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Oct 29

Lily is a Great Dane that has been blind since a bizarre medical condition required that she have both eyes removed. For the last 5 years, Maddison, another Great Dane, has been her sight. The two are, of course, inseparable.

 

(via Weird Universe, Daily Record, The Sun)

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Mar 26

If you are a professional diver you should visit Cenote Angelita Mexico.

These amazing pictures were taken by Anatoly Beloshchin in the cave Cenote Angelita, Mexico. Here’s his description: “We are 30 meters deep, fresh water, then 60 meters deep – salty water and under me I see a river, island and fallen leaves… Actually, the river, which you can see, is a layer of hydrogen sulphide.”
It must be an unforgettable feeling once you’re there and see it with your own eyes.

skipnjump says:

Hydrogen Sulphide is toxic in large quantities, but only if inhaled, like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. It can irritate mucous membranes, eyes, and respiratory organs. Since they’re diving (having oxygen supply and are suited) H2S would have no impact on them. All is safe.

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Mar 02

By Alex Morales

March 1 (Bloomberg) — The earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.

Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth’s rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects.

“The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second),” Gross, said today in an e-mailed reply to questions. “The axis about which the Earth’s mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches).”

The changes can be modeled, though they’re difficult to physically detect given their small size, Gross said. Some changes may be more obvious, and islands may have shifted, according to Andreas Rietbrock, a professor of Earth Sciences at the U.K.’s Liverpool University who has studied the area impacted, though not since the latest temblor.

Santa Maria Island off the coast near Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, may have been raised 2 meters (6 feet) as a result of the latest quake, Rietbrock said today in a telephone interview. He said the rocks there show evidence pointing to past earthquakes shifting the island upward in the past.

‘Ice-Skater Effect’

“It’s what we call the ice-skater effect,” David Kerridge, head of Earth hazards and systems at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, said today in a telephone interview. “As the ice skater puts when she’s going around in a circle, and she pulls her arms in, she gets faster and faster. It’s the same idea with the Earth going around if you change the distribution of mass, the rotation rate changes.”

Rietbrock said he hasn’t been able to get in touch with seismologists in Concepcion to discuss the quake, which registered 8.8 on the Richter scale.

“What definitely the earthquake has done is made the Earth ring like a bell,” Rietbrock said.

The magnitude 9.1 Sumatran in 2004 that generated an Indian Ocean tsunami shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted the axis by about 2.3 milliarcseconds, Gross said.

The changes happen on the day and then carry on “forever,” Benjamin Fong Chao, dean of Earth Sciences of the National Central University in Taiwan, said in an e-mail.

“This small contribution is buried in larger changes due to other causes, such as atmospheric mass moving around on Earth,” Chao said.

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Mar 02

A rarely seen Buddhist flower, which blossoms every 3,000 years, has been discovered under a nun’s washing machine.

Rarely seen Buddhist Udumbara flowers, which blossom every 3,000 years, was found under a washing machine in Lushan Mountain, Jiangxi province, China Photo: REX

The Udumbara flower was found in the home of a Chinese nun in Lushan Mountain, Jiangxi province, China.

The rare Youtan Poluo or Udumbara flower, which, according to Buddhist legend, only blooms every 3,000 years, measures just 1mm in diametre.

Miao Wei, 50, was cleaning when she discovered the cluster of white flowers under the washing machine.

At first she thought the barely-there stems were worm eggs, however, the next day she discovered that the stems had grown 18 white tiny flowers on top and smelled “fragrant”.

Local temples believe the mini blooms are specimens of the miraculous Youtan Poluo flower – called “Udumbara” or “Udambara” in Sanskrit, meaning “an auspicious flower from heaven.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

More Udumbara flower’s photo:

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May 21

May 19, 2009—Meet “Ida,” the small “missing link” found in Germany that’s created a big media splash and will likely continue to make waves among those who study human origins.

In a new book, documentary, and promotional Web site, paleontologist Jorn Hurum, who led the team that analyzed the 47-million-year-old fossil seen above, suggests Ida is a critical missing-link species in primate evolution (interactive guide to human evolution from National Geographic magazine).

(Among the team members was University of Michigan paleontologist Philip Gingerich, a member of the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society, which owns National Geographic News.)

The fossil, he says, bridges the evolutionary split between higher primates such as monkeys, apes, and humans and their more distant relatives such as lemurs.

“This is the first link to all humans,” Hurum, of the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, said in a statement. Ida represents “the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor.”

Ida, properly known as Darwinius masillae, has a unique anatomy. The lemur-like skeleton features primate-like characteristics, including grasping hands, opposable thumbs, clawless digits with nails, and relatively short limbs.

“This specimen looks like a really early fossil monkey that belongs to the group that includes us,” said Brian Richmond, a biological anthropologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the study, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE.

