Monday, December 28, 2009

Resomation or green cremation part of increased alternatives to traditional burials...

Resomation or green cremation is part of increased alternatives to traditional burial as cremations increase around the world, due to a scarcity of land. The highest national use of traditional cremations is Japan at a massive 97%, United Kingdom 70%, New Zealand 58% and China 41%, with US currently on 30%, but expected to rise to 38% in 2010.

Green burials where bodies are placed in biodegradable wooden or wicker caskets without being embalmed, and often under a tree have gained popularity around the world. Veterinarians have been using this process for years.

But it is green cremation or RESOMATION (a Greek term for rebirth of the body) that has gained interest in some quarters. Resomation is a water/alkali based alternative to burial and cremations with significant environmental benefits and is both dignified and respectful.

Islam is adamantly still opposed to cremation, Judaism isn't particularly thrilled with it either, and Catholics now apparently approve of it - but there appears to be no moral problem with using alkaline hydrolosis, which is "green cremation".

Most religions honour the body that houses the soul, and do not advocate scattering the ashes to the four winds.

What is Resomation or green cremation? Please read the following:

A body is placed inside a vault-like tube(after being wrapped in a silk bag)and the chamber is sealed, filled with water and lye, and steam heated to 300 degrees. After three hours all that is left are crumbly bone fragments(to bury in an urn or scatter) and 200 gallons of fluid with a ph level described being between handsoap and ammonia.

The end product is that the resulting fluids can be sent to the sewer like last night's bath water, or even spread on fields or gardens - making one a truly Green Being. The process has no sooty emissions and uses 80% less energy than regular cremation.

The total carbon footprint is allegedly 18 times less than standard cremation. It is reportedly 100% mercury free, and the hot trend with today's enviro-friendly crowd.

Resomation the green cremation

Friday, December 25, 2009

Nice bike you got there Kid...

On Christmas morning, a cop on horseback sits at a traffic light next to a kid on a shiny new bike.

The cop says to the kid, "Nice bike you got there. Did Santa bring that to you?"

The kid says, "Yeah."

The cop says, "Well, next year, tell Santa to put a tail light on that bike."

The cop then issues the kid a $20 bicycle safety violation ticket.

The kid takes the ticket and says, "By the way, that's a nice horse you got there. Did Santa bring that to you?"

Humoring the kid, the cop says, "Yeah, he sure did."

The kid says, "Well, next year tell Santa to put the d**k underneath the horse, instead of on top."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Greenpeace: Emails, global scientific consensus and the winner is...

Greenpeace: Emails, global scientific consensus and the winner...

A few emails vs global scientific consensus: guess who the winner is?

(Thanks to Nick Anderson for the use of his cartoon.)

Like a bad smell, the theft of emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) hangs around the Copenhagen conference and threatens to distract people from what really needs to be discussed. Suddenly, everyone seems to be a scientific expert ready to denounce a global conspiracy but you don't have to dig down far to see just how misinformed some people are willing to be.

Many people have strong suspicions that it's no coincidence these emails surfaced a couple of weeks before the UN climate summit, or that the few emails highlighted out of 13 years' worth of data are part of a co-ordinated attempt to damage everyone's trust in the science which is driving these negotiations.

In his speech during the opening of the conference (pdf), chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr Rajendra Pachauri noted that "the recent incident of stealing the emails of scientists at the University of East Anglia shows that some would go to the extent of carrying out illegal acts perhaps in an attempt to discredit the IPCC."

And equally, many people have provided sound explanations for the suggestive words and out-of-context passages the increasingly-desperate climate deniers have pounced upon.

You'll know the three or four emails which have been held up as proof of an ongoing conspiracy amongst scientists. In particular, there's the one explaining how to use a "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperatures - John Cook explains on Skeptical Science how this relates to the divergence between temperature records derived from tree ring data and those from observed temperatures:

The "decline" refers to the "divergence problem". This is where tree ring proxies diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960. The divergence problem is discussed as early as 1998, suggesting a change in the sensitivity of tree growth to temperature in recent decades (Briffa 1998). It is also examined more recently in Wilmking 2008 which explores techniques in eliminating the divergence problem. So when you look at Phil Jones's email in the context of the science discussed, it is not the schemings of a climate conspiracy but technical discussions of data handling techniques available in the peer reviewed literature.

If paleoclimatology isn't your strong point, here's an entertaining video summary of how the emails have been misinterpreted.

Think about how many emails you'd send in 13 years. Then consider that if these examples are the best material to run a smear campaign with, then whoever did this is really desperate. Unlike most other people, Canada's Green party leader Elizabeth May read all the emails. Every single one. "How dare the world’s media fall into the trap set by contrarian propagandists without reading the whole set?" she says as she highlights how some without a scientific background have been only too eager to manipulate data they don't really understand to get the result they want. Which is exactly what Dr Phil Jones and others at the CRU are being accused of.

And there's been plenty of speculation about who did this, but maybe we'll never know. Of course the timing may be coincidental, the emails may have been hacked by somebody with entirely different motivations, we just don’t know. But what we do know is that there have been other reports of break-in and hacking attempts at other climate research centres, making it seem suspiciously like a deliberate attempt to undermine the Copenhagen talks.

The science of climate change is not based on the work of scientists at the CRU, but draws on thousands of peer-reviewed studies from all over the world, including sea-ice cover, sea level rise, glacial retreat, and temperatures of ocean, land and air. The assessments of the IPCC which are driving international action are the result of one of the most rigorous and robust scientific endeavour ever devised. Anyone who has doubts should get hold of a school textbook and revise, because it all rests on some very elementary science.

And the planet is still getting warmer. Earlier this week, the Met Office revealed that this decade has been the warmest on record, and 2009 is on track to be the fifth warmest year. As a result, sea levels are rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and the Arctic sea ice is melting.

Meanwhile, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has reiterated this, saying that "global climate change caused by human activities is now underway, and it is a growing threat to society." And for a neat summary of what is happening out there, I'd recommend reading the Copenhagen Diagnosis report (pdf) produced by the Climate Change Research Centre at University of New South Wales to provide a summary of the research published since the last IPCC one. It's not long and easy to follow, but if you can't face it just go for the summary. It's all there.

And we're expected to reject worldwide scientific consensus based on peer-reviewed research because of a few out-of-context emails which haven't even been through a spell check? Pull the other one.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hitler's remains identified by dental records, and fragment of skull exists...

Deep in the Lubyanka, headquarters of Russia’s secret police, a fragment of Hitler’s jaw is preserved as a trophy of the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany. A fragment of skull with a bullet hole lies in the State Archive.

So when American academics claimed that DNA tests showed the skull to be that of a woman, they challenged a long-cherished tale of the hunt for Hitler’s remains. Yesterday the chief archivist of the Federal Security Service (FSB) insisted that the bones were genuine and told of how the KGB destroyed almost all traces of the dictator’s corpse.

Lieutenant-General Vasily Khristoforov said that the remains had been incinerated in 1970 and the ashes thrown into a river in East Germany.

Agents under orders from the head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov, had dug up a grave containing Hitler, his wife Eva Braun and the family of his henchman Joseph Goebbels. The officers had removed the remains from a burial ground in a Soviet base at Magdeburg, Andropov having written to Soviet party chiefs recommending that the bodies be destroyed after it was decided to pass the base to East Germany.

Times Archive, 1945: Jawbones identified as Hitler's
Confirming a statement made by Russian officers, Hitler's body has been identified with certainty by dental evidence

Topic: Hitler's Suicide

Magdeburg shuns the Hitler connection:

In April 1970, Andropov compiled a report declaring that “the remains were burnt on a vacant area outside Schönebeck, 11 kilometres from Magdeburg, ground into ashes, gathered and thrown into the Biederitz river” — either the Ehle river near Biederitz suburb or the Biederitzer See.

General Khristoforov told the Interfax news agency that Hitler’s remains had been destroyed out of concern that his grave could become a Nazi shrine. “It was not worth leaving any grounds for the rise of a cult of worship . . . there are people who profess the fascist ideology, regrettably even in Russia.”

Hitler’s remains arrived in Magdeburg in early 1946 after a peripatetic eight months. The bodies of Hitler and Braun had been crudely cremated on April 30, 1945, at the site of his bunker in Berlin. He had bitten a cyanide pellet then shot himself.

When the Red Army reached the bunker they found the two charred corpses alongside the bodies of Goebbels and his wife. At first there was some doubt as to whether it was really Hitler. It was transported for examination to a field hospital near Berlin.

