7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

There are landmarks all around the world that excite, delight, and pique your curiosity. It doesn’t matter if the landmarks are human-made, naturally occurring, or even on dry land—they are sure to be impressive, and when they’re underwater, you’ll be wrapped in a quiet enveloping silence that is sure to leave you in awe.

Chuuk Lagoon – Micronesia

Credit: Chris Holman / Shutterstock.com

A shipwreck that will excite even the most casual wreck enthusiast, Chuuk (also called Truk Lagoon) was a stronghold of Japan during WWII. It was bombed in 1944 and now boasts a ghost fleet of 60 ships and almost 300 airplanes. Inside the ships, a guided snorkeling tour can highlight some of the forgotten gas masks, ammunition, and guns, all settled on the sea floor. This underwater site is also home to reef sharks and a colorful array of ships.

Green Lake – Styria, Austria

Credit: Janik Rybicka / Shutterstock.com

Up until mid-June, you would not know that Greek Lake is actually one of the most sought-after underwater sites for snorkeling tours. In June, snow from the Hochschwab Mountains melts, and this Austrian park transforms into an underwater gem for a few weeks. The lake, which is generally just a meter deep, becomes 12 meters deep. Trees, benches, and picnic tables all become submerged for a short time every year. This meltwater lake doubles in size every year when the snow from the Karst Mountains also melts. A snorkeling tour will make you feel like you are in a forgotten world since the entire park is submerged.

Yonaguni Monument – Okinawa, Japan

Credot: Yong Hoon Choi / Shutterstock.com

No one can quite decide the origin of this underwater site, but one thing is for sure – it is exciting and captivating. When first discovered, Japanese divers thought it might be a temple. Standing almost 90 feet tall in the East China Sea, snorkeling explorers discovered solid rock slabs shaped like a pyramid. Years after its discovery, no one is quite sure what the underwater site actually is, but it is delightful all the same.

Jacob’s Well – Wimberly, Texas

Credit: RobertDowner / iStock

Even though it’s known as one of the most dangerous places in the world to dive, Jacob’s Well is a popular summer attraction. Inside the well, there are four chambers. The first is a straight-down, 30-foot dive; the second is deeper at 80 feet; and the final two chambers are generally reserved for only experienced divers.

Underwater Post Office – Vanuatu

Credit: Turbo989 / iStock

The world’s first underwater post office is nine feet underwater and almost two hundred feet from shore. When you are ready to mail an underwater letter, schools of shimmering fish and other exotic marine life are your post office companions. Though the post office sustained some damage in 2014, it is still operational. Just look for the yellow mailbox and you can mail a waterproof postcard to just about anywhere in the world.

Neptune Memorial Reef – Key Biscayne, Florida

Credit: Linda Bucklin / Shutterstock.com

With plans to become the world’s largest human-made reef, this underwater site takes being buried at sea to a completely new level. It has been modeled after the famed underwater city Atlantis and has stone lions guarding the entrance. Since its inception, there have been almost 1,000 placements of cremated remains mixed with concrete and placed into the reef. At full capacity, this reef will be able to hold 125,000 sets of remains. This snorkeling tour is not for the faint of heart, but it is sure to be memorable.

Vaersenbaai Car Piles – Curacao

Credit: Sascha Caballero / Shutterstock.com

No snorkeling vacation would be complete without a visit to the candy-colored island of Curacao. Along the island’s southern coast, there are plenty of easy dives and snorkeling options. What sets this island apart from all others are the innumerable classic cars sunk off the coast. Classics from the 40s and 50s were junked and sunk with large heavy-duty cranes in an attempt to create a barrier reef. Though the reef did not flourish, the cars remained, making this an excellent photo opp for an underwater site tour.

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9 Things You Never Knew About Boston

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

9 Things You Never Knew About Boston

Boston was the first New World city to defy the English Crown. And, when colonists dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor in 1773, their actions set off a chain of events that led to the Revolutionary War. Today, Boston is the 10th largest metropolitan city in America and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Of course, there’s much more to Boston than just the Tea Party. Here are nine things you never knew about Boston.

Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” Hosts Both Outdoor Enthusiasts and Ghost Hunters

Boston's "Emerald Necklace" Hosts Both Outdoor Enthusiasts and Ghost Hunters

Credit: DenisTangneyJr/ iStock 

Locals call the 1,100-acre chain of parkland surrounding Boston the “Emerald Necklace.” The nine parks within are connected by a series of walkways and waterways. The preserve also includes the famous Boston Common. There, more than 1,000 British Revolutionary War soldiers and patriots from the Boston Tea Party are buried in the Central Burying Ground. Given the history, it’s no wonder the area is a hotspot for ghost tours.

Walkers and joggers can be found traversing the 1.5-mile path around Jamaica Pond in the summer. The Boston Public Garden is also a popular summer destination. Meanwhile, the Boston Common Frog Pond is a favorite with ice skaters in the winter. If you’re a nature enthusiast, you’ll love the 527-acre Franklin Park, the largest in the Emerald Necklace. The park also hosts its own zoo, which is open seven days a week and features exotic creatures like African lions and green anacondas.

Happy Hour Is Illegal in Boston — But You’ll Still Find Plenty of Drinking Here

Happy Hour Is Illegal in Boston — But You'll Still Find Plenty of Drinking Here

Credit: PeopleImages/ iStock 

You won’t find Happy Hour in Boston. Under Massachusetts law, it’s illegal for any pub to serve Happy Hour discounted drinks. But, for those who want to kick back and have a cold one, Boston has you covered. There are many great breweries and bars to visit throughout the city. In fact, its best pubs offer more than just craft beer; they serve some of the best pub food you’ll find in the Northeast.

If you’re up for it, sign up for a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery, a must for any Boston visitor. For an even more engaging experience, head over to the Beantown Pub. It’s the only place in the world where you can drink a Sam Adams beer while gazing out at Samuel Adams’ resting place on the Freedom Trail Burying Grounds. Boston is also home to Trillium Brewing Company, which was listed as the third-best brewery in the world in 2019.

A Transportation Quarter-Stack Sits Over the Charles River

A Transportation Quarter-Stack Sits Over the Charles River

Credit: DenisTangneyJr/ iStock 

Locals say the Boston University Bridge is one of the only places in the world to see a “boat… sail[ing] under a train running under a car driving under an airplane.” This state of affairs is possible because the Grand Junction Railway Bridge lies directly underneath the main bridge carrying Route 2 from Boston to Cambridge.

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Boston Is the Land of Many Firsts

Boston Is the Land of Many Firsts

Credit: wbritten/ iStock 

Because of its storied history, Boston is home to many firsts in the United States. The first lighthouse was constructed in Boston, along with the first chocolate factory, subway, public beach, library, and elementary school. Plus, we’ve already mentioned the first public park — Boston Common.

