News from a World gone mad

yet there is still so much beauty



New Fossil Discovery Suggests Unicorns Might Have Been Real

A new fossil discovered in Kazakhstan confirms that a one-horned creature walked on Earth at the same time as humans, according to a studypublished in the American Journal of Applied Sciences.

The fossilized skull discovered by scientists reveals that the one-horned creature, known as a Siberian unicorn, last roamed the planet 29,000 years ago, at the same time as humans, meaning it may have inspired its mythical namesake.

It was previously believed that the unicorn-like creature died 350,000 years ago, while humans evolved around 200,000 years ago.

The Siberian unicorn, known scientifically asElasmotherium sibiricum, is most closely related to the rhinoceros, but its horn is thought to have been much longer — probably several feet long.

There’s no evidence that the Siberian unicorn had magic powers, but it was clearly a powerful creature. It stood 6½ feet tall, was 15 feet long, and weighed 4 tons.

Originally published:









Illustration of Draupadi, a princess and queen in the Indian epic “Mahabharata”, with her five husbands (Wikipedia)

David P. Barash is an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington; his most recent book is Out of Eden: surprising consequences of polygamy (2016, Oxford University Press). A version of this post recently appeared in Psychology Today.

Human history did not begin with historians, or with the events recorded and interpreted by them. It is as old as our species … actually, older yet, but for my purposes, it’s enough to inquire into those aspects of our past that gave rise to our behavioral inclinations. Among these aspects, sex is prominent (albeit not uniquely formative). I wrote earlier about polygyny, which is dramatically evident in our bodies no less than our behavior. But polyandry, the mirror image of polygyny, is also “us”; ironically, we are both. Part of human nature inclines us to male-oriented harems, but also – although more subtly – to their female-oriented equivalent.

When biologists such as myself began doing DNA fingerprinting on animals, many of us were shocked, shocked, to find that the social partner of even some of the most seemingly monogamous bird species was not necessarily the biological father. And people aren’t altogether different, although for understandable reasons, the sexual adventuring of women has long been more obscured. Polyandry –unlike polygyny – has only rarely been institutionalized in human societies, and yet women, like men, are also prone to having multiple sexual partners. (This may seem – even be – obvious, but for decades biologists had assumed that female fidelity was generally the mirror-image opposite of predictable male randomness.

Male-male competition and male-based harem keeping (polygyny) is overt, readily apparent, and carries with it a degree of male-male sexual intolerance which also applies to polyandry, whereby “unfaithful” women along with their paramours are liable to be severely punished if discovered. This intolerance is easy enough to understand, since the evolutionary success (the “fitness”) of a male is greatly threatened by any extra-curricular sexual activity by “his” mate. If she were inseminated by someone else, the result is a payoff for the lover and a fitness decrement for the cuckolded male. As a result, selection has not only favored a male tendency to accumulate as many females as possible (polygyny), but also an especially high level of sexual jealousy on the part of males generally and of men in particular. This, in turn, pressures polyandry into a degree of secrecy not characteristic of polygyny. Another way of looking at it: patriarchy pushes polyandry underground, but does not eliminate it.

full story:HNNhistorynewsnetwork






The day police told Parliament to end the war on drugs

Suzanne Sharkey is a former constable and undercover officer at Northumbria Constabulary

Suzanne Sharkey is a former constable and undercover officer at Northumbria Constabulary
Friday, 11 March 2016 9:31 AM

By Simon Oxenham

Last week Neil Franklin, a retired major from Marylyn State Police, led a troop of serving and former police chiefs, soldiers and a former spy into the Parliament to call MPs to end the war on drugs. Their testimony was damning and revealing.

Franklin opened the meeting with an explanation of the campaign’s mission to “reduce crime, disease, death and addiction by ending the most socially destructive public policy since slavery.” Franklin explained how his organisation of “police officers, agents, judges, criminal prosecutors, corrections officials and others” including over 180,000 members and supporters in over 180 countries share one goal, to end “the world’s longest war”.

