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The Pirate Gazette (closed)

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Page 13 of 47   [ 691 posts ]
Thalestris avatar
Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 18:08
Author: Turtle
Hi ange, well I'm really glad that you're feeling much better and that it's less hot where you live now , here, back to the heatwave...and probably the worst day ... O9zCCWF.gif I feel like a frog ah ah ah ! And yes, watch "Mr Robot" , I haven't seen episode 2 yet, but episode 1 was really promising wGHkwn3.gif

And hi and thanks the quote Ginjaninja , conservation indeed, I can not disagree with you as you know wGHkwn3.gif, even if sometimes I think that it's too late and that it's a lost cause, but we do have to remain optimistic otherwise we wouldn't do anything at all anymore...

And hi Abhi 2AtoAqI.gif I see that you're in good shape today ! wGHkwn3.gif

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” (Mae West)

And today.. Hmm, well I'm going to talk about the ocean again .. Then I did find a few pics, and only one trailer and good news is : The movie has arrived on ET ! I'm pretty sure that some of you have spotted this article today as well :


This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it's leaking

The Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands is a hulking legacy of years of US nuclear testing. Now locals and scientists are warning that rising sea levels caused by climate change could cause 111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean

Black seabirds circle high above the giant concrete dome that rises from a tangle of green vines just a few paces from the lapping waves of the Pacific. Half buried in the sand, the vast structure looks like a downed UFO.

At the summit, figures carved into the weathered concrete state only the year of construction: 1979. Officially, this vast structure is known as the Runit Dome. Locals call it The Tomb.

Below the 18-inch concrete cap rests the United States’ cold war legacy to this remote corner of the Pacific Ocean: 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris left behind after 12 years of nuclear tests.

Brackish water pools around the edge of the dome, where sections of concrete have started to crack away. Underground, radioactive waste has already started to leach out of the crater: according to a 2013 report by the US Department of Energy, soil around the dome is already more contaminated than its contents.

Now locals, scientists and environmental activists fear that a storm surge, typhoon or other cataclysmic event brought on by climate change could tear the concrete mantel wide open, releasing its contents into the Pacific Ocean.

“Runit Dome represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who visited the dome in 2010.

“It resulted from US nuclear testing and the leaving behind of large quantities of plutonium,” he said. “Now it has been gradually submerged as result of sea level rise from greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries led by the United States.”

Enewetak Atoll, and the much better-known Bikini Atoll, were the main sites of the United States Pacific Proving Grounds, the setting for dozens of atomic explosions during the early years of the cold war.

The remote islands – roughly halfway between Australia and Hawaii – were deemed sufficiently distant from major population centres and shipping lanes, and in 1948, the local population of Micronesian fishermen and subsistence farmers were evacuated to another atoll 200 km away.

In total, 67 nuclear and atmospheric bombs were detonated on Enewetak and Bikini between 1946 and 1958 – an explosive yield equivalent to 1.6 Hiroshima bombs detonated every day over the course of 12 years.

The detonations blanketed the islands with irradiated debris, including Plutonium-239, the fissile isotope used in nuclear warheads, which has a half-life of 24,000 years.

When the testing came to an end, the US Defence Nuclear Agency (DNA – later the DoE) carried out an eight-year cleanup, but Congress refused to fund a comprehensive decontamination programme to make the entire atoll fit for human settlement again.

The DNA’s preferred option – deep ocean dumping – was prohibited by international treaties and hazardous waste regulations, and there was little appetite for transporting the irradiated refuse back to the US.

In the end, US servicemen simply scraped off the islands’ contaminated topsoil and mixed it with radioactive debris. The resulting radioactive slurry was then dumped in an unlined 350-foot crater on Runit Island’s northern tip, and sealed under 358 concrete panels.

But the dome was never meant to last. According to the World Health Organization, the $218m plan was designed as temporary fix: a way to store contaminated material until a permanent decontamination plan was devised.

Meanwhile, only three of the atoll’s 40 islands were cleaned up, but not Enjebi, where half of Enewetak’s population had traditionally lived. And as costs spiralled, resettlement efforts of the northern part of the atoll stalled indefinitely.

Nevertheless, in 1980, as the Americans prepared their own departure, the dri-Enewetak (“people of Enewetak”) were allowed to return to the atoll after 33 years.

Three years later, the Marshall Islands signed a compact of free association with the US, granting its people certain privileges, but not full citizenship.

The deal also settled of “all claims, past, present and future” related to the US Nuclear Testing Program – and left the Runit Dome under the responsibility of the Marshallese government.

Today, the US government insists that it has honoured all its obligations, and that the jurisdiction for the dome and its toxic contents lies with the Marshall Islands.

The Marshallese, meanwhile, say that a country with a population of 53,000 people and a GDP of $190m – most of it from US aid programs – is simply incapable of dealing with the potential radioactive catastrophe left behind by the Americans.

“It’s clear as day that the local government will neither have the expertise or funds to fix the problem if it needs a particular fix,” said Riyad Mucadam, climate adviser to the office of the Marshallese president.


Gujranwala, Pakistan
Pakistani army soldiers hold hands during a search operation after a train fell into a canal. A train carrying hundreds of Pakistan military personnel and their families plunged into a canal, killing 12 soldiers, when a bridge collapsed in what the army suspects was sabotage

Photograph: Reuters


Oostduinkerke, Belgium
Belgian shrimp fishermen ride carthorses to haul nets out to sea to catch shrimps during low tide. At the end of each fishing session, the fishermen and their mounts leave the water to empty the nets’ contents into two wicker baskets fixed on each side of the horse

Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters


Vancouver, Canada
A hammock is put to good use at sunset

Photograph: REX Shutterstock/REX Shutterstock


Men fish next to a crocodile in Barra de Santiago in El Salvador. Crocodiles are considered to be endangered in El Salvador, and some Barra de Santiago locals help to preserve the species by breeding and releasing them in protected areas
Photograph: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images

: An fancy garden party turns into upper class prey when a colony of killer wasps mutates into seven foot tall predators. Director: Benni Diez, Writers: Adam Aresty, Adam Aresty, Cast: Clifton Collins Jr., Jessica Cook, Tony de Maeyer, 2015, Comedy, Horror.

And wishing you all ,my friends, a great Friday , evening, morning, afternoon of course, enjoy, have fun !! 3ZnoNyM.gif
Thalestris avatar
Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 18:38
Author: Turtle
Just arriving a bit late again I guess today hmpf well, I obviously say hi to everybody and hope that you're enjoying your week end ? wGHkwn3.gif So what's up around the world .. ?! It's a bit early to talk about Greece and I did spot a few things, but it's the week end, so a little break is welcome for everybody ! So I'll only talk to you about Argentina and Tango. And I salute our ET Argentinian friends gHdOO4Y.gif 0TXWrSW.gif


Last tango in Buenos Aires: dancers block street as government decides to close dance halls - video


Dozens of tango dancers block one of Buenos Aires' main avenues on Friday in protest against the government's decision to close 'milongas' or tango bars, for failing to meet certain requirements or present paperwork on time. Argentine tango originated at the ending of the 19th century in the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires

Tango is a partner dance that originated in the 1890s along the River Plate, the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay, and soon spread to the rest of the world.

Early tango was known as tango criollo (Creole tango). Today, there are many forms of tango extant. Popularly and among tango dancing circles, the authentic tango is considered to be the one closest to the form originally danced in Argentina and Uruguay.

In 2009, UNESCO approved a joint proposal by Argentina and Uruguay to include the tango in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

Tango is a dance that has influences from European and African culture.Dances from the candombe ceremonies of former slave peoples helped shape the modern day Tango. The dance originated in lower-class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The music derived from the fusion of various forms of music from Europe.[6] The word "tango" seems to have first been used in connection with the dance in the 1890s, possibly related to the latin word "tangere" but more likely related to the African slave word "tango" (drum or dance place).

Initially it was just one of the many dances, but it soon became popular throughout society, as theatres and street barrel organs spread it from the suburbs to the working-class slums, which were packed with hundreds of thousands of European immigrants, primarily Italians.