But, let’s talk about the first lighthouse in America. That would be Boston Light, which illuminated a safe path to Boston Harbor until 1776. The British blew up the lighthouse before vacating Boston, but it was rebuilt in 1783. Today, the lighthouse still stands and is the second-oldest working lighthouse in the United States.

And, if you want to visit the first public beach in America, head to Revere Beach, where you can enjoy water sports and attend the annual International Sand Sculpting Festival in July.

A Molasses Flood Once Engulfed Parts of the City

A Molasses Flood Once Engulfed Parts of the City

Credit: Brent Hofacker/ Shutterstock

In what became a very sticky situation, a large storage tank of molasses burst onto the Boston waterfront community in 1919. Two-million gallons of molasses rushed through the streets at speeds of up to 35 miles-per-hour. Today, you won’t find a hint of molasses on the streets of Boston, but Bostonians still enjoy plenty of molasses in their baked beans.

Several Bizarre Laws From Puritan Days Still Remain on the Books

Several Bizarre Laws From Puritan Days Still Remain on the Books

Credit: Sean Pavone/ iStock 

Boston’s laws date back to the time of the first Puritan landing. Although many of those laws remain on the books, they aren’t enforced. For example, it’s illegal to take a bath in Boston without a doctor’s prescription, but it’s also illegal NOT to bathe before bed. Meanwhile, goatees require a license to wear, and it’s illegal to eat more than three sandwiches at a wake. In addition, roosters can’t enter bakeries, and gorillas must never ride in the backseat of cars.

The Biggest Art Heist in History Occurred in Boston

The Biggest Art Heist in History Occurred in Boston

Credit: Sean Dungan/ CC BY-SA 4.0

In 1990, a group of unknown robbers pulled off the largest art heist in history at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The thieves tied up the museum guards and made off with about $500 million dollars worth of art by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, and Flinck. They were never caught and the stolen items were never found.

Boston is home to more than 50 museums. If you’re a history buff, this city should keep you busy for a while. You can see Egyptian mummies and Impressionist art at the Museum of Fine Arts or catch interactive dinosaur displays at the Museum of Science. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Harvard Museum of Natural History, where you’ll see mounted wildlife specimens from all over the world.

A Great Fire Once Leveled Boston

A Great Fire Once Leveled Boston

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One of the worst fires in history, the Great Fire of Boston occurred in 1872 and destroyed 770 buildings. Luckily, Boston established America’s first fire department in 1679, so efforts to stop the fire proved successful. About 1,700 firefighters from Boston and the surrounding area showed up to fight the intense blaze. Fortunately, they were able to save most of the civilians in the city. For more about the Great Boston Fire of 1872, head over to the Boston Fire Museum.

Boston’s Land Mass Extends Into the Sea

Boston's Land Mass Extends Into the Sea

Credit: roman_slavik/ iStock

When the Puritans first established Boston, it was located on a small peninsula spanning just 800 acres. However, as the colony grew, the need for land intensified. Using fill from neighboring regions, residents extended the original shoreline. Today, you can see how Boston has grown by using this USGS (United States Geological Survey) tool to see historical maps of the city.

Skull Found in Amber Reveals Tiny Toothed Bird

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GIZMODO)

 

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A beautifully preserved skull of a 99-million-year-old bird found trapped in Burmese amber.
A beautifully preserved skull of a 99-million-year-old bird found trapped in Burmese amber.
Image: Lida Xing

The tiny skull of a hummingbird-size dinosaur has been found trapped in amber, raising important questions about the evolution of birds and the surprisingly early trend toward miniaturization.

The Mesozoic is famous for producing gigantic animals, but as new research published today in Nature reveals, this era also featured animals of an astonishingly small size.

A 7-millimeter-long skull found trapped in amber represents a new species of bird-like dinosaur, which its discoverers named Oculudentavis khaungraae. The beaked animal lived 99 million years ago during the Cretaceous period of Myanmar, and it’s now considered the smallest dinosaur in the fossil record.

“It’s the weirdest fossil I’ve ever been lucky enough to study,” said Jingmai O’Connor, the lead author of the study and a paleontologist from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, China, in a press release. “I just love how natural selection ends up producing such bizarre forms.”

Artist’s interpretation of Oculudentavis khaungraae preying upon an insect.
Artist’s interpretation of Oculudentavis khaungraae preying upon an insect.

Over the years, paleontologists have collected amber fossils containing all sorts of organisms and biological material, including plantsfeathersticksfliesbeetlesfrogsmollusks, and even bits of the occasional bird. Amber fossils are exceptionally valuable in that they preserve details of extinct organisms in ways that other fossils cannot. This is “particularly the case for tiny animals that lived in trees,” said Luis Chiappe, a co-author of the study and a researcher at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, in a press release.

Using high-resolution synchrotron CT scanning, the researchers were able to study the fossil in exquisite detail, without having to crack it open. The skull measures just 7.1 millimeters in length, which is comparable in size to the skull of a bee hummingbird, the smallest modern bird living today.

“The discovery suggests that miniature body sizes in birds evolved earlier than previously recognized, and might provide insights into the evolutionary process of miniaturization,” wrote Roger Benson, a paleobiologist from the University of Oxford who wasn’t involved with the research, in a Nature News & Views article. “In this case, weighing perhaps 2 grams, Oculudentavis is about one-sixth of the size of the smallest known early fossil bird. This indicates that, only shortly after their origins late in the Jurassic period (which lasted from about 201 million to 145 million years ago), birds had already attained their minimum body sizes.”

Unlike modern hummingbirds, who use their beaks to sip nectar from flowers, Oculudentavis had a beak adorned with dozens of sharp teeth. In fact, with an estimated 29 or 30 teeth, Oculudentavis has more teeth than any other bird found in the fossil record. And yes, unlike birds living today, many birds from the Mesozoic had teeth.

To house all these teeth, Oculudentavis had an exceptionally long tooth row that extended all the way back to just under its large eye. So distinctive is this feature that the researchers chose to name it Oculudentavis, which means “eye-tooth” in Latin. The authors speculate that this Cretaceous bird used its many teeth to munch on various insects.

CT scan of Oculudentavis skull.
CT scan of Oculudentavis skull.
Image: L. Xing et al., 2020/Nature

“This diet differs considerably from the nectar-based diet of the smallest living birds, and suggests that extinct and living birds took different paths to miniaturization,” wrote Benson, adding that it’s not clear how an animal’s diet might be involved in this evolutionary process.

Oculudentavis also featured an exceptionally large eye socket, one comparable to lizards. Its eyes would’ve bulged out sideways from its tiny head as it searched for food and strayed away from potential predators. The small aperture in its eye bone allowed for a limited amount of incoming light, which suggests it was active during the day.

