Category Archives: FEATURED STORIES

Facebook-Driven Area 51 Storming May Be Countered With Force, Says US Air Force

Over 700,000 have pledged to find out. A Facebook event named Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us has become an internet sensation. At the time of writing, 750,000 users have signed up to attend the event, located in the deserts of Nevada, and another 677,000 are “interested” in attending

Fun and games on Facebook may have serious consequences for the foolish. That was the message delivered by the US Air Force, who have responded to a Facebook’s group’s efforts to have 450,000 people storm a top secret military base.

Conspiracy theorists have always believed that Area 51 in Nevada holds information about extra-terrestrial activities on our planet, possibly including actual alien remains and aircraft. That belief spawned a Facebook group suggesting that a wave of humanity could overwhelm the defenses at the base and discover the truth.

ok event page calling for storming Area 51, with many more indicating interest. The proposed event is scheduled for Sept. 20.

“We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry,” the event description reads. “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens.”

Naruto Run refers to the unique running style of the protagonist Naruto Ozumaki in the Japanese anime series Naruto, where he is often depicted sprinting with his hands behind him to decrease wind resistance.

The Washington Post on Friday asked how officials will deal with anyone showing up for the event. Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews declined to elaborate on specific details of the military’s plans.

However, she did issue a warning.

“[Area 51] is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” McAndrews said. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”

Here’s What Would Happen If Thousands of People Really Did “Storm Area 51”?

The first real obstacle anyone faces trying to enter the restricted area surrounding the Nevada Test Range is distance. If you start your trip to Area 51’s outer perimeter from Las Vegas and head toward Creech AFB in Clark County, Nevada, you drive about 45 miles on US 95. The last place you’ll be able to buy gas along the route before skirting the massive southwestern perimeter of the Nevada Test and Training Range is across from Creech AFB in Indian Springs. From here, the drive gets serious. Interstate 95 between Indian Springs and the next town, Beatty, is 73 miles of the worst driving in the world. The area is remarkably desolate, with no cell service during most of the trip. Daytime temperatures in the summer are almost always above 100-degrees. There is little traffic on the road and nothing on either side of the road but empty desert.

The second obstacle is the terrain. The area is remarkably unforgiving. With loose sand, rock, cactus, venomous snakes and a series of desert mountains surrounding the Nevada Test and Training Range, only a well trained and equipped person experienced in desert travel could cover the distance from the outer perimeter to get anywhere near Groom Lake where Area 51 is located. Most people untrained in desert travel would have difficulty crossing even a single mile on foot during the day in the open desert, let alone the 26 miles from Highway 95 near Goldfield to the classified airfield at Area 51.

Finally, there is the issue of logistics. Every town surrounding the Nevada Test and Training Range is very small, most with either one or two small stores stocking water and food with public bathroom facilities. There are very few hotels in the area since there is little to see and such oppressive security. The few convenience stores around the outer perimeter of the area likely only have a few hundred bottles of water in stock, nowhere near enough food and water to support a crowd of more than 50 people at a time. So, if you plan to be one of the several hundred thousand people “storming Area 51”, be sure to bring your own snacks and a cooler. And ice. Plenty of ice.

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Historic Tower Collapses In Ghazni, Afghanistan

The ancient towers of Ghazni have stood through centuries of war and upheaval — until last month.

An ancient tower in the Afghan city of Ghazni has collapsed, raising questions over the government’s ability to protect the country’s artefacts.

Footage uploaded to social media shows a fort in the old city crumbling.

The tower was one of dozens already destroyed in the city. Officials blamed heavy rain, but some critics accuse the government of negligence.

Ghazni’s Islamic and pre-Islamic architecture is widely admired although war has taken its toll.

Mohammad Saber Mohmand, a spokesman for the ministry of information and culture, told Tolo News the fort was “vulnerable to rainfall and mostly damaged by rain”.

“The main highway is located near the fort, which affects the towers,” he added. As reported by BBC.

Mahbubullah Rahmani, acting director of culture and information in Ghazni, said heavy rain and recent fighting had contributed to the tower’s collapse but said the government was working on a plan to protect the site from complete destruction.

He said a German archaeologist had worked at the site as recently as 2013.

