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Tue, 26 Sep 2017
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72 Years Ago Today The US Carried Out The Worst Terrorist Attack In The History Of The World

In May of 2016, Barack Obama became the first US president in history to visit the memorial of the American atomic bombings of Japan in Hiroshima. However, in true American fashion, he offered no apology.

"We have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history. We must ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again," Obama said in a speech at the memorial on Friday.

The location of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was once the city's busiest downtown commercial and residential district. However, the devastating atomic blast from the U.S. bomb that killed over 100,000 innocent civilians left the clearing in which the monument now sits.

The United States, with the consent of the United Kingdom as laid down in the Quebec Agreement, dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, during the final stage of World War II. The two bombings, which killed more than a hundred thousand innocent civilians, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.

The United States holding the largest stock of nuclear weapons in the world is as ironic as it is terrifying.

Archaeology

Researchers discover prehistoric Britons ate humans and carved patterns into their bones

© Natural History Museum
Prehistoric cannibals who once lived in a Somerset cave engraved human bones with zig-zag designs as part of a "complex" eating ritual, according to new research.

The bones, which had a number of deliberate cuts and human teeth marks, were discovered at Gough's Cave in the Mendip Hills and are believed to be between 12,000 and 17,000 years old - when the cave was occupied by Ice Age Britons.

Scientists from the Natural History Museum in London and University College London (UCL) compared hundreds of cut-marks found on human and animal bones in the cave. They discovered one human body with the bones separated, filleted, chewed and then marked with a zig-zag design, before it was finally broken to extract the bone marrow.

Researchers ruled out an initial theory that the marks were made during the butchery process, because they were found on a part of the bone with no muscle attachments. There is no indication on the skeletons that the humans had suffered violence before they died.

Wolf

The dogfather: Modern domestic dogs traced back to genetic split from wolves up to 40,000 years ago

© Timo Seregély, University of Bamberg
An archaeologist entering the Kirschbaumhöhle (Cherry Tree Cave) in the Franconian Alps, where the remains of the dog that lived 4,700 years ago during the Neolithic period were found. Researchers were able to sequence the animal's complete genome.
By analyzing the DNA of two prehistoric dogs from Germany, an international research team led by Krishna R. Veeramah, Ph.D., of Stony Brook University in the USA has determined that their genomes were the probable ancestors of modern European dogs. The study also suggests that all contemporary dogs have a common origin and emerged through a single domestication process of wolves 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) also participated in the study, the results of which recently have been published in Nature Communications.

Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated by humans. The oldest remains of dogs that can be clearly distinguished from those of wolves originate from what is now Germany and are about 15,000 years old. Unfortunately, the archaeological record is ambiguous, with claims of ancient domesticated dog bones from the most varied locations as far away as Siberia.

Moon

Eclipses as omens: How ancients looked for meaning in the skies

© Grand Canyon National Park
A solar eclipse observed over Grand Canyon National Park in May 2012.
On Monday, Aug. 21, people living in the continental United States will be able to see a total solar eclipse.

Humans have been alternatively amused, puzzled, bewildered and sometimes even terrified at the sight of this celestial phenomenon. A range of social and cultural reactions accompanies the observation of an eclipse. In ancient Mesopotamia (roughly modern Iraq), eclipses were in fact regarded as omens, as signs of things to come.

Solar and lunar eclipses

For an eclipse to take place, three celestial bodies must find themselves in a straight line within their elliptic orbits. This is called a syzygy, from the Greek word "súzugos," meaning yoked or paired.

Dig

Mummified polar beauty: Archeologists unearth first female from Siberian necropolis

© Institute of the Problems of Northern Development SB RAS
Unearthed on the edge of the Arctic, she is the only woman so far found in an otherwise all-male necropolis, buried in a cocoon of copper and fur.

She has long eyelashes, a full head of hair - and impressive teeth.

This haunting 12th century woman is a member of an unknown hunting and fishing civilization that held sway in the far north of Siberia - with surprising links to Persia.

Accidentally mummified and probably aged around 35, her delicate features are visible, the green tinge on her face being the traces of the pieces of a copper kettle that helped preserve her in her permafrost grave.

She has long eyelashes, a full head of hair - and impressive teeth.

Bronze temple rings were found close to her skull, wrapped inside animal skin - possibly reindeer - and birch bark that cocooned her.