According to Franklin “we have been attempting to solve a public health crisis with criminal justice solutions and the results have been catastrophic”. While repeated calls from academia and public health have failed to convince most politicians, the group hopes calls from within the criminal justice system will finally make them listen. What follows are all direct quotes, edited for concision.

Suzanne Sharkey (pictured above): Former Constable and Undercover Officer at Northumbria Constabulary

“When I look back at my time in the police I feel ashamed, I feel a sense of failure. I feel ashamed that I wasn’t arresting career criminals. I was arresting people from poor socially deprived areas with little or no hope whose crime was non-violent drug possession, a complete failure of the war on drugs. I believe that one of the biggest barriers for people with problematic substance misuse to seeking help and treatment is the current drug policy. It does nothing, it achieves nothing except creating more harm for individuals, families and society as a whole. All of us know the problems and what we need to do but rather than be united by the problems let’s be united by the solutions. Solutions based in health, education and compassion rather than criminalisation.”

PCC Ron Hogg: serving police and crime commissioner for Durham spoke alongside Mike Barton, the chief constable of Durham police force. The pair made headlines last year for effectively decriminalising small-scale cannabis growers and users in Durham.

“We are very clear in our view in Durham constabulary that the war has failed, that it won’t succeed and it never will succeed and we have to change our views and the way we approach things. The whole purpose of a drugs policy must be to minimise the harms that drugs cause to individuals and to our communities and optimise the benefits that drugs can bring.

“Heroin and crack cocaine addiction is responsible for 43% of acquisitive crime. Responsible for 33% of fraud as people commit crimes to feed their habits. This appears to many to be a satisfactory situation, we don’t think that’s the way things should be going forward. That’s why we’ve taken a stand in Durham. We’ve put our heads above the parapet to produce new ways of tackling drug and alcohol addiction.

“As we dismantle one organised crime group there’s another one ready to come and take its place but what you do find is the levels of violence and organisation tends to increase incrementally as we go forward. So we really have to break the cycle if we’re going to do something significant.”

Annie Machon – Former Mi5 Officer tasked with investigating terrorist logistics

“I first came to the knowledge that the war on drugs was an abject failure when I was working as an intelligence officer at Mi5 in the 1990s. One of my tasks was to investigate terrorist logistics and to do this I worked very closely with customs and excise, both the national investigations division and at ports. During that time I learned from them that even at that time they viewed the war on drugs as unwinnable. I learned about the massive overlap in funding between the illegal drugs trade and terrorist organisations, and this is global not just in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. We see this time and time again, in Afghanistan, in some of the Latin American countries where terrorist organisations are largely funded by drug money. We’ve seen most of West Africa descend into a kind of narco-state where armed militias compete for drug territory.

“On the one hand we have prohibition that pushes the war on drugs underground and creates huge conflicts globally. On the other hand we are fighting the war on terror which is largely funded by this war on drugs. So it strikes me as illogical unless it’s a very clever circular business model that has been only too successful.

“We know this is going on because bank after bank has been fined record numbers for being caught money laundering. In 2009 the sheer scale of the corruption of our banking industry became clear. In 2009 a man named Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime went on the record saying after the financial crash of 2008, but for drug money many large international banks would not have had any cash liquidity.

“By ensuring prohibition ends we would be able to end the biggest crime wave our world has ever seen. We would be able to protect millions if not billions of people around the planet who have been ravaged not just by the drug war, crimes and the vicious violence but also by terrorist groups funded largely by this trade who continue to maim and kill around the planet too.”

Patrick Hennessy – Served as a grenadier guard officer in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now a practicing barrister.

full article and it is really a must read for anyone interested in the subject not just of drugs but war and money laundering how it funds all this

here is the link










Nine Outstanding Women Working In Science And Technology

photo credit: Maryam Mirzakhani is the only woman to have won the Fields Medal, the highest honor in Math. Stanford University

Worldwide, only 28 percent of the researchers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are women. This number, provided by UN research, is ridiculously low and actually quite worrying about the state of the world in 2016. Great talent is being lost because women are often discouraged to progress their career in science or to study a STEM subject at university.

