Wednesday Reads: Mummy Lobotomy

d5dc4bcfa8ec173bf86557ad05204d1aGood Morning

Well, my laptop is the shop…I am writing this post on my daughter’s computer, and can’t seem to get the feel of her keypad. There  is news about George Zimmerman, and Hugo Chavez is dead. Meanwhile we have a sequester still going on…and no end in sight.

Since this keyboard is giving me problems, I will give you the news reads in link dump fashion.

George Zimmerman Waives Right To ‘Stand Your Ground’ Hearing In Stunning Twist To Trayvon Martin Case

…in a stunning twist of events Tuesday morning, George Zimmerman’s attorneys waived their client’s right to a scheduled April 22 hearing that was to be held under the law that has sparked so much debate, ABC news reports.

Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer who is facing second-degree murder charges for the shooting of 17-year-old Martin, is awaiting trial set for June 10, 2013. His counsel’s move waiving his right to the April hearing leaves open the opportunity for it to be rolled into Zimmerman’s trial this summer, and gives the defense more time to prepare, an obvious concern after a motion to delay the proceedings was denied.

The Orlando Sentinel reports: George Zimmerman stand your ground hearing: Witness in Zimmerman case caught in lie

Trayvon Martin‘s girlfriend, the state’s most important witness in the George Zimmerman murder case, was caught in a lie, it was revealed Tuesday.

It was not the first piece of misinformation tied to her, but it was the most damaging to date and left prosecutors in a very awkward position.

They had to publicly acknowledge that their star witness had lied under oath and had to answer questions about what they intend to do about it.

Reporters asked: Will you charge the 19-year-old Miami woman with perjury?

The state’s lead prosecutor, Bernie de la Rionda, gave an ambiguous answer: “You can all read the law and make your own decision.”

The woman had told prosecutors she was in the hospital on the day of Trayvon’s funeral.

“In fact, she lied,” defense attorney Don West said.

I don’t know about the girlfriends testimony, but we all know that Zimmerman’s wife lied…guess we just have to see how this plays out.

On to Hugo Chavez, via New York Times: Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan President, Dies

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela died Tuesday afternoon after a struggle with cancer, the government announced, leaving behind a bitterly divided nation in the grip of a political crisis that grew more acute as he languished for weeks, silent and out of sight, in hospitals in Havana and Caracas.

Close to tears and his voice cracking, Vice President Nicolás Maduro said he and other officials had gone to the military hospital where Mr. Chávez was being treated, sequestered from the public, when “we received the hardest and most tragic information that we could transmit to our people.”

You can read the rest of the obit at the link.

About the sequester: Do not resuscitate by Political Cartoonist John Darkow

128195 600 Do not resuscitate cartoons

There is a great link from Andrew Sullivan’s blog,  The Writer’s Wound « The Dish

And on Facebook, this is porn: Facebook Fail: It’s Not Porn, Morans | La Figa

This image has been repeatedly removed from Facebook user profiles because it’s been reported as pornography/nudity. Fail and fie on Facebook, or rather on the blue-stocking, onion-eyed morans who keep reporting it and the overworked outsourced workers who have no clue.

Facebook has a strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content and any explicitly sexual content where a minor is involved. We also impose limitations on the display of nudity. We aspire to respect people’s right to share content of personal importance, whether those are photos of a sculpture like Michelangelo’s David or family photos of a child breastfeeding.

How is an image of double mastectomy survivor with a full-breast plate tattoo any more “pornographic” than a family photo of breast feeding?  And really, who cares? Can’t FB maybe focus on the slew of obvious porn (full closeup insertion) profiles that keep showing up in our  “people you might know” columns (and maybe figure out who is trafficking those women)? Dog-fighting and neo-Nazi hate pages?

On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly loses it: Confronted With Facts, O’Reilly Screams “Bullshit” | Blog | Media Matters for America

Buzzfeed has a story on: Kirsten Gillibrand Is On A Women’s Rights Mission

Let’s end this post with a couple of mummies….fossils.

