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Wed, 23 May 2018
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Cloud Precipitation

Baseball-sized hail: How severe hailstorms have caused devastation and killed people

The largest hailstone on record, reaching 20 cm across, fell in Vivian, South Dakota, in July 2010.
© NWS Aberdeen.
The largest hailstone on record, reaching 20 cm across, fell in Vivian, South Dakota, in July 2010.
To people in Vivian, South Dakota, it must have seemed like a divine rebuke when, in July 2010, a storm pummelled their community with massive hailstones, with the largest specimen reaching 20 cm across, or about 8 inches -- the largest on record.

That's about as long as eight loonies side-by-side. Take a moment to just picture that in your head.

There can be a tendency to underestimate the destructive power of a hailstorm because, for many people, hailstones get no larger than marbles -- a nuisance if you're caught out in them, but not likely to do much of a number on your home or vehicle.

But though underrated compared to more famous thunderstorm impacts such as tornadoes and lightning, people who live in places prone to the strongest thunderstorms know that, if the conditions are right, hail can be large enough to cause catastrophic damage -- and even kill.


Marie-Antoinette's hamlet opens to public for first time providing insight into life of the queen

marie antoinette hamlet
Marie-Antoinette's hamlet farm, in the grounds of the château de Versailles, is to be opened to the public for the first time ever today (Friday May 4), since its construction over two centuries ago. The "hamlet", which was constructed in 1783 a little under two kilometres away from the main château, was modelled on Marie-Antoinette's vision of a countryside farm.

Having tired of the pace of life at the château, the queen decided to create a peaceful haven in which she could welcome her own guests, and teach her children about nature and animals.

She also invited local people to the farm, and brought in real farmyard animals to live in the surroundings.

Although located in the grounds of the famous château, the hamlet has never before been open to the public, and in its heyday was only accessible to members of the court.

Comment: This certainly does provide an intriguing perspective on who queen Marie-Antoinette was. Perhaps the selfish, decadent and debauched image of her isn't as accurate as mainstream history would have us think?

See also: A short history of the 'humane' guillotine


The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni and an unknown race with elongated skulls


The ‘Sleeping Lady’ found in the Main Chamber, along with other figurines found within the Hypogeum all display ‘abundant forms’.

Many ancient megalithic structures exist in Malta and one of them is the 'Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni', a subterranean structure with magnificent properties that is more than 5,000 years old. The Hypogeum (a Greek word meaning 'underground') is supposed to be the oldest prehistoric underground temple in the world.

The discovery of this incredible site was made in 1902 when construction workers, who were excavating to build the foundations of a building, stumbled upon what appeared to be an underground sanctuary. When archaeologists began uncovering the site, they found a massive underground structure consisting of three levels carved into stone. It has been estimated that more than 2,000 tonnes of stone would have needed to be removed for its construction.

Today the whole of the Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni is underground, but in the past the main entrance was on the surface, decorated with megaliths. On the walls of the Hypogeum many different patterns in red ochre were found. Shapes like spirals, pentagons, floral patterns, and even the outline of a bull adorned the walls.

Light Saber

The Legacy of Paul Robeson: Football star, leading man, communist, outcast, hounded for his beliefs by the US gov't

Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson rose from poverty and early loss to become one of the most famous performers in the world. But his prickly activism and a Soviet connection cost him his career, but not his legacy.

A son of a preacher, whose mother died in a fire when he was six, Robeson was a bewilderingly talented man. At Rutgers, where he was the only black student on the whole campus, he was chosen as valedictorian, won oratory prizes, played leading parts in the theater, sang to audiences, and was voted an All-American as a football player - eventually winning a place in the College Football Hall of Fame.


48 years ago US troops massacred Ohio students and covered it up (VIDEO)

troops Ohio campus 1970 massacre
© The Free Thought Project
Despite overwhelming evidence of US troops being given orders to open fire on peaceful antiwar protesters at Kent State, not a single person has ever been held accountable.

On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard descended on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio to quash and antiwar protest. During the protest, soldiers opened fire on an unarmed group of students-firing 67 rounds in 13 seconds-killing four and injuring nine others. To this date, not a single person has been held accountable and the government still refuses to admit that it participated in the murder of its own citizens.

As the Free Thought Project reported in 2016, Kent State is the one school shooting that the US government wants you to forget.

It has been 48 years since that day and there has yet to be a credible and impartial investigation into the massacre. Also, no group or individual has faced a single consequence for opening fire on innocent students and killing them. Although eight of the National Guardsmen who opened fire that day were indicted by a grand jury, all of their charges were eventually dismissed.

The families of the victims were given $15,000, a statement of regret, and essentially told to get on with their lives.

Christmas Tree

"One of the most valuable medicines we possess": The Victorian doctor who promoted medical marijuana

William O'Shaughnessy
© Paul Fearn/Alamy Stock Photo
Medical Marijuana got a try-out in Victorian Britain thanks to William O'Shaughnessy
Thanks to one man's researches, cannabis was drug of choice for ailments from migraine to epilepsy - until an unexpected twist led to its downfall

ON THE evening of 6 November 1838, William Brooke O'Shaughnessy received an urgent note from the hospital where he worked. Could he come immediately? One of his patients was exhibiting "very peculiar and formidable" symptoms. Alarmed, he rushed to the man's bedside.