In the early years of the 20th century, dancers and orchestras from Buenos Aires travelled to Europe, and the first European tango craze took place in Paris, soon followed by London, Berlin, and other capitals. Towards the end of 1913 it hit New York in the US, and Finland. In the US around 1911 the word "tango" was often applied to dances in a 2/4 or 4/4 rhythm such as the one-step. The term was fashionable and did not indicate that tango steps would be used in the dance, although they might be. Tango music was sometimes played, but at a rather fast tempo. Instructors of the period would sometimes refer to this as a "North American tango", versus the so-called "Argentine Tango". By 1914 more authentic tango stylings were soon developed, along with some variations like Albert Newman's "Minuet" tango.

In Argentina, the onset in 1929 of the Great Depression, and restrictions introduced after the overthrow of the Hipólito Yrigoyen government in 1930 caused tango to decline. Its fortunes were reversed as tango became widely fashionable and a matter of national pride under the government of Juan Perón. Tango declined again in the 1950s as a result of economic depression and the banning of public gatherings by the military dictatorships; male-only Tango practice—the custom at the time—was considered "public gathering". That, indirectly, boosted the popularity of rock and roll because, unlike Tango, it did not require such gatherings.

In 2009 the tango was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

The Tango consists of a variety of styles that developed in different regions and eras of Argentina as well as in other locations around the world. The dance developed in response to many cultural elements, such as the crowding of the venue and even the fashions in clothing. The styles are mostly danced in either open embrace, where lead and follow have space between their bodies, or close embrace, where the lead and follow connect either chest-to-chest (Argentine tango) or in the upper thigh, hip area (American and International tango).

Different styles of Tango are:

Tango Vals
Tango argentino
Tango canyengue
Tango Oriental Uruguayan tango
Tango liso
Tango salon
Tango orillero
Tango camacupense (Angola)
Tango milonguero (Tango apilado)
Tango Nuevo (New Tango)
Contact tango
Show Tango (also known as fantasia)
Ballroom tango
Finnish tango
These are danced to several types of music:

Electronic tango-inspired music
"Alternative tango", i.e. music that is an alternative to tango, or non-tango music employed for use in tango-inspired dance
The milonguero style is characterized by a very close embrace, small steps, and syncopated rhythmic footwork. It is based on the petitero or caquero style of the crowded downtown clubs of the '50s.

In contrast, the tango that originated in the family clubs of the suburban neighborhoods (Villa Urquiza/Devoto/Avellaneda etc.) emphasizes long elegant steps, and complex figures. In this case the embrace may be allowed to open briefly, to permit execution of the complex footwork.

The complex figures of this style became the basis for a theatrical performance style of tango seen in the touring stage shows. For stage purposes, the embrace is often very open, and the complex footwork is augmented with gymnastic lifts, kicks, and drops.

A newer style sometimes called tango nuevo or "new tango", has been popularized in recent years by a younger generation of dancers. The embrace is often quite open and very elastic, permitting the leader to lead a large variety of very complex figures. This style is often associated with those who enjoy dancing to jazz- and techno-tinged "alternative tango" music, in addition to traditional tango compositions.

It has been suggested that tango makes people feel more relaxed, sexier, and less depressed, and increases testosterone levels.[16]

Tangolates is an exercise method that combines the core stability of Pilates with the concentration, coordination and fluid movement of Tango, designed in 2004 by Tamara Di Tella. Utilizing a partner-method and incorporating the aerobic or cardio element of music, it started as a rehabilitation technique for patients with severe dysfunctions of the nervous system.

and now some videos, in which Tango is the main subject, or just show tango in several scenes, or in which you can listen to some typical tango music. (Typical instruments Accordion, Bandoneón, piano, guitar, violin, double bass, human voice and more). Those are obviously personal choices, and there are many more...

Sur : After the end of the military dictatorship in Argentina in 1983, Floreal is released from prison. Instead of returning to his wife, he wanders through the night of Buenos Aires. He meets some people from his past - most of which are only imaginary - and remembers the events of his arrest and imprisonment.Director: Fernando E. Solanas, Writer: Fernando E. Solanas, Cast: Susú Pecoraro, Miguel Ángel Solá, Philippe Léotard, 1988, Drama.

Assassination Tango : An aging hitman gets a contract to kill a general in Buenos Aires. But when his mark becomes unavailable, he becomes involved in Argentinian tango culture. Director: Robert Duvall, Writer: Robert Duvall, Cast: Robert Duvall, Luciana Pedraza, Rubén Blades, 2002, Drama.

Last Tango in Paris : A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex. Director: Bernardo Bertolucci, Writers: Bernardo Bertolucci (story), Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay), Cast: Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Maria Michi, 1972, Drama.

Take the Lead: The real story of a dance teacher who believed in the talent of a group of problem kids. Director: Liz Friedlander, Writer: Dianne Houston, Cast: Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta, 2006, Drama.

Shall We Dance : A romantic comedy where a bored, overworked Estate Lawyer, upon first sight of a beautiful instructor, signs up for ballroom dancing lessons. Director: Peter Chelsom, Writers: Masayuki Suo, Audrey Wells (screenplay), Cast: Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon, 2004, Romance.

Frida : A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work. Director: Julie Taymor, Writers: Hayden Herrera (book), Clancy Sigal (screenplay), Cast: Salma Hayek, Ashley Judd, Valeria Golino, Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush, 2002, Drama.

Easy Virtue : A young Englishman marries a glamorous American. When he brings her home to meet the parents, she arrives like a blast from the future - blowing their entrenched British stuffiness out the window. Director: Stephan Elliott, Writers: Stephan Elliott, Sheridan Jobbins, Cast: Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas, 2008, Comedy.

Tango Libre : A prison guard is attracted to a woman at his weekly tango class. They meet again when she visits her husband in the prison where he works and he is drawn into her complicated romantic life. Meanwhile the prisoners are learning the tango. Director: Frédéric Fonteyne, Writers: Philippe Blasband, Anne Paulicevich, Cast: François Damiens, Sergi López, Jan Hammenecker, 2012, Drama.

“Dancing is creating a sculpture that is visible only for a moment.” (Erol Ozan) Wishing you all a great week ! 0TXWrSW.gif

Thalestris avatar
Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 20:16
Author: Turtle
Like many Europeans I'm obviously following the news very closely : So far :


Greeks have been voting today on whether or not to accept the proposals put to the country by its creditors, the ECB, EU and IMF. The leftist Syriza government rejected these proposals and is seeking a ‘no’ vote. Proponents of a ‘yes’ vote say this will keep Greece in the eurozone

Referendum results in full. Voters were asked: 'whether to accept the outline of the agreement submitted by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund at the Eurogroup of 25/06/15'. (That is, do you accept the proposals of Greece's creditors, which the government has rejected?)

National results
With 70.18% of votes reported
Yes / Accepted 38.5%
Votes 1,467,824
No / Not accepted 61.5%

Votes 2,344,838
Turnout —

"Only one question was really settled today: the Greek government has survived, and Brussels must deal with Athens as it is, rather than as it would like it to be. The bigger questions – can Greece remain in the euro, or even in the European Union – remain unanswered. As does the most pressing for most Greeks: when will the banks reopen, and how many euros can we withdraw?

Having said this, any nation that can arrange a referendum at a week’s notice, conduct it competently, and produce a result before midnight, possesses a degree of civic organisation that many would envy. In the manner of the vote, as much as the result, there has to be hope for Greece."

Wishing you all a great start of the week !
Thalestris avatar
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 17:09
Author: Turtle
Hi,, how is everybody today ? gHdOO4Y.gif I know that some you are probably on holiday, others are back to work or not , anyways, I won't talk about Greece that much, because we're all going to wait for the next move now that Yanis Varoufakis (finance minister) has resigned. "The Greek government has announced that the new finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, will be sworn in by the Greek president at 8pm this evening (6pm BST)." IMF agrees to assist Greece says Lagarde.

So in fact, I'll talk to you about aliens, then, "jellyfish invasion", South Africa, wildlife and you'll find a few trailers in the end. But lots of reading today !


Rosetta Space Probe :

Philae comet could be home to alien life, say scientists
Astronomers say features of comet landed on by spacecraft in November, such as black crust and icy lakes, suggest living micro-organisms beneath surface

The comet landed on by the spacecraft Philae could well be home to an abundance of alien microbial life, according to leading astronomers.

