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James J. Williams

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James is a professor in Science. His writing skills brought him to BelleNews. He enjoys writing articles for the Science and Technology category. James often finds himself reading about the latest gadgets as the topic is very appealing to him. He likes reading and listening to classical music.

Mark Moffett, a nature-lover has revealed how he spent two days tracking down a giant insect, weta, on a remote New Zealand island – and got it to eat a carrot out of his hand.

Mark Moffett, 53, from Colorado, found that giant weta, genus Deinacrida of the family Anostostomatidae, is the world’s biggest insect in terms of weight. The insect weighs 71g and is heavier than a sparrow and three times that of a mouse.

The former park ranger discovered the giant weta up a tree and his real life Bug’s Bunny has now been declared the largest ever found.

Mark Moffett came across the cricket-like creature, which has a wing span of 7 inches, after two days of searching on a tiny island.

Giant weta, genus Deinacrida of the family Anostostomatidae, is the world's biggest insect in terms of weight

Giant weta, genus Deinacrida of the family Anostostomatidae, is the world's biggest insect in terms of weight

Giant weta is only found on Little Barrier Island, in New Zealand, although there are 70 other types of smaller weta found throughout the country.

The giants of the species were wiped off the mainland by rats accidentally introduced by Europeans.

After Mark Moffett found the female giant weta he fed it the carrot before putting it back where he found her.

He said: “Three of us walked the trails of this small island for two nights scanning the vegetation for a giant weta.

“We spent many hours with no luck finding any at all, before we saw her up in a tree.

“The giant weta is the largest insect in the world, and this is the biggest one ever found, she weighs the equivalent to three mice.

“She enjoyed the carrot so much she seemed to ignore the fact she was resting on our hands and carried on munching away.

“She would have finished the carrot very quickly, but this is an extremely endangered species and we didn’t want to risk indigestion.

“After she had chewed a little I took this picture and we put her right back where we found her.”

“We bug lovers hear a lot of people who think insects are inferior in some way because of their size, so it was great to see such a big insect.

“This became all the more amazing when we realized that this was the largest insect recorded.”

Giant weta is usually less social and more passive than other weta.

The insect’s diet consists of plants, other small insects and fruit.

Giant weta’ size is an example of island gigantism, which is a biological phenomenon leading to a larger size than their mainland relatives because of their isolation and lack of large predators.

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Svetlana Peters, the only daughter of Soviet dictator Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin has died in Wisconsin, aged 85.

Stalin’s daughter, who famously denounced communism and moved to the United States in the late 1960s, died from colon cancer.

Svetlana Peters’ defection in 1967 – partly motivated by the poor treatment of her late husband, Brijesh Singh, by Soviet authorities – caused an international furor.

Within months, Svetlana Peters published her memoirs about life in Russia, entitled “Twenty Letters to a Friend”, that became a best-seller.

 

Svetlana Peters, the only daughter of Soviet dictator Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin has died in Wisconsin, aged 85

Svetlana Peters, the only daughter of Soviet dictator Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin has died in Wisconsin, aged 85

 

Svetlana Peters, who was known internationally by her previous name, Svetlana Alliluyeva, said her identity involved more than just switching from one side to the other in the Cold War.

Upon her arrival in New York City in 1967 at 41, she said: “I have come here to seek the self-expression that has been denied me for so long in Russia.”

Stalin’s daughter said she had come to doubt the communism she was taught growing up and believed there weren’t capitalists or communists, just good and bad human beings.

In “Twenty Letters to a Friend”, Svetlana Peters recalled her father, who died in 1953 after ruling the nation for 29 years, as a distant and paranoid man.

Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin denounced Svetlana Peters as a “morally unstable” and “sick person”.

“I switched camps from the Marxists to the capitalists,” Svetlana Peters recalled in a 2007 interview. But she said her identity was far more complex than that and never completely understood.

“People say, <<Stalin’s daughter, Stalin’s daughter>>, meaning I’m supposed to walk around with a rifle and shoot the Americans.

“Or they say, <<No, she came here. She is an American citizen>>. That means I’m with a bomb against the others.

“No, I’m neither one. I’m somewhere in between. That <<somewhere in between>> they can’t understand.”

Svetlana Peters’ defection came at a high personal cost. She left two children behind in Russia – Josef and Yekaterina – from previous marriages.

Both her children were upset by her departure, and she was never close to either again.

Svetlana Peters was Stalin’s only daughter. She had two legitimate brothers, Vasili and Jacob.

When Svetlana, also known as Lana in US, was six years old, her mother, Stalin’s second wife, Nadezhda, shot herself after a row over his philandering. Thereafter, Lana was raised by a beloved nanny.

At 17, Stalin’s daughter fell in love for the first time, with a film-maker and writer 22 years her senior named Aleksei Kapler.

But Stalin did not approve of Aleksei Kapler, whom he dismissed as a “Bohemian artist” and a Jew, and banished him to Siberia for ten years.

Incensed that her boyfriend had influenced her to apply for a university fine arts course, Stalin also insisted she study history and become “an educated Marxist”.

Svetlana Peters graduated from Moscow University in 1949, worked as a teacher and translator and travelled in Moscow’s literary circles before leaving the Soviet Union.

Stalin’s daughter was married four times – the last time to William Wesley Peters, an apprentice to the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright. She took the name Lana Peters.

They had a daughter, Olga, before divorcing in 1973.

Svetlana Peters wrote three more books, including “Only One Year”, an autobiography published in 1969. The book made more than $3 million.

Stalin’s legacy appeared to haunt her throughout her life.

Stalin’s daughter denounced his policies, which included sending millions into labor camps.

“Over me my father’s shadow hovers, no matter what I do or say,” Svetlana Peters lamented in a 1983 interview with the Chicago Tribune.

After living in Britain for two years, Svetlana Peters returned to the Soviet Union with Olga in 1984, saying she wanted to be reunited with her children.

Svetlana Peters’ Soviet citizenship was restored, and she denounced her time in the U.S. and Britain, saying she never really had freedom.

But more than a year later, Svetlana Peters asked for and was given permission to leave after feuding with relatives. She returned to the U.S. and vowed never to go back to Russia.

By her later life, Svetlana Peters was fully immersed in American culture, admitted that she enjoyed American food, particularly hamburgers, and American films, and preferred to speak her adopted language.

Svetlana Peters later lived in Cornwall, England for a brief period in the mid 1990s.

A documentary, “Svetlana About Svetlana”, aired at the Madison Film Festival, Wisconsin in 2010. But Svetlana Peters, who did not attend the airing, later expressed regret at taking part, claiming the film-maker Lana Parshina had tricked her.

“This girl (Parshina) told me she was a college film student and she had to present something different,” she said.

“She was young, and I always like to help young people, so I let her in. But she only came to see me twice and she didn’t say she was making a film about my father.

“She just said it was going to be about the way I live now. I wish I didn’t do it. I won’t even make any money out of it. She will make all the money.”

Svetlana Peters went into seclusion in the last decades of her life in Richland Centre, Wisconsin, and relied on a cane after she developing scoliosis – a condition which twists the spine.

Stalin’s daughter survivors include her daughter Olga, who now goes by Chrese Evans and lives in Portland, Oregon, where she manages a clothes shop.

Her second daughter, who was born in 1950, goes by Katya, and is a scientist who studies an active volcano in eastern Siberia.

A son, Josef, died in 2008 at age 63 in Moscow, according to media reports in Russia.

Stalin’s other children:

Yakov Dzhugashvili, born in 1907, was Stalin’s eldest child and was raised by his aunt in Tbilisi, Georgia. During WWII, Yakov fought in Russia’s Red Army and was captured by the Nazis in 1941. He died in a concentration camp in 1943, aged 35. It has been suggested that he ran into an electric fence to kill himself.

Konstantin Kuzakov, born in 1911, was Stalin’s illegitimate second child, whose mother was Stalin’s landlady while he was in exile. In 1932, the Soviet secret police forced him to sign a statement promising he would not reveal Stalin was his father.

He was later a colonel in WWII. After he was accused of being a spy, he was dismissed from the Communist party. He died in 1996.

Vasili Dzhugashvili, born in 1921, was the son of Stalin and his second wife. After her death, Stalin rarely visited Vasili and Lana, and they were raised by nannies.

Vasili served in the Red Air Force, but was dismissed after allowing planes to fly in bad weather. He was imprisoned for giving away secret information to foreign diplomats. He died in 1962, aged 40, from alcoholism.

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Hungry Hobos, a long-lost Disney cartoon that features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (a character who was the prototype for Mickey Mouse), has been discovered in a British film archive.

Hungry Hobos, was made in 1928 but has been missing since before World War II.

The black-and-white cartoon features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and was drawn shortly before the character was abandoned and turned into Mickey Mouse that same year.

Incredibly, the five-minute silent cartoon has turned up in a vault at the Huntley Film Archives in Herefordshire, where it has sat for decades.

Amanda Huntley, who runs the company, said a colleague stumbled upon it on a shelf and out of curiosity searched its name on Google and discovered it was a “lost” classic.

Amanda Huntley said: “There are a lot of lost films out there. This was made in 1928 and has been in our collection for decades.