Comment: See also: Perfectly preserved mummies cocooned in copper, fabric and birch bark unearthed in Russia's far north


Info

An unholy alliance that never was: How North Korea and Israel almost became buddies

© AP Photo/ Ahn Young-joon
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu speak to reporters after visiting the Demilitarized Zone separating South Korea from its communist rival, North Korea, Thursday, Aug. 28, 1997.
In an exceptional episode, little-known and never acknowledged in the Western mainstream media, Israel secretly negotiated a billion dollar buy-out of North Korea's missile export program to the Middle East. Negotiations ran between 1992 and 1994, when the US intervened to terminate the deal.

One might not think it, but North Korea and Israel have quite a lot in common. For one, neither is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), yet both maintain nuclear arsenals, often overtly and covertly threatening their use to further their foreign policy objectives. Moreover, both states are perhaps justifiably paranoid about their neighboring countries.

They are also both regional exceptions - Israel a predominantly Jewish state in a Muslim, Arab region, North Korea an ostensibly pro-China communist state surrounded by pro-Western capitalist proximates.

Info

Humans lived on Sumatra 20,000 years earlier than previously thought

© Julien Louys
The entrance to Lida Ajer cave.
Fossil teeth found at an ancient cave site lost to science for more than a century indicate humans lived on the Indonesian island of Sumatra 63,000 to 73,000 years ago - 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The teeth, retrieved from a cave named Lida Ajer, in the Padang Highlands on Sumatra's west coast, provide the earliest evidence of modern humans living in a rainforest - an environment known to be extremely challenging for incoming Homo sapiens, who were adapted to open grassland survival.

The research, published in the journal Nature, has ramifications in several areas.

Together with recent research indicating the earlier-than-expected arrival of modern humans in northern Laos, the study potentially resets the time frame for the arrival of Homo sapiens in Asia.

This, in turn, may cause a re-examination of timelines for modern human migration out of Africa. It could also impact on research establishing the earliest arrival of humans in Australia.

Archaeology

New study suggests ancient Egyptian pharaoh may have been a giant

© Wikimedia Commons
Relief fragment of Pharaoh Sa-Nakht from The British Museum.
A new study suggests that the remains of an ancient Egyptian, believed to be the Third Dynasty pharaoh Sa-Nakht, could belong to the first and oldest known human giant. Experts are now wondering: are giants more than just myth after all?

Did Giants Ever Exist?

In the search for proof that giants existed, people have traditionally exaggerated with unfounded stories and tales. Nevertheless, the controversial discoveries of skeletons measuring 7 feet to more than 9 feet tall, along with other artifacts, have suggested to some that truth inspired these legends.

Interestingly, American president Abraham Lincoln once stated, inspired by viewing Niagara Falls: "The eyes of that species of extinct giants, whose bones fill the mounds of America, have gazed on Niagara, as ours do now. Contemporary with the whole race of men, and older than the first man, Niagara is strong, and fresh today as 10,000 years ago." Apparently, Lincoln believed in the existence of giants, but was he right? A new study says yes; well, kind of (not the kind of giants most of us would imagine).

Archaeology

Persian bronze bowl found encasing skull of 1,000 year old Arctic chieftain's infant child

© Vesti Yamal
This unique discovery in the extreme north of Russia was part of an elaborate burial of a child from an elite family, aged no older than three when he or she died.
Medieval child's remains buried with a knife and fur clothes for protection in the afterlife by mystery polar civilisation.

The skull pieces were discovered by archeologists above the Arctic Circle on the remote permafrost Gydan peninsula close to the Kara Sea in Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region.

Scientists last year announced the find of the turquoise-coloured bronze bowl fragment - originally from Persia, some 6,000 kilometres to the south - but now say that this unique discovery in the extreme north of Russia was part of an elaborate burial of a child from an elite family, aged no older than three when he or she died. Earlier the bowl was identified as a cup.

Archeologist Andrey Gusev, researcher at the Arctic Research Centre, Salekhard, suggested the child was born to a medieval polar potentate.

'We can definitely say that this child was not ordinary,' he said. 'He or she was from some wealthy family, judging by the things laid in the grave. The parents could afford quite expensive things, especially the bowl - it was imported.'

MIB

Newly unearthed memo reveals CIA infiltration of the media

A new declassified CIA report unearthed by the FOIA investigative cooperative MuckRock contains some shocking commentary on how the intelligence community views and interacts with the media. The 1984 series of internal memos, part of the CIA's recent CREST release (CIA Records Search Tool) of over 900,000 newly declassified documents, were drafted in response to a study on unauthorized leaks and disclosures written by legendary CIA officer Eloise Page.

The CIA Inspector General [IG] was tasked by CIA Director Bill Casey to investigate and review CIA vulnerabilities to media scrutiny. One of Eloise Page's suggestions involved CIA and agency friendly individuals gaining influence at universities and journalism schools in order to change and shape curriculum. As MuckRock explains: