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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 47272 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #735 on: Aug 17th, 2010, 5:55pm »

Hey Phil & CA519705950,

The Ligers are beautiful little things. Really gorgeous. But I would worry about physical issues. Maybe they won't be bothered by such things.

Hope you both are doing well today. Still sunny here. Seattle is all snarled up with traffic because Obama is in town. Glad I'm up north and out of the hysteria. Plus I just don't like politicians. Any politicians. I think they have a special gene, creepiness gene. grin I'll shut up.........
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« Reply #736 on: Aug 17th, 2010, 5:58pm »

SPACE.com

Proof of Aliens Could Come Within 25 Years, Scientist Says
By Clara Moskowitz
SPACE.com Senior Writer
posted: 16 August 2010
10:43 am ET

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Proof of extraterrestrial intelligence could come within 25 years, an astronomer who works on the search said Sunday.

"I actually think the chances that we'll find ET are pretty good," said Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, Calif., here at the SETI con convention. "Young people in the audience, I think there's a really good chance you're going to see this happen."

Shostak bases this estimation on the Drake Equation, a formula conceived by SETI pioneer Frank Drake to calculate the number (N) of alien civilizations with whom we might be able to communicate. That equation takes into account a variety of factors, including the rate of star formation in the galaxy, the fraction of stars that have planets, the fraction of planets that are habitable, the percent of those that actually develop life, the percent of those that develop intelligent life, the fraction of civilizations that have a technology that can broadcast their presence into space, and the length of time those signals would be broadcasted.

Reliable figures for many of those factors are not known, but some of the leaders in the field of SETI have put together their best guesses. Late great astronomer Carl Sagan, another SETI pioneer, estimated that the Drake Equation amounted to N = 1 million. Scientist and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov calculated 670,000. Drake himself estimates a more conservative 10,000.

But even if that lower value turns out to be correct, at the rate they're going, it wouldn't take scientists too long to discover an alien signal, Shostak said.

"This range, from Sagan's million down to 10,000 – that's the range of estimates from people who have started and worked on SETI," said Shostak. "These people may know what they're talking about. If they do, then the point is we trip across somebody in the next several dozen or two dozen years."

The SETI quest is set to take a leap forward when the Allen Telescope Array, a network of radio dishes under construction in northern California, is fully operational. By 2015, the array should be able to scan hundreds of thousands of stars for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, Shostak said.

But while humans might be able to discover an alien signal within that timeframe, interpreting what ET is trying to tell us could take much, much longer.

Shostak admitted such a task would be very difficult. An alien civilization may be as technologically advanced compared to us as Homo sapiens are to our hominid relatives Neanderthals.

"We could give our digital television signals to the Neanderthals, and they'll never figure it out. And they're not stupid," he said.

Yet simply having proof that we are not alone in the universe would likely be a world-changing achievement, Shostak added.

http://www.space.com/searchforlife/alien-life-soon-seticon-100816.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #737 on: Aug 17th, 2010, 6:05pm »

on Aug 17th, 2010, 5:55pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Hey Phil & CA519705950,

The Ligers are beautiful little things. Really gorgeous. But I would worry about physical issues. Maybe they won't be bothered by such things.

Hope you both are doing well today. Still sunny here. Seattle is all snarled up with traffic because Obama is in town. Glad I'm up north and out of the hysteria. Plus I just don't like politicians. Any politicians. I think they have a special gene, creepiness gene. grin I'll shut up.........
Crystal

I'm doing good thanks... I'd ask Phil but I think he fell out of my pocket wink (just kidding ofc)... yourself?
Hmm in the UK it's been normal-but-rain-foreboding, sunny, rainy, normal... in that order. Weather over here has gotten so unpredictable lately. Hahaha, I agree with that about the creepiness gene.
Interesting article as well. I'd like to see that!
« Last Edit: Aug 17th, 2010, 6:06pm by CA519705950 » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #738 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 02:47am »

Good morning Crys

Quote:
You had an unusual experience to say the least with the Big Foot shaking your floor! That has to be unnerving! And to be alone in the house when it happens! He must have been looking for food and water.