Hitler’s dental records were located and glass splinters found in his jawbone, suggesting that he had bitten a poison capsule. The early report made no mention of a gunshot wound, perhaps because Soviet officers did not want to anger Stalin by suggesting that Hitler had died a “hero’s death”. But in the meantime, witnesses from the bunker were telling their interrogators that Hitler had indeed shot himself.

The mixed signals must have unsettled Stalin. As long as uncertainty remained, the counterintelligence organisation Smersh and NKVD units wanted to hang on to Hitler’s remains. Every time the Smersh unit moved, Hitler went with it — buried in a wood on the fringes of Berlin, then in Rathenow, and then again when an investigation committee was set up and he was taken to Magdeburg.

Hitler’s jawbone and a fragment of his skull had been sent to the Kremlin. The rest of the remains were kept at the Soviet compound in Magdeburg until it was decided to hand the barracks to the East German military.

General Khristoforov insisted that the FSB had no reason to question the authenticity of the skull fragments in its possession. In September professors at the University of Connecticut had claimed that DNA samples showed the skull to have come from a woman aged up to 40.

General Khristoforov said: “Hitler’s jaw is at the FSB archives, the fragment of skull at the State Archive. These materials are the only documentary evidence of Hitler’s death.” He did not offer DNA proof. The jaw has never been seen in public.


Hitlers remains

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A maori village is to be built in Qufu City in China...

A multi-million dollar venture is putting Northcote's Awataha Marae in Auckland on the international map. It has signed a cooperation agreement with a major Chinese company to open up tourism opportunities for both China and New Zealand. The venture will see Awataha building a Maori Cultural Village on a two-hectare site in Qufu City - in China's northeast province of Shandong - the birthplace of Confucius. Awataha leader and spokesman Anthony Wilson says the agreement "secures for the Maori people and New Zealand a stake in a $200 million tourism development project in the city".

"This is an important deal for us. It's a great big project and it will create not only job and training opportunities but also open up a new gateway for Maori and New Zealand culture to flourish globally," he says. Mr Wilson was in Qufu recently to formally sign the agreement with his counterparts from the New Zealand Gardens Qufu. The company is building the New Zealand Gardens theme park at the Shimenshan Scenic National Forest Park north of Qufu. The 670ha development will feature the Maori village as the main gateway to the park, tipped to attract millions of tourists from China and around the world.

The park will have a 54-hole golf course, a dairy farm, organic orchards, vineyard and winery, equestrian club, hotels, luxury villas and spa resort and an international school. "The level of investment being poured into this project is in excess of two billion Chinese yuan or around $200m. "To be part of a massive development with limitless potential is historic for Awataha and it signals a new dawn for the Maori people," he says. Awataha's part of the project would be to build and maintain the Maori village.

It will erect an exact replica of its wharenui or meeting house on the Shore and build a 36-metre tall waharoa or gateway into the complex. "The cultural protocol that we've agreed upon provides that everything comes through the village," he says. The gateway will be adorned with traditional carvings promoting the principle of kotahitanga or unity of people. He says Awataha is also able to leverage ownership of part of the village and become "stakeholders of the whole thing".

"It also opens up a direct link between New Zealand, China and the world and provides a window for Maori culture and New Zealand in general," he says. The joint venture will be formally launched in Wellington on Monday with a powerhouse delegation from China coming over for the ceremony.

Acknowledgements: Awataha Marae Project

Elly's story

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oscar Wilde a literary genius...

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish dramatist, poet, and author wrote the darkly sardonic Faustian themed The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891);

In the centre of the room, clamped to an upright easel, stood the full-length portrait of a young man of extraordinary personal beauty, and in front of it, some little distance away, was sitting the artist himself, Basil Hallward, .... "I hate them for it,"cried Hallward. "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what it is; and for that reason the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray." Read more here


Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest "celebrities" of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest. As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years' hard labour after being convicted of homosexual relationships, described as "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry, never to return to Ireland or Britain.

Statue of Oscar Wilde in Dublin's Merrion Square (Archbishop Ryan Park)Oscar Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin. He was the second son of Sir William Wilde and his wife Jane Francesca Wilde. Jane Wilde, under the pseudonym "Speranza" (Italian word for 'hope'), wrote poetry for the revolutionary Young Irelanders in 1848 and was a life-long Irish nationalist.[1] William Wilde was Ireland's leading oto-ophthalmologic (ear and eye) surgeon and was knighted in 1864 for his services to medicine.[1] He also wrote books about archaeology and folklore. A renowned philanthropist, his dispensary for the care of the city's poor at the rear of Trinity College, Dublin, was the forerunner of the Dublin Eye and Ear Hospital, now located at Adelaide Road.

In 1855, the family moved to 1 Merrion Square, where Wilde's sister, Isola, was born the following year. Lady Wilde held a regular Saturday afternoon salon with guests that included Sheridan le Fanu, Charles Lever, George Petrie, Isaac Butt and Samuel Ferguson.

Oscar Wilde was educated at home until he was nine. He then attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Fermanagh,[2] spending the summer months with his family in rural Waterford, Wexford and at his father's family home in Mayo. There Wilde played with the older George Moore.

Leaving Portora, Wilde studied classics at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874, sharing rooms with his older brother Willie Wilde. His tutor, John Pentland Mahaffy, the leading Greek scholar at Trinity, interested him in Greek literature. Wilde was an outstanding student and won the Berkeley Gold Medal, the highest award available to classics students at Trinity. He was awarded a scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied from 1874 to 1878 and became a part of the Aesthetic movement; one of its tenets was to make an art of life.

Wilde had a disappointing relationship with the prestigious Oxford Union. On matriculating in 1874, he had applied to join the Union, but failed to be elected.[3] Nevertheless, when the Union's librarian requested a presentation copy of Poems (1881), Wilde complied. After a debate called by Oliver Elton, the book was condemned for alleged plagiarism and returned to Wilde.[4][5]

While at Magdalen, Wilde won the 1878 Newdigate Prize for his poem Ravenna, which he read at Encaenia; he failed to win the Chancellor's English Essay Prize with an essay that would be published posthumously as The Rise of Historical Criticism (1909). In November 1878, he graduated with a double first in classical moderations and Literae Humaniores, or "Greats".

At Oxford University, Wilde petitioned a Masonic Lodge and was later raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, retaining his membership in the Craft until his death.[6]

Wilde was greatly disliked by some of his fellow students, who threw his china at him.[7]

1881 caricature in Punch:

Keller cartoon from the Wasp of San Francisco depicting Wilde on the occasion of his visit there in 1882While at Magdalen College, Wilde became particularly well known for his role in the aesthetic and decadent movements. He began wearing his hair long and openly scorning so-called "manly" sports, and began decorating his rooms with peacock feathers, lilies, sunflowers, blue china and other objets d'art.

Legends persist that his behaviour cost him a dunking in the River Cherwell in addition to having his rooms (which still survive as student accommodation at his old college) vandalized, but the cult spread among certain segments of society to such an extent that languishing attitudes, "too-too" costumes and aestheticism generally became a recognised pose. Publications such as the Springfield Republican commented on Wilde's behaviour during his visit to Boston to lecture on aestheticism, suggesting that Wilde's conduct was more of a bid for notoriety rather than a devotion to beauty and the aesthetic. Wilde's mode of dress also came under attack by critics such as Higginson, who wrote in his paper Unmanly Manhood, of his general concern that Wilde's effeminacy would influence the behaviour of men and women, arguing that his poetry "eclipses masculine ideals [..that..] under such influence men would become effeminate dandies". He also scrutinised the links between Oscar Wilde's writing, personal image and homosexuality, calling his work and way of life "immoral".

Literary genius

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Peruvian gang allegedly killed peasants to get body fat for the cosmetic business...

A gang in the remote Peruvian jungle has allegedly been killing people for their fat, draining it from their corpses and offering it on the black market for use in cosmetics, police have said.

Peruvian police say they have arrested three members of a gang who murdered a string of peasant farmers, drained the fat from their dead bodies, and then attempted to sell it to European cosmetics manufacturers.

The men have confessed to a total of five killings, but are suspected of dozens more. Police believe they approached their victims on remote roads and lured them to a hut in the jungle with talk of being able to introduce them to a potential employer. Instead, the victims were bludgeoned to death.

Each of their bodies then had its head, arms and legs cut off. Major organs were removed, and discarded, before the torso was suspended from hooks in the ceiling of the hut. Candles were placed beneath, so that melting fat would dribble into pots, pans and other collecting vessels.

