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So why does a beach volley ball tournament import 1360 tons of sand from a quarry two and a half hours away ? And why is the worlds sand supply rapidly running out ? Add this if you will to your eclectic knowledge base.

Annals of Geology
May 29, 2017 Issue
The World Is Running Out of Sand
It’s one of our most widely used natural resources, but it’s scarcer than you think.
By David Owen
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A report said that sand and gravel mining “greatly exceeds natural renewal rates.”Illustration by Javier Jaén

The final event of last year’s beach-volleyball world tour was held in Toronto, in September, in a parking lot at the edge of Lake Ontario. There’s a broad public beach nearby, but few actual beaches meet the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball’s strict standards for sand, so the tournament’s sponsor had erected a temporary stadium and imported thirteen hundred and sixty tons from a quarry two and a half hours to the north. The shipment arrived in thirty-five tractor-trailer loads.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/29/the-world-is-running-out-of-sand
 
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How, why do you become one of the best art forgers in England ? Shaun Greenhalgh is an elite artist.

'I wasn’t ****-a-hoop that I’d fooled the experts': Britain's master forger tells all
Shaun Greenhalgh has turned his hand to everyone from Leonardo da Vinci to Lowry. He’s been to prison, but has never revealed the whole picture. Until now


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Art forger Shaun Greenhalgh in his new studio. Photograph: Fabio De Paola for the Guardian

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Simon Parkin

Saturday 27 May 2017 18.00 AEST

In 2010, shortly after his release from prison, Shaun Greenhalgh walked into his parents’ house in Bromley Cross to find yet another fat package waiting for him on the dresser. Unsolicited parcels arrived often. They always bore a London postmark, but never a sender’s name; they always contained an art book.

On this occasion, Greenhalgh recognised the cover, a Renaissance-style painting of a girl, seen in profile. Snub-nosed, proud-eyed and with the hint of a double chin, she was not a handsome princess, as the book’s title, La Bella Principessa, suggested. Greenhalgh thought he knew her as an old acquaintance: Sally, a girl with whom he had worked in the late 70s at the Co-op butchery. The book, by the respected art historian Martin Kemp, argued that the painting was a lost work by Leonardo da Vinci. But Greenhalgh believed it to be one of his own: painted when he was 18 on to a piece of 16th-century vellum; he remembered buying the vellum from an antique shop close to his family’s council house in Bolton.

Greenhalgh, who is now 56, tells me he remembers the process clearly. After practising the drawing on cartridge paper, he had mounted the vellum on an oak board from an old Victorian school desk lid, pilfered from the storeroom of Bolton Industrial Tech, where his father, George, worked as a cleaner. He had used just three colours, black, white and red, gum arabic earth pigments that he then went over in oak gall ink. Leonardo was left-handed. Fearing a betrayal by his own dominant right hand, Greenhalgh had turned the painting clockwise, and hatched strokes from the profile outwards, suggesting the work of a left-handed artist.

When it was finished, Greenhalgh tells me, he took the picture to an art dealer in Harrogate, where he offered it for sale – not as a forgery, but as a homage. The dealer disparaged its quality and paid just £80, an amount that barely covered the materials, let alone the labour. Still, Greenhalgh took the money. Two decades later, at a New York auction, the same painting sold for $21,850.


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Is it La Bella Principessa by Leonardo da Vinci… or Sally, a girl Greenhalgh worked with at the Co-op? Photograph: VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images
In 2007, while Greenhalgh was serving the first stretch of a four-year-and-eight-month prison sentence for art forgery, the painting changed hands again for a similar amount, this time attracting the attention of a number of art historians, who suspected that the painting could, in fact, be the work of a master. Among them was Kemp, who in 2010 wrote that he had not “the slightest doubt” that the painting was “the rarest of rare things… a major new work by Leonardo”. Subsequent carbon dating of the vellum, and evidence of the hint of a fingerprint that appeared to match Leonardo’s, provided the almost-clinchers.

https://www.theguardian.com/artandd...oop-fooled-experts-britains-master-art-forger
 

Tisme

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So a post was put up by Sasha Ilic on "Crappy Electrical " facebook site yesterday:

He found a time capsule style letter that included a writeup and a photo. Someone on the forum managed to track the fella down within a few hours:

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Discovered the reason behind the view that poor, white/black southerners in the US were just lazy, useless no goods. Turns out huge numbers of people were infected with hookworm.
Very interesting story.