Here is a story about an ancient grave, this one is about a Woolly rhino site reveals ancient British temperature

This other ancient grave also has been giving up some secrets: New Mummy Analysis Shows Advances in Dark Age Biology | Geekosystem

Mummies are everywhere – not just Egyptian tombs and Hollywood movie sets, but in almost every part of the world. Hailing from China, Peru, Chile, the Canary Islands, the preserved, unwalking dead populate history. Even Italy. If you’ve never seen any specials on the mummies discovered beneath Rome or Sicily (8,000+ mummies in the Capuchin Catacombs alone!), you’re missing out on some mind-blowing cultural views and some spectacular nightmare fuel. The general conclusion is, wow, our ancestors really thought long and hard about death, preservation, and creepy ways to remind us of our own mortality. But sometimes the mummies we find tell us what our ancestors knew about biology — about life – not just the innovations of death. Today’s example: New analysis of a Dark Age mummy reveals that its preparator knew more about science than we thought.

This isn’t the oldest mummy, nor even a complete one, and there’s no funereal wrappings to be found. It’s just the head-and-shoulders of a man with the top of his skull and brain removed. Radiocarbon dated between A.D. 1200 and A.D.1280, it’s the oldest known example we have of “preserved human dissection.” No one knows who the guy was or why he in particular was chosen for anatomical preservation, but the scars on the face — made by rodents and insect larvae — suggest it may not have been a voluntary role. Gruesome, to be sure, but fascinating.

And check this: They found that the arteries and veins of the mummy were filled with a blend of beeswax, lime, and mercury, which formed an ingenious mixture that not only aided in preservation but gave the circulatory system greater visibility and color. Given that this corpse was handled in the Dark Ages — a time in history we tend to associate with ignorance and barbarism — this should sound like some cadaverous form of alchemy, but it’s surprisingly scientific in its effectiveness. Physician and forensic scientist Philippe Charlier at the University Hospital R. Poincare in France told LiveScience, “It’s state-of-the-art [for the time period]. I suppose that the preparator did not do this just one time, but several times, to be so good at this.”

There have been other examples of anatomical study in medieval times, but none quite so far back and none intended to be preserved dissection specimens. In 1308, for example, nuns dissected the body of abbess Chiara of Montefalco (who was sainted more than 500 years later) and allegedly found a tiny crucifix in her heart and three gallstones in her gallbladder (which the nuns took as symbolic of the Holy Trinity). Different reasons for dissection, of course, and very different conclusions.

Isn’t this story interesting?

Enjoy your day, and please let us know what you are reading about this morning…


21 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Mummy Lobotomy”

  1. Banjoville is covered in snow this morning. Y’all be careful out there!

    WordPress is also running slow, but it seems everything is slow this morning. Here are some news updates:

    Winter storm starts slowly; forecasters still predict major accumulation – The Washington Post

    Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor at helm in Venezuela, for time being – CBS News

    and another fossil story: Camel Fossil Found in Canada’s Arctic –

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I posted a comment here awhile ago and now it’s nowhere to be found!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    ABC’s Deeply Misleading Sequestration Poll — Yglesias

    ABC is out with an extremely Republican-friendly sequestration poll noting that most voters say they back the idea of a 5-percent cut in federal spending, but cutting the military is unpopular. I have no doubt that’s an accurate reflection of public opinion, but it’s also an extremely misleading way to frame it.

    The correct context for this is a Pew poll which asked about many categories of spending, and found majority support for cuts in exactly zero categories. Decrease spending is a plurality position on foreign aid and nothing else. For the State Department and aid to the unemployed, keeping spending constant is the plurality position, but spending hawks outnumber increasers. On every other category, more voters prefer an increase in spending to a decrease. In some categories (military, 32-24; aid to the domestic poor 27-24) the margin is relatively narrow, whereas in others (Social Security, 41-10; veterans, 53-6) the margin is enormous.

