Washington, May 11 (ANI): Archaeologists in Guatemala have reported the striking discovery of a small building, whose walls exhibit not only a stunningly preserved mural of a brightly adorned Mayan king, but also calendars that obliterate any notion that the Mayans envisaged the end of the world in 2012.
These deep-time calendars can be used to count thousands of years into the past and future, countering pop-culture and New Age ideas that Mayan calendars ended on Dec. 21, 2012, (or Dec. 23, depending on who’s counting), thus predicting the end of the world.
The newly found calendars, which track the motion of the moon, Venus and Mars, provide an unprecedented glimpse into how these storied sky-gazers - who dominated Central America for nearly 1,000 years - kept such accurate track of months, seasons and years, Washington Post reported.
"What they’re trying to do is understand the large cycles of cosmic time," said William Saturno, the Boston University archaeologist who led the expedition.
"This is the space they’re doing it in. It’s like looking into da Vinci’s workshop."
Before the new discovery, the best-preserved Mayan calendars were inscribed in bark-paged books dubbed codices, the most popular being the Dresden Codex. But those pages hail from several hundred years later than the recently found calendars.
Saturno asserted that researchers have long assumed that the Mayans had worked out the cycles of the moons and planets much earlier, but no proof of such work had ever been found.
But in 2010, an undergraduate student working with Saturno, Max Chamberlain, stumbled onto the house as the team started excavating at a Mayan city, Xultun, which, despite being known since 1915, had never been professionally excavated.
For decades, looters had dug deep trenches to access buildings. One day at lunch, Chamberlain declared his intention to find paintings by crawling through the trenches.
Saturno scoffed. The buildings were too shallow - any paint on their walls would surely be long gone, erased by water, dirt, insects and encroaching tree roots.
But sure enough, Chamberlain stumbled onto a wall, open to a trench, showing two red lines.
A quick excavation revealed the back wall of the building - replete with a mural of a resplendent Mayan king, in bright blue, adorned with feathers and jewellery.
Saturno’s team brushed off the wall and “ta-da!” he said.
"A Technicolor, fantastically preserved mural. I don’t know how it survived."
The mural is the first Mayan painting found in a small building instead of a large public space. And it’s also the oldest known preserved Mayan painting.
Next to the king, a scribe holds a writing instrument. Three inexplicable figures wearing black also march across the wall. One of them is named “older brother obsidian.”
Mayan experts are clueless about whom these mysterious figures might represent.
Once the team uncovered quite a few columns of red and black dots and dashes - the Mayans’ numbering system - the meaning of these figures was almost immediately evident to David Stuart, one of the world’s leading experts in Mayan hieroglyphics.
It was a lunar table, displaying a 4,784-day cycle of the moon’s phases.
The table is split into 27 columns, each representing six lunar months. Each column is topped by the face of one of three moon gods - a jaguar, a skull and a woman. These three repeat. So by consulting the table, a priest, say, could tell which moon god would preside over a particular date.
On another wall sits a smaller set of four columns of figures. These looked a bit more perplexing. But eventually Saturno’s team figured it out: This second table was filled with huge numbers relating to how long it takes Mars and Venus to cross the sky and come back again. This calendar spans some 7,000 years - heading much farther into the future than the supposed doomsday date.
"Like a lot of ancient cultures, they were able with naked-eye astronomy to calculate the paths of the planets," Stuart said.
"We tend to forget that before telescopes, people were able to analyze the movement of planets in a lot of detail - and figure out exactly, to the day, the length of a Venus year and a Mars year."
Saturno asserted that the building had been filled in by the Mayans, heaped with dirt and rubble.
"They just backed themselves out the door and left," he said; no one knows why. But the fill probably helped preserve the paintings.
With the virtually unexplored city of Xultun consisting hundreds of buildings stretching across at least 16 square miles of jungle, Saturno guesses that a number of other surprises await excavation.
"It might take another two decades," he added.
He hopes the world to still exist then and insisted he’d bet anyone a million dollars that it will. The Mayan calendar does begin a new “long cycle,” later this year, but he equated that with the odometer on a car rolling over from 99,999 miles to zero: “You go, ‘Yay,’ but the car just doesn’t disappear.”
The discovery is detailed in Science magazine and in National Geographic. (ANI)
The green lock icon on the left is how you can tell when you’re on a site with the highest level of security.
The latest update to Firefox brings better security to search and to the URL bar, as the browser gets OS X and HTML5 tweaks, too.
The biggest change to Firefox 14 (download for Windows | Mac | Linux,) is that it runs HTTPS for all Google searches. This means that prying eyes, especially over public networks, won’t be able to intercept your queries. Though Firefox currently supports this only for Google, Mozilla said in a blog post announcing the update that it hopes to extend HTTPS to other search engines in the near future.
A small interface design change also affects your security. This tweak makes it easier to see the “verified secure” lock icon to the left of your location bar.
If you’re using OS X 10.7 Lion, you’ll now get native full-screen support. All versions of Firefox will autocomplete URLs, and they support more hardware APIs. These include Wake Lock, for preventing your screen saver from interrupting a game; Pointer Lock, for allowing better in-browser control over the mouse, which is useful for first-person shooter games; and Pseudo Class Lock, for developers who want to inspect the code powering a site.
Singapore’s oldest political association, joins fellow Singaporeans in mourning the loss of one of Singapore’s pioneering political activists - Dr Lim Hock Siew.
Dr Lim was Singapore’s second-longest serving political prisoner, having been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for more than 19 years, from 1963 to 1982. As founding member and leader of Barisan Sosialis, the party formed by a splinter group of the People’s Action Party (PAP) in 1961, Dr Lim was a leader who was steadfast in his socialist convictions and who always stayed true to his political principles. He did not waver even when those beliefs landed him in trouble with the authorities during Singapore’s pre-independence days.
On 2 Feb, 1963, Lim was among 110 alleged communists being arrested and imprisoned by the PAP government under Operation Coldstore. Subsequently Dr Lim remained in detention without a trial until he was finally released on 6 Sept, 1982.
Not to be displaced by the official national narrative of what happened during the tumultuous pre-independence days, he broke his long held silence with his first public speech after 25 years at the launch of the book “The Fajar Generation” in 2009. Younger generations of Singaporeans will now be able to learn of the alternate history, and to judge for themselves, of what happened during those fateful founding years of Singapore.
Dr Lim was a man who was from the people, of the people and for the people. He made good as a doctor who poured his energy toward alleviating the sickness of the people with medicine, and worked at solving the societal disease of poverty with his intellect and principles. Truly he was a people’s activist who lived, served and fought for the people.
Today, we salute his unyielding spirit, high minded convictions and most of all, his steadfast integrity that underlies his sacrifice to uphold democratic socialism. TC send its deepest condolences to the family of the late Dr Lim Hock Siew and calls on fellow Singaporeans to take inspiration from his life story - one that exemplifies a life simply lived as a grandfather, father, doctor but passed on arguably as one of Singapore’s political forefathers.
The Law Society of Singapore has issued a statement with regards to recent events involving the Law Society and lawyer, M Ravi. Here is the statement in full.
"The Law Society of Singapore (LSS) issues this statement with regard to the reports concerning one of our members, Mr M. Ravi.
Before LSS comments on the recent events, it is useful to know the background. About 4 years ago, LSS was informed of M. Ravi’s medical condition. Council of LSS considered the matter. On one hand, Council was concerned that any lawyer approved by LSS to practise law should have the capacity to do so. This is a duty owed by LSS to the public. On the other hand, LSS also had the duty to assist its members as best as possible.
Accordingly, Council obtained Mr Ravi’s permission to speak with his physician, Dr Calvin Fones. Mr Ravi was also present at this meeting. Dr Fones advised that Mr Ravi was fit to practise, but he had to take his medication regularly, and it would be best if this could be properly supervised.