Ghazni was a thriving Buddhist centre up until the 7th Century. But in 683 AD, Arab armies brought Islam to the region. In the 13th Century it was destroyed by the Mongol armies of Genghis Khan, led by his son Ogedei Khan.

In video posted to social media, dust is seen billowing from beneath the tower in the ancient fort, before the structure starts to crumble, sending bystanders fleeing.

The old citadel known as Ghaznain Fort originally had 36 towers, but 14 of the towers had collapsed in recent years due to decades of war, heavy rain and neglect.

The fort is one of dozens of unique historic sites in Afghanistan — ranging from the pre-Islamic Buddhist center in the Bamyan valley to the 12th-century minaret of Jam in a remote area of Ghor province — in urgent need of protection.

Officials in Ghazni, which nearly fell to the Taliban last year in some of the heaviest fighting seen in the war, said the tower collapsed on Tuesday following heavy rain. A short video posted on social media shows it crumbling but local residents say negligence also contributed to its collapse.

The province and its cultural heritage was officially declared as Asian Capital of Islamic Culture in 2013 by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a Morocco-based body created in 1981, supported by UNESCO.

The collapse of the tower in Ghazni follows concern over the condition of the 900-year-old Minaret of Jam, in Ghor, which has been on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Properties in Danger since 2002.

The Taliban during their austere regime from 1996-2001, before they were toppled by the U.S. and coalition force in late 2001, blew up two giant Buddha statues in central Bamiyan province, calling them idols.

The ancient city has been designated an Asian city of Islamic Culture by the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation.

However, many of the city’s ancient buildings have been difficult for outsiders to visit due to the Taliban insurgency.

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Despite Ownership Controversy, king Tut Sculpture sells for 6 Million USD

A 3,300-year-old sculpture of Tutankhamun’s head has been auctioned off at Christie’s for $6 Million, despite claims from the Egyptian government that the relic was stolen.

The 11-inch-tall bust, made from brown quartzite, has damage to the nose, ears, and chin, but is in otherwise excellent condition, according to Christie’s, a London-based auction house. The sculpture is a depiction of the ancient Egyptian god Amen, and fashioned to look like the pharaoh Tutankhamun. An unnamed collector purchased the stunning 3,300-year-old relic for £4,746,250 ($5,936,372) at an auction on July 4.

“This face is recognizable among a thousand Egyptian royal faces,” noted Laetitia Delaloye, London Head of Ancient Art & Antiquities, at the Christie’s website, pointing to the pharaoh’s almond-shaped eyes, high cheekbones, and prominent top lip. “We are honoured to present this head to auction for the first time in its history. It has been very well known on the market, and has been published and exhibited many times over the past 35 years,” she said.
Christie’s went ahead with the auction despite protests from Cairo and appeals to the British government by Egypt’s ambassador in London.

The north African country claims rightful ownership of the piece, saying it holds the rights under its laws, according to ABC News. Prior to the auction, the Egyptian foreign ministry demanded that Christie’s disclose documentation detailing the statue’s ownership.

“They never tell us about the origin, about how they bought it from Egypt, who has ownership of this piece,” said Zahi Hawass, the former Egyptian antiquities minister, as reported by CBS news. “They have no evidence of that but we do think that this is a part of our heritage.”

Indeed, the history of this relic is shrouded in mystery. Since the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in the 1920s, the bust has passed through several owners, finally landing in a private German collection in 1985. The relic has now moved on to yet another owner, despite claims from Egypt that the relic was stolen.

Christie’s disagreed, saying it carried out “extensive due diligence” to prove the ownership of the statue, and that it went “beyond what is required to assure legal title,” according to the Associated Press. A U.K. government official said “they expect all sales to go in accordance with the law and that this is a matter for Christie’s,” reported CBS.

This is not the first time Egypt has demanded the return of an artifact, nor is it likely to be the last. The Rosetta Stone kept at the British Museum, for example, is one such item. This latest incident is part of a growing trend, in which nations are demanding the return of ancient artifacts taken from their territory by foreign archaeologists and collectors.