But there’s a big gap in the fossil record from this time period, Richmond noted. Researchers are unsure when and where the primate group that includes monkeys, apes, and humans split from the other group of primates that includes lemurs.

“[Ida] is one of the important branching points on the evolutionary tree,” Richmond said, “but it’s not the only branching point.”

At least one aspect of Ida is unquestionably unique: her incredible preservation, unheard of in specimens from the Eocene era, when early primates underwent a period of rapid evolution. (Explore a prehistoric time line.)

“From this time period there are very few fossils, and they tend to be an isolated tooth here or maybe a tailbone there,” Richmond explained. “So you can’t say a whole lot of what that [type of fossil] represents in terms of evolutionary history or biology.”

In Ida’s case, scientists were able to examine fossil evidence of fur and soft tissue and even picked through the remains of her last meal: fruits, seeds, and leaves.

What’s more, the newly described “missing link” was found in Germany’s Messel Pit. Ida’s European origins are intriguing, Richmond said, because they could suggest—contrary to common assumptions—that the continent was an important area for primate evolution.

Read more abt this at

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Apr 14

IT TAKES a lot to get teenagers’ minds off sex at the best of times – and in the bedroom it’s next to impossible. So it’s little wonder that one charity is turning to the most shocking of shock tactics to remind young people to use condoms.

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AIDES, a French NGO, has created a series of posters depicting a couple making love – in which one of the pair is, unusually, a giant creepy-crawly.

And while having a pair of legs wrapped around you in a passionate embrace sounds entertaining, when it’s four pairs, it looks a lot less fun.

In one, a woman is seen getting seriously intimate with a massive spider. In another, a man is caught in flagrante with a scorpion the size of a grizzly bear, its poison sting inches from his back. The idea is to suggest that no matter how attractive your partner may be, they could have a STD bug of their own – one that could kill you as easily as any spider bite.

The slogan for the adverts reads: “Without a condom you’re making love with Aids. Protect yourself.”

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But do you think shock tactics like these would encourage people to use a condom? Leave your comments below…

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Feb 12

free-valentines-day-vectors-3Thought you knew everything there is to know about Valentine’s Day? Then think again! We give you ten weird and wacky facts about the day that strikes fear into the heart of singletons and glee into those in couples.
1. Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, closely followed by children, mothers, wives and partner.

2. Penicillin, a popular treatment for STDs such as syphilis, was introduced to the world on February 14, 1929.

3. If you’re single don’t despair. You can celebrate Singles Awareness Day (SAD) instead. Meant as an alternative to Valentine’s Day, the holiday is for single people to celebrate or to commiserate in their single status. A common greeting on this day is “Happy SAD!”

4. Or you could pop over to Finland where Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä, which translates into “Friend’s day”. This day is more about remembering all your friends, not only your loved ones.

5. Durex claims that condom sales are highest around Valentine’s Day – 20 percent to 30 percent higher than usual.

6. More home pregnancy testing kits are sold in March than in any other month.

7. About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This makes it the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas.

8. About 3 per cent of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.

9. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their Valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. Nowadays to wear your heart on your sleeve means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.

10. In Victorian times it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine’s Day card.

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Feb 12

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For the first time in history (at least publicly known) two satellites collided in Space. This space accident was happening 485miles over Siberia already on Tuesday.

The US satellite is owned by Satellite phone service provider Iridium. The Russian satellite is said to be not in use anymore.

The crash generated a huge cloud of debris and it is expected to take weeks until the “dust settles” again. NASA says that there is no risk to the ISS right now. Space agencies are tracking the debris of the satellite crash and hope most of it burns in the earth atmosphere.

The orbit around earth is already pretty full with satellites and with debris. At some point they really need to clean up.

More details on BBC News and Reuters. See also the Iridium site.

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Sep 11

At 122 seconds, it is one of the longest adverts ever shown.

Advertising the little brown Hovis loaf, which was first sold 122 years ago, it follows a 13-year-old boy through 12 decades of British history and will be shown for the first time on Friday, in the middle of ITV’s Coronation Street.

This scene is one stop on the boy’s extraordinary journey and vividly brings a bustling Victorian street back to life.

Here, historians Nigel Jones and Lawrence James explain the detail behind the opening street scene.

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1 FASHION

Top hats  –  known as ‘stovepipes’  –  first appeared in the 18th century and were an upper middle-class status symbol.

Their most famous populariser was diminutive Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who wore specially tall ones to compensate for his lack of height.

The best and most expensive hats were made from the pelts of Canadian beavers.

Bowlers were originally the headgear of lowly Victorian clerks and foremen.

Mass-produced, they were cheaper than top hats but more upmarket than cloth caps.