“We specialize in social history films and not animation. But my colleague took the film from the shelf and Googled it – I don’t really know why.

“We quickly realized it was one of the great lost films. We posted the news on specialist web forums and everybody was very excited.”

Hungry Hobos, a long-lost Disney cartoon that features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (a character who was the prototype for Mickey Mouse), has been discovered in a British film archive

Hungry Hobos, a long-lost Disney cartoon that features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (a character who was the prototype for Mickey Mouse), has been discovered in a British film archive

 

Hungry Hobos follows a starving Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and his friend Peg Leg Pete on a train. They rob a chicken of her egg by squeezing the animal and cook it by using the train’s wheels.

Oswald’s facial features and behaviour are clearly those of Mickey Mouse – the legendary character that has endured ever since.

The whereabouts of the film has for decades baffled animation experts, who believed it would never be seen again.

It is now expected to fetch at least £25,000 ($39,000) when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams’ Entertainment Memorabilia auction in Los Angeles next month.

Hungry Hobos was released for general screening on May 14, 1928, just one day before Mickey Mouse’s feature debut, Plane Crazy, had its first preview screening.

The film marked a significant turning point for Walt Disney as it was the last time he had to work alongside another studio.

Walt Disney made 26 films with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as the central character for Universal Pictures before taking the character to his own studio and turning it into a rodent.

Amanda Huntley said: “It is significant because it is Disney but also because the character was the prototype of Mickey Mouse.

“Disney developed many characters and they changed over time and Oswald has the characteristics of Mickey Mouse – he looks similar even though he’s a rabbit.

“Disney made a series with this character and then turned him into a mouse.

“Mickey Mouse has lasted over 80 years and many generations have grown up to love him.

“How we ended up with the film I don’t know. It was probably collected by my father who started the company and it has been sitting on our shelves for decades.

“We have decided to sell it because it is not really what we specialize in and we can use the money to preserve other films we have.”

Stephanie Connell, from Bonhams, said: “Hungry Hobos is an incredible find, a lost masterpiece and a cartoon with a unique and vital place in animation history.”

Hungry Hobos comprises of a 16mm double perforated celluloid acetate positive print.

The film is being auctioned on December 14.

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Curiosity, the world’s biggest extraterrestrial explorer has been launched today on a 354 million mile journey to Mars that hopes to discover whether the desolate planet was ever capable of supporting life.

NASA launched Curiosity rover – officially called the Mars Science Laboratory – at 10:02 am ET today into a cloudy Florida sky.

Curiosity, described by one expert as a “Mars scientist’s dream machine”, will use an array of technology to probe the red planet for signs of life.

More than 13,000 curious guests crowded the space centre to view the launch, which is the first one to Mars in four years. It is the first rover launch in eight years.

Some three dozen missions have been launched to Mars, though less than half have been successful.

NASA’s assistant associate administrator for science Colleen Hartman has a theory why so many quests have failed: “Mars is really the Bermuda Triangle of the solar system.

“It’s the death planet, and the United States of America is the only nation in the world that has ever landed and driven robotic explorers on the surface on the surface of Mars, and now we’re set to do it again.”

Curiosity, the world's biggest extraterrestrial explorer has been launched today on a 354 million mile journey to Mars that hopes to discover whether the desolate planet was ever capable of supporting life

Curiosity, the world's biggest extraterrestrial explorer has been launched today on a 354 million mile journey to Mars that hopes to discover whether the desolate planet was ever capable of supporting life

 

Curiosity is a mobile lab, the size of a small car, which is expected to be lowered by giant jet pack on to the surface of Mars in August 2012.

Doug McCuistion, director of NASA’s Mars exploration programme said:

“It will be the largest and most complex piece of equipment ever placed on the surface of another planet.”

NASA’s earlier Viking rovers concluded 35 years ago that there was no sign of life, but scientists hope Curiosity’s more sophisticated equipment will reveal more.

It will not be able to detect living organisms in the soil, but it can look for clues by surveying the landscape with high-definition cameras on top of a 10 ft mast.

Curiosity has a laser that can break rocks as far as 23ft away to determine their chemical composition and look for traces of organic compounds.

The rover also carries an instrument that detects methane, a weather station to monitor Martian temperatures, humidity and wind, and a radiation detector that can help to determine if the planet is safe for human visitors.

One of the main tasks of Curiosity, a $2.5 billion mission, will be to discover the source of the methane gas scientists have detected in the Martian air.

Some experts believe that just as cows emit methane on Earth, so micro-organisms able to live without oxygen may be producing it on Mars.

If that is the case, say NASA scientists, then life on Earth may have originally come from the red planet – making us all, in a sense, Martians.

According to their controversial theory, Mars – a smaller planet that would have cooled quicker than Earth after the solar system’s explosive creation – would have had the conditions for life to develop long before our world.

Chunks of Martian rock containing living microbes could have been blasted into space by the impact of asteroids before landing on Earth, starting life here.

Travelling at a tenth of a mile per hour, Curiosity will take two years to complete its mission.

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Black Friday Shopping: Q & A

The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, kicks off the holiday shopping season. Each year, retailers open their doors early and offer shoppers deals of up to 70% off on everything from electronics to clothes. And shoppers typically turn out in droves.

 

The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, kicks off the holiday shopping season

The day after Thanksgiving, or Black Friday, kicks off the holiday shopping season

 

Before you head out to the stores this year, there a few things you should know about Black Friday:

Q: How did the day get its name?

A: Accounts differ on the origin of the term. One theory is that it had roots in the 1960s in Philadelphia where it was used to describe the heavy pedestrian and car traffic on the day after Thanksgiving. The most common theory, though, is that the day got its name because it’s usually when retailers turn a profit for the year, or operate in the ‘black.’

Q. Is Black Friday the biggest shopping day of the year?

A. ShopperTrak, which monitors customer traffic and sales at 25,000 stores nationwide, says that Black Friday has been the top sales day every year but one since it started monitoring holiday data in 2002; the only exception was in 2004, when the busiest day was the Saturday before Christmas.

Q. What’s new?

A. Black Friday mania is seeping into Thanksgiving Day. Nearly 1,000 Gap stores will be open on Thanksgiving. Toys R Us will open at 9 p.m. And several other stores will open at midnight that evening, including Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Macy’s. Wal-Mart, whose supercenters already operate around the clock, also is opening most of its other stores by 10 p.m. Thanksgiving evening.

Q. Will you get the best deals of the season on Black Friday?

A. Not necessarily. Stores have discounts that are just as good throughout the holiday season. And there are even better deals to be had after Christmas Day. But the problem is if you wait too long, you might not get exactly what you want since stores have kept their inventories lean this year.

D.B. Cooper is claimed to be the author of a 1983 rare book, entitled “HA-HA-HA”, featuring a drawing of a man in a suit holding a briefcase while parachuting from a commercial jet on its cover.

FBI has checked hundreds of leads since the man dubbed D.B. Cooper parachuted from a flight with $200,000 dollars in ransom in 1971.

If the author of a newly-unearthed memoir is to be believed, D.B. Cooper has come forward to reveal himself as the man who has gone down in American folklore for pulling off the nation’s only unsolved hijacking.

D.B. Cooper was parachuted from a flight with $200,000 dollars in ransom in 1971

D.B. Cooper was parachuted from a flight with $200,000 dollars in ransom in 1971

As The Sideshow reports, Pacific Northwest author Matt Love recently purchased the 1983 book from a Jefferson, Oregon publisher called Signum Books Ltd. Originally sold for $3.95, a recent search by the outlet found only three copies for sale to date – each for around $30.

The back cover features a graphic of a certificate announcing a contest called “Your Big Score”.

The certificate’s first sentence reads: “It’s true. In this book are seven clues. By reading it carefully and discovering the clues, one could receive as much as $200,000 in twenty dollar bills.”

Within its 330 pages, the author recounts his life prior to the hijacking, as a failed real-estate developer, heavy drinker and petty thief.

The author explains how he pulled off the heist on November 24, 1971 – in part by having rented a house and a gassed car nearby where he landed near Pyramid Lake – and says he invested his ransom money in Boeing and silver, becoming very wealthy as a result.

As Matt Love notes, the mystery author also offers a series of clues that offer the location of D. B. Cooper’s ransom to the lucky reader clever enough to piece the puzzle together.

D.B. Cooper is claimed to be the author of a 1983 rare book, entitled "HA-HA-HA", featuring a drawing of a man in a suit holding a briefcase while parachuting from a commercial jet on its cover

D.B. Cooper is claimed to be the author of a 1983 rare book, entitled "HA-HA-HA", featuring a drawing of a man in a suit holding a briefcase while parachuting from a commercial jet on its cover

After nearly 40 years of chasing exhausted leads, investigators still now very litter about the man who boarded a Boeing 727 at Portland International Airport under the name Dan Cooper.

The gentleman, believed to be his mid-forties and wearing dark sunglasses, took seat 18F, ordered a bourbon and water.

Then he handed a flight attendant a note: “Miss, I’ve got a bomb, come sit next to me — you’re being hijacked.”

D. B. Cooper opened a briefcase that appeared to contain explosives and demanded $200,000 and parachutes.

Officials met his demands when the plane landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where passengers and two flight attendants were released.

The man in 18F then ordered the flight crew to take the plane back into the air, insisting that it fly at an altitude of no more than 10,000 feet on its way to Mexico through Reno, Nevada.

About 40 minutes after take-off, a signal light in the cockpit showed that the plane’s rear stairway had been extended. When the jet landed in Reno, the stairs were down and two parachutes, the money and D. B. Cooper were gone.

A few years ago, the FBI renewed its push to solve the case, releasing photos and new case details in the hopes of jogging memories or prompting someone to come forward.

Experts estimated D. B. Cooper would have landed near Ariel, Washington. Residents there have a party every fall to commemorate the unsolved hijacking.There have been more than 1,000 suspects over the past four decades.

And, over the years, agents have unceasingly voiced suspicions that the hijacker, who was later dubbed D.B. Cooper, may have died following the 10,000 leap.

Conditions that night were poor and the mountainous terrain near the Oregon border is notoriously rough.

5,800 dollars worth of decomposed $20 bills, identified as part of the ransom money, which were recovered in 1980 by a child digging on the banks of the Columbia River, also point to an untimely death.

But no body has ever been found and few other signs of D.B. Cooper fate have been discovered.

 

The European Space Agency (ESA) says it has finally contacted Phobos-Grunt, Russia’s troubled Mars mission.

ESA reports that its tracking station in Perth, Australia, picked up a signal from the Phobos-Grunt probe.

The agency is now working with Russian engineers to see how best to maintain communications with the craft.

Phobos-Grunt has been stuck in Earth orbit since its launch on 9 November, unable to fire the engine that would take it on to Mars.

It raises the hope that Russian controllers can establish what is wrong with the spacecraft and fix it.

The European Space Agency (ESA) says it has finally contacted Phobos-Grunt, Russia's troubled Mars mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) says it has finally contacted Phobos-Grunt, Russia's troubled Mars mission

 

Phobos-Grunt still has a short window in which to start its journey to Mars before the growing distance from Earth gets too big.

The probe was built to land on the Martian moon, Phobos, and scoop up rock to bring back to Earth.

Such a venture should yield fascinating new insights into the origin of the 27 km-wide moon and the planet it circles.

The mission is also notable because China’s first Mars satellite, Yinghuo-1, has been launched piggy-back on the main Russian spacecraft.

Physicists from CERN, Swiss, ran again the test that had proved the theory of relativity was wrong – and broke the speed of light for a second time.

Scientists of the Large Hadron Collider sent another beam of subatomic particles over 450 miles to a laboratory in Gran Sasso in the Italian Alps.

And after running the modified follow-up test 20 times, the scientists recorded exactly the same results as before.

According to Albert Einstein’s 106-year-old theory of special relativity, nothing can travel faster than light in a vacuum because its particles have no mass.

By contrast, neutrinos – said to be “ghostly” because they can travel through anything – have a very small mass.

Physicists from CERN, Swiss, ran again the test that had proved the theory of relativity was wrong – and broke the speed of light for a second time

Physicists from CERN, Swiss, ran again the test that had proved the theory of relativity was wrong – and broke the speed of light for a second time

The Cern researchers apparently record-breaking speed raises a host of possibilities straight out of science fiction stories.

Critics of the first test said that running all 15,000 neutrinos at once meant there could be errors in the measurement that said they had beaten the speed of light by 60 nanoseconds (or billionths of a second).

The scientists claim to have used a more accurate method for the second trial, by sending shorter bunches of the tiny neutrinos with larger gaps in between.

Nuclear Physics at Gran Sasso said the researchers were now “more confident” about the result, but urged other laboratories to join his in repeating the test.

“A measurement so delicate and carrying a profound implication on physics requires an extraordinary level of scrutiny.”

Many experts still remain unconvinced.

Jim Al-Khalili, of the University of Surrey’s physics department, who has offered to eat his boxer shorts on live television if neutrinos really can travel faster than light, said:

“I am not yet ready to get out my knife and fork.

“The results have only dealt with some possible errors.

“There are still a number of other possible errors and uncertainties that they are working on ruling out.

“Ideally, the experiment would have to be done somewhere else entirely to try to verify the controversial result that these tiny particles really are going faster than light, in case there is still a systemic problem with this particular experiment at Cern.”

Only two other labs in the world have the equipment to take up Professor Jim Al-Khalili’s suggestion.

Scientists working on the Minos experiment in the U.S. and Japan’s T2K study will both try the same test and reveal their results next year.

 

A team of historians and retired Secret Service officers led by historian Max Holland has used new technology to categorically confirm in their minds the judgement that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he killed John F. Kennedy 48 years ago.

Max Holland, who has investigated JFK’s assassination moment for years, led a team which digitally enhanced a number of home videos taken on November 22, 1963.

Max Holland’s team studied Abraham Zapruder’s famous footage as well as many other lesser-known films, and brought them all together for the first time to establish a narrative more clear than ever before.

The team will present their findings in documentary “JFK: The Lost Bullet” on the NatGeo channel this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Max Holland told Fox News:

“I’d say a main thrust of it is to break the stranglehold that the Zapruder film has on our perception of what happened.”

“In a sense, we’ve all been <<Zaprudered>>. The film was so graphic, disturbing, mesmerising, that it became more of our perspective on the assassination than even the perspective of the assassin, which should never have happened.”

Max Holland, who has investigated JFK's assassination moment for years, led a team which digitally enhanced a number of home videos taken on November 22, 1963

Max Holland, who has investigated JFK's assassination moment for years, led a team which digitally enhanced a number of home videos taken on November 22, 1963

The group also discovered, in the amateur footage taken that day by Robert Hughes, a shadowy figure moving on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building – a person believed to be Lee Harvey Oswald.

Lee Harvey Oswald was an employee at the Texas Schoolbook Depository, which overlooked the motorcade.

Contemporary investigators found that in March 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, using the alias “A. Hidell”, purchased a 6.5mm Carcano Model 91/38 rifle by mail order. It is widely agreed this was the gun which killed John F. Kennedy.

Max Holland told Fox News: “Our conclusion is that he fired three shots in about 11 seconds, which is almost double the <<Six Seconds in Dallas>> meme that most people know when they think about the assassination: six seconds, three shots in six seconds.

“We say three shots in 11 seconds, which is a much easier – for I’d say, someone of Oswald’s skill – effortless task.”

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he travelled in an open-top car in a motorcade through Dallas. Texas Governor John Connally was also injured.

Within two hours, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the murder of a policeman, then early the next morning he was charged with assassinating JFK.

On the morning of November 24, nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being transferred to the county jail.

There have been numerous conspiracy theories around JFK’s death, with everyone from the American Mafia and the KGB to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and sitting Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson accused of involvement.

Each theory and every year hundreds of sceptics flock to the site to discuss the latest developments and pay their respects.

When asked by Fox News if there are any “holy grails” of JFK assassination research still not investigated, Max Holland cited Lee Harvey Oswald’s tax returns, which have never been released.

It is widely believed that Lee Harvey Oswald shot three bullets from his rifle. One missed entirely, a second hit John F. Kennedy and passed through Governor John Connally, the third was the fatal shot to the President.

Through FBI testing it was established the gun could be fired by an experienced shooter three times within five to eight seconds.

But in Governor John Connally’s own words: “There were either two or three people involved, or more, in this — or someone was shooting with an automatic rifle.”

John Connally’s wife believed that her husband was hit by a bullet that was separate from the two that hit Kennedy.

In the Zapruder film, the JFK’s head appears to move backwards after the last, fatal shot, an indication to some that a bullet was fired from the front.

There have been witness statements that two men were seen on top of a grassy knoll to the west of the Texas School Book Depository before the shooting.

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800 endangered Powelliphanta giant land snails, were accidentally frozen to death by conservationists in New Zealand.

The giant land snails from a rare species, rescued from an area earmarked for coal mining, were kept in a temperature-controlled room run by the Department of Conservation (DoC).

However, a faulty gauge sent temperatures plunging below freezing.

The conservationists have blamed a technical glitch after the 800 Powelliphanta snails were frozen to death.

Staff at the DoC’s West Coast Conservancy in Hokitika are said to have been “very upset”.

800 endangered Powelliphanta giant land snails, were accidentally frozen to death by conservationists in New Zealand

800 endangered Powelliphanta giant land snails, were accidentally frozen to death by conservationists in New Zealand

The Powelliphanta giant land snails were among 6,000 taken from the Stockton Plateau on South Island several years ago to make way for coal mining, New Zealand media reported.

About 4,000 of those have been relocated to new habitats.

John Lyall, the conservancy’s technical support manager, said a temperature probe in one of three containers had failed, making the room colder than the snails could stand.

He also said the incident had been “very upsetting” for staff, who were committed to the care of the snails.

“We organized to have the probe replaced as soon as we noticed the problem,” John Lyall told local media.

“And we’ve instituted a more regular set of monitoring checks and are currently organizing to install an alert system.”

John Lyall said 360 eggs had been hatched in the past year and they were confident the breeding programme would recover.

Some environmentalists said the accident demonstrated what happened when development was allowed to displace wildlife from its natural habitat.

“First, their natural home was destroyed for a coalmine on Stockton Plateau, and now they’ve died in captivity,” said Nicola Vallance of New Zealand’s Forest and Bird organization.

“This tragedy was entirely avoidable.

“Keeping our wildlife in fridges is obviously not how New Zealanders would like to care for native animals found nowhere else in the world.

“It’s a sad fact that this has been the best option for them because moving them back to the wild in other parts of the West Coast has not worked,” Nicola Vallance added.

Veterans Day started on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Veterans Day was first called Armistice Day, declared to mark the end of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 .

American Congress gave it that name in 1926, though it didn’t become a national holiday for a dozen more years.

In 1954, the holiday became known as Veterans Day when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation making it so in order to honor veterans of all U.S. wars.

Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October in 1968 by Congress, but that was reversed in 1978 when it became obvious that Americans wanted the holiday celebrated November 11.

Veterans Day is often confused with Memorial Day because they are similar in intent, but not identical. Memorial Day honors America’s war dead, while Veterans Day honors all American veterans, living and dead, and has a special emphasis on thanking living veterans for their service to the country.

Veterans Day was first called Armistice Day, declared to mark the end of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918

Veterans Day was first called Armistice Day, declared to mark the end of World War I hostilities at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918

 

Facts about Veterans Day:

*There is no apostrophe in Veterans Day.

*In 1921, the United States laid to rest the remains of a World War I American soldier — his name “known but to God” – in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on a hillside overlooking Washington, D.C. It became known as the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” and was meant to symbolize reverence for the American veteran. Today it is known as the “Tomb of the Unknowns.”

*At the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery, at 11 a.m. each November 11, a color guard composed of members of each of the military branches renders honors to America’s war dead. The U.S. president or a representative -today it was Vice President Joe Biden -places a wreath at the tomb and a bugler sounds taps.

Here are some other facts, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau:

Veterans

21.8 million = The number of military veterans in the United States in 2010.

1.6 million = The number of female veterans in 2010.

2.4 million = The number of black veterans in 2010.

Additionally, 1.2 million veterans were Hispanic; 265,000 were Asian; 156,000 were American Indian or Alaska Native; 28,000 were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 17.5 million were non-Hispanic white. (The numbers for blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, and non-Hispanic whites cover only those reporting a single race.)

9 million = The number of veterans 65 and older in 2010.

At the other end of the age spectrum, 1.7 million were younger than 35.

When Veterans Served

7.6 million = Number of Vietnam-era veterans in 2010. 35% of all living veterans served during this time (1964-1975).

In addition, 4.8 million served during the Gulf War (representing service from August 2, 1990, to present);

2.1 million in World War II (1941-1945);

2.6 million in the Korean War (1950-1953);

and 5.5 million in peacetime only.

49,500 = Number of living veterans in 2010 who served during the Vietnam era and both Gulf War eras and no other period.

Other living veterans in 2010 who served during three wars:

54,000 served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam era.

Living veterans in 2010 who served during two wars and no other period:

837,000 served during both Gulf War eras.

211,000 served during both the Korean War and the Vietnam era.

147,000 served during both World War II and the Korean War.

Where Veterans Live

3 = Number of states with 1 million or more veterans in 2010. These states were California (2 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.6 million).

14.1% = percent of people 18 and older in Alaska who were veterans in 2010.

The percent of the 18 and older population who were veterans was 12% or more in Maine, Montana, Virginia and Wyoming.

Veterans Education

26% = Percent of veterans 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree in 2010. In comparison, 28% of the total population had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

 92% = Percent of veterans 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2010, compared with 86% of the population as a whole.

 Veterans Income

 $35,367 = Annual median income of veterans, in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars, compared with $25,605 for the population as a whole.

 Veterans On the Job

 9.6 million = Number of veterans 18 to 64 in the labor force in 2010.

 Veterans Disabilities

 26% = Percent of veterans for whom poverty status is determined with a disability in 2010.

 3.4 million = Number of veterans with a service-connected disability rating. Of this number, 698,000 have a rating of 70% or higher. Severity of one’s disability is scaled from 0 to 100 percent and eligibility for compensation depends on one’s rating.

 Veterans Voting

 15.8 million = Number of veterans who voted in the 2008 presidential election. 71% of veterans cast a ballot in the presidential election.

12.4 million = Number of veterans who voted in the 2010 congressional election. 57% of veterans voted in the 2010 congressional election.

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A baby elephant and its mother were rescued by conservation workers after they got stuck in the mud of Kapani Lagoon in Zambia.

Conservation workers from South Luangwa Conservation Society, who normally have a policy of leaving nature to fend for itself as much as possible, unless the problem was created by humans.

A baby elephant and its mother were rescued by conservation workers after they got stuck in the mud of Kapani Lagoon in Zambia

A baby elephant and its mother were rescued by conservation workers after they got stuck in the mud of Kapani Lagoon in Zambia

On this occasion, however, they could not sit by and let the mother elephant and calf die in such a horrible way.

Before the rescue by conservation workers on the flats of the Kapani Lagoon, the baby elephant and its mother’s herd tries to rescue the pair.

When they are unable to do anything, the team – along with members of the Zambian Wildlife Authority – moves in while the herd waits on the other side of some trees.

With mud in the lagoon drying quickly, the rescue becomes a race against time. Eventually a rope is slipped under the calf’s trunk before the pulling can begin.

A couple of attempts are made to release the baby elephant but it wants to stay with its mother and goes back, getting stuck once again.

At one point, the baby elephant appears to be calling for help while his mother appears resigned to her fate before the rescue gets under way

Eventually, they pull the calf out further away from what could have been its muddy grave. It hears the cry of a cousin elephant and runs towards it.

Once the baby elephant is freed, the team works to help the mother who has become tired after all the thrashing around

Once the baby elephant is freed, the team works to help the mother who has become tired after all the thrashing around

Rachel McRobb from the team said: “Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that we should allow nature to run her course however cruel or grim it seems to be. We agree on the whole, unless a wildlife problem has been created by man (for instance in the case of snaring or being trapped in a fence, in which case it’s justifiable to intervene) then nature should be left to her own devices. She has a plan.

“However – every rule has an exception and the dreadful plight of a baby elephant trapped in the mud of the Kapani Lagoon and her mother, who had also got stuck trying to save her yesterday had us all in a frenzy of activity. We simply could not stand by and watch them struggle and slowly die.”

Once the baby elephant is freed, the team works to help the mother who has become tired after all the thrashing around.

The mother elephant is tied to a tractor and, inch by inch, she makes her way to freedom. Eventually she is pulled from the mud and runs towards her baby and the waiting family.

 

 

2005 YU55, an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier whistled past Earth at a distance of 202,000 miles away, slightly nearer than the moon, on November 8.

The asteroid is the largest such object to come so close in 35 years but NASA said ther is no chance of impact with the space rock known as 2005 YU55.

NASA has been monitoring the quarter-mile-wide asteroid as it approached Earth.

The researchers will now analyze radar images to uncover further details about the rock, which was first spotted in 2005 by the University of Arizona.

YU55 asteroid’ surface is coal black and it spins slowly through space. It travels at 30,000 mph and was last this close to Earth some 200 years ago.

The last time a large cosmic interloper came that close to Earth was in 1976, and it won’t happen again until 2028.

However, it was bad news for all but the most committed of stargazers. It was not visible to the naked eye – even at its closest point to Earth it was about 100 times dimmer than humans can observe naturally.

2005 YU55, an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier whistled past Earth at a distance of 202,000 miles away, slightly nearer than the moon, on November 8

2005 YU55, an asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier whistled past Earth at a distance of 202,000 miles away, slightly nearer than the moon, on November 8

If somebody wanted to catch a glimpse of YU55 asteroid as it passed by, the person would have needed a telescope with an aperture of at least six inches and to be out of a city or away from any light pollution.

Sky & Telescope magazine published charts that show YU55’s progress through the constellations.

Scientists at NASA’s Deep Space Network in the California desert have tracked the quarter-mile-wide asteroid since last week as it approached from the direction of the sun at 29,000 mph (46,671 kph).

Yesterday, NASA offered two places to take a closer look at the action – Asteroid And Comet.

Scientists tracked YU55 with antennae of the agency’s Deep Space Network at Goldstone, California, and the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico.

The Clay Center Observatory in Massachusetts planned an all-night viewing party so children and parents could peer through research-grade telescopes and listen to lectures.

The asteroid can’t be detected with the naked eye.

For those without a telescope, the observatory streamed video of the flyby live on Ustream, attracting several thousand viewers.

If an asteroid that size were to hit, the impact would carve a crater four miles (6.4 km) across and 1,700 feet (518 metres) deep. And if it slammed into the ocean, it would trigger 70-foot (21-metre) high tsunami waves.

The space experts recently estimated that more than 90% of the near-Earth asteroids wider than 0.6 miles have been identified, but that thousands of asteroids in YU55’s size range remain undetected.

For a lighthearted look at our close encounter, Facebook features countless event pages, and the asteroid even has its own Twitter account (@AsteroidYU55). Search for YU55 or #YU55 for a plethora of tweets.

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At 11.11.11 on 11.11.11, the time and date will be a perfect same-numbered palindrome, reading the same backwards as forwards, an event which can only happen on one day every 100 years.

And even the most skeptic will stop for a moment to reflect on the unique occurrence, which will not come around again in the lifetime of most of us.

Among other things, 11.11.11 will be:

* Armistice Day, celebrated around the world.

* A day of spiritual significance for those who believe the number 11 has a mystical power.

* A very special day to get married or have a birthday (especially if it’s your 11th).

* Perhaps even the end of the world, according to some “prophecy” web forums.

The reason the date is so unusual is that 11.11.11 is the only double-figure palindromic date, since there is no 22nd month.

The last time it happened, on November 11 1911, an almost supernatural event saw temperatures drop by more than 60 F in a single day.

This was the Great Blue Norther, a cold snap which hit the U.S. causing blizzards and tornadoes as well as record falls in temperature.

In Kansas City, it was as warm as 76 F (24 C) in the morning – but this had dropped to 11 F (-12 C) by the end of the day.

A new film will be released on Friday, entitled simply 11-11-11, predicts that the day will see the opening of a portal in to Hell

A new film will be released on Friday, entitled simply 11-11-11, predicts that the day will see the opening of a portal in to Hell

A new film will be released on Friday, entitled simply 11-11-11, predicts that the day will see the opening of a portal in to Hell, and says: “On this day, innocent blood will spill.”

11-11-11 film by Darren Bousman, director of several entries in the Saw franchise, features a man whose family dies in a car crash at 11:11 a.m., and who then begins to be haunted by the number 11.

It plays on beliefs long held by some spiritualists, who say that the number has a special significance and claim that many people have a mystical attraction to the time 11.11.

One group believes that 11.11 is the special symbol of the “Spirit Guardians”, a group of 1,111 celestial beings who supposedly look after mortals and manifest themselves in mid-morning.

Most of those who have chosen this Friday as a day to get married are more attracted by the pleasing coincidence than by any deeper significance.

Wedding mania will be even more pronounced overseas, such as in India where thousands of couples have judged the date to be auspicious for a successful marriage.

The day will also be one of celebration for a number of children who will be turning 11 on 11.11.11.

Most famously, the 11th of November is Armistice Day in the UK – Veterans Day in the U.S. – when is celebrated the end of World War I and commemorate the victims of that war and subsequent ones.

The end of the Great War came on November 11, 1918. Given the carnage seen in the war, we can assume that the date was not deliberately chosen, but was simply the earliest possible opportunity for a ceasefire.

However, the decision to end the war at exactly 11 o’clock certainly was deliberate, at the Armistice was signed around five in the morning (Paris time), to take effect at the symbolic point a few hours later.

Tragically, fierce fighting continued right up until the official ceasefire, and one American soldier was killed at 10.58.

There is no real significance to the date 11.11.11 – not even at the time of 11.11.11 – but it is a classic example of apophenia, the human urge to see patterns in essentially random events.

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) remind American people not to panic when they lose television and radio service for a few minutes today at 2:00 p.m. during a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

Although the public alert mechanism is decades old and often tested and used at the local level, it has never before been tested on a nationwide scale.

This first-ever test will occur at 2:00pm EST on Wednesday, November 9 and will occur simultaneously across the U.S. and its territories, lasting up to three-and-a-half-minutes.

FEMA and FCC remind American people not to panic when they lose television and radio service for a few minutes today at 2 p.m. during a test of the Emergency Alert System

FEMA and FCC remind American people not to panic when they lose television and radio service for a few minutes today at 2 p.m. during a test of the Emergency Alert System

 

The EAS is a national alert and warning system established to enable the President of the United States to address the American public during emergencies.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service, governors and state and local emergency authorities also use parts of the system to issue more localized emergency alerts.

EAS test will look and sound very similar to the local tests of the Emergency Alert System that occur frequently; the public will hear a message indicating that “This is a test” on broadcast radio and television stations, cable television, satellite radio and television services and wireline video service providers.

The disruption will occur across all states and the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.

FEMA and FCC sent an open letter to all stakeholders on Friday, including governors, federal legislators, broadcasters, news networks and other organisations, asking for their help in educating their respective communities about the event – to curb potential panic about lost communications services.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wrote: “The various disasters our country has faced this year underscore the need for effective and well-tested emergency alert and warning systems that could be used in a time of real emergency, at a moment’s notice.

“The purpose of the test is to allow FEMA and the FCC to assess how well the Emergency Alert System would perform its primary function: alerting the public about a national emergency.”

The test is conducted to help identify any positive changes that could be made as FEMA, the FCC and other partners continue working to build “a modernized and fully accessible Emergency Alert System”, according to a press release issued by the organizations.

FCC and FEMA are also asking stakeholders to make sure their communities are aware of key facts about the test, including that the test .

The letter continued: “As with all of our work, we know that the support of our state, local, tribal and territorial partners, along with the private sector, our faith-based and disability communities, and other key stakeholders, will be vital to effectively raising the public’s awareness of the test and minimizing undue public concern.

“We greatly appreciate your continued partnership as we prepare for this unique event and important public service.”

EAS test will not impact landline or mobile phones, power grids, or internet connectivity.

What will happen during the EAS test:

* The test will be approximately 30 seconds long and will look and sound very similar to the frequent local tests of the Emergency Alert System

* It will be transmitted via television and radio stations within the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, the territories of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa

* An audio message will interrupt television and radio programming indication: ‘This is only a test,’ though text may not indicate this same message on the screen on every television channel

* Organisations that serve people with disabilities or people with limited English proficiency should be aware that they may receive requests for information or assistance from broadcasters or other communications service providers and emergency managers in the days leading up to, during, and after the test

* When the test is over, regular programming will resume

 

Source: The FCC

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Gunilla von Post, the Swedish socialite, who had an affair with John F. Kennedy, died at 79.

Gunilla von Post was just 21 when she began seeing JFK, when he was 36 and Massachusetts senator.

JFK and Gunilla von Post affair began just a few weeks before his marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier and continued two years after their wedding.

Gunilla von Post went on to tell all in her memoir Love, Jack, which came out in 1997.

Swedish socialite and JFK met by chance in the French Riviera in August 1953.

Gunilla von Post had been sent there by her aristocrat father to brush up on her French.

John F. Kennedy was immediately blown away by her natural blonde beauty.

JFK and Gunilla von Post affair began just a few weeks before his marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier and continued two years after their wedding

JFK and Gunilla von Post affair began just a few weeks before his marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier and continued two years after their wedding

The lovers spent one evening together in which, she recalled: “He turned and kissed me tenderly and my breath was taken away.

“The brightness of the moon and stars made his eyes appear bluer than the ocean beneath us.”

JFK admitted he was about to get married and sure enough, three weeks, on September 1 1953, he married Jacqueline Bouvier.

The love letters and trans-Atlantic phone calls soon followed and JFK told her he wanted to see her again.

John F. Kennedy visited Sweden with a friend in 1955 and the relationship was consummated in August 1955.

Gunilla von Post wrote: “I was relatively inexperienced, and Jack’s tenderness was a revelation. He said, <<Gunilla, we’ve waited two years for this. It seems almost too good to be true, and I want to make you happy>>.”

A week later they said their tearful goodbyes and a few painful months ensued.

According to Gunilla von Post, JFK called his father Joe to tell him he wanted to divorce Jackie and marry her.

JFK’s father said that would destroy his chances of reaching the White House.

He tried to get Gunilla von Post to move to New York and take up modelling but she said she would only do that if they were married.

It was a catch 22 situation which JFK ended with one last handwritten note in which he admitted his emotions were “complicated”.

According to Gunilla von Post, JFK called his father Joe to tell him he wanted to divorce Jackie and marry her

According to Gunilla von Post, JFK called his father Joe to tell him he wanted to divorce Jackie and marry her

Gunilla von Post wrote of her short, sweet romance: “I borrowed him for a week, a beautiful week that no one can take away from me.”

Born on July 10, 1932, in Stockholm, her full name was Karin Adele Gunilla von Post.

Gunilla von Post went on to marry wealthy Swedish landowner Anders Ekman and three years later she had one final meeting with JFK.

Gunilla von Post and her husband were guests at a charity ball at the Waldorf Astoria, New York, which was also attended by JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy.

She scribbled a note on a napkin at her table and asked a waiter to pass it to the senator.

Moments later JFK signalled to meet him in a corridor.

Gunilla von Post wrote: “He just gave me a huge hug. And then he said <<It’s wonderful to see you. I love you>>.” She said “it was lovely”.

Gunilla von Post trained in hotel management and cookery and attended a finishing school in Lausanne.

JFK’s affairs, from Marilyn Monroe to the reputed girlfriend of a Mafia boss, have been well documented.

Those who doubted Gunilla von Post’s accounts were forced to eat their words last year when she decided to sell 11 of JFK’s handwritten letters and three telegrams on a Chicago online auction site.

The letters were all written after his marriage. In the first, sent five months after his marriage in March 1954, JFK asked: “Do you remember our dinner and evening together this summer at Antibes and Cagnes?”