Indeed, a strong case can be made that ancient relics, human remains, and other items of archaeological, historical, and cultural significance, if taken without consent, should be repatriated when a country asks for their return. Sadly, too many countries are finding it hard to shake their imperialistic habits.

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Pink City Jaipur gets UNESCO World Heritage tag

The historic walled city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, was founded in 1727 AD under the patronage of Sawai Jai Singh II. It serves as the capital city of the culturally-rich state of Rajasthan

The Walled City of Jaipur, known for its iconic architectural legacy and vibrant culture, Saturday made its entry into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Amer Fort, Jaipur

“Just inscribed as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage Site: Jaipur City in Rajasthan, #India. Bravo,” UNESCO tweeted Saturday afternoon. The announcement was made after the 43rd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, underway at Baku (Azerbaijan) from June 30 to July 10, examined the nomination of the Walled City of Jaipur for inclusion in the World Heritage list as reported by Hindustan Times.

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed happiness that the city has been recognised as a World Heritage Site. “Jaipur is a city associated with culture and valour. Elegant and energetic, Jaipur’s hospitality draws people from all over. Glad that this city has been inscribed as a World Heritage Site by @UNESCO,” Modi tweeted.

Amer Fort, Jaipur

A senior official said, ICOMOS (The International Council on Monuments and Sites) had inspected the city in 2018, post its nomination, adding, the WHC in Baku examined the nomination and inscribed it in UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

The historic walled city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, was founded in 1727 AD under the patronage of Sawai Jai Singh II. It serves as the capital city of the culturally-rich state of Rajasthan.

Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur
Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur

“The city was proposed to be nominated for its value of being an exemplary development in town planning and architecture that demonstrates an amalgamation and important exchange of ideas in the late medieval period.

“In town planning, it shows an interchange of ancient Hindu, Mughal and contemporary Western ideas that resulted in the form of the city,” UNESCO Office in New Delhi had earlier said.

Amber Fort Jaipur

In addition, Jaipur City is an exceptional example of a late medieval trade town in South Asia and defined new concepts for a thriving trade and commercial hub.

Fortification walls, merlons and stepped pond, Nahargarh fort, Jaipur Built atop a hill this fort is ‘Giri-Durga’ class of fortification mentioned in Arthashastra, Manasara etc. Pointed arch shaped merlons are depicted in Shunga bas-reliefs of ~2nd century BCE.

In addition, the city is associated with living traditions in the form of crafts that have national and international recognition, it said.

Amber fort, Jaipur

“The World Heritage Committee is composed of representatives of 21 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention who meet annually. The Committee is in charge of implementing the Convention. To date, 1,092 sites in 167 countries have been inscribed on the World Heritage List,” it said.

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Facebook, Instagram and other platforms experiencing issues worldwide

Facebook, which owns all three apps, said it was aware of the issue and was “working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible”.

The company’s main social network, its two messaging apps and image-sharing site Instagram have billions of users.

Rival platform Twitter also had issues, with some users not able to send direct messages or receive notifications.

Facebook has stopped working properly, at the same time as WhatsApp.

Rather than a total or global outage, the Facebook issue appears to be specific to certain features. Users report that specific posts or photos don’t show, but that the page might load, leading to international frustration.

Issues are being reported all across the world, according to the tracking website Down Detector.

Users in Europe, the US, South America and Japan were particularly affected, with thousands of users across the globe running into problems.

The problems come at the same time as a similar issue on WhatsApp. There, files appear to be running into problems sending – meaning that photos, videos and voice messages won’t show up properly.

And users also report that Instagram has stopped working, with photos also failing to load on that site.

Facebook’s “Platform Status” page, which is intended to track problems with the site, shows a message indicating that the service “is Healthy”. But that site can be slow to reflect problems, especially when they are less widespread, as reported by The Independent News agency.

Last time all three of Facebook’s major services broke, the outage lasted for many hours. It later blamed that problem on a server issue that had a knock-on effect on Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as Facebook, since the three use shared infrastructure.

As a result of a server configuration change, many people had trouble accessing our apps and services,” Facebook posted on Twitter after that previous outage was fixed. “We’ve now resolved the issues and our systems are recovering. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate everyone’s patience.”

