Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Language Fossils Buried in Every Cell of Your Body

In 2001 a team of British scientists announced the discovery of a gene, called FOXP2, that seems to be essential for language. FOXP2 came to light through the study of a family that had unusual difficulties with words. The KE family—so called in scientific papers for privacy reasons—lived in West London and included nine siblings, some of whom attended the same special speech and language school. Psychologists at the school discovered that four of the children struggled with language in a similar way. The meaning of sentences sometimes confused them: They might misinterpret “The girl is chased by the horse” to mean “The girl is chasing the horse.” They also had trouble speaking—dropping some sounds off the beginning of words, for example, so that they would say “able” when they meant “table.” More.. The Language Fossils Buried in Every Cell of Your Body

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Students slide to classes in Munich

Monday, December 5, 2011

Psychiatrist calls for lithium to be added to water

At a mental health forum on “Depression in Rural Ireland” in Ennistymon, Co Clare, Dr Moosajee Bhamjee said that “there is growing scientific evidence that adding trace amounts of the drug lithium to a water supply can lower rates of suicide and depression”. Lithium is used by doctors as a mood stabiliser in the treatment for depression. Dr Bhamjee said: “A recent article in the British Journal of Psychiatry found the beneficial uses of lithium when it was added to the water supply in parts of Texas.”More.. Psychiatrist calls for lithium to be added to water

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bolivia Set to Pass Historic 'Law of Mother Earth' Which Will Grant Nature Equal Rights to Humans

Keph Senett

With the cooperation of politicians and grassroots organizations, Bolivia is set to pass the Law of Mother Earth which will grant nature the same rights and protections as humans. The piece of legislation, called la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, is intended to encourage a radical shift in conservation attitudes and actions, to enforce new control measures on industry, and to reduce environmental destruction.

The law redefines natural resources as blessings and confers the same rights to nature as to human beings, including: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. Perhaps the most controversial point is the right "to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities".

In late 2005 Bolivia elected its first indigenous president, Evo Morales. Morales is an outspoken champion for environmental protection, petitioning for substantive change within his country and at the United Nations. Bolivia, one of South America's poorest countries, has long had to contend with the consequences of destructive industrial practices and climate change, but despite the best efforts of Morales and members of his administration, their concerns have largely been ignored at the UN.


Just last year, in 2010, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca expressed his distress "about the inadequacy of the greenhouse gas reduction commitments made by developed countries in the Copenhagen Accord." His remarks were punctuated by the claim that some experts forecasted a temperature increase "as high as four degrees above pre-industrial levels." "The situation is serious," Choquehuanca asserted. "An increase of temperature of more than one degree above pre-industrial levels would result in the disappearance of our glaciers in the Andes, and the flooding of various islands and coastal zones."

In 2009, directly following the resolution of the General Assembly to designate April 22 "International Mother Earth Day", Morales addressed the press, stating “If we want to safeguard mankind, then we need to safeguard the planet. That is the next major task of the United Nations”. A change to Bolivia's constitution in the same year resulted in an overhaul of the legal system - a shift from which this new law has sprung.


The Law of Mother Earth has as its foundation several of the tenets of indigenous belief, including that human are equal to all other entities. "Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family," Choquehuanca said. "We indigenous people can contribute to solving the energy, climate, food and financial crises with our values." The legislation will give the government new legal powers to monitor and control industry in the country.

"Existing laws are not strong enough," said Undarico Pinto, leader of the 3.5m-strong Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (a group that helped draft the law). "It will make industry more transparent. It will allow people to regulate industry at national, regional and local levels."


Bolivia will be establishing a Ministry of Mother Earth, but beyond that there are few details about how the legislation will be implemented. What is clear is that Bolivia will have to balance these environmental imperatives against industries - like mining - that contribute to the country's GDP.

Bolivia's successes or failures with implementation may well inform the policies of countries around the world. "It's going to have huge resonance around the world," said Canadian activist Maude Barlow. "It's going to start first with these southern countries trying to protect their land and their people from exploitation, but I think it will be grabbed onto by communities in our countries, for example, fighting the tarsands in Alberta."


Ecuador has enshrined similar aims in its Constitution, and is among the countries that have already shown support for the Bolivian initiative. Other include Nicaragua, Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda.

National opposition to the law is not anticipated, as Morales' party - the Movement Towards Socialism - holds a majority in both houses of parliament. On April 20, two days before this year's "International Mother Earth Day", Morales will table a draft treaty with the UN, kicking off the debate with the international community.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Doomsday Vault Protects World's Seeds

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Indoor Garden in my apartment - BrittaRiley

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recording Ghost Voices: The Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)

Alejandro Rojas

UFO and paranormal researcher and journalist

Looking for something scary to do this Halloween season? Try recording the voices of ghosts in your home or in a nearby haunted location. Every ghost hunting show takes a moment to give a definition for Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP), one of the more shocking and abundant pieces of evidence paranormal investigators obtain. EVPs are sounds that are caught on audio recorders that could not be heard during their recording. Sometimes these sounds are strange and unidentifiable, but sometimes they are clearly voices. The question is, where are the voices coming from?

