Archive for August, 2007
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
From Associated Press:
FRESNO, Calif. (Aug. 20) – Mountain hikers have discovered remains believed to be those of a missing World War II airman resting atop a glacier not far from where an aviation cadet’s body was found two years ago, authorities said Monday.
The second set of human remains was found in an alpine region of Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada range on Wednesday, no more than 100 feet from where climbers spotted the ice-entombed body of Leo Mustonen in October 2005, park officials said.
Military anthropologists plan to analyze the body, which they believe could be one of three men who was flying with Mustonen when their AT-7 navigational trainer plane disappeared after takeoff from a Sacramento airfield on Nov. 18, 1942.
On board were Mustonen, pilot William Gamber, 23, and aviation cadets John Mortenson, 25, hometown unknown, and Ernest Munn, 23, of St. Clairsville, Ohio. A blizzard is believed to have caused the crash.
Military officials planned to notify families of the three men Monday, said Robert Mann, deputy scientific adviser for the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command.
Rangers located the second body partially exposed on a remote glacier resting among granite boulders, his undeployed parachute, stenciled “US ARMY,” just inches away. The Air Force was part of the Army until 1947.
“It looks like his head was just resting on the rock,” said Debbie Brenchley, the first Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks ranger to spot the remains Friday after hikers reported the find. “You can see he has a wool sweater on, and a white collar and a ring on.”
Rest in peace.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
I missed H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday. I’m always forgetting birthdays. Lovecraft would have been 117 if not for the lack of a complete edition of the Necronomicon.
Tuesday, August 21st, 2007
From the comments, Vampire Revolution.
“The time to take the final leap and reveal our presence is now.”
Personally I like the shadows, but it’s great some are willing to be out there.
Monday, August 20th, 2007
From National Geographic:
Vampire bats in Latin America are turning their fangs on cattle as rain forest is being cleared to make way for livestock, new research shows.
Scientists made the find using a technique similar to a breathalyzer to study the diet of vampire bats in Costa Rica.
The researchers discovered that the bats are finding meatier victims to sink their fangs into as the habitat of wild forest mammals disappears and is turned into livestock pasture.
A study led by Christian Voigt from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany, found the blood-seeking bats are switching to cattle from rain forest prey such as tapirs and piglike peccaries.
The study team investigated which animals the bats were targeting by analyzing the chemical signatures, called isotopes, in the carbon dioxide they exhaled soon after eating.
Cattle and rain forest mammals feed on different plants that can be distinguished by their carbon isotopes. Since these chemical clues are present in prey’s blood, the signature in the bats’ breath varies with their meals.
The study clearly indicated that the vampires’ most recent victims were almost always cattle, the team said.
The findings don’t mean that vampire bats prefer bovine blood, the team said. Instead, they suggest that livestock are simply easier for the bats to find.
Voigt compared the vampire’s dining options to that of a hungry human looking for a hot dog.
“One supplier is moving with a small van through the streets of the town, and it is not predictable for you where the van shows up,” he said.
“The other supplier is in a snack bar with a permanent address. You most likely wouldn’t go searching [for] the hot dog van but [would instead] go to the snack bar. Vampires are basically doing the same.”
Entire story well worth a read. That beef we ate Saturday could have been a vampire bats’ meal earlier.
Monday, August 20th, 2007
Canadians will finally get to see Blood Ties. I watched the series when it was on Lifetime and it was pretty good and worth checking out, eh.
Christina Cox does not have vampires in her blood.
“I was a punker in high school, but I wasn’t a goth,” Cox said.
“I was not a fan of vampire mythology. I don’t have all the Anne Rice books. I actually liked the series she did on witches more, because they were a little more grounded, as grounded as you can be when you‚re practising paganism or wicka.”
Be that as it may, Cox is at the heart of the matter in the dark and sexy new Canadian TV series Blood Ties, which makes its home-country debut this week on City-TV stations (check local listings).
Set in Toronto and taped in Maple Ridge, B.C., Blood Ties – which is based on a series of novels by Tanya Huff – stars Cox as Vicki Nelson, Kyle Schmid as Henry Fitzroy and Dylan Neal as Mike Celluci.
Vicki is an ex-cop who left the force to become a private investigator when she started to lose her eyesight. Eventually she teams up with Henry, a 450-year-old vampire who is the illegitimate son of Henry VIII.
Saturday, August 18th, 2007
Monsters and Critics:
1998, Rice returned to her Roman Catholic faith, which she had not practiced since she was 18. In October 2005, as she reaffirmed her Catholic faith, Rice announced in a Newsweek article that she would “write only for the Lord.” She called Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, her first novel in this vein.