Acting on this advice, LSS decided to approve Mr Ravi’s application for a Practising Certificate (“PC”) for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 as follows:
(a) For 2009, the condition was that Mr Ravi would practise under the supervision of Ms Violet Netto. This was agreed to by Mr Ravi, as Ms Netto was his choice.
(b) For 2010, the condition was relaxed to allow him to practise in partnership with Ms Netto. For both 2009 and 2010, Mr Ravi was required to furnish reports from Dr Fones every three months.
(c) For 2011, the condition that he be supervised by Ms Netto was re-imposed. The condition that he furnished a medical report was now at 2-monthly intervals. There was an additional condition that he had to take his medication.
(d) For 2012, the condition that he be supervised was removed, and he was allowed to practise in partnership with Ms Netto. In respect of the furnishing of medical reports, this was relaxed to 4-monthly reporting.
LSS took the view that these conditions were a fair balance regarding the interests of the public and the interests of Mr Ravi as a practising lawyer.
It will be noted from the foregoing that LSS relied very much upon Mr Ravi’s own physician regarding his state of health. The conditions were discussed with Mr Ravi, and he accepted them.
As to the events of Monday, 16 July 2012, LSS has ascertained the following:-
(a) Mr Wong Siew Hong, who was the lawyer assigned by LSS to liaise with Mr Ravi and Dr Fones, received information from Dr Fones on Sunday regarding Mr Ravi’s condition. He decided to go to Court on his own volition with Dr Fones’ information.
(b) LSS is satisfied that although Mr Wong had acted very much on his own, he did so with the best of intentions.
(c) A member of the LSS secretariat decided to go down to the Court to observe the proceedings. This was at his own initiative. This staff member has no right of audience before the Courts and there is no basis to suggest that he was there to make an application to prevent Mr Ravi from arguing his case.
(d) Members of Council of LSS were aware of the situation only in the afternoon when they were informed by LSS secretariat that there were enquiries from the press. Council was not in possession of the full facts. As a result, the statement issued in the evening of 16th July 2012 contained the error that LSS had initiated the intervention in the court proceedings.
(e) In the light of Dr Fones’ letter, the matter will be reviewed by the Practice Committee, which will then send its recommendations to Council. In making its decision, Council will continue to take into account the public interests and the interests of its members. In addition Council intends to speak to both Mr Ravi and Dr Fones.
It is very easy to speculate and criticize LSS. LSS is confident that it has discharged its duties properly and in good faith. LSS asks that commentators check their facts, preferably with LSS, before making their comments.
LSS believes that it is important that the public has confidence in LSS as an independent professional body which has always balanced the interests of the public and individual lawyers. Unsubstantiated criticism of LSS is unfair to its volunteers, and does the public a grave disservice. Any suggestion of a conspiracy involving the LSS is untrue and irresponsible.
Before the controversy surrounding the Law Society’s attempts to stop lawyer M Ravi from carrying out his professional duties in the courts has died down, it has emerged that the society had tried 3 times in the space of 2 days to stop Mr Ravi from making representations for his clients in Court.
As previously reported on publichouse.sg and TR Emeritus, Law Society representative, Mr Wong Siew Hong, made the first attempt during Monday’s proceedings at the High Court. Mr Ravi was in Justice Philip Pillai’s courtroom putting forth his arguments in the case brought by Mdm Vellama Marie Muthu to have the Court declare the Prime Minister does not have unfettered discretion in calling by-elections.
Mr Wong, who is the chairman of the sub-committee on member care of the Law Society, had approached both senior counsel Mr David Chong, representing the Attorney General, and Mr Ravi, outside the courtroom on Monday, before proceedings began. He had with him a copy of a letter from Dr Calvin Fones in which the doctor stated that he had diagnosed Mr Ravi as having a “relapse” of his bi-polar condition and that Mr Ravi was “unfit to practise” law.
Dr Fones had sent the letter to the Law Society, apparently without Mr Ravi’s knowledge.
