has not been published a a peer-reviewed scientific journal, meaning the claims cannot be independently verified or the methodology scrutinized.
Professor Alec Jeffreys, who invented the DNA fingerprinting technique 30 years ago this week, called for further verification.
"An interesting but remarkable claim that needs to be subjected to peer review, with detailed analysis of the provenance of the shawl and the nature of the claimed DNA match with the perpetrator's descendants and its power of discrimination; no actual evidence has yet been provided," Jeffreys told The Independent newspaper.

Real life mass-muderers you probably never heard of ...

Real-life Serial Killers Who Are Not Often Talked about

Bank robber arrested when stolen cash fell out of his trouser leg

A man was arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank in Merced, California, on Saturday afternoon. Police say Shawn Lee Canfield, 25, walked into the Chase Bank inside the Raley's grocery store at around 1:40pm and handed the teller a card demanding cash.
Authorities say the teller handed over $2,748, and the suspect took off. Officers say they were responding to the scene and caught up with Canfield nearby as he was trying to shove money down his pants.
The teller was taken to that location and positively identified him as the suspect. As detectives walked Canfield upstairs at the station, police say money started falling out of his trouser leg, and a total of $2,414 was collected.
During police questioning, the suspect was asked to stand up and an additional $334 fell out of his trouser leg, according to authorities. Investigators say Canfield admitted to the bank robbery and said he needed the money to get to Colorado to visit his mother. Canfield was arrested and booked into the Merced County Jail for robbery and burglary.

Cherries Waffles Tennis arrested for fraud at water sports stores

Three Miami, Florida, residents were arrested on Tuesday after they reportedly made fraudulent purchases at two Jupiter shops, police said. A Juno Beach surf shop also called police after three people tried to make a questionable purchase.
Cherries Waffles Tennis, 19, Vincent Mitchell, 19, and Paul Miller, 22, walked into Ground Swell Surf Shop trying to buy two Ray Ban sunglasses worth $500 and a $100 GoPro camera.
Tennis asked the clerk to punch in the credit-card number instead of swiping it. The clerk became suspicious and declined the sale, according to an arrest report. The suspects then entered Scuba Works in Jupiter and bought a $400 spear gun. They bought a GoPro camera from Kite Paddle Wake, the report said.
The Jupiter scuba shop later confirmed the credit card was declined. Police said they spotted the suspects as they were leaving a gas station. Cherries Waffles Tennis told police that her aunt gave her a credit card to use but did not know where it was when police asked. Tennis, Mitchell and Miller were booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on charges of fraud.

Random Photos

The late 70’s. Orange carpet was in, man.
Remember the 1970's

How Colonial Americans Were Inspired By Asian Spices

When we think of the diets of the founding fathers and mothers, we imagine porridges, breads, fresh and preserved fruits and vegetables, and gently flavored roast meats. What most people don't realize is that the colonists had a taste for exotic fare from all over the world and would pay dearly for delicacies from India, China, Indonesia and other places far from the shores of North America.

Why Are There So Many People?

The stage was set for the population boom of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in antiquity, according to Aaron Stutz of Emory University’s Oxford College. His analysis of demographic and archaeological data indicates the interaction between competition and organization reached a tipping point between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago. The resulting political-economic balance allowed more people to gain more control over their lives and generate capital. That small-scale success eventually led to more complex development, more resources, and better care of offspring. Then the public health improvements of the Industrial Revolution helped more people to live longer. “The increasingly complex and decentralized economic and political entities that were built up around the world from the beginning of the Common Era to 1500 CE created enough opportunities for individuals, states, and massive powers like England, France, and China to take advantage of the potential for economies of scale,” he told Phys.org.