At the time it terrified me; my heart was pounding, and at a time when I wanted to listen to know exactly how close it was to my home and where it was exactly. My heart started pounding inside my head so loud that I could not hear a thing after that.

At the time I worked in Queensland with a woman in her 50s who had a far greater scare than I did. She was a very fitness conscious person, always working out at the gym and for her age she was incredibly fit. Alas at the time she had an abusive partner…(which she has long since left and found happiness with someone else). They went to visit his sister whose home was right out in the bush, 12klm out from a very small remote town (the town was so small that if you blinked while driving through you would miss it). Anyway at his sisters home her partner had too much alcohol to drink and began pushing her around injuring her ribs, so she decided to walk back to the town and catch a taxi home to the remote town where we lived. The night was very dark and the road was through thick dense bushland. As she was walking along, already sore and bruised up from her partner she heard something thrashing through the bushland beside the road, and its heavy footsteps. She became fearful not knowing what it could be, and started to run, but the footsteps matched her own… it was running alongside the road in the bush beside her thrashing through the trees and shrubs. She fell on the bitumen road badly cutting her knees and elbows up. She took off her shoes and took off running and did not stop until she got to the town. She came into work the next day in a pretty bad way and still shaken from the experience. She was a country woman and had always lived on farms and in country regions and knew what all the critters were around, and never had she ever experienced anything like that before and had no idea what kind of creature it could have been in the bush stalking her. We talked about it and I suggested it could have been a Yowie, and she said, it could have been as it sounded like it was walking upright and did not fit any description of any animal she knew of.

Quote:
Raven Mockers. I've never heard of them, thank you for that. I'll have to do some reading about them. There are so many stories about these beings. Sometimes I feel like we're sitting in a playpen while the Universe swirls around us.


I agree Crys, I know the feeling. The world in which we live is full of high strangeness.

I hope you have a great day. smiley

Pen
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #739 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:00am »

Coming soon to a city near you.......

Offered without comment..... tongue

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/august-22-best-day-of-year-national-go-topless-day

OpposingViews

August 22 Best Day of Year: National Go Topless Day


Opinion by Mark Berman Opposing Views
(18 Hours Ago) in Society

August 22 is gearing up to be the best day of the year -- it's "National Go Topless Day," as proclaimed by some crazy UFO group.

The Raelian Movement, which proudly pronounces that it "recognizes that life on Earth was created by advanced extraterrestrial scientists" also believes that if men are allowed to walk around in public shirtless, than women should too. The connection between the UFO beliefs and toplessness?:

"These scientists, both male and female, used their mastery of genetic engineering to create humans in their own image (breasts included!)."
They claim the 14th Amendment gives women the same right to go topless as men. The 14th Amendment has been in the news lately, as it also gives children of illegal aliens citizenship, if the kids are born in the U.S. Thankfully, the Raelian folks haven't joined that discussion.

The group says the topless initiative helps both men and women:

How are we helping women? GoTopless is committed to helping women perceive their breasts as noble, natural parts of their anatomy (whether they are nursing or not). Breasts shouldn’t have to be “modestly” or shamefully hidden from public view any more than arms, legs or feet.

How are we helping men? GoTopless is also committed to helping men differentiate between nudity and sexuality. If the presence of a topless woman in public triggers a sexual impulse, it can easily be controlled in the same way men control themselves when they see a woman wearing a mini skirt or revealing ample cleavage. Men manage to appreciate these things while still showing respect! Choosing consciousness above hormones leads to a peaceful, respectful society providing additional freedom and beauty.

Events will be held in the following cities:

New York
Los Angeles
Chicago
Miami Beach
Austin
Seattle
Oahu
Denver
San Francisco

So if you live in one of those cities, get ready for a very interesting day.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #740 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:16am »

on Aug 17th, 2010, 6:05pm, CA519705950 wrote:
I'm doing good thanks... I'd ask Phil but I think he fell out of my pocket wink (just kidding ofc)... yourself?
Hmm in the UK it's been normal-but-rain-foreboding, sunny, rainy, normal... in that order. Weather over here has gotten so unpredictable lately. Hahaha, I agree with that about the creepiness gene.
Interesting article as well. I'd like to see that!