Features of the comet, named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, such as its organic-rich black crust, are most likely explained by the presence of living organisms beneath an icy surface, the scientists have said.

Rosetta, the European spacecraft orbiting the comet, is also said to have picked up strange clusters of organic material that resemble viral particles.

The European Space Agency pulled off a sensational feat of engineering and captured the imagination of space-travel enthusiasts across the world when Philae landed on the comet in November. Since then, the lander has undergone a period of hibernation from which it awoke in June, having recharged its solar panels.

Neither Rosetta nor Philae are equipped to search for direct evidence of life after a proposal to include this in the mission was allegedly laughed out of court. Maverick astronomer and astrobiologist Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe, who was involved in the mission planning 15 years ago, believes people should be more open to the possibility of alien life.

Prof Wickramasinghe’s views are regarded as several steps outside the scientific mainstream. He has previously suggested that the SARS virus arrived to Earth from space and that airborne spores that caused rainfall in Kerala to turn a reddish hue had an extraterrestrial origin.

He and colleague Dr Max Wallis, from the University of Cardiff, believe 67P and other comets like it could provide homes for living microbes similar to the “extremophiles” that inhabit the most inhospitable regions of the Earth.

Comets may have helped to sow the seeds of life on Earth and possibly other planets such as Mars, they argue.

The comet has a black hydrocarbon crust overlaying ice, smooth icy “seas” and flat-bottomed craters containing lakes of re-frozen water overlain with organic debris.
Wickramasinghe said data coming from the comet seems to point to “micro-organisms being involved in the formation of the icy structures, the preponderance of aromatic hydrocarbons, and the very dark surface”.

“These are not easily explained in terms of prebiotic chemistry. The dark material is being constantly replenished as it is boiled off by heat from the sun. Something must be doing that at a fairly prolific rate.”

The astronomers present their case for life on 67P at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales.


TV presenter and naturalist Steve Backshall was asked by a British newspaper to write about the ‘invasion’ of jellyfish this summer. But they didn’t like what he had to say, so we’re publishing it here in full instead

While the sunshine may be an unpredictable visitor to UK summer shores, there’s one silly season certainty that you can count on. It’s an invasion striking terror into the hearts of humble Brits, causing widespread panic, forcing terrified tourists to abandon our seas and seek safer foreign waters. Yes, it’s the early summer newspaper headline, designed to get us all terrified of Mother Nature.

Whether it’s false widow spiders that leap from their webs and rot your flesh, vile sunspiders that inject novocaine into our British soldiers, rats the size of cows, man-eating foxes or a lone great white shark travelling across the Atlantic with the sole intent of savaging plucky Cornish surfers, testicle-munching pacu fish set to invade our seas … these genuine news stories have two things in common: they are factual nonsense, and they all contain the message that nature is evil, and she’s out to get you.

So recent headlines about swarms of barrel jellyfish about to close British beaches come as no great surprise. But is there any truth in them?

Certainly jellyfish are seasonal, and owing to a complex range of environmental features there are years when they will appear in far greater numbers. Warmer waters, plankton blooms, phosphate and nitrate-rich run-off from farmland, paucity of natural predators – all of these can play a part, and when the conditions are right, jellyfish numbers can rise dramatically.

With a limited ability to swim against ocean currents, the jellies get concentrated into dense rafts often close to the surface and tracking natural eddies. These will occasionally be stranded on beaches at the high tide mark, and it makes for a spectacular photograph (particularly if you place a wide-angled lens super-close to the nearest jelly, which makes it look huge, a technique known as “foreshortening”, used often in these type of wildlife reports).

Last year, and in 2011 there were newspaper headlines about “record swarms of compass and moon jellies” swamping our shores, and tales of lion’s mane jellies the size of dumper trucks, none of which really materialised. 2012 genuinely was a bumper year for jellies, but though there were no real ill effects, it did have the pleasant knock-on effect that Cornwall had the best year recorded for sightings of two of their most spectacular predators: sunfish and leatherback turtles.

On one sea kayak trip that summer I encountered numerous boggle-eyed flapping sunfish (the largest bony fish on earth and one of the most bizarre), and had a leatherback turtle (probably the world’s heaviest reptile, and a sight any mariner would treasure for a lifetime) paddle right into one of our boats. I’d rate it as one of my finest British wildlife experiences.

Bear in mind also that when you see the creepy photos of vast swarms of jellies stranded on beaches like an alien invasion, these are dense but finite aggregations, and 100 metres down the beach the sands may be completely clear. It’s also worth noting that while newspapers go for the emotionally loaded term “swarm” for a group of jellies, biologists use the much more appealing collective nouns “smack” or “bloom”.

And what of the risk of jellyfish stings to us? Well, there are without doubt species of jellyfish around the world that are potentially lethal to human beings, some of which shut beaches for entire seasons. The box jellyfish of Australasia is officially the world’s most venomous creature, and has killed swimmers in the past. I have deliberately stung myself with a small section of box jelly tentacle, and it felt like being burned by a steam iron. Larger stings can lead to cardiac arrest, and mind-blowing pain.

It is also true that we do get several species in British waters that give sore stings: the mauve stinger, blue and compass all have sufficiently unpleasant stings for me to urge caution to the unwary (while the received wisdom is to place mild acids such as vinegar on to stings to prevent other stinging cells on the skin from firing, the NHS currently recommend putting shaving foam on to a sting).

We do occasionally get visits from the portuguese man o’ war, a genuine super-predator, with long trailing tentacles and a fierce venom. These are, though, one of the most fascinating creatures in natural history: not actually single jellyfish at all but colonies of symbiotic hydrozoans, and big enough to be easily avoided by swimmers.

But what of today’s demon barrel jellyfish, which is apparently about to cancel summer? Well, I’ve read some reports of people who receive a mild nettle-like sting from them, although I myself have handled them many times without a reaction of any sort. The invertebrate charity Buglife reports that they are “gentle giants that feed entirely on plankton, so their sting is too weak to hurt humans”. They can get big, look mighty weird stranded on the sands, and could certainly fill up a fisherman’s net.

But are they going to close British beaches? Well, no. No teenage lifeguard is going to stop me going for a swim because of a few hundred creatures I would personally love to go and snorkel around. And councils probably do have the power to close beaches, but I would be staggered if it actually happened.

I don’t want to sound too flippant about this subject. People do get hurt by jellyfish, as they do by sharks and spiders, and I have great sympathy for the anguish and pain these effects may cause, but if you pay any attention to the statistics it is clear that nature is not out to get us. Fewer people are killed by sharks every year than by falling soft drinks machines, and people do not die on British beaches from jellyfish stings.

Jellyfish have been around for 500m years, they are almost entirely composed of water, and have no brain, heart or sophisticated nervous system, yet they continue to hypnotically glide through the world’s oceans, some exhibiting extraordinary natural disco-light displays, others providing nurseries for small fish amongst their stinging skirts. Would it not make more sense to encourage a fascinated respect for these creatures than try to scare us all?

I’ve spent my life swimming with giant crocodiles and great white sharks, catching the world’s most venomous snakes and allowing poisonous centipedes and black widows to wander over my hands, and the one enduring lesson I have learned is that these animals are not out to get us. Far from it. In most cases they want to get as far away from us as possible, and with good reason.

We humans are the most deadly species. We are the destroyer, and the animals reap the whirlwind. We have far more to lose as a civilised society from erroneous and institutionalised fear of Mother Nature than we have from the animals themselves – and conservation needs a public that loves nature and wants to preserve it. By making us afraid, the media is putting just one more nail in Mother Nature’s coffin.


Radioactive city: how Johannesburg’s townships are paying for its mining past
Much of the waste from 600 abandoned mines around South Africa’s largest city is piled high next to residential communities – most of which are poor and black

Rasalind Plaatjies has lived in the shadow of a “tailing” – as these piles of mine waste are known – all her adult life. Today, the 62-year-old grandmother from the city’s Riverlea district suffers severe respiratory problems. For 16 hours a day, she is hooked up to an oxygen tank, her lungs debilitated by dust from the waste heap.