When those problems happened in March, they were said to be perhaps the biggest outage in the history of the internet, hitting millions of people.

“By duration, this is by far the largest outage we have seen since the launch of Downdetector in 2012,” Tom Sanders, co-founder of Downdetector, told Techcrunch in the wake of that outage. “Our systems processed about 7.5 million problem reports from end users over the course of this incident. Never before have we such a large scale outage.”

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Disastrous Photo Of Bird Feeding A Cigarette Butt To Its Baby Is Proof We’ve Failed Wildlife

Photos of a black skimmer adult feeding a cigarette butt to its chick captured by Karen Mason at St Pete’s Beach in Pinellas County in Florida have sparked outrage over littering on beaches.

Humans have made living conditions hell for the wildlife. Plastic bags and wires choking and killing the sea life, polar bears being forced to enter into the city because of the melting of ice and lack of food, and multiple species being driven to the point of extinction – this is all our doing.

Plastic waste is a massive problem, but something else that has littered our beaches, is threatening the lives of sea and land creatures and is not being called out enough – it is cigarette butt.

Karen Mason is a volunteer for the National Audonon Society and a photographer. She captured this heartbreaking picture of a mama bird feeding her baby a cigarette butt and naturally, it made her furious.

When Karen was taking a stroll on St Pete’s Beach a few days ago, she happened to have her camera on her while bird stewarding (making sure that people on the beach were not bothering the wildlife). That’s when she saw a black skimmer feeding her baby something unusual. She clicked a few pictures of it.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10213940500416858&id=1540025220

Reportedly she said, “I knew it wasn’t a fish but couldn’t tell what it was until I got home and blew it up.” She was taken aback when she realized that the chick was being fed a cigarette butt, it would horrify anyone.”

Mason decided to share the anger-evoking images with many wildlife groups, and put them up on her Facebook page as well. The fact that cigarette butts littered on beaches are harmful, has now started to gain more attention.

A campaign by San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health found out that a large percentage of the 5.5 trillion filter cigarettes are thrown somewhere in the environment every year. A reportalso found that cigarette butts, not plastic straws, are a bigger threat to our oceans.

We should not just be scared for the wildlife. Cigarette butts on beaches can be harmful for kids too who might pick them up. Reportedly Mason said that if it was not for the volunteers cleaning up Florida beeches, they would be completely full of trash.

Since the pictures were shared, they have caused outrage among netizens. The photos, now viral, have been flooded with comments. Here are some of the reactions:

A user wrote, “Sad. We must learn to treat our earth like the treasure it is!” Another said, “Absolutely disheartening.”

A third user commented, “This doesn’t just hurt our animals and environment, it can create forest fires as well. Very powerful picture message right here folks.”

Yet another wrote, “This is a preventable tragedy. Thanks for taking this photo and helping to spread awareness of this issue.”

According to a 2018 report from the Ocean Conservancy, cigarette butts topped the list of 10 trash items collected from beaches globally.

The least that you can do is to dispose your cigarette butts in the garbage. Humans have tested nature to its tensile strength and with the adverse effects climate change is having on our race, the nature seems to be in retaliation now. It is only when we do the bare minimum will we be able to save our wildlife and our selves.

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“Feminism Is A Scam, It Kept Me Unmarried For 55 Years” – US Activist, Candace Owen 

Popular American activist, Candace Owen has admitted that she discovered too late that feminism is a scam and is not about uplifting women but tearing women down and hence she has changed her stance.

Candace Owens gave an audience of young women a brief background on her past as a liberal Democrat. It was a college course — Feminism 101 — that made her realize that feminism was not for her.

30-year-old Candace shared a story of her friend who is 55-year-old and single. According to her, the lady voiced out about how much she regrets dabbling in its practice which has left her with no children and forcing her to take medication regularly.

“I learnt too late that feminism was a scam. Today I am 55, I am unmarried, I have passed the age I can have children & I have to take medicines to help keep me happy, I am on my medication and that is the scam of feminism,” Owen told her audience during Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit.”

“If there’s anything I could go back and do, I would’ve warned myself against the scam of feminism,” the woman continued.

Candace Owens argued that feminism — once a good thing — has been hijacked by the left.