How a Worm Gave the South a Bad Name
By Rachel Nuwer on Wed, 27 Apr 2016

For more than three centuries, a plague of unshakable lethargy blanketed the American South.

It began with “ground itch,” a prickly tingling in the tender webs between the toes, which was soon followed by a dry cough. Weeks later, victims succumbed to an insatiable exhaustion and an impenetrable haziness of the mind that some called stupidity. Adults neglected their fields and children grew pale and listless. Victims developed grossly distended bellies and “angel wings”—emaciated shoulder blades accentuated by hunching. All gazed out dully from sunken sockets with a telltale “fish-eye” stare.

The culprit behind “the germ of laziness,” as the South’s affliction was sometimes called, was Necator americanus—the American murderer. Better known today as the hookworm, millions of those bloodsucking parasites lived, fed, multiplied, and died within the guts of up to 40% of populations stretching from southeastern Texas to West Virginia. Hookworms stymied development throughout the region and bred stereotypes about lazy, moronic Southerners.

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The menacing hookworm
While the South eventually rid itself of hookworms, those parasites cost the region decades of development and bred widespread misconception about the people who lived there. Yet hookworm has not been defeated for good. Today, hundreds of millions of people in dozens of nations around the world suffer from hookworm infection. The South’s experience, measured in both its successes and pitfalls, can provide a rough blueprint of how to seek out and quash this “American murderer”—no matter where it is found around the world.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/nature/how-a-worm-gave-the-south-a-bad-name/
 
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This is just too good not to share. It is well worth the read.

Enjoy.

Farm Girl Café, Chelsea: ‘We don't stay for dessert, because we have suffered enough’ – restaurant review
The food was so bad, a nearby Yorkshire terrier started to look more appetising

Jay Rayner

Sun 11 Mar 2018 17.00 AEDT


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‘This sort of cooking does have to be done with skill, grace and, ideally, an absence of malice’: Farm Girl Café. Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Observer
Farm Girl Café, 9 Park Walk, London SW10 0AJ (020 3674 7359). Meal for two, including drinks and service £110

The menu at the Farm Girl Café features lots of initials. There’s V for Vegan. There’s GF for Gluten Free. There’s DF for Dairy Free. I think they’re missing a few. There should be TF for Taste Free and JF for Joy Free and AAHYWEH for Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here. If you examine the company’s website, and I would only advise doing so if you have strong teeth that can cope with a good grinding, you will learn that the Farm Girl group offers: “A holistic and healthy yet comfortingly simple approach to Australian Café culture.” Nope, me neither. Apparently, they like to use “nutritionally nurturing ingredients”, which sounds rather nice. I could have done with a bit of nurture, rather than the dishes that came our way.

I have nothing against eating healthily. I have only one body and I try to look after it. My mother used to say that she hoped to die aged 98, shot dead by a jealous lover. She didn’t quite manage it, but it’s an ambition I’m happy to inherit. The menu here is omnivorous with a heavy emphasis on non-meat cookery, which is a fine thing. I like vegetables, me. They can taste really nice. But this sort of cooking does have to be done with skill, grace and, ideally, an absence of malice.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeand...use-we-have-suffered-enough-restaurant-review
 
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Fascinating story of how the "baby alien skeleton" story has been resolved.

Genetic tests reveal tragic reality of Atacama 'alien' skeleton
Mummified remains from Chilean ghost town revealed to be baby girl with malformations so bizarre they led to speculation over alien life

Ian Sample Science editor

@iansample
Thu 22 Mar 2018 13.00 EDT Last modified on Thu 22 Mar 2018 18.00 EDT


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The mummified skeleton of a baby girl found in the Chilean desert in 2003. Photograph: Dr Emery Smith
When the mummified remains of a six-inch humanoid were found in an abandoned mining town in Chile’s Atacama desert 15 years ago, speculation on its origins ran wild. The skeleton, which was sold to a private collector in Spain, was so bizarre it appeared in a documentary as potential evidence for alien life.

Now scientists in California have extracted DNA from the mummy’s bones and pieced together the real and tragic story of the individual, known as Ata. Rather than a visitor from another world, Ata was a girl who appears to have been stillborn, or to have died immediately after birth, with devastating mutations that shaped her extraordinary body.