Good morning CA519705950,
The weather there has been a little crazy. We seem to be in a little pocket up here on the Puget Sound. It stays pretty mild, even when the rest of the country is getting slammed.
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« Reply #741 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:27am »

Good evening Pen,

You certainly had every reason to be afraid. And being in your own home doesn't sound as though it helped. Where are you going to run?

Your friend knew the land so knew the sounds as you did. That must have been a terrifying experience. Poor woman. Not knowing when it was going to jump out and grab her!
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« Reply #742 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:31am »

Good morning Swamprat!

Sure, you aren't going to go looking for the Raelians and their topless events. grin just teasing

They seem to be a loony bunch. Seriously loony! Not just a bit! A BUNCH of loony in one place.

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« Reply #743 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:38am »

happy birthday Patrick

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« Reply #744 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:41am »

New York Times

August 17, 2010
On Motorcycle, European Pilgrims Race Toward God
By SCOTT SAYARE

PORCARO, France — The inhabitants of Brittany, on Europe’s rain-soaked western edge, are said to love the church as much as they love a party. Which perhaps makes this tiny Breton village a less improbable locale for the wholly improbable happening it hosts each year.

The festival of the Madonna of the Bikers, which organizers promote as the largest motorcycle “pilgrimage” in France — there are few aspirants to the title — attracted nearly 10,000 motorcyclists from across Europe last weekend to the soggy wheat fields of Porcaro, population 650. It was an unlikely mix of what Roman Catholic Bretons call the “sacred and profane”; many came to pray, many to carouse, a surprising number to do both.

There were priests and incense and holy water and much solemnity and prayer, but also AC/DC and studded leather, body piercings and tattoos and, beginning well before noon and lasting well into the night, the consumption of prodigious quantities of alcohol.

“No one should leave here without having gotten what he really wanted out of it,” intoned the Rev. Jean-François Audrain, presiding over an open-air Sunday Mass. Draped in white gilded vestments, he addressed a crowd of thousands of bikers and local faithful, gathered in a rolling field behind Porcaro’s 19th-century stone church. Later, he joined four fellow priests in sprinkling holy water on thousands of rumbling Harleys, Hondas, Ducatis and Kawasakis, filing past one by one.

Held here annually on the occasion of the Assumption, the Catholic celebration of the Virgin Mary’s ascent to heaven, the Madonna of the Bikers is meant as a religious gathering open to all comers, organizers say, and an opportunity for the church to penetrate the biker flock. The program features two Masses, the blessing of the bikes, and a 45-mile “pilgrimage” ride through the fields and dark forests of central Brittany, in addition to several non-denominational rock concerts and ample supplies of beer and wine.

Begun in 1979 by a local abbot as a pilgrimage ride for himself and 37 friends, the event has since grown into a sprawling festival — this year the concerts, held in a field outside town, lasted until 4 a.m. Sunday — and what is viewed by many as one of France’s premier motorcycle events, religious or otherwise.

Unlike Lourdes and other better known French pilgrimage sites, Porcaro draws a sizable contingent of nonbelievers, a phenomenon perhaps all the more surprising given the widespread distrust of organized religion in France, where the separation of church and state is codified in an almost religious brand of secularism. Brittany, though, has long enjoyed a less standoffish relationship to Christianity than has much of the rest of France, and Catholicism is viewed by many here simply as part of the region’s social fabric.

“I’m not so into the church,” said a biker who called himself Snake. (He brushed off a visitor’s request for his full name, explaining, “Everyone knows me, in any case.”) Still, he tried to have his bike blessed last year, he said, but the attending priest balked at the “666” etched on it, with its Satanist overtones.

Others said they had come to Porcaro for a spiritual experience.

Pascal Letartre, 60, had come from Chartres, he said, “to say a prayer for our fallen fellow bikers.” This was the second year he and his wife, Bernadette, had come to Porcaro, though last year, she chimed in with a laugh, “It was to drink!”

