Roman shipwreck

One of the best preserved shipwrecks ever found has been discovered off the Italian coast.

Divers say they have found a ship off the coast of Italy which they believe is about 2,000 years old.

The ship, which was spotted in the sea off the town on Varazze in the province of Liguria, is thought to be a Roman-era commercial vessel.

The ship, a navis oneraria, or merchant vessel, was located at a depth of about 200 feet after a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was used to scour the seabed.

A search for the shipwreck was launched after local fisherman revealed they kept finding pieces of pottery in their nets.

The divers found the wreck so well preserved even the food, still sealed in over 200 pots, is intact.

‘The peculiarity of this is that the wreck could be almost intact,’ Lt Col Francesco Schilardi of the police divers’ group told the BBC.

‘We believe it dates to sometime between the 1st Century BC and the 1st Century AD.’

The team has so far been unable to find the name of the ship, but it was believed to be a sailed vessel used to carry commercial goods.

The ship would have been travelling between Italy and Spain, a popular shipping route, and would have been carrying food to sell at its destination.

Roman ships were commonly named after gods, mythological heroes or concepts such as harmony, peace and victory.

Researchers believe the mud on the seabed protected the wreck.

Test on some of the recovered jars revealed they contained pickled fish, grain, wine and oil.

The foodstuffs were traded in Spain for other goods.

The containers found in the wreck are known as amphora, and are a unique shape, often containing handles.

The large containers were commonly used to transport large quantities of food and wine, and were able to hold both solid and liquid.

The examples found in the latest wreck were ceramic, but they were also made in metal.

‘There are some broken jars around the wreck, but we believe that most of the amphorae inside the ship are still sealed and food filled,” said Lt. Col. Schilardi.

It is hoped that further tests on the foodstuffs could give an insight into Roman lifestyles.

The ship is thought to have travelled on trade routes between Spain and what is now central Italy and was loaded with more than 200 clay amphorae likely to have contained fish, wine, oil and grain.

The ship, which dates to sometime between the 1st Century B.C. and the 1st Century A.D., is hidden under layers of mud on the seabed, which has left the wreck and its cargo intact.

The vessel will remain hidden at the bottom of the sea until Italian authorities decide whether to raise it or not, and police have placed an exclusion zone around it to protect it from other divers.

Joke of the Day

A blind man was describing his favorite sport: parachuting.

When asked how this was accomplished, he said that things were all done for him: “I am placed in the door and told when to jump. My hand is placed on my release ring for me, and out I go.”

“But how do you know when you are going to land?” he was asked.

“I have a very keen sense of smell and I can smell the trees and grass when I am 300 feet from the ground,” he answered.

“But how do you know when to lift your legs for the final arrival on the ground?” he was again asked.

He quickly answered: “Oh, the dog’s leash goes slack.”

Ok, that was awful.

Romney Changes Mind, New V.P. Pick Is…

Breaking News! by the Common Constitutionalist

This just in! Mitt Romney changes his mind regarding his choice of running mate. In a sudden turnabout, Romney turns his whole campaign on its head.

Paul Ryan is out. Romney said to an anonymous source, he wanted to go in another direction. He claimed to the source, he wanted to get away from the conservative policy man.

His new choice. Jesus Christ.

And not even a Power Tie

Immediately, the democrats sprang to action, with attack ads and pundits flooding the talk circuit. It’s as if they were tipped off prior to the announcement.

The first ad to hit network TV was of Mr. Christ pushing an old woman in a wheel chair over a cliff. When asked, Debbie Blabbermouth Shultz said she was unaware of any ties between the Obama White House and the Superpac that produced the ad. The Superpac claiming responsibility for the ad is relatively new. Not much is known of it.  It does have a fairly lengthy name, so as do most of them , it has an acronym; WNPOAWPac. It evidently stands for, We are Not Part of the Obama Administration – We Promise. 

A panel on MSNBC was convened in short order. Chris Matthews emphatically refuted the republican claims that the selection could cement the ticket thus saving the nation from almost certain destruction. Matthews was unconvinced, stating that there was only one true savior of mankind and he was already in the White house. If you looked closely, during that segment, it appeared Matthews leg actually shivered.

David Axelrod appeared on CNN carrying a fish and a loaf of bread. He publicly challenged the new VP selection to, “Go ahead, feed the masses. I dare you to try without the assistance of the Farm Bill that your party has held up in congress.” 