Ata’s remains were found in 2003 in La Noria, an old nitrate-mining town, reportedly wrapped in white cloth tied with a violet ribbon. The skeleton was remarkable in many ways. While only six inches tall, the bones had some features of a child aged six to eight. Instead of the usual 12 pairs of ribs found on humans, Ata had only 10 pairs. The head was an elongated cone shape.

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The curious remains caught the eye of Garry Nolan, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University in California, who offered to study the specimen. In 2013, he concluded that Ata was human, but the reasons for the dramatic deformities were far from clear.

https://www.theguardian.com/science...veal-tragic-reality-of-atacama-alien-skeleton
 
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For car buffs. Built in 1939. More pics in link.


This is the World’s Oldest Porsche and It’s the Only One of Its Kind



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This August, the oldest surviving Porsche in the world (and the only of its kind) will go to auction in Monterey by RM Sotheby's. It's expected to fetch at least US$20 million which will easily make it the most expensive Porsche ever. The current title holder is the Porsche 917K used in the film, Le Mans, which sold for US$17 million in 2017.

 
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Insight into Julius Caesar as a young man. He was certainly going places.


When Julius Caesar Was Kidnapped By Pirates, He Demanded They Increase His Ransom

In 75 BCE, 25-year-old Julius Caesar was sailing the Aegean Sea when he was kidnapped by Cilician pirates. According to Plutarch, when the pirates asked for a ransom of 20 talents of silver (approximately 620 kg of silver, or $600,000 in today's silver values), Caesar laughed at their faces. They didn't know who they had captured, he said, and demanded that they ask for 50 (1550 kg of silver), because 20 talents was simply not enough.

More Money, More Problems​

The pirates, of course, agreed, and Caesar sent some of his associates off to gather the silver, a task that took 38 days. Now nearly alone with the pirates—only two servants and a friend remained with him—Caesar refused to cower. Instead, he treated the pirates as if they were his subordinates. He even went so far as to demand they not talk whenever he decided to sleep. He spent most of his time with them composing and reciting poetry and writing speeches. He would then recite the works to the pirates. Caesar also played various games with the pirates and participated in their exercises, generally acting as if he wasn’t a prisoner, but rather, their leader. The pirates quickly grew to respect and like him and allowed him the freedom to more or less do as he pleased on their island and ships.

While Caesar was friendly with the pirates, he didn’t appreciate being held captive. He told the pirates that, after his ransom was paid, he would hunt them down and have them crucified. Once he was freed, he made good on that promise: Despite the fact that he was a private citizen, Caesar managed to quickly raise a small fleet which he took back to the island where he had been held captive. Apparently the pirates hadn’t taken his threats seriously, because they were still there when he arrived. He captured them and took back his 50 talents of silver, along with all their possessions.

He next delivered the pirates to the authorities at the prison at Pergamon and then traveled to meet the proconsul of Asia, Marcus Junius, to petition to have the pirates executed. The proconsul refused: He wanted to sell the pirates as slaves and take the spoils for himself. Undeterred, Caesar traveled back to Pergamon where the Cilician pirates were being held and ordered that they be crucified. Before they went through that ordeal, however, Caesar showed some leniency—he cut their throats.

 
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Super Wood!

By

Sid Perkins
Pocket
4 min
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Simple processes can make wood tough, impact-resistant—or even transparent.​

[IMG alt="New techniques for “densifying” wood can turn the ubiquitous substance into a super-material suitable for constructing buildings and body armor. Photo by mack2happy / Getty Images
."]https://pocket-image-cache.com//filters:format(jpg):extract_focal()/https://pocket-syndicated-images.s3.amazonaws.com/5de58067d26fd.jpg[/IMG] New techniques for “densifying” wood can turn the ubiquitous substance into a super-material suitable for constructing buildings and body armor. Photo by mack2happy / Getty Images .

Some varieties of wood, such as oak and maple, are renowned for their strength. But scientists say a simple and inexpensive new process can transform any type of wood into a material stronger than steel, and even some high-tech titanium alloys. Besides taking a star turn in buildings and vehicles, the substance could even be used to make bullet-resistant armor plates.

 
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An insight into a dark chapter of US secret warfare.

In 1954, a prison doctor in Kentucky isolated seven black inmates and fed them “double, triple and quadruple” doses of LSD for 77 days straight. No one knows what became of the victims. They may have died without knowing they were part of the CIA’s highly secretive program to develop ways to control minds—a program based out of a little-known Army base with a dark past, Fort Detrick.

 
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