“Sometimes I don’t have the energy to get up. I just have to stay in bed and do nothing,” she says. She feels fortunate, though. A number of her elderly neighbours have died from respiratory disease.

Plaatjies is one of tens of thousands in Johannesburg’s impoverished townships who are paying a high cost for the city’s rich mining past. More than 600 abandoned mines surround South Africa’s largest city, with much of their waste now piled up high next to residential communities – most of which are poor and black.

Residents here fear the wind most. When it blows, fine particles from these man-made dumps are carried up into the air and deposited on to residents’ homes. It is no ordinary dust, either: the residue of decades of mining, it can contain traces of everything from copper and lead to cyanide and arsenic.

“During August and September, the dust is terrible. You stop cleaning the floor after a while. It’s just useless,”
says Plaatjies.

In the local clinic, respiratory cases such as tuberculosis and asthma are ubiquitous across all age groups, says Musa Mbatha, chairman of the clinic’s civic committee. Rashes and skins diseases are commonplace, too.

An even more dangerous pollutant is lurking in Johannesburg’s mine dumps, however: radioactive waste. According to one university study, an estimated 600,000 metric tonnes of radioactive uranium are buried in waste rock in and around Johannesburg – around three times what was exported during the Cold War.

“[Johannesburg] is undoubtedly the most uranium-contaminated city in the world,
” says Dr Antony Turton, a professor at the University of Free State’s Centre for Environmental Management.

Uranium naturally occurs in reefs alongside gold, meaning the two are often excavated at the same time. For every tonne of gold mined in the Witwatersrand gold fields – the southern sections of which border western Johannesburg – between 10 and 100 tonnes of uranium were also mined.

"When it floods, this just goes straight into the river. You’d expect the government to check that the mine water isn’t spilling into local watercourses, but they are not,” van Wyk says. “This is happening in the centre of South Africa’s largest city, close to the Department of Environmental Affairs’s main office. If they can’t regulate so close to their headquarters, just imagine how bad it is elsewhere?

Five years ago, the government identified 36 “priority areas” affected by radioactive acid mine drainage for remediation. Today, not a single one of these sites has a feasible implementation strategy in place. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa, the health of up to 400,000 people could be affected.

“It’s totally inappropriate that communities live on waste that is widely accepted to be toxic and radioactive,
” says Mariette Liefferink, chief executive of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment.

"As well as cancer, high radioactive levels are linked to other health risks such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, neurotoxic syndromes and growth deficiencies. Even so, residents in Johannesburg’s poor townships have little choice but to stick it out."

"Yet, despite knowing the dangers, 41-year-old Charles van der Merme says he would move there “in a flash”. One of the millions of unemployed residents in this city of 4.8 million, he and his family currently live with his parents-in-law in the township of Riverlea. “I applied for a government house in 2000 and I’m still homeless,” van der Merme says. “Despite all the ills from the mine dumps, I would like a house of my own. Where else can I go?”


South Africa is donating seven lions from parks in its KwaZulu-Natal province to Rwanda. Photograph: Imagebroker/REX Shutterstock
Lions to be reintroduced to Rwanda after 15-year absence following genocide
Major conservation project will take seven big cats from South Africa to Akagera national park, where lion population died out after 1994 genocide


Minister for land, environment and rural development, Celso Correia, lighting ivory and rhino horn in Maputo, Mozambique. Photograph: WCS Mozambique
Mozambique burns world's largest rhino horn seizure
Burning of 124kg of rhino and 1,160kg of ivory takes place as Zimbabwe confirms it has exported around 20 elephants to China

The Legend of Barney Thompson : Barney Thomson, awkward, diffident, Glasgow barber, lives a life of desperate mediocrity and his uninteresting life is about to go from 0 to 60 in five seconds, as he enters the grotesque and comically absurd world of the serial killer. Director: Robert Carlyle, Writers: Richard Cowan, Richard Cowan, Cast: Robert Carlyle, Emma Thompson, Ray Winstone, 2015, Comedy.

Paper Towns : A young man and his friends embark upon the road trip of their lives to find the missing girl next door. Director: Jake Schreier, Writers: John Green (author), Scott Neustadter (screenplay), Cast: Cara Delevingne, Nat Wolff, Halston Sage, 2015, Drama.

Wishing you all a great week ahead, and beware of the jellyfish and the aliens ! 2AtoAqI.gif
Abhi121 avatar
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 17:28
Hy there Thalestris ... n m great thanks n what about u ??? n hope u had a great Sunday ...
Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue. - Lord Buddha
Thalestris avatar
Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 17:47
Author: Turtle
Abhi121 wrote:
Hy there Thalestris ... n m great thanks n what about u ??? n hope u had a great Sunday ...
Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue. - Lord Buddha

Hi Abhi gHdOO4Y.gif, well I'm glad to hear that you're doing ok, and I recognize your wisdom and your cheerfulness here wGHkwn3.gif And for my part, hmm, the usual, fighting against my inner demons sometimes .. Anyways, here is one because I know that you like quotes , have a great week ahead Abhi wGHkwn3.gif

Have i gone mad?
I'm afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are
.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)
Thalestris avatar
Posted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 17:34
Author: Turtle
Hi everybody, first my thoughts go to the families and friends of the victims in Uk 10 years ago :
7/7 bombings: 10th anniversary of attacks marked with Hyde Park memorial service
Britain observed minute’s silence to mark the 10th anniversary of atrocity in which 52 people were murdered and hundreds more injured when four suicide bombers attacked London’s transport network

and in Kenya today:
Al-Shabaab kills more than a dozen in Kenya attack weeks before Obama visit
Fighters from group targeted workers in remote village near Somalia border. Somalia’s al-Shabaab group has claimed responsibility for a gun and grenade attack that killed 14 sleeping quarry workers and wounded many others in northern Kenya. The attack was staged only weeks before a visit by President Barack Obama to the east African country.

and I did spot a few things that I hope that you'll enjoy ? A Japanese word, a convention, a photographer, and a few trailers.



"The Japanese practice of inemuri is one that many westerners would envy with all their hearts. It describes what would be a severe faux pas in any European or North American workplace, and would be embarrassing almost anywhere.

Translated literally, inemuri means “being present while sleeping”, and indeed that describes the practice fairly literally as well, because inemuri is going to sleep in front of people while you are meant to be doing other things – which can, and often does, include sitting in a meeting room and listening to them speak.

Inemuri is not shameful, however, as it would be in the west, where sleeping on the job – let alone in a meeting – signals a loss of self-control, and therefore weakness. Instead, it is conventionally understood to mean that the sleeper is so dedicated to their work that they are momentarily exhausted by it. If carried out correctly an inemuri is an honourable kind of minor failure, like having no time to eat lunch, or 200 unanswered emails. It’s a commercial war wound to show off.

But only if carried out correctly. Because there are rules. “It depends who you are,” says Dr Brigitte Steger, an Austrian sociologist based at Cambridge University with a special interest in Japanese culture. “If you are new in the company and have to show how actively you are involved, you cannot sleep. But if you are 40 or 50 years old and it is not directly your main topic, you can sleep. The higher up the social ladder you are, the more you can sleep.

Another rule of inemuri governs posture – because what is honourable, is to fall asleep despite your best efforts, not on purpose. “Your body needs to pretend that you are active in a meeting, like you are concentrating,” Steger says. “You cannot sleep under the table or anything. You have to sit as if you are listening intently, and just put your head down.” If you can find a stable arrangement, an inemuri can then last for five minutes, 30 minutes, an hour … as long as necessary. If someone speaks to you, you just have to wake up and answer. Afterwards you can happily tell friends that you did an inemuri during the meeting, or even say that it happens often. What you cannot do is check in advance which parts of a meeting you should sleep through.

Japan is a very underslept nation – either the most underslept in the world or the second most, after Korea, depending on which study you read – so you might expect them to need such a drastic solution. Yet napping, and the need to nap, are universal. Abundant research – at the universities of Loughborough, Pennsylvania, California and many others – shows the immediate and pronounced benefits of even just 10 or 20 minutes sleep on a tired mind. (That’s if you need research to tell you that sleep makes you feel better when you’re feeling sleepy.) In short it is rather odd that almost the whole world, and especially the cities where so many people spend their days, have not yet found a way to incorporate napping into the culture."

