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

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Daily Drift

Typical wingnut ...!
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Today in History

1356 In a landmark battle of the Hundred Years' War, English Prince Edward defeats the French at Poitiers.
1544 Francis, the king of France, and Charles V of Austria sign a peace treaty in Crespy, France, ending a 20-year war.
1692 Giles Corey is pressed to death for standing mute and refusing to answer charges of witchcraft brought against him. He is the only person in America to have suffered this punishment.
1777 American forces under Gen. Horatio Gates meet British troops led by Gen. John Burgoyne at Saratoga Springs, NY.
1783 The first hot-air balloon is sent aloft in Versailles, France with animal passengers including a sheep, rooster and a duck.
1788 Charles de Barentin becomes lord chancellor of France.
1841 The first railway to span a frontier is completed between Stousbourg and Basle, in Europe.
1863 In Georgia, the two-day Battle of Chickamauga begins as Union troops under George Thomas clash with Confederates under Nathan Bedford Forrest.
1893 New Zealand becomes the first nation to grant women the right to vote.
1900 President Loubet of France pardons Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus, twice court-martialed and wrongly convicted of spying for Germany.
1918 American troops of the Allied North Russia Expeditionary Force receive their baptism of fire near the town of Seltso against Soviet forces.
1948 Moscow announces it will withdrawal soldiers from Korea by the end of the year.
1955 Argentina's President Juan Peron is overthrown by rebels.
1957 First underground nuclear test is takes place in Nevada.
1970 First Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Artis (originally called the Pilton Festival) held near Pliton, Somerset, England.
1973 Carl XVI Gustaf invested as King of Sweden, following the death of his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf.
1982 The first documented emoticons, :-) and :-(, posted on Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System by Scott Fahlman.
1985 An earthquake kills thousands in Mexico City.
1985 Parents Music Resource Center formed by Tipper Gore (wife of then-Senator Al Gore) and other political wives to lobby for Parental Advisory stickers on music packaging.
1991 German hikers near the Austria-Italy border discover the naturally preserved mummy of a man from about 3,300 BC; Europe's oldest natural human mummy, he is dubbed Otzi the Iceman because his lower half was encased in ice.
2006 Military coup in Bangkok,  revokes Thailand's constitution and establishes martial law.

Non Sequitur


Florida schools have to welcome satanic temple after allowing bible thumpers to expose kids to christian delusions

by Stephen D Foster Jr
Oops. Looks like wingnut “christians” are about to throw major temper tantrums and they only have themselves to blame.
Satanic Temple unveils giant goat-headed statue for OK state capitol.Florida schools that allow christian materials to be read by students must open their doors to any religious group to provide materials of their own. That ruling came down from a Florida judge in August and now the satanic temple is coming to exercise real religious liberty.
Because bible thumpers at Orange County school district decided to push christian delusion materials upon their students while banning materials from other religious and non-religious groups, the school faced a lawsuit and agreed to allow the materials. Enter, the satanic temple.
The satanic temple is widely known for fighting to place a statue of baphomet next to the ten commandments on the Oklahoma statehouse grounds. And now they’re bringing satanic materials to kids in Florida, and it’s all thanks to “christian” extremists.
Had christian extremists let the school remain a secular place that honored the separation of cult and state, the satanic temple would not have been able to introduce kids to The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities, which will be widely available in Orange County schools.
The activity book asks kids to find ways to be inclusive in order to solve problems. For instance, one set of instructions in the book says, “These bullies are mad and afraid of things they don’t understand. Help Damian use inclusive language to defuse the situation.” In addition to the activity book other materials will include “pamphlets related to the temple’s tenets, philosophy and practice of satanism, as well as information about the legal right to practice satanism in school.”
According to satanic temple spokesman Lucien Greaves,
All of the children in these Florida schools are already aware of the christian delusion and it’s bible, and this might be the first exposure these children have to the actual practice of satanism. We think many students will be very curious to see what we offer.
Greaves made a point to note, however, that the kids wouldn’t be exposed to satanic temple reading material had the school board not allowed christians to distribute bibles and delusional pamphlets in the first place.
If a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full bibles to be distributed to students — as is the case in Orange County, Florida — we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth.
If wingnut “christians” had their way, their delusion would be the only one allowed in schools. This would amount to indoctrination and would violate the freedom of religion since such a policy would effectively ban all other religious and non-religious beliefs. It would also violate the religious liberty of many students since not all students are christians.
Once again, the push to force christianity upon students backfires and now satanists, atheists, buddhists, hindus, jews, and even muslims can provide religious materials to schools for children to read. It should be interesting to see how wingnuts react. Cue the exploding of wingnut heads in 3, 2, 1…