Later, Mr Wong attempted to address the Court in open court, although before the proceedings Mr Louis Joseph – Mr Ravi’s co-counsel - had advised Mr Wong to address the judge in chambers instead regarding Dr Fones’ letter. In any case, Justice Pillai disallowed Mr Wong making his case in open court and asked him to be seated and that he will hear Mr Wong and the two parties in chambers after the morning’s proceedings.
In chambers, Justice Pillai reprimanded Mr Wong for his behaviour and that of the Law Society, calling their behaviour “unprecedented”. Justice Pillai asked what Mr Wong wanted him to do. Mr Wong replied that he was only there to inform the Court of Dr Fones’ letter. The judge then asked Mr Wong if Mr Ravi had a valid practising certificate and Mr Wong replied, yes. Justice Pillai then decided that since that was the case, Mr Ravi was free to continue in Court.
Later that same afternoon, Mr Wong again appeared before Justice Quentin Loh prior to the hearing into the case involving several party leaders of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) began.
Mr Wong, despite having been admonished by Justice Pillai in the morning, requested to be heard. Justice Loh then ordered all parties into chambers.
In chambers, Mr Wong informed the judge of the letter from Dr Fones. Mr Joseph, who was standing in for Mr Ravi, protested that Mr Ravi was not present to answer the claims by Mr Wong and the content of the letter from Dr Fones. The judge then said, “I’m glad this finished nicely. I don’t like to take this matter to open court.”
The Court then resumed proceedings into the hearing on the SDP case.
On Tuesday morning, Mr Ravi and his associates were again at the High Court. They were there for a pre-trial conference on the case brought by Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam to have the Court issue an injunction to stop the Singapore Government from providing loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Mr Jeyaretnam is seeking to do this because he argues that the Government had not sought or received the approval of the elected president and Parliament to provide the loans to the IMF.
The hearing, presided over by the senior assistant registrar, was at 9am and ended shortly after, at about 9.30am.
Mr Wong appeared at around that time only to discover that the pre-trial conference had already ended. We understand that Mr Wong was there for the same reasons for which he was in Court on the earlier two occasions on Monday when he interrupted proceedings to inform the Court of Dr Fones’ letter. When Mr Wong realised the hearing had ended, he left the court house.
We understand that Mr Ravi is required to have his condition reviewed regularly in order to continue to practise law. This was imposed by the Law Society. Mr Wong’s sub-committee for member care is in charge of member lawyers who practise under such conditions. Mr Wong told the media that it was he who had “raised the matter to the Secretariat of the Law Society” when he was informed by Dr Fones of his diagnosis of Mr Ravi. It was the Secretariat “which agreed that the matter should be brought to the attention of the court”, Mr Wong is reported to have said.
The conditions imposed by the Law Society on Mr Ravi, however, do not include Mr Ravi’s doctor providing his diagnosis to the Law Society directly without Mr Ravi’s consent. Mr Ravi is supposed to submit his medical report to the Law Society every four months.
The conditions imposed on Mr Ravi by the Law Society expire in a few months, according to Mr Joseph. This, however, may be extended by the Law Society. Mr Ravi, however, can challenge this at the Court of Appeal, if an extension is sought by the Law Society.
The 3 attempts by Mr Wong, who was representing the Law Society, to have Mr Ravi stopped from carrying out his legal duties in Court have given rise to questions of not only the motivation behind the attempts, but also why proper court procedures were not followed. Why indeed did Mr Wong find it appropriate to interrupt court proceedings in the way he did, even after already having been admonished for doing so by Justice Pillai on Monday morning?
In addition, questions have now also been raised about the confidentiality of Dr Fones’ diagnosis, and how and why Dr Fones found it prudent to apparently betray this doctor-patient confidentiality, without first consulting Mr Ravi.
Mr Ravi says he intends to file a complain about Dr Fones with the Singapore Medical Association.
When you think about all of the amazing inventions during the past 100 years, one of the things that changed the world was the computer mouse. By pointing and clicking, you can manipulate things on your screen and get things done that people never imagined would be possible.