Suspects allegedly told police the bottles of liquid fat they had when arrested were worth $21,000 a litre. But medical experts expressed scepticism that a major market existed for fat. Peru's police chief of the anti- kidnapping squad, Colonel Jorge Mejia, said the suspects said the fat was sold to intermediaries in Lima, the Peruvian capital.

Read more here

Monday, November 16, 2009

The world's craziest horse laws...

The world's craziest horse laws...

Want to keep horses under control? It's easy. Just pass a law. Neil Clarkson looks at some of the world's silliest horse laws.

Horses tend to be law-abiding creatures. Very few end up in jail or being fined.

The same, however, cannot be said for their human counterparts. Humans, in fact, do some monumentally stupid things - and just occasionally they involve horses.

In fact, one unfortunate American woman even made the finals of the 2000 Darwin Awards for her dealings with a horse. The famous awards are given posthumously to people whose passing might, uncharitably, be considered to be improving the world's gene pool.

The woman in question struck on the less than bright idea of using her body as a hitching post while trying to bridle a green horse. Suffice to say, she won't be making the same mistake twice.

However, a little bit of research reveals that people don't just do dumb things with horses, they also make dumb laws to cover them.

Yes, while horses are quietly grazing their paddocks, there are politicians and district administrators busily coming up with ever more ingenious ways to keep law and order in the horse world.

New Zealand has not been immune from this legislative barnstorming.

The nation's Parliament passed the Police Offences Act in 1928. It remained in force until a new Act was passed in 1981.

The old Police Offences Act covered a raft of misdemeanours. It was, for example, an offence to allow a mare to be mated within site of a public road. Why it was all right for cattle and sheep and do the wild thing beside the road, and not horses, is now lost in the sands of time.

Mind you, the same Act also made it illegal to fly a kite, beat a rug in public, and wear slippers in a public place by night.

It was also an offence to "ride furiously". This beautifully crafted phrase was obviously to cover the old-fashioned equivalent of reckless driving.

Make no mistake. Plenty of people died on the roads under the hooves of horses or the wheels of carriages.

Speed, as we all know, can be dangerous, whether it involves a horse or a car.

Hence, the ingenious lawmakers in Indianapolis, Indiana, hit on the brilliant idea of imposing a speed limit on horses. If you're wondering where the speedometer is on a horse, it's right next to the fuel gauge, just above the light switch.

Any rider doing more than 10mph was in big trouble.

Imagine the court cases:

Policeman: "I reckon he was doing 14mph."
Defendant: "Well I reckon I wasn't."

Judge: "I don't know what to reckon."

Speed is also an issue in Rhode Island. It's illegal to race horses on a public road, or even to "try the speed of a horse". Expect a fine of up to $US20 or 10 days in the slammer
Horses in some parts of the world are clearly nothing but trouble. Marshalltown, Iowa, forbids horses from eating fire hydrants. I thought they were made of steel, but perhaps in Marshalltown they build them from lucerne hay.

Utah decreed that it was unlawful to fish from horseback. That's inconvenient.

Pennsylvania outlawed singing in the bathtub. Fair enough - there's some pretty bad singers out there. But when it came to horses, they afforded them the full protection of the law. Many years ago, farmers were none too pleased by those new fangled automobiles, so they used a bit of political pressure to enact some entirely reasonable laws.

For example, if a driver came across a team of horses they had to pull to the side of the road and cover their car with a blanket that blended into the surroundings to encourage the horses to pass.

If that failed to persuade them, the car owner had to dismantle the "machine" and hide it in the bushes. I bet a lot of car owners simply turned around and drove home again.

Things got even tougher for drivers in Pennsylvania at night. They were required to send up a rocket every mile on country roads, before waiting for 10 minutes for the road ahead to be cleared of stock. In Wilbur, Washington, it's an offence to ride an ugly horse, while in Calgary, Canada, they're far less concerned about ugly horses, but still have a bylaw requiring businesses to provide hitching rails.

New Orleans may have had its problem in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, but they're certainly not standing for any nonsense from horse owners. It's illegal there to tie a horse to a tree alongside a public highway.

Oklahoma will deal with you sternly if you engage in bear wrestling. They've also banned "horse tripping events". This sounds tame enough but it isn't. Horse tripping is used in training (such as a 'Running W' [running wire]) or in filming motion-pictures wherein the horse is pulled down or a trip-wire is set up, rather than trained to fall. If one reviews old films, it's easy to see where tripping is used, as the horses crash onto their faces, as opposed to trained falling horses which learn to fall when their heads are turned sideways. There's more on this here.

In Alberta, when they say they want to get crooks out of town, they mean it. There is a law that requires any person being released from jail be given a handgun, bullets, and a horse so that they can head off into the sunset.


Acknowledgements: Neil Clarkson

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Strong Leonid Meteor Shower Predicted for 2009...

Strong Leonid Meteor Shower Predicted for 2009

The annual Leonid meteor shower put on some dramatic sky shows in 1999 and 2001, but in recent years the event has been comparatively mundane.

Next year could be another doozie.

Astronomers now predict the 2009 Leonids could produce more than 500 shooting stars per hour for skywatchers with clear skies in certain locations. Asia looks to have the best seats, but North America might not be left out.

Such a rate would be much less than the brilliant displays a few years back, but still delightful to watch.

"On Nov. 17, 2009, we expect the Leonids to produce upwards of 500 meteors per hour," said Bill Cooke of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "That's a very strong display."

Astronomers from Caltech and NASA base their joint prediction on an outburst that occurred this year, on Nov. 17, that they figure heralds even more intense activity next November.

The Leonids are created by bits of debris left behind by the repeat passages through the inner solar system of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. There are several streams. This year, Earth passed through one laid down in the year 1466. Most astronomers did not expect it to produce much.

But observers in Asia and Europe counted as many as 100 meteors per hour, according to a NASA statement today. That shows the 1466 stream is rich in meteor-producing debris. And in 2009, our planet will pass through this stream again, but this time closer to its center, where more material should be there to slam into our atmosphere.

The stuff, typically the size of a sand grain, vaporizes in the atmosphere. Some pea-sized objects create dramatic fireballs.

When showers exceed 1,000 meteors per hour, they are called storms. This one is not expected to reach that level.

The timing: "We predict a sub-storm level outburst on Nov. 17, 2009, peaking sometime between 21:34 and 21:44 UT," Cooke said. That favors observers in Asia, although Cooke won't rule out a nice show over North America when darkness falls hours after the peak. "I hope so," he said. "It's a long way to Mongolia."


Ken Korczac's Leonid Meteor Showers

Discoveries in the Deep: How astronauts practice to explore other worlds...

Discoveries in the Deep: How Astronauts Practice to Explore Other Worlds

Pavilion Lake, in British Columbia, Canada, is home to a biological mystery. Microbialites, coral-like structures built by bacteria, in a variety of sizes and shapes, carpet the lakebed. That's unusual for a freshwater lake like Pavilion. So unusual that researchers don't know of any other freshwater lake in the world that has microbialites with some of the same strange shapes.

That explains why scientists have established the Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP) to study the lake. They want to understand what's so unusual about seemingly normal Pavilion Lake, how the microbial structures manage to survive, why they aren't destroyed by snails, worms and other grazing animals, as they are elsewhere.

What it doesn't explain is why NASA's MMAMA (Moon and Mars Analogue Missions Activities) program has funded the PRLP to continue its work for the next several years. Or why astronauts from NASA and CSA (the Canadian Space Agency) are participating in the project. After all, there are no lakes on the moon, and it's been a long time since there were any on Mars.

Because of the logistical difficulty of doing comprehensive exploration in an underwater environment, however, lessons learned in the process of exploring Pavilion Lake are directly relevant to future human exploration of other worlds.

"We're doing science in a setting where we have limited life support," says Darlene Lim of NASA Ames Research Center, PLRP's principal investigator. "I can't just walk out and hang out with [an interesting] rock all day."

Read more

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dinosaur prints found in NZ for the first time...

Dinosaur prints found in New Zealand for first time...

Seventy-million-year-old dinosaur footprints found near Whanganui inlet in NW Nelson; probably made by sauropods

Scientists have found 70-million-year-old dinosaur footprints in northwest Nelson.

They are the first dinosaur footprints to be recognised in New Zealand and the first evidence of dinosaurs in the South Island.

