-Stonehenge Rival? 2003-08-28Posted by clype in Discovery, Humanities, Scotland.
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The circle is the latest to have been discovered at a site widely considered as second in importance to Stonehenge.
Experts said the new circle was very exciting, as it had been built not into soft ground but propped up on a rocky outcrop. They have also located the quarry where the rocks came from, a rare discovery in archaeological terms. (more…)
-England’s Oldest Continually Occupied House 2003-08-28Posted by clype in Discovery, Humanities.
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Saltford Manor House, in Saltford, near Bristol, took the title from a list drawn up for Country Life magazine. Writer Dr.John Goodall considered suggestions from readers and national experts before naming the property as his choice. Present owner James Wynn, who has lived in the house since 1997 with his wife Anna and their two daughters, said:
'I was not surprised to find that we were one of half a dozen, but I was surprised that they thought we were the oldest — surprised and pleased. It is an extraordinary thing'.
He said the original house was built in the Norman era and that the features still include a Norman window, a Norman archway, a Tudor fireplace and a 17th century kitchen. Mr.Wynn, 50, added:
'It makes me feel part of some extraordinary time line. You can see the history — that is why I love the place'.
To draw up the list, Dr.Goodall excluded certain categories of building. The principal royal palaces were ruled out, as were church and monastic buildings converted to domestic use, although some ecclesiastical residences were allowed.
To qualify, the property had to have physical evidence of its age incorporated within it, have always been a house, never fallen totally into ruin and currently be lived in as a house. He said many properties nominated by readers dated to the 13th and 14th centuries, but nothing built after about 1200 was seriously in competition for the prize — which excluded any Scottish, Welsh or Irish building.
Among the many buildings discussed in the article, special mention was made of Berkeley Castle, which Dr.Goodall said did not properly qualify as a house but had been occupied by the Berkeley family since the construction of the present keep in the 1150s.
Also disqualified but meriting special mention was the [Jesuit] Deanery at Durham, formerly the prior's lodging, adapted from a late 11th century monastic dormitory block.
-Contract With Devil eBay Auction 2003-08-21Posted by clype in Intolerance.
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A voodoo practitioner from Norwich is auctioning his services on eBay to help musicians gain fame by making a pact with the Devil at "the crossroads".
Doktor Snake says he has made the pact himself (before he got a publishing deal) just like 1930s "bluesman" Robert Johnson reputedly did.
The author of "Doktor Snake's Voodoo Spellbook" says he intends to personally guide winning bidders through the "Crossroads" Rite.
He says he will also provide a 'genuine Devil's contract', which will serve as a binding agreement between the musician and the "Lord of Darkness". He does stress, however, that it is not as Satanic as it sounds.
'What lies at the heart of the "Crossroads Rite" is not about the Devil', he explains.
'The Devil as prince of all evil is really a Christian invention. In the "Crossroads Rite", the Devil is more a teaching spirit that gives you access to your inner-genius'.
Doktor Snake claims that, during the 1990s, a number of now high-profile rock singers and musicians consulted him about performing the "Crossroads Rite" before they became famous. He says confidentiality prevents him from revealing their names. He said:
'This is a foolproof method of achieving a meteoric rise to fame and fortune'.
Dokor Snake's eBay auction goes live at midnight on 2003-09-07.
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Children who shun traditional breakfasts in favour of quick snacks such as fizzy drinks and chocolate bars can be left with the reaction times of a 70-year-old, says new research.
Researchers studied the cognitive skills of a group of nine to 16-year-olds after they had eaten:
- a complex carbohydrate meal, such as cereal, [and porridge]
- a simple carbohydrate breakfast, like a glucose drink,
- or no breakfast at all.
They found that those eating cereals performed better than those eating less traditional breakfast foods or no meal at all.
The researchers from Reading University tested 30 youngsters' attention and memory skills, such as recalling a sequence of numbers, over four mornings. They were assessed for speed and accuracy at four intervals during each morning. Split into four groups, one set of youngsters had a simple carbohydrate meal of a glucose drink, two groups had cereal and the last had no breakfast at all. Each group swapped breakfasts each day.
