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critters Politics

Startling Discovery: The First Human Ritual

And once again the world has changed…it’s funny, in the classes I take now, i hear the theories I was taught in high school back in the 80’s debunked…everything I thought I learned was flawed in one way or another…now much of what I have been learning recently is going to be trashed and rethought….the only thing you can know for certain is that you really don’t know…I love the story from Dan Millman’s Peaceful Warrior book where the young guy goes to his guru and says,’okay, I guess I know what I’m suppossed to now’. The old guy says ‘you don’t know anything…I’ll show you.’  then he asks the young guy….
‘where are you?’
‘ the gas station.’
‘where is the gas station’
‘america’ (I’m skipping some steps here, you get the point hopefully)
‘where is america?’
‘on earth’
‘where is earth?’
‘in the milky way.’
‘where is that?’
‘in the universe.’
‘where in the universe?’
‘I don’t know’
and then the old guy explains that if he doesn’t know exactly where he is, how can he be certain that he knows anything at all….
I think this story makes the same point….
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A startling discovery of 70,000-year-old artifacts and a python’s head carved of stone appears to represent the first known human rituals.Scientists had thought human intelligence had not evolved the capacity to perform group rituals until perhaps 40,000 years ago.
But inside a cave in remote hills in Kalahari Desert of Botswana, archeologists found the stone snake [image] that was carved long ago. It is as tall as a man and 20 feet long.
“You could see the mouth and eyes of the snake. It looked like a real python,” said Sheila Coulson of the University of Oslo. “The play of sunlight over the indentations gave them the appearance of snake skin. At night, the firelight gave one the feeling that the snake was actually moving.”
The bigger surprise
More significant, when Coulson and her colleagues dug a test pit near they stone figure, they found spearheads made of stone that had to have been brought to the cave from hundreds of miles away. The spearheads were burned in what only could be described as some sort of ritual, the scientists conclude.
“Stone age people took these colorful spearheads, brought them to the cave, and finished carving them there,” Coulson said today. “Only the red spearheads were burned. It was a ritual destruction of artifacts. There was no sign of normal habitation. No ordinary tools were found at the site.”
The discovery was made in a remote region of Botswana called Tsodilo Hills, the only uplifted area for miles around. It is known to modern Sanpeople as the “Mountains of the Gods” and the “Rock that Whispers.” Their legend has it that mankind descended from the python, and the ancient, arid streambeds around the hills are said to have been created by the python as it circled the hills in its ceaseless search for water.
That legend made the discovery of the stone python all the more amazing.
“Our find means that humans were more organized and had the capacity for abstract thinking at a much earlier point in history than we have previously assumed,” Coulson said. “All of the indications suggest that Tsodilo has been known to mankind for almost 100,000 years as a very special place in the pre-historic landscape.”
Yet another surprise
The scientists found a secret chamber behind the python carving. Worn areas indicate it’s been used over the years.
“The shaman, who is still a very important person in San culture, could have kept himself hidden in that secret chamber,” Coulson explained. “He would have had a good view of the inside of the cave while remaining hidden himself. When he spoke from his hiding place, it could have seemed as if the voice came from the snake itself. The shaman would have been able to control everything. It was perfect.”
The shaman could also have made himself disappear from the chamber by crawling out onto the hillside through a small shaft, the scientists found.
Paintings in the cave appear to support part of modern San mythology.
While cave paintings are common in the Tsodilo Hills, inside the python cave there are just two small paintings, of an elephant and a giraffe. The images were painted at the exact spot where water runs down the wall.
One San story has the python falling into water, unable to get out. It’s saved by the giraffe. The elephant, with its long trunk, is often a metaphor for the python in San mythology.
“In the cave, we find only the San people’s three most important animals: the python, the elephant, and the giraffe,” Coulson said. “That is unusual. This would appear to be a very special place. They did not burn the spearheads by chance. They brought them from hundreds of kilometers away and intentionally burned them. So many pieces of the puzzle fit together here. It has to represent a ritual.”
The Biggest Popular Myths Peace or War? How Early Humans Behaved Oldest Human Skulls Suggest Low-Brow Culture Ancient Cave Art Full of Teenage Graffiti Life’s Little Mysteries Original Story: Startling Discovery: The First Human Ritual
Visit LiveScience.com for more daily news, views and scientific inquiry with an original, provocative point of view. LiveScience reports amazing, real world breakthroughs, made simple and stimulating for people on the go. Check out our collection of Science, Animal and Dinosaur Pictures, Science Videos, Hot Topics, Trivia, Top 10s, Voting, Amazing Images, Reader Favorites, and more. Get cool gadgets at the new LiveScience Store, sign up for our free daily email newsletter and check out our RSS feeds today!