That said, the researchers aren’t entirely sure how its visual system actually worked, as it’s unlike anything seen in living birds. Its eyebones are similar to those in owls, a nocturnal animal whose eyes face forward, but Oculudentavis had a gaze that looked sideways and was likely active during the day.

As to why certain birds were prone to miniaturization, the authors can only speculate, but as is so often the case in evolution, it’s the environment that matters most.

“Animals that become very small have to deal with specific problems, like how to fit all sensory organs into a very small head, or how to maintain body heat,” explained O’Connor in the press release. “This process—called miniaturization—commonly occurs in isolated environments, most famously islands. It is no wonder that the 99 million year old Burmese amber is thought to have come from an ancient island arc [in northern Myanmar].”

Artist’s interpretation of the Oculudentavis skull.
Artist’s interpretation of the Oculudentavis skull.
Image: L. Xing et al., 2020/Nature

O’Connor said miniaturization is typically associated with such things as the loss of teeth and unusually large eyes, but “since Oculudentavis has more teeth than usual, it shows that evolution doesn’t always follow the rules,” she said.

Of course, Oculudentavis might not even be a bird—a possibility proposed by the authors—but its large eye socket, combined with its pointed beak, are features only found together in birds. So Oculudentavis was very likely a bird, also known as an avian dinosaur. As an aside, all birds alive today—whether ostrich or hummingbird or penguin or parrot—are avian dinosaurs, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

As to Oculudentavis’s place within the evolutionary family tree, the authors slotted it in between Archaeopteryx and Jeholornis, two primitive bird species that lived between 155 million and 120 million years ago in China. That’s a bold decision, given that the Oculudentavis fossil was dated to 99 million years ago. Other paleontologists may take exception to this, demanding that more fossil evidence be collected from the many millions of years that separate Oculudentavis from these ancient bird species.

On a related note, the authors failed to include Fukuipteryx prima—the second-most primitive flying dinosaur in the fossil record—in their phylogenetic analysis. This creature lived 120 million years ago, but it likely emerged long before that, causing scientists to bump Jeholornis down a notch on the evolutionary family tree, making it the third-most primitive bird known in the fossil record. The inclusion of Oculudentavis now complicates this even further, with the authors claiming the bird as among the most primitive known to science.

As always, more fossil evidence would help clear up these debates. We just have to keep on digging and hope that, every once in a while, we find something as extraordinary as this most recent amber fossil.

George is a senior staff reporter at Gizmodo.

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Tanzania: Truth Knowledge And The History Of This Great Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Tanzania

Introduction Shortly after achieving independence from Britain in the early 1960s, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form the nation of Tanzania in 1964. One-party rule came to an end in 1995 with the first democratic elections held in the country since the 1970s. Zanzibar’s semi-autonomous status and popular opposition have led to two contentious elections since 1995, which the ruling party won despite international observers’ claims of voting irregularities.
History Tanzania as it exists today consists of the union of what was once Tanganyika and the islands of Zanzibar. Formerly a German colony from the 1880s through 1919, the post-World War 1 accords and the League of Nations charter designated the area a British Mandate (except for a small area in the northwest, which was ceded to Belgium and later became Rwanda and Burundi).

British rule came to an end in 1961 after a relatively peaceful (compared with neighbouring Kenya, for instance) transition to independence. At the forefront of the transition was Julius Nyerere, a former schoolteacher and intellectual who entered politics in the early 1950s. In 1953 he was elected president of Tanganyika African Association (TAA), a civic organization dominated by civil servants, that he had helped found while a student at Makerere University. In 1954 he transformed TAA into the politically oriented Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU’s main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika. A campaign to register new members was launched, and within a year TANU had become the leading political organisation in the country. Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as Prime Minister when Tanganyika became officially independent in 1961.

Soon after independence, Nyerere’s first presidency took a turn to the Left after the Arusha Declaration, which codified a commitment to Pan-African Socialism, social solidarity, collective sacrifice and “ujamaa” (familyhood). After the Declaration, banks were nationalised as were many large industries.

After the leftist Zanzibar Revolution overthrowing the Sultan in neighboring Zanzibar, which had become independent in 1963, the island merged with mainland Tanganyika to form the nation of Tanzania on April 26, 1964. The union of the two, hitherto separate, regions was controversial among many Zanzibaris (even those sympathetic to the revolution) but was accepted by both the Nyerere government and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar owing to shared political values and goals.

After the fall of commodity prices and the sharp spike of oil prices in the late 1970s, Tanzania’s economy took a turn for the worse. Tanzania also aligned with Communist China, seeking Chinese aid in Tanzania’s socialist endeavor. The Chinese were quick to comply, but with the catch that all projects be completed by imported Chinese labor. This was coupled with the fact that Tanzanians’ forced relocation onto collective farms greatly disrupted agricultural efficiency and output. As a result of forced relocation, Tanzania turned from a nation of struggling sustenance farmers into a nation of starving collective farmers. The 1980s left the country in disarray as economic turmoil shook the commitments to social justice and it began to appear as if the project of socialism was a lost cause. Although it was a deeply unpopular decision, the Tanzanian government agreed to accept conditional loans from the International Monetary Fund in the mid 1980s and undergo “Structural Adjustment”, which amounted in concrete terms to a large-scale liquidation of the public sector (rather large by African standards), and deregulation of financial and agricultural markets. Educational as well as health services, however modest they may have been under the previous model of development, were not spared from cuts required by IMF conditionalities.

From the mid 1980s through the early 1990s Tanzania’s GDP grew modestly, although Human Development Indexes fell and poverty indicators increased.

Geography Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique
Geographic coordinates: 6 00 S, 35 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 945,087 sq km
land: 886,037 sq km
water: 59,050 sq km
note: includes the islands of Mafia, Pemba, and Zanzibar
Area – comparative: slightly larger than twice the size of California
Land boundaries: total: 3,861 km
border countries: Burundi 451 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 459 km, Kenya 769 km, Malawi 475 km, Mozambique 756 km, Rwanda 217 km, Uganda 396 km, Zambia 338 km
Coastline: 1,424 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: varies from tropical along coast to temperate in highlands
Terrain: plains along coast; central plateau; highlands in north, south
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Kilimanjaro 5,895 m
Natural resources: hydropower, tin, phosphates, iron ore, coal, diamonds, gemstones, gold, natural gas, nickel
Land use: arable land: 4.23%
permanent crops: 1.16%
other: 94.61% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,840 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 91 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 5.18 cu km/yr (10%/0%/89%)
per capita: 135 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: flooding on the central plateau during the rainy season; drought
Environment – current issues: soil degradation; deforestation; desertification; destruction of coral reefs threatens marine habitats; recent droughts affected marginal agriculture; wildlife threatened by illegal hunting and trade, especially for ivory
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: Kilimanjaro is highest point in Africa; bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world’s second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world’s second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest
Politics Tanzania’s president and National Assembly members are elected concurrently by direct popular vote for five-year terms. The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government’s leader in the National Assembly. The president selects his cabinet from among National Assembly members. The Constitution also empowers him to nominate ten non-elected members of Parliament, who also are eligible to become cabinet members. Elections for president and all National Assembly seats were held in December 2005.