Seriously, think about the computer mouse for a second. What would we have ever done without it? It’s scary to think about it. The first mouse was made out of wood, and contained actual wheels. Check this baby out:
11-Year-Old Boy Leads Church as an Ordained Minister By Spooky on June 22nd, 2012 Category: News 10 Share Is there anything kids nowadays can’t do? Well, there may be a few, but becoming an ordained minister and leading a church isn’t one of them. 11-year-old Ezekiel Stoddard recently made headlines after he was ordained a minister at the Fullness of Time Church in Maryland. We’ve featured a few prodigies on Oddity Central, like the world’s youngest computer wiz, the 9-year-old Monet, a 10-year-old sake expert, but we’ve never had a child minister. That changes today, as we introduce Ezekiel Stoddard, an 11-year-old ordained minister who has apparently been writing his own sermons since he was seven. ”It doesn’t matter the age that you can be licensed. It just matters … how much word do you have and how much God has called you,” the enthusiastic child of God told the Washington Post. Still, he admits sometimes adults don’t take him seriously and “look at me like I’m a joke and I need to sit down.” Photo: Washington Post video caption Ezekiel officially became a minister last month, at his family’s independent Pentecostal church, in Temple Hills, Maryland, where his parents are also pastors. The young boy says knew he was destined to become a pastor after God called him in a dream, two years ago, when he was just 9 years old. That was about the time when he started studying the Bible and writing his own sermons. Ezekiel and three other siblings are home-schooled by his mother, who says ”He can go to the bible and pull a text and prepare a sermon. That’s in his heart.That’s how he feels about the ministry, about Jesus, about the community.” She has a lot of confidence in her child’s abilities as a pastor and says that although he does child-like things, when it comes to God he is very serious. Photo: Adrienne Smith/ABC Zeke, as his family calls him, has lots of normal hobbies for his age, like basketball, tennis and going to the movies, but he also spends about 3 -4 hours a day studying the Bible and preparing his sermons. He is aware that many people believe his parents are forcing him to do it, but he’s quick to dismiss these rumors, saying he wants to do this for the rest of his life. The 11-year-old minister preaches the 11 a.m. service at the Fullness of Time Church, a growing congregation in Capitol Heights, but he also preaches the word of God at other churches around the Maryland region. Richard Balmer, professor of American religious history at Dartmouth college, says cases of children becoming ministers are unusual, but not unheard of. He warns that ”there have been child preachers through the decades, and more than one of them has grown up to be quite embittered by the experience and turned away from the faith.” This should serve as a cautionary tail for anyone who to be ordained at a very young age. ”Just as you don’t have 11-year-old lawyers, or 11-year-old positions, there’s a general sense that you need a certain maturity in order to function effectively in that role,” Balmer adds. via: Washington Post, ABC News
CANCER The sorted Crabs are organised and usually enjoy good health, thanks to their healthy eating and sleeping habits and their keen interest in yoga, meditation and the likes. Yet, emotional and sensitive beings as they are, many of them are prone to bouts of melancholy and depression. They should aim to keep themselves active and busy, as it would help them vent their excess emotional energy. Lovers of their homes and hearth, they should make outdoor sports a part of their routine to cut monotony and tendency to get lazy. LEO By and large, most Leos are strong and robust, and possess vast reserves of energy. However, if they are not careful with their posture, backbone or spine, from early on in their lives, Leos may face problems owing to these weak spots. Most Lions are obsessed with power and domination, which doesn’t win them many friends and allies. Besides, they are also given to bouts of rage and extreme anger. All this may adversely affect their mental well-being, and hence they need to do all they can to curb aggression. Yoga and meditation are excellent for them. VIRGO Virgo is probably the most health conscious sign of the zodiac. Most of the Virgo natives meticulously stick to their diet and exercise routines, and often moderation and balance are as much a part of their life as their painstakingly organised activity schedules. They seldom fall sick, and when they do, they ensure getting appropriate treatment and rest. However, they can be obsessive worriers, which is a sure shot way to psychosomatic disorders. They may also be quite competitive and may find it hard to lose anything. In the course of their lives, they