Friday, July 30, 2010

CDN Television, Rookie Blue, Episode 1.6, "Bullet Proof"

Rookie Blue
Season One, Episode Six, Bullet Proof
Original Air Date:  July 29, 2010

Williams and Nash foil a carjacking that endangers the life of a baby and in the process manage to arrest a prime suspect in a murder that happened a week ago.  The suspects partner is still at large.  Catching him and linking the suspect to the murder is the focus of this weeks main case.  McNally gets Detective Callaghan to convince Swarek to loan her to Homicide for his case.  Epstein and Nash are assigned to going through impounded vehicles and cataloging every item they find in them.  When McNally loses a witness, Benny, who has evidence in the case, she calls Swarek for help.

Peck and Diaz are partnered in this episode and it seems like she wants to do everything in her power to make him miserable for the day.  When he asks her why she's so mean she just laughs at him.  Her mood quickly turns when they respond to a vehicle vs. bicycler accident.  When they end up catching a murderer something surprising happens between Peck and Diaz:  they hook up!  Peck and Diaz.  Nice guy and mean girl.  I guess opposites really do attract. I never would have thought they'd get together.

When things take a turn for the worse with Benny, McNally is understandably upset.  Rather than spend the evening at The Penny with Mr. Pretty Boy Detective, she and Swarek apparently go to fix some plumbing at Benny's foster mothers home.  Doesn't sound like much of a night?  It makes sense after watching the episode.  Score one for Team Swarek!!

Slowly, relationships are starting to form between the rookies and the more seasoned police officers.  Nash and Williams had a conversation that led to both women having a better understanding of each other.  Williams ends up joining Nash and Epstein at The Penny after work. 

I think it will be good to see some friendships forming between the rookies and seasoned cops.  The rookies have been on the job for a little while now and they are all proving themselves to be pretty good police officers (yes, even Peck).  The 'let's make fun of the rookies' mentality wasn't quite as strong in this episode and that wasn't a bad thing at all.

Tokyo's Oldest Man Dead For 30 Years

Officials in were under the impression that Sogen Kato was the oldest living man in Tokyo until they recently went to his home to wish him a happy 111th birthday.  They made a shocking discovery when they learned that Mr. Kato had died.  Quite possibly Mr. Kato could have died as many as thirty years ago.

Kato's family has denied visits from welfare officials before.  On Wednesday, July 28, 2010, police forced their way into the home and found Mr. Kato's mummified remains in his bed.

According to Mr. Kato's family, he confined himself to his bedroom more than three decades ago and "became a living Buddha". 

Kato's family is currently being investigated for fraud as they have received 9.5 million yen ($109,000) in widower's pension payments after the death of Kato's wife six years ago and recently withdrew some of the funds.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Australian Television: Tangle, Episode 2.2

Season Two, Episode Two
Original Air Date:  July 27, 2010

Life slowly starts to get back to normal for everyone following Vince's death.  Gabriel is becoming ever more distant to Ally as his and Nat's affair continues.  The tension in Christine and Tim's marriage grows.  Nat faces trouble with a colleague.  Ally and Gabriel find Vince's will in his office and Tim gets Ally to sign the papers for the land sale Vince was working on when he died.  Ally learns about Gabriel and Nat's affair.  Three months later, Ally and the kids have moved into a new house and Nat is invited to move in.  Romeo has anger issues to deal with.  Christine and Tim both have great news to celebrate.

After last weeks somber goodbye to Vince Kovac, this weeks show starts off running with the tangled web that is the lives of the characters.  The family and friends who came in to pay their respects to Vince go home and everyone goes back to their normal routines. 

Smuggled Tortoises and Frogs Seized in Malaysia

In mid, July, two Malagasy women were arrested after attempting to smuggle almost 400 rare Madagascar tortoises and more than 40 tomato frogs in their luggage through the Kuala Lumpur airport.  This is the second time smuggled animals have been discovered by officials in just a month.  The Radiated and Ploughshare tortoises and frogs were destined for pet shops or to be used as food.

The Radiated and Ploughshare tortoises recently discovered in Kuala Lumpur are extremely rare.  The trade of exotic animals is highly illegal and highly profitable, thus, it is thriving.  Madagascar is a prime source of profitable fare as the animals and plants on the island are, for the most part, unique only to Madagascar. 

For more information you can read an article from BBC News.

Australian Television: City Homicide, Episode 4.4 "Protection"

City Homicide
Season Four, Episode Four, Protection
Original Air Date:  July 28, 2010

A bodyguard and his client are murdered by a masked gunman.  The detectives must unravel the mystery of who the client really was and why someone would want him dead.  They aren't the only ones investigating the crime.  The bodyguards best mate is also wanting to know who killed his mate and why and make them pay for it.  Meanwhile, Matt and Emma are having problems.

Detective Kingston is quite tough in this episode.  She's definitely got a kick-in-the-door style about her!  I know a lot of viewers don't like Kingston but I do.  I've liked her from the get go.  She had a rocky start in Homicide but Kingston has certainly learned a lot since first stepping in blood at her very first homicide crime scene.

I've never cared for Superintendent Beck.  He's always seemed like a creepy and shady figure to me and a totally bent cop.  We learn the truth about him in this episode.

I've liked Terry Jarvis from the second he first appeared on the show.  He doesn't care what he says or who he says it to.  He's always proven himself to be sharp and on top of everything.  Protection only served to strengthen my liking of him. 

We're through two episodes now without Simon Joyner and you know what?  The show is as strong and interesting as it was with him in it.  Sure, I miss Simon but the high quality of the writing and acting allows actors to come and go and the show remain top-notch.  Season four is off to a good start, I think.  I'm looking forward to next weeks episode!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill Threatened Sea Turtle Hatchlings Getting a New Chance at Life?

Scientists released hundreds of Kemp's ridley sea turtle hatchlings onto a beach at Padre Island National Seashore in Texas on Monday, July 26, 2010.  The tiny, days-old turtles headed into the Gulf of Mexico in an area 400 miles from the oil spill.  The little guys have got a lot of danger ahead of them that, sadly, a good many will not survive.  Not only must they contend with the threats in nature, they must also deal with the dangers presented by the oil spill.

Loggerhead turtles from Florida were moved to safer eastern Florida waters but the Kemp's ridley turtles were released into the coasts of Texas and Mexico as originally planned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.  Since June, between seven and eight thousand Kemp's ridley sea turtle hatchlings have been released.  Biologists are hoping that by time the Kemp's make their way to the spill zone, the mess will have been cleaned up.

Releasing the baby turtles was a move made not without some controversy.  The biologists believe that keeping the turtles in captivity until the oil is cleaned up would cause them greater harm than good.  Some fear that releasing the fragile and highly endangered turtles into the tainted waters will deal them a major setback.

