For several weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top diplomats have provided the world with repeated assurances that they have no intention of sending Russian troops into eastern Ukraine. On Monday, April 21, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov brushed aside those pledges, providing the strongest signal yet that Moscow may be laying the political groundwork for a military incursion into its jittery neighbor.
T Rex: 1920
Washington, D.C., circa 1920. “Army car with Key Bridge in background.” A sort of Model T on steroids… via.
Today’s picture shows a young lady enjoying an ice cream cone at summer camp. the picture was taken at a camp in Michigan in 1942. I can not remember having ice cream at summer camp, but maybe that was just the camps I went to…. via.
Carrie Mae Weems, Untitled, from the Kitchen Table Series, 1990 (63.2001.3)
Carrie Mae Weems tells stories in her photographs, often becoming her own subject. She uses her work to explore cultural, social, and political issues, particularly those dealing with representation of women and African Americans, and comments on race, sex, and gender.
It’s the 55th birthday of Michael Timmins, songwriter and guitarist of The Cowboy Junkies……>Here’s one of their many excellent covers:
—The Cowboy Junkies: Dead Flowers (Jagger/Richards) – from ‘neath Your Covers, Part 2
MSU physicists push new Parkinson’s treatment toward clinical trials
Research at Michigan State University, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, shows that a small “molecular tweezer” keeps proteins from clumping, or aggregating, the first step of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
—The results are pushing the promising molecule toward clinical trials and actually becoming a new drug, said Lisa Lapidus, MSU associate professor of physics and astronomy and co-author of the paper.
—”By the time patients show symptoms and go to a doctor, aggregation already has a stronghold in their brains,” she said. “In the lab, however, we can see the first steps, at the very place where the drugs could be the most effective. This could be a strong model for fighting Parkinson’s and other diseases that involve neurotoxic aggregation.”
—Lapidus’ lab uses lasers to study the speed of protein reconfiguration before aggregation, a technique Lapidus pioneered. Proteins are chains of amino acids that do most of the work in cells. Scientists understand protein structure, but they don’t know how they are built – a process known as folding.
Biosphere 2: It was build as airtight closed ecological system with plants, insects and animals over 13000m². Between 1991 – 1993 eight scientists lived in there to proof that life is possible isolated from the earth’s biosphere. The system became quickly unstable – in the end the experiment failed. p
A decade ago, there were not tons of terrific photos to choose from in the Commons, but photographers have really stepped up by licensing their photos so people can share them along with knowledge. While you may or may not agree with the 12 Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year winners, most everyone could agree the competition was smoking hot. Categories like animals, plants, people, panoramas, nature, space, architecture and even miscellaneous objects give us a chance to go globe hopping as we celebrate these 45 sizzling snaps. Congratulations winners and thank you to all photographers who make the Commons a fountain of beautiful knowledge! Why don’t you consider uploading your photos to the Commons and maybe we’ll see you listed as a winner next year? [45 Photos]
Throughout the world there are many head hunting indigenous tribes, but only a few that actually shrink human heads, a practice called “tsantsa”. Although the Indians of the Phillipines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea did shrink human heads the most prominent head shrinkers were the Jivaro people who lived in the Peruvian Amazon.
The Jivaro Indians have always been known for their fierceness. In 1599 the Jivaro rose up and killed 25,000 foreigners in a place called Logrono. The uprising was caused because the colonists increased taxes on gold which was being mined in that area. During the massacre they captured the local governor and poured molten gold down his throat which caused his bowels to explode. Everyone was killed except for a few young white women who were hauled away to be slaves. After this no one conquered the Jivaro or tried to take their lands despite the large deposits of gold known to lie there. The reputation of the Jivaro as fierce fighters coupled with the practice of shrinking the heads of their slain enemies kept many intruders out of the area for years.