Geologist Greg Browne of GNS Science, found the prints while investigating rock and sediment formations near the Whanganui inlet. They are at six locations over an area of about 10 kilometres. At one location there are up to 20 footprints.

The depressions are roughly circular, with the largest about 60cm in diameter. Most are smaller, typically between 10 and 20cm in diameter.

Dr Browne believes the markings were made by sauropods, which were large herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and tails and pillar-like legs. The prints were made in beach sands and were probably quickly covered and preserved by mud from subsequent tides.

?What makes this discovery special is the unique preservation of the footprints in an environment where they could easily have been destroyed by waves, tides, or wind.?

While paleontologists know that dinosaurs were present in ancient New Zealand, the record of their presence is very sketchy.

Dinosaur bones have only been found in northern Hawke's Bay, Port Waikato, and the Chatham Islands.

Dr Browne said the footprints added a considerable amount of information about how dinosaurs moved, how fast they moved, how big they were as well as how soft the sediment was when they moved through the area.

"This discovery opens the way for further study on a range of dinosaur-related issues in New Zealand."

Northwest Nelson was largely submerged under the sea between 70 and 20 million years ago and the footprints would have been covered by hundreds of metres of marine sediments. With the development of the ?modern plate boundary?, New Zealand was uplifted and northwest Nelson emerged from the sea. During the past 20 million years, the overlying sedimentary rock has been eroded away to expose the footprints again.

Dinosaur bones have previously been found in New Zealand, but not actual footprints.

Acknowlegements: NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Read more here

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gigantic jellyfish sink Japanese fishing trawler...

A 10-tonne fishing trawler has been sunk by gigantic jellyfish off the east coast of Japan.

The fishing boat, called the Diasan Shinsho-maru, capsized as its crew was trying to retrieve a net with dozens of huge Nomura's jellyfish inside, UK newspaper the Telegraph reports.

Japanese waters have been invaded by an unusually high number of the giant Nomura's jellyfish — which can weigh up to 200kg — this year.

The three-man crew was thrown into the water off Chiba when the boat overturned, but was then rescued by another trawler.

A local coast guard reported the sea was calm at the time of the accident.

Nomura's jellyfish can grow up to 2m in diameter.

Sightings of the species off Japan's coasts were rare last year, but in 2005 a similar invasion of the jellyfish caused mayhem by damaging nets, injuring fishermen and rendering some fish inedible because of their poisonous stings.

Experts believe a decline in numbers of the jellyfish's predators, including sea turtles, may be behind this year's influx.

Acknowledgements: MSN NZ News

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Change human DNA or computers will take over the world...

Stephen Hawking, the acclaimed scientist and writer, reignited the debate over genetic engineering yesterday by recommending that humans change their DNA through genetic modification to keep ahead of advances in computer technology and stop intelligent machines from 'taking over the world'.

He made the remarks in an interview with the German magazine Focus. Because technology is advancing so quickly, Hawking said, 'computers double their performance every month'. Humans, in contrast, are developing much more slowly, and so must change their DNA make-up or be left behind. 'The danger is real,' he said, 'that this [computer] intelligence will develop and take over the world.'

Hawking, author of the best-selling A Brief History Of Time and a professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, recommended 'well-aimed manipulation' of human genes. Through this humans could 'raise the complexity of... the DNA [they are born with], thereby improving people'. He conceded the road to genetic modification would be a long one but said: 'We should follow this road if we want biological systems to remain superior to electronic ones.'

He also advocated cyber-technology - direct links between human brains and computers. 'We must develop as quickly as possible technologies that make possible a direct connection between brain and computer, so that artificial brains contribute to human intelligence rather than opposing it.'

While scientists are excited by the huge possibilities of genetic engineering and human interaction with machines, ethicists urge caution as the experiments could go wrong.

Sue Mayer, director of policy research group Genewatch, rounded on Hawking's remarks. 'He is trying to take the debate about genetic engineering in the wrong direction,' she said. 'It is naive to think that genetic engineering will help us stay ahead of computers.

Acknowledgements: The Observer

Read more

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pavlopetri - and the lost sunken city with no name...

Was the secrets of a lost sunken southern Greek city the inspiration for the fabled "Atlantis"? An interesting thought I would suggest.

Exploration by an Anglo-Greek archaelogical and marine geological team, known as PAVLOPETRI, has revealed a sunken settlement dating back 5000 years to the period of Mycenaean society and Homer's heroes. In terms of size and wealth of detail, it is unprecedented, experts maintain.

The site, straddling some 30,000 square meters of ocean floor off southern Laconia, is believed to have been consumed by the sea around 10,000 BC.

Due to shifting sends and the settlements enclosure in a protected bay, the team's exploration has revealed a world of buildings, courtyards, main streets, rock cut tombs and religious structures - everything we would imagine Atlantis could be. The seabed was replete with thousands of shards of broken pottery from the stoneage, suggesting the settlement was occupied at least 1200 years earlier than originally thought.

Marine geologists have not yet discovered why the settlement sunk. Many theories abound - sea level changes, earthquakes, or even tsunamis.

It is the first time a sunken city has been discovered in Greece that predates the time that Plato penned his allegorical tale of Atlantis, the sunken city.

Read more about the sunken city here

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NZ needs a gang taskforce says Aussie detective...

The head of Victoria police's Purana Taskforce says New Zealand needs to set up a similar group to fight organised crime

An Australian detective says New Zealand police need to crack down on organised crime or face a situation similar to Victoria's bloody gangland killings.

Detective Inspector Bernie Edwards heads Victoria's Purana Taskforce, formed in 2003 following a series of bloody gangland killings in the state. In six years they have seized $80 million worth of assets and caught 24 offenders for 37 murders.

Mr Edwards spoke this morning at the Police Association conference and says we can learn from what has happened in Australia to prevent similar violence here.

"Our crisis was the gangland killings that woke us up to the fact that organised crime is here. The more we delve the more drugs, money - you name it they're into. New Zealand, you don't need your crisis, you've realised you've got a problem, because the world's got a problem."

Mr Edwards says hopefully New Zealand police can learn from the mistakes of their Australian counterparts, to stop organised crime before the shootings and killings start.

"One of my main messages I want to get across to New Zealand - organised crime isn't coming, it's here. And it's here to stay and it's globally - it's not just people committing single crimes, they just commit whatever crimes are possible."

Mr Edwards says it is also up to the Government to address the issue. He says New Zealand needs a group similar to the Purana Taskforce.

"If New Zealand got a heavily resourced and supported organised crime squad . . . then people start listening and hearing all your successes in the media - then you can start building up a credibility to ask for legislation changes."

Mr Edwards says if the nation does not do anything, the next generation of criminals is going to be unstoppable.

Acknowledgements: 2009 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Parents nightmare - two year old Auckland toddler now missing for five days...

Police hunting for missing toddler Aisling Symes have not ruled out she could have been stolen to order.

Nothing has been seen of the bright and bubbly two-year-old since Monday night when she was last seen with an Asian woman who was holding a dog on a lead.

Aisling's disappearance from her deceased grandparents' Longburn Rd home in Henderson has sparked one of the biggest police hunts for years.

But after three days of searching police have found no sign of the toddler and investigation head Inspector Gary Davey said today it was looking increasingly likely she had been kidnapped.

He could not rule out that she may have been stolen to order.

"That is a possibility. What I am trying to do is to convince the public to keep an open mind."

He said if she was taken to order it would be a very, very rare occurrence.

"We don't have any evidence to suggest any scenario. Some are more likely than others.

"For example abduction is more likely than her wandering off, given the thoroughness of our search."

It was also a possibility she had been a hit-and-run victim where the driver had panicked and taken her away.

Mr Davey said search and rescue experts believed after studying the creek near her family's house, the rainfall, and the water flows, it was "highly unlikely" she would have been swept down the creek before the police began their intense search of the area.

He said the mystery Asian woman seen with Aisling about 5.30pm on Monday had still to be identified and there was still a possibility she had no idea of the search or the grief of the parents, Alan and Angela Symes.

Davey said at a press conference yesterday that despite a comprehensive search of the area: "We cannot locate Aisling."

Sitting alongside the parents, he made a direct appeal to anyone who might have snatched Aisling.

"Police are still hopeful that she is alive and being cared for and I'm talking to that person ... I just would like to say to whomever may have Aisling out there, the sole focus of the police at the moment is to have Aisling returned safely ... We hope that you come forward and leave her in a safe place so that she can be found."

Mr Davey said officers were also continuing to profile "people of concern" in the area. More police were joining the inquiry to work on this.

