Archive | June 21, 2013

China To Introduce Death Penalty For Egregious Polluters

pollutersHarsh but fair? Via Scientific American:

Chinese authorities have given courts the powers to hand down the death penalty in serious pollution cases, state media said, as the government tries to assuage growing public anger at environmental desecration.

A new judicial interpretation which took effect on Wednesday would impose “harsher punishments” and tighten “lax and superficial” enforcement of the country’s environmental protection laws, the official Xinhua news agency reported: “In the most serious cases the death penalty could be handed down.”

Protests over pollution have unnerved the stability-obsessed ruling Communist Party. Thousands of people took to the streets in the southwestern city of Kunming last month to protest against the planned production of a chemical at a refinery.

Severe air pollution in Beijing and large parts of northern China this winter have added to the sense of unease among the population.

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Why The UK’s Ministry of Defence Stopped Watching For UFOs

MoD letterNo defense benefits, eh? The British state media company (a/k/a BBC News) reports on why the country’s MoD decided to close its UFO desk giving examples of ridiculous reports (see letter at right). Who knows what the real reasons are, but something about this explanation doesn’t quite ring true to me…

The Ministry of Defence closed its UFO desk because it served “no defence purpose” and was taking staff away from “more valuable defence-related activities”, newly released files show.

The desk was closed in December 2009 despite a surge in reported sightings.

The disclosure came in National Archives files relating to reports of UFOs – Unidentified Flying Objects – between 2007 and November 2009.

They show UFOs were reported at several UK landmarks, including Stonehenge.

‘No benefit’
The latest tranche of declassified files covers the final two years of work carried out by the MoD’s UFO desk.

The 25 files include reports alleging contact with aliens and UFO sightings near UK landmarks, and detail the decision to close the MoD’s dedicated desk and “hotline”.

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The Oldest Known Guide To Dreaming

book of dreamsThe 3,300-year-old Dream Book, via the British Museum:

The meaning of dreams is a subject that fascinated the ancient Egyptians. This hieratic papyrus, probably dates to the early reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC).

On each page of the papyrus a vertical column of hieratic signs begins: ‘if a man sees himself in a dream'; each horizontal line describes a dream, followed by the diagnosis ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and then the interpretation. For example, ‘if a man sees himself in a dream looking out of a window, good; it means the hearing of his cry’. Or, ‘if a man sees himself in a dream with his bed catching fire, bad; it means driving away his wife’.

It is uncertain who the original owner was, but it passed into the hands of the scribe Qeniherkhepshef. The Dream Book was part of an archive, including a wide variety of literary, magical and documentary material, which passed down through [his] family.

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