Copper Age settlement discovered in Central Spain

Researchers from the Tübingen collaborative research center Resource Cultures (SFB 1070) have uncovered the remains of a previously unknown Copper Age settlement in the central Spanish region of Azután. Working with colleagues from the University of Alcalá de Henares, they found shards and stone tools over an area of around 90 hectares.
The Dolmen de Azután grave chamber indicates major settlement in the Chalcolithic
Typological analysis placed the finds in the Copper Age or Chalcolithic period -- the transitional era after the Stone Age before metallurgists discovered that adding tin to copper produced much harder bronze, 4,000-5,000 years ago.
The Iberian Chalcolithic is marked by large fortified settlements in the southwest and more intensive use of natural resources than in the Neolithic period. It was believed that the central region around Toledo had been settled only sporadically at that time, as it is hemmed in by two mountains ranges, between which the River Tajo runs -- and it would have been hard to cross 4,000 years ago.
Today, the megalithic grave chamber of Azután (pictured) still hints at Chalcolithic settlement. The volume and concentration of the latest finds point towards large, long-term settlements in the region in the fourth and third centuries BC. The researchers, headed by Tübingen archaeologist Martin Bartelheim, took geomagnetic soundings and plan to compare those results with aerial photographs of the site to identify the size and structure of the settlement.
"With the new finds at Azután, we can confirm that there was intensive copper-working and settlement also in central Spain. Until now, it was thought that such activity was mostly limited to the fertile coastal regions in the south of the Iberian Peninsula," says Felicitas Schmitt, a PhD student in the Resource Cultures collaborative research center.
At nearby Aldeanueva de San Bartolomé there is another, possibly fortified settlement, which shows signs of having been an early copper processing site. Ancient millstones and weights for nets recently found around Azután point to agriculture and fishing -- and a division of labor, which marks a step along the road to the development of professional trades.
The researchers plan to trace the ancient trade routes across Spain via landscape surveys. Even today, the site is close to major roads along the river valley, and running across them are paths into the hills used by shepherds; such routes have crossed the Meseta since time immemorial.
In another study, PhD student Javier Escudero Carillo is comparing Azután with a similar Chalcolithic site on the Portuguese Algarve coast. There are clear parallels between the two regions. Felicitas Schmitt says "The two regions have similar tombs, burial rites, and objects. So we are working on the premise that rivers and shepherds' paths played an important roles served as lines of communication even then."

Fever mounts as stunning statues found at ancient Greek tomb

This picture released by the Greek Ministry of Culture on September 7, 2014 shows one of the two statues of a Caryatid inside the Kasta Tumulus in ancient Amphipolis, northern Greece
The two female figures in long-sleeved tunics were found standing guard at the opening to the mysterious Alexander The Great-era tomb near Amphipolis in the Macedonia region of northern Greece.
"The left arm of one and the right arm of the other are raised in a symbolic gesture to refuse entry to the tomb," a statement from the culture ministry said Saturday.
Speculation is mounting that the tomb, which dates from Alexander's lifetime (356-323BC), may be untouched, with its treasures intact.
Previous evacuations of Macedonian tombs have uncovered amazing troves of gold jewellery and sculptures.
A five-meter tall marble lion, currently standing on a nearby roadside, originally topped the 500 metre-long funeral mound, which is ringed by a marble wall.
This picture released by the Greek Ministry of Culture …Two headless stone Sphinx statues flanked the outer entrance, officials said, who said that "removing earth from the second entrance wall revealed the excellent marble caryatids".
Photographs released by the ministry show the sculptures -- which hold up a lintel -- uncovered to mid-bust, their curly hair falling onto their shoulders.
Archaeologists have been digging at the site, which Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras called a "very important find", since mid-August.
The ministry said the lay-out of "the second entrance with the caryatids gives us an important clue that it is a monument of particular importance".
Expectation had already begun to build given the quality of the sculpted column capitals and delicately colored floor mosaic already discovered at the site.
Theories abound about who could be buried in the tumulus tomb, ranging from Alexander's Bactrian wife Roxane, to his mother Olympias or one of his generals.
Experts say the chances of Alexander himself being buried there are small, however.
After his death at 32 in Babylon, the most celebrated conquerer of the ancient world is believed to have been buried in Alexandria, the Egyptian city he founded -- although no grave has ever been found there.