72 Percent Of Americans Disapprove Of repugicans In Congress

In plain English - the normal people disapprove of reugicans
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, to respond to the proposals from President Barack Obama about confronting the new wave of terrorism. On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Republicans and Democrats in Congress voiced strong pre-election support Thursday for President Barack Obama's call for new authority to combat Islamic State militants in the heart of the Middle East. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) An astounding 72 percent of Americans say they are unhappy with repugicans in Congress, according to a recent poll.
President Barack Obama and the Democrats fared a bit better. The poll, conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News and released last week, found that only 54 percent and 61 percent said they disapprove of Obama and Democrats respectively.
The repugicans' approval rating has been terrible for years, and Congress as a whole is almost universally disliked.
The findings may not have a strong bearing on the repugican cabal's midterm elections chances. Recent polls show the repugicans have an edge in both the Senate and the House.
However, as The New York Times notes, the race is far from over. According to the The Upshot, the repugican cabal's chances of a Senate majority may come down to "who's more unloved, Obama or the repugican cabal."
As November nears, Democrats are doubling down efforts to keep the Senate. Last week, Obama told NBC's "Meet The Press" that "it makes a big difference if we've got at least one branch in Congress," even if they can't take back the House.

Wall Street’s Lies Brought To Light In Court & The Result Stuns

“The tea party regards Barack Obama as a kind of devil figure, but when it comes to hunting down the fraudsters responsible for the economic disaster of the last six years, his administration has stuck pretty close to the tea party script. The initial wingnute reaction to the disaster, you will recall, was to blame the crisis on the people at the bottom, on minorities and proletarians lost in an orgy of financial misbehavior. Sure enough, when taking on ordinary people who got loans during the real-estate bubble, the president’s Department of Justice has shown admirable devotion to duty, filing hundreds of mortgage-fraud cases against small-timers.
But high-ranking financiers? Obama’s Department of Justice has thus far shown virtually no interest in holding leading bankers criminally accountable for what went on in the last decade. That is ruled out not only by the Too Big to Jail doctrine that top-ranking Obama officials have hinted at, but also by the same logic that inspires certain wingnut thinkers (now, there's an oxymoron for you)—that financiers simply could not have committed fraud, since you would expect fraud to result in riches and instead so many banks went out of business.”
Read more at: Salon

Don't Pay?

With today's graduates facing a cratered job market, and student debt now in excess of $1 Trillion, what are the consequences for people who default on their student loans?

Bill to ban terms of service that say you're not allowed to complain

Introduced by Eric Swalwell (D-CA), the draft Consumer Review Freedom Act bans the "un-American" practice of making people agree not to complain as a condition of using websites.
It follows such high-profile abuses of these clauses as the Kleargear debacle, where a customer complained online after not receiving their order, and the company made good on its terms-of-service threat to fine them for "online disparagement," then putting a black mark on the couple's credit record for not paying it, which led to them being denied a mortgage.
Other notorious cases include the Union House hotel, where couples must pay $500 for each negative review posted by their wedding guests; and Roca Labs, who are suing Pissedconsumer.com for operating a forum in which Roca's dissatisfied customers have complained about Roca's snake-oil "supplements," on the theory that since all those customers are contractually prohibited from complaining about their purchases, websites that allow such complaint are engaged in "tortious interference."
California's recent "Yelp Bill" is similar in structure to this one.
As is always the case in stories like this, I'll remind you of my tried-and-true "reasonable agreement" sigfile, which I invite you to use in your own communications:
READ CAREFULLY. By reading this email, you agree, on behalf of your employer, to release me from all obligations and waivers arising from any and all NON-NEGOTIATED agreements, licenses, terms-of-service, shrinkwrap, clickwrap, browsewrap, confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-compete and acceptable use policies ("BOGUS AGREEMENTS") that I have entered into with your employer, its partners, licensors, agents and assigns, in perpetuity, without prejudice to my ongoing rights and privileges. You further represent that you have the authority to release me from any BOGUS AGREEMENTS on behalf of your employer.