In another letter JFK wrote: “I thought I might get a boat and sail around the Mediterranean for two weeks with you as crew. What do you think?”

Unfortunately for the lovelorn couple, JFK then sent a telegram cancelling it after suffering a back injury that needed surgery.

Those who doubted Gunilla von Post's accounts were forced to eat their words last year when she decided to sell 11 of JFK’s handwritten letters and three telegrams on a Chicago online auction site

Those who doubted Gunilla von Post's accounts were forced to eat their words last year when she decided to sell 11 of JFK’s handwritten letters and three telegrams on a Chicago online auction site

The sale of the letters raised $115,537.50, beating the original estimate of $50,000.

Anders Ekman died in an accident, and Gunilla von Post later married Weisner Miller, an American IBM executive, and moved to America.

The second marriage ended in divorce, but Gunilla von Post continued to enjoy life on the international social circuit, supporting charities and moving between homes in Palm Beach, Sweden, the south of France and Switzerland.

Gunilla von Post is survived by two daughters of her first marriage and a son of her second.

 

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A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias – whose branches are the size of normal trees – dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California.

Gerrit Panzner, a German tourist, watched the two 250 feet trees fall to the ground at the Trail of 100 Giants in Sierra Nevada, California and captured the amazing moments and the crushing sound on video.

The trees lay the length of a football pitch and their diameter of their torn roots and base was 20 feet.

“It can’t be possible,” Gerrit Panzner, who watched the tree fall, told Catholic Online.

“That tree has been there thousands of years and then you realise the tree is falling and you had to run.”

A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias - whose branches are the size of normal trees - dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California

A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias - whose branches are the size of normal trees - dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California

Gerrit Panzner heard loud “crinkling” noises before they eventually fell – but nobody was injured. The trees are believed to have fallen over because they could simply not support their weight anymore.

The trees fell on the Trail of 100 Giants in the Sierra Nevada, which is a route accessible to wheelchairs that allows visitors to view more than 100 huge sequoia trees.

At this moment, Forest Service officials are deciding what to do with two of the world’s largest trees, as many conservationists have suggested they should be left alone.

This would mean the trail would have to be rerouted around them, which could cause problems for wheelchair users who would not be able to use steep alternative paths, reported NBC News.

Fallen trees can also be a habitat for wildlife and release nutrients back into the soil, reported the Los Angeles Times. The trees became a national monument 11 years ago.

Forest officials have even suggested building a bridge over the trees or cutting them up for firewood, reported NBC News.

Officials are set to make a decision on what to do by next summer, but until then are inviting the public to help them decide.

“It’s very, very rare for a giant Sequoia tree to die standing up unless it’s in a very, very severe fire,” a district ranger told Catholic Online.

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A filthy message dated 1902 and scrawled on a wooden pillar beside the front door has been uncovered during a £12 million ($18 million) restoration of Kensington Palace.

Staff at the Kensington Palace found the graffiti from 1902 in perfect condition several months ago.

Written neatly in pencil on a timber post supporting the ceiling beside the palace’s front door and boxed in by wooden panelling were the words: “Peter Jackson, The Champion f****r” dated 1/2/1902.

The timber which was rotten after 109 years has now been replaced with a steel joist – but the inscription has been preserved and kept in storage.

A filthy message dated 1902 and scrawled on a wooden pillar beside the front door has been uncovered during a £12 million ($18 million) restoration of Kensington Palace

A filthy message dated 1902 and scrawled on a wooden pillar beside the front door has been uncovered during a £12 million ($18 million) restoration of Kensington Palace

Lee Prosser, Buildings Curator at the Historic Royal Palaces charity said a bottle of whisky was also found tucked in the panelling with a newspaper cutting pasted to the post that showed a group of old men sitting together.

Lee Prosser: “We found it a couple of months ago. It was covered with boarding and when we took it off, there it was.

“Unfortunately we know nothing about who he (Peter Jackson) was. My feeling is that he was a carpenter.

“There are many instances of graffiti at the palaces, including some similarly rude and rather graphic Tudor etchings at Hampton Court Palace, as well as numerous more poignant messages carved into the stone walls by prisoners at the Tower of London.

“You often get that with workmen – people like to write their names – we have often found other bits in the palace where people have written their name It’s not that unusual”.

Lee Prosser had at first assumed that the scrawl had been the handiwork of Peter Jackson himself but a further scrawl, which showed an arrow pointing to one of the men in the photograph in the newspaper with Peter Jackson’s name on it has led him to believe that it was penned by one of his workmates.

The curator said: “I was really surprised that people used words like that 100 years ago and then even went to write it down. We found it quite amusing.

“The prop had to be removed and replaced, but it has been put into storage – I was quite keen to save it.”

This is not the first time royalty has had to contend with a spot of bad language.

The late fashion designer Alexander McQueen was working as an apprentice in the Savile Row workshop of Gieves & Hawkes in London when bored one afternoon, he wrote “I am a c***” in the lining of a suit jacket destined for the Prince of Wales.

Other interesting finds during the palace refurbishment have included some pretty tin items which appear to come from Nottingham House – the first building on the site – and a swathe of late 18th century green verditer wallpaper with a decorated border, hidden behind an architrave.

Originally built in 1605 as a private country house, Kensington Palacewas purchased in 1689 by King William III and Queen Mary II, eager to escape Whitehall.

Kensington Palace has been home to some of the country’s most famous royals, including George II, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales

Kensington Palace has been home to some of the country’s most famous royals, including George II, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales

The two-year restoration project that has been carried out by Historic Royal Palaces is now in its closing stages and will see the palace re-open in March to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Kensington Palace has been home to some of the country’s most famous royals, including George II, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Many intimate items will be on display for the first time including jewellery, paintings, books and a uniform that belonged to Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert.

Clothes to be shown include a pair of mourning stockings that are black on the legs and white at the feet, which Victoria wore after Albert died in 1861.

Visitors will walk across a new carpet in to which quotes from passionate love letters Albert wrote during the couple’s engagement have been woven.

A sound and light installation will re-create the atmosphere as it was in the Red Saloon on June 20 1837 when Victoria realised she was now Queen following the death of her uncle William IV.

Kensington Palace includes contributions from some of the most renowned architects of the past three centuries, including Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, Sir John Vanbrugh, John Nash, Colin Campbell and William Kent.

During building work, the restoration team uncovered many traces of their predecessors attempts to maintain what started out as a Jacobean house.

The most alarming – perhaps aside from the graffiti discovered – was when the foundations for the new cafe, shop and sunken garden were dug up and a long buried spring bubbled up to the surface and turned the ground into quick sand.

 

Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed tonight because Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday at 2 a.m.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) Story

Benjamin Franklin was only kidding when he suggested 227 years ago that towns should employ church bells or cannon blasts to wake citizens at sunrise so they could take full advantage of sunlight.

More than two centuries later, daylight saving time is no longer just an amusing idea. Twice a year, we’re forced to adjust our sleep habits, synchronizing our biological and digital clocks to squeeze more sunlight into our waking hours.

Meanwhile, sleep researchers insist we should be cutting back on our waking hours if we really want to live long and prosper.

So here we are, caught somewhere between popping sleep aids and chugging Red Bull, not sure how to feel about our collective changing of the clocks.

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed tonight because Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday at 2 a.m.

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed tonight because Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday at 2 a.m.

David Prerau has devoted much of his life to chronicling the history and science of DST.

He served as a consultant to Congress in 2005 when it extended daylight saving time to save, and he also consulted on DST to the United Kingdom Parliament. David Prerau holds a PhD from M.I.T.

Although Benjamin Franklin certainly gets a historical nod for his amusing commentary about our waste of perfectly good sunlight, Prerau points to British early riser and golf fanatic William Willett as the godfather of daylight-saving time.

“He used to go for early morning horseback rides and wondered why nobody else was up enjoying this beautiful time of day,” David Prerau said.

William Willett detailed his time-wise idea in a pamphlet, “The Waste of Daylight,” and spent years lobbying Parliament in vain to adopt daylight-saving time – he died in 1915 before that would happen, David Prerau said.

Germany was right on time, however. Seeing merit in William Willett’s bright idea, Germans adopted it in 1916 to conserve energy and resources during World War I. That launched a daylight-saving domino effect in Europe.

Britain was finally shamed into adopting the policy three weeks after Germany.

Not to be left in the dark by our European counterparts, the U.S. officially adopted daylight-saving time during WW I, and again during World War II.

But it was not without controversy.

By the end of WW I, city dwellers learned to love daylight saving, David Prerau said. But country folk, still in tune with nature’s clock, became disgruntled once they realized they’d actually have to rise before the sun if they were to get their goods on outbound trains that, under daylight saving, left town an hour earlier.

“Rural people bombarded Congress with requests to repeal daylight saving time,” David Prerau said.

Among them, New Hampshire Governor John H. Bartlett, who in 1920 went right to the top, urging President Woodrow Wilson by telegram to inform senators and congressmen “that New Hampshire demanded prompt action to remedy the injustice being done the rural communities through changes in railroad schedules to conform to daylight saving hours.”

John H. Bartlett didn’t know Woodrow Wilson was a big fan of daylight saving.