need to learn to take it easy and let go of things. LIBRA Ruled by Venus, Libra place great value in balance and beauty. They often are preoccupied with looking young and beautiful, and as many of them are naturally charming, they don’t find it hard too. Hence, diet, exercise and disciplined lifestyle are a part of their lives. They don’t usually face chronic health concerns, as they are quick to take note of any nagging issues, and believe in nipping them in the bud. They must, however, keep away from over indulgence, excess expectations, temptations and emotional outbursts. They should also take care of their back and skeletal system. SCORPIO Passionate Scorpios are gifted with a great tenacity and resilience; their ability to bounce back from a health setback is immense. Besides, many of them have good immunity and resistance against negative, and hence enjoy sound health. However, given their intense mental make-up, it’s likely that they may fall prey to anxiety, jealousy and brooding. They need to keep their urge to distrust everyone in check, and must attempt meditation and deliberate positive thinking. Many of them may also be susceptible to accidents and minor injuries. SAGITTARIUS Archers are naturally sturdy. They rarely face any health issues, especially in the early part of their lives. However, most of them are prone to over-indulgence of various kinds, which may land them in a soup, especially as they age, once their strong composition is not as robust as it used to be. They may face problems related to skeletal system and gastrointestinal system. Also, the free bird Archers must drive carefully. Agreed that they value their independence above anything, it is in their best interest to relax and give rest to their extreme restlessness, every once in a while. CAPRICORN The Goats’ resistance to most ailments is excellent, so they are likely to be safe and sound in their old age. Their body, though, may be frail, especially the knees and the bone structure, and they may suffer from chronic ailments in their childhood. Over-indulgence is a no-no, and so are anger, detachment and passivity. Goats are prone to bouts of cold-behaviour, anxiety and negative thinking; they ought to curb these tendencies. Besides, workaholic Goats may need appropriate rest and relaxation from time to time. AQUARIUS The Water Bearers tend to have weak bones, so falls or minor accidents should be guarded against. Besides, their nervous system and heart may also cause them health concerns. Most Aquarians tend to think and flit-about too much, which can lead to simple to complex neurological disorders. Given their preference for activity and socialising, though, many of them are well-maintained and fit, which is a good sign for their health. However, they need to learn to relax and accept things as they are, rather than constantly running for the ‘better’. PISCES The Fish have, perhaps, the frailest physical structure and body mechanism in the whole zodiac. Besides, they are sentimental beings, and are quite prone to overindulgence, substance-abuse, lethargy and passivity. Many of them love eating from a can/ packet, as it’s the easiest and requires the least effort; the junk definitely doesn’t do them much good. Most Pisces, thus, should aim to get a solid partner and settle down early in their lives, as once the Fish feel rooted, feet firmly on ground, they tend to get very organised.
Born Hamilton Howard Fish on May 19, 1870, the man who would later be known as “The Gray Man”, “The Werewolf”, “The Brooklyn Vampire and “The Boogey Man” grew up in an orphanage where he was introduced to drinking urine and eating feces. Not really a great start.
By 1890, he went to New York City and became a male prostitute, at which point he started raping young boys, mostly under the age of six.
A male lover once took him to a wax museum where he saw, and was then fascinated by, a bisection of a penis (which is when a penis is split directly in half), which led to his obsession with castration, which he tried on a few of his victims.
He had “implements of Hell” (a butcher knife, a bone saw and a meat cleaver) which he would use to torture, mutilate and murder young children. He boasted to have a child he’s either abused or eaten in every state in the U.S., but was only ever actually suspected of and convicted for about 8 of them.
The case that really made him famous (as it was what led to his final arrest) was the abduction and murder of Grace Budd (pictured above). He pretended to be taking her to his niece’s birthday party, to which her parents consented, but was never brought back.
Here is the letter he sent the parents (WARNING, VERY GRAPHIC) describing exactly how he coerced her into trusting him, the fact that they all had lunch together, consented to her leaving, and details about how he stripped her, killed her, ate her, which parts tasted the best and the fact that he did not rape her.