EVPs have been a staple in paranormal investigation for the last few decades. One of the earlier references to the phenomenon comes from an interview with Thomas Edison in Scientific American. He was asked about being able to use his devices to contact the dead, and responded that he was not sure about life after death, however... is possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us in this existence or sphere, this apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than the tilting tables and raps and Ouija boards and mediums and the other crude methods now purported to be the only means of communication.

The modern method of obtaining EVP recordings consists of going to an allegedly haunted place, and bringing with you some sort of recording device. Researchers will record for long periods of times while wandering around and sometimes asking questions or talking to the disembodied spirits that may be lingering about. When you have a group of researchers wandering about for a long time, there is usually a lot of audio to then review afterwards. In the popular Ghost Hunters television show, they show the investigators reviewing audio; what you don't see is that they are reviewing hours of material. This is one of the more grueling aspects of paranormal investigation. However, the hard work can pay off when a great EVP is found.

Skeptics say that EVPs are interference from radio waves, CBs, walkie-talkies, cell phones, or a great number of other electronic devices. They also say that sometimes people are hearing things that just aren't there. Perhaps hearing sounds in the static that appear to be voices, but are not. This psychological phenomenon is called pareidolia. It is when random images or sound are perceived as something non-random. This is always a danger in paranormal research, for instance when people believe they see a face in the static of a video.

Many EVP recordings believed to be paranormal are probably due to the circumstances described by skeptics. However, EVP recording is a popular practice because some recordings are much harder to explain. Sometimes the sounds are unmistakably words, and sometimes they are in response to very pointed questions. Even in these cases, we cannot definitively say these are voices from people who have passed away, but it can leave one perplexed as to their origins. Some of the best EVPs I have heard were collected by my cousin's college paranormal group and local ghost hunters in October of 2006 at the Tivoli Center in Denver.

The Tivoli is an old brewery in the heart of downtown Denver that now serves as the student union for the Metropolitan State College of Denver, the University of Denver and Colorado Community College. The Tivoli and the area around it have been preserved to remain as it has been for decades. The old nearby homes serve as faculty offices. The basement of the brewery used to be an old bar, and has an eerie feeling, with exposed brick walls and creaky doors. It is no wonder that it has the reputation as a haunted location.

As they say the proof is in the pudding. In the video below, you can hear the EVPs collected during the paranormal investigation of the Tivoli in 2006, and then you will see my cousin, Jason Cordova, giving some history of the Tivoli and the area. Just so you can be left with the spine-tingling creepiness of the strange voices caught in the recordings, the EVPs are played again at the end. You decide whether this is a case of pareidolia, radio interference or voices from beyond.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Dravidian language in Pakistan too - Brahui

The Brahui language is mainly spoken in Balochistan, Pakistan, although also in Afghanistan and Iran by the Brahui. It reportedly [1] has about two million speakers in Pakistan (1998), and a tenth that number elsewhere. In Pakistan it is mainly spoken in the Kalat region of Balochistan. It is isolated from the nearest Dravidian-speaking neighbour population in india by a distance of more than 1,500 kilometres

Brahui language actually belongs to the northern subfamily of Dravidian tribal languages just like Kurukh (Oraon) and Malto languages. This tribal language is heavily influenced by Iranian languages spoken in the area.

In Brahui language, pronouns of the 1st person have a peculiar and intricate history, which, despite several attempts to clarify their etymology, have remained obscure for many decades. The isolation of Brahui language from the other languages of the family of Dravidian languages, which are mostly spoken in central, eastern and southern regions of India, has actually resulted in tremendous borrowing of words from the non-Dravidian languages such as Sindhi, Persian and Balochi. Moreover, Brahui is not a written language; it is being displaced by its neighbouring languages. Most of the speakers of Brahui language are bilingual.

It is remarkable, like for instance, that the Brahui formants of the singular kind the plural in the 1st person of the verb are distributed in the reverse order as compared with what is found in other languages of the Dravidian language family. Several attempts of explaining the development of Brahui language have ended in failure. One of the descendants of Brahui language is a peculiar indefinite-personal pronoun that possesses only oblique case forms and which is never used without any objective possessive particles. As distinct from a similar process in verb forms of the first person, the original plural pronoun did not take the place of the singular one but, in all appearance, was assimilated by the latter.

Brahui is generally considered to be a remnant of a formerly more widespread Dravidian language family that was reduced during the Indo-Aryan migration. It is also sometimes speculated that Brahui might be a direct legacy of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Does Germany Owe Greece $95 Billion from WW II?

The article below was originally published in Die Welt.