When Congress voted to repeal daylight-saving legislation, Woodrow Wilson vetoed it. And when Congress voted a second time to repeal it, Woodrow Wilson vetoed again.

“It was an interesting time in history,” David Prerau said.

“Because then Congress voted to override Wilson’s veto – that’s how contentious it was. If you look back in history, not many things are passed by overriding a presidential veto.

In his 2005 book, “Seize the Daylight,” David Prerau includes all kinds of historical anecdotes about the chaos that ensued over the random nature of daylight saving until federal legislation finally standardized it in 1966.

One of his favorites is the one about the bus ride that spanned 35 miles and seven time zones between Ohio and West Virginia.

“It became nationally famous as a sort of curiosity. People rode the bus just to change their watches seven times,” he said.

David Prerau believes the upside of daylight-saving time isn’t economic; it’s the lifestyle benefit. People have more time to mingle and recreate.

“People don’t like driving in the dark, and daylight savings reduces traffic accidents. Crime is reduced also, because of that extra hour of daylight,” he said.

“Savings in electrical energy are only about 1%,” said David Prerau. “Which may sound low, but if you think of it as something you get for free, it’s a good side benefit.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect as of 2007, extending Daylight Savings in the U.S. by three to four weeks in the spring and one week in the fall. Since then, more studies are in the works to see if increased use of air conditioning may actually negate whatever savings were originally calculated, David Prerau said.

“There’s going to be more studies, and if they end up being negative, Congress may want to reconsider,” he said.

“But I doubt it. There’s the other problem, of having to reprogram computers and clocks. It was a big deal for companies last March. And having gone through that once, people may be reluctant to change back,” David Prerau said.

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An US nationwide survey released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that 15% of US adult population – nearly 35 million adults – hold deeply anti-Semitic views, an increase of 3 per cent from a similar poll conducted in 2009.

According to experts, old stereotypes about Jews and money appear to be more widely accepted among Americans as the downturn in the economy persists.

2011 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America was a national telephone survey on 1,754 adults and was conducted October 13-23 by Marttila Strategies of Washington, DC and Boston.

The survey shows that at a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, age-old myths about Jews and money and Jewish power in business endure, with a surprising number of Americans agreed with sharply worded criticisms of Jews.

An US nationwide survey released by the Anti-Defamation League found that 15 per cent of US adult population hold deeply anti-Semitic views

An US nationwide survey released by the Anti-Defamation League found that 15 per cent of US adult population hold deeply anti-Semitic views

 

Over the last 10 years, the highest level of anti-Semitic attitudes was reported in 2002, when an ADL poll found 17% of Americans harboured anti-Jewish attitudes.

19% of Americans answered “probably true” to the statement: “Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street” – an increase from 14% in 2009.

It also found that 14% agreed with the statement “Jews have too much power in the U.S. today” – an increase from 13% in 2009.

15% agreed that Jews are “more willing to use shady practices” – up slightly from 2009.

16% agreed that Jewish “business people are so shrewd, others don’t have a chance” – up from 13% in 2009.

30% believe that Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to America”, “a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged since ADL’s benchmark survey in 1964, despite the changing make-up of the U.S population”, according to ADL.

Nearly half of all respondents agreed with the statement that “Jews stick together more than other Americans”, and 33% said they believe “Jews always like to be at the head of things”.

31% of Americans agreed with the statement “Jews were responsible for the death of Christ”, and 25% of Americans believe that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust”.

Abraham H Foxman, Anti Defamation League National Director, said: “It is disturbing that with all of the strides we have made in becoming a more tolerant society, anti-Semitic beliefs continue to hold a vice-grip on a small but not insubstantial segment of the American public.

“The stereotypes about Jews and money endure, and the fact that more Americans are now accepting these statements about Jews as true suggests that the downturn in the economy, along with the changing demographics of our society, may have contributed to the rise in anti-Semitic sentiments.

“Once again the old anti-Semitic standbys about Jewish loyalty, the death of Jesus and Jewish power remain strong.”

According to the ADL poll, the most educated Americans are largely free of prejudicial views and less educated Americans are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views.

The poll also found that 22% of who graduated high school or completed some high school harbour strongly anti-Semitic views, as compared to 13% among those who completed some college, and 9% among those who graduated from college.

The poll also looked at anti-Semitic views among significantly large minority groups. It found that Hispanic Americans born outside of the U.S. are more likely than Hispanics born in the U.S. to hold anti-Semitic views. According to the survey, 42% of foreign-born Hispanics hold anti-Semitic views, as opposed to 20% of U.S. born Hispanics.

In 2011, 29% African-Americans expressed strongly anti-Semitic views. That percentage is consistent with the findings of past surveys.

Jews were found to be held in high regard on many key measurements, however. Even Americans who hold the most anti-Semitic views agreed with many positive statements about Jews.

79% said they believe Jews have a strong faith in God; 64% said they believe Jews have contributed much to cultural life of America; and 83% say they emphasise the importance of family life.

The survey was conducted with a base sample of 1,200 plus an oversample of 243 African-Americans and 227 Hispanics, bringing the oversample for both communities to 400 each.

Anti-Semitic propensities are measured by an 11-question index developed by the Anti-Defamation League more than 40 years ago. The index includes 11 statements used to gauge the anti-Semitic attitudes of the respondents.

Anti-Semitic propensities are measured by an 11-question index developed by the Anti-Defamation League more than 40 years ago

Anti-Semitic propensities are measured by an 11-question index developed by the Anti-Defamation League more than 40 years ago

In the new survey a surprising number of Americans agreed with sharply worded criticisms of Jews:

* 14% agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power in the U.S. today”, an increase from 13% in 2009

* 15% agreed that Jews are “more willing to use shady practices”, up slightly from 2009

* 16% agreed that Jewish “business people are so shrewd, others don’t have a chance”, up from 13% in 2009

* 30% believe that Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to America”, a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged since ADL’s benchmark survey in 1964, despite the changing make-up of the U.S population

* Nearly half of all respondents agreed with the statement that Jews “stick together more than other Americans”, and 33% said they believe Jews “always like to be at the head of things”

Source: Anti-Defamation League

 

 

According to Chris Matthews’ book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, JFK stole what was to become the best known quote of his 1961 inaugural address – “Ask not…” – from his old headmaster.

JFK enraged his former classmates by plagiarizing the line “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, which they had heard “time and time again” in a similar form at school.

While JFK‘s presidential rival Richard Nixon became infamous for his dirty tricks, the book claims Kennedy was not above playing some of his own.

In the pivotal televised debate of the 1960 U.S. election, JFK demanded a ban on candidates wearing make-up – then applied some anyway.

It meant John F. Kennedy appeared tanned and natural, while Richard Nixon, his Republican opponent, looked haggard and sweaty, almost derailing his campaign.

U.S. author Chris Matthews makes the claims in Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. The author unearthed notes written by George St John, the President’s former headmaster at Choate School in Connecticut, which suggest he had been aware of the “ask not” line for many years.

George St John’s notes quote a Harvard College dean’s refrain: “As has often been said, the youth who loves his Alma Mater will always ask not <<what can she do for me?>> but <<what can I do for her?>>”

JFK enraged his former classmates by plagiarizing the line "ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country", which they had heard "time and time again" in a similar form at school

JFK enraged his former classmates by plagiarizing the line "ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country", which they had heard "time and time again" in a similar form at school

Chris Matthews’ book also includes a reply to a questionnaire about JFK’s time at the school, sent to his former classmates when he was President. One of the students wrote: “I boil every time I read or hear the <<Ask not… etc.>> exhortation as being original with Jack.

“Time and time again we all heard [the headmaster] say that to the whole Choate family.”

JFK’ speech, delivered at his inauguration on Capitol Hill on January 20, 1961, was not, it seems, the first time he had resorted to underhand tactics.

Chris Matthews claims in the book that JFK gave himself an unfair advantage when he squared off against Richard Nixon in the first of four televised “Great Debates” on September 26, 1960, the first time such an event had taken place in America.

While JFK was charismatic and seemed at ease, Richard Nixon appeared shifty and blended into the background because of his grey suit.

According to Chris Matthews' book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, JFK stole what was to become the best known quote of his 1961 inaugural address - "Ask not..." - from his old headmaster

According to Chris Matthews' book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, JFK stole what was to become the best known quote of his 1961 inaugural address - "Ask not..." - from his old headmaster

According to the author, JFK had a helping hand, as his camp had insisted there was a ban on make-up, but then did not follow their own rules. Richard Nixon’s did, with disastrous consequences.

When Richard Nixon’ sweating started to become apparent and his staff secretly turned down the thermostat in the studio, JFK’s team quietly put it back up.

For the 70 million viewers watching at home – for whom it was the first chance to see both candidates – the contrast was striking.

History tells us that JFK won the debate, but some studies have found that those who heard the debate on the radio actually preferred Richard Nixon.

In the end, appearance triumphed over substance and JFK won the election. He went on to serve as president until 1963, when he was assassinated.

Richard Nixon had to wait until 1969 to enter the White House, remaining President until 1974, when he was forced to resign over the Watergate scandal.