“What the left is really good at doing is hijacking a term that once meant something and pretending that it’s still the same thing when, in fact, it’s not,” Owens said.

“Really, if you want to see something toxic, tell a feminist — who says they support every idea a woman has — tell a feminist that you’re not a feminist and see what happens. See the way that you get treated.

“I can’t think of women that are nastier and meaner than the ones who exist under these pussy hats, right?” she added.

Owens pivoted to her distaste for the #MeToo movement and the backlash she received for speaking against it. However, she said the truth eventually came out.

“Suddenly, everybody woke up and they realized that this was not about empowering women,” she said. “This was not a movement that was really about giving people a voice who have struggled in their past. It was about getting power and getting it by any means necessary.”

“If there’s anything I could go back and do, I would’ve warned myself against the scam of feminism,” the woman wrote.

Owens brought up a number of far-left feminist icons in Hollywood, including Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, and Chelsea Handler.

“I believe these voices like Lena Dunham, and Miley Cyrus, and Chelsea Handler are convincing women against themselves, telling women, ‘You don’t need a man. You don’t need anyone. You should want to do everything by yourself. And if you do aspire to that — if you aspire toward nature — then something’s wrong with you,’” Owens said.

She told the crowd to “pause” and ask the following question: “Who is the most extreme feminist you know today?”

“Ask yourself a very simple question: Do you think those women are happy?” she asked. “There’s no chance that they’re happy.”

“That is why I believe feminism is a scam,” she continued. “It’s not about uplifting women. It’s about tearing women down.”

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Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden – Fact Check

Forensic testing of 400-year-old pipes suggest playwright might have smoked more than just tobacco

South African scientists have discovered that 400-year-old tobacco pipes excavated from the garden of William Shakespeare contained cannabis, suggesting the playwright might have written some of his famous works while high.

Residue from early 17th century clay pipes found in the playwright’s garden, and elsewhere in Stratford-Upon-Avon, were analysed in Pretoria using a sophisticated technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry, the Independent reports.

Of the 24 fragments of pipe loaned from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to University of the Witwatersrand, cannabis was found in eight samples, four of which came from Shakespeare’s property.

There was also evidence of cocaine in two pipes, but neither of them hailed from the playwright’s garden.

Shakespeare’s sonnets suggest he was familiar with the effects of both drugs.

In Sonnet 76, he writes about “invention in a noted weed”, which could be interpreted to mean that Shakespeare was willing to use “weed”, or cannabis, while he was writing.

In the same sonnet it appears that he would prefer not to be associated with “compounds strange”, which can be interpreted, at least potentially, to mean “strange drugs” (possibly cocaine).

Let’s Explore the Truth… from the analysis of Edward Delman ( a former editorial fellow at The Atlantic)

The Internet has been aflame in recent days over the question of whether William Shakespeare, the most venerated figure in the English language, liked to get high. Media outlets on both sides of the Atlantic jumped on forensic analysis of pipes from Shakespeare’s garden, with many taking irreverent delight in how they reported the news that the Bard of Avon may have smoked marijuana.

People were so excited about the news, in fact, that they failed to notice that it wasn’t news at all—but merely a resurrection of a study from 2001. This isn’t even the first time that the media has revived this story—the study led to several articles back in 2011 as well. But the episode is emblematic of a larger issue: the huge discrepancy between public adulation of Shakespeare and historical knowledge of the man himself, and the desire of many to fill that void.

The study in question, from the South African researcher Francis Thackeray and his colleagues, certainly warrants public interest. Thackeray, an anthropologist, told me he was inspired to investigate whether Shakespeare enjoyed marijuana while reading the author’s poems—specifically Sonnet 76, which contains the verse, “Why write I still all one, ever the same/ And keep invention in a noted weed,” as well as a reference to “compounds strange.” Thackeray and his team analyzed 24 pipe fragments from in and around Stratford-upon-Avon, including several from Shakespeare’s birthplace and the home he owned later in his life at New Place. The tests found strong evidence for use of nicotine and, more surprisingly, cocaine—a fascinating discovery for anyone interested in the consumption habits of Elizabethan England.