Humorous Photographs Poke Fun At The Silly Laws Of The US
By Jillian Wong, 21 Apr 2014
Manhattan-based photographer Olivia Locher, whose cheeky photo series ‘I Fought The Law’ was previously featured, has come up with new photographs that poke fun at the silly laws in the US.
For example, it is illegal to sell hollow logs in Tennessee, while it is against the law to walk down the street carrying a violin in a paper bag in Utah.
Check out more bizarre but real laws below.
A 3,300-year-old sculpted coffin lid from Israel’s Jezreel Valley.
A newly discovered coffin that dates back 3,300 years likely belonged to a wealthy elite, perhaps an Egyptian army officer, archaeologists have announced.
The grave site, uncovered in Israel, was filled with food storage vessels, animal bones and tableware, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported today (April 9). A clay coffin with a lid sculpted to look like a person contained an adult skeleton surrounded by hammered pieces of bronze, as well as a bronze dagger and bowl.
New testing shows that high levels of radium are being released into the watershed that supplies Pittsburgh’s drinking water
—New testing of treated wastewater from fracking shows that it contains high levels of radioactive radium, along with chloride and bromide. Image via Environmental Science and Technology/Warner et. al.
—Editor’s Note, Oct. 9: Based on several comments that mentioned that the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility stopped treating fracking wastewater in 2011, we did a bit of digging and found that the treated water downstream from the plant still showed signatures that fresh fracking water had run through it, according to the study’s authors. The post has been revised with this information, along with the fact that treatment does remove a good bit of contamination.
The Playboy Bunny costume — with its shiny satin bustier and floppy-eared head gear — has become an iconic part of America’s pop culture history. Ever since Hugh Hefner and Playboy executive Victor Lownes recruited Zelda Wynn Valdes to design the rabbit-inspired outfit, it’s morphed into a recognizable symbol for Hefner’s formidable media empire.
Beer brewing and drinking are activities that have been part of the human experience seemingly since the dawn of civilization. Around 10,000 years ago, mankind began to move away from living life as nomadic hunter gatherers, and began settling down in one spot to farm the land. Grain, a vital ingredient in beer making, was cultivated by these new agricultural societies.
—No one is exactly sure how the process of beer making was discovered or who first discovered it, but it is thought that some bread or grain got wet, fermenting into an inebriating pile of mush thanks to yeast in the air. One has to wonder at the thought process of the person tasting the result for the first time – perhaps it was a dare between Mesopotamian frat boys… or more likely it was simply that up until very recently, no one would have dreamed of wasting any food, even putrid mush. If there was a way to make it palatable and it didn’t kill you, people would do it to avoid waste.
—What we do know is that the oldest written documentation pertaining to beer making can be traced back at least six thousand years, to the ancient civilization of Sumeria. A hymn, entitled “Hymn to Ninkasi,” which includes (translated):
Illustration by Patrick Faricy
—It’s a lonely place now, a forlorn and mostly forgotten spot a half-mile west of the interstate and twelve miles north of Trinidad. Flanked by cottonwoods, surrounded by windswept prairie studded with piñon and tumbleweeds, it has an unfinished look, like a roadside attraction somebody started to build and then abandoned.
—There’s an iron fence, a cinder-block meeting hall, a tattered guest book, some storyboards about what took place here, and a granite monument, featuring a heroic sculpture of a miner and his wife and child.
How a brain injury turned an average Joe into a math genius who is among only 40 people in the WORLD to have released an ‘inner Einstein’ after trauma
After suffering a brain injury in 2002, Jason Padgett became obsessed with math and physics
He has since been diagnosed as one of only 40 people who have ‘acquired savant syndrome’
Those with the syndrome develop talents for math, art or music after brain injuries
ROCK SPRINGS, WYO. — The only light in the vast Wyoming darkness came from the lit end of another 5:30 a.m. cigarette as Derric Winters waited alone for sunrise on the porch of his trailer. He never slept well, not anymore, so he smoked and stared across the three miles of barren landscape that separated him from town. He checked his voice mail, but there were no messages. He logged on to Facebook, but no one was awake to chat. The only company now was the hum of the interstate behind his trailer, people on their way from one place to the next. He walked out to his truck and joined them.