Late Saturday on NBC news, Andrea Mitchell interviewed Joe Septic, a man who claimed Jesus Christ willingly and with malice, ruined his life. He stated that years ago he suffered from post traumatic stress. Joe stated, “It was severely debilitating and I was unable to function outside the home.”  “From the war?”, asked Andrea. “No, Burger King, replied Mr. Septic. ” You see… this is really hard to relive.” “Take your time, added Andrea. Joe continued, “You see, years back I ordered a double cheeseburger, small fry and a vanilla shake. I picked up my order at the drive through and drove away. It seems they gave me a chocolate shake instead. I called 911. By the time the first responders arrived on the scene, it was too late. The damage to my mind had already been done.” 

A few years later an acquaintance dragged Joe to an event with a relatively unknown motivational speaker. It turned out to be the new VP candidate, Jesus Christ. After the speech, Jesus went out into the crowd to interact with the attendees. Septic said, “Jesus approached me and laid his hand on my head saying he would make me whole again. I never asked him to do it. He just did it. As he walked away, my sanity returned.” Andrea said, ” And you never even asked him? How awful for you. And how did this encountered negatively affect you?” “Well, Ms. Mitchell, I lost all my government benefits and was forced to find a…a….a job.”  Joe added, “I do not think Mr. Christ realizes what he did to me. Furthermore, I do not think Jesus Christ was concerned.”

Andrea Mitchell, known in some circles to be a woman, later reported that Romney’s pick of Jesus was a vote against all suburban moms.  “I think that you’re going to see that they’ve decided that this is a base election. This is not a pick for suburban moms. This is not a pick for women. This is a pick for the base.” Evidently, this Jesus fellow is a pro-lifer.

So there you have it. A move sure to shake things up & according to the media, allow Obama to sail into a second term. For, of course, who in their right (or left) mind would vote for such a ticket.

No More Sunburn

A paper wrist strap similar to the bands worn at festivals can help prevent over-exposure to the sun and reduce the risk of cancer.

The device lets people know when they have been exposed to a certain amount of UV (ultra-violet) radiation by changing color.

The monitor works by changing colour from yellow to pink as the strength of UV radiation increases.

The wristbands change color when the sun’s UV rays can start to cause damage.
It operates through an acid-release agent which picks up ultraviolet light and a dye which responds to pH levels in the indicator.

The agent is decomposed by sunlight, leading to the rapid change in color.

The bands will be tailored to different skin types to reflect the different tolerance levels that people have to the sun. For example, a band for someone with fair hair and light skin will change color quicker than a band for someone with dark hair and dark skin.

The technology will be commercialized by Swedish-based company Intellego Technologies, established by Swedish entrepreneur Claes Lindahl.

‘We are very excited about the UV dosimeter technology and we look forward to developing it further and commercializing it,’ said Lindahl. ‘There is a substantial need out in the market for a functional UV dosimeter and we look forward to continuing the process.’

Professor Andrew Mills and Dr Michael McFarlane are both responsible for the original invention and were previously with the University’s Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry. They will now be engaged as consultants to Intellego Technologies.

Mills said: ‘The bands will cost less than 20 cents each because they are disposable and need to be thrown away at the end of the day.

‘The sunburn monitor will make a significant contribution to public health as an affordable, fashionable device which enables people to enjoy the benefits of the sun while at the same time keeping them alert to the risks of over exposure.’ said Fiona Strang, Commercialization Manager with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Research & Knowledge Exchange Services.

Attribution: Mail Online

Agenda 2012

Due to a lack of funding and interest, the Democrat National Convention has been compressed into a one fun-filled and action packed day. The following is the new agenda.

