News from a World gone mad

yet there is still so much beauty


February 3, 2016

The Elegant Woodcarvings of Dongyang


Dongyang is a Chinese city in the center of Zhejiang Province, about 200 kilometers south of Hangzhou, reputed for producing some of the most elegant woodcarvings in the world. This ancient art goes back by more than 1,300 years at the time of the Tang Dynasty. In the Song Dynasty, it became highly developed as an art, and reached its peak in the period of Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty. Dongyang woodcarving is characterized by high relief, multi-layers, and a rich composition of pictures, presenting the third dimension. The carvings often told stories from history and Chinese literary classics and poems, others reflected local customs.

Examples of Dongyang’s magnificent woodcarvings can be found throughout the imperial palaces in Beijing, Suzhou City, Hangzhou City and Anhui Province. During the reign of Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong in the 1700s, hundreds of craftsmen came to the capital of Beijing to decorate the palaces and carve the lanterns. Those woodcarving articles are present to this date in the Imperial Palace in Beijing.

Modern architecture has almost uprooted this centuries old tradition. Many skillful carvers gave up the career and the craft was reduced to the making of souvenirs and decorative pieces. Dongyang woodcarving is still used, but only to decorate houses and furniture with realistic depictions of galloping horses, cranes, lotus flowers and human figures.



full article AmusingPlanet





Dog Was So Heartbroken She Couldn’t Even Face The World

For a time, it seemed all she could do was cower and hide from the world she knew.

While no one knows what world that was — Cara was found by a rescue group in Ireland — it didn’t seem like one worth living in

In a video, posted by PAWS Animal Rescue Ireland last July, the just-rescued dog appears so despondent, she can’t even pry her face from the wall of her kennel.

Instead, she remains pressed into the corner, oblivious to efforts to get her attention.

A vet confirmed Cara was not, as is the case with some dogs who press their head persistently against a wall, suffering from a severe medical condition.

She was, in fact severely nervous.

“What had made her like this?” asks the caption accompanying the video.

full story The Dodo





Tanzanian girl assaulted, stripped by mob after Bengaluru woman dies in accident

Tanzanian student had nothing to do with the students involved in the accident

Two days after a 35-year-old woman in Hesaraghatta in north Bengaluru died after being rammed by a car driven by an African student, a 21-year-old Tanzanian student, who came to the accident spot 30 minutes after the incident, was allegedly stripped and assaulted by a mob on Sunday.

The Tanzanian student, who is a second year BBA student of Acharya College had nothing to do with those involved in the accident. She arrived in a car half hour after the accident.  A Sudanese man was driving the car involved in the accident.

The mob also burnt down a car. It is unclear as to whose car was burnt.

Legal adviser of All African Students Union in Bengaluru, Bosco Kaweesi said that the Tanzanian girl and the Sudanese man, who was booked for the accident, did not know each other.

Deccan Chronicle reported that the student was travelling in another car, a Wagon-R, along with four other friends and had arrived at the accident spot only 30 minutes after the incident occurred. The mob reportedly beat her, stripped her and paraded her around in the presence of the police. A bystander, who tried to help the woman, was also attacked.

“The students and her friends came in her car half an hour after the accident. The mob thought they were with the same group and forced them to come out of the car. While three of her friends escaped, she was held by the locals, stripped, beaten up and paraded on the road,” Kaweesi told TNM.

Full story The News Minute










Why Bitcoin Will Thrive First in the Developing World


EXPLAINING THE APPEAL OF bitcoin to the average American isn’t easy. Here in the US, it’s not terribly hard to save, spend, and send money. Most people have bank accounts and credit cards, and when they need to send money to a friend, relative, or acquaintance, they can use any number of online services, from PayPal and Square to SnapChat and Facebook. For most people, bitcoin and other digital currencies looks like a solution in need of a problem—a technological end-run around big banks and big government that interests only geeks, drug dealers, and crazed libertarians.

Indeed, the number of people who use bitcoin as a currency—as opposed to an investment, a bet that its value will rise in time—remains relatively small. The big-name online retailer started accepting bitcoin payments in early 2014, and two years later, the digital currency accounts for no more than 0.1 percent of sales.

But the calculus changes as you look beyond the US. Bitcoin and other digital currencies like litecoin and dogecoin provide a way of inexpensively moving money across borders, an important alternative to a mainstay like Western Union. Perhaps more importantly, they offer a means of spending and storing money if you don’t have a bank account or a credit card, which is quite common in the developing world. Nigera is a prime example. According to a 2014 report from Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access—a nonprofit backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to promote financial freedom in Nigeria—just 36 percent of the local population has access to traditional banking services.

full story at WIRED








Healthy fast food? McDonald’s kale salad has more calories than a Double Big Mac

When you add the accompanying dressing to the crispy chicken Caesar salad with kale, it has more calories, salt, and fat than a Double Big Mac.

In a quest to reinvent its image, McDonald’s is on a health kick. But some of its nutrient-enhanced meals are actually comparable to junk food, say some health experts.

One of McDonald’s new kale salads has more calories, fat, and sodium than a Double Big Mac.

Kale, a leafy green vegetable chock-full of vitamins, has become a trendy superfood. In Canada, the global fast food chain recently tossed the green into a breakfast wrap and a line of salads.

McDonald’s boasts on its site that the “Keep Calm, Caesar On” chicken salad contains “real parmesan petals” and “a nutrient-rich lettuce blend with baby kale.”

But once you plop the accompanying Asiago Caesar dressing on the “crispy chicken” version, the salad’s nutritional profile doesn’t look so good. According to McDonald’s own numbers, the salad tops up at 730 calories, 53 grams of fat, and 1,400 milligrams of salt.

“Health-wise, I think it’s fat and sodium overload,” says Toronto registered dietician, Shauna Lindzon.

You’d have to chow down three traditional McDonald’s hamburgers to consume about the same number of calories.

A Double Big Mac actually has fewer calories and much less fat, although it does contain slightly more saturated fat. At 1,400 milligrams, the Caesar salad’s salt content also beats the burger’s.

Health Canada recommends adults should not exceed 2,300 milligrams of salt daily and ideally aim for 1,500 milligrams.

“By eating that salad, you’re getting your sodium for the day,” said Lindzon. Average adult women would also be getting about one third their recommended daily calories.

Full story CBCnews








NASA’s New Horizons team discovers vast reserves of H2O ice on Pluto

Sno-cones for everyone!  NASA’s New Horizons scientific team headquartered at Johns Hopkins University just revealed some intriguing new updates on the amount of water ice potentially on Pluto.  This false-color image below, derived from infrared light observations by the spacecraft’s Ralph/Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) instrument, shows where the unique spectral features of concentrated water ice are amazingly abundant on Pluto’s frigid surface.  These images are based on LEISA scans of Pluto obtained on July 14, 2015, from a range of about 67,000 miles.  Previous maps (left) attempting to measure Pluto’s bedrock ice were deemed inaccurate, discounting the fact that surface methane ice often obscures valid spectral readings of water ice.

This new method (right) takes a sensitive composite approach, modeling the contributions of Pluto’s various ices together to achieve a more realistic measurement of the abundance of frozen H2O.

full story blastr







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