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cash and poverty Uncategorized

To spend or to save….tough call….

Got this from the Rev this morning…he thinks its pretty important…I think it is pretty exciting…Get your parachutes ready…..
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Another Brick in the Wall: Why the U.S. would declare “bankruptcy”… Dylan Jovine PAUL VOLKER SOUNDED very upset. Apparently, a group of economists, using the same techniques as those used on the set of “Jurassic Park” (as opposed to those used on the set of the movie “Sleeper”), recently thawed the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve from his amber-induced deep sleep. After they finished splashing water on his face they gave him the news: We’ve flashed back to the 1970’s: the United States government is running large budget deficits, there’s been extremely loose monetary policy and we’re fighting a war with open-ended costs. And just like the 1970’s, Washington is behind the Eight Ball. But it’s not a dream. It’s the year 2006. Upon processing the information, Mr. Volker boldly predicted there would be a “75 percent chance of a currency crisis within the United States during the next five years.”

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Food and Booze nakedness Uncategorized

Another reason I love college……

You never know what kind of power point presentations you will find on a library computer…check out this one about sorority girl do’s and don’ts for parties….
http://www.chrisdamitio.com/valley_girl_pp.pps 

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Art and Beauty Uncategorized

You should have been listening to the slackers all along!

I’d like to offer a few other time honored words of advice that might help make your life better
“Don’t worry about it”
“Go With the Flow”
“Everything Happens for a Reason”
“Chill”
and finally
“if you hate your job, quit”
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The longstanding advice to “sit up straight” has been turned on its head by a new study that suggests leaning back is a much better posture.
Researchers analyzed different postures and concluded that the strain of sitting upright for long hours is a perpetrator of chronic back problems.
Using a new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), researchers studied 22 volunteers with no back pain history. The subjects assumed three different positions: slouching; sitting up straight at 90 degrees; and sitting back with a 135-degree posture—all while their spines were scanned.
“A 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture was demonstrated to be the best biomechanical sitting position, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal,” said study author, Waseem Amir Bashir, a researcher at the University of Alberta Hospital in Canada. “Sitting in a sound anatomic position is essential, since the strain put on the spine and its associated ligaments over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness.”
Back pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is the most common cause of work-related disability in the United States. It costs Americans nearly $50 billion annually. Sitting appears to be a major cause of this ailment.
“We were not created to sit down for long hours, but somehow modern life requires the vast majority of the global population to work in a seated position,” Bashir said. “This made our search for the optimal sitting position all the more important.”here
When strain is placed on the spine, the spinal disks start to move and misalign. At a 90-degree sitting position, this movement was most prominent. The disks were least moved when subjects were sitting back at a 135-degree sitting position.
“We have to do something that is similar to the lying position,” Bashir told LiveScience. Lying down in a relaxed position with your knees slightly bent is the best position that a person can be in, because it doesn’t cause any stress on the ligaments, the thigh muscles as well as on the back.
Sitting on a chair that provides proper support, such as a slightly tilted back car seat, can mimic the relaxed supine position. Slouching caused a reduction in the spinal height which means that there was high rate of wear and tear in the lowest two spinal levels.
“This may be all that is necessary to prevent back pain, rather than trying to cure pain that has occurred over the long term due to bad postures,” Bashir said.
The study was detailed today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Categories
Oddities Uncategorized

The word of the year? You be the decider!