And this is definitely the Convention that I would love to go to one day, that must be fun !


July 9-12.

San Diego Comic-Con International is a multigenre entertainment and comic convention held annually in San Diego, California. It was founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention in 1970 by a group of San Diegans, which included Shel Dorf, Richard Alf, Ken Krueger, and Mike Towry; later, it was called the "San Diego Comic Book Convention." The name, as given on its website, is Comic-Con International: San Diego; but it is commonly known simply as Comic-Con or the San Diego Comic-Con or "SDCC." It is a four-day event (Thursday-Sunday) held during the summer at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. On the Wednesday evening prior to the official opening of the event, there is a preview for professionals, exhibitors, and select guests pre-registered for all four days.

Comic-Con International also produces two other conventions, WonderCon, held in Anaheim, California, and the Alternative Press Expo (APE), held in San Francisco. Since 1974, Comic-Con has bestowed its annual Inkpot Award on guests and persons of interest in the Popular Arts industries, as well as on members of Comic-Con's Board of Directors and the Convention Committee. It is also the home of the Will Eisner Awards.

Originally showcasing primarily comic books and science fiction/fantasy related film, television, and similar popular arts, the convention now includes a larger range of pop culture and entertainment elements across virtually all genres, including horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, webcomics, and fantasy novels. According to Forbes, the convention is the "largest convention of its kind in the world;" Publishers Weekly wrote "Comic-Con International: San Diego is the largest show in North America;" it is also the largest convention held in San Diego.In 2010, it filled the San Diego Convention Center to capacity with more than 130,000 attendees.

Amongst all the special guests , those 2 :


Luis Royo , Fantasy illustrator, illustration version of George R. R. Martin's The Ice Dragon.


Lalo Alcaraz Cartoonist, La Cucaracha

and so many other events .. if you want to browse :



James Dean by Dennis Stock : Dennis Stock (July 24, 1928 – January 11, 2010) was an American photojournalist and documentary photographer and a member of Magnum Photos.

Life : A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean. Director: Anton Corbijn, Writer: Luke Davies (screenplay), Cast: Joel Edgerton, Robert Pattinson, Ben Kingsley, 2015, Drama.

Queen of the Desert : A chronicle of Gertrude Bell's life, a traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer, cartographer, and political attaché for the British Empire at the dawn of the twentieth century. Director: Werner Herzog, Writer: Werner Herzog (screenplay), Cast: Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Robert Pattinson, 2015, Drama.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato: The venerated filmmaker Eisenstein is comparable in talent, insight and wisdom, with the likes of Shakespeare or Beethoven; there are few - if any - directors who can be elevated to such heights. On the back of his revolutionary film Battleship Potemkin, he was celebrated around the world, and invited to the US. Ultimately rejected by Hollywood and maliciously maligned by conservative Americans, Eisenstein traveled to Mexico in 1931 to consider a film privately funded by American pro-Communist sympathizers, headed by the American writer Upton Sinclair. Eisenstein's sensual Mexican experience appears to have been pivotal in his life and film career - a significant hinge between the early successes of Strike, Battleship Potemkin, and October, which made him a world-renowned figure, and his hesitant later career with Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible and The Boyar's Plot (written by Peter Greenaway.)
Director: Peter Greenaway, Writer: Peter Greenaway, Cast: Elmer Bäck, Luis Alberti, Maya Zapata,2015, Comedy.

No Way Jose : Jose Stern, an erstwhile indie-rocker relegated to playing children's birthday parties, is on the verge of turning 40 and at a crossroads in his life. Director: Adam Goldberg, Writers: Adam Goldberg, Sarah Kate Levy, Cast: Emily Osment, Gillian Jacobs, Adam Goldberg, 2015, Comedy.

Absolutely Anything
: A group of eccentric aliens confer a human being with the power to do absolutely anything, as an experiment. Director: Terry Jones, Writers: Gavin Scott (screenplay), Terry Jones, Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Robin Williams, Simon Pegg, 2015, Comedy, Sci-Fi.

Wishing you all a great Tuesday evening, morning , afternoon perhaps !? And good luck for tomorrow ! wGHkwn3.gif

Thalestris avatar
Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 17:47
Author: Turtle
Hi everybody , I hope that you had a great day or that you slept well for those who are just getting up right now hmm? So, I wasn't sure about what I was going to talk you about today, as I tried not to bore you with the same topics over and over again..

I'll talk to you first about my postman and drones, then about all of us, Tinder, and also , how it sounds like living on a dollar a day or less, and afterwards , you'll have a few trailers too.

So yes, I said that I was going to talk to you about my postman, he is surely unique, a man like that, always kind, cheerful, he loves his job, it's just rare, and when I read this today: Well, I'm certain about one thing, if those stuff arrive one day here and take the job of my postman , I'll do something about it, it won't happen ! No way !!!Sometimes I just wonder if they realize what human contact means in our society ?


Switzerland begins postal delivery by drone
Swiss postal service says tests will run until the end of July although the widespread use of drones is not likely to kick in for another five years

Switzerland’s postal service said on Tuesday it had begun testing parcel deliveries by unmanned drones, although widespread use of the flying postmen is not likely to kick in for another five years.

Postal service executives showed off the drones for the first time on Tuesday and said initial tests of the machines’ post-delivery abilities would run until the end of July.

The snow-white drones consist of four branches with propellers on the end extending from a hollow ring the size of a toilet seat. A yellow box, bearing the postal service logo, is lodged in the middle.

“The drone has an extremely light construction and is capable of transporting loads of up to one kilo over more than 10 kilometres with a single battery charge,” Swiss Post said in a statement.

The drone “flies autonomously, following clearly defined, secure flight paths, which are drawn up by cloud software developed by Matternet (the drone’s US manufacturer)”, Swiss Post added.

Swiss Post, which is cooperating on the project with Swiss WorldCargo – the air freight division of Swiss International Air Lines – stressed the drones would be thoroughly tested before being put to wide-scale use.

“Until the time of their realistic commercial use in around five years, there are various requirements which need to be clarified,” the company said.

This includes exploring the regulatory framework that would apply when sending the unmanned aircraft out across the Alpine country, which is dotted with numerous remote and isolated villages where drone deliveries could be useful.

Swiss Post also said extensive tests would be carried out to explore the technical restrictions of the drones, including limited battery life.

For now, Swiss Post said it expected to mainly use the drones in emergency situations, which could “involve bringing supplies to an area that has been cut off from the outside world following a storm.”

“Another realistic possibility is the urgent transport of consignments with the highest priority, such as laboratory tests,” it added.

Switzerland is not the only place where package-delivering drones could soon appear. Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, announced in late 2013 a plan to airlift small parcels to customers by drone in select markets, less than 30 minutes after an order is received.

But the company warned last month that proposed US rules regulating the use of civilian drones could block it from launching the service, and called for them to be overhauled.

A bit more of sci-fi .. perhaps ?

How laboratory-grown organs will transform our lives
With people living longer than ever, being able to replace bits of the human body as they wear out has become a new frontier in medicine

"Most babies born in 1900 died before the age of 50; 100 years later life expectancy in the UK now exceeds 80 years, with the number of over-65s expected to double by 2030. This trend is radically changing the age demographics of the population and creating a new set of challenges for engineers. One of the most significant of these is to give people a higher quality of life in their old age.

Significant progress has been made; 300,000 hip replacements are now performed annually worldwide, releasing people from pain, and extending the active period of their lives by 20 years or more. The success of these implants has led scientists to develop a new type of biomaterial that is promising to do for medicine what silicon did for computing.

Historically the function of biomaterials has been to replace diseased or damaged tissues. These biomaterials were selected to be as inert as possible while fulfilling mechanical roles such as teeth filling and hip replacement. Metals such as titanium and mercury amalgam have been remarkably successful in repairing hard tissues like bones and teeth respectively because they are chemically inert and so don’t decay inside the body, and are strong enough to last tens of years. Applying this approach to softer tissues has proved less easy because designing soft materials with the required flexibility that can also maintain their integrity is tricky. The proposed solution is to create implants that grow and repair themselves.