The media has definitely played a role in the portrayal of scientists as old white dudes, so to help showcase more diversity, here’s our list of extraordinary women scientists working today as we celebrate International Women’s Day. The list is definitely not exhaustive, but we believe it is representative of the incredible pool of talent found in every scientific discipline.

Fabiola Gianotti

Portrait of Fabiola Gianotti taken when she was a spokesperson for the ATLAS experiment. Claudia Marcelloni De Oliveira via Wikimedia Commons

Italian particle physicist Dr. Gianotti was one of the driving forces behind the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN, which she announced in July 2012. She is now director-general of CERN, in charge of 2,513 staff members and over 12,000 associated and visiting engineers from 608 universities and research facilities worldwide.

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton, lead Apollo flight software engineer, in the Apollo Command Module. NASA

Margaret Hamilton is the computer scientist responsible for writing the in-flight code that allowed the Apollo missions to land on the Moon. She has published over 130 papers, proceedings, and reports on the six major programs and 60 projects she’s been involved with during her career.

Ada Yonath

Ada Yonath at the Weizmann Institute of Science, via Wikimedia Commons

Professor Yonath is responsible for the discovery of the atomic structure of the ribosome, for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009. Ribosomes are complex molecular machines that synthesize proteins by linking amino acids together, a fundamental part of cells. Yonath also discovered how 20 different antibiotics target microbial antibiotics.

Shirley Ann Jackson

Shirley Ann Jackson speaking at the World Economic Forum in 2010. Qilai Shen via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is an American physicist and the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT. During her illustrious career, she served as the Chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and she is now the 18th president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her compensation ranked first among USA private university presidents in 2014.

Samantha Cristoforetti

Capt. Cristoforetti photographed leaving the ISS via Twitter

Captain Cristoforetti is an Italian astronaut, Air Force pilot, and engineer. She traveled to the International Space Station (ISS) on behalf of the European Space Agency in 2014/2015, and she holds the records for the longest single space flight by a woman and for the longest uninterrupted space flight of a European astronaut (199 days, 16 hours, 42 minutes).

Jackie Y. Ying

Professor Ying photographed for the Institute of Bioengineering in Singapore. 

Professor Ying is the current executive director of the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore. She became one of the youngest MIT full professors when she got her professorship in 2001 at only 35. Her research focused on the synthesis of advanced nanostructures for biomaterial applications, and she has authored over 330 articles.

full story at:IFLScience









South Koreans Kick Off Efforts to Clone Extinct Siberian Cave Lions

By: The Siberian Times reporter

Samples taken from cubs frozen in permafrost for at least 12,000 years.

Two infant prehistoric big cats – dating from Pleistocene times – were found in a ‘sensational’ discovery last year, as disclosed by The Siberian Times . The cubs were dug from their icy grave ‘complete with all their body parts: fur, ears, soft tissue and even whiskers’, said Dr. Albert Protopopov, head of the mammoth fauna studies department of the Yakutian Academy of Sciences.

Now cloning expert Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean scientist who is already pioneering research work to bring the extinct woolly mammoth back to life, is in Yakutsk to obtain samples of one of the cave lion cubs. These laboratory pictures show skin and muscle tissue being extracted from the ancient creature “Dina’s” remains.

These laboratory pictures show skin and muscle tissue being extracted from the ancient creature Dina's remains.

These laboratory pictures show skin and muscle tissue being extracted from the ancient creature Dina's remains.

These laboratory pictures show skin and muscle tissue being extracted from the ancient creature Dina's remains.

These laboratory pictures show skin and muscle tissue being extracted from the ancient creature Dina’s remains. Pictures: Galina Mozolevskaya/YSIA

Dr. Protopopov said: ‘Together with the Mammoth Museum, we took samples for cell research.’ The museum’s experts will study these for the presence of living cells suitable for cloning.