A research team has found fragments of leaves and preserved organic compounds lodged inside glass created by several ancient impacts in Argentina.
The material could provide a snapshot of environmental conditions at the time of those impacts. The discovery also suggests that impact glasses could be a good place to look for signs of ancient life on Mars.
The work is published in the latest issue of Geology Magazine.
Kerry Miller brings old and discarded books back to life, turning them into unique pieces of 3D artwork. The mixed media and collage artist carefully carves out illustrations found within the book, sometimes using inks and watercolours to enrich and enhance the final piece. As Miller explains on her website:
— “My work is a means of distilling the essence of a book, whilst releasing the images and allowing them to reach a new audience. I view it as a collaboration, a partnership with the past, giving new purpose to old volumes that may otherwise never see the light of day or simply end up in recycling. As technology threatens to replace the printed word, there has never been a better time to reimagine the book.”
—Miller’s works are available for purchase through Lawrence Cantor Fine Art. You can also find her latest pieces on her official website. You can find all of her upcoming exhibitions for 2014 here.
Last Boxing day, when I was too full to do a jigsaw or argue with my dad, I sat in the chair near the cat litter tray with a bottle of sherry, and stared at the wall for six or seven hours. Ignoring my mum’s conversation about whether Jeremy Irons had been born a woman, I started to think about my life. Just as I was envisaging the whole community grief-stricken at my imaginary funeral, the next door neighbour’s cat ran in through the cat flap and did a massive shit in the litter tray at my feet. It was existentially traumatic.
Like the term “brain drain,” the definition of “gentrification” depends on whom you ask. When I discuss gentrification, I’m thinking about neighborhood improvements that displace (force out) current residents. If residents are not displaced, then we aren’t talking about gentrification. Furthermore, I would distinguish between active gentrification and passive gentrification. Actively, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani supposedly “cleaned up Times Square“:
Nicky Loh/ReutersAs a plant, rice is particularly prone to absorbing certain toxic metals from the soil.
–For the past few years, Mary Lou Guerinot has been keeping watch over experimental fields in southeast Texas, monitoring rice plants as they suck metals and other troublesome elements from the soil.
–If the fields are flooded in the traditional paddy method, she has found, the rice handily takes up arsenic. But if the water is reduced in an effort to limit arsenic, the plant instead absorbs cadmium — also a dangerous element.
–“It’s almost either-or, day-and-night as to whether we see arsenic or cadmium in the rice,” said Dr. Guerinot, a molecular geneticist and professor of biology at Dartmouth College.
The Seven Deadly Sins (1960)… viα.
If a crisis throws everyone offline, getting reconnected can be tougher than it looks, finds Hal Hodson during a test scenario in the heart of New York
IN THE heart of one of the most connected cities in the world, the internet has gone down. Amid the blackout, a group of New Yorkers scrambles to set up a local network and get vital information as the situation unfolds.
The scenario is part of a drill staged on 5 April in Manhattan by art and technology non-profit centre Eyebeam, and it mimics on a small scale the outage that affected New Yorkers after superstorm Sandy hit in 2012. The idea is to test whether communication networks built mostly on meagre battery power and mobile devices can be created rapidly when disaster strikes.
It is behavior seen throughout the world on a Saturday night – in fact on every night of the week which happens to have an a in it. There are always a few who have just that little bit too much and end up making a scene, a spectacle and often a mess in to the bargain. Yet in Halifax, Canada, scenes of a drunken nature are not confined to its human denizens: the lampposts are at it too.
Shooting pictures of bullets through targets like water balloon and fruits is hard enough. What if the target itself is moving or instantaneous? Dutch photographer Alexander Augusteijn does precisely that. Using a device he built himself, Augusteijn takes pictures of bullets slicing through drops of water.