Cliven Bundy repugicans Campaign To Seize and Sell Off Federal Land

Now, there is a movement among repugicans who embrace Bundy's claim the federal government is forbidden from owning land …
There is a good reason for harsh penalties for criminal activity besides punishing a criminal, although suffering harsh consequences is apropos for some crimes. Although it is doubtful whether or not penalizing a criminal will ever have any rehabilitating or behavioral transformative affect, at least the violator is removed from society and possibly serves as a deterrent to other criminal activity. Conversely, when the justice system fails and criminals are allowed to violate the law with impunity, and wingnuts' praise the criminal as a heroic American patriot, it will just be a matter of time until some repugican candidate campaigns on breaking the law.
Last April when serial welfare cheat and seditionist Cliven Bundy marshaled heavily-armed militias and incited a dangerous standoff with federal officers executing a federal court order, he claimed the federal government had no right to the federal land it had purchased or authority over that land. At the time there were several repugicans who agreed with Bundy, but then again they are the same malcontents that claim the federal government’s existence is invalid; but that is another story.
Now, there is a movement among repugicans who embrace Bundy’s claim the federal government is forbidden from owning land and the repugican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado is actively campaigning on a promise of seizing all federal land. His plan, like those in several other repugican states, is confiscating national parks, national forests, and all public land from the federal government and selling them off to the Koch brothers for mining, drilling, and logging. As private land owned by the Kochs, federal regulations and environmental protections become null and void and America’s National Parks, wilderness areas, and waterways become dirty energy wastelands.
The repugican candidate, Bob Beauprez, openly called for seizing all federal land in Colorado because he claims “this is a fight we have to wage.” Like Cliven Bundy, Beauprez claims that  all federally-owned land in the state is private Colorado land that means “we can cancel their (federal government) lease like they are tenants.” Beauprez is one of several repugicans running for office who agree with Bundy that states have the right to sell off federally-owned land to the highest bidder primarily because they do not acknowledge any federal government authority. For his part, according to his campaign document, “Liberty’s Promise: My Plan to Protect Freedom and Constitutional Rights,” Beauprez intends on “reestablishing state rights and duties” primarily “by taking control of land from the federal government” and selling it to mining, oil, and logging interests.
Like most 10th Amendment, state rights extremists, Beauprez’s claim to protect constitutional rights by seizing federal land misses the important point that seizing federal land is patently unconstitutional. Even if it were constitutional, it would place an extreme financial burden on Colorado taxpayers in the hundreds-of-millions of dollars annually just to cover the cost of the state’s devastating wildfires as a result of extremely dry conditions due to droughts caused by climate change. Climate change that Beauprez asserts in his 2009 book, A Return to Values, is “at best a grossly over-hyped issue and a complete hoax foisted on most of the world.” According to a candidate whose state suffers from extreme wildfires and the effects of climate change, Beauprez compared the “global warming fervor” to “a religious revival being spread by true believers with similar evangelical enthusiasm.”
Beauprez joins over a dozen other candidates, most for federal office and several current members of Congress, who agree whole-heartedly with seditious criminal Cliven Bundy that America’s federally-owned lands are illegal and fair game to be seized by states and sold off to the drilling, mining, and logging industry. According to analysis by the Center for American Progress, there are 13 candidates on the midterm ballots as well as 7 sitting senators who are not up for reelection from 10 states who sympathize with Cliven Bundy and agree the federal government has no right or authority to own land. Land, by the way, that includes National Parks, recreational waterways, and wilderness areas that belong to all the American people to enjoy. However, being typically Koch-funded lunatic fringe wingnut extremists, repugicans have been on a six-year tear to seize everything from the people including their pensions, Medicare, and now their national parks to open to corporate mining, drilling, and logging interests.
One repugican candidate for Congress in Arizona, Andy Tobin, joins Ted Cruz (r-TX) and Rep. Raúl Labrador (r-ID) who believes states have constitutional purview to “declare sovereignty, exclusive authority, and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within their boundaries.” During the Bundy seditious standoff, Tobin sent a fundraising email sympathizing with Bundy as the “victim of overbearing government regulations,” and believes relief for the criminal can only come by seizing federally-owned land. However, based on the repugicans funded by the Koch brothers praising the criminal Bundy as a patriot hero, it is more plausible that their support was more about a movement to seize federal land to give the Kochs freedom from federal and state regulations; not helping a criminal. It does, though, inform why many Koch-funded repugicans rushed to defend Bundy as a patriot against the federal government that was “overbearing” because it purchased the land Bundy trespassed on for two decades.
An overwhelming majority of voters in Western states vehemently oppose repugican’s unconstitutional proposals to seize National Parks such as the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain recreation area, or lake Meade, but repugicans routinely ignore the will of the people; especially when it conflicts with the demands of their campaign donors. There has been a movement afoot to allow oil, gas, and mineral exploration and drilling on federally protected land, especially in the Grand Canyon and along pristine coastal wilderness areas on and offshore that Willard Romney assailed President Obama for opposing during one of the presidential debates. The movement now is mainstream and a campaign issue in Western states.
One wonders, now, if the Bundy standoff was more about bringing attention to, and garnering support for, the repugicans’ plans to seize federal land to sell to the highest bidder for mining, drilling, and logging than illegally grazing cattle. Although there were quiet murmurs among repugicans in Utah and Arizona about seizing federal land before the Bundy sedition, there were no blatant candidate campaigns based around an unconstitutional action that, like everything repugicans do, appears to be just another ploy to hand America over to the Koch brothers