Take the knee for instance, its function relies on cartilage, a soft material in which elasticity is vital to its role of transmitting forces that are produced when we walk, jump and generally lark about. It needs to do this while being hard enough to allow the knee joint to smoothly rotate and twist as you change direction. Being hard but elastic is not an easy combination for a material, and cartilage performs this by having cells living within it, the job of which is to continually maintain a three-dimensional internal skeleton of collagen fibres that give the material its properties. These cells are called chondroblast cells, and cartilage is their habitat. It is possible to grow chondroblast cells from a patient’s own stem cells. However, the injection of these into an existing joint does not result in the repair of the cartilage because it is not just that the cells are missing, but that their habitat is damaged or destroyed.

What is required is the erection of a temporary structure within the joint that mimics some of the basic internal architecture of cartilage but also protects the cells from mechanical stress. Introducing chondroblast cells into such a scaffold, as it is called, allows them to grow and divide, to increase their population, and in doing so gives them time and space to rebuild their habitat, and so regrow cartilage. The neat thing about this is that the scaffold can be designed to dissolve once the cells finish rebuilding their habitat.

This idea was pioneered in the 1960s by Professor Larry Hench in response to the huge number of amputees produced by the Vietnam war. Hench and his team discovered a material called hydroxylapatite, a mineral that occurs in the body and bonds very strongly to bone. They experimented with many formulations and in the end found that when it was made in the form of a glass, it had extraordinary properties: bone cells, called osteoblasts, like to live on it, and when they did that they created new healthy bone. When this bioactive glass was made in a porous form it had tiny channels into which the osteoblast cell could grow and by doing so they replaced it with fully functioning bone.

Such tissue engineering has been very successfully used in clinical practice to provide synthetic bone grafts and to rebuild the bones of the skull and face. It is not yet in clinical use for cartilage regeneration, but is being successfully used in laboratories. In this case the cells are nurtured in a bioreactor that mimics the temperature and humidity of the human body while also providing the cells with nutrients.

The potential of scaffolding technology has opened up the future possibility of building replacement organs for the human body such as livers and kidneys. The first steps in this direction have already been taken with the development of a human windpipe grown in a laboratory and implanted into a patient. One of the major problems for such tissue engineering is creating and maintaining a blood supply to the artificially grown tissues so that they can survive and function when they are implanted inside the body. If synthetic organs become a reality, they will radically change the world of medicine. Such a fundamental change is going to be needed to allow an aging population to work for longer before taking their pensions, and to live to be a centenarian while being fit and healthy. I certainly hope to be one of these. (Mark Miodownik).

In the end of the day, I read this, and I don't know why, how the brain works sometimes and plays tricks, it makes you think about something else, and I was just thinking that the world has gone mad with nonsense.. I did travel a bit, and saw how the rich and the poor live around the world but , today, I was just feeling dizzy.. Just being an impotent witness to the growing gap between the rich and the poor..

So you have on one hand this :

Star-crossed lovers? Tinder introduces verified accounts for celebrities
Fancy dating a Hollywood actor – or a pop princess, such as Katy Perry? Well, thanks to this app, now you can

Verified profiles for celebrities have long been in development, and were first mooted back in March 2014, when Tinder’s chief executive, Sean Rad, said: “This will allow celebrities to enter Tinder in a different way.”

The app’s chief marketing officer, Justin Mateen, added: “Tinder gives them [celebrities] the control to filter through the noise and communicate with people they want to know.”

and don't ask me why, but I remembered this on the other hand : Thursday 5 June 2014.

Portraits of people living on a dollar a day – in pictures
More than a billion people around the world subsist on a dollar a day, or less. The reasons differ but the day-to-day hardship of their lives are very similar. A book by Thomas A Nazario, founder of the International Organisation, documents the circumstances of those living in extreme poverty across the globe, accompanied by photographs from Pulitzer prizewinner Renée C Byer. Living On A Dollar a Day is published by Quantuck Lane.


Labone, 27, works at a brothel in Jessore, Bangladesh with her daughter, who was fathered by a client.


Hunupa Begum, 13, who has been blind for the past 10 years, lives in New Delhi, India. Begging is her family's only income – her mother and brother are too ill to work and her father is dead.


Fati, eight, works with other children searching through hazardous waste on an waste dump for electronic devices in Accra, Ghana. Balancing a bucket on her head containing the metal she has found, tears stream down her face as the result of the pain from malaria.

and those are only a few faces, and I could go on and on like this, no yes sometimes I just wonder really.. And our governments ask us to consume and turn a blind eye to migrants, poverty, wars and misery hmm.. ?!

10 000 km : Two people in love, two apartments - one in Barcelona and another on in Los Angeles - and the images of their past, present and future. Can love survive 10,000km? Director: Carlos Marques-Marcet, Writers: Carlos Marques-Marcet, Clara Roquet, Cast: Natalia Tena, David Verdaguer, 2014, Romance.

Strangerland: A family finds their dull life in a rural outback town rocked after their two teenage children disappear into the desert, sparking disturbing rumors of their past. Director: Kim Farrant, Writers: Michael,Kinirons, Fiona Seres, Cast: Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Joseph Fiennes, 2015, Thriller.

: SlingShot focuses on noted Segway inventor Dean Kamen and his work to solve the world's water crisis. An eccentric genius with a provocative world view, Kamen is an inspiration for future scientists. His inventions help people in need and ease suffering. SlingShot is about an indomitable man who just might have enough passion and innovative thinking to create a solution for a crisis affecting billions. Kamen lives in a house with secret passages, a closet full of denim and a helicopter garage. His latest passion: the SlingShot water purification system created to obliterate half of human illness on the planet. Kamen reminisces about improving home dialysis technology and choosing to forgo parenthood while lamenting he has only one lifetime for inventing. SlingShot is both an inspirational character study and a look at Kamen's vapor compression distiller from its earliest development through recent trials in rural Ghana and beyond. Director: Paul Lazarus
Cast: Dean Kamen,
2014, Documentary.

Wishing you all a great Wednesday and good luck for tomorrow wGHkwn3.gif

Thalestris avatar
Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 17:32
Author: Turtle
Hi everybody gHdOO4Y.gif so what's up in the world today? What's on the Menu hmm.. ? I'll talk about coca leaf amongst other leaves , then hibernating bears and space travel, after that, foxes, and obviously you'll have a few trailers.


The coca leaf is not a fringe product in Bolivia. Locals compare its use to coffee, and staunchly defend the coca custom even after it was declared an illegal substance in 1961 by the UN convention on narcotic drugs.

But cultural use of the drug has remained strong in Bolivia.

Bolivian president Evo Morales defended the use of coca – and even farms it himself.

Morales told a 2007 UN general assembly, “This leaf represents … the hope of our people.”

As well as warding off altitude sickness, chewing coca leaves (which are held in the cheek) or drinking a brew, provides physical and mental stimulation but nothing like the cocaine high.

It’s also an ingredient in toothpaste, lotions and shampoo (in Bolivia that is - don’t try to drink your shampoo at home to get high). A 1995 report by the World Health Organisation said there were “no negative health effects” from coca use in leaf form.

As well as helping people get over altitude sickness, the coca leaf can suppresses hunger, thirst, pain, and fatigue. Sounds like a miraculous brew.

Betel leaf: Burma

Sure, it stains your teeth, and you when you spit it out on the footpath it leaves a big red mark, like a blood stain, but betel leaf chewing is a popular pastime on the streets of Burma.

It acts as an appetite suppressant and is said to get rid of parasites.

Putting it together is like making a salad: a street vendor who sells the stuff takes a leaf, coats it with lime paste and puts in a pinch of cloves, aniseed, cardamom and betel nuts. The finishing touch is a measure of tobacco that’s been marinating in alcohol for days. Yum. After you’ve chewed it, you spit out the remnants on the street. Don’t freak out – that’s not bloody teeth coming out of your mouth, it’s just the leftover betel leaf ingredients.

Kava: the Pacific
Kava is not to be confused with the Spanish bubbly of a similar name. The effect of this kava depends, of course, on how much you consume. A little and you’ll be slightly buzzed – a lot and you’ll be smashing up the furniture.

A crop native to the western Pacific, kava comes from the root of a pepper plant. It has a distinctive taste and a relaxing and slightly numbing effect.