In the current debate about the possible bankruptcy of the Greek state, one largely dormant argument has recently resurfaced with increasing frequency: the widespread damage inflicted by the Nazi regime during World War II means that Germany still owes Greece major outstanding wartime reparations.

While the claims for payment of damages are based on very real facts, one could likewise argue that over the course of 60 years or so, those claims have already been satisfied under international law.

What is at stake? Without having been provoked, the Wehrmacht — the Third Reich's armed forces — took over both Greece and Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. In both countries, German soldiers set up a brutal occupation regime. As was usually the case in European nations invaded by the Germans, the high cost of the occupation was borne by the occupied country — and the Greek economy was plundered through forced exports.

This resulted in galloping inflation and a radically lower standard of living for Greeks. Additionally, the Third Reich forced the Greek National Bank to lend Hitler's Germany 476 million reichsmarks interest-free.

After Germany's surrender, the Allied powers organized the Paris Conference on Reparations in the fall of 1945. Greece laid claim to $10 billion, or half the total amount of $20 billion the Soviets suggested that Germany pay.

The suffering caused to Greece by the Nazis is undeniable. Yet at the same time, human suffering cannot really be measured. Independent historians unanimously agree that the total economically measurable damages suffered by Greece as a result of the German occupation, in both absolute numbers as well as proportionate to the population, put Greece in fourth place after Poland, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

At the Paris Conference on Reparations, Greece was finally accorded 4.5% in material German reparation and 2.7% in other forms of reparations. Practically, this meant that Greece received mainly material goods — like machines made in West Germany — worth approximately $25 million, which in today's money amounts to as much as $2.7 billion.

However, the stipulations made at the Paris conference were all but irrelevant given that the U.S. opposed heavy economic penalties. U.S. leaders recalled what happened after World War I, when Germany's first democracy, the Weimar Republic, was massively weakened economically by having to pay off reparations. Indeed, one of the consequences of this policy was the rise of Hitler.

All Four Allies Agreed
That is why under the terms of the 1953 London Debt Agreement, reparation payments were put off until a "peace treaty" was signed. That finally happened in 1990, which didn't require Germany to pay further reparations to other countries like Greece.

Greece accepted the treaty, though clearly it had little choice. After decades of partnership with Germany (Greece has been a member of NATO since 1952 and associated with European organizations since 1961), it would have been politically difficult to demand huge reparations — although periodically the issue of compensation was raised by Greek politicians, mostly to score points in domestic politics.

See why the Greece debt crisis matters.

And yet payments were made over the years — at different times and from different pots — probably as much as $41 billion since 1949, although given the variety of agreements that were reached it's impossible to say with certainty.

Independent from all other claims, the Federal Republic of Germany did pay compensation to individual victims of Nazi crimes. On March 18, 1960, an agreement was signed between Greece and West Germany to the effect that Germany would pay 115 million deutsche marks to Greek victims of the Nazi occupation. The agreement was made under the stipulation that no further claims for individual damages would be accepted.(See why our banks still don't work.)

However, claims from the descendants of Greek victims continued to be made. The best-known case was made by children of the residents of a village called Distomo who were killed on June 10, 1944, in what the Germans called a "retaliatory strike." In 1997, they received a verdict that they were entitled to €37.5 million in damages from Germany. After much legal wrangling, the case is now before the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

Another legal issue that has surfaced concerns the 476 million reichsmarks lent against its will to Germany by the Greek National Bank during the war. If this were to be considered a form of war damage, then in principle it would be subject to reparation — except that according to the 1990 treaty Germany would not have to pay it. If the money were, however, to be considered a normal credit, then Greece would be entitled to get the money back.

Without interest, the amount in today's money would amount to $14 billion. With interest at 3% over 66 years, that would come to at least $95 billion. The problem is this: even just partial recognition of such a debt would create a precedent that could bring untold further claims in its wake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

British MP seeks parents' right to smack kids

London: A parliamentarian in Britain is urging Prime Minister David Cameron to allow parents to smack their kids as he maintains that state interference in family life is damaging home discipline.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has said parental authority had been undermined by years of legislation including confusion over smacking children, Daily Express reported.

With riots proving discipline had broken down, Hemming said, it was time for the government to return power to parents.

He said: "The inquiry into the riots must look at the way in which the state undermines parental discipline. Smacking children rarely does any long-term harm but allowing children to grow up in an undisciplined manner is damaging for the child and society as a whole. Children have been placed on the child protection register for being smacked. This undermines discipline."

According to Hemming, the inquiry should also examine why children in local authority care were 10 times more likely to have been involved in riots than those cared for by their parents.

He said: "It does raise questions as to whether social workers take a lax approach to the involvement of children in their care in criminal activities."
cnn ibn

Monday, August 8, 2011

the kalash people, lost greek tribe in pakistan

12 year old twins lead jungle army in burma during early years of last decade

Thursday, August 4, 2011

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