Kemp's ridley sea turtles are the smallest living sea turtle species.  Fully mature, they reach lengths of only 2-3 feet and weight around 100 pounds.  They have been on the endangered list since 1973.  By 1985 their numbers had dwindled to a dangerously low 7,702.  Since the oil spill, 638 sea turtles have been found dead.  A staggering 524 of those turtles were Kemp's ridleys.

For more information on the Kemp's ridley sea turtles, and other sea turtles being cared for by conservationists, you can read these articles:
Oily Future for Sea Turtle Hatchlings?
Despite Oil, Baby Turtles Being Released to Gulf

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rare Otter Sighted in Malaysia

A photograph taken in Malaysia's Sabah state in the latter part of 2008 has given scientists a glimmer of hope.  The photograph was of a hairy-nosed otter.  The animal is often thought to be the rarest otter in Asia because it has been hunted for meat and its fur and due to development of its habitat.

The otter was photographed by a remote-controlled camera being used by researchers in a forest reserve.  After studying the photograph for two years the researchers are hopeful they truly do have an image of a hairy-nosed otter.  The otter, once believed to be extinct, has been sighted in Vietnam and Cambodia. 

It has been more than 100 years since this species of otter has been seen in Malaysia.

Hopefully, the sightings and the photograph means this cute little guy truly is still alive and kicking and will be for a long time!

For more information and to see a photo of the otter, you can read this article.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Funnies: What's in a Name?

A psychiatrist was conducting a group therapy session with four young mothers and their small children.

"You all have obsessions," he observed. To the first mother:  "Mary," he said, "You are obsessed with eating. You've even named your daughter Candy."

He turned to the second Mom:  "Ann, Your obsession is with money. Again, it manifests itself in your child's name, Penny."

He turned to the third mom, Joyce:  "Your obsession is alcohol. This too shows itself in your child's name is Brandy."

At this point, the fourth mother, Kathy, quietly got up, took her little boy by the hand and whispered, "Come on, Dick, this guy has no idea what he's talking about.  Let's go pick up Peter and Willy from school and get some dinner."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

CDN Television: Rookie Blue, Episode 1.5 "Broad Daylight"

Rookie Blue
Season One, Episode Five, Broad Daylight
Original Air Date:  July 22, 2010

The main case this week was a string of B&E's, one of which, resulted in an injury to a maid at the house being robbed.  Nash doesn't want anyone to know she has a child because she doesn't want them to see her differently.  Diaz's girlfriend wants him to propose to her and Epstein thinks Diaz should stay a single man.  McNally spends the night with Callaghan but leaves before he wakes up.  Diaz and Epstein stake out a wedding where they think the burglars will strike next and end up revealing a little too much about themselves to Shaw and a female detective monitoring them in the van.

The main case this week was pretty straightforward.  The police were investigating a string of B&E's and when they thought they had their guys at one crime scene it turned out to be something else entirely.  It does provide a good way for one of our rookies to screw up yet again.  This time, it isn't just McNally making the mistakes.  Nash steps into it this time.

Nash is wanting to keep the fact she has a child secret from everyone else in the department because she wants to be seen as a cop and not as a mum that's also a cop.  Not even Detective Barker knows about her son.  Things don't exactly go as she plans and her secret is out.  It isn't as bad as she thought and even Barker is more accepting of her son than I thought he would be.  Nash's ex, and the father of her son, is a bit selfish.  His son seems more like a burden to him than anything as he wants to have his fun with his new girlfriend instead of taking care of his child.

Peck continues to be super annoying.  She doesn't really do anything other than cause trouble.  At some point later on that may play a big part but for right now, she just gets on my nerves.  Diaz doesn't really seem to keen on the thought of getting married despite the fact that he's basically been given an ultimatum by his girlfriend.  Epstein wants Diaz to stay single so they can continue enjoying the wild bachelor life.  I don't think Epstein quite counted on Diaz's girlfriend being gorgeous.

Swarek gave McNally a warning about Callaghan that Mr. Pretty Boy Detective always chooses a new rookie each year to chase after which she brushes off.  I know Mr. Pretty Boy Detective can't be all he's cracked up to be and McNally has some issues she needs to work through.

All in all, this was a quiet week.  Nothing major happened and the show seemed to be focused more on the characters this week instead of the crime, particularly Nash.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Australian Television: City Homicide, Episode 4.3 "Flight Risk"

City Homicide
Season Four, Episode Three, Flight Risk
Original Air Date:  July 21, 2010

The team is called in to investigate when a woman is found raped and murdered in her home.  An earlier rape leads the detectives to a suspect, a successful businessman who is scheduled to leave Australia for Kuwait in one day forcing the team to work against time to solve the case.  One of their own is placed in danger in the course of the investigation.  Meanwhile, Bernice Waverley is given a promotion. 

Tasma Walton (Senior Sergeant Claudia Leigh) was brilliant in this show.  She has played a role in a dozen or so previous episodes of City Homicide but never to this extent.  Usually, she serves in an advisory capacity but on this case, she was upfront and tough.  Very tough.  Without her, the detectives wouldn't have been able to put the case to bed.  I didn't care much for S.S. Leigh when she made her first appearance on the show but the more I see her, the more I like the character.  It was great to see Leigh have such a large part in this case.  I hope we get to see her out front in future episodes as well.

Martin Sacks was perfect as the cold and calculating Daniel Worthington.  He was chillingly calm as S.S. Leigh was questioning him, trying to push him into a confession.  The harder she pushed the more determined he seemed to stay in complete control of his emotions.  He refused to give her the upper hand even though you knew he was seething.

One of my favorite things about this show is how the detectives all work together to solve the crimes.  You don't have just one or two going out on their own and working through the case until they get it solved.  It's a team effort and this particular case was most definitely a team effort.  I think having someone who isn't a regular part of the Homicide squad take the stage helps keep things fresh.  They bring a different perspective in and it only serves to spice things up a bit.

I'm wondering if Bernice Waverley's promotion means we won't be seeing her as often as we did when she had Stanley Wolfe's job while he was away.  I certainly hope not.  I like Bernice.  She's a tough cookie.

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit.  How could you not when watching Tasma Walton and Martin Sacks engaged in a psychological battle where one refuses to relent to the other?  Excellent acting!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Australian Television: Tangle, Episode 2.1

Season Two, Episode One
Original Air Date:  July 20, 2010

The Kovac family deals with the death of Vince as the relatives get together for his funeral.  Joe Kovac comes to the funeral and it's clear he and Vince did not get along.  Everyone deals with Vince's death in their own way.  Christine catches Nat doing drugs with one of Romeo's friends.  A tipsy Ally shocks everyone at the wake.