Porcaro has come to define itself by the festival — the town calls itself the “French bikers’ capital” — and residents say they actually enjoy the characters it draws. The gathering is largely financed by souvenir sales overseen by a local association and staffed almost exclusively by volunteers from the village and the surrounding communities. Many homeowners allow bikers to pitch tents on their lawns during the festival.

The two-day event injects about $500,000 into the local economy each year, said Porcaro’s mayor, Pierre Hamery. Last weekend, much of that sum appeared to be destined for Porcaro’s two bars, the village’s only commercial establishments.

“The Madonna brings in all our profits for the year,” said Marine Perrichot, 18, whose mother owns and operates the bar Le Wheeling (“The Wheelie,” in French). This year, the bar stayed open all night Saturday and on into Sunday.

“There are never too many problems,” Ms. Perrichot said, recalling with a laugh when a gentleman rode his motorcycle into the ground-level barroom several years ago. “We can’t complain,” she said. “They’re all adorable.”

Despite all the imbibing, the gathering in Porcaro began as and remains a religious event, with the backing of the Catholic Church.

“The essential thing for me, as a priest — as a biker-priest — is to show this community that God is close to them,” said Father Audrain, who rides a BMW F 800 ST and has helped coordinate the Madonna of the Bikers since 2007. “My work, in the first place, is about making God seem all right, and making the church seem all right.”

“It’s tricky,” he noted.

The brand of Catholicism embraced by the Bretons is well suited to the hard-living motorcycle world, said Father Audrain. Drawing on the traditions of the hedonistic Celts who once inhabited the region, Breton Catholicism holds that all human activity, with the exception of sin, is in the service of God, he said.

“Partying doesn’t bother me,” said Father Audrain, a slim, athletic man with an endearing lisp, and no teetotaler himself. Still, he acknowledged, as much as the partying might draw nonbelieving bikers here, it also keeps a fair number from the Mass on the event’s second morning.

“There aren’t so many of them that show up,” he said, “because they have to sober up from the night before.”

As Father Audrain conducted his service Sunday morning, Lenaïck Flamant hurried toward a nearby coffee stand.

“It was hard this morning,” admitted Ms. Flamant, 47, dressed in heavy black and white leather. She had gone to sleep at 4 or 5, she said, but awoke at 9, to be sure to have her Yamaha blessed. She had brushed her teeth, and was confident the priests would smell no liquor on her breath.

“I took a breathalyzer before I got on my bike,” she said. “It was close, but I made it.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/world/europe/18motorcycle.html?_r=1&ref=world

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« Reply #745 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:43am »

Wired Danger Room

Petraeus: Here’s My Afghan Redeployment Strategy
By Spencer Ackerman August 18, 2010 | 8:47 am | Categories: Af/Pak

KABUL, Afghanistan – General David Petraeus isn’t planning to wake up one morning after July 2011 and order his troops out of Afghanistan’s provinces all at once. Instead, his idea is to slowly and deliberately remove small units, district by district, in an intricate process he describes as “thinning out.”

“You can reduce your forces. But you thin out,” Petraeus tells Danger Room in an interview from his professorial Kabul office. “You don’t just hand over. The whole unit doesn’t leave.” At least not in the early stages after the Obama administration’s announced date to start a withdrawal. And some of those troops won’t
come home right away: they’ll be “reinvested” at first in parts of the country where security remains dicey.

For months, Petraeus has been questioned about how quickly the U.S. will remove its troops from Afghanistan after July 2011. He’s heard lawmakers and pundits parse everything he says for the tiniest iota’s worth of difference with President Obama. It’s “premature” to speculate what will happen eleven months from now, Petraeus says. Once again, he declares support for the Obama policy of beginning a “conditions-based” drawdown next summer. But for perhaps the first time, Petraeus opens up, just a bit, about his thinking for how to send troops home, and in what size.