The unicameral National Assembly elected in 2000 has 295 members. These 295 members include the Attorney General, five members elected from the Zanzibar House of Representatives to participate in the Parliament, the special women’s seats which are made up of 20% of the seats that a given party has in the House, 181 constituent seats of members of Parliament from the mainland, and 50 seats from Zanzibar. Also in the list are forty-eight appointed for women and the seats for the 10 nominated members of Parliament. At present, the ruling CCM holds about 93% of the seats in the Assembly. Laws passed by the National Assembly are valid for Zanzibar only in specifically designated union matters.

Zanzibar’s House of Representatives has jurisdiction over all non-union matters. There are currently seventy-six members in the House of Representatives in Zanzibar, including fifty elected by the people, ten appointed by the president of Zanzibar, five ex officio members, and an attorney general appointed by the president. In May 2002, the government increased the number of special seats allocated to women from ten to fifteen, which will increase the number of House of Representatives members to eighty-one. Ostensibly, Zanzibar’s House of Representatives can make laws for Zanzibar without the approval of the union government as long as it does not involve union-designated matters. The terms of office for Zanzibar’s president and House of Representatives also are five years. The semiautonomous relationship between Zanzibar and the union is a relatively unusual system of government.

Tanzania has a five-level judiciary combining the jurisdictions of tribal, Islamic, and British common law. Appeal is from the primary courts through the district courts, resident magistrate courts, to the high courts, and Court of Appeals. Judges are appointed by the Chief Justice, except those for the Court of Appeals and the High Court who are appointed by the president. The Zanzibari court system parallels the legal system of the union, and all cases tried in Zanzibari courts, except for those involving constitutional issues and Islamic law, can be appealed to the Court of Appeals of the union. A commercial court was established in September 1999 as a division of the High Court.

People Population: 40,213,160
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.5% (male 8,763,471/female 8,719,198)
15-64 years: 53.7% (male 10,638,666/female 10,947,190)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 502,368/female 642,269) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 17.8 years
male: 17.6 years
female: 18.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.072% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 35.12 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 12.92 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -1.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 70.46 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 77.51 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 63.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 51.45 years
male: 50.06 years
female: 52.88 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.62 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 8.8% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.6 million (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 160,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and plague
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Tanzanian(s)
adjective: Tanzanian
Ethnic groups: mainland – African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab); Zanzibar – Arab, African, mixed Arab and African
Religions: mainland – Christian 30%, Muslim 35%, indigenous beliefs 35%; Zanzibar – more than 99% Muslim
Languages: Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages
note: Kiswahili (Swahili) is the mother tongue of the Bantu people living in Zanzibar and nearby coastal Tanzania; although Kiswahili is Bantu in structure and origin, its vocabulary draws on a variety of sources including Arabic and English; it has become the lingua franca of central and eastern Africa; the first language of most people is one of the local languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write Kiswahili (Swahili), English, or Arabic
total population: 69.4%
male: 77.5%
female: 62.2% (2002 census)
Education expenditures: 2.2% of GDP (1999)
Government Country name: conventional long form: United Republic of Tanzania
conventional short form: Tanzania
local long form: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania
local short form: Tanzania
former: United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar
Government type: republic
Capital: name: Dar es Salaam
geographic coordinates: 6 48 S, 39 17 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: legislative offices have been transferred to Dodoma, which is planned as the new national capital; the National Assembly now meets there on a regular basis
Administrative divisions: 26 regions; Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Iringa, Kagera, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Manyara, Mara, Mbeya, Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Pemba North, Pemba South, Pwani, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Singida, Tabora, Tanga, Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North, Zanzibar Urban/West
Independence: 26 April 1964; Tanganyika became independent 9 December 1961 (from UK-administered UN trusteeship); Zanzibar became independent 19 December 1963 (from UK); Tanganyika united with Zanzibar 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar; renamed United Republic of Tanzania 29 October 1964
National holiday: Union Day (Tanganyika and Zanzibar), 26 April (1964)
Constitution: 25 April 1977; major revisions October 1984
Legal system: based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts limited to matters of interpretation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jakaya KIKWETE (since 21 December 2005); Vice President Dr. Ali Mohammed SHEIN (since 5 July 2001); note – the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jakaya KIKWETE (since 21 December 2005); Vice President Dr. Ali Mohammed SHEIN (since 5 July 2001)
note: Zanzibar elects a president who is head of government for matters internal to Zanzibar; Amani Abeid KARUME was reelected to that office on 30 October 2005
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ballot by popular vote for five-year terms (eligible for a second term); election last held 14 December 2005 (next to be held in December 2010); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Jakaya KIKWETE elected president; percent of vote – Jakaya KIKWETE 80.3%, Ibrahim LIPUMBA 11.7%, Freeman MBOWE 5.9%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Bunge (274 seats; 232 members elected by popular vote, 37 allocated to women nominated by the president, 5 to members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives; to serve five-year terms); note – in addition to enacting laws that apply to the entire United Republic of Tanzania, the Assembly enacts laws that apply only to the mainland; Zanzibar has its own House of Representatives to make laws especially for Zanzibar (the Zanzibar House of Representatives has 50 seats elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 14 December 2005 (next to be held in December 2010)
election results: National Assembly – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – CCM 206, CUF 19, CHADEMA 5, other 2, women appointed by the president 37, Zanzibar representatives 5 Zanzibar House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – CCM 30, CUF 19; 1 seat was nullified with a rerun to take place soon
Judicial branch: Permanent Commission of Enquiry (official ombudsman); Court of Appeal (consists of a chief justice and four judges); High Court (consists of a Jaji Kiongozi and 29 judges appointed by the president; holds regular sessions in all regions); District Courts; Primary Courts (limited jurisdiction and appeals can be made to the higher courts)
Political parties and leaders: Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Party of Democracy and Development) or CHADEMA [Bob MAKANI]; Chama Cha Mapinduzi or CCM (Revolutionary Party) [Jakaya Mrisho KIKWETE]; Civic United Front or CUF [Ibrahim LIPUMBA]; Democratic Party [Christopher MTIKLA] (unregistered); Tanzania Labor Party or TLP [Augustine Lyatonga MREME]; United Democratic Party or UDP [John CHEYO]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Economic and Social Research Foundation or ESRF; Free Zanzibar; Tanzania Media Women’s Association or TAMWA
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, C, EAC, EADB, FAO, G-6, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Ombeni Yohana SEFUE
chancery: 2139 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6125
FAX: [1] (202) 797-7408
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Mark GREEN
embassy: 686 Old Bagamoyo Road, Msasani, Dar es Salaam
mailing address: P. O. Box 9123, Dar es Salaam
telephone: [255] (22) 266-8001
FAX: [255] (22) 266-8238, 266-8373
Flag description: divided diagonally by a yellow-edged black band from the lower hoist-side corner; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is blue
Culture The music of Tanzania stretches from traditional African music to the string-based taarab to a distinctive hip hop known as bongo flava. Famous taarab singers names are Abbasi Mzee, Culture Musical Club, Shakila of Black Star Musical Group.

