Christian Colomnist: We’ve Won the War on Christmas
Despite renewed attacks on Christmas, one Christian columnist says in the grand scheme of things “it’s not a war” because Christian principles are deep within U.S. and world customs.
Gary McCullough, director of Christian Newswire, says he is annoyed and bothered by the latest atheist attacks on Christmas and the story of Christ’s birth. He asserts that Christians have already won the culture war by using their principles to “co-opt” rituals and holidays in America and abroad.
“We take them over, we make them our own and we mock their pagan roots,” insisted McCullough. Read full story from christianpost.com
Seneca Nation files FERC notice for Kinzua Dam license
SALAMANCA, N.Y. – The Seneca Nation of Indians has taken the first step toward becoming the owner-operator of a massive hydroelectric facility built on land expropriated from the nation more than 50 years ago.
Seneca President Robert Odawi Porter has announced that the nation filed application documents with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Nov. 30 for the license to operate the Seneca Pumped Storage Project at Kinzua Dam.
Seneca will be competing for the permit against the current owner, FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron, Ohio. The current 50-year license to operate the pumped storage project expires in 2015. Read full story from indiancountrytoday.com
Midweek Musings: Four steps to remember in saying good-bye
This holiday season will be the first one in my family without our father in this world.
He passed away in June, and I know from working with other families that the first holidays after a death are often layered with sadness. Last year, I wrote a column about one of our final conversations with my dad while he was still lucid.
This year, remembering some of what he said has helped us through our grief. As I mourn him, all the things I’ve said to people as a pastor over the years are coming toward me, now. It’s strange and beautiful to be on the receiving end of comfort. Holidays are special markers in communities, large and small: who is still with us, how we have changed, where are we now, who we are becoming. Read full story from gloucestertimes.com
World AIDS Day 2010: Rates of new HIV infections are slowing, but what now?
Scores of cities and communities all over the world will dim the lights this December 1st to mark World AIDS Day as part of the Light for Rights campaign which focuses on human rights, HIV and AIDS.Significant progress has been made in advancing access to HIV prevention, treatment, support and care over the past ten years, but putting human rights approaches at the centre of the response is crucial to further progress. The 2010 Global Update on the AIDS Epidemic by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows that in 2009 the pace of new infections had declined by almost 20% compared to 1999, but still outpaces treatment success by two to one. There are still major gaps in the implementation of human rights commitments at national and regional levels according to the report. For many people living with HIV – and the people most affected by it – human rights can help to guarantee access to health services, work, education and community participation. Read full story from worldaidscampaign.org
This month we’ll lead off with news of a spectacular lunar eclipse that will be visible from all of North America during the night of Dec. 20-21. This is going to be a beauty with totality lasting for an hour and 12 minutes. We will be able to see the entire eclipse from beginning to end. Mark your calendars because this won’t happen again for North America until April 2014. Read full story from dchieftain.com
Full-Scale Replica Of Noah’s Ark Planned For Grant Co.
PETERSBURG, Ky. — The Creation Museum will announce details Wednesday afternoon of its planned expansion.
Answers In Genesis, which built and operates the religious-themed attraction, plans to build a full-scale wooden replica of Noah’s Ark based on biblical descriptions. Read full story from wlwt.com
What does it mean to be human?
Calling someone a “Neanderthal” in the heat of an argument may not be such an insult after all. Last May, scientists announced they had completed a draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome, and found evidence that Neanderthals and modern humans interbred, likely sometime 80,000 to 50,000 years ago when modern humans left Africa and ventured into Eurasia — Neanderthal territory. Those encounters left a mark in the modern gene pool: As much as 4 percent of the DNA in people with European or Asian ancestry may be Neanderthal DNA, the researchers reported in Science.
The discovery of our intimate history with Neanderthals received tremendous press last spring, but another implication of the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome also deserves attention, says the study’s lead author, Richard Green, a genome biologist now at the University of California at Santa Cruz. “The hope is to be able to use the Neanderthal [genome] to shine a flashlight on recent evolution in humans,” he says.
Until now, scientists had been limited to comparing human DNA to the DNA of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. It was impossible to know, however, when any detected difference arose in our evolutionary history: Did it occur right after the split with the chimp lineage (sometime about 8 million years ago), in australopithecines, in other now-extinct species in the genus Homo? Or is it a change only found in Homo sapiens? By comparing our genome to that of Neanderthals, researchers can now look for the genetic changes that make modern humans unique among all hominins. Read full story from earthmagazine.org
Olmecs to Toltecs: Great ancient civilizations of Mexico
It always strikes me when I travel in Mexico how many foreign visitors don’t know the Olmecs from the Toltecs, never mind the Totonacs. Most of what we’ve learned about Mexico’s ancient cultures begins and ends with the Aztecs and the Maya. Those justly renowned civilizations arose relatively late in the country’s history, building on traditions that came before and incorporating influences from other peoples near and far.