Like the Bolivians with their coca, Pacific islanders treat kava like drinking tea or coffee - but abuse has lead to Australia banning the importation of kava, angering the country’s Islander diaspora. “Basically what kava does is it compounds existing health and substance abuses issues in the communities, so what it does is it adds one more layer of problems to the community,” said the Northern Territory Police detective superintendent Tony Fuller, head of the Drug and Organised Crime Division.

Khat: Africa
Native to the Horn of Africa, khat is a flowering plant that in 1980 was classified by the World Health Organisation as a “drug of abuse.”

Khat contains a cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant.

It’s arduous work to get that stimulation though, requiring users to chew on sticks, said to give a feeling of excitement and euphoria.

But our khat tester believes you’d have to chew a proverbial forest to get any sort of high.

He recalls: “We paid $50 for a bundle of sticks (in London, where it was legal) and we chewed all night. It was only after 20 minutes gnawing that we felt any effect. It was like a mild painkiller or relaxant.”

Although you are advised not to drive after chewing it, our khat user said, “I don’t think it would be possible to overdose. In Africa people chew it all day, every day for 50 years.”


Astronauts could protect themselves against bone wastage by harnessing a unique biological process that allows black bears to maintain their skeletons during hibernation.

A study has revealed that bears protect their bones from degrading, despite hardly moving for up to six months, by suppressing the usual constant release of calcium from the bones into the blood. Such a lengthy period of inactivity in humans would lead to a severely weakened bone structure.

“This could be the basis for a new therapy for astronauts, or people with a bone-related chronic illness,” said Meghan McGee-Lawrence, assistant professor in cellular biology and anatomy at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, and an author of the study.

Reduced movement in humans, and other mammals, can cause significant health problems. This is due to the body responding to inactivity by decreasing bone formation and increasing calcium release, leading to bone loss and increased risk of breaks and fractures.

One of the major side-effects of prolonged weightlessness is spaceflight osteopenia, a condition where reduced stress on the bones triggers bone loss. Astronauts on the Mir space station, for example, lost on average 1-2% of their bone mass each month. The condition can be a limiting factor for the length of missions that astronauts can endure.

Exercise has been used as the main strategy to overcome, this but has limited success, according to Dr Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist at the University of Leicester.

“Astronauts spend a huge amount of their time strapped to running machines with bungees, but it’s not particularly effective,” he said.

“If we can look to nature and try to understand how existing biological systems, such as those in hibernating black bears can overcome bone loss, we can use this knowledge to protect our own species in space.” he added.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, found that bears are able to suppress the process of calcium release through the changes in levels of two specific enzymes.

“We know that hibernation is controlled by the brain. Our next step is to understand how these proteins and enzymes get turned down by a bear’s brain to reduce bone loss,” said McGee-Lawrence.

The scientists studied 13 female bears between 2006 and 2009, collecting blood and bone samples before, during and after hibernation and measuring enzyme and hormone levels.

The researchers found that levels of a protein called cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript (CART), which reduces the quantity of bone minerals being broken down into the blood, increased 15-fold during hibernation.

Two other enzymes known to contribute to new bone generation, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSALP) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRACP) fell when the bears were hibernating. Levels of bone-regenerating cells, called osteoblasts, also fell significantly, from 2% before hibernation to just 0.15% during hibernation.

According to the researchers, these changes show that black bears are able to maintain their skeletal structure and strength by suppressing bone loss during hibernation, rather than by generating new bone material.

Finding a solution to bone degeneration is seen as a crucial challenge for long distance space travel. “It’s particularly important when we send people to Mars,” said Dartnell.

If astronauts have flown for six months, and their skeletons have become weak during the journey, they may suffer significant health problems when they get to Mars, even though the gravity there is less than that on earth.”


But, I'll be honest with you, just reading this right now , really pisses me off .. VcckwW9.gif ezhz2mF.gif

Uk : Government publishes amendment to fox hunting act ahead of free vote
Animal charities appalled at proposals that could see a return to the hunts of old, with packs of dogs chasing live prey

The government has published proposals to allow foxes to be hunted by packs of dogs in England and Wales again as long as it is “appropriate” for the terrain and done “efficiently” to protect other animals.

"Ahead of a free vote on the issue next Wednesday, it is understood English and Welsh MPs are currently split almost equally on whether to approve changes to the law that would bring England into line with Scotland.

Given the likely closeness of the vote, the SNP will come under intense pressure from the anti-hunting lobby to break with tradition and vote against the changes, even though they only apply to England.

However, the Guardian understands the SNP is currently minded not to intervene, making a change in the law more likely. No formal decision has yet been taken by the SNP and it could change its position after studying the amendment, which was published on Thursday morning."

"The proposals have been met with dismay by animal charities, including the RSPCA, which on Thursday accused the government of approaching an abuse of power with its efforts to bring back hunting by the back door."

David Bowles, the assistant director for public affairs, said: “The RSPCA believes any attempts to weaken the Act would not only give the green light to resuming hunting of foxes, and other animals, by dogs but would also be a backward step for modern society.

This attempt to reintroduce this brutal practice, that has rightly been consigned to the history books, would be a disaster for British wildlife and society as a whole.

Picture of the Day
! 2AtoAqI.gif


California, US
Angel Viray poses with zombies from the AMC series The Walking Dead at the 2015 Comic-Con International in San Diego
Photograph: Sandy Huffaker/Reuters.

Masterminds : A night guard at an armored car company in the Southern U.S. organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history. Director: Jared Hess, Writers: Chris Bowman (screenplay), Hubbel Palmer , Cast: Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis, 2015, Comedy.

What We Did on Our Holiday : Doug and Abi take their kids on a family vacation. Surrounded by relatives, the kids innocently reveal the ins and outs of their family life and many intimate details about their parents. It's soon clear that when it comes to keeping a big secret under wraps from the rest of the family, their children are their biggest liability. Directors: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin, Writers: Andy Hamilton, Guy Jenkin, Cast: Rosamund Pike, David Tennant, Billy Connolly, 2014, Comedy.

Wishing you all a great Thursday, evening, morning, afternoon and good luck for tomorrow , nearly there .. wGHkwn3.gif
ange1 avatar
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:25
Author: ModeratorET lover
Fox Hunting should never be brought back. It is dam right cruel and it just goes to show you just how sneaky the UK Government is by going through the back door. what happened to a free vote ? Omg even the book makers are putting odds on :( same vote as with or against the changes. I pray this does not happen as i don't want this going back to the dark days hunting these animals.

Thank you for this info Thalestris and wish you a lovely Friday :)
Abhi121 avatar
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 16:35
Hy there Thalestris ... well thanks for the info and trailers ... and your avatar is so awesome ... Wish everyone a great weekend ...
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day. - Dalai Lama
Thalestris avatar
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 17:37
Author: Turtle
Abhi121 wrote:
Hy there Thalestris ... well thanks for the info and trailers ... and your avatar is so awesome ... Wish everyone a great weekend ...
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day. - Dalai Lama

Hi ange, and yes, I do hope that the darkest days of fox hunting won't come back .. SC7mS2G.gif and hi Abhi, I hope that you had a good week so far ? And I'm glad that you like my new avatar wGHkwn3.gif A little quote for both of you and I wish you a great week end !

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” (Anaïs Nin)

And today hmm, just a few things really here and there and some trailers. We had lots of reading this week, so it's time to relax now 2AtoAqI.gif

Saying hi to our ET Indonesian friends gHdOO4Y.gif and I do hope that everybody will stay safe, I was in Indonesia recently so obviously I'm thinking about that volcano..

Volcanic ash cloud strands travellers as flights cancelled across Indonesia
Erupting volcano about 150km west of Denpasar airport prompts Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Garuda Indonesia to cancel flights to and from Denpasar

Airports were closed across parts of Indonesia due to a volcanic ash cloud from the eruption of Mount Ruang leaving thousands of international travellers stranded.

Bali holidaymakers were among the worst affected, with Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Garuda Indonesia cancelling flights to and from Denpasar airport.

The cancellations, now in the third consecutive day, follow on from cancellations across the first few days of July after Mount Raung erupted on 2 July.

The volcano is about 150km to the west of Denpasar airport – the main airport for those heading to Bali – in east Java.

