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Thursday, July 1st, 2010
9:33 am - Archaeologists begin dig on buried stone circle TEN times bigger than Stonehenge Read more: http://
clipped from www.dailymail.co.uk
Archaeologists are due to begin digging at the 4,000 year old Marden Henge, in Wiltshire

Archaeologists are due to begin digging at the 4,000 year old Marden Henge, in Wiltshire

The enormous 4,000 year old Marden Henge, in Wiltshire, is Britain's largest prehistoric structure stretching for 10.5 hectares

Although the henge no longer has its vast stone circle it has a large puzzling sunken circular feature which is almost unheard of at Neolithic sites.

'Marden Henge deserves to be understood more partly because of its size, but also due to its proximity to the more famous stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge.

'We are potentially looking at a much more intricate system of Neolithic ritual sites in this part of the world than we previously thought.

All that has remained is the evidence of a huge mound similar to a smaller at the centre of the henge, which collapsed in 1806 and was completely levelled by 1817.

Most experts now believe that significant ceremonial or ritual activity occurred within the ditches.

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Friday, June 25th, 2010
10:49 pm - Absent sunspots: The calm before an energy storm?


Sunspots come and go, but recently they have mostly gone. For centuries, astronomers have recorded when these dark blemishes on the solar surface emerge, only to fade away after a few days, weeks or months. Thanks to their efforts, we know that sunspot numbers ebb and flow in cycles lasting about 11 years.

But for the past two years, the sunspots have mostly been missing. Their absence, the most prolonged in nearly 100 years, has taken even seasoned sun watchers by surprise. "This is solar behavior we haven't seen in living memory,"
Sunspots and other clues indicate that the sun's magnetic activity is diminishing and that the sun may even be shrinking. Together, the results hint that something profound is happening inside the sun. The big question is: What?
What's special about this latest dip is that the sun is having trouble starting the next solar cycle.
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10:46 pm - A priest at Pendle Witch Camp
clipped from www.guardian.co.uk

I'm actually a priest of the Church of England – but with a difference. Though I'm still in "holy orders", I now work full time as a magician, writer and retreat leader. I've been described as a "priest at the edge". My latest book, The Path of the Blue Raven, describes my own encounters with the Pagan traditions of this land and what great treasures I've learned from them.

During the time I served as a vicar, I naturally began to use my own magical illusions as a tool to evoke wonder and awe – and to try to get people to think twice. I did this because many Christian folk seem to me to be living largely disenchanted lives.

I'll always be a priest. It's where it all began, and the beauty of the unpolluted Christ-message is still enough to send shock waves of love rippling down my spine. But when I spend time with pagans and absorb the openness, warmth, magical-power and sheer delight in being human, I catch a glimpse of what the church ought to, and (perhaps) could be like.

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Friday, June 11th, 2010
10:45 am - Dalai Lama inspired scientific research



Scientist Inspired By Dalai Lama Studies Happiness

How To Be Happy

MADISON, Wis. — After hearing about his cutting-edge research on the brain and emotions through mutual friends, the Dalai Lama invited Richard Davidson to his home in India in 1992 to pose a question.

Scientists often study depression, anxiety and fear, but why not devote your work to the causes of positive human qualities like happiness and compassion? the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader asked.

Since then, Davidson has become a partner in the Dalai Lama's attempts to build a connection between Buddhism and western science. This weekend, the Dalai Lama will mark the opening of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the university's Waisman Center, where more than a dozen researchers will study the science behind positive qualities of mind. Davidson said the center will be the only one in the world with a meditation room next to a brain imaging laboratory.

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Monday, June 7th, 2010
10:15 pm - Onward Pagan soldiers: 100 UK servicemen classed as witches and druids
clipped from www.dailymail.co.uk

As fighters they are capable of crushing an enemy with terrifying might.

But when some members of Britain's Armed Forces take off their uniforms, they like nothing more than casting spells and taking part in midnight rituals.

Around 100 UK service personnel - some taking part in the war on terror - class themselves as pagans. Another 30 are witches, according to figures.

Off duty: Around 100 UK servicemen are pagans, including many who are serving in Afghanistan

The intriguing details about the beliefs of soldiers, sailors and airmen were obtained from the Ministry of Defence using the Freedom of Information Act.