Fast Food Franchise Owners Ask Congress For Help To Stop Worker Campaign For Wages, Union

by Alan Pyke 
McDonald's Hamburglar character steals imaginary food from other characters. The company steals real wages from its workers.
McDonald’s Hamburglar character steals imaginary food from other characters. The company steals real wages from its workers.
The fast food industry is hoping that a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill can blunt the momentum that fast food workers have gained through nearly two years of strikes and multiple lawsuits.
The International Franchise Association (IFA) is flying fast food store owners and other franchisees into Washington on Tuesday to drum up congressional opposition to a recent legal decision that could make corporations liable for how franchise employees are treated. The trade group expects more than 350 business owners from both the franchisee and franchisor sides of the business model to show up at its event this week, according to The Hill. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and former Republican Governors Association head and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour are scheduled to speak to the group, and the paper reports that top Senate Republicans will introduce legislation targeting federal labor regulators in general later this week.
The top attorney for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) determined in July that McDonald’s exerts so much control over how franchisees operate that they are responsible for labor law violations committed by franchise owners. That finding has yet to be tested in court, but if it holds up and is applied beyond the nation’s largest fast food chain, it would make it much harder for industries that rely on franchising to stymie workers’ attempts to exercise their labor rights.
IFA President Steve Caldeira said the board’s decision about McDonald’s franchisees “would essentially take away their autonomy to run their own business.” But franchisees enjoy little autonomy under the restrictive agreements they sign with the corporation now.
McDonald’s sends both formal company inspectors and secret shoppers into some of its stores to verify that the owners are keeping up with the exacting requirements of its contracts. It installs a computer system that monitors the money coming in and going out of each store at all times, automatically alerting managers if their labor costs get too high — an occurrence that can trigger labor law violations such as requiring workers to clock out but keep working or remain on-site without pay until the computer system reports that the store is back in the black.
Nine in 10 fast food workers report wage theft. The industry pays corporate CEOs 1,200 times more than it pays the typical worker. McDonald’s made $5.6 billion in profit on $28.1 billion in total revenue last year.
Most fast food companies require franchise owners to demonstrate a personal net worth in the millions of dollars before they are eligible to run a store. McDonald’s won’t entertain franchise applications from anyone who doesn’t have at least $750,000 in non-borrowed assets.
The eagerness of IFA members to take up McDonald’s cause against the NLRB indicates that many other companies fear they are vulnerable to the same arguments about corporate control over franchise workplaces, and would ultimately face the same consequences for labor violations that the board’s lawyer believes McDonald’s should face.
It also signals that franchise owners and their corporate bosses are more afraid of workers’ power than of the enforcement mechanisms that are supposed to punish wage theft. While workers have won several multi-million-dollar wage theft settlements this year, the legal systems that govern wage and hour violations around the country are generally ineffective. In California, where labor law is robust, workers have a less than one-in-five chance of recovering lost wages even when they prove they were robbed and win a judgment for restitution from the state. Wage theft steals more money each year than every bank robbery and store holdup in America combined.

