News & Submissions 12/16/2010

December 16th, 2010 by sivodd

Celebrating paganism with a winter solstice
A solstice is the celebration of the sun’s rebirth. Every year, Sudbury’s pagan community celebrates a summer and winter solstice, noting the longest and shortest days of the year.

Kristan Cannon-Nixon, one of five organizers who helps run both annual events, said its a way for pagans of all denominations to celebrate their beliefs together, and celebrate the shifting of seasons as it’s happening.

She said it’s “absolutely beautiful” that people who hold varying beliefs can get along at one celebration. Read full story from northernlife.ca

Black Plants and Twilight Zones: New Evidence Prompts Rethinking of Extraterrestrial Life
Astronomers have long searched for a planet that could harbor life outside our solar system. When reports came in earlier this fall of the not too hot, not too cold exoplanet Gliese 581g, it was like the answer to a dream. “If it’s confirmed, I think it’s definitely the planet we’ve been waiting for, for a long time,” says Rory Barnes, an astrobiologist at the University of Washington who wasn’t involved in the research.

The wait may continue for a while. Soon after University of California, Santa Cruz, astronomer Steven Vogt and his collaborators reported the “Goldilocks” exoplanet, a rival Swiss group said it could not find evidence for Gliese 581g in its own data set. Confirming the new find, based on 11 years of subtle and indirect telescope-based measurements, could require several more years. Read full story from scientificamerican.com

Why haven’t we found aliens yet?
The question of whether or not we are alone in the galaxy is one that has fascinated everyone from mathematicians to conspiracy theorists.

But, if extra-terrestrial life forms are abundant in the Universe – as some people believe – why have they not been in contact?

From Doctor Who to Superman, ET to Marvin the Martian, fiction has regularly brought aliens to Earth as friends or enemies but, as yet, no-one has proved they have ever seen an alien apart from on film or TV. Read full story from bbc.co.uk

EcoAlert: Ancient 2-8 Million Year-Old Forest Discovered in Canada’s Arctic
Ohio State University researchers and their colleagues have discovered the remains of the northermost  forest buried by a landslide that lived on the island two to eight million years ago, when the Arctic was cooling. The remains could offer clues to how today’s Arctic will respond to global warming.

The Ohio State team believe the trees — and exquisitely preserved – will help them predict how today’s Arctic will respond to global warming. They also believe that many more such forests could emerge across North America as Arctic ice continues to melt. As the wood is exposed and begins to rot, it could release significant amounts of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -and actually aggravate global warming. Read full story from dailygalaxy.com

Lunar eclipse and solstice to overlap
This year’s winter solstice -an event that will occur Tuesday -will coincide with a full lunar eclipse in a union that hasn’t been seen in 456 years.

The reappearance of the celestial eccentricity holds special significance for spiritualities that tap into the energy of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and a time that is associated with the rebirth of the sun.

“It’s a ritual of transformation from darkness into light,” says Nicole Cooper, a high priestess at Toronto’s Wiccan Church of Canada. “It’s the idea that when things seem really bleak, (it) is often our biggest opportunity for personal transformation. Read full story from montrealgazette.com

’Tis our season
Some stores no longer put up a tree because they say it represents Christmas and not the whole “holiday season” in general. However this is not completely true, contrary to popular belief. The use of tree and lights began way before the birth of Jesus. Not in any way desecrating Christmas, I’m just shining a candle light on the subject.

The origin of the Christmas tree and lighting up our houses are ancient traditions that date back to more than 4,000 years in Egypt with palm branches celebrating the 12 months of the sun with a 12-day festival during the winter solstice. Evergreens, mistletoe, holly and ivy are the few plants alive during the cold winter months and are ancient symbols of eternal life which gave our ancestors hope for the coming months. Read full story from northjersey.com

Column: Local Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll bashes yoga and ‘Easternism’
Last fall, Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, received national attention for an article he posted on his website arguing that Christians should not practice yoga. His argument was that yoga is rooted in the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. Therefore, he believes that practicing yoga is corrupting to people that consider themselves Christians.

I guess you can lump yoga together with religion. However, most people just show up for their one-hour class at the local health club and then go back to their busy lives when it’s over. It is not necessary to debate the merits of Christianity versus another religion because commercialized American ‘yoga’ has hardly any religious significance. Making yoga into the enemy of Christianity is silly and paranoid. Read full story from nwasianweekly.com

Statue ‘Cemetery’ Found Near Egyptian Tomb
Two statuary fragments recently uncovered at the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III in Luxor. On the left is the head of the baboon god, Hapi, and on the right are the legs of another red granite statue. (Photo: SCA)

Egyptian archaeologists believe they have found a type of cemetery of broken and damaged ancient statues near the northern side of the funerary temple of King Tut’s grandfather on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor.

A team excavating the site, which has recently yielded many statues, has unearthed two red granite statue fragments.

One is part of a larger statue of Amenhotep III, believed to be the grandfather of King Tutankhamun, and features two legs. The other is a 2.73-meter (9-foot) high head of the god Hapi. Read full story from discovery.com

A Winter’s Tale: Afghans Take Pride In Turning Away Occupiers
Afghans have a winter tradition that goes back centuries — they put hot coals in a pot under a table and put a quilt over that. It’s called a sandali. Everyone sticks their feet under the blanket and the freezing temperatures don’t seem so bad — as long as you don’t leave the table. Stories help pass the time

“We’d sit around the sandali and my grandfather told stories while we ate raisins and dried mulberries.” says Sayed Mushtaba Frotan, a 54-year-old former guerrilla fighter. Read full story from npr.org

Fish Thought to Be Extinct for 70 Years Rediscovered
In 1940, a hydroelectric dam was constructed in northern Akita Prefecture, Japan. The project, it was known at the time, would destroy the only native habitat of the black kokanee salmon by making the waters too acidic for the fish to survive. Still, developers went ahead with their plans.

A concession was made to protect the species: 100,000 eggs were transported to nearby Lake Saiko. Unfortunately, the transplanted eggs did not hatch and the species quickly became extinct. At least, that’s what was thought.

Now, a new discovery suggests that a small population of kokanee salmon may have survived. Read full story from treehugger.com

Change is afoot for 800-year-old whirling dance (source cnn)

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