The latest round of cancellations began on Wednesday evening and extended into Thursday as winds pushed the ash cloud closer to the facility.
Jetstar and Virgin Australia are issuing regular updates on the situation, which is being continually assessed.

Apart from that I've seen that map :


Researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) have produced a map that shows the countries of the world resized by the number of internet users in 2013.

Each hexagon represents 470,000 internet users and the countries are shaded by the proportion of their respective populations that are online. The little white dot you can see at the top of China, for example, is Mongolia.

The map partially reflects population density but it also flags up countries such as India, which is home to 190 million internet users but still has a long way to go in getting all its citizens online.

"Few of the world’s largest internet countries fall into the top category (above 80%) of internet penetration. Looking only at countries with at least 10 million inhabitants, those in the highest fifth of the distribution (quintile) are (in descending order) the Netherlands, the UK, Japan, Canada, South Korea, the US, Germany, Australia, Belgium and France – mostly European and North American countries.

Ignoring micro-nations, all but five of the countries with an internet penetration rate of more than 80% are in Europe, North America, or Oceania – the exceptions being Japan, South Korea, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2011, Qatar and South Korea were the only countries outside Europe and North America in the group of countries with highest internet penetration.

The proportion of the population on the internet has increased 14.9 percentage points in South Africa, 11 in Kenya and 10 in Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria. However, 29 out of 47 sub-Saharan African countries still have internet penetration of less than 10%, with insignificant growth between 2011 and 2013.


Sharif with Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, 1968
Photograph: Allstar/COLUMBIA

Omar Sharif dies at the age of 83
The star of Doctor Zhivago, Funny Girl and Lawrence of Arabia died of a heart attack in Cairo on Friday, according to his agent

Omar Sharif has died at the age of 83. The Egyptian actor, best known for roles in Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, suffered a heart attack in Cairo on Friday, his agent Steve Kenis said.

In May his son revealed the star had been suffering from Alzheimer’s. His son, Tarek Sharif, and two grandsons survive him.

Sharif, who was one of the few Arab actors to achieve mainstream Hollywood success, grew up in Cairo. In an interview in 2012, he recalled how his mother would socialise with King Farouk as well as dole out regular beatings to her son.

“By night she would play cards, by day she would give me the slipper,” he said. “She hit me on my backside every day till I was 14. She was an extraordinary woman – she lived till 1998. I was very close to her, even though she beat me all the time!”

Sharif was Oscar-nominated for his role in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and went on to win a Golden Globe for his performance. It was his first English-language role after appearing in over 20 Egyptian films.

Brooklyn : In 1950s Ireland and New York, young Ellis Lacey has to choose between two men and two countries. Director: John Crowley, Writers: Nick Hornby (screenplay), Nick Hornby, Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Zegen, 2015, Drama.

Miss You Already : The friendship between two life-long girlfriends is put to the test when one starts a family and the other falls ill. Director: Catherine Hardwicke, Writer: Morwenna Banks (screenplay), Cast: Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette, Dominic Cooper, 2015, Drama.

Wishing you all a great week end !! pRmDOcB.gif
Abhi121 avatar
Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 17:21
Hy there Thalestris ... hope u r good ... n thanks for the clips and trailers ....
Thalestris wrote:
Apart from that I've seen that map :
World Online
Lol ...0-20 that's a shame for us rolling_on_the_floor.gif
When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes - I already have everything that I really need. -Dalai Lama
Thalestris avatar
Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 17:49
Author: Turtle
Hi everybody gHdOO4Y.gif I hope that you're all enjoying this week end ? For my part, hmm, just resting and I wasn't much of a grown up today, so I didn't really read the newspapers to be honest .. And I watched Comic Con on You tube, I'll share the best moments here with you:


The nicest surprise being obviously this one, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher ( and I completely forgot how funny she could be) ... 2AtoAqI.gif

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (Director: J.J. Abrams, Writers: J.J. Abrams (screenplay), Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay), Cast: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Domnhall Gleeson, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie, ...)

Air : In the near future, breathable air is nonexistent and two engineers (Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou) tasked with guarding the last hope for mankind struggle to preserve their own lives while administering to their vital task at hand. Director: Christian Cantamessa, Writers: Christian Cantamessa, Chris Pasetto, Cast: Norman Reedus, Sandrine Holt, Djimon Hounsou, 2015, Sci-Fi.

Ash vs Evil Dead: Ash has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead until a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind and Ash becomes mankind's only hope.
Cast: Mimi Rogers, Jill Marie Jones, Bruce Campbell, 2015, Comedy, Horror.

and a little extra for Carrie Fisher ..

And ah yeah, I did read something that really pisses me off again, such a disappointment, I'm a huge fan of the artist but the man oh my , I couldn't imagine such a thing.. I hate that, when you admire the talent of the person, but just hate the man or the woman damn !!

"More surprisingly, Bryan Ferry caused a stir at a music awards ceremony when, amid boos and jeers, the Roxy Music crooner applauded his “brave son” Otis for his pro-hunt antics after he stormed the House of Commons in 2004 (indeed, he is still actively involved in lobbying for fox hunting’s return). I say “more surprisingly” with regard to Ferry, because he belongs to rock’s effete wing. You can’t imagine him tucking into a plate of red meat, let alone bestriding the corpses of albino deer."

Anyways, Bryan won't probably able to appreciate this pic since he likes his foxes dead hmm.. and stuffed perhaps ? But I'll finish this week with those lively creatures, that's for sure , wishing you all a great week end, have fun, take care ! wGHkwn3.gif


Feisty fox cubs show their teeth in Walthamstow, London
Photograph: Greg Morgan/Barcroft Media
Thalestris avatar
Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 17:37
Author: Turtle
Hi everybody gHdOO4Y.gif , I hope that you had all a relaxing Sunday ? I wasn't sure about what to share with you today.. I did read something really disturbing and moving, but if you're too sensitive , it's probably better to avoid this article. It's a long story as well. To be honest, I had no idea that the situation was that bad in that country. I'm not able to post the whole article in here, because it's just too long, so I'll post the link. But that's definitely my choice for today.

The Cairo streets where girls pretend to be boys
Life is hard for the children who scrape a living on Egypt’s streets. They deal daily with horror and hunger, but for the girls the struggle is worse – which is why some of them dress as boys. Patrick Kingsley hears their stories


Apart from that, is it necessary to post the trailer of Batman v Superman hmm ? Except if you want to watch it again then 2AtoAqI.gif

The Sand, Sea & Spray urban art festival in Blackpool
The organisers of Sand Sea & Spray have invited more than 20 well known street artists from around the world to create works in an attempt to help regenerate parts of the seaside town


The festival, which concludes Sunday, features live street art being produced on walls and billboards in various locations throughout central Blackpool.
• All photographs: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images


British street artist, Dale Grimshaw, (second right) creates an artwork.

Youth: Fred and Mick, two old friends, are on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a film director, is still working. They look with curiosity and tenderness on their children's confused lives, Micks enthusiastic young writers, and the other hotel guests. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his last important film, Fred has no intention of resuming his musical career. But someone wants at all costs to hear him conduct again.Director: Paolo Sorrentino, Writer: Paolo Sorrentino, Cast: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, 2015, Drama.

The Hive : A young man suffering from amnesia must dig deep into the far reaches of his mind to remember who he is and save the love of his life before a virus that has infected him takes over. Director: David Yarovesky, Writers: Will Honley, David Yarovesky, Cast: Brekkan Spens, Kathryn Prescott, Gabriel Basso, 2015, Horror.

Desert Dancer : Afshin Ghaffarian risks everything to start a dance company amidst his home country of Iran's politically volatile climate and the nation's ban on dancing. Director: Richard Raymond, Writers: Jon Croker (screenplay), Afshin Ghaffarian (based on the life story of), Cast: Freida Pinto, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Cullen, 2014, Drama.

Billions : U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades goes after hedge fund king, Bobby "Axe" Axelrod in a battle between two powerful New York figures. Creators: Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Andrew Ross Sorkin
Cast: Malin Akerman, David Costabile, Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis
, 2016, Tv Series, Drama.

Wishing you all a lovely Sunday and a great start of the week !
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