A few combat brigades of between 3000 and 5000 troops, like those Obama ordered to Afghanistan last winter, may indeed come back to America. But in keeping with the mantra – articulated by both Petraeus and, yes, the president – that withdrawals next year beyond the 30,000 troops of the surge will depend on how the security picture looks, Petraeus says that the recommendations will come from “those who know it best”: his subordinate commanders. They’ll assess how much sense it makes to move troops out of certain areas; whether there’s more that troops still need to achieve in battle; and whether Afghan troops and police are ready to hold terrain that Americans cleared. Much as Obama will consider Petraeus’ advice, Petraeus will consider theirs.

That focus will “start at the district,” he says, and then progress to the larger provinces. The idea is to ensure that U.S. troops don’t vacate a hard-captured area and abruptly turn it over to unprepared Afghans. “We’ve got a lot of months in this fighting season and a lot of work to do before July 2011,” he adds. “But in the tough areas, it’ll probably be district-level. More autonomous areas, it can be province-level.” (Brigade-sized Task Forces typically handle security in more than one Afghan province.)

Some units pulled out of stable districts might find themselves heading for more volatile ones. “You maybe take one company and send it somewhere else. Maybe send it home,” Petraeus explains. “We want to reinvest some of the transition.” It won’t necessarily be the case that a unit that “thins out” from a district heads directly home. “Some will, certainly,” Petraeus qualifies. “And this is all premature.”

In keeping with Petraeus’ admitted addiction to PowerPoint, the general passes on a briefing slide, titled “Transition,” to explain his thinking. The assessment for drawing down will be built around “Districts, Provinces, Functions [and] Institutions,” looking for what can be handed to Afghans with minimal disruptions in security. In our interview, he elaborates that “institutions” means U.S. functions like training the Afghan security forces — jobs that don’t have to remain American duties indefinitely. According to the slide, it’s a process that will draw on what security gains the U.S. command in charge of training Afghan security forces believes the Afghans can maintain; and the Afghan government itself.

Some of Petraeus’ division commanders are already looking toward drawing down their forces. In an interview with Danger Room, Maj. Gen. John Campbell, commander of U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan, says that he’s considering turning over relatively secure provinces like Parwan, Panjshir and Bamiyan to the Afghans by the time his tour ends next summer.

But volatile areas aren’t off limits for possible troop reductions. Campbell says he’s taking a hard look at districts in the violent border province of Kunar that he might consider leaving, including the Pech Valley, where U.S. troops find themselves in a tough, mountainous battle. Campbell says that the provincial capital of Asadabad will need U.S. troops to secure it. But other parts of Kunar might bring the U.S. little but a violent fate, making it questionable to stay.

Campbell says he’ll review “the task and purpose” of what his troops are doing as he looks toward reducing their numbers in the east, asking if it “complement[s] the campaign strategy.”

That’s Petraeus’ focus, too. He’s got a lot to produce, both before and after July 2011: development of a competent Afghan security force. Protecting Afghan civilians from rising violence. Rolling back the insurgency’s momentum. Bolstering effective, transparent and legitimate Afghan governance. And balancing the need to prosecute the war with the U.S.’ disinterest in prolonging the longest war in its history.

It may be “premature” to speculate on what the U.S. troop presence will look like after the “conditions-based” drawdown begins next year. But Petraeus has formed the concepts to guide what he recommends to Obama about how fast U.S. troops should actually come home.

Editor’s note: Spencer Ackerman’s complete interview with Petraeus will be available online shortly.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/08/petraeus-afghan-strategy/#ixzz0wxsoxbEm

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« Reply #746 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:46am »

Telegraph

Skateboarding Hungarian Catholic priest becomes internet hit

A Hungarian Catholic priest has become an internet sensation for spreading the word of God - from his skateboard.

Video after the jump
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7950544/Skateboarding-Hungarian-Catholic-priest-becomes-internet-hit.html

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« Reply #747 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:50am »

Telegraph

Math tongue

The magic of mathematics: amaze your friends
Can you use maths to do magic? Professor Ian Stewart shows you how.