Paganism, which focuses on the worship of nature and its 'vitality and spirituality', finds its roots in the traditional religions of ancient Britain.

According to the MoD, 30 servicemen and women said they followed wicca, which involves religious witchcraft, or druidism. Both are offshoots of paganism.

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5:08 pm - Are there dangers in being 'spiritual but not religious'?
clipped from www.cnn.com
"I'm spiritual but not religious."

It's a trendy phrase people often use to describe their belief that they don't need organized religion to live a life of faith.

But for Jesuit priest James Martin, the phrase also hints at something else: egotism.

"Being spiritual but not religious can lead to complacency and self-centeredness," says Martin, an editor at America, a national Catholic magazine based in New York City. "If it's just you and God in your room, and a religious community makes no demands on you, why help the poor?"

The phrase is now so commonplace that it's spawned its own acronym ("I'm SBNR") and Facebook page: SBNR.org.

But what exactly does being "spiritual but not religious" mean, and could there be hidden dangers in living such a life?

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5:07 pm - Smudging : New Age Tomfoolery
clipped from whofortedblog.com
One of the most common suggestions for ridding oneself of ghosts has always been to burn some sage in your room. The application of the sage varies from placing it in a shell or pot and letting it smolder to fanning it with an eagle feather into the four corners of your room. No doubt this practice has its roots in Native American mythology. American Indians tend to be the “Sam’s Club” of the paranormal.
If you search solely within the New Age movement, no doubt you will be told that burning plants is definitely the way to go. Invariably, the first Google search you try will send you to one of two places. Either a Caucasian couple who resemble Bob Ross and Mama Cass Elliot (before the ham sandwich), who are celebrating 18 years of bringing you the finest in mystical ceremonial products to explore your inner peace and light
So what is this smudging then if it is not the miracle cure for poltergeists that I was looking for?
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Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
9:52 am - Druids hired to cut road accidents
clipped from web.orange.co.uk

Druids hired to cut road accidents

Roadside druid /Europics


Motoroway bosses in Austria secretly hired a full-time team of druids to drain 'negative energy' from accident blackspots.


The team is said to have reduced fatal accidents at one notorious crash site to zero after restoring its "terrestrial radiation".


Chief engineer Harald Dirnbacher from Austria's motorway authority ASFINAG explained: "We were really sceptical at first and certainly didn't want people to know what we were doing, so we kept it secret."


But now the trial results are so impressive officials are spreading the scheme nationwide.


One blackspot's fatal accident rate fell from an average of six per year to nothing after the druid treatment, where they search for negative radiation with dowsing rods.

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Friday, May 14th, 2010
3:49 pm - Wiccan fertility spell helps woman conceive
Of course, this will be chalked down by many as coincidence and/or superstition. But a prayer by any other name..... would be seen as a blessing from God.
clipped from www.dailymail.co.uk

The daughter of a 'white witch' has claimed she gave birth after six years of trying because her mother cast a fertility spell on her.

Hayley Byrne, 25, had been on an NHS waiting list for a treatment similar to IVF when her mother, Karen Tomlinson, offered to help out.

She agreed to don a fertility bracelet, specially woven in the red and white May-pole colours while Karen recited a white witch's chant.

Just four weeks later Hayley was amazed to discover she was pregnant.

Hayley Byrne had been trying to conceive for six years before falling pregnant with baby Daniel

'Still, I only put the bracelet on to humour my mum - I didn't really put much stock into it.

Despite remaining unconvinced, Hayley kept the bracelet on her wrist day and night and after four weeks she was astounded to discover she was expecting.

Hayley's surprise pregnancy only occurred after her mother Karen Tomlinson carried out a special Wiccan ritual

With a newfound belief in her mother's powers, Hayley shunned pain-killing drugs and relied on just the power of 'charged' crystals to help her through labour, and son Daniel was born in January this year.