Personally…I would like to see fukn win or maybe shanananapocalypse…..
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Will “landslide” win by a landslide? Will “sectarian,” “vendetta” or “decider” be named 2006’s word of the year?
Merriam-Webster Inc., publisher of a leading U.S. dictionary, is asking visitors to its Web site — http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/06words.htm — to pick the “one single word that sums up 2006.”
The voting began November 20 and concludes on December 4, Arthur Bicknell, a spokesman for the Springfield, Massachusetts-based company, said in a telephone interview.
“We’ve been getting literally thousands of submissions,” he said.
Bicknell said the company, which is owned by Encyclopedia Britannica, has no idea what the leading words are at this point in the voting.
The publisher expects to announce the winner and the other top nine vote-getters around mid-December.
Merriam-Webster OnLine, which offers free definitions and synonyms through its Web dictionary and thesaurus, began the word of the year competition in 2003, Bicknell said.
“We’re trying something a little different this year” by seeking votes, the Web site says.
In past years, the top word was the one that got the most requests for a definition or synonym on the Web site. Last year, the honor went to “integrity.” “Blog” was the word in 2004 and in 2003 it was “democracy.”
Clues to this year’s winner can be found in the lists of popular look-ups throughout 2006: “filibuster, sectarian, vendetta and decider,” Merriam-Webster’s president and publisher, John Morse, said in a news release.
Morse said “google” made its Top 20 lists after Merriam-Webster said it would add the use of “google” — the name of the popular Web search engine — as a verb to the 11th edition of its Collegiate Dictionary.

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Food and Booze Uncategorized

Brewzer for a Booser

Summer White Wine
Not sure what to get your drunken Uncle Larry for Christmas? Get him this….
cd

BrewZer Lager, Gadgets Boys Stuff Big Boys Toys, Gifts For Birthday, New Gadgets, Weird Ideas, gifts for men, Mens Gifts & Mens Toys
The BrewZer is a mini micro-brewery with a compact and revolutionary design. Unbelievably simple to use, you can make beer at home in just ten minutes. The pack includes a set of ingredients which makes ten pints. Just mix these with cold tap water, and 21 days later, you’ve got perfect beer. The process is so simple because there is no sterilizing or boiling water involved. The BrewZer is a closed, pressure controlled brewing vessel. Once the ingredients and water are mixed, the pressure causes fermentation. This also helps to clarify the beer, forcing the yeast out of suspension. The build-up of pressure dispenses the first three to four pints of beer, ensuring there’s no chance of spoilage.
The powder contains only natural ingredients used in traditional breweries, such as malt, hops, and yeast. The ingredients are prepared and blended, then turned into a soluble powder, which miraculously retains all its natural flavours and characteristics. The result is a beautifully balanced, strong English beer, at 4.5 percent abv.
The Lager BrewZer produces a highly refreshing Pilsner style lager, with good lager notes. As with all lagers, it’s best served chilled, and at a higher carbonation level than that achieved in the BrewZer itself. (Full instructions on how to increase carbonation and properly chill the beer are supplied.) The BrewZer is completely re-usable, with 30 pint refill packs (Lager or Bitter) available. All the components that come into contact with the beer come sterilised with each refill pack. At least you can have cheap, easy to produce beer that doesn’t taste like p*ss.

Categories
Oddities Uncategorized

Missing woman found dead behind bookcase

If I were leading this investigation, I would start looking for Professor Plum and Colonel Green in the Study…
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NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – A woman’s body was found wedged upside-down behind a bookcase in the home she shared with relatives who had spent nearly two weeks looking for her.
A spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said Mariesa Weber’s death was not suspicious. Family members said they believe she fell over as she tried to adjust the plug of a television behind the bookshelf.
Weber, 38, returned home Oct. 28 and greeted her mother, then wasn’t seen again. Her family thought she had been kidnapped and contacted authorities. Family members scoured her room for clues but found nothing, though they did notice a strange smell.
On Nov. 9, Weber’s sister went into her bedroom and looked behind a bookcase, where she saw the woman’s foot. Using a flashlight the family saw Weber was wedged upside-down behind the unit.
“I’m sleeping in the same house as her for 11 days, looking for her,” her mother, Connie Weber, told the St. Petersburg Times. “And she’s right in the bedroom.”
Both Weber and her sister had previously adjusted the television plug by standing on a bureau next to the shelf and leaning over the top. Her family believes Weber, who was 5-foot-3 and barely 100 pounds, may have fallen headfirst into the space.
“She’s a little thing,” her mother said. “And the bookcase is 6 feet tall and solid. And she couldn’t get out.”
The sheriff’s office said Weber appeared to have died because she was unable to breathe in the position she was in.