Evidence for marijuana was less substantive. The 2001 study states that “unequivocal evidence for cannabis has not been obtained.” The researchers did detect mass-to-charge ratios of compounds that were indicative of compounds derived from marijuana, but not in quantities sufficient for proof. The study argues that the lack of evidence may be “associated with the effects of heating, and problems in identifying traces of cannabinoids in old samples,” but ultimately concludes that “the results are suggestive but do not prove the presence of cannabis.” Thackeray told me that he has since revisited the data and believes the evidence for cannabis to be more substantial than before, but this apparently strengthened evidence is not seen in any new reports.
Aside from the lack of any conclusive proof for presence of marijuana, it’s even harder to tie the pipes directly to Shakespeare himself. They have been dated only according to their size and dimensions—the study says that they “probably date to the 17th century.” (Shakespeare died in 1616, for reference.) The provenance of the fragments does little better, as scholars can’t say how much time Shakespeare actually spent at his final home of New Place, and his birthplace became an inn in the early 17th century. Short of digging up Shakespeare’s body and putting it through chemical testing (and Thackeray has proposed doing just that in the past), there’s slim evidence to indicate that Shakespeare was a stoner.

Stories like these continue to seize the public’s imagination because there’s still so little information about one of the most studied figures in history. Michael Witmore, the director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., gave me the rundown of what is known about the Bard: He was born in Stratford-upon Avon; he moved to London and had a successful career as a poet, actor, and playwright; and he eventually retired from the London stage and returned to Stratford, where he bought a home for himself and his family. And yet there’s little information about his educational background, and there are a whole seven years of his life—between the birth of his twin children and his arrival in London—for which there are no records whatsoever.

It’s no wonder then that new claims about Shakespeare’s life draw so much attention. Take, for instance, the alleged discovery of Shakespeare’sdictionary by two New York booksellers, which prompted a piece in The New Yorker questioning the collective hunger for relics tied to the playwright. Articles from earlier this year reported on the claim that a likeness of Shakespeare had been discovered in a late-16th-century botanical book, and still others puzzled over several different portraits purported to depict the “real” Shakespeare. And that’s without even delving into articles about whether Shakespeare was a secret Catholic, or gay, or hey, did he even write any of those plays?

Many of these discoveries and theories end up being either debunked or disregarded by Shakespeare scholars, mainly because they fail to fulfill the very specific criteria these scholars require to verify authenticity. “The standard is very high with a new ‘discovery’ about Shakespeare,” Witmore said, “and it is that we should feel that it is unreasonable to doubt the assertion.” That is, scholars must be able to discount all other alternative explanations for the discovery before they can agree that it’s attributable to the Bard. Witmore and his colleague, Heather Wolfe, actually provide a thorough overview of the painstaking verification steps Shakespeare scholars must take in their response to the discovery of the dictionary. Unfortunately, what don’t receive the same degree of public attention are the new discoveries that scholars have verified, among them being the fact that Shakespeare may have had a co-author on up to a third of his plays, according to Witmore.

Just because most Shakespeare discoveries tend to be unverifiable doesn’t mean that future announcements of new findings will be greeted with any less enthusiasm. “It is startling that anyone could have written so creatively for so long, and that a set of works would continue to speak to people and be adapted from one language and place in time to another,” Witmore said. “I think that is fundamentally difficult to explain, and in a way it’s both inspiring and, as an achievement, mystifying, which is why we still have questions.” Next year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, meaning surely the analysis is just beginning.

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‘Back From the Dead’: Bird That Went Extinct 136,000 Years Ago Has Reappeared

Iterative evolution happens when the same or similar structures evolve out of the same common ancestor, but at different times – meaning that the animal actually comes about twice over, completely separately.

A chicken-sized bird species that went extinct 136,000 years ago made a comeback to the earth twice due to a rare evolutionary process, scientists say. Researchers found the last surviving flightless species of bird, a type of rail, in the Indian Ocean came back through a process called “iterative evolution”, which saw it emerge twice over, according to The Independent.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth in the UK and Natural History Museum found that on two occasions, separated by tens of thousands of years, the species was able to successfully colonise an isolated atoll called Aldabra and subsequently became flightless on both occasions.
“Iterative evolution happens when the same or similar structures evolve out of the same common ancestor, but at different times – meaning that the animal actually comes about twice over, completely separately,” according to the report. “This is the first time it has been seen in rails, and one of the most significant ever seen in a bird of any kind.”