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3:49 pm - Satire is Religion
Scatological humor. Crude drawings mocking revered religious figures. I am speaking, of course, of Lucas Cranach’s Birth and Origin of the Pope, one in a series of woodcuts commissioned by Martin Luther in the 1540s under the title “The True Depiction of the Papacy.” In it, an enormous grinning she-devil squats in the foreground, excreting the Pope along with a heap of bishops while in the background another infant pontiff suckles at the teat of a serpent-haired wet nurse.
Forget the South Park dust up; forget Everybody Draw Muhammad Day. If you want to see truly shocking anti-religious cartoons, you have to go back to the sixteenth century.
But it is just as much a clash between conflicting religious attitudes, and the freedom at stake is not only freedom of expression but freedom of religion.
there was no way to be a reformer without offending the hegemon. It’s a story as old as religion.
Orthodoxy = Blasphemy + Time
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Saturday, May 8th, 2010
11:16 am - Atheists Lose Suit Against 'God' in Presidential Oath

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that challenged prayers and religious elements in presidential inaugurations, including President Obama's in 2009.

The claims made by atheists regarding the 2009 inaugural ceremony are moot, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia concluded, and the plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the 2013 and 2017 inaugurations.

References to "God' by Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., and the invitation of ministers to pray "might have misled the uninformed to think the imprimatur of the state had been placed on the invocation of the Almighty and contributed to a social stigma against them as atheists," the atheists maintained.

The plaintiffs conceded that the President cannot be denied the prerogative of making a religious reference because doing so would abrogate his First Amendment rights.

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10:11 am - Witch Bids To Show Nessie Is A Ghost
Good 'ol "King Kevin." May he and that red bathrobe live long to entertain generations of rational human beings.
A DRAMATIC event which will see hundreds of witches, clairvoyance experts and psychics gather together around the shores of Loch Ness in a bid to make contact with Nessie will take place next month.

The High Priest of British White Witches, Kevin Carlyton - who calls himself "The Official Protector of Loch Ness and the Loch Ness Creature" - is organising the one-off psychic gathering and is hoping to prove the monster is in fact a ghost.

The white witch, who claims to have thwarted the plans of "monster hunter" Jan Sundberg from Sweden coming to Loch Ness to attempt to capture Nessie a few years ago, believes the monster will never be caught, because she's not actually alive.

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Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
11:53 pm - Kazakh Activists Fined For Protesting Blog Website Ban
clipped from www.rferl.org
An Almaty court has fined and warned two media activists, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
The court found Zhanna Baytelova and Irina Mednikova of the movement For Free Internet guilty of organizing an unsanctioned public gathering.
Demonstrators protest against Kazakhstan's Internet law in Almaty in June 2009.
The charges stem from the movement's protest in front of the Kazakhtelekom building in Almaty on April 21 to demand that it stop blocking access to the LiveJournal website and the online forum of the opposition newspaper "Respublika."
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Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
10:23 pm - High court hears Christian group's challenge to campus bias rules
Supreme Court justices today seemed to split sharply on whether a law school can deny recognition to a Christian student group because it will not let gays join, a case that could determine whether college nondiscrimination policies trump the rights of private organizations to determine who can — and cannot — belong to their ranks.

In arguments tinged with questions of religious, racial and sexual discrimination, the Court heard from the Christian Legal Society, which wants recognition from the University of California's Hastings College of the Law as an official campus organization with school financing and benefits.

The case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, could help clarify whether religious-based and other private organizations that want federal funding have the right to discriminate against people who do not hold their core beliefs. The high court is expected to rule later this year.

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Sunday, April 18th, 2010
8:37 am - Tibetans Break Tradition, Cremate Dead
clipped from www.cbsnews.com
Monks wearing face masks set ablaze piles of the blanket-wrapped bodies of China's earthquake victims on a mountaintop Saturday, as necessity forced local Tibetans to break with the tradition of leaving their dead out for vultures.
Hundreds of villagers sat on the hillside, watching as the flames leapt skyward, while monks chanted and prayed for the dead.
Tibetans in the region traditionally perform "sky burials," in which bodies are chopped into pieces and left on a platform to be devoured by vultures. But a monk, Zewang Jimei, said the large number of corpses made that impossible Saturday.
"There are not enough vultures for all these bodies, so the bodies will become very dirty and it is not good for the souls to rest in peace," Zewang said. "Therefore, we think the mass cremation is the best funeral for all these earthquake victims."
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Thursday, April 15th, 2010
9:27 am - Soy Burger With a Side of Toxin?
clipped from www.cbsnews.com
Vegetarian burger lovers, take note. Your tasty patty may come with an unwanted condiment: Hexane.
Many popular brands of soy-based vegetarian foods, such as Morningstar Farms, Trader Joes, Amy's Kitchen, Boca Burger, Yves and others, may include a decidedly un-green petroleum byproduct of gasoline refining, Mother Jones magazine reports.
In an effort to produce lower fat products for health conscious consumers, soy-based faux meat manufacturers use hexane, an EPA-labeled air pollutant and neurotoxin, to separate the oil from the protein, according to a report by the Wisconsin-based agricultural non-profit the Cornucopia Institute.
The effects of consuming foods that contain hexane-extracted ingredients are not known. However, chronic and long-term and exposure to hexane in the air (such as in factories producing certain glues and solvents) is associated with numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headache, and fatigue observed, according to the EPA.
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9:26 am - As unity unravels, a battle for Haitian souls is stirring
clipped from www.miamiherald.com
At first Haitians of all faiths turned inward, transforming their bedsheet camps into all-night religious revivals as they clung to faith and resilience, crying and praising Jezi.