The study, to be published in the journal "Appetite", showed the children who had a simple carbohydrate meal were reacting at levels normally associated with someone of 70, three and a half hours after eating. Dr.Claire Pincock, of research group CDR, said:
'Everyone's cognitive function declines during the morning but we found that the rate of decline among kids who ate a complex carbohydrate-rich breakfast was only half of that seen among those who ate a simple carbohydrate breakfast'.
Johanna Hignett, a nutritionist with Cereal Partners UK, which funded the study, said:
'When we eat food we fuel our brain with energy.
'What this study shows is that a complex carbohydrate-rich breakfast provides a steady supply of energy which helps to maintain concentration levels until lunchtime'.
-Mary Rose Missing Piece Found 2003-08-18Posted by clype in Discovery, Humanities.
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Divers could have found the front section of the Tudor warship 'The Mary Rose', marine archaeologists have confirmed.
Experts, who have been diving down to the wreck off Portsmouth for the last month, have excavated a five-metre-long piece of wood which they believe is the front stem of the ship's keel.
Archaeologists believe this stem could be attached to the front section, the bowcastle, of the ship which sunk in 1545.
The bowcastle is the fortified front of the ship which housed archers and cannon.
If this is true it means that experts have found the final jigsaw piece of 'The Mary Rose' and it would mean that a complete cross section of the warship has now been discovered.
The puzzle is made all the more complex as experts have no idea what the bowcastle actually looks like.
The earliest picture of Henry-8E's flagship was painted in 1547, two years after the ship sank.
About three quarters of Henry-8E's flagship was raised in 1982 and marine archaeologists have been keen to find out ever since if the final quarter bowcastle, which housed archers and cannon was still in the silt of the Solent. The chief executive of 'The Mary Rose Trust', Mr.John Lippiett, said:
'There is a chance that we have found the bowcastle of "The Mary Rose" and I am saying that because I am an optimist. What we have found is in remarkable condition. The test is to put a knife into the wood to see how far it goes in and the knife doesn't'.
Divers have been visiting the wreck for the first time since the main part of the ship was raised in 1982.
They have been aboard the dive ship 'Terschelling' working about 15 metres down in poor visibility.
The month-long dive has been prompted due to 'The Ministry of Defence's' plans to deepen the channels to Portsmouth naval base so it can be used for the navy's bigger aircraft carriers, which are due to enter service in 2012.
'The Mary Rose' wreck site is in the way of one of the proposals to deepen the channels to the naval base and investigations and surveys by 'The Ministry of Defence' will take place to find out whether the dredging would disturb the fragile remainder of the ship which has been under the sea for 458 years.
-Significant Find on “Mary Rose” 2003-08-17Posted by clype in Discovery, Humanities.
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Marine archaeologists are to reveal details of a 'significant find' on the wreck of the Tudor warship 'The Mary Rose'.
Divers have been at the site for a month looking for more pieces of the ship, which was raised in 1982 after 437 years under the sea off Portsmouth.
The work, which is the first extensive study of the site since the main part of the hull was raised, has been prompted by possible plans to dredge the approaches to Portsmouth harbour.
The wreck site is in the way of the proposals to deepen the channels to the naval base so it can be used for the navy's bigger aircraft carriers. 'The Mary Rose Trust' and 'The Ministry of Defence' are holding a joint press conference on board the dive vessel 'Terschelling' above the wreck site on Monday morning to announce what they have found. 'The Mary Rose' was the pride of Henry-8E's navy when she sank in 1545.
Historians believe she probably went to the bottom of the Solent because she was overloaded.
-The Face of Nefertiti 2003-08-14Posted by clype in Discovery, Humanities.
Tags: Amarna, Amenhotep, archaeology, Discovery Channel, egypt, Egyptology, history, Joann Fletcher, mummy, Nefertiti, pharaoh, queen
Egyptologists believe they have recreated the face of the legendary Queen Nefertiti. A picture of the Egyptian ruler was built up by a team which discovered a mummy in what is thought to be her tomb.