Police had also received 111 calls of sightings of Asian women with babies, after police appeals to the woman in her 30s who was walking her dog when she spoke to Aisling in Longburn Rd.

As police struggle for leads, fear of more snatches is beginning to haunt other parents.

"It will have a tremendous impact ... everything you do now you will be holding on to your children tightly," said the head of the local community board, Elizabeth Grimmer, a grandmother of two. "Children just aren't going to be able to run freely and us feel safe ..."

Ad Feedback In the parents' first public appeal, Mr Symes, a former search and rescue worker and security guard, described the past four days as "the most harrowing of our lives" and said the couple had not slept.

He read from a prepared statement, pausing midway to compose himself, while his wife buried her head in his shoulder.

"We feel like we're barely existing, surviving every moment not knowing where Aisling is," he said. "Is she near us or has she been moved far away? Is she being treated well, things like has her nappy been changed ... these thoughts churn through us as we huddle close as a family and we try to wait to find out if there is anything."

As the couple left the briefing room, police hurriedly shut the door as Mrs Symes broke into wracking sobs.

A child psychology expert said Aisling would now be distressed if she had been abducted.

Canterbury University associate professor Lianne Woodward, said: "She could be very unsettled and irritated, her sleep might not be very good, there might be some crying."

The effects of such a trauma would depend on how long it took for her to be returned, she said. "If she's reunited with her parents soon, there's much less concern. But if it goes on, or there's been abuse, then the concern grows."

An abductor could care for Aisling by doing "the basics" – feeding and cleaning her – but she needed her parents for her emotional wellbeing.

A families commissioner, Christine Rankin, said parents needed to take extra care.

"Until we know if someone is out there that is a danger, absolutely, the more vigilant they are the better. I don't think there's any room to be casual about this at all."

But Waitemata police communications manager Kevin Loughlin said: "There is no additional reason for parents to be concerned with their children at this time.

"We are dealing with a missing persons inquiry. We haven't even identified any individual or person or factors around that."

Prime Minister John Key urged anyone with information to come forward. "Our hearts go out to the family, we are very concerned about her welfare and we hope for a speedy and successful return of the little girl."

Acknowledgements: The Dominion Post with NZPA

Help find my child

Saturday, October 3, 2009

John Trudell - Native American activist the FBI couldn't stop speaking out...

Concerning John Trudell - The Native American activist the FBI couldn't stop speaking out.

"Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself...and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty."

Chief Joseph

"When I go around in America and I see the bulk of the white people, they do not feel oppressed; they feel powerless. When I go amongst my people, we do not feel powerless,we feel oppressed."

John Trudell

Recent discussion's re John Trudell noted that he is a "charismatic" speaker. The comment reminded me that, inasmuch as he has passed through the fire, Trudell's charisma is well founded. Accordingly, it is important to keep the following specifics in mind. When you see the man...listen to his music, remember; what we are is where we have been. No one can take that from us.

Trudell and the FBI:

The Peltier assassination effort appears to be only one of several abortive but deadly FBI counterintelligence operations directed at the remnants of AIM during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Another, even grimmer example concerns the death of the family of AIM's last national chairman, John Trudell:
In February 1979, Trudell led a march in Washington, D.C. to draw attention to the difficulties the Indians were having. Although he received a warning against speaking out, he delivered an address from the steps of the FBI building on the subject of the agency's harassment of Indians...Less than 12 hours later, Trudell's wife, Tina, his three children, and his wife's mother were burned alive in the family home in Duck Valley, Nevada - the apparent work of an arsonist.
Further detail:

On the Shoshone-Paiute Reservation of Duck Valley, straddling the Nevada-Idaho border, at 1:30 a.m., February 12, 1979, a fire ripped through the house of Arthur Manning and his family. Manning was a member of the Duck Valley Tribal Council who was actively working for Shoshone-Paiute treaty rights. Opposition to Manning included the local tribal police chief, Benny Richards, a former member of the Wilson goon squad on Pine Ridge [and brother of intended Peltier assassi Chuck Richards; both are of the Pine Ridge 'Manson Family'], and the local BIA Director John Artichoker, also from Pine Ridge. Manning's wife, Leah, was a coordinator for social services on the reservation. Their daughter, Tina, had been working actively in a local campaign to preserve the tribe's water riights at Wildhorse Resorvoir; she was opposed by the local BIA, Elko County [and] Nevada officials, the water recreation industry, and local white ranchers. Tina's husband was John Trudell, national chairman of AIM [from approximately 1974-80]. The Trudell's had three children: Ricarda Star [age five], Sunshine Karma [three], and Eli Changin Sun [one]...The fire [caught] the entire family asleep. Dead were Leah Hicks-Manning, her daughter Tina, and the three young children. Arthur Manning survived the blaze. The BIA issued a statement saying the fire was an accident. Trudell believes his family was murdered.

The basis for Trudell's belief rested in his AIM activities in general, and with regard to the Peltier case in particular.

During the Peltier trial in Fargo, North Dakota, Trudell had returned to the courtroom one day when a marshall informed him that he would not be allowed inside. An argument ensued, and Trudell was evicted. He was later arrested for the incident, charged with contempt of court, convicted before [U.S. District] Judge Ronald Davies, and sentenced to sixty days in jail. He served his time in five institutions in three states [a matter clearly reminiscent of the handling of Leonard Crow Dog]. While in Springfield Prison in Missouri, he was told by a fellow inmate that if he did not stop his Indian rights work his family would be killed.

Of course, as is indicated above, the Mannings had no shortage of enemies at Duck Valley, any one or group of which might have perpetrated the fatal arson (assuming it was arson - despitte the obvious basis for suspicion, and Trudell's repeated allegations in this regard, no formal investigation of the fire was ever conducted by the FBI). However, given the overall contect of apparent illegalities involved in the FBI's anti-AIM operations, and the concomitantly high stakes which would be involved in their disclosure, more than usual heed should be paid to Trudell's contentions:

When I got sent up for sixty days, that time in Fargo, I was approached by another inmate, a guy I didn't know, and he started talking about my public statements. You can't go around talking that shit, he says, you better get out of the country. You don't know these crazy bastards [the FBI] - they could kill your wife and children. Well, I was suspicious of the guy's so-called warning at the time; that was a message John Trudell was supposed to receive. I knwo who did it. What I still don't understand is why; it was so unnecessary. But it was arson, and it was deliberate - an assassination. Those people did a terrible thing; they should think a long, long time about what they did.

Trudell has explained that, in essence, he believes the death of his family was 'set up' by the FBI as part of its strategy to silence his and other AIM members' attempts to draw broad public attention to the Bureau's pattern of abuses concerning AIM in general and Pine Ridge in particular [see earlier post entitled AIM, Pine Ridge, and the FBI]. He attributes the emphasis placed upon himself and his family in this regard not only to his high position within AIM, but to the FBI's assessment of his special talents as a speaker/organizer, repeated over and over in the investigatory documents amassed on him between 1969 and 1979 (some 17,000 pages of which were released in a FOIA suit in 1986):

Trudell is an intelligent individual and loquent speaker who has the ability to stimulate people into action. TRUDELL is a known hardliner who openly advocates and encourages the use of violence [i.e., armed self-defense] although he himself never becomes involved in the fighting...TRUDELL has the ability to meet with a group of pacifists and in a short time have them yelling and screaming 'right-on!' In short, he is an extremely effective agitator.
Said by Trudell in 1980:

When I go around in America and I see the bulk of the white people, they do not feel oppressed; they feel powerless. When I go amongst my people, we do not feel powerless; we feel oppressed. We do not want to make the trade...we must be willing in our lifetime to deal with reality. It's not revolution; it's liberation. We want to be free of a value system that's being imposed upon us. We do not want to participate in that value system. We don't want change in the value system. We want to remove it from our lives forever...We have to assume our responsibilities as power, as individuals, as spirit, as people...

We are the people. We have the potential for power. We must not fool ourselves. We must not mislead ourselves. It takes more than good intentions. It takes commitment. It takes recognizing that at some point in our lives we are going to have to decide that we have a way of life that we follow, and we are going to have to live that way of life...That is the only solution there is for us.

John Trudell biography

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Is there such a thing as male menopause...

Is there such a thing as male menopause...

Is there really such a thing as "male menopause"? Conventional wisdom says that menopause is a "woman's condition," but as men advance into their 40s they also experience a progressive decline in hormone levels, namely testosterone. The result can be andropause, which is estimated to affect about 5 million American men.