There really isn't too much that can be said about this episode as everything that happened was pretty straightforward.  The storyline has picked up a day or two after where we left off at the end of the first season.  It was a quiet season opener and all about how the Kovac family, their friends and loved ones are dealing with Vince's death.

Gabriel and Nat are continuing what they started in the last episode of the first season so things aren't quite what they were before between him and Ally.  I think just about everyone was doing some kind of drugs or drinking a lot in this show.  Vince's wife and children are each having their own problems coping with their loss.  The children are sleeping with Ally every night but she doesn't sleep a wink. 

I'm expecting some interesting moments in future episodes if Ally learns of Nat and Gabriel's fling and when Tim and Ally meet to discuss Vince's business dealings.  I'm looking forward to seeing more of Joe and hopefully learning why he and Vince didn't get along.

A Whale of a Story

When Cape Town Sailing Academy Administrator Paolma Werner and her sailing instructor boyfriend, Ralph Mothes set out for a sail this past Sunday they thought it would be another enjoyable and relaxing excursion.  That is, until a 40-ton Southern Right Whale crashed into their 10-meter yacht, The Intrepid

Werner and Mothes had been watching the whale for about a half hour when it moved to about 100 to 200 meters from the boat then disappeared under water.  Next thing they knew, the whale was out of the water and crash against the mast of the boat.  While the whale received minor injuries, the mast of the steel boat was destroyed and there was some structural damage.  However, the damage wasn't severe enough to sink the boat or cause it to leak.  The couple were able to get safely back to shore.

You can find out more information and see a series of 6 photographs taken by an individual on a nearby boat by visiting this article at  To scroll through the photos, click "Next" on the left side of the page.

Some who have seen the photos and read the article believe this is just a really good fish story helped along by a bit of creative Photoshop work.  What do you think?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Music: Slink (A Hymn) by Locksley

This blog isn't a music blog and I don't often post about music.  But, the more I listen to this song the more I love it so I just had to mention it.  Anyone who watches The Good Guys on Fox has heard this song already.  But for those of you that haven't seen the show, not only are you missing out on a great comedy but you're missing out on an awesome song.

Currently, there is no official video for Slink (A Hymn) but you can hear the complete song here.  (Is it just me, or does it appear The Good Guys using a different mix of the song rather than just an edited version?)  I don't believe the song can currently be purchased anywhere, either.  It isn't in their official store yet, anyway.  Here's hoping Slink will soon see a single release of its own!

Locksley is a pop rock band that formed in Madison, Wisconsin in  2003.  They have two self-released albums to their credit Don't Make Me Wait (2007/2008) and Be In Love (2010) as well as two EP's:  Locksley (2005) and Garage Sale (2008).  Their style is, by their own description, doo-wop punk.  The band consists of Jesse Laz (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Kai Kennedy (lead guitar, vocals), Jordan Laz (bass, vocals) and Sam Bair (drums).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Periodic Table of Swearing

There's nothing like a little bit of humor to make one's day better, is there? 

The folks at Modern Toss have come up with a hilariously witty print they call "The Periodic Table of Swearing".  The print looks exactly like the Periodic Table of Elements we all came to know and love in science class but with a twist.  Instead of learning about the joys of mercury, aluminium and cadmium you are learning about all of the joys of swearing.

The Periodic Table of Swearing can be found here.  It is the first print on the page.  Click the image for a larger, easier to read version.

The Housefly Identification Chart is good for some laughs as well. 

Entertainment: Irving Azoff: Fleetwood Mac to Tour in 2011

Irving Azoff and Michael Rapino, executive chairman and CEO (respectively) of Live Nation Entertainment recently said during an investors meeting that the ticket sales for the top 100 touring bands are down twelve percent this year. 

Rapino claims that the press has "scared about every artist" from touring in the fourth quarter of 2010.  Major acts have either cancelled dates, seen low takes on the ticket front or cancelled tours altogether.  Still, that hasn't stopped Azoff from listing several "big name" artists that will be touring in 2011.

Journey, Kenny Chesney, Neil Diamond, Van Halen and Fleetwood Mac were among the names given by Azoff as artists planning to tour in 2011.

You know, I have absolutely no problem with a band touring in support of a new project.  However, the last time Fleetwood Mac had something new to plug was 2003's Say You Will.  And, speaking as a former long-time Fleetwood Mac fan, that wasn't really anything to be that proud of.  Regardless of how bad Say You Will was, the band still had new material to promote and there were a few new songs being performed live.  Then, there was the Unhinged Unleashed tour.  That came off as little more than a money-making endeavor full of bland performances and a setlist that was even more stale than a 100-year-old butter cookie.  The band didn't even bother to create new promotional material for the Unleashed tour.  They simply re-used old Say You Will material.

What will the band be promoting this time around?  Rumours:  The 1,000th Re-ReleaseRumours of the Greatly, Greater, Greatest and Even More Great Hits of Fleetwood Mac?  Or perhaps they will be flogging the country version of Rumours that it has been rumored Stevie Nicks is in Nashville working on.  Does the world really need to hear Taylor Swift flatly singing Dreams, Carrie Underwood bellowing out Go Your Own Way or Brad Paisley checking the Gold Dust Woman for ticks?  I know Stevie loves to grandmother new female artists and she probably leaped at the chance to get to re-make Fleetwood Mac's most successful record because of getting to work with the likes of Swift and Underwood.  That still doesn't justify a country version of Rumours, in my humble opinion.

As we all know, just because something is announced doesn't mean it is set in stone when it comes to the entertainment industry.  With Dave Stewart having already made quite the issue out of working with Stevie Nicks on material for a solo project for the bedazzled beauty and Nicks returning the favor by appearing on a track on Stewart's new album it will be interesting to see how Stevie manages to fit her solo career in with another outing in the "boys club" she feels Fleetwood Mac has become.  Quite frankly, I think Stevie should put herself above the band because at this point, brand new solo material from Stevie is a much better idea than another greatest hits tour from Fleetwood Mac.


Sunday Funnies: Wilma and Barney Go to Church

Wilma and her husband Barney go to church every Sunday, and during the service Barney always falls asleep. One afternoon Wilma went to the priest and asked him what she could do. The priest handed her a needle and told her to prick Barney with it every time he fell asleep.

The next week at church Barney fell asleep while the priest was talking and when the priest asked "who is our savior?" Wilma poked him with the needle and Barney yelled out JESUS!!  Soon after that he went back to sleep. The next question the priest asked:  Who is Jesus' Father?  Wilma poked him with the needle and Barney yelled out GOD!! then went back to sleep.