Internationally known traditional artists are Bi Kidude, Hukwe Zawose and Tatu Nane.

Tanzania has its own distinct African rumba music where names of artists/groups like Tabora Jazz, Western Jazz Band, Morogoro Jazz, Volcano Jazz, Simba Wanyika,Remmy Ongala, Ndala Kasheba, NUTA JAZZ, ATOMIC JAZZ, DDC Mlimani Park, Afro 70 & Patrick Balisidya, Sunburst, Tatu Nane and Orchestra Makassy must be mentioned in the history of Tanzanian music.

Tanzania has many writers. The list of writers’ names includes well known writers such as Godfrey Mwakikagile, Mohamed Said, Prof. Joseph Mbele, Juma Volter Mwapachu, Prof. Issa Shivji, Jenerali Twaha Ulimwengu, Prof. Penina Mlama, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Adam Shafi, Dr. Malima M.P Bundala and Shaaban Robert.

Tanzania has remarkable position in art. Two styles became world known: Tingatinga and Makonde. Tingatinga are the popular African paintings painted with enamel paints on canvas. Usually the motives are animals and flowers in colourful and repetitive design. The style was started by Mr. Edward Saidi Tingatinga born in South Tanzania. Later he moved to Dar Es Salaam. Since his death in 1972 the Tingatinga style expanded both in Tanzania and worldwide. Makonde is both a tribe in Tanzania (and Mozambique) and a modern sculpture style. It is known for the high Ujamaas (Trees of Life) made of the hard and dark ebony tree. Tanzania is also a birthplace of one of the most famous African artists – George Lilanga.

Economy Economy – overview: Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than 40% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods. The World Bank, the IMF, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania’s out-of-date economic infrastructure and to alleviate poverty. Long-term growth through 2005 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals led by gold. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Continued donor assistance and solid macroeconomic policies supported real GDP growth of nearly 7% in 2007.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $51.07 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $16.18 billion (2007 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 7.3% (2007 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $1,300 (2007 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 42.5%
industry: 18.9%
services: 38.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 20.04 million (2007 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: 36% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 26.9% (2000)
Distribution of family income – Gini index: 34.6 (2000)
Investment (gross fixed): 23.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $3.561 billion
expenditures: $3.594 billion (2007 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 July – 30 June
Public debt: 19.6% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 16.4% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 16.03% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $2.263 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $2.885 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $2.25 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), cashew nuts, tobacco, cloves, corn, wheat, cassava (tapioca), bananas, fruits, vegetables; cattle, sheep, goats
Industries: agricultural processing (sugar, beer, cigarettes, sisal twine); diamond, gold, and iron mining, salt, soda ash; cement, oil refining, shoes, apparel, wood products, fertilizer
Industrial production growth rate: 9.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity – production: 2.682 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 2.225 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 123 million kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 18.9%
hydro: 81.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil – production: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 27,270 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil – exports: 0 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – imports: 26,760 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas – production: 146 million cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 146 million cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 6.513 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance: -$1.856 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $2.227 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports – commodities: gold, coffee, cashew nuts, manufactures, cotton
Exports – partners: China 10.3%, India 9.7%, Netherlands 6.5%, Germany 6.3%, UAE 4.9% (2007)
Imports: $4.861 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports – commodities: consumer goods, machinery and transportation equipment, industrial raw materials, crude oil
Imports – partners: China 12%, Kenya 8%, South Africa 7.7%, India 6.9%, UAE 5.9% (2007)
Economic aid – recipient: $1.505 billion (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.91 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt – external: $4.382 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – at home: $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad: $NA
Market value of publicly traded shares: $587.9 million (2005)
Currency (code): Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
Currency code: TZS
Exchange rates: Tanzanian shillings (TZS) per US dollar – 1,255 (2007), 1,251.9 (2006), 1,128.93 (2005), 1,089.33 (2004), 1,038.42 (2003)
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 165,013 (2008)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 9.358 million (2008)
Telephone system: general assessment: telecommunications services are inadequate; system operating below capacity and being modernized for better service; small aperture terminal (VSAT) system under construction
domestic: fixed-line telephone network inadequate with less than 1 connection per 100 persons; mobile-cellular service, aided by multiple providers, is increasing; trunk service provided by open-wire, microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, and fiber-optic cable; some links being made digital
international: country code – 255; satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 12, FM 11, shortwave 2 (1998)
Radios: 8.8 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 3 (1999)
Televisions: 103,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .tz
Internet hosts: 24,271 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 6 (2000)
Internet users: 400,000 (2007)
Transportation Airports: 124 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 10
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 114
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 63
under 914 m: 34 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 287 km; oil 891 km (2007)
Railways: total: 3,690 km
narrow gauge: 969 km 1.067-m gauge; 2,721 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 78,891 km
paved: 6,808 km
unpaved: 72,083 km (2003)
Waterways: Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, and Lake Nyasa principal avenues of commerce with neighboring countries; rivers not navigable (2005)
Merchant marine: total: 9
by type: cargo 1, passenger/cargo 4, petroleum tanker 4
registered in other countries: 1 (Honduras 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Dar es Salaam
Transportation – note: the International Maritime Bureau reports the territorial and offshore waters in the Indian Ocean are high risk for piracy and armed robbery against ships; numerous commercial vessels have been attacked and hijacked both at anchor and while underway; crews have been robbed and stores or cargoes stolen
Military Military branches: Tanzanian People’s Defense Force (Jeshi la Wananchi la Tanzania, JWTZ): Army, Naval Wing (includes Coast Guard), Air Defense Command (includes Air Wing), National Service (2007)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 9,108,177 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 5,278,833 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 478,812
female: 479,557 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 0.2% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: Tanzania still hosts more than a half-million refugees, more than any other African country, mainly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite the international community’s efforts at repatriation; disputes with Malawi over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain dormant
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 352,640 (Burundi); 127,973 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2007)
Illicit drugs: growing role in transshipment of Southwest and Southeast Asian heroin and South American cocaine destined for South African, European, and US markets and of South Asian methaqualone bound for southern Africa; money laundering remains a problem

(A Savage Comment) Creationism AND Evolution: There Is Truth In Both Of Them

Creationism AND Evolution: There Is Truth In Both Of Them

 

I am a devout life long Christian yet I have for most of my adult life debated how Christians (for the most part) are so oblivious to reality and to the Truths that are shown us in the Bible. So many people who believe in the Bible as the Holy Spirit Inspired Word Of God (as I also do) tend to read the Bible with ‘Church Doctrine’ blinders on. Back in the time of the Apostles and the time that Jesus walked the Earth when they taught in the Synagogues the people studied the Scriptures to see if what they were being taught was the truth or not. Just because your Preacher or a Church Elder, Bishop, or if you are Catholic, even the Pope, tells you something it is your Christian obligation to search out the Scriptures to see if what you are being told is Biblical truth.