“I use a normal flash to achieve very short illuminations,” said Alexander Augusteijn. “The most critical parameter in this kind of photography is timing, which is achieved by computer control of shutter, flash, valve, gun or whatever other device is used.”
—“These kind of images require a lot of experimentation, dedication, patience and willingness to endlessly clean spill of liquids and debris from objects shot to pieces. Several hundreds of trial shots may be needed to get timing correct. After that, the process is pretty well controlled, and often half of the shots will be usable, with 1 out of 10 really interesting.”
A NASA satellite photo of a smog episode in northern China ( NASA via Atlantic )
Everyone “knows” that China is badly polluted. I’ve written over the years, and still believe, that environmental sustainability in all forms is China’s biggest emergency, in every sense: for its people, for its government, for its effect on the world. And yes, I understand that the same is true for modern industrialized life in general. But China is an extreme case, and an extremely important one because of its scale.
Here are two simple charts, neither of them brand-new but both easily comprehensible, that help dramatize how different the situation is there. The first, by Steven Andrews for China Dialogue via ChinaFile, compares official Chinese classifications of “good” air conditions with those in Europe or North America.
In the summer of 1981, a Swedish graduate student named Svante Paabo filled a laboratory at the University of Uppsala with the stench of rotting liver. Paabo was supposed to be studying viruses, but he had become secretly obsessed with a more exotic line of research: extracting DNA from Egyptian mummies. No one at the time had any idea if the desiccated flesh of pharaohs still contained any genetic material, so Paabo decided to run an experiment. He bought a piece of calf’s liver and put it in a lab oven at about 120 degrees for a few days to approximate mummification. In the dried, blackened lump of meat, he succeeded in finding scattered fragments of DNA.
—It was the start of what has turned out to be an extraordinary scientific career. Paabo went on to find DNA in a 2,400-year-old mummy and then from much older animals, like extinct cave bears and ground sloths. In 2010, he became world-famous when he and his colleagues unveiled the Neanderthal genome.
Hollywood never met a true story it couldn’t fuck up. In Braveheart, the Battle of Stirling Bridge is fought without the bridge, a fuckup akin to a D-Day movie without a beach. They can fuck up downward, casting the five-foot-seven Martin Sheen as the famously tall Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg. They can fuck up life and death: In Band of Brothers a show so faithfully detail-oriented that it might well have been called, Honest, We Read a Book: The Miniseries, they killed one character 19 years before reality did.
But those are wars. Big things. You know, 50 million dead, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous, the atomic bomb. Getting smaller stories right is easier, or so you’d think. Like Heaven Is for Real, the tale of a four-year-old Nebraska boy—deliciously named Colton Burpo—who went to heaven then came back to tell his pastor father all about it. The bare bones of that story sounds like a Capra script already, but somehow, Hollywood fucked it up. Heaven Is for Real is phony. It isn’t even a fun bad movie.
World government is back, in geopolitics and in the academy, but what does the future hold for it?
by Luis Cabrera 3,300 words
The United Nations General Assembly, October 2012. Photo courtesy Wikimedia
—The United Nations General Assembly, October 2012. Photo courtesy Wikimedia
—Nigel Farage, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), recently tried a new tack in his campaign to free Britain from the ‘shackles’ of European Union membership. The EU, he said, should not be viewed as a mutually beneficial economic and political union of 28 countries, but ‘as a prototype for those who would have us be part of one world government’.
Religious ceremonies, some solemn, some joyous, took place around the world this week. Holy Week is observed by many different Christians before Easter. The Jewish holiday of Passover is celebrated for a week, and the New Year festivals of Vaisakhi and Thinhyan were also observed. –Leanne Burden Seidel (28 photos total)
Let’s take a moment to remember those who died at TRhe Ludlow Massacre 100 years ago today on April,20, 1914 (upload.wikimedia.org)