The last question the priest asked was what did Eve say to Adam after he impregnated her for the 99th time? Wilma pricked good old Barney with the needle again and he yelled out:  IF YOU POKE THAT DAMN THING IN ME ONE MORE TIME I'LL SNAP IT IN HALF AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR ARSE!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Possible Cause of Arthritis in Moose: Malnutrition

It's a condition we generally associate with old age and the wear and tear of life on the joints.  Researchers have found a possible new cause for arthritis thanks to studies of animal health.  Rather than observing rats and mice, researchers turned their attention to larger subjects:  wild moose. 

For the past 50 years an ongoing study has revealed that moose suffer from a form of arthritis that is nearly identical to that humans suffer from, osteoarthritis.  The results of the half-century study has shown that malnutrition early in the life of the moose played a role in the development of arthritis in the animals. 

On Isle Royale, in Lake Superior and Michigan, the study began in 1958.  Since then, the skeletal remains of over 4,000 moose killed by harsh winters or wolves have been studied by three generations of scientists.  As the moose population increased and food became scarce, cases of osteoarthritis in the moose increased as well.  When the population fell and food became more plentiful, cases of arthritis lowered.

Researchers are hoping that the studies they've done with the moose will aid in research of osteoarthritis in humans. 

For more information you can read this article.

Friday, July 16, 2010

CDN Television: Rookie Blue, Episode 1.4, "Signals Crossed"

Rookie Blue
Season One, Episode Four, Signals Crossed
Original Air Date:  July 15, 2010

An undercover prostitution operation has been organized with McNally, Peck and Diaz as undercover prostitutes.  A rookie was requested for a homicide investigation and Nash volunteers for the assignment getting to work with Detective Callaghan.  Epstein is ordered to sit in his patrol car until needed which displeases him since he wants in on the undercover action.  While undercover, Diaz is approached by a man looking for his missing son.  McNally is ordered back to the Barn when she makes a mistake on the undercover operation and both she and Epstein are called into the bosses office.  McNally gets the idea that they can make a deal with Sadie, a prostitute Epstein arrested earlier in the evening, to make a bigger case and redeem themselves.  They take the info she gives to and when they learn they need proof, they take Sadie to where the guns are located.  She goes in to get a photo and everyone gets into trouble. 

There was some good humor in this episode.  Diaz was clearly uncomfortable with his roll as a gay hustler.  The seasoned veterans had some great laughs at his expense and, I must admit, that just seeing how uncomfortable he was with the entire situation was funny. 

Peck seemed entirely too comfortable with the whole trashy hooker thing.  She was apparently quite pleased with herself when a John rolled up next to her and propositioned her over McNally.  Even if it was my job, I don't think I'd be pleased to be singled out as a hooker over someone else. 

It was nice to see Epstein taking a larger role in this episode.  He has kind of been in the background for the past three shows. 

McNally is still with Mr. Pretty Boy Detective.  They seem quite happy together and he does seem like the perfect guy.  He remembers the little things, he's nice, he's sensitive.  It's got to be too good to be true!  There has to be something wrong with him somewhere!  But maybe I'm just biased since I'm on Team Sam.  I have nothing personal against Mr. Pretty Boy Detective, I really don't.

Rookie Blue has already been renewed for a second season which is great news as I'm still enjoying the show quite a bit.

Trigger Sells for More Than $260,000

Trigger, the faithful companion and famous horse of legendary 'singing cowboy' Roy Rogers was sold at the New York City auction house Christine's on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 for more than $266,000.  RFD-TV in Omaha, Nebraska purchased the stuffed horse from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Missouri.  The museum is now closed and the items it housed were put up for auction.  The Nebraska television network purchased the horse with plans to include it as part of a museum it hopes to open.  They are looking to purchase more of Roy Rogers items at auction for the museum.

Trigger passed away in 1965 one day short of 31 years of age.  Rogers, known as the "King of the Cowboys", couldn't bear to bury his friend and had the horse stuffed.  Rogers originally purchased the horse for $2,500.

More information, photos of Trigger, Rogers' German Shepherd "Bullet", Rogers wife Dale Evans and more Rogers memorabilia is in this entertainment article.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Australian Television: City Homicide, Season 4, Episodes 1 & 2

City Homicide
Season Four, Episodes 4.1 & 4.2:  Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! & Good Cop/Bad Cop
Original Air Date:  July 14, 2010

Episode 4.1, Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!:  The detectives are called in when a drive by shooting aimed at one man claims the life of an innocent man out walking with his wife.  Terry Jarvis wants Simon back in service to assist with the case but his request isn't granted.  The investigation focuses on two opposing radical rights groups.  When two members of one of the groups is attacked, and one killed, the investigation takes a new turn as the body count rises.  Meanwhile, Simon faces a shrewd investigator in his misconduct case but is able to return to work when new evidence comes to light.  However, his problems return when an a previous suspect in an old case comes back to make a charge against him.  When the man turns up dead, Simon calls an old friend, Stanley Wolfe for help.

Episode 4.2, Good Cop/Bad Cop:  The investigation into Pullman's murder begins and Simon Joyner becomes the prime suspect.  Stanley Wolfe comes to see Simon and is at his apartment when Simon is taken in for questioning on the murder.  Stanley is given lead authority into the investigation with Simon.  As the investigation proceeds, the evidence stacks up against Simon.  Meanwhile, Buchanan's first unsolved case comes back into the forefront for him. 

(Please note that the following may contain spoilers.  While I try to keep these at an absolute minimum, some aspects of the show are so important that I can't not speak of them but, rest assured, I will step around them carefully.)

Which Came First? The Chicken, or the Egg?

Which came first?  The chicken, or the egg?  It's a question that has been asked by thousands and everyone believes they know the answer.  But, do they?  Does anyone?

A group of researchers at Sheffield and Warwick universities in Britain claim they have the definitive answer to the age-old question:  the chicken.

According to the scientists, a protein that speeds the development of the hard shell of an egg is found only in a chicken's ovaries is necessary for the protection and formation of the egg.  Thus, the egg can only exist if first created inside a chicken.

The scientists revealed their research in a paper, Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei By an Eggshell Protein.  They hope their research lends assistance to other science and technological research.

So, was "the chicken" the answer you always chose when you were asked this riddle?  ;)

For more information you can read this MSNBC Technology and Science article.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ten Technologies that Should Be Extinct (But Aren't)

Dan Tynan from PC World has put together a list of ten technologies he feels should be extinct in the modern world but are still chugging along.  A brief note should be made here that Mr. Tynan commonly writes technology humor so, I guess an argument could be made that he meant this list to be another piece of geek humor.  On some things, I agree with Mr. Tynan.  However, there are some things on his list that shouldn't have even been considered, even for sake of humor.