 

Reality is that the ignorance of Christians/Churches have convinced millions if not billions of people throughout history to turn their backs on the Jewish and the Christian faith. Right from the very first book of the Bible (Genesis) Christians and Jews do not understand what we are so plainly being told. Yes the world and all in it were created in six days, but those six days are not, were not, human days, they were God’s days. I nor any other human knows what one of God’s days represent compared to a human day but Scripture tells us over and over again that God’s days are not our days yet humans keep trying to make that be so anyway. Even in our own solar system every single planet that circles the sun has a different amount of our hours in one of their days. Some will, through their ego’s say, well why didn’t Moses just lay it all our for us so we could know exactly everything? Folks, almost all of the humans that were alive about 3,600-3,700 human years ago calculated time through their own ancestors which normally only traversed back 3, 4, or 5 generations at best. Do you honestly think if Moses had started teaching them of thinks that happened 3 or 4 billion years ago that these people would have listened to him? What if Moses had started laying out the lineage of Dinosaurs, what do you think they would have done? My guess is that the people would have shunned him for being a crazy man.

 

Most all of us know some about the story of Adam and Eve from the first two chapters of Genesis but my question to everyone is, just how well have you read it? Have you just taken the word of the Church you attend as to what the Scripture actually is telling us all? Please reread the first two chapters. If you will notice in the first chapter Adam was created but before His creation God created ‘men and women, and, God created He them’. After God had created multiple ‘men and women’ God created Adam. Now in the first chapter, after God did all of His creating of those ‘Six Days’, God rested from His work on the 7th day. Then after all His work was done and He had created the first group of people (the Gentiles) and Adam, then in chapter #2 God then created Eve to be a help mate for Adam. Folks, the ‘promised one, the Messiah, Jesus The Christ’ lineage is traced back through the ‘Royal Blood Line’ to Adam, actually to Eve. There were two human creations, the gentiles, and the Royal Blood Line of Adam. Adam and Eve were about 5,500 human years ago yet humans were on this planet many thousands of years before this time. Jesus Himself referred to us Gentiles as “people before this time whom were not a people”. Jesus was pointing out that before His time here on Earth, before His Resurrection that salvation was only to the Jews and to no one else. So, people who were not a people, Gentiles! These are simple truths laid out in writing for us all to see yet we choose to remain blind. Think about a few things we are told here in the beginning of Genesis. After Cain had murdered his brother Able God banished Cain to the East of Eden in the land of Nod. God put a mark on the forehead of Cain so that “all who find him would not kill him”, folks, all of who? There were only 3 people left on the planet right, just Cain, his Mom Eve and his Dad Adam, so all of whom? Then after Cain had been banished he took a wife, wait a minute, where did she come from? Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible/Torah through the guidance of God’s Spirit, whom we tend to call the Holy Spirit from the New Testament. The Truth of the Scriptures are right before our eyes, but we have been trained not to see the real Truth. We have been taught Church doctrines instead which has run many millions of people away from God’s teachings.

 

If Moses had told the people of his time that the world was about 4-5 billion years old and that the planet we call Earth had started with a big interstellar bang what do you think the people would have done to him? At the very least they would have thought him to be crazy and no one would have paid him any mind. To my Christian and Jewish brothers, yes there were such things as dinosaurs and there has been life on this planet for several hundred millions of human years. I did not say that there has been human life here on Earth for hundreds of millions of our years, just life itself. God does not want us to be ignorant for ignorance begets death, physical and spiritual. Science has pretty much discovered/proven that human life has been on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years, not just the 5,000-5,500 years since Adam and Eve. I am not an archaeologist even though I am a huge fan of history. I know that science has been looking for the so-called ‘missing link’ between Primates and Humans for longer than I have been alive. This is like trying to find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, it doesn’t exist folks.

 

Evolution, is there such a thing? Of course there is folks. As an example I would like to use the people science calls Neanderthals. For most of my life time scientist have wondered what happened to them, why did they go extinct? Just like the people before them who bred with them the same thing happened to them, they were bred out of existence. You can breed cattle with buffalo and you get what is called beefalo. You can take oranges and breed them with tangerines and you get a product called tangelos. In Scripture the ‘House of Israel’ was forbidden to mix blood with any of the Gentiles, if they did then they were counted as not being pure. Humans did not crawl up out of the oceans and even though we have many of the same molecules of other creatures we did not derive from them and they did not derive from us. Today science can create a form of a human being through cloning and some would call this evolution, that we have evolved into a more pure condition but they are ignorant of reality. Science can play God, but they are not God. Just as if I could make an android and give it a human name like George, George is still not a human. The difference in these two creations of science and a real human being is that science can not create ‘a Soul’. It is the Soul that makes the conscientiousness that makes one human and only God can create the Soul. Is there such a thing as evolution, of course there is, just not to the extent that some scientist believe and or are trying to find or create.

 

Science has some things wrong, yet they do have many things correct. Churches have many things correct, yet they have many things wrong. It is the job of the Churches to teach the whole Truth but first the Churches must open their eyes to what the Scriptures actually say and to forget about ‘Church doctrines’. The Earth is a special place for it is designated to be “God’s Footstool”. Earth is where Jesus will reign from once the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven to replace the current city of Jerusalem once it has been totally destroyed after the Second Advent. Now, Christians, wake up to reality about other planets. Do you honestly think that if God is the Creator of all things in the Heavens and on the Earth that He created billions of planets for no purpose or reason at all? To the best of my knowledge I have never seen an alien yet I totally believe that they exist, it would be difficult to honestly believe other wise. Then again there is the issue of, what does an alien actually look like? Personally I have no idea, but I do doubt that they look like humans. Personally I believe in the existence of Angels, I also believe that I have seen and spoken with at least two in my lifetime. I also believe in the existence of Satan and of His Angels, to me, to not believe in both is Biblical ignorance. I personally do not know if I have ever spoken directly with any Demons but I think that there is a very good chance that I have several times. I know that I have experienced being in places and in the presence of a few people where the feeling of pure evil was like a stench in the air, you could feel it, you could almost taste it. Remember, if you spend your life trying to be good and trying your best to be the best follower of Christ that you know how to be, you make yourself a target for the hate of evil ones, humans and otherwise.