Hwang came to Yakutsk – capital of the Sakha Republic – specifically for this purpose. But there was dispute between the Siberian and Korean scientists over the size of the sample.

The Korean professor wanted a large section, such as part of the skull or a leg but this was opposed by the local experts who are anyway withholding one of the cubs from any research – the better preserved of the pair, called Uyan – confident that more advanced techniques in future years will ensure more is gleaned from it than if research is done now.

read the full story at:Ancient Origins



The Boiling River of Mayantuyacu, Peru

Deep in the Amazon rainforest, in Mayantuyacu, Peru, flows a river so hot its water actually boils. The locals call it “Shanay-timpishka” which loosely translates to “boiled with the heat of the sun.” They believe that the hot water is released by a giant serpent called Yacumama, “Mother of the Waters,” who is represented by a large serpent head-shaped boulder at the river’s headwaters. The river is about 25 meters wide and 6 meters deep,…
read more AmusingPlanet

The lion's mane jellyfish lives in the world's northernmost oceans

photo credit: The lion’s mane jellyfish lives in the world’s northernmost oceans. Alexander Semenov

Jellyfish are among the most impossibly elegant, ethereal and eccentric-looking animals known to man. While many are also extremely dangerous, Russian marine biologistAlexander Semenov finds their hypnotic beauty so captivating that he’s prepared to dive in some of the world’s harshest, coldest oceans in order to capture their magnificence. The result of his endeavors can be seen in the following photographs, which were taken in locations such as the White Sea – which sits within the Arctic Circle – and the Sea of Okhotsk.

Head of the diving team at Moscow State University’s White Sea biological research station, Semenov explains on his website that he has become accustomed to diving in “unfavorable” conditions, and is dedicated to capturing the beauty of the deep on camera.

Many of his photographs feature jellyfish, which are members of the Cnidarian phylum, and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. For instance, the following images show the incredible lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata), which dwells in the chilly waters of the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific oceans, and is the largest species of jellyfish.

Lion’s mane jellyfish

more stunning pictures at ifls








Small migratory birds were found stuffed into crevices by Eleonora's falcons so that they could not escape. Abdeljebbar Qninba

photo credit: Small migratory birds were found stuffed into crevices by Eleonora’s falcons so that they could not escape. Abdeljebbar Qninba

Falcons in Morocco’s Essaouira archipelago have been observed “imprisoning” other birds and holding them for several days before feeding them to their young.

The unusual behavior was observed by Abdeljebbar Qninba from Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, while conducting a census of falcons on the island of Mogador in 2014, and reported in the latest edition of the journal Alauda. Among the species residing on the island is Eleonora’s falcon (Falco eleonorae), which normally eats only insects but has been known to feed on other migratory birds such as the common whitethroat, the tree pipit and others during the breeding season.

For this reason, Eleanora’s falcon colonies tend to synchronize their chick-rearing with the height of the annual migration, in order to ensure that prey is at a maximum when their young hatch.

Typically, this dietary switch from insects to other birds occurs a few days prior to laying their first eggs in late summer, as the falcons begin catching prey in anticipation for the arrival of a few extra mouths to feed. However, by killing their food so early they risk it drying out or rotting before it can be eaten.

To get around this, the birds were seen keeping their prey alive for varying periods, thereby ensuring its freshness when it came time to feed it to the chicks. This was achieved using a number of cunning tactics, such as stuffing small birds into small crevices, ensuring they were tightly wedged in and unable to escape.

full story at IFL








9 things you didn’t know about the sand cat

sand cat

Boasting fluffy ears, big eyes and tiny noses, it’s easy to mistake the sand cat for a charming kitten.

But that would be a big mistake! While they share many traits with domestic cats, sand cats are as wild as they come, and they are champions of the harsh desert environment. Here are a few things you might not know about this memorable species.

full article and great pics at mnn

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