The hormonal decline that men experience isn't nearly as abrupt as it is in women — it's more like walking down a hill than jumping off a cliff. However, waning testosterone is likely to make a guy moody, irritable and depressed.

(Upon hearing this list of symptoms, one woman joked of her husband, "Is it possible he's had menopause since he was 20?") A decrease in available testosterone also increases a man’s risk for heart disease, and makes him more prone to injury because of decreasing bone density.

Let's be clear: Andropause is not the same as a mid-life crisis, which is a psycho-social issue. And not all guys who experience aging — and the inevitable decline in testosterone that comes along with it — can be qualified as having andropause.

Andropause is a medical condition, diagnosed with a blood test by a physician that reveals testosterone levels below a certain level. If a diagnosis of andropause is warranted, treatment with testosterone replacement may be an option, depending on a man’s health history. Just as there are various hormone replacement therapies for women, there's also testosterone replacement therapy for men — and research is still ongoing into potential side effects.

However, the biggest, and most misunderstood, symptom of declining testosterone is a decrease in libido. Testosterone is truly the hormone that stokes the flames of desire. Many men confuse andropause with erectile dysfunction (ED), because they often occur around the same time. These men often turn to an ED medication, such as Viagra, to improve their erectile ability, which works for a time in most cases. However, as men get older, the gap between desire and arousal widens and many men become deeply disappointed when Viagra doesn't give them the desire to have sex. That's because Viagra doesn't boost testosterone levels.

The first issue for men, and their partners, is to accept the very concept of male menopause, talk about it as a couple, and, if they’re concerned, make an appointment with an endocrinologist to check hormone levels. But beyond medical therapies, it's also about knowing, understanding and accepting that sex evolves with the passage of life.

For guys who can embrace a deeper intimacy and open themselves up to a different experience of sex, the passage of time brings many rewards. Unfortunately, many men have a limited idea of sex, and they feel that if they're not having sex the way they were at age 20 or 30, then something must be wrong. It's too bad more men aren't open to sharing their experiences with each other, since changes in sexual function are so common. Fortunately, if women know what's going on and realize that hormonal decline can affect their partners, too, then they can take a proactive lead in starting a dialogue.

For more on this subject, consider reading Jed Diamond's "Surviving Male Menopause: A Guide for Women and Men."

Acknowledgements: Ian Kerner PH.D, author.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Rupert Murdoch plans to charge for reading his online newspapers...

News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch plans to charge people to read his newspapers’ websites within the next year.

It's a bold move designed to claw back some of the $4 billion in lost revenues — in a year that has been "the most difficult in recent history".

Murdoch is the world's most famous media mogul, but many people think he could be wrong to charge for general news stories online — any of which could be read elsewhere, for free.

Will Murdoch’s bold move work? Are you willing to pay to read the news online?

If you had to pay, would you expect special extras? Or would you look for a website offering the same for free?

Join the debate and have your say below. After all, it's free. Would you really Pay? I'm damned if I would!

Reading online newspapers

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New incentive for bloggers at Blogevolve...

New incentive for bloggers at Blogevolve...

A new incentive for bloggers at Blogevolve. Those who accumalate 5,000 points or more will be considered for a bonus. It is still confidential and only two bloggers have qualified so far.

Elly would like an all expenses paid trip to either China or Korea to consider a new job opportunity.

Huttriver would like an all expenses paid trip to Gotland In Sweden, to trace his whakapapa.

What would you like? You'd better start some serious blogging because you still have a long way to go brothers and sisters before you reach the magic target of 5,000 points.

Arriving down here soon...

Arriving down here soon...

First published at Qondio:

Karl wanted everything to be perfect for his anniversary trip to the hotel where he and his wife honey-mooned thirty years before.

So he decided to get up an hour earlier to make all the necessary arrangements. That night he emailed her, but for some inexplicable reason, he misspelt the address and it was sent to a recent widow.

The next day the widow's son found his mother passed out in front of of her computer. On the screen sat this email:

"My darling wife, I've just got here and everything's set for your arrival tomorrow. Hope your trip down here will be as pleasant as mine. P.S. Its really hot!"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

President Obama's address to Congress on health insurance reform...

President Obama's address to Congress on health insurance reform...

In an address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama explained how health insurance reform will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance, coverage for those who don’t, and will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government.

"I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year."

– President Barack Obama, February 24, 2009

Read further

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

US teenager cries tears of blood...

An American teenager has baffled doctors by crying tears of blood.

The eyes of Calvino Inman, 15, well up with blood about three times a day in episodes that last up to an hour.

While the Tennessee boy says he doesn't experience great pain from the phenomenon, the tears can sometimes burn his eyes.

The first time it happened, his mother Tammy Mynatt phoned 911 emergency.

"The scariest thing in my life was when he looked at me and said 'Momma, am I going to die?," Ms Mynatt told Stirile Pro TV.

"That right there broke my heart."

But after seeing several specialists and undergoing MRIs, catscans and ultrasounds, the cause of Calvino's tears remains a mystery.

Adding to the teen's pain is instances of schoolyard bullying over his condition, which has seen him called a vampire.

"I've been called ‘possessed’ ... the first time it hurt my feelings," he said.

In April, Indian girl Rashida Khatoon was declared a miracle by Hindu holy men for also shedding tears of blood.

Followers flocked to her home in Patna, northeast India, to shower her with gifts.

"I do not feel any pain when it happens but it's a shock to see blood instead of water," The Sun quoted Rashida

Monday, September 7, 2009

International Hunger Day - October 16

Achieving Food Security in Times of Crisis - A story of the times:

At a time when the global economic crisis dominates the news, the world needs to be reminded that not everyone works in offices and factories. The crisis is stalking the small-scale farms and rural areas of the world, where 70 percent of the world's hungry live and work.

With an estimated increase of 105 million hungry people in 2009, there are now 1.02 billion malnourished people in the world, meaning that almost one sixth of all humanity is suffering from hunger.

Both public and private investments are needed, more specifically through targeted public investment to encourage and facilitate private investment, especially by farmers themselves.

On the occasion of World Food Week and World Food Day 2009, let us reflect on those numbers and the human suffering behind them. Crisis or no crisis, we have the know-how to do something about hunger. We also have the ability to find money to solve problems when we consider them important. Let us work together to make sure hunger is recognized as a critical problem, and solve it. The World Summit on Food Security proposed by FAO for November 2009 could be fundamental for eradicating hunger

Some Hunger Facts: International...

World Hunger and Poverty: How They Fit Together:

•1.02 billion people across the world are hungry. 1

•Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes--one child every five seconds. 2

•In essence, hunger is the most extreme form of poverty, where individuals or families cannot afford to meet their most basic need for food. 3

•Hunger manifests itself in many ways other than starvation and famine. Most poor people who battle hunger deal with chronic undernourishment and vitamin or mineral deficiencies, which result in stunted growth, weakness and heightened susceptibility to illness. 3

•Countries in which a large portion of the population battles hunger daily are usually poor and often lack the social safety nets we enjoy, such as soup kitchens, food stamps, and job training programs. When a family that lives in a poor country cannot grow enough food or earn enough money to buy food, there is nowhere to turn for help. 3

Facts and Figures on Population

•Today our world is home to 6.7 billion people. 4

•The United States is a part of the high-income group of nations, which consists of about 65 countries with a combined population of about 1 billion, less than one sixth of the world’s population. 5

•In contrast, approximately 5.6 billion people live in low and lower-middle income economies. This world, earning under $3,705 GNI per capita, is made up of about 103 low and middle income countries in which people generally have a lower standard of living with access to fewer goods and services than people in high-income countries. 6

Facts and Figures on Hunger and Poverty

•In 2005, almost 1.4 billion people lived below the international poverty line, earning less than $1.25 per day. 7

•Among this group of poor people, many have problems obtaining adequate, nutritious food for themselves and their families. As a result, 947 million people in the developing world are undernourished. They consume less than the minimum amount of calories essential for sound health and growth. 8

•Undernourishment negatively affects people’s health, productivity, sense of hope and overall well-being. A lack of food can stunt growth, slow thinking, sap energy, hinder fetal development and contribute to mental retardation. 1

•Economically, the constant securing of food consumes valuable time and energy of poor people, allowing less time for work and earning income. 1

•Socially, the lack of food erodes relationships and feeds shame so that those most in need of support are often least able to call on it. 1