1.  The Telegraph.  As Mr. Tynan points out, the world leader in telegrams, Western Union, stopped providing that service in 2006.  Another company stepped up and took Western Union's place and now offers that service over the web for $25 a message plus 88 cents a word. 
If you're already on the web STOP
wouldn't it be a lot easier and cheaper STOP
to send an e-mail to the individual STOP
you wish to contact? STOP

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stephen Fry in America Sees US DVD & Blu-Ray Release

American fans of Stephen Fry's brilliant documentary Stephen Fry in America will be pleased to know that they will finally be able to buy the program on DVD and Blu-Ray!  On July 27, 2010 the title will be officially available in stores.  The list price for the DVD is $29.98.  The Blu-Ray list price is $39.98.  Stephen Fry in American can currently be pre-ordered through for a $2.99 discount.  The discount is in effect on both versions of the documentary.

Stephen Fry in America is a 6 part documentary that takes viewers to each of the fifty United States.  Fry, driving his trusty little black London cab, makes a stop in virtually every state (a few states he only passes through).  You can read a summary of all 6 parts here. DVD Pre-order Link:  Stephen Fry in America (2pc) Blue-Ray Pre-order Link:  Stephen Fry in America (2pc) [Blu-ray]

New Batfish Species Discovered

Did you ever think there could be good news related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?  No?  I didn't either.  Until now.

Two previously unknown species of bottom-dwelling fish have been discovered living in the Gulf of Mexico, in the exact same area affected by the BP oil spill. 

The fish are called "pancake batfish" and are so named because of the way they clumsily "walk" along the sea bottom.  Their manner of walking looks similar to a bat crawling.  The fish prefer to stay in the deepest parts of the sea and, thus, are rarely seen. 

Pancake batfish have round, flat bodies with giant heads and mouths that can be thrust forward.  Arm-like fins are used to "walk" along the sea floor and they can excrete a fluid from a modified dorsal fin to lure prey.

John Sparks of the American Museum of Natural History in New York issued a statement Thursday, July 8, 2010, "One of the fishes that we describe is completely restricted to the oil spill area.  If we are still finding new species of fishes in the Gulf, imagine how much diversity, especially microdiversity, is out there that we do not know about."

Sparks and his colleagues named the species Halieutichthys intermedius and H. bispinosus.  A third already known species, H. aculeatus, lives only in waters affected by the spill.  Until now, the three species had been considered a single species but enough differences were found to alert researchers they were dealing with more than a single species.

To see a photo of the new batfish species, check out this article.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Egypt Unveils Discovery of 4,300-Year-Old Tombs

On Thursday, July 8, 2010 Egyptian archaeologists announced a newly-unearthed double tomb containing vivid wall paintings in the necropolis of Saqqara near Cairo, Egypt.

The tomb has two false doors containing colorful paintings of two people buried there, a father and son, both royal scribes.  The father's false door was inscribed with the name of Pepi II and dates the tomb to the 6th dynasty.  Pepi II was believed to have been the longest reigning pharaoh.  He controlled Egypt for 90 years.

The sarcophagus of the father, Shendwas, was destroyed by humidity.  The tomb of the son, Khonsu, was robbed in antiquity. 

Zahi Hawass stated that because of their "amazing colors", the tombs were "the most distinguished tombs ever found from the Old Kingdom".  Hawass believes it could be the start for uncovering a vast cemetery in the area.

Visit this article for more information and to see one of the brilliant paintings.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Scientists Find Surprises in Deep Atlantic Ocean

I love articles like this and I love them even more when there are loads of great pictures.  This one certainly doesn't disappoint.

Scientists from 17 nations recently embarked on a six-week expedition aboard the British research vessel the James Cook to explore a never-before-seen area of the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.  Some expected to see nothing.  All were amazed that they were able to bring back photographs of an area that is teeming with life.

The scientists focused on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.  It is a massive undersea mountain range that splits the ocean in half, dividing the east Atlantic from the west Atlantic.  The seascape is apparently similar to the American West featuring rocky outcroppings, sheer cliffs and flat open plains.  The critters that live there, however, are nothing like the rattlesnakes, jackrabbits and prairie dogs that inhabit the American West.

There were at least 10 creatures discovered during the expedition that possibly could represent new species.

Sunday Funnies: A Little Political Humor

The Sunday Funnies today is going to focus on politics.  Politics doesn't make you chuckle, you say?  Oh, my.  Apparently, you haven't been watching the same politics I have.  And, being the open-minded individual that I am, I can find something that makes me chuckle on both sides of the aisles in US politics so both the Democrats and the Republicans get equal time here today.  Although, I admit that, of today's selection, one side of the aisle tends to make me laugh hysterically more than the other.  (I'll give you a hint:  it has nothing to do with pie.)

Now, on to the funnies...

Do you like pie?  What kind of pie do you like?  Do you like sweet potato pie?  Coconut cream pie?  Do you dream about pie?  Pumpkin pie?  Do you prefer your mother's sweet potato pie over pie you can buy at a diner?  If you had to choose one pie, what pie would you choose?  I like pie.  I like cake more than pie, but I like pie.  If it's the right kind of pie.

How many times can President Barack Obama say the word "pie" in a single speech?  Once?  Twice?  Three Times?  Fifteen times?  Watch the video and find out.  Both videos are basically the same thing, but, I think the fact that the same speech was given more than once certainly underscores just how much President Obama truly does love pie (or, at least likes to use it as an analogy)!

October 11, 2008, West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

October 16, 2008, New Hampshire:

Have you ever wondered what God thought of Sarah Palin?  Did you ever wonder if God thought the same thing everyone else does?  Well, apparently he does have an opinion.  And he's posted it on YouTube:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Giant Propeller Structures Seen in Saturn's Rings

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Thursday, July 8, 2010 that giant propeller-shaped structures have been discovered in Saturn's rings.  NASA believes the structures were created by a new class of hidden moons.

The propeller-shaped structures were located by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.  The structures are located inside one the debris disk rings on the planet and are several thousands of miles long.  This discovery marks the first time scientists have been able to track the orbits of individual objects within a debris disk.  Researchers are hoping to learn how the structures form to give them more insight into the debris disks around other stars as well.

This isn't the first time propeller-like structures have been found in Saturn's rings.  In 2006 an area known as the "propeller belt" was found to be located in Saturn's A ring, its outermost ring.

The structures are gaps in the ring material created by "moonlets" a new class of objects smaller than known moons but larger than the debris particles that make up Saturn's rings.  Cassini scientists estimate the moonlets could number into the millions.