The extraordinary revelation is sure to raise eyebrows among historians when Chris Matthews’ book is published this week.

The “Ask not…” speech has long been thought to have written with the input o JFK’s poetic speechwriter Theodore C. Sorensen.

Theodore C. Sorensen, who died in 2010, helped idealize and immortalize the JFK’s tragically brief administration.

The speecwriter was best known for working with JFK on passages of soaring rhetoric, including the 1961 inaugural address, which also proclaimed that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans”.

But who wrote what has always been blurred – political historians say that John F. Kennedy and Theodore C. Sorensen were so inextricably linked that perhaps only they knew who scripted what parts of the speeches.

Theodore C. Sorensen, an adoring follower of JFK, never took credit for the president’s timeless phrases – saying that it was a totally collaborative effort.

What is certain is that of the many speeches Theodore C. Sorensen helped compose, JFK’s inaugural address shone the brightest.

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations includes four citations from the speech – about a seventh of the entire address, which built to the unforgettable “Ask not…” exhortation.

Much of the roughly 14-minute speech – the fourth-shortest inaugural address ever, but in the view of many experts rivalled only by Abraham Lincoln’s – was marked by similar sparkling phrase-making.

Theodore C. Sorensen said he drew inspiration for the speech from the Bible, from Abraham Lincoln – and from the rousing wartime speeches of British prime minister Winston Churchill.

Chris Matthews, 65, is a former presidential speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and press secretary for long-time Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill.

Chris Matthews’ book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, published this week, is his sixth book.

 

Highlights of JFK’s 1961 inaugural address

Frequently cited as one of the best speeches ever made, JFK’s 14-minute  inauguration address in January 1961 was marked by sparkling phrase-making, including:
    * “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
    * “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
    * “So let us begin anew, remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.”
    * “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”
    * “We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”
    * “And so, my fellow Americans – ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

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Call clarity and the number of minutes provided used to be the main criteria by which people chose their cellular phones.

 

Today how “smart” a phone is plays majorly in peoples’ cell phone decisions. Today some people choose their smart phones by how many applications the phones have. The Android app market is one of the top application markets on the cell phone market. Android phone users can choose between hundreds of applications. How do you figure out which applications you should download? Thankfully there are plenty of free apps that you can play with without having to worry about wasting your money.

 

The following are some of the top free Android Applications.


A company called Most Popular Download developed a free Android application called My Coupons, which is tremendously useful for the Android user who savors the thought of saving money when he or she goes shopping.This free app for Android phones allows you to find coupons for shopping and even help you find free meal deals throughout your city. Sales clerks can scan barcodes on your phone or you can print the barcodes from any computer and use them on purchases the way ordinary coupons are used. For the money conscious consumer and diner this is definitely an important free Android application. Meebo is perhaps the most popular free Android application for instant messaging. Why is this app so much better than the competition? With just one app you can be logged in to all of your messaging clients. MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Myspace IM, Jabber and even Google Talk can be managed through it. You can easily keep track of all of your chats with your single application account. Meebo can be accessed from any computer which makes it ideal for keeping track of all of your account histories!


How often have you been out of the house, decided that you wanted to go to the movies and then been frustrated because you don’t have a good way to find out which movies are playing near you (or what time they start)?

 

Before now, you might have had to resort to your old phone’s ancient internet browser and hours of searching. With the Ikamobile Movie Finder you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Ikamobile Movie Finder is the top downloaded free Android app for movie fans. In addition for helping you figure out which movies are playing in your area and what times those movies start you can watch movie trailers, and look for the newest releases. There are so many different free applications available in the Android Market that choosing the best and most useful can be very time consuming. It is probably quite tempting to simply download all of the apps available and then sort through them later. Instead of taking this approach (and wasting valuable disk space on your phone) why not just look at a few applications at at time? Taking the second approach saves you a lot of time and effort and you won’t have to worry about wasting money because the apps are free!

Almost everybody has a cell phone nowadays.

 

Even the people who vowed they would never ever discover the usefulness of a cell phone have given in to the convenience mobile phones and technology have to offer. What other way would you explain the trend of the pay as you go cell phone? Rising in popularity among cell phone models on the market is Google’s Android phone. Its smart phone technology is giving its competition a lot to contend with. With such a wide variety of Android Phones available, how do you figure out which phones are the best Android Phones? Some of the phones with the best reviews are listed below.


The Motorola Quench is a superior Android phone.

 

A later model Motorola that has been enhanced with the Android operation system is the Quench. This phone is among seven other Motorola models, using the Android system. With very high definition – 320 x 480 – the small screen of only a little more than three inches, won’t be an issue. It also uses the Motoblur technology, which was made to enhance the user’s social networking experience. It uses the Android 1.5 operating system and comes with Wi-Fi capability, GPS, a camera that is five megapixels and a bunch of apps that users will love. One of the Motorola phones that functions with the Android operating system is the Motorola Cliq. This phone can be purchased through T-Mobile. It contains a slide out keyboard. The ability to keep long logs of e-mails, text messages and social networking updates makes this phone a trendy item. Twitter and Facebook users can use this phone for managing their accounts. It is capable of allowing you to access the data on your phone from a remote location.


The Samsung Galaxy portal is an Android phone, which was designed for budget conscious users.

 

The camera is a mere three megapixel digital camera, however other than that it is an excellent phone – especially for the price. This phone is provides video, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. The phone has an average of seven hours worth of talk time. The build is a little bulky but if you want a smart phone for a great price, this is the one for you. Some cellular providers offer it for free when customers are eligible for upgrades. Finding the right cell phone can be like pulling teeth. An important question to ask yourself is what you want your phone to be able to do for you. When deciding which top Android phone is worth your money – knowing what you want out of your phone will be a benefit to you.

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Halloween is not an American holiday. In fact, Halloween is considered to be one of the oldest holidays in the world, and one celebrated around the globe in one fashion or another.

It is not always labeled “Halloween” and doesn’t always fall on October 31.

In Mexico and throughout Latin American, for example, the Halloween-type holiday is known as Las Dia de los Muertos, a celebratory day meant to honor the dearly departed.

Halloween-type celebrations appear to be a product of timing, observances of life giving way to death. They arrive at the very end of the harvest when fields lie fallow, and just before winter starts to bear down on us.

“It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts,” according to History.com.

Fast forward to the eighth century, when Pope Gregory III chose November 1 as All Saints’ Day, a day to collectively honor saints and martyrs. And it wasn’t long until the night became known as All Hallows’ Eve and, eventually, Halloween. The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even (“evening”), that is, the night before All Hallows Day.

The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century

The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century

Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. For instance, the carving of jack-o’-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips.

The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century.

The imagery of Halloween is derived from many sources, including national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein and Dracula), and classic horror films (such as Frankenstein and The Mummy). Among the earliest works on the subject of Halloween is from Scottish poet John Mayne in 1780, who made note of pranks at Halloween; “What fearfu’ pranks ensue!”, as well as the supernatural associated with the night, “Bogies” (ghosts), influencing Robert Burns’ Halloween 1785. Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween.
Halloween imagery includes themes of death, evil, the occult, or mythical monsters. Black and orange are the holiday’s traditional colors.

Today, Halloween celebrations run the gamut in the U.S. West Hollywood and New York City celebrate as if there’s no tomorrow. Other places more or less close the curtains, turn out the lights and hope the kids pass us by. Some adults go all out with the costumes, while others wouldn’t be caught dead in some get-up.

Photographer Dyrk Daniels captured the remarkable moments when a huge Bengal tiger bowed its head and placed a paw up to the hand of a small girl at Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Washington.

Dyrk Daniels, 47, noticed the 370lb Golden Bengal Tiger had taken an interest in the little girl, who was leaning against his glass enclosure.

As the tiger, called Taj, headed over to her, Dyrk Daniels got his camera ready, expecting him to snarl and bang against the glass.

But amazingly the Bengal tiger hung his head, stretched a paw out to her hand and rubbed his cheek against where the little girl’s face was.

Dyrk Daniels, a father-of-two went to Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Washington State, to photograph the Bengal tigers.

When the photographer got to the enclosure there were several children and families in the area, so he decided to let them see the tigers first before he tried to photograph them himself.

Photographer Dyrk Daniels captured the remarkable moments when a huge Bengal tiger bowed its head and placed a paw up to the hand of a small girl at Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Washington

Photographer Dyrk Daniels captured the remarkable moments when a huge Bengal tiger bowed its head and placed a paw up to the hand of a small girl at Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Washington

“That is when I noticed this little girl was leaning against the glass with both hands out stretched staring at the <<big kitties>>,” Dyrk Daniels said.

“I noticed that Taj had taken an interest in the girl and was heading towards her.

“I thought for certain that the little girl would need therapy after the encounter and fear cats for the rest of her life.

“I could not believe my eyes when Taj approached the girl, bowed his head and then placed his huge right paw exactly in front of where the little girl’s left hand was.”

“It was incredible to watch. Taj let down his right paw, rubbed his cheek against the glass where the little girl’s face was and moved off.”

Far from being scared, the little girl was so excited that she started clapping as she walked back afterwards towards her mother.

“I have never seen such tenderness from such a large predator,” Dyrk Daniels said.