The Biggest Thieves In America Are Employers

The amount of money employers had to pay because they were found guilty of wage theft is nearly three times greater than all the money stolen in robberies, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).EPI gathered figures of money recovered for victims of wage theft - which occurs when an employer has workers perform tasks off the clock or pay for their own uniforms, violating labor laws - from the Department of Labor, state labor departments, state attorneys general, and research firms. In 2012, $933 million was paid in back wages for wage theft violations, although that figure is an under-count because there were six state departments of labor and five attorneys general the organization couldn't contact.
Compare that to the less than $350 million stolen in all robberies, including from banks, residences, stores, and on the street in 2012. That's not just the figure for those that were solved, but for any robbery simply reported to the police.

Man wearing only white boxer shorts attempted doggie door garden shears break-in

A man faces breaking and entering charges after he allegedly tried to force his way into a Southwest Albuquerque home using garden shears and wearing only white boxer shorts. A woman called 911 on Sunday, saying a man she didn’t know was sticking his hands through her doggie door, trying to break into her Barelas home, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.
When police arrived, they saw the man, later identified as 29-year-old Jeremiah Apodaca, trying to pry open the door with garden shears. He had cut a wire on the side of the house and told police if they came over the fence he would fight them, according to the complaint. One of the officers told Apodaca he was going to use a Taser on him, and Apodaca said “go ahead” before prying the door open with the shears.
When the officer used the Taser, Apodaca pulled the prongs out of his back and the same thing happened when the officer used his Taser a second time. Police got into the yard and arrested Apodaca, who ran away in handcuffs but stopped and sat down about 20 yards away. The resident told police he had jumped over her fence and asked to see his daughter.
Even though she said she didn’t know him and didn’t have his daughter, he refused to leave. He brandished the garden shears and said he wanted to kill her, according to the complaint. He was charged with breaking and entering, possession of burglary tools and false imprisonment, and was booked into the county jail on $10,000 bail.

The Happiest Country

The Global Well-Being Index gauges people's perceptions of their well-being by looking at financial status and other factors. 

Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write

Rachel Grate's avatar image by Rachel Grate  
The benefits of writing go far beyond building up your vocabulary. 
No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a difference. 
By writing about traumatic, stressful or emotional events, participants were significantly more likely to have fewer illnesses and be less affected by trauma. Participants ultimately spent less time in the hospital, enjoyed lower blood pressure and had better liver functionality than their counterparts. 
It turns out writing can make physical wounds heal faster as well. In 2013, New Zealand researchers monitored the recovery of wounds from medically necessary biopsies on 49 healthy adults. The adults wrote about their thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes, three days in a row, two weeks before the biopsy. Eleven days later, 76% of the group that wrote had fully healed. Fifty-eight percent of the control group had not recovered. The study concluded that writing about distressing events helped participants make sense of the events and reduce distress.
Even those who suffer from specific diseases can improve their health through writing. Studies have shown that people with asthma who write have fewer attacks than those who don't; AIDS patients who write have higher T-cell counts. Cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life.
So what is it about writing that makes it so great for you?
James W. Pennebaker has been conducting research on writing to heal for years at the University of Texas at Austin. "When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals, they often experience improved health," Pennebaker writes. "They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function." 
Why? Pennebaker believes this act of expressive writing allows people to take a step back and evaluate their lives. Instead of obsessing unhealthily over an event, they can focus on moving forward. By doing so, stress levels go down and health correspondingly goes up. 
You don't have to be a serious novelist or constantly reflecting on your life's most traumatic moments to get these great benefits. Even blogging or keeping a journal is enough to see results. One study found that blogging might trigger dopamine release, similar to the effect from running or listening to music.
From long-term health improvements to short-term benefits like sleeping better, it's official: Writers are doing something right. 

Random Photos


Magdalena Fuchs - Added to  Beauty Eternal  - A collection of the  most beautiful women.