The last surviving colony of flightless rails is still found on the island today, according to the study published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. The white-throated rail is a chicken-sized bird, indigenous to Madagascar in the south-western Indian Ocean. They are persistent colonisers of isolated islands, who would have frequent population explosions and migrate in great numbers from Madagascar. Many of those that went north or south drowned in the expanse of ocean and those that went west landed in Africa, where predators ate them.

Of those that went east, some landed on the many ocean islands such as Mauritius, Reunion and Aldabra, the last-named is a ring-shaped coral atoll that formed around 400,000 years ago. With the absence of predators on the atoll, and just like the Dodo of Mauritius, the rails evolved so that they lost the ability to fly. However, Aldabra disappeared when it was completely covered by the sea during a major inundation event around 136,000 years ago, wiping out all fauna and flora including the flightless rail.

The researchers studied fossil evidence from 100,000 years ago when the sea-levels fell during the subsequent ice age and the atoll was recolonised by flightless rails. They compared the bones of a fossilised rail from before the inundation event with bones from a rail after the inundation event. The researchers found that the wing bone showed an advanced state of flightlessness and the ankle bones showed distinct properties that it was evolving towards flightlessness.

This means that one species from Madagascar gave rise to two different species of flightless rail on Aldabra in the space of a few thousand years.

“These unique fossils provide irrefutable evidence that a member of the rail family colonised the atoll, most likely from Madagascar, and became flightless independently on each occasion,” said Julian Hume from the Natural History Museum.

“Fossil evidence presented here is unique for rails, and epitomizes the ability of these birds to successfully colonise isolated islands and evolve flightlessness on multiple occasions,” Hume said.

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Indian Army ‘sights footprints’ of mythical creature Yeti near Makalu Base Camp

The Indian Army’s tweet claiming its expedition team sighted “mysterious footprints of the Yeti has regenerated curiosity surrounding the age old belief about the existence of the mythical ape-like creature said to inhabit the Himalayas, Siberia, Central and East Asia.

The Army on Monday tweeted images saying its mountaineering expedition team had found the Yeti’s “mysterious footprints measuring 32X15 inches”.

The army said it discovered the footprints on April 9 at Makalu Base Camp in Nepal and claimed that the “elusive snowman” has also only been sighted nearby at Makalu-Barun National Park.

Also known as “abominable snowman” and the “big foot”, claims of sighting of the mythical creature have emerged from time to time but without much of a proof.

Besides claims of the yeti sightings in the Himalayas and the Siberia,“ Bigfoot” sightings are also claimed in the Pacific Northwest, and throughout of North America.

Yeti footprint first captured in 1951

British explorer named Eric Shipton is said to have first captured the footprint of the mysterious Yeti in 1951 while he was exploring an alternative route up Mt. Everest.

Shorsky National Park a forested, mountainous area in southwestern Siberia has a 18 km trail to a cave where ‘experts’ claim the fabled Yeti hangs out.

There are several movies, documentaries books and even video games on the elusive “Yeti” and has been a facet of popular folklore in Nepal and Siberia and as “Bigfoot in North America.

In the video game Mr. Nutz, the title character goes through a series of levels before meeting his nemesis Mr. Blizzard who is a Yeti.

In the 2006 video game Titan Quest, Yetis appear as beast enemies in Act III

Walt Disney World’s attraction, Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is themed around the folklore of the Yeti and features a 25-foot-tall audio-animatronic Yeti which appears during the ride.

Bumble is the Abominable Snow Monster from the 1964 Christmas television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He later influenced the portrayal of the yeti who appeared near the end of the film Monsters, Inc.

In the Bengali film Yeti Obhijaan, there is a prologue of gigantic teeth which, as of Yeti, is a primary plot point. Also there are different sightings and PoVs (like Tintin in Tibet) of Yeti is shown through the movie.

In 2016 the Travel Channel released, in the series Expedition Unknown, a special four-part episode titled “Hunt for the Yeti

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