O'Shaughnessy, assistant surgeon with the East India Company's Bengal Medical Service, had reason to worry. The patient was one of the first human guinea pigs in his pioneering experiments with cannabis. A few hours earlier, the man had been given a modest dose of cannabis resin dissolved in alcohol. What might have gone wrong?

To a scientifically inclined physician based in India, cannabis - or Indian hemp - was a prime candidate for investigation. It was popular as a means of intoxication, but local doctors also valued it as a treatment for a range of ailments. In 1813, one of O'Shaughnessy's predecessors reported somewhat sniffily on the intemperate habits of those who indulged in the various preparations. But O'Shaughnessy believed cannabis would make a useful addition to Western medicine and decided to put it to the test.

Comment: Cannabis most likely fell "out of favor" for a number of reasons, many of them relating back to politics and profit. The pharmaceutical industry had yet to isolate the compounds and so could not patent them; it was not administered through syringe and so was contrary to their preferred method which required equipment and a doctor; it was a natural product which could actually be grown quite easily by the patients themselves; its other uses such as for clothing, paper and construction rivalled other established, powerful monopoly industries; and finally, in the US it was used recreationally, similar to alcohol, by certain groups of society, particularly blacks and latino's, who were prime targets for the ruling class at the time.

As the article notes, BigPharma is again back in the market looking to develop 'synthetic cannabis-like drugs' which they will, this time, be able to patent, even though they may prove to be less effective and will have perhaps the litany of side-effects common in pharmaceutical drugs. Many natural medicines tend to rely on the 'whole-plant', or at least many co-factors found within the plant itself, to work.

It is criminal that something so beneficial has been withheld from the public for over a century, and is reflective of the corruption and ignorance within mainstream medicine which is clearly beholden to the political class: Also check out SOTT radio's: The Health & Wellness Show: The Highs and Lows of Cannabis as Medicine


Scotland: Mystery of stones dated to 500BC melted by heat that would need to be as strong as a laser

scotland melted stones

Tests had shown blocks of molten stone were formed in spaces without oxygen and likely caused by a 'tremendous heat from above'. The structures may have once stored grain
Researchers have solved one of the Scottish Highland's oldest mysteries: how an ancient fort was burned at such high temperatures that parts of it melted and fused together.

Dun Deardail in Glen Nevis, built in around 500 BC, has long been the source of conspiracy theories, with some claiming that Iron Age people used an ancient superweapon to melt the stones.

A number of experiments were carried out over multiple years trying to discover how temperatures were hot enough to fuse stones together in a process called vitrification.

Comment: Considering the plentiful evidence that our planet has undergone cataclysmic changes in the recent past, it takes a special kind of archeologist to overlook the more likely possibility of cometary bombardment - the "heat from above" - and the associated earth changing effects: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


Israel's Secret Weapon (VIDEO)


Broadcast on BBC Two on Monday, 17 March, 2003

Which country in the Middle East has undeclared Nuclear weapons? Which country in the Middle East has undeclared biological and chemical capabilities? Which country in the Middle East has no outside inspections? Which country jailed its nuclear whistleblower for 18 years?

Comment: See also: Now it's Israel's turn to open its nuclear program to IAEA inspection, or face sanctions


Engraved flint flake from Crimean Middle Paleolithic demonstrates Neanderthals' fine motor skills and symbolic communication

Crimea Neanderthal flint flake
© Majkic et al (2018) CC-BY
The engraved flint flake from Kiik-Koba layer IV.
A flint flake from the Middle Paleolithic of Crimea was likely engraved symbolically by a skilled Neanderthal hand, according to a study published May 2, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ana Majkic from the University of Bordeaux, France and colleagues. The authors developed a detailed framework for interpreting engravings on stone artifacts.

Engraved stone artifacts are important clues to the history of human culture and cognition. Incisions on the cortex (soft outer layer) of flint or chert flakes are known from Middle and Lower Paleolithic sites across Europe and the Middle East. However, it can be difficult to determine the action that created an incision: was it an accidental scrape or purposeful engraving? To address this issue, Majkic and colleagues created an interpretive framework that allows researchers to classify the structure and patterns of engraved cortexes and cross-check these attributes with a list of possible causal actions.

Comment: Anthropologists Adopt a More Favorable View of Neanderthals


Seafarers? Earliest human activity in Philippines pushed back 700,000 years after new discovery

archaeological dig at Kalinga in the Philippines
This handout image obtained from the French Museum of Natural History on Wednesday shows an archaeologist at work at the site of an archaeological dig at Kalinga in the Philippines. Were early humans living in East Asia more than half-a-million years ago clever enough to build seafaring watercraft and curious enough to cross a vast expanse of open sea?
Were the early humans roaming East Asia more than half a million years ago clever enough to build seafaring watercraft and curious enough to cross a vast expanse of open sea?

This and other questions arise from the discovery in the Philippines of a butchered rhinoceros skeleton and the stone tools probably used to carve away its meat, researchers said Wednesday.

The find pushes back the arrival of the first Homo species on the island chain ten-fold to 700,000 years ago, they reported in the journal Nature.

Earlier archaeological clues from Luzon island - tools at one site, pre-historic animals remains at another - hinted at the presence of primitive human species, echoing the way Homo erectus and Homo floresiensis probably populated the Indonesian archipelago during roughly the same period.