 
 2012 Democrat National Convention ScheduleCharlotte, N.C.
4:00 PM – Opening Flag Burning Ceremony – sponsored by CNN
4:05 PM – Singing of “God Damn America” led by Rev.(?) Jeremiah Wright.
4:10 PM – Pledge of Allegiance to Obama.
4:15 PM – Ceremonial ‘I hate America’ led by Michelle Obama.
4:30 PM – Tips on “How to keep your man trustworthy & true to you while you travel the world” – Hillary Clinton
4:45 PM -Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson seminar “How to have a successful career without having a job.”
5:00 PM – “Great Vacations I’ve Taken on the Taxpayer’s Dime Travel Log” – Michelle Obama.
5:30 PM – Eliot Spitzer Speaks on “Family Values” via Satellite.
5:45 PM – Tribute to All 57 States – Nancy Pelosi
6:00 PM – Sen. Harry Reid – 90-minute speech expressing the Democrat’s appreciation of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and George Soros for sparing no expense, for all that they have accomplished to unify the country, improve employment and to boost the economy.
8:30 PM – Airing of Grievances by both Clintons.
9:00 PM – “Bias in Media – How we can make it work for you” Tutorial – sponsored by CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
9:15 PM – Tribute Film to Brave Freedom Fighters incarcerated at GITMO – Michael Moore.
9:45 PM – Personal Finance Seminar – Charlie Rangle.
10:00 PM – Denunciation of Bitter Gun Owners and Bible readers.
10:30 PM – Ceremonial Waving of White Flag for IRAQ & Afghanistan.
11:00 PM – Obama Energy Plan Symposium / Tire Gauge Demonstration / You too can get rich with Green Investment bankruptcies.
11:15 PM – Free Gov. Blagovich rally.
11:30 PM – Obama Accepts Oscar, Tony and Latin Grammy Awards
11:45 PM – Feeding of the Delegates with 5 Loaves and 2 Fish Obama Presiding.
12:00 AM – Official Nomination of Obama by Bill Maher and Chris “He sends a thrill up my leg” Matthews.
12:01 AM – Obama Accepts Nomination as Lord and Savior.
12:05 AM – Celestial Choirs Sing.
3:00 AM – Biden Delivers Acceptance Speech.
 
 

Attribution: Bev

Won’t Back Down

Bachmann: A Woman Among Spineless Men

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann has taken heat and ridicule lately due to her adamant claims that the Muslim Brotherhood is and has been infiltrating the halls of American government. And while Bachmann is not alone in her claims (four other Republican representatives have made similar accusations), she is taking the largest portion of the backlash. Never one to back down from a fight, Bachmann continues to encourage others to follow the same paper trail that she did by simply reading the documentation. She, of all people, should know that Americans don’t read, especially once they are elected to political office.

Turning Reagan’s famous phrase, “Trust, but verify,” on its head, most modern congressmen—including the consistently disappointing John McCain—have adopted a “Don’t Trust, Don’t Verify” philosophy when it comes to potentially controversial topics. Bachmann should be credited as one of the few willing to take the road less travelled and stand her ground on this and many other hot-button political issues. Why does it take a woman to show the men how to do their jobs? If what she is claiming is so demonstrably false, why can’t one of these congressional seat-fillers show the evidence to back up their claims, rather than simply trying to dismiss Bachmann with a wave of their magical (and limp-wristed) hand?

One of the few to actually respond to Bachmann, albeit ineffectively, was fellow Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison. Ellison has the distinction of being one of only two (professing) Muslim congressmen, gaining infamy years ago by swearing into office on a Koran instead of a Bible. Ellison’s response to Bachmann deliberately added words to a State Department letter in order to water down the force of Bachmann’s argument. Bachmann’s response, which was apparently read only by her own staff, doesn’t allow Ellison’s wordplay to stand. However, political correctness demands that Bachmann must be wrong, so facts really have nothing to do with the “truth” of the situation.

What is distressing about this whole affair is not the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood may be gaining access to American government thanks to the State Department. Let’s face it; this has been happening for years, well before Hillary Clinton took charge. What is really disturbing is that 530 congressmen out of 535 are unwilling to investigate the claims. What this means is that the Republican majority in the House (not to mention the whole of Republican senators) is, in reality, meaningless.

This is a presidential election year and conservatives are foaming at the mouth and doing everything they can to get rid of Obama, meanwhile the vast majority of Republican congressmen are unmoved by documented claims that people with connections to a known terrorist organization are receiving high-level access and security clearance. Apparently Obama isn’t the only threat to America. Conservatives should be putting just as much effort into vacating 530 chairs in Congress as they have been putting into replacing Obama. It will matter little to have removed Obama from office without also removing every other congressman who values political correctness over political truth.

Attribution:

Vampire Suns

The Universe is a diverse place, and many stars are quite unlike our Sun.

Now an international team has used the Very Large Telescope in Chile to study what are known as O-type stars, which have very high temperature, mass and brightness.

These stars have short and violent lives and play a key role in the evolution of galaxies. They are also linked to extreme phenomena such as ‘vampire stars’, where a smaller companion star sucks matter off the surface of its larger neighbor.

‘These stars are absolute behemoths,’ said Hugues Sana, from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, who is the lead author of the study.

‘They have 15 or more times the mass of our Sun and can be up to a million times brighter. These stars are so hot that they shine with a brilliant blue-white light and have surface temperatures over 30,000C.’

The astronomers studied a sample of 71 O-type single stars and stars in pairs (binaries) in six nearby young star clusters in the Milky Way. Most of the observations in their study were obtained using ESO telescopes, including the VLT.

By analyzing the light coming from these targets in greater detail than before, the team discovered that 75 per cent of all O-type stars exist inside binary systems, a higher proportion than previously thought, and the first precise determination of this number.

More importantly, though, they found that the proportion of these pairs that are close enough to interact (through stellar mergers or transfer of mass by so-called vampire stars) is far higher than anyone had thought, which has profound implications for our understanding of galaxy evolution.

O-type stars make up just a fraction of a percent of the stars in the Universe, but the violent phenomena associated with them mean they have a disproportionate effect on their surroundings.

The winds and shocks coming from these stars can both trigger and stop star formation, their radiation powers the glow of bright nebulae, their supernovae enrich galaxies with the heavy elements crucial for life, and they are associated with gamma-ray bursts, which are among the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. O-type stars are therefore implicated in many of the mechanisms that drive the evolution of galaxies.

‘The life of a star is greatly affected if it exist
s alongside another star,’ says Selma de Mink (Space Telescope Science Institute, USA), a co-author of the study.

‘If two stars orbit very close to each other they may eventually merge. But even if they don’t, one star will often pull matter off the surface of its neighbor.’

Mergers between stars, which the team estimates will be the ultimate fate of around 20-30 per cent of O-type stars, are violent events. But even the comparatively gentle scenario of vampire stars, which accounts for a further 40-50 per cent of cases, has profound effects on how these stars evolve.

Until now, astronomers mostly considered that closely-orbiting massive binary stars were the exception, something that was only needed to explain exotic phenomena such as X-ray binaries, double pulsars and black hole binaries.

The new study shows that to properly interpret the Universe, this simplification cannot be made: these heavyweight double stars are not just common, their lives are fundamentally different from those of single stars.

For instance, in the case of vampire stars, the smaller, lower-mass star is rejuvenated as it sucks the fresh hydrogen from its companion. Its mass will increase substantially and it will outlive its companion, surviving much longer than a single star of the same mass would.

The victim star, meanwhile, is stripped of its envelope before it has a chance to become a luminous red super giant.

Instead, its hot, blue core is exposed. As a result, the stellar population of a distant galaxy may appear to be much younger than it really is: both the rejuvenated vampire stars, and the diminished victim stars become hotter, and bluer in color, mimicking the appearance of younger stars.

Knowing the true proportion of interacting high-mass binary stars is therefore crucial to correctly characterize these faraway galaxies.

The only information astronomers have on distant galaxies is from the light that reaches our telescopes.

Without making assumptions about what is responsible for this light we cannot draw conclusions about the galaxy, such as how massive or how young it is.

‘This study shows that the frequent assumption that most stars are single can lead to the wrong conclusions,’ concludes Hugues Sana.

Understanding how big these effects are, and how much this new perspective will change our view of galactic evolution, will need further work. Modeling binary stars is complicated, so it will take time before all these considerations are included in models of galaxy formation.

Attribution: Eddie Wrenn

New Yorker State of Mind

The following article was posted by  at The New Yorker website. At first blush, I was surprised at his myopic view, but then I awoke from my conservative dream-state to recall the source of the piece. Liberals are a mixed up, illogical bunch.

As is my want, I have added editorial comments in [ ].

If tonight’s reporting is correct [ which,of course, it was ] , and if Mitt Romney really does announce at 9 A.M. Saturday that Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is his running mate, Romney has made the most daring decision of his political career. [Daring? Ryan is a great choice but daring would have been Rand Paul or Allen West]

After spending weeks looking into Ryan’s history for The New Yorker, visiting his home town, and interviewing him twice, I am genuinely surprised that Romney chose him. First, let’s tally the risks of a Ryan pick. [ No,  first let’s ask why NO ONE ever did the same regarding our dear president. No one was (or is) even the slightest bit curious about him ]

For one thing, Ryan has no significant private-sector experience. Besides summer jobs working at McDonald’s or at his family’s construction company, or waiting tables as a young Washington staffer, Ryan has none of the business-world experience Romney frequently touts as essential for governing. In the run-up to his first campaign for Congress, in 1998, that gap was enough of a concern for Ryan that he briefly became a “marketing consultant” at the family business, an obvious bit of résumé puffing. [ Ok, come on now. Even he couldn’t have written this with a straight face. Private-sector experience? Really? Do the names Barack Milhous Obama and Joe Plugs Biden strike a familiar note? My 13-year-old son worked as a camp counselor trainee for 15 days this summer. He now has more private-sector experience than Milhous and Plugs combined. ]