For more information and to see a photo of the propeller-shaped structures, click here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

CDN Television: Rookie Blue, Episode 1.3 "Fight Night"

Rookie Blue
Season One, Episode Two, Fight Night
Original Air Date:  July 8, 2010

Everyone, including McNally's retired cop father, is making plans for Fight Night.  A briefing is held about two policemen who have been killed in 18 months by special bullets that can penetrate vests and the operation to try and get said bullets off the streets.  McNally and Peck are stationed at the back and Peck asks McNally about her being "friendly" with Swarek then warns her to be careful.  A fight upstairs from the target apartment threatens to interrupt surveillance and Peck and McNally are ordered to stop it.  Beljac, the subject of the operation is arrested smoothly.  Nash and Epstein arrest one of the Beljac's associates when he flees from the car Beljac arrived in.  It is later learned that the fleeing suspect was Beljac's younger brother.  McNally talks Peck into going back to the apartment where the argument was earlier in the day to help stop a domestic violence situation.  The husband is arrested but can only be held for 2 hours so McNally and Peck has to find a way to protect his wife.  Once they place her in a shelter they go to Fight Night.  Nash goes up against a ringer at Fight Night while McNally's father spends the evening tossing back scotch.  Round one goes rough but Nash comes out strong in round two and wins the match.  McNally has to stop a fight between her drunk father and another man.  The woman at the shelter goes back to her husband and McNally tries to stop her from doing so.  McNally goes to the bar for a drink with Luke.

Wow!  It seems like this hour this show is on goes by pretty fast!

Newly Discovered Dinosaur: Mojoceratops

Paleontologist Nicholas Longrich, a postdoctoral associate at Yale University discovered and named the dinosaur after the heart-shaped frill around its head.  After a round of beers with some colleagues, Longrich decided upon the name "Mojoceratops".  The name was thought of to be a joke, at first, but the name stuck even though Longrich tried to come up with a more serious name.  The dinosaur's full and official name is Mojoceratops perifania.

Mojoceratops belongs to the chasmosaurine ceratopsid family and was a plant eater roughly the size of a hippopotamus.  Chasmosaurine ceratopsid's are characterized by elaborate frills on their skulls.  It lived around 75 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period, some 10 million years before the Triceratops, Mojo's more well-known cousin.  It is related to another dinosaur species found in Texas in the United States but Mojoceratops lived only in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.  It walked the earth for a mere 1 million years before dying out.

Longrich made his discovery by researching dinosaur fossils in American and Canadian museums.

Read this article for more information about this new dinosaur with a cool name and to see a picture of its frilled skull.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Entertainment: 5 Most Memorable Movie Creatures

Apparently inspired by the new Predators movie, Christy Lemire of the Associated Press has put together a list of what she feels are the top five movie creatures.

First on her list is Yoda from the Star Wars universe.  Size doesn't matter and she finds him to be not only pretty darned cute but a formidable little guy because of his mastery of the force.

Secondly, she lists Gollum from Lord of the Rings.  Lemire found Andy Serkis' portrayal of Gollum to be "fantastically fiendish" and I must agree with her.  Gollum was such a mean little thing but, at times, I did feel sorry for him when he wasn't being nasty so he could get his "precious" back.

Queen from Aliens comes in third on her list.  Queen also made an appearance in Alien vs. Predator in 2004.  Now, I'll admit, I didn't really care for the Alien series of movies so I don't have much to say about Queen.  Lemire makes note of Queen's protective motherly instinct, "as any mom would have". 

Second to last on Lemire's list is the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Part human, part amphibian there is nothing handsome about this guy.  He originally appeared on screen in 1954 before the high tech special effects we've all come to know and love ever came about.  So, to modern viewers, he probably looks pretty lame.  I love the old Universal monster movies.  They're not heavy on gore which leaves something to the imagination.  While the Creature from the Black Lagoon films weren't my favorite Universal monster films, I'm glad to see Creature making someones "most memorable" list.

Finally, Lemire's last choice for a most memorable move creature is E.T.  She believes watching E.T. without crying is pretty much impossible.  He is a relatively cute little guy and you do feel for him.

How do you think Ms. Lemire did on her list of memorable movie creatures?  Are there any you feel she missed the boat on or that should have been on the list instead?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Researchers Discover Blood Protein Link to Alzheimer's Disease

On Monday, July 5th, researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College in London, England revealed that a blood protein called clusterin has been linked to the development of Alzheimer's Disease.  This new discovery could lead to new tests in perhaps as little as five years where doctors could identify the disease before it is able to take hold of the patient.

The findings, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, detailed the processes used in the two "discovery phase" studies of 95 patients that linked clusterin to the early signs of Alzheimer's Disease. 

Researchers stressed that there was still a great deal of work that needed to be done with this information before clinical testing could begin by doctors.

Alzheimer's Disease is the most common, and feared, form of dementia.  It affects some 35 million people worldwide and there is no known cure for the disease.  There are drugs patients can take but they cannot cure the disease, only relieve or slightly delay the symptoms.

Read this article for more information about this interesting discovery.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Australian Television: City Homicide, Season 4

Fans of the Australian crime drama City Homicide will be pleased to know that there finally is a date for the season four premiere.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 8:30 p.m. on Seven (AUS time).

Mark your calendars, City Homicide fans!!

The fourth season will kick off with a double episode.  A gorgeous trailer has been released and it looks like there is going to be a lot of action in the premiere!  I'm not looking forward to what will be happening with Simon because I adore him but it also appears that one of my favorite characters has returned:  Stanley Wolfe!

Check out this trailer and tell me you aren't dying to see what happens next!

(Trailer courtesy of

Come on, July 14th!  That's going to be a very good week for me!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Australian Television: Tangle, Season One

Episode 1.1 & 1.2, Original Air Date:  October 1, 2009
Max Williams turns 15 years-old and receives a special visitor for his birthday.  His birth mother, Nat Manning, a former wild child has recently returned to Melbourne from London and she crashes his birthday party.  Max's father, Tim and his wife, Christine seem to have the perfect marriage and life, but there are issues simmering beneath the surface waiting to boil over at any minute.  Ally Kovac wants to have another child but, little does she know, her husband is having an affair.  Romeo, Max, Charlotte and Ned Dougherty party at the home of a dead man Max discovered in the woods near his home.  Gabriel Lucas, Vince Kovac's best friend, who is secretly in love with Ally, comes back to Melbourne.

Episode 1.3, Original Air Date:  October 8, 2009
Vince Kovac and his best friend, Gabriel Lucas, go on a skiing trip that is supposed to be a boys weekend.  However, Vince brings his mistress, Em Barker along on the trip.  The dead man Max found in the last episode is finally found.  Nat and her sister, Ally, go out for a night on the town.  Nat gets a new job in Melbourne.