Mesoamerica at its height was home to more than 25 million people. The 280 languages still spoken in Mexico today show that despite shared traditions and influences, many distinct civilizations arose because of geography, climate and contact with other cultures. Read full story from sfgate.com
Catholic League counters atheist billboard
Take that, atheists.
New York Catholics, furious about an atheist-sponsored billboard calling Christmas “a myth,” lashed out with a counter-attack today — a billboard of their own that defends the celebration of the birth of Christ.
The billboard erected by the Catholic League went up near the New York side of the Lincoln Tunnel, at Dyer Avenue and 31st Street, in a bid to offset the anti-Christmas billboard at the tunnel’s New Jersey entrance. Read full story from nypost.com
Moon Helps Astronomers Corral Elusive Cosmic Particles
Search for ultra high energy neutrinos from space turns the moon into part of the ‘detector’
Seeking to detect mysterious, ultra-high-energy neutrinos from distant regions of space, a team of astronomers used the Moon as part of an innovative telescope system for the search. Their work gave new insight on the possible origin of the elusive subatomic particles and points the way to opening a new view of the Universe in the future. Read full story from redorbit.com
Radiation Rings Hint Universe Was Recycled Over and Over
Most cosmologists trace the birth of the universe to the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. But a new analysis of the relic radiation generated by that explosive event suggests the universe got its start eons earlier and has cycled through myriad episodes of birth and death, with the Big Bang merely the most recent in a series of starting guns.
That startling notion, proposed by theoretical physicist Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford in England and Vahe Gurzadyan of the Yerevan Physics Institute and Yerevan State University in Armenia, goes against the standard theory of cosmology known as inflation.
The researchers base their findings on circular patterns they discovered in the cosmic microwave background, the ubiquitous microwave glow left over from the Big Bang. The circular features indicate that the cosmos itself circles through epochs of endings and beginnings, Penrose and Gurzadyan assert. The researchers describe their controversial findings in an article posted at arXiv.org on November 17. Read full story from wired.com
Sacred run and sacred paddle provide solemn memorial for Massachusetts Natives
BOSTON – “I hope our ancestors regain some of their pride stripped from them here on this island that is now a sewer treatment plant for the City of Boston. I am honored they watched over us,” wrote Annawon Weeden, Wampanoag, who finished a 20-mile sacred paddle Oct. 30 to memorialize the internment of indigenous people on Deer Island in Boston Harbor in 1675 as well as the path they were forced to travel: 12 miles by roads, 20 miles by river to the open sea and then to barren Deer Island.
A cheer went up in the crowd of more than 150 people who had gathered in the meeting hall, the sacred paddlers’ destination, at the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Facility, when they recognized that Troy Phillips, Nipmuc, had entered the room. “They’re here, they’re here,” was shouted by many for the people knew how dangerous the journey was for all the paddlers and runners and they had already waited several hours later than expected. Read full story from indiancountrytoday.com
Native women caucus focused on increasing awareness
ALBUQUERQUE – Native leadership gathered for the fourth Womens Caucus focused on women and children’s issues during the National Congress of American Indians conference held in Albuquerque Nov. 14 – 19.
Nearly 160 women turned out for two events, the first all-day Women’s Forum, and an evening Women’s Caucus Reception where they decided to make issues affecting women and children a higher national priority.
“I’m so excited about the NCAI Women’s Caucus. Finally our women – the life givers, culture bearers and caregivers of our nations – have a national voice,” said Susan Masten, co-president of Women Empowering Women for Indian Nations, who co-chaired the caucus with NCAI Secretary Juana Majel Dixon. Read full story from indiancountrytoday.com
Bizarre Insects Inspire Unintentionally Surreal Art
In the first half of the last century, a German blacksmith named Alfred Keller began crafting some of the most surrealistic, alien-seeming sculptures the world had ever seen — delicate works which took months to complete. These incredible creations, meticulous in detail, rivaled even the most imaginative pieces from contemporary artists — but they weren’t inspired by some absinth-induced vision or fit of madness. Indeed, Keller’s muse was nature itself — and these bugs are quite real.
As an employee of Berlin’s Natural History Museum, Keller was charged with creating lifelike models of insects to be placed on display — a challenge he took very, very seriously. The master artisan worked tirelessly fashioning his creepy, crawly creations from common materials, producing breathtaking works that did incredible justice to the real thing. Read full story from treehugger.com
A monster of an exhibition: First handwritten draft of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein goes on display
The handwritten first draft of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, Frankenstein, has gone on display in Britain for the first time.
The exhibition also includes a never before seen portrait of the author alongside belongings and literary work from her family – one of Britain’s most renowned literary dynasties. Read full story from dailymail.co.uk