(Poem Memories) Sophie

Sophie

 

Even in my blessed old age

This name means a lot to me

Brings back such beautiful memories

My Granny, she had a life way to hard

Lived in the hard times: every day of her life

 

Granny, she would be about 115 these days

I always remember Her as alive, unto this day

Always seemed to have a smile, as she worked away

Loved Her deeply though she always misspelled my name

I pray that she is at peace until the Trumpet of God speaks

 

I still have Her clock that time was taught to me on

Is Sophie a name young girls like being named today

I pray all ye who wear it can do so with Her smile

Sophie, a name etched forever into my heart

Live life full, get out and enjoy it, thank God for it all

Ancient Native American burial site blasted for Trump border wall construction

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Ancient Native American burial site blasted for Trump border wall construction

Crews have been blasting the hillside at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona for sections of the federal government’s barrier.
Gates in the border wall for flooding.

Border wall construction last month up a mountain in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona.Carolyn Van Houten / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

By Erik Ortiz

Red-lettered signs warning of “BLASTING” began appearing over the past week at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a remote desert region in southwestern Arizona bordered by Mexico to the south and a Native American reservation to the east.

Crews have been blasting the hillside while excavators and backhoes clear a path for the towering sections of border wall fast-tracked by the Trump administration — a pace that has environmental groups worried that sacred burial sites and ancestral lands are at risk of being irreversibly harmed.

Laiken Jordahl@LaikenJordahl

BLAST WARNING SIGNALS sign & dead saguaros at Organ Pipe as the Trump administration blows up a sacred mountain for the .

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Since 1976, the 516-square-mile park — home to more than two dozen unique species of cacti and countless wildlife — has been recognized as a UNESCO ecological preserve worth conserving.

“This is a new low even for the Trump administration,” said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity in Arizona who has been documenting the altered landscape.

“They’re moving forward with complete disregard of sacred sites and indigenous sovereignty,” Jordahl said Wednesday.

The controlled blasting, which has taken place in a section of the park known as Monument Hill, is expected to continue intermittently through the end of February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. The agency added that it will “continue to have an environmental monitor present during these activities as well as on-going clearing activities.”

With this latest spurt in construction, Jordahl and others say they’re concerned with how the federal government has gone about building the wall — without any consultation with the Tohono O’odham Nation, a federally recognized tribe that has land and members on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Trump administration has used federal waivers, including of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, to push the project ahead.

Despite lawsuits trying to halt the government’s actions, Jordahl said the process involving Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has been made easier precisely because the area is federally controlled land.

“It’s such a sensitive area environmentally, and it’s heartbreaking to see that what’s happening is because the government controls it because it’s so fragile,” he said. “It’s become a true desecration of indigenous land.”

Since last August, crews began replacing already-existing fencing with a steel bollard wall design.

Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., whose district includes the tribe’s reservation, toured the area last month and highlighted in a video tweeted Sunday that Monument Hill is a resting place for Apache warriors that once did battle with members of the Tohono O’odham Nation. In addition, activists have shared images on social media of ancient saguaro cactuses, many hundreds of years old, either sawed in half or flattened.

Maxie Adler@maxie_adler

Photos from yesterday of construction in Organ Pipe Cactus NM and the heartbreaking graveyard that’s being left in its tracks. New 30ft wall now stretches almost completely from the base of Monument Hill to just 9 miles east of Quitobaquito Springs..

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Bulldozing is also occurring at the park’s Quitobaquito Springs, a natural source of water for the tribe and near where artifacts and human bone fragments have been found, Grijalva said.

“The Trump Administration is bulldozing through sacred sites to act on a campaign talking point, no matter the cost to the people of Southern Arizona,” the congressman told NBC News in a statement. “This destruction of the cultural heritage of the Tohono O’odham people for the purpose of building a monument to his racist policies is irreparable.”

Grijalva said he is working with the Tohono O’odham Nation to demand the Department of Homeland Security “stop this assault on sacred sites.”

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The federal waivers it requested last year were vague in describing how many miles are needed and the locations for the border wall project, according to The Associated Press, although the Center for Biological Diversity said it estimates the plans include about 100 miles in Arizona and California along the southern border.

The wall’s construction has become a central theme of President Donald Trump’s immigration policy. During his State of the Union speech earlier this month, he said more than 500 miles of barriers would be up by early next year.

The Tohono O'odham Nation's reservation includes 62 miles of border between Arizona and Mexico.
The Tohono O’odham Nation’s reservation includes 62 miles of border between Arizona and Mexico.Megan Siquieros

His pledge hasn’t come without a fight from property owners opposed to surrendering their lands to the federal government.

Last fall, the administration began a new approach — preparing to go through federal courts for permission to take over private lands. The move followed Trump’s declaration a year ago of a national emergency along the border, a controversial executive action that was done to free up billions of dollars to fund new border wall projects.

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which borders Mexico for 30 miles, is among the places that have come under scrutiny.

The park was once considered one of the most dangerous in the U.S. and favored by drug smugglers, officials said. In 2002, a park ranger was fatally shot while trying to apprehend two people who were crossing illegally. But with the number of illegal crossings down in recent years, a portion of the park that was once closed to the public was reopened in 2015.

The Tohono O’odham Nation says it is troubled over the future of other sacred sites along the border, including at Las Playas, where a roadway could be built near known ancestral burial grounds containing artifacts dating back some 10,000 years.

Ned Norris Jr., the chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, told The Arizona Republic in January that he wants to see “buffer zones” set up around those sensitive areas.

“How would you feel if someone brought a bulldozer to your family graveyard and started uprooting the graves there?” he asked. “That is the relationship, the significance, that is the impact that we see happening here in that way.”

Do You Actually Own Anything: Or Does The U.S.Federal Government Own It/You?

(This article is courtesy of OPB TV and Radio of eastern Oregon)

News | Nation | Local | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

‘This Land Is Our Land’: The Movement Bigger Than The Bundys

The Pacific Patriots Network surrounded the Harney County Courthouse in January, where they met with Sheriff Dave Ward.

The Pacific Patriots Network surrounded the Harney County Courthouse in January, where they met with Sheriff Dave Ward.

Dave Blanchard/OPB

OPB’s Conrad Wilson and the Oregonian/OregonLive’s Maxine Bernstein update us on the last full week of the government’s case against the Malheur refuge occupiers.

Then, we take a look at the so-called Patriot Movement — a loosely connected network of organizations that are united in the belief the federal government has overstepped its authority.