Australian Television: Tangle, Introduction

Tangle is an Australian drama created for the Showcase channel.  Filmed in Melbourne, the show chronicles the lives of two generations of two families, the Williams' and the Kovac's.  The lives the characters lead are well described by the series title as everything is tangled.  Even the opening sequence depicts unhappy, tangled and disorderly lives:  a dollhouse where some the occupants include a woman dining alone, a couple who is seemingly angry with one another, etc.  Each episode runs approximately 50-60 minutes and the show consists of one completed season with a second season to begin shortly.

The cast features:  Ally Kovac (Justine Clark, All Saints), Max Williams (Blake Davis), Gabriel Lucas (Matt Day), Romeo Kovac (Lincoln Younes, City Homicide), Tim Willaims (Joel Tobeck), Christine Williams (Catherine McClements, Water Rats & Rush) and Nat Manning (Kat Stewart, City Homicide & BlueHeelers).

No one character appears to be the central focus of the show from what I can see.  All of them take center stage at one point or another as the complex fabric that is their lives is woven from episode to episode.  Max Williams is an intelligent, sensitive and quiet young man who is, in so many ways, the exact opposite of his cousin, Romeo Kovac.  Romeo is seemingly in competition with Max (if not full-out jealous of him) in several aspects of their lives including competing for the attentions of a girl they are both friends with, Charlotte Barker.  Vince Kovac isn't a very likable man.  He has some serious anger management issues, he's crude and is cheating on his wife and makes no attempt to hide it from anyone except his wife, Ally.  His behavior creates a whole host of problems but he blames everyone but himself for them.  Ally Kovac is often too apologetic and eager to please others instead of reaching out to grab what she really wants even though she's not very happy.  She seems content to live with what life has given her.  Nat Manning is known for being a wild child and she lives up to that reputation very well.  Gigi Kovac is a budding voyeur and snoop who is constantly spying on everyone around her and rifling through other peoples belongings.  Gigi gets on my nerves a bit and I can't help but think that child needs to be set straight about her behavior.  Tim Williams is a driven and successful politician but he also has a caring side to him.  Christine Williams often comes off to me as being insecure, jealous and controlling.  She wants things a certain way and is angry if they don't turn out how she wants them.  She wants to win--always.  I truly do want to be sympathetic to her but I'm finding that a pretty difficult order.

Sunday Funnies: The Drunk

A man is stumbling through the woods totally drunk when he comes upon a preacher baptizing people in the river. The drunk walks into the water and bumps into the preacher. The preacher turns around and is almost overcome by the smell of booze. Whereupon he asks the drunk, "Are you ready to find Jesus?"

"Yes I am" replies the drunk, so the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the river. He pulls him up and asks the drunk, "Brother have you found Jesus?"

The drunk replies, "No, I haven't."  The preacher, shocked at the answer, dunks him into the water again, but for a bit longer this time.  He pulls him out of the water and asks again, "Have you found Jesus, my brother?"

The drunk again answers, "No, I have not found Jesus."

By this time the preacher is at his wits end so he dunks the drunk in the water again, but this time he holds him down for about 30 seconds.

When the drunk begins kicking his arms and legs, the preacher pulls him up.  The preacher asks the drunk again, "For the love of God, have you found Jesus?"

The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the preacher, "Are you sure this is where he fell in?"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sea Turtles Recovering After Gulf Rescue

More than one hundred sea turtles are on the road to recovery after having been rescued from the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans, Louisiana is caring for the sea turtles that include four Kemp's Ridley turtles that were completely covered in oil.  Employees of the Aquarium meticulously cleaned the turtles, gave them antibiotics and fluids so the endangered reptiles could start working their way back to perfect health.

Visitors to the Audubon Aquarium can see the turtles.  The reptiles will be living in their new, clean homes until the Gulf is perfectly safe for them to return to.

We are three months into this oil spill.   Between April 30, 2010 and June 28, 2010 a total of 583 sea turtles were stranded in the spill.  Four hundred and thirty two of those turtles were found dead.  An additional four died after being rescued.  A grand total of 136 sea turtles have been rescued and sent to various rehabilitation centers.  The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is currently working on removing some 70,000 sea turtle eggs from beaches that are at-risk from the oil.

For more information and to see a video of the turtles see this article.  Check out "Little Dude".  He's a shy one!  They all look pretty happy and feisty in their new home, don't they?

Got a Cavity? Forget the Drill. A New Gel May Regenerate The Tooth For You

According to a new study in the journal ACS Nano, the dreaded sound of the dentist's drill could soon be a thing of the past.  A new peptide, embedded in a soft gel or thin, flexible film could be placed next to a cavity.  It would encourage cells inside the teeth to regenerate in about a month.  This technology is the first of its kind and would eliminate the need for root canals or drilling.

Nadia Benkirane-Jessel, a scientist at the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale and co-author of a recent paper on the subject says it isn't like a toothpaste.  It doesn't prevent cavities but instead helps to control them once they develop.

The gel or thin film contains a peptide known as MSH, melanocyte-stimulating hormone.  Experiments reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that MSH encourages bone regeneration.  Since bone and teeth are relatively similar, French scientists conducted a test of the MSH substance.  They applied a film or gel containing MSH to cavity-filled mice teeth.  After about a month, the cavities had disappeared.

MSH doesn't prevent cavities, it just treats them so proper oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing is still necessary.  Numerous clinical trials over several years will still need to be performed before the MSH gels are available for human treatments.

The causes of cavities, which are bacteria and pus-filled holes on or in teeth, are varied.  It could be anything from improper oral hygiene to eating acidic or sugary foods.  When bacteria get the chance to start eating away at the teeth, they damage the protective enamel and other minerals inside the tooth.