Daily Comic Relief


The Glomar Explorer: Howard Hughes' Spy Ship

The Hughes Glomar Explorer is a deep-sea drillship platform initially built for the United States Central Intelligence Agency Special Activities Division secret operation Project Azorian to recover the sunken Soviet submarine K-129, lost in April 1968.

The Hughes Glomar Explorer was built between 1973 and 1974, by Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. for more than $350 million at the direction of Howard Hughes for use by his company, Global Marine Development Inc.

How the Voyage of the Kon-Tiki Misled the World About Navigating the Pacific

Like many of my generation, I read about Thor Heyerdahl and his raft the Kon-Tiki as a child. The voyage in 1947 was a sensation, spawning books and a movie, which seemed to prove the possibility that the Polynesian islands were settled by sailors from South America drifting on ocean currents. It was a theory that has been discussed ever since Captain Cook landed in Hawaii in 1778 and found that the language of Tahiti was understood in Hawaii. That raised the question of where the Polynesians came from and how they interconnected. Prominent European historians and navigators believed the Pacific islands must have been settled from the east, possibly even from Europe, while a Maori scholar gathered and presented evidence for the idea that the islands were settled by travelers from Asia sailing by traditional navigation techniques.
But skeptics remained, the most famous—but by no means the only—was Thor Heyerdahl. Not only did he reject the voyaging tradition, but he rejected the West-to-East migration as well. Heyerdahl argued that the Pacific had been settled by accidental drift voyaging from the Americas. His argument was based largely on the wind and current patterns in the Pacific, which flow predominantly from East to West. Where the oral tradition posed Polynesians voyaging against the wind, Heyerdahl argued it was far more likely that American Indians drifted with the wind. He made his bias particularly clear by designing his Kon Tiki raft to be unsteerable.

There is no doubt that the voyage of the Kon Tiki was a great adventure: three months on the open sea on a raft, drifting at the mercy of the winds and currents. That they did eventually reach Polynesia proved that such drift voyaging was possible. But all other evidence pointed to Southeast Asian origins: oral tradition, archaeological data, linguistic structures and the trail of human-introduced plants. Today we have strong evidence that Polynesians actually reached the Americas, not vice-versa. Nonetheless, Heyerdahl remains famous. His notion of “drift voyaging” was taken up by Andrew Sharp, whose 1963 book discredited step-by-step the possible means by which Pacific Islanders might have navigated and fixed their position at sea.
Polynesian historians have maintained that traditional navigation led the way to Pacific exploration. In 1976, master traditional navigator Mau Piailug steered the Hawaiian canoe Hōkūleʻa (pictured) on a three-year voyage to all the Polynesian islands to prove how the ancient navigational techniques worked, and how sailors from Asia discovered and settled the islands. These techniques include intimate knowledge of the sun, stars, wind, weather, wildlife, and even the different types of ocean swells. Read how theories of ancient navigation and settlement have changed at Smithsonian. Also included is a documentary about Mau Piailug.

Amazing Photo: A Layer of Ice off a Leaf

A couple winters ago, redditor SearonTrejorek snapped this incredible photo at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Beautiful!
SearonTrejorek smashed it on the ground after taking the photo. He should have instead heeded the advice of another redditor and sold it on eBay. That's worth at least a $100.

The Cobra Effect: law of unintended consequences, squared

In British-ruled, cobra-infested India, a bounty was offered for cobra-skins, so enterprising folks started breeding cobras, leading to the program's cancellation, whereupon all those farmed cobras were released into the wild, a net increase in cobra population. That's not the only example, either.

Deer Run Across Golden Gate Bridge, Cause Massive Traffic Jam

On the evening of August fifth, a pair of deer found their way onto the Golden Gate Bridge and proceeded to run across. Their adventure, which started just as rush hour began, caused a huge traffic jam. The highway patrol was called at around 5:30 p.m. Before the highway patrol could reach the scene, they were called off, as the deer exited the bridge around 6:00 p.m., heading north toward Marin. The animals' detour was certainly understandable. We all need a change of scenery sometimes.

Animal Pictures