Cloth caps, made from off-cuts, meanwhile-were the typical badge of the working class.

When Keir Hardie, founder of the Labour Party, entered Parliament in 1892, he wore one (actually a Sherlock Holmes-style deer stalker)  –  as a defiant sign that the working man had finally arrived.

Women’s fashions in the Victorian era with whalebone corsets tied so tight they led to fainting fits, reflected the female role as submissive wife and mother.

But Victoria’s death in 1901 led to the freeing of fashions  –  and the rise of women’s rights.

2 GAS LAMPS

When Victoria became Queen in 1837, street lighting was in its infancy and only middle-class urban areas had methane gas lamps, lit every day at dusk by a lamplighter using a long pole with a wick at the end.

Lighting spread only slowly, however, and by 1888 when Jack the Ripper committed his serial sex murders in the streets of Whitechapel, his crimes were conveniently cloaked in the gloom that still covered working-class slums.

After the murders, Victoria herself suggested lighting up the East End, but by the end of her reign in 1901, street lighting was still patchy and even Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes said he always carried a revolver when east of London’s Aldgate after dark.

 

3 DRAY HORSES

Horses were the only practical means of transport in cities.

Drays stood six feet at the shoulder and were specially bred to supply the thousands of urban pubs with beer barrels.

Coal, bread and milk churns were also delivered daily by horse and cart.

The drayman who worked the horse and cart was an unskilled labourer who could expect to be paid up to £1 per day, plus regular rations of beer as an extra perk.

The horses, when they retired, were less fortunate. They were sent to the knacker’s yard and boiled down to make glue.

The first cars appeared on Britain’s streets in 1895, but were still very rare at the turn of the century, while the first motorised taxis began to appear in 1900, replacing London’s 7,000 ‘hansom cabs’  –  named after designer Joseph Hansom, who patented it in 1834  –  which were drawn by a single horse.

 

4 THE STREET

Victorian thoroughfares, which were mostly cobbled, were filthy and strewn with dung from horses and the rotting produce that had fallen off the countless delivery carts.

In fact, people were officially encouraged to collect the dung to manure their gardens, and street urchins would often do so, selling it on for a small fee.

There were also plenty of unofficial street cleaners and if a lady passed by, gangs of children would offer to sweep a clean path across a road for a halfpenny.

Leather tanneries, breweries and factories all contributed to the vile smell.

In 1858, London suffered the Great Stink, when the pong became overwhelming.

Parliament was forced to adjourn because of the overpowering stench from the nearby Thames, which served as London’s main sewer.

Four years earlier, in 1854, a cholera epidemic in Soho killed 616 people within a few days.

Joseph Bazalgette, chief engineer to London’s Board of Works, subsequently persuaded Parliament to stump up the cash to build a network of sewers under the capital. This network of sewers is still operating today.

 

5 CANDLEMAKERS

Nearly all working-class homes relied on candles for light.

There were candlemakers  –  or ironmongers, where candles were also sold  –  on every high street. A pack of 12 cost 1d.

Candles were made not from the perfumed beeswax of today, but from tallow  –  animal fat  –  the evil aroma of which contributed to the smell of Victorian slum tenements.

 

6 SADDLERY AND BOOTMAKERS

In the age when the horse was all important, saddlers did a roaring trade.

Not only making saddles, bridles and reins, but repairing wornout equipment, too.

Bootmakers sometimes doubled as saddlers, selling new shoes as well as cobbling and repairing old ones.

Both got their leather, which was generally cow hide, from the numerous urban tanneries and contributed to the stink.

 

7 FOOD 

Unscrupulous butchers would often paint meat with red lead (a dye) to make it look fresher and shiny. Unfortunately, the appetising effect would have soon worn off, leaving those who consumed it feeling sick  –  and possibly badly poisoned.

Pork was not the only food to be contaminated with chemicals to make it look better.

In 1855, a Sanitary Commission report found red lead and ochre contaminating cayenne pepper, and copper and chlorate of lead in sweets and preserved fruits.

Milk and beer were often diluted with water.

The average weekly wage for an unskilled labourer was about 80 shillings, or £4 (about £7 in modern money  –  although you got much more for your cash then).

In 1899, Quaker philanthropist Seebohm Rowntree, calculated that a poor working man could afford only to spend 3 shillings a week on meat.

With a pig costing 10 shillings, pork was expensive and most customers would buy only the occasional slice of bacon, sold as ‘butcher’s bits’ and chopped up on a dirty and often flyblown wooden block outside the shop.

Game, such as the pheasants and rabbits in this picture, was cheaper and more readily available. A rabbit cost just 3d and a pheasant 2 shillings.

The 1882 Game Law insisted that every butcher that sold game had a licence and bought meat from a legitimate farmer.