In an interview with Christianity Today, headlined “Interview with a Penitent”, Rice declared that she will never again write another vampire novel, saying; “I would never go back, not even if they say, ‘You will be financially ruined; you’ve got to write another vampire book.'”
Also she endorses Senator Hillary Clinton. From her web site:
To my readers:
Some time ago, I made an effort to remove from this website all political statements made by me in the past. Many of these statements were incomplete statements, and many were dated. And a good many of the emails I received about these statements indicated that they were confusing to my newer Christian readers. I felt, when I removed the material, that I was doing what was best for my personal vocation — which is, to write books for Jesus Christ.
My vocation at this time remains unchanged. I am committed to writing books for the Lord, and those books right now, are books about His life on Earth as God and Man. I hope my books will reach all Christians, regardless of denomination or background. This has become my life.
However, I have come to feel that my Christian conscience requires of me a particular political statement at this time.
I hope you will read this statement in a soft voice. It is meant to be spoken in a soft voice.
Let me say first of all that I am devoutly committed to the separation of church and state in America. I believe that the separation of church and state has been good for all Christians in this country, and particularly good for Catholics who had a difficult time gaining acceptance as Americans before the presidential election of John F. Kennedy. The best book I can recommend right now on the separation of church and state is A SECULAR FAITH, Why Christianity Favors The Separation of Church and State, by Darryl Hart. However there are many other good books on the subject.
Believing as I do that church and state should remain separate, I also believe that when one enters the voting booth, church and state become one for the voter. The voter must vote her conscience. He or she must vote for the party and candidate who best reflect all that the voter deeply believes. Conscience requires the Christian to vote as a Christian. Commitment to Christ is by its very nature absolute.
My commitment and my vote, therefore, must reflect my deepest Christian convictions; and for me these convictions are based on the teachings of Christ in the Four Gospels.
I am keenly aware as a Christian and as an American that the Gospels are subject to a great variety of interpretation. I am keenly aware that Christians disagree violently on what the Gospels say.
I am also keenly aware that we have only two parties in this country. Only two. This point can not be emphasized enough. We do not have a slate of parties, including one which is purely Christian. We have two parties, and our system has worked with two parties for generations. This is what we have.
Bearing all this in mind, I want to say quietly that as of this date, I am a Democrat, and that I support Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.
Though I deeply respect those who disagree with me, I believe, for a variety of reasons, that the Democratic Party best reflects the values I hold based on the Gospels. Those values are most intensely expressed for me in the Gospel of Matthew, but they are expressed in all the gospels. Those values involve feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, and above all, loving one’s neighbors and loving one’s enemies. A great deal more could be said on this subject, but I feel that this is enough.
I want to add here that I am Pro-Life. I believe in the sanctity of the life of the unborn. Deeply respecting those who disagree with me, I feel that if we are to find a solution to the horror of abortion, it will be through the Democratic Party.
I have heard many anti-abortion statements made by people who are not Democrats, but many of these statements do not strike me as constructive or convincing. I feel we can stop the horror of abortion. But I do not feel it can be done by rolling back Roe vs. Wade, or packing the Supreme Court with judges committed to doing this. As a student of history, I do not think that Americans will give up the legal right to abortion. Should Roe vs Wade be rolled back, Americans will pass other laws to support abortion, or they will find ways to have abortions using new legal and medical terms.
And much as I am horrified by abortion, I am not sure — as a student of history – that Americans should give up the right to abortion.
I am also not convinced that all of those advocating anti-abortion positions in the public sphere are necessarily practical or sincere. I have not heard convincing arguments put forth by anti-abortion politicians as to how Americans could be forced to give birth to children that Americans do not want to bear. And more to the point, I have not heard convincing arguments from these anti-abortion politicians as to how we can prevent the horror of abortion right now, given the social situations we have.
While I respect her decision, I think Anne Rice is wrong. Not write vampire novels? I believe you can still be a Christian and write about vampires.
Regarding her views on abortion, faith, Senator Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, I think her views are well stated and while I’m pro-choice I respect her point of view on the issue. I haven’t picked a presidential candidate yet. I’m pleased with many of the Democratic candidates and will support whoever the nominee is.
But I do wish Rice would change her mind about writing about vampires.
Harmonyfb also makes a good point in the comments.
Thursday, August 16th, 2007
Archaeologists found an ancient brewery in Ireland. In Ireland. Now there’s a surprise.
BRONZE Age man was a bit of a boozer, according to a team of archaeologists who that says it has uncovered evidence of the world’s biggest prehistoric brewing industry.
