Saturday, March 23, 2013

Stuff below the fold

 Sir Thomas More  not only defended Henry's first wife but thought enough about his daughters to educate them. 

The article mentions Margaret recovered from the "sweating sickness", as did Anne Boleyn. More about the various epidemics HERE. and HERE. and HERE. wikipedia HERE.
No, it was not plague, but could kill quickly, usually broke out in the summer, the length of the epidemic was short, it was worse in rural areas, and killed the upper classes more than the lower classes, making many think it was borne by a bug rather than spread person to person like influenza.

It also affected northern Germany.

Lots of guesses here, but since diseases evolve over time, it's pretty hard to guess.
Perhaps one day they will do a DNA evaluation, as they did to find out that typhoid caused the Plague of Athens.


Why is the Pope wearing a yellow rubber band? Father Z says it is to remind people that it is the "year of faith".

Well, why not? Lance Armstrong isn't selling yellow bracelets anymore.

Awareness color bracelets come in dozens of colors, depending on what cause you want to show your support for.

And if you aren't sure which one to support, well, this company also sells Mosquito repellant bracelets.

Show your support and prevent Dengue fever!

China is moving to take over the West Philippine sea...meaning they could block these important sea lanes.
while of course stealing natural resources from VietNam and the Philippines...

and China's pollution problem is a result of central planning,
Will ecology activists and democracy help fix it?

The AncientStardard website has an article about getting high in ancient Egypt: Blue Lotus

 Oh, those Egyptians. They have so many beautiful tomb paintings, papyrus scrolls full of art, and sculptures, and look at all those lovely people holding beautiful white  and blue flowers… they must really love their flowers. Who wouldn’t, right?
But, wait… why are they all holding the flowers to their noses and mouths? Surely everyone wasn’t sniffing their flowers all the time, were they?
Actually, maybe they were, but probably not for the reason you think. Rather, they were likely, uh… getting high.

wikipedia says it is mildly psychoactive but mainly used for aromatherapy

and may be behind the "lotus eaters" story in the Odessey.

more about sacred weeds HERE.
or check video:


Professor P muses on why the rich give less to charity: Maybe because they have little contact with the poor?

Yes. And it's probably worse here in the Philippine, where gated communities even for the middle class are common (mainly for security).


There was a short but major climate change 4000 years ago, and now the NYTimes says it may have been the cause of the demise of the Indus valley civilization.

Some think it caused the demise of the early kingdom of Egypt, and affected China too
Article on the solar cycle and climate change.
The 4,000 BP Event was perhaps the most influential little ice age in recorded history. Global cooling started as early as 4,400 BP and ended some 600 years later. Archaeological evidence (33) indicates that the years 4,200–3,900 BP were coldest and most arid in western Asia. The cooling signifies the change from the early Holocene Climatic Optimum to late Holocene alternations of little climatic optimums and little ice ages (9). Varves from Swiss lakes indicate that the alpine glaciers became widespread during this first of the historical little ice ages. An important historical consequence of the 4,000 BP Event was the migration of the Indo-European peoples from northern Europe, to Greece, to southern Russia, to Anatolia, to Persia, to India, and to Xinjiang in northwest China (9).

The kerfuffle about Cyprus is really about all that lovely money deposited in the banks there by Russian millionaires.
 GetReligion has more on that story:
here is a piece of a CNN Money story about the showdown, under the headline, “Why Russia is irate about the Cyprus bank tax.”
It’s easy to see why some in Russia are unhappy with a new proposal from the European Union to levy a one-off tax on Cyprus bank deposits of up to 9.9% in exchange for €10 billion in bailout money to help the government pay its bills. If most of Russia’s deposits get hit with the top tax rate, which applies to accounts holding €100,000 or more, the country’s citizens stand to lose more than $3 billion.
And GR adds some background behind the Russian ties with Cyprus:
That “rocky history with the Turks” has a lot to do with blood and faith, as well as culture and money.
 This "backstory" also explains a lot about Russia's intervention in Syria and in the Yugoslavian civil war.

The "good night, sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite" story of the day:
FromForWhatTheyWere blog:

Most readers are probably at least somewhat familiar with the many, often impressive and revealing, South African sites but, besides the already mentioned Katanda harpoons, what really impressed me a lot was the finding in Sibudu, Northern Mozambique, near Lake Malawi, of fragments of ancient fossilized mattresses made up of vegetation that has bug-repealing properties (→ news article at El Mundo[es]). Apparently the owners, some 73,000 years ago, burnt them now and then in order to destroy parasites. Since c. 58,000 BP the number of mattresses, fires and ashes grew, surely indicating greater population densities, at least locally.


Gulf war syndrome: a sophisticated new scanner shows brain damage.

. About a third of Gulf war veterans – possibly as many as 250,000 – returned with a similar set of symptoms.

Now an imaging study has found that these veterans have what appear to be unique structural changes in the wiring of their brains.....

Earlier this month, Steven Coughlin, a former senior epidemiologist at the VA, testified to a Congressional panel that the VA had suppressed and manipulated research data so as to suggest that the disorder was psychosomatic.

This is a major scandal, but gets little publicity.

uh oh: Slumbering sun should wake up this year...

there goes you computers and smart phones...

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