Photographer/Mua/Retouch: Holly Parker
Model: Magda at Next Models

Richard 3rd's Demise

Forensic analysis of the King's skeletal remains has reconstructed blow by blow the king's last moments, revealing that Richard sustained 11 wounds at or near the time of his death.

The Mystery of the Ancient Roman Tunnel to Hell

The Mystery of the Ancient Roman Tunnel to Hell
There is a place on the northern shore of the Bay of Naples that has long been steeped in history, mystery, myth, and magic. Known as the Phlegræan Fields, it is a desolate place; a barren wasteland strewn with rubble and intersected by deep underground vents that belch out choking fumes and fire. Legends and strange phenomena cling to this hellish, smoke-wreathed landscape, so it is perhaps no wonder that these fields are a location believed since ancient times to hold a tunnel that leads to Hell itself.
The Phlegræan Fields is a plateau that is part of an ancient volcanic caldera not far from Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano known for laying waste to the once great city of Pompeii. The heavily volcanic area, which is pitted with steaming vents, sulfur spewing crevasses, and even flaming holes in the ground, was well-known in Greek and Roman myth and is heavily associated with stories of magic and prophecy.
One of the greatest legends originating from here is that of the Cumæan sibyl, or prophetess, that was featured in Virgil’s epic the Aeneid, which tells of the hero Aeneas’ journey through the Land of the Dead, guided by the Sibyl. This prophetess took her name from the nearby town of Cumae, itself having the legendary distinction of being one of the landing places for Daedalus, the mythical father of Icarus of lore. The Sibyl was depicted as a woman bestowed with immortality by the sun god Apollo and gifted with powers of prophecy, who was said to dwell in a cave somewhere in the Fields that also served as an entrance to the underworld. Her powers were described as vast, and Virgil liked to depict her sitting in her cave feverishly scrawling the future onto leaves. An interesting story concerning the Sybil is that she once possessed nine magical scrolls that allegedly outlined the entire future of Rome in detail, which she offered for an exorbitant sum to a Roman king by the name of Tarquinius Superbus, also known as Tarquin the Proud. When the king refused her offer, the Sybil proceeded to methodically destroy the scrolls until the king finally coughed up the vast amount of money she had demanded, and had the last remaining three sequestered away in a hidden place.
Although this may all seem like pure fantasy, this story is significant in that there really was a king by the name of Tarquinius and there were indeed three scrolls kept by the Greeks that came to be known as the Sibylline Books, which were thought to be the actual texts acquired by Tarquin from the Sybil. These scrolls were typically securely locked in a stone vault deep beneath a place called The Temple of Jupiter and although it is unknown if they had any real prophetic powers, the Greeks certainly thought they did, as the scrolls were said to occasionally be used to divine the future in times of imminent crisis or disaster so that such hardships could  be avoided. The scrolls were considered to be of extreme importance at the time and were protected at all costs. So desperate were the Greeks to keep these scrolls that when the temple was burned down in 83 BC, envoys were allegedly sent to the far flung corners of the earth searching for any pieces or fragments that might have survived so that they could be reassembled.
The Cumæan sibyl with her prophetic scrolls.
It is these intriguing grains of truth inherent to this legend that have beckoned adventurous souls for centuries, who believed that there could possibly be a real cave where the Sybil resided and that it could really descend literally into the depths of Hell itself. The historically accurate features of the tale have also been cause for historians, archaeologists, folklorists, and scholars to wonder if there actually was, if perhaps not a literal opening to the underworld, then a previously unknown and unexplored cave or tunnel system that lies at the heart of the legends of the Sybil’s cave. Various searches and expeditions of the Phlegræan Fields were undertaken over the years to discern the location of this mythical cave yet turned up nothing. In the face of the lack of any further physical evidence to point to a real cave or tunnel at the root of the legend, the possibility of one existing seemed more and more doubtful, and the Sybil’s entrance to the underworld faded once again into mere myth.
The legend of the Cumæan sibyl’s mysterious cave may well have remained shrouded in myth and legend forever if it weren’t for a curious discovery made in the 1950s in the ancient Roman luxury resort town of Baiae, a place located in the western portion of the Fields that was once renowned throughout the Empire for its spas with reputed healing powers.

