Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Just the Facts?: Lake Kariba Monster Sightings Continue -- Mayan Temple Damaged -- New MRSA Superbug Strain
Lake Kariba Monster Sightings Continue
A MYTHICAL serpent-like creature who lives in the murky depths of a lake and is the subject of countless childrens’ stories. Sound familiar? Meet Nyaminyami, Zimbabwe’s very own Loch Ness monster.
He has the head of a fish and a snake’s body. He lives in Lake Kariba, a magnificent man-made dam in the northwest of the country, studded with hippos and the eerie skeletal tops of long-dead trees. And for the first time in more than a decade, Zimbabweans living on the shores of