    • RalphB says:

      The poll was done by Gary Langer and Assoc. I wouldn’t bet a penny it was an accurate reflection of public opinion at all.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I’m watching the Judiciary Committee testimony by Eric Holder.

  5. RalphB says:

    Repubs just can’t leave women alone. I doubt the House Democrats will let all the crap through without a fight. Unless they are in complete surrender mode.

    Ed Kilgore: Ghost Riders

    Yesterday I noted that the House Republican appropriations measure for the rest of the fiscal year generally confirmed the post-sequester level of spending for most major budget categories, but contained several provisions boosting funds for assorted conservative pet rocks. As more people stare at the document, it’s also becoming clear it will have some “riders,” or non-funding-related policy initiatives that represent sops to the activist “base” for Republicans and poison pills for Democrats.

    One of those “ghost riders” that has come back with a vengeance from last year’s political fights involves, of course, that great offense to patriarchs everywhere, the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate. The Hill’s Sam Baker reports:

    A group of House Republicans said Tuesday that a bill to fund the federal government should include provisions targeting the contraception mandate in President Obama’s healthcare law….

    “This attack on religious freedom demands immediate congressional action,” the 14 lawmakers wrote. “Nothing short of a full exemption for both nonprofit and for-profit entities will satisfy the demands of the Constitution and common sense.”

    • RalphB says:

      Well fuck …

      House Republicans passed legislation on Wednesday effectively funding the federal government through September 30 in an effort to avoid a government shutdown fight. The vote margin was 267-151, with numerous Democrats joining the final tally once it was obvious Republicans could muscle the bill through. Democrats generally remain opposed to the GOP spending bill.

  6. RalphB says:

    This is a huge story in my estimation. Note the New York Times stumbled on it years ago and kept their mouths shut. Rumsfeld, Petraeus and the others are war criminals and should be tried as such!

    The Guardian: Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres

    Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows.

    After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the membership of the special police commandos was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups like the Badr brigades.

    The allegations made by both American and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, for the first time implicates US advisers in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that General David Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse. Coffman reported to Petraeus and described himself in an interview with the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes as Petraeus’s “eyes and ears out on the ground” in Iraq.

    Gilles Peress, a photographer, came across Steele when he was on assignment for the New York Times, visiting one of the commando centres in the same library, in Samarra. “We were in a room in the library interviewing Steele and I’m looking around I see blood everywhere.”

    The reporter Peter Maass was also there, working on the story with Peress. “And while this interview was going on with a Saudi jihadi with Jim Steele also in the room, there were these terrible screams, somebody shouting ‘Allah, Allah, Allah!’. But it wasn’t kind of religious ecstasy or something like that, these were screams of pain and terror.”

    Just before Petraeus and Steele left Iraq in September 2005, Jabr al-Solagh was appointed as the new minister of the interior. Under Solagh, who was closely associated with the violent Badr Brigades militia, allegations of torture and brutality against the commandoes soared. It was also widely believed that the unit had evolved into death squads.

    The Guardian has learned that high-ranking Iraqis who worked with the US after the invasion had warned Petraeus of the consequences of appointing Solagh to the interior ministry but their pleas had been ignored.

    The long-term impact of funding and arming this paramilitary force was to unleash a deadly sectarian force that terrorised the Sunni community and helped germinate a civil war that claimed tens of thousands of lives. At the height of that sectarian conflict, 3,000 bodies a month were strewn on the streets of Iraq.

  7. RalphB says:

    Govt Report: We wasted a ton of money in Iraq. Really?!?!?!?!

  8. bostonboomer says:

    I think the “Harlem Shake” thing has died an ugly death.

  9. janicen says:

    I want points for winning the “Which dictator will fall first?” discussion. It was the end of December, 2011 and this blog asked ten(?) questions/predictions for the upcoming year. One of the questions was, “Which dictator will be the first to fall?” Everyone else picked Assad, I was the only to choose Chavez. Okay, wrong year, but I declare victory! 😀