Dr.Joann Fletcher uncovered what she believes is the tomb and worked with her team to create the face. Nefertiti – whose name means ‘the beautiful or perfect one has come’ — lived more than 3 000 years ago and was famed for her elegant profile and swan-like neck. She was married to the pharaoh Amenhotep IV who established both his own religion and the capital of Egypt — at Amarna.
Some archaeologists believe she may have ruled the country in her own right for three years following her husband’s 17-year reign, although others believe she died before his rule ended. Following her death, she was not remembered fondly and her image was defaced throughout the land. Dr.Fletcher said:
‘I couldn’t believe it, that moment when I first saw her.
‘After 12 years of searching for Nefertiti, it was probably the most amazing experience of my life. It certainly has some wide-ranging implications for Egyptology’.
The reconstruction and the story behind it features in a film being shown on Satellite TV’s Discovery Channel on 2003-09-07.
The bad news is that the removal is only for the next 10 years.
George Bush Jr, the USA's president, and consular officials privately informed the three men during Bush Jr's recent visit to South Africa, according to an official USA source.
The USA State Department is reviewing the status of hundreds of listed South Africans.
Some were listed for having convictions against them for terrorism, sabotage, treason or related offences against the apartheid state. Others were members of the guerrilla army, Umkhonto we Sizwe.
In all instances, if they apply as government ministers, they receive special dispensation to travel to the USA, but if they apply as private citizens, their visas are rejected, particularly since the USA has tightened visa applications in its "War Against Terror".
One USA embassy official, who preferred to remain anonymous, denied that Mandela, Sexwale and Mufamadi were listed as terrorists, but refused to clarify what they were listed as. Virginia Farris, the public affairs spokesperson for the USA Embassy in Pretoria, SA, said people were not
'"De-listed" as such, they receive 10-year waivers from the "Department of Immigration and Nationalisation" and the "Department of Homeland Security"'.
Farris said these regulations applied to everyone and that there would be:
'Quite a number of leaders of countries around the world on the list'.
'To make an exception for those who struggled against apartheid would require congress to change the law, and that would be a very lengthy process', Farris said.
She advised that those who had convictions against them for anti-apartheid activism apply 'at least several weeks ahead of travelling to the USA for a "Department of Justice waiver". It could take months'.
Another USA embassy source said the state department was reviewing its list of 'undesirable' South Africans,
'but this could take a long time. The 10-year-only limitation is embarrassing in these instances, but that is the way legislation is presently constructed'.
The removal of the three ANC stalwarts from the list appears to have been a pre-emptive move to avert a potentially damaging court case threatened by Sexwale, a Johannesburg businessman and former Umkhonto we Sizwe commander.
USA sources said Condoleezza Rice, Bush Jr's "National Security Adviser", personally intervened about six months ago, asking Sexwale to hold fire on legal action after his USA lawyers served papers on the USA State Department.
Sexwale brought the action after he was refused a visa to visit the USA late last year. This was despite the fact that he had visited the USA, without hindrance, as Gauteng premier several years ago.
Sexwale has extensive business connections with USA companies and chairs the world's second-biggest (after De Beers) diamond company, Mvelaphanda Diamonds, among other business interests ranging from oil to wine.
Mufamadi, as a cabinet minister, would not be refused a visa, but were he to apply as a private citizen, he would be. Sexwale and Mufamadi, also a senior member in Umkhonto we Sizwe, had convictions against them by the apartheid government. Sexwale killed a policeman and Mufamadi kidnapped a police officer. Mandela was convicted of sabotage.
Mandela has never been refused a visa. Late last year  Mandela, who has frequently visited the USA at the invitation of its government and others, received the USA's highest civilian decoration, the "Medal of Freedom".
The former Gauteng premier was "not prepared to comment", and Mandela and Mufamadi were not "available for comment". However, a USA source said the three had appeared pleased by the news. A USA embassy source said the state department was reviewing its list of 'undesirable' South Africans,
'But this could take a long time. The 10-year-only limitation is embarrassing in these instances, but that is the way legislation is presently constructed'. said the Foreign Service.