•Go to the World Food Programme website and click on either "Counting the Hungry" or "Interactive Hunger Map" for presentations on hunger and poverty around the world.
Facts and Figures on Health

•Poor nutrition and calorie deficiencies cause nearly one in three people to die prematurely or have disabilities, according to the World Health Organization. 9

•Pregnant women, new mothers who breastfeed infants, and children are among the most at risk of undernourishment. 9

•In 2006, about 9.7 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. Almost all of these deaths occured in developing countries, 4/5 of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the two regions that also suffer from the highest rates of hunger and malnutrition. 10

•Most of these deaths are attributed, not to outright starvation, but to diseases that move in on vulnerable children whose bodies have been weakened by hunger. 11

•Every year, more than 20 million low-birth weight babies are born in developing countries. These babies risk dying in infancy, while those who survive often suffer lifelong physical and cognitive disabilities. 12

•The four most common childhood illnesses are diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria and measles. Each of these illnesses is both preventable and treatable. Yet, again, poverty interferes in parents’ ability to access immunizations and medicines. Chronic undernourishment on top of insufficient treatment greatly increases a child’s risk of death. 11

•In the developing world, 26 percent of children under 5 are moderately to severely underweight. 10 percent are severely underweight. 11 percent of children under 5 are moderately to severely wasted, or seriously below weight for one’s height, and an overwhelming 32 percent are moderately to severely stunted, or seriously below normal height for one’s age. 13

Facts and Figures on HIV/AIDS

•The spreading HIV/AIDS epidemic has quickly become a major obstacle in the fight against hunger and poverty in developing countries.

•Because the majority of those falling sick with AIDS are young adults who normally harvest crops, food production has dropped dramatically in countries with high HIV/AIDS prevalence rates. 13

•In half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, per capita economic growth is estimated to be falling by between 0.5 and 1.2 percent each year as a direct result of AIDS. 14

•Infected adults also leave behind children and elderly relatives, who have little means to provide for themselves. In 2003, 12 million children were newly orphaned in southern Africa, a number expected to rise to 18 million in 2010. 14

•Since the epidemic began, 25 million people have died from AIDS, which has caused more than 15 million children to lose at least one parent. For its analysis, UNICEF uses a term that illustrates the gravity of the situation; child-headed households, or minors orphaned by HIV/AIDS who are raising their siblings. 13, 15

•1 % (ages 15-49) of the world is HIV prevalent (2005 data). 5

•1.1 % (ages 15-49) of developing countries are HIV prevalent (2005 data). 5

•Approximately 39.5 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the world. Of this figure, 63 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 14

•In 2006, 4.3 million people become infected with HIV and 2.9 million people died of AIDS. 14

You Can Help in the Fight Against Hunger and HIV/AIDS
Bread for the World's members contact their senators and representatives about legislation that affects hungry people in the United States and worldwide. We do not provide direct relief or development assistance. Rather, we focus on using the power we have as citizens in a democracy to support policies that address the root causes of hunger and poverty.

You can make a difference, too. Join us in our efforts.

Cites and links to source material:
1 State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2008 FAO."Food Security Statistics".
2 Black, Robert, Morris, Saul, & Jennifer Bryce. "Where and Why Are 10 Million Children Dying Every Year?" The Lancet 361:2226-2234. 2003.

3 Are We On Track To End Hunger? Hunger Report 2004. Bread for the World Institute. 2004.

4 2008 World Population Data Sheet, Population Reference Bureau.

5 World Development Indicators 2008. The World Bank. February 2008.

6 World Bank Country Classifications. The World Bank. February 2008.

7 Global Purchasing Power Parities and Real Expenditures. The World Bank. 2005 International Comparison Program. August 2008.

8 Global Development: Charting a New Course Hunger Report 2009. Bread for the World 2009
9 "Malnutrition". World Health Organization.

10 State of the World's Children 2008--Child Survival. UNICEF. January 2008.

11 State of Food Insecurity in the World 2002. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

12 Low Birthweight: Country, Regional and Global Estimates. World Health Organization. 2004.

13 "The Global Challenge of HIV/AIDS." The Population Bulletin Vol. 61, No. 1. Population Reference Bureau. March 2006.

14 “Briefing Paper Hunger on the Rise: Soaring Prices Add 75 Million People to Global Hunger Rolls.” Food and Agriculture Organization. 17 September 2008.

15 "Protect and Support Children Affected By HIV/AIDS." UNICEF. March 2006.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Defamatory comments may come back to bite her on the bum...

A New York fashion student who called a model a "psychotic, lying, whoring ... skank" on her blog plans to file an $18 million lawsuit against Google for revealing her identity, according to reports.

Rosemary Port, 29, was sued by 37-year-old model Liskula Cohen over an alleged defamatory post on her anonymous Google blog account.

Google was forced to reveal Port's identitiy after a Manhattan Supreme Court judge rejected her claims that blogs should not be regarded as fact.

"When I was being defended by attorneys for Google, I thought my right to privacy was being protected," she told the NY Daily News.

"But that right fell through the cracks. Without any warning, I was put on a silver platter for the press to attack me.

"I would think that a multi-billion dollar conglomerate would protect the rights of all its users."

The New York Fashion Institute of Technology student said she plans to file an $18 million lawsuit against Google.

Port's attorney Salvatore Strazzullo said Google "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity."

"I'm ready to take this all the way to the Supreme Court," he said.

"Inherent in the First Amendment is the right to speak anonymously. Shouldn't that right extend to the new public square of the Internet?"

Port said Cohen had defamed herself by taking the case to court.

"This has become a public spectacle and a circus that is not my doing," she said.

"Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my Web site: One from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it.

"That was before it became a spectacle. I feel my right to privacy has been violated."

But Cohen's lawyer, Steven Wagner, said the model never sought media coverage.

"The idea that Liskula brought this on herself is repulsive,"he said.

"If we had thought for a minute that the Google case would have brought more attention to the anonymous blogger's site, we never would have started it."



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Project Blue Beam - What killed Serge Monast...

Project Blue Beam - What killed Serge Monast? Did he know too much and had to be silenced? What is project Blue Beam?

Read on as far as you want:

By Serge Monast
Originally Published 1994

[Note: Serge Monast [1945 - December 5, 1996] and another journalist, both of whom were researching Project Blue Beam, died of "heart attacks" within weeks of each other although neither had a history of heart disease. Serge was in Canada. The other Canadian journalist was visiting Ireland. Prior to his death, the Canadian government abducted Serge's daughter in an attempt to dissuade him from pursuing his research into Project Blue Beam. His daughter was never returned. Pseudo-heart attacks are one of the alleged methods of death induced by Project Blue Beam.]

[Update from Ken Adachi: February 17, 2009: I'm only begininng to now fully grasp the entire breath of Serge Monast's contributions to humanity and the unbelieveable courage he demonstrated in coming out with these incredible revelations which were secretly or anonymously given to him by contrite politicians, military people, or intelligence people who still possessed a conscience and a sense of humanity. I'll be posting more articles and transcripts by Serge which will be linked to this page in the very near future.


(ca. Dec 1996)
A member of our accountability structure, Dorothy Dart, reports that a Canadian investigator into New Age globalism, SERGE MONAST, has died of a “heart attack.” This man has faithfully exposed the New World Order for the last decade. His children were home-schooled, so the authorities took his eight year old daughter away, then his seven year old son was taken, as they said the parents were abusing them emotionally by stopping the children going to a State school. The father was then arrested, and spent the night in jail. Next day at home, he had a “heart attack.” He was 46 years old. This brave man has left a wife, who now has no family. Pray that she can get her little ones back. Our source said that the Canadian investigator, Serge Monast, wrote to her in Australia not long ago, saying he had been threatened many times, and did not except to survive.]

Project Blue Beam

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, disrupted by hackers attacking lone blogger in the former Soviet republic of Georgia...

Facebook, Twitter disrupted by hackers attacking lone blogger in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Suspicions of Russian involvement have not been confirmed as yet!

The outage that knocked Twitter offline for hours has been allegedly traced to an attack on a lone blogger in the former Soviet republic of Georgia - known as "Cyxymu".

Twitter crashed because of a denial-of-service attack, in which hackers command scores of computers toward a single site at the same time to prevent legitimate traffic from getting through.

The attack was targeted at a blogger who goes by "Cyxymu" - the name of a town in Georgia - on several websites, including Twitter, Facebook and LiveJournal.

But they could have just as well targeted Twitter itself. That's because the effects were the same whether the excess traffic went to the twitter home page or to the page for Cyxymu at twitter. Same with Facebook and LiveJournal.