By Ian Stewart
Published: 12:38PM BST 17 Aug 2010

Maths isn’t always deadly serious. To prove it, here’s a card trick to amaze your friends in the pub. It was invented by Arthur Benjamin, a mathematician and magician at Harvey Mudd College in California.

Take a pack of cards and deals the top 16 face down in four rows of four. Turn four of these cards face up. Call for a volunteer from the audience, who will repeatedly ‘fold up’ the square of cards, like folding a sheet of stamps along the perforations, until it ends up as a single pile of 16 cards.

The audience will decide where the folds occur. For instance, the first fold can be along any of the three horizontal lines between the cards, or the three vertical lines.

When the cards have been folded into one pile, the volunteer spreads them out on the table. Either 12 cards are face down and 4 face up, or 4 cards are face down and 12 face up. In the first case, the face-up cards miraculously turn out to be the four aces. In the second case, the volunteer takes the four face-down cards, and turnsthem over to reveal... the four aces.

Magic!

To prepare the pack, the magician arranges the four aces in positions 1, 6, 11, and 16 from the top down. After dealing out the four rows of cards, the aces lie along the diagonal from top left to bottom right. But they’re face down, so the audience doesn’t see that. He also has to turn over the right four cards, to make the squarelook like this:

(See article for photos of cards and lay-out.)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7950022/The-magic-of-mathematics-amaze-your-friends.html

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« Reply #748 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:54am »

Telegraph

Bees fare better in town than country
Bees are better off in the town than the country, according to new National Trust research that found the insects thrive in urban areas.

By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Published: 12:36PM BST 18 Aug 2010

Researchers at the University of Worcester analysed the pollen collected by bees from 45 hives on National Trust property around the country.

They found that bees in towns and cities have a much more “varied diet”, taking pollen from different flowers.

For example at Kensington Palace in London, where the Duke of Gloucester is keeping bee hives, the samples contained large amounts of pollen from rockrose, eucalyptus and elderberry.

In contrast bees in the countryside tended to rely on fields of crops. At Nostell Priory in Yorkshire and Barrington Court in Somerset, the samples were heavily dominated by oilseed rape with little other pollen types detectable.

In the last 20 years there has been a dramatic 50 per cent decline in bee numbers in Britain.

Climate change, pesticides and even a mystery disease known as ‘colony collapse disorder have been blamed’.

Experts also believe that intensive farming may have contributed to the decline of bees because it means there is less wild flowers in the countryside to provide the insects with a ’varied diet’.

Matthew Oates, Nature Conservation Adviser at the National Trust, said there are “precious few” pollen sources for bees in the countryside because farmland is either taken over for “monoculture” like wheat or barley or grazed for livestock.

He urged farmers to allow more wild flowers on field margins and to plant seed mixes in unused areas.

Mr Oates also said the study showed how important urban beekeepers are to boosting numbers and called on more people to install a bee hive in the town.

“These are interesting early findings, seemingly backing what we've suspected for a while - namely that bees today often fare better in urban environments than in contemporary farmland,” he said.

Already the middle class fad for keeping bees has seen a doubling in hives over the past two years, according to the British Beekeepers Association, with many new beekeepers coming from towns and cities.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/beekeeping/7950014/Bees-fare-better-in-town-than-country.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #749 on: Aug 18th, 2010, 08:58am »

LA Times

August 18, 2010 | 6:17 am

The bodies of two babies wrapped in Los Angeles Times newspapers from the 1930s were found in an apartment building basement near downtown L.A.

Workers found the bodies Tuesday evening when cleaning out the basement. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the remains were found with personal letters and tickets to the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The LAPD and the Los Angeles coroner's office are investigating. A coroner's official told The Times that the newspaper-wrapped bodies of the children had a mummified appearance.

LAPD Lt. Cory Palka told KTLA News the remains were found inside a steamer trunk in an apartment in the 800 block of Lake Street in the Westlake District.

The coroner's office is examining the remains to see if it can determine a cause of death. Authorities believe the babies have been deceased for seven decades but will perform tests.

-- Andrew Blankstein


http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/08/babies-dead-for-70-years-found-in-la-basement.html

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