But in the three months after the earthquake, the relationship among faiths has evolved from one of rare unity to a fight for the Haitian soul. All hope to increase followers even as they assign blame for the quake.

In the makeshift camps, along rubble-filled streets, Protestant preachers are battling Catholics as well as followers of Vodou, hoping to lure more congregants.

``When I hear some of the Protestant churches in the neighborhoods, you have the impression that only Catholics lost people in the earthquake,

And both Catholics and Protestants clash with the followers of Vodou -- blaming the ancestral religion of Haiti's slaves-turned-freedom fighters -- for the monstrous quake. They lay blame on a centuries-old covenant taken on the eve of the Haitian revolution for the disastrous earthquake.

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Friday, April 9th, 2010
7:12 am - A 'Recovering Skinhead' On Leaving Hatred Behind
clipped from www.npr.org

A 'Recovering Skinhead' On Leaving Hatred Behind

As a teenager, Frank Meeink was one of the most well-known skinhead gang members in the country. He had his own public access talk show, called The Reich, he appeared on Nightline and other media outlets as a spokesman for neo-Nazi topics, and he regularly recruited members of his South Philadelphia neighborhood to join his skinhead gang.

Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead

At 18, Meeink spent several years in prison for kidnapping one man and beating another man senseless for several hours. While in prison, Meeink says, he was exposed to people from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds and started reevaluating his own racist beliefs. His transformation solidified, he tells Dave Davies, after the Oklahoma City bombing, when he saw the iconic photo of a firefighter cradling a lifeless girl in his arms.

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Tuesday, April 6th, 2010
8:42 pm - Wilma Mankiller, first woman to lead Cherokee, dies at 64
clipped from www.cnn.com
Flags flew at half-staff outside the Cherokee Nation's headquarters in Talequah, Oklahoma, on Tuesday in honor of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to lead the Native American tribe.
Wilma Mankiller is survived by her husband, Charlie, and two daughters.

Mankiller died Tuesday morning at age 64 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, Cherokee leaders announced. Her successor, Chad Smith, called Mankiller "the iconic leader of the tribe."

Mankiller served 10 years as principal chief of the Cherokee, the second-largest U.S. tribe, and became its first freely elected leader in 1987. President Clinton awarded her the Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor, in 1998.

"She captured what we firmly believed was true leadership," Smith said Tuesday afternoon. "She believed in our history, our culture. And she understood the position of a woman, and that is to lead her people, and she did so with grace, humility, decisiveness and with vision."

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Thursday, April 1st, 2010
8:37 pm - Plant Oils Highly Effective Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria
clipped from www1.voanews.com
Researchers say oils distilled from plants are highly effective against drug-resistant bacterial infections and could prove to be an inexpensive way to combat super-bugs found in hospital settings.
For hundreds of years, different cultures have used so-called essential oils from plants to treat a variety of illnesses from arthritis to skin infections and sore throats.
Now, researchers at the Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands in Greece have found that plant oils are a powerful weapon against multi-drug-resistant staphylococcus aureas or MRSA, a bacterium that causes hospital-acquired infections and is dangerous because it frequently does not respond to a range of antibiotics.
"We didn't know that essential oils were going to have that a great anti-microbial activity.  And it's really amazing that they are killing all these bacteria and yeasts as well," Eriotou said.
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