Mark Potok is a senior fellow with the Southern Poverty Law Center. His job is to monitor groups that are a part of what he calls the “extreme right.” That includes everything from racist groups like the KKK and to groups like the Bundys, whose concerns revolve around severe distrust of the federal government.

Potok says many people in the groups he tracks believe there is “a secret plan to impose draconian gun control on all Americans” and “those who resist the coming seizure will be thrown into concentration camps that have been secretly built by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

SPLC has identified nearly 1,000 groups across the country with these kinds of beliefs and connects the groups to the philosophies that motivated the Ruby Ridge standoff in Idaho; the Waco, Texas, siege; and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Potok says there is a way to curb the movement.

“In the late ‘90s, the FBI made quite an effort … to meet with militiamen, to go out to have coffee to talk to these people about their concerns and fears, and in fact I think there’s a fair amount of evidence to suggest that was quite effective,” Potok said. “You realize the person you’re having coffee with is an actual human being just like you are.”uge

 

Joseph Rice is the head of the Josephine County chapter of the Oath Keepers — a group that Potok sees as central to so-called patriot groups. But Rice thinks SPLC is uninformed about his group.

“I’ve never spoken to those folks,” he said.

Rice was in Harney County when Ammon Bundy led a group to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but Rice and his group didn’t join the occupation. Instead, he and a group of like-minded organizations known as the “Pacific Patriots Network” stuck around to provide security in town. The group said it was there to prevent another Waco or Ruby Ridge-like incident.

Those incidents, he says, were “lessons in history.” The individuals involved in those incidents “were living their life as they chose to live freely, without impact to others. It was only when the federal government came in they had impact, and that resulted in loss of life.”

Though he didn’t endorse it, Rice insists that the takeover of the refuge was an act of civil disobedience. And while he disagrees with the charges against Ammon Bundy and the other defendants, he does think the incident has drawn attention to issues around the federal control of land, which could be good for the aims of his group.

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Dinosaur extinction: ‘Asteroid strike was real culprit’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Dinosaur extinction: ‘Asteroid strike was real culprit’

Media caption Prof Paul Wilson: “The impact event is exactly contemporaneous with the extinction”

Was it the asteroid or colossal volcanism that initiated the demise of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago?

This has been a bit of a “to and fro” argument of late, but now a group of scientists has weighed in with what they claim is the definitive answer.

“It was the asteroid ‘wot dun it’!” Prof Paul Wilson told the BBC.

His team’s analysis of ocean sediments shows that huge volcanoes that erupted in India did not change the climate enough to drive the extinction.

Volcanoes can spew enormous volumes of gases into the atmosphere that can both cool and warm the planet.

And the Deccan Traps, as the volcanic terrain in India is known, certainly had massive scale – hundreds of thousands of cubic km of molten rock were erupted onto the land surface over thousands of years.

But the new research from Southampton University’s Prof Wilson, and colleagues from elsewhere in Europe and the US, indicates there is a mismatch in both the effect and timing of the volcanism’s influence.

The group drilled into the North Atlantic seafloor to retrieve its ancient muds.

“The deep ocean sediments are packed full of these microscopic marine organisms called Foraminifera,” Prof Wilson explained.

“You get about a thousand of them in a teaspoon of sediment. And we can use their shells to figure out the chemistry of the ocean and its temperature, so we can study in great detail the environmental changes that are occurring in the run-up to the extinction event.

“And what we discovered is that the only way in which we can get our (climate) model simulations to match the observed temperature changes is to have the volcanic emissions of harmful gases done and dusted a couple of hundred thousand years before the impact event.

“We find the impact event is exactly contemporaneous with the extinction.”

Investigations of a 200km-wide crater under the Gulf of Mexico suggest it is the scar left by the culprit asteroid.

When it hit the Earth, the city-sized object would immediately have generated tsunami and wide-scale fires – in addition to hurling billions of tonnes of debris in all directions.

But what scientists have also established recently is that the asteroid struck rocks rich in sulphur. When this material was vaporised and ejected into the high atmosphere, it would have led to a rapid and deep cooling of the climate (albeit over a relatively short period), making life a struggle for all sorts of plant and animal life.

As the fossil record shows, the dinosaurs, apart from birds, couldn’t get beyond the stressful environmental changes. In contrast, the mammals could and rose to the prominence they enjoy today.

The new study is published in the journal Science. Its lead author is Dr Pincelli Hull from Yale University.


The impact that changed life on Earth

Drill siteImage copyrightNASA
Image captionToday, the asteroid crater is buried under the Gulf of Mexico
  • Scientists now think a 12km-wide object struck Earth 66 million years ago
  • The crater it produced is about 200km wide and is buried mostly offshore
  • On land, it is covered by limestone, but its rim is traced by an arc of sinkholes
  • Experts drilled into the crater to study its rocks and reconstruct the event
  • They say the impact was more than capable of driving a mass extinction
CenoteImage copyrightMAX ALEXANDER/B612/ASTEROID DAY
Image captionMexico’s famous sinkholes (cenotes) have formed in weakened limestone overlying the crater

Hidden Pyramids In The Samoa’s Jungle

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Hidden deep in Samoa’s thick jungles, along almost impassible rocky footpaths lie what archaeologists have called the South Pacific’s best-kept secret: star mounds. Around 80 of these ancient, star-shaped platforms have sat abandoned for around 300 years, and even after excavation, their significance continues to baffle experts. Now, though, archaeologists and historians are using the largest of these stone marvels to challenge previously held beliefs about Samoan history.

At 12m high and with a base of 65m by 60m, Pulemelei Mound, which is located on the Samoan island of Savai’i, is one the oldest and largest structures in Polynesia. Often referred to as a pyramid despite its flat top, Pulemelei Mound was most likely built in stages starting in 1,000 CE, and the structure contains eight points, or cogs, giving it the look of a star from above. It is almost squarely oriented with the points of the compass and is surrounded by several smaller mounds.

While some locals and experts believe that the pyramid was used for pigeon-snaring competitions, religious ceremonies or meetings, or as a burial monument or lookout platform, no-one has been able to pinpoint its actual significance. But now, new laser mapping of the area surrounding Pulemelei Mound has recently provided a vital clue to archaeologists.

A vast network of ruins was discovered beneath the area in a 2002-to-2004 excavation, and experts believe it is evidence of an entire pre-colonial settlement that flourished before European discovery in 1722. Experts also say that this new discovery proves that Samoa’s population before colonialism was far larger than previously thought, and they now suggest that the Samoan population mortality rate following colonialism was around 80 to 90% in some areas, a steep and shocking increase from the 20-to-50% estimate that was previously accepted.

(Video by Bill Code, text by Emily Cavanagh)

This video is part of BBC Reel’s Secret Worlds playlist.

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