After four years of research, the team has concluded that Ireland’s love affair with alcohol predates the 1759 foundation of the Guinness brewery by many thousands of years.
An archaeological consultancy based in County Galway has demonstrated that enigmatic man-made Bronze Age features, which are common throughout Ireland, could well have been ancient boutique breweries.
The research by the Moore Group has culminated with the archaeologists recreating Bronze Age brewing methods and producing a modern version of the ale, which our forefathers would have drunk by the beaker after a hard day’s hunting and gathering.
The research focuses on the 4500 fulacht fiadhs (pits or recesses), which date from 1500 BC and are dotted across the island.
The purpose of the horseshoe-shaped mounds surrounding an indentation has been a mystery since they were first identified in the 17th century.
In the 1950s it was proposed that they were filled with water, which was brought to the boil by adding heated stones and used to cook mutton. But a lack of animal bones around the sites led to Declan Moore and his colleague, Billy Quinn, suggesting an alternative use.
The Moore Group’s deductions suggest beer was widely drunk in Ireland long before the 6th century AD, when brewing is first documented. Early writings show that the brewer was a highly important member of the monastic communities in the early Christian era.
Thursday, August 16th, 2007
From the BBC:
The great medieval temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia was once at the centre of a sprawling urban settlement, according to a new, detailed map of the area.
Using Nasa satellites, an international team have discovered at least 74 new temples and complex irrigation systems.
The map, published in the journal PNAS, extends the known settlement by 1000 sq km, about the size of Los Angeles.
Analysis also lends weight to the theory that Angkor’s residents were architects of the city’s demise.
“The large-scale city engineered its own downfall by disrupting its local environment by expanding continuously into the surrounding forests,” said Damian Evans of the University of Sydney and one of the authors of the paper and map.
I’m just so glad we’re smarter than that today.
Thursday, August 16th, 2007
Who knew intact tombs still existed? I thought they had all been raided. From Reuters:
ROME, Italy (Reuters) — Archaeologists have discovered a more than 2,000-year-old Etruscan tomb perfectly preserved in the hills of Tuscany with a treasure trove of artifacts inside, including urns that hold the remains of about 30 people.
The tomb, in the Tuscan town of Civitella Paganico, probably dates from between the 1st and 3rd centuries B.C., when Etruscan power was in decline, Andrea Marcocci, who led digging at the site, told Reuters.
“It’s quite rare to find a tomb intact like this,” said Marcocci, who had suspected one might exist in the area after work on a nearby road scattered pieces of artifacts.
“When we found fragments outside, we thought we would find that the tomb had been violated. But the main burial room was completely intact.”
One of Italy’s first and most mysterious civilizations, the Etruscans lived north of Rome in present day regions of Tuscany and Umbria. Their civilization lasted for about 1,000 years, reaching its height roughly from the 7th to the 6th century B.C., before its cities were replaced by Roman settlements.
Much of what is known about the Etruscans derives from other lavish burial sites, decorated with paintings and filled with vases and other objects.
Monday, August 13th, 2007
From The Guardian:
In an apparent attempt to “sex up” a news programme, the TV station has been caught passing off footage from the 1997 Hollywood blockbuster Titanic as a real life report on the Kremlin’s recent attempt to stake its claim to the riches of the Arctic Ocean.
Rossiya’s images were distributed all over the world, appearing on television news broadcasts and websites in Britain and as “screen grabs” in newspapers.
It took an alert teenager in Finland with a Titanic DVD to spot the sham. Waltteri Seretin, 13, from Kemi, 450 miles north of Helsinki, recognised the images in the national daily Ilta-Sanomat.
“I was looking at the photo of the Russian sub expedition and I noticed immediately that there was something familiar about the picture,” he told the paper. “I checked it with my DVD and there it was right there in the beginning of the movie: exactly the same image of the submer-sibles approaching the ship.”
Russia’s dive in two mini subs last week was trumpeted by Moscow as a PR coup in its effort to prove the Arctic is Russian. Veteran explorer Artur Chilingarov and his team returned to a heroes’ welcome.
The TV fiasco will add fresh controversy to the expedition, which caused scorn and resentment among other northern hemisphere nations bent on getting their share of the Arctic’s energy riches – at least 10bn tonnes of hydrocarbons.
Alexei Simonov of the Glasnost Defence Foundation, said there had been a clear attempt by the Russian channel to dupe viewers: “This is a sign of the sheer unprofessionalism that reigns when TV is turned into a pawn of the authorities.”
We have the same problems with Fox News.