But Ryan’s Washington experience is also light, at least for a potential President—which, after all, is the main job description of a Vice-President. Ryan has worked as a think-tank staffer and Congressman, but he’s never been in charge of a large organization, and he has little experience with foreign policy. Given how Sarah Palin was criticized for her lack of such experience, I’m surprised that Romney would pick someone whose ability to immediately step into the top job is open to question. [ This is comedy gold. A) Washington experience? Obama had 144 work days in the senate from the time of his election until he formed his presidential campaign. B) Are ACORN or the Black Panthers considered large organizations? C) Foreign Policy experience? Obama had exactly zero (other than possibly being a foreign national. Hah! Couldn’t resist) and Biden’s expertise is being wrong about everything ]

And the experience that Ryan does have is not exactly what voters are clamoring for at the moment. The bulk of Ryan’s House career coincided with the Presidency of George W. Bush, during which he was a reliable vote for many Bush policies that have not aged well: Medicare Part D; the Iraq War; and the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Ryan told me that voting for all of that spending, which added trillions to the deficit, made him “miserable,” but he’ll need a better explanation in his October debate with Joe Biden. [ Wow! Something we agree on. To say I didn’t care for the Medicare & TARP programs is an understatement, but those programs will look like a trip to the Dollar Store compared to the cost of Obamacare. Debating Joe, the gaffe machine, Biden? Biden is one of the dimmest bulbs to hold that or any other office ]

Presumably, Romney’s main reason for picking Ryan is not his early deficit-busting record but his more recent rise to celebrity as a crusading policy wonk determined to tame the federal government. Romney, who has been extremely vague about what he would do if elected, will now own Paul Ryan’s ideas, which include privatizing Social Security, turning Medicare into a voucher program, bloc-granting and drastically cutting Medicaid, and reducing discretionary spending to levels that would affect every popular government program. This Ryan agenda will now fill the vacuum created by Romney’s unwillingness to lay out the specifics of his own plan. Even before this (apparent) announcement, Democrats were planning on tying Romney to Ryan’s policy platform. Now Romney has done it for them. [ Possibly saving Social Security by privatizing it, √. Getting people more involved in their own Medicare decisions, √. Block granting to the states to allow them to be more efficient , thus saving money, √. Reducing discretionary spending, another word for waste, fraud and abuse, √ . Nature abhores a vacuum. It can either be filled with big government, progressive spending or free-market capitalism. I hope Romney owns it! ]

So what’s the potential upside? Romney seems to have realized that his spring and summer strategies have been a failure. Since winning the nomination, Romney’s plan has been to turn the election into a simple referendum on Barack Obama. With the ailing economy, Romney believed, he needed to do little more than stand around and wait for voters to sour on the incumbent. When they did, Romney would be there as the default alternative. In recent weeks, as Romney’s favorable ratings declined, some encouraging economic news dribbled out, and Obama’s poll numbers ticked up, a loud faction of Republicans began pointing out that Romney’s theory of the campaign was wrong. Their argument was that Romney needed to turn the race into more of an ideological debate. He needed, these Republicans said, to embrace a bold policy agenda that would dramatically contrast with Obama’s. Nobody made this case more loudly than Paul Ryan. Presidential candidates shouldn’t “run on vague platitudes and generalities,” he told me in one interview. “I want a full-throated defense for an alternative agenda that fixes the country’s problems,” he said in another. [ Referendum on the One? You got that right. That’s exactly what this is. I hope and believe Romney understands the people already in his corner would never vote Obama and the rest aren’t paying attention yet anyway. And it’s only been a failure to those pundits and hacks who believe their own heavily skewed polls. Now they have the ticket, it’s time to go on the attack ]

Romney’s choice of Ryan will undoubtedly be criticized as capitulation to the right, and this pick does seem to demonstrate that Romney is not able or willing to distance himself from the base of his party. But the good thing about the Ryan pick is that the Presidential campaign will instantly turn into a very clear choice between two distinct ideologies that genuinely reflect the core beliefs of the two parties. And in that sense, Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan is good news for voters. [ I hope he knows what side his bread is buttered. The right, the Tea Party, the real conservatives are the ones that have done all the heavy lifting to try to wrest control away from these tyrannical overlords. So far we’ve done a pretty fair job and I’m sure he see’s that.  I feel fairly confident he does ]