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insurance nightmares Politics

Science a la Joe Camel – washingtonpost.com

I actually thought that the influence of corporations in the classroom was decreasing.  Silly me.
algore

At hundreds of screenings this year of “An Inconvenient Truth,” the first thing many viewers said after the lights came up was that every student in every school in the United States needed to see this movie.

The producers of former vice president Al Gore’s film about global warming, myself included, certainly agreed. So the company that made the documentary decided to offer 50,000 free DVDs to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) for educators to use in their classrooms. It seemed like a no-brainer.

The teachers had a different idea: Thanks but no thanks, they said.

In their e-mail rejection, they expressed concern that other “special interests” might ask to distribute materials, too; they said they didn’t want to offer “political” endorsement of the film; and they saw “little, if any, benefit to NSTA or its members” in accepting the free DVDs.

Gore, however, is not running for office, and the film’s theatrical run is long since over. As for classroom benefits, the movie has been enthusiastically endorsed by leading climate scientists worldwide, and is required viewing for all students in Norway and Sweden.

Still, maybe the NSTA just being extra cautious. But there was one more curious argument in the e-mail: Accepting the DVDs, they wrote, would place “unnecessary risk upon the [NSTA] capital campaign, especially certain targeted supporters.” One of those supporters, it turns out, is the Exxon Mobil Corp.

Science a la Joe Camel – washingtonpost.com

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cash and poverty Uncategorized

Congratulations American Shoppers…you suck.

Just in case the rest of the world didn’t think we were a bunch of greedy, materialistic, pieces of shit…American consumers and retailers are upping the level of disgusting behavior….
cd

Attention,

Holiday Shoppers: We Have Fisticuffs in Aisle 2 – New York Times
Customers behaved badly across the country yesterday, but the mayhem can be traced in part to an escalating battle among retailers to be the first to open their doors and offer the steepest must-have deals.
Many merchants angered shoppers by trumpeting huge discounts — like $70 portable DVD players and $600 flat-screen televisions — only to announce they were sold out moments after they opened.
The fact that so many people were sleep-deprived probably didn’t help.
It was the earliest Black Friday on record. Trying to one-up its rivals, CompUSA started its annual Black Friday sales at 9 p.m. on Thursday, just as many Americans sat down for Thanksgiving dessert.
A dozen malls, from Utah to Maine, opened at midnight. And Wal-Mart, Best Buy and J. C. Penney began ringing up sales at 5 a.m. (A 6 a.m. opening at Target seemed so 2005.)
A final tally from yesterday’s sales will not be available until tomorrow, at the earliest. But retail executives, who were constantly checking sales figures on their BlackBerrys yesterday, said the numbers suggested that the holiday season was off to a strong, if uncivil, start.
“I have not seen a crowd this size in years,” said Terry J. Lundgren, the chief executive of Federated Department Stores, after surveying the lines outside Macy’s Herald Square at 5:30 a.m.

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critters Uncategorized

Turkeys try to catch train out of N.J.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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RAMSEY, N.J. – Some wild turkeys, it appears, were trying to get out of New Jersey before Thanksgiving Day. A spokesman for the NJ Transit said train officials reported a dozen or so wild turkeys waiting on a station platform in Ramsey, about 20 miles northwest of New York City, on Wednesday afternoon. The line travels to Suffern, N.Y.

“For a moment, it looked like the turkeys were waiting for the next outbound train,” said Dan Stessel, a spokesman for NJ Transit. “Clearly, they’re trying to catch a train and escape their fate.”

Transit workers followed the bird’s movements on surveillance cameras. “I have no idea how they got there,” Stessel said.

A Ramsey police dispatcher said the department had received three calls about the traveling turkeys who also were blamed for causing morning rush hour traffic problems on a roadway.

“From time to time, I’ve heard calls that there are turkeys on the loose,” said Erik Endress, president of the Ramsey Rescue Squad, a volunteer group. “Maybe they’re trying to make a break.”