Kazuhiro Gomi, chief technology officer for NTT America Enterprise Hosting Services, which hosts Twitter's service said the attacking computers were located around the world and the source of the attacks was not known.

The attacks seemed to come in two waves:

The first was a spam campaign consisting of emails with links back to posts by Cyxymu. This drove some traffic to the blogger's postings on various social-networking sites, possibly to disparage him as the source of the spam.

The second and more destructive phase consisted of the denial-of-service attack, which attacked the sites' servers by sending it lots of junk requests - presumably to prevent people from reading his viewpoints.

It would have been much harder for the perpetrators of the attacks to isolate Cyxymu's accounts on each social-networking site and shut it down. To do that, they would have needed to access his password by guessing it or somehow luring him into giving it out.

The blunt approach was easier - and more damaging.

Netsafe executive director Martin Cocker told the Weekend Herald that websites run from New Zealand were vulnerable to attacks such as those that heavily disrupted Twitter and Facebook.

Users of the social networking sites faced outages or delays after suspected "denial-of-service" attacks - in which hackers overwhelm a website's servers with communications requests - leaving millions unable to carry out their daily routines.

The attacks, which came a month after the White House website was targeted in a similar online assault, have underscored the vulnerability of fast-growing networking sites that have been heralded as powerful new political tools.

Mr Cocker said many denial-of-service attacks occurred every day, but most were launched by people without the means to do any real damage.

"A denial-of-service attack is literally bringing the website down ... as opposed to hacking a website trying to steal something from it.

Acknowledgements: Weekend Herald.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Your cheating heart told on you...

Your cheating heart told on you...

Women glued cheating man's penis to his stomach:

WAUSAU, Wisconsin - A married man who planned to rendezvous with one of his handful of lovers at a Wisconsin motel instead found himself bound, blindfolded and assaulted by a group of women out for revenge, according to court documents.

Four women, including his wife, eventually showed up to humiliate the man, who ended up with his penis glued to his stomach to punish him for a lover's quadrangle gone bad, according to the documents filed in Calumet County.

Now it's the women who face punishment, perhaps six years in prison, and at least one said on Monday she's embarrassed now.

"I am disturbed. I am upset. I am having a hard time handling life, an emotional wreck," Wendy Sewell, 43, of Kaukauna, said in a telephone interview from her home.

"I am ashamed."

Sewell, Therese Ziemann, 48, of Menasha, Michelle Belliveau, 43, of Neenah, and the man's wife are charged with being party to false imprisonment, a felony.

Ziemann also is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.

Read more

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Adolph Hitler and the Occult...

The Unknown Hitler: Nazi roots in the Occult.

On April 6, 1919, in Bavaria, left wing socialists and anarchists proclaimed the Bavarian Soviet Republic. The brains of the revolution were a group of writers who had little idea of administration. Life in munich grew chaotic. The counter-revolutionary forces, the whites, composed of various groups of decommissioned soldiers known as "Frei Corps", equipped and financed by the mysterious Thule Society, defeated the Bavarian Soviet within a matter of weeks.

Many other decommissioned soldiers waited out the turbulence in barracks, pfc Adolph Hitler among them. After the Bavarian Republic had been defeated by the Whites, in May, Hitler's superiors put him to work in the post revolution investigating commission. His indictments injected ruthless efficiency into the kangaroo courts as he fingered hundreds of noncommissioned officers and enlisted men who had sympathized with the communist and anarchists. He was subsequently sent to attend special anticommunist training courses and seminars at the University which were financed by the Reichswehr administration and by private donors from the Thule Society. This led to an assignment in the intelligence division of the postwar German army, to infiltrate groups that could organize the working classes while the communists were weak. On a September evening, 1919, Hitler turned up in the Sternecker Beer Hall where members and friends of the budding German Workers Party had gathered.

He quietly listened to the presentation by engineer Gottfried Feder, a Thule Society member, who talked about jewish control over lending capital. When one of the other group members called for Bavaria to break away from the rest of Germany, Hitler sprang into action. The astonished audience stood by while his highly aggressive remarks and compelling oratory swept through the room. After Hitler had finished his harangue, party chairman and founder, Anton Drexler, immediately asked him to a meeting of the party's steering committee held a few days later. He was asked to join the committee as its seventh member, responsible for advertising and propaganda.

Back in 1912, several German occultists with radical anti-semitic inclinations decided to form a "magic" lodge, which they named the Order of Teutons. the main founders were Theodor Fritsch, a publisher of an anti-semitic journal; Philipp Stauff, pupil of the racist Guido Von List, and Hermann Pohl, the order's chancellor. (Pohl would drop out three years later to found his own bizarre lodge, the 'Walvater Teutonic Order of the Holy Grail'.)

The Order of Teutons was organized along the lines of the Free Masons or the Rosicrucians, having differing degrees of initiation, only persons who could fully document that they were of pure "aryan" ancestry were allowed to join.

In 1915, Pohl was joined by Rudolf Blauer, who held a Turkish passport and practiced sufi meditation. He also dabbled in astrology and was an admirer of Lanz Von Liebenfels and Guido Von List, both pathologically anti-semitic. Blauer went by the name of Rudolf Freiherr Von Seboottendorf. He was very wealthy, although the origin of his fortune is unknown. He became the Grand Master of the Bavarian Order and he founded the Thule Society, with Pohl's approval, in 1918.

After the Bavarian communist revolution of 1918, the Thule Society became a center of thea counterrevolutionary subculture. An espionage network and arms caches were organized. The Thule Club rooms became a nest of resistance to the revolution and the Munich Soviet Republic.

Journalist Karl Harrer was given the job of founding a political "worker circle". He realized that the workers would reject any program that was presented to them by a member of the conservative "privileged" class. Harrer knew that the mechanic Anton Drexler, who was working for the railroads, was a well-known anti-semite, chauvinist and proletarian. With drexler as nominal chairman, Harrer founded the German Workers Party in January 1919

The German Workers Party was only one of many associations founded and controlled by the Thule Society. The Thule was the "mother" to the German Socialist Party, led by Julius Streicher, and the right-wing radical Oberland Free Corps. It published the Munich observer, which later became the National Observer. Hitler became the most prominent personality in the party. He caused Harrer to drop out, and he pushed Drexler, the nominal chairman, to the sidelines. He filled key positions with his own friends from the Thule Society and the Army. During the summer of 1920, upon his suggestion, the party was renamed the National Socialist German Worker Party (NASDAP). The new name was intended to equally attract nationalists and proletarians.

To go along with the new name his mass movement also required a flag with a powerful symbol. Among many designs under consideration, Hitler picked the one suggested by Thule member Dr. Krohn: a red cloth with a white circle in the middle containing a black swastika.

Hitler wanted to turn the German Workers Party into a mass-conscious fighting party, but Harrer and Drexler were hesitant, due in part to their woeful financial situation. The Thule Society was not yet supplying very much money and no one seemed to know how to build up a mass party. Hitler arranged two public meetings in obscure beer halls, and he drafted leaflets and posters, but there was no real breakthrough.

All of this changed dramatically at the end of the 1919 when Hitler met Dietrich Eckart. Most biographers have underestimated the influence that Eckart exerted on Hitler. He was the wealthy publisher and editor-in-chief of an anti-semitic journal which he called In Plain German. Eckart was also a committed occultist and a master of magic. As an initiate, Eckart belonged to the inner circle of the Thule Society as well as other esoteric orders.

Briefly, the creed of the Thule Society inner circle is as follows: Thule was a legendary island in the far north, similar to Atlantis, supposedly the center of a lost, high-level civilization. But not all secrets of that civilization had been completely wiped out. Those that remained were being guarded by ancient, highly intelligent beings (similar to the "Masters" of Theosophy or the White Brotherhood). The truly initiated could establish contact with these beings by means of magic-mystical rituals. The "Masters" or "Ancients" allegedly would be able to endow the initiated with supernatural strength and energy. With the help of these energies the goal of the initiated was to create a race of Supermen of "Aryan" stock who would exterminate all "inferior" races.

There can be no doubt that Eckart - who had been alerted to Hitler by other Thulists - trained Hitler in techniques of self confidence, self projection, persuasive oratory, body language and discursive sophistry. With these tools, in a short period of time he was able to move the obscure workers party from the club and beer hall atmosphere to a mass movement. The emotion charged lay speaker became an expert orator, capable of mesmerizing a vast audience.Read more

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