Friday, July 2, 2010

CDN Television: Rookie Blue, Episode 1.2 "Mercury Retrograde"

Rookie Blue
Season One, Episode Two, "Mercury Retrograde"
Original Air Date:  July 1, 2010

In the second episode of this new Canadian crime drama, McNally starts the show off by arresting a mugger while out of uniform.  Sam Swarek is in uniform because he didn't want to take a desk job and he isn't suitable for undercover because his cover was blown by McNally.  This week, they are looking for an escaped murderer.  The training partnerships have changed.  Diaz and Nash are assigned to the desk to man the tip line, Shaw is now training Epstein, Williams now has Peck and McNally is now partnered with the undercover officer she arrested on her first day on the job, Sam.  Sam and McNally go to get a confidential informant of his.  He sends her in with the orders to arrest her on a warrant which he hands to McNally.  She has problems from the start and must call her father for advice.  She makes the arrest, which isn't really an arrest at all because the warrant is as fake as the charges.  The informant, Emily, is the accountant of Anton Hill, the subject of Sam's failed eight-month undercover operation.  After Emily gets away from the man Sam left her with to watch over her, they find that Emily's apartment has been trashed and she is missing.  Nash gets a tip that leads the police to a restaurant where they find their escapee.  Peck, however, lets him get away.  They follow him to a university where Epstein corners and subdues him but Peck rushes in and steals the arrest right from under Epstein because "she needs it".  Meanwhile, Sam has left McNally at the station while he goes to find Emily.  McNally puts two and two together to figure out where the missing data they are looking for is and she leaves the station to get it.  Sam gets in trouble with Hill's accomplices and McNally comes to his and Emily's aid.  Sam and McNally almost kiss outside the bar where they go to unwind but both pull back, Sam saying McNally isn't his type and McNally saying she doesn't date cops.  Peck sees what happens between them.

I'm still enjoying this show.  So far, it hasn't done anything to make me roll my eyes and think "oh, man, this is pretty bad".  I hope it never does, quite frankly, as I've had enough of that feeling already this week.

Ten-Thousand Year-Old Spear Found in Melting Ice

The melting ice near Yellowstone National Park in Colorado has yielded a piece of the past.  In 2007, researchers found a 10,000-year-old hunting weapon, a spear-like wooden dart preserved in the ice.  The discovery was kept under wraps until June 29, 2010 when it was announced by the University of Colorado.

University of Colorado research associate Craig Lee said the birch dart was frozen in a sheet of ice for 10,000 years and became bowed as the ice melted.  It resembles a bent tree branch.  He attributed the melting to increased global temperatures.  The melting has caused the release of artifacts, plant material and even animal carcasses. 

Read this article to see a photo of the spear.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cleopatra's Death Not From an Asp Bite?

Christoph Schäfer, a German historian and professor at the University of Trier, the last ancient Egyptian queen, Cleopatra didn't die from the bite of a poisonous asp, an Egyptian cobra, as we have believed for centuries.  Instead, she died from a drug overdose.

Schäfer's book, Cleopatra is the product of his search through historic writings in an attempt to disprove the theory of Cleopatra having died from the bite of an asp.  The German channel ZDF is also going to air a program featuring his research on the Egyptian queen.

According to Schäfer, Cassius Dio, a Roman historian, wrote some 200 years after Cleopatra's suicide that she died a quiet and painless death.  Schäfer states that the death from the asp's venom would not have been painless.  German toxicologist Dietrich Mebs confirms that death by asp venom would have in fact been painful and unpleasant.

Schäfer also cites the ancient texts stating that Cleopatra's two handmaidens died with her.  Had she died from an asp bite, that would have been unlikely.  According to Schäfer, a snake bite is unpredictable because of the amount of venom a snake may or may not release during the bite.  Also, he says that at the time Cleopatra died, in August of 30 B.C., the temperatures in Egypt would have been too high for an asp to stay still long enough to bite.

Schäfer states that ancient Egyptian papyri prove the Egyptians knew about poisons and that one papyrus says Cleopatra actually tested them having observed the deaths of condemned prisoners from a variety of poisons including snake venom.

Both Schäfer and Dietrich Mebs believe she died from a mixture of opium, wolfsbane and hemlock rather than snake venom.

Alain Touwaide, an international authority on ancient medicinal plants at the Smithsonian Institution and the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions in Washington D.C. believes the only way to finally solve the mystery of how Cleopatra died would be for her body to be found and to apply forensic methods of testing to it.

Are Schäfer's findings truly a breakthrough or is he just putting old theories into new packaging?

For more information, please refer to this article:  Cleopatra Killed by Drug Cocktail?

Ian Somerhalder "Shaken" By Lack of Hollywood Support for Gulf Region

I just came across this article this morning or I most definitely would have shared it by now.

Actor Ian Somerhalder ("Damon", The Vampire Diaries & "Boone" Lost) has made two trips to the environmentally devastated Gulf region in recent weeks.  On his most recent visit, Somerhalder slept in his rental car, what he called the "Prius cabana suite" because there was no where else to stay due to all the people who have flocked to the Gulf region to try and help tame "the beast" as he calls it.  "The Beast", of course, being the BP oil spill.

Despite all the help in the Gulf, Somerhalder, a Covington, Louisiana native, notices there's something missing:  his Hollywood peers.

"Coming from the entertainment world, I'm really shaken by how quiet Hollywood is", admits Somerhalder.  While he assures his statements are made with the utmost respect for his peers and colleagues, he questions why there hasn't been a larger effort from Hollywood to raise funds to assist with the clean up. 

Hollywood is usually always right there to lend a hand, and some big names, when something bad happens.  But, I agree with Mr. Somerhalder, Hollywood has been surprisingly quiet on this whole issue.  There have been some celebrities who are admittedly trying to do whatever they can such as Kevin Costner.  But where have all the others been?

I applaud Mr. Costner and Mr. Somerhalder for their efforts and for standing up and doing what is right by putting themselves out there to help with this disaster.  I truly hope some of their colleagues in Hollywood take a page from their book and jump in to lend a hand or lend their name to the efforts in the Gulf.  The Gulf needs all the help it can get.

For more information, refer to the entire article including a video about Mr. Somerhalder's most recent trip to the Gulf.

Giant Whale-Eating Whale Discovered

In a coastal desert of Peru the massive skull and jaw of a 13-million-year-old sperm whale has been discovered.  The whale is the extinct distant cousin of the modern sperm whale although, this this whale is a very different beast according to Olivier Lambert of the Museum National d'Historie Naturelle in Paris, France.  Lambert led a team that located the massive fossil. 

The whale, Leviathan melvillei has a 3-meter (10 foot) skull with teeth in the top and bottom jaws that are each up to 36 centimeters (14 inches) in length.  Modern sperm whales only have teeth in the lower jaw and feed on giant squid.  It is believed the fossil sperm whales are to have eaten by actually taking huge bites out of their prey instead of swallowing it whole as modern sperm whales do.

A large hole in the skull that accommodated a large jaw muscle further strengthens this belief.  The fossil most likely fed on baleen whales and lived in the same waters as Charcharocles megalodon, the now-famous monster-sized ancestor of the Great White shark.

Researchers are focusing in on the teeth of the animal to learn more about its eating habits.  Horizontal wear lines suggest it swallowed prey like modern sperm whales.  Vertical wear lines suggest it bit into prey.

For more information and to see an artists rendition of what Leviathan melvillei might have looked like, you can read this article.