Ancient Computer Found In Roman Shipwreck

Nicknamed the “Big Fat Greek Expedition,” archeologists this week have embarked on a new mission to explore an ancient wreckage where one of the most complicated scientific antiques in existence was discovered over 100 years ago in the Aegean Sea.
The antikythera mechanism, which was found inside a Roman shipwreck near the Greek island of Antikythera, is an ancient computer thought to be at least 2,000 years old. It’s believed that this complex clock-like device was used by ancient Greeks to calculate the movement of the stars and planets. The mechanism was composed of at least 30 different bronze gears and the whole thing was housed in a wooden frame that was decorated with at least 2,000 characters.
The history of this device is shrouded in mystery. It is unclear how this intricate device ended up in the hands of Romans, but some believe the ill-fated ship was transferring a woman of importance to be married in Rome. The mechanism, among other impressive riches on board, may have been a wedding gift from her family. Thanks to carbon dating, we know that this booty-laden ship sank around 60 B.C.
Eager to find out more about this enigmatic antique, researchers are returning to the wreckage with the aid of a sophisticated diving suit that is taking them deeper than they’ve ever been before. The $1.3 million exosuit will allow the team to dive to depths of 150 meters (492 feet) and carefully explore the ship for several hours. But before they send divers down, the team will first use a robot to map the wreck and the seafloor around it. This will hopefully also confirm the presence of a second ship that researchers suspect lies nearby.
Since archeologists have previously only been able to operate at a depth of 60 meters, the team is confident that their month-long expedition will yield many other artefacts. So far, 36 marble statues, several bronze statues, gold jewelry and human remains have been recovered from the wreck. “There are dozens of items left, this was a ship bearing immense riches from Asia Minor,” Dimitris Kourkoumelis, an archeologist on the team said. But to the researchers, the real treasure is the missing pieces of the mechanism.
While the researchers have no idea what they may happen upon in the wreckage, any extra information that can help explain the device’s extraordinary first century B.C. origins would be exciting to say the least. 

Their own bacterial identity

Research finds each tree species has a bacterial identity

Each tree species has its own bacterial identity. That’s the […]

Rainbow Lightning:

Nature's Astonishing Bow And Arrow
Most people have experienced lightning. Likewise, ask people if they have ever seen a rainbow and most will answer in the positive. Yet something which few have seen is the moment that a rainbow and lightning occur at the same time.
Lightning frequently happens during heavy storms. The optical and meteorological phenomenon known as a rainbow, however, is generally formed after the rain has stopped. So, how did these pictures come about? Why can lightning and rainbows happen at the same time?

Daily Comic Relief


Mystery over five-foot conger eel in a crate dumped at aquarium reception

Aquarium staff are mystified after a crate containing a giant eel but no water was left at their reception. The five-foot-long conger eel was left in a blue crate in Tynemouth's Blue Reef Aquarium's reception by a member of the public.
The unknown person left before any member of staff could speak to them. Despite being out of water for some time, the eel is said to be making a good recovery. Blue Reef Aquarium's Anna Etchells said: "We simply have no idea why this person decided to bring the eel in to us.
"It may have been caught by someone out fishing or perhaps spotted stranded on the beach or in a rock pool but that still doesn't explain why they would bring it here and, more importantly, why it was out of the water.
"Conger eels are capable of surviving for some time out of water and amazingly it appears to have made a full recovery." Congers are the largest eels in the world reaching lengths of up to three meters and weighing anything up to 110 kg.

Rippled Life

Ripples in ancient rock may be signs of early life

Take a walk along any sandy shoreline, and you’re bound […]

Astro/Dino News

The meteorite that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years took a toll on evergreen trees.

Why Violence Persists

Chimps and humans share violent tendencies, with a new study showing that the evolutionary roots of warfare exist in our primate ancestry.

No Bird Stew

The chefs argue a dish featuring an endangered songbird is part of France's gastronomical history.

Shark News

Sharks might not win any prizes for smarts, but they often behave like brilliant mathematicians.
sharks, small-spotted catsharks, climate change, ocean acidification, shark behavior 

Animal News

Researchers catch a glimpse of a purple-tinged siphonophore drifting along the sea floor.
Creature thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic.

Animal Pictures