Poaching was still rife, however, although the penalties were harsh. A poacher could expect six months in jail if caught.

Geese, meanwhile, were pricey and were generally bought for special occasions, such as Christmas.

Because it was so hard to keep food fresh, and meat generally had to be eaten immediately, people often shopped on a daily basis.

Urban Victorians ate a huge amount of meat but little fruit and vegetables.

Predominantly, as suggested by this picture, they ate potatoes and some cabbage.

 

8 ENLISTMENT

The words are unclear in this photo but this sign actually offers a bounty of two guineas to those volunteering for service in the Royal Navy.

Such notices would have been a common sight  –  the Services were always short of men in the Victorian era.

The Press Gang  –  the brutal practice of using gangs of seamen to kidnap able-bodied men for forced service at sea had been abolished after the Napoleonic wars ended in 1815.

Two guineas  –  around £2.10  –  would have been an incentive at the time but was often spent on alcohol  –  it would have bought about eight bottles of whisky.

As an extra inducement, sailors at sea were entitled to a daily dram of ‘grog’  –  watered down rum.

Soldiers who survived the imperial campaigns and retired were paid a pension of a ha’penny a day  –  4p a day in today’s money.

AAAHHHH. the good old days – I don’t think…..

i remember HOVIS though as very GOOD !

 

 

 

– Roge Wheeler, Mexico, 11/9/2008 7:11

Cripes, surely we can’t be seen to be proud of our British heritage? Surely wont we be offending sections of the public? PC Brigade where art though?

– James, Sydney, 11/9/2008 8:22

There are some errors here! I think you’ll find that a dray-man earned about 1 shilling per day…..a good wage was considered to be £50 per year, an unskilled labourer would not earn as muchAnd a halfpenny, in “old ” money was about equivalent to a bit less than a quarter of a “new” penny when decimalisation came in!!

Does anyone remeber the Public Info Films?…”use your old pennies in sixpenny lots..” 1shilling=5p
 

 

– Juscoll, Lancashire UK, 11/9/2008 8:47

This advert will probably be the only British history the children of this country get this year. How sad.

– Dorothy Quinlan, Angeles City Philippines, 11/9/2008 9:23

British history? I thought nu labour had air brushed that from our minds.

– peter, kings lynn, 11/9/2008 10:31

Wish we could see this ad in Australia! It would probaly be better than whats on TV!

– Marion Jenkins, Karingal, Australia, 11/9/2008 11:33

“The drayman who worked the horse and cart was an unskilled labourer who could expect to be paid up to £1 per day…” Wow, that’s a good wage for an unskilled labourer – perhaps you meant to write 1d (one shilling) ?

– Harry Jackson, Sydney, Australia, 11/9/2008 12:05

What an interesting article!! As a keen family historian I found it fascinating. I have family roots in Victorian London and it made me think not quite the good old days was it!!

– Chris Wright, Penrith, Cumbria, 11/9/2008 12:11

As a very young boy, I was encouraged to collect horse droppings by my grandfather for the garden, he would give me a silver threepenny bit (a ‘joey’) for doing this!

– John Rodwell, Rye, UK, 11/9/2008 12:20

Excellent article. Could we have more of this type of enlightening news in place of the daily more depressing news we are subjected to 24 hrs a day?

– Marlene, France, 11/9/2008 14:35

What a great article – can’t wait to see the advert – will be far more entertaining than most of the ‘tripe’ we watch!My Mom is 92 and her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchild will sit for hours listening to her account of ‘the good old days’. Doubt very much if ‘our’ history will create such interest. Might I add everyone seemed far happier in those days and ‘neighbours’ ‘mucked in’ to lend a helping hand with everything from delivering babies to providing food and a good old ‘cuppa’!

Personally, I wished I had been around then to experience this fascinating era.
 

 

– Pee, Redditch, UK, 11/9/2008 14:57

Such a delight to read this interesting article rather than all the doom and gloom. Will Hovis
be dragged through the courts for daring to portray a little of our British history?

– Jennifer, UK, 11/9/2008 15:24

In a hundred years time people will look back into our history and will say why did they let this once proud beautifull country get into such a mess, and they will be correct as we have allowed NuLabour to destroy us and our country. How sad.

– Janet, Dartmouth, England, 11/9/2008 15:26

Source: Daily Mail

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Aug 04

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Christian was a lion purchased in 1969 by two Australians living in London from Harrods for around £263 – they decided to keep him in their flat and let him run around in a local graveyard to play but, when his food bills became in the excess of £300 per week, they decided they needed to let him into the wild, they did so successfully and 1 year on they wanted to revisit him, they were told he would not remember them, this is what happened. The reunion lasted until the next morning when everyone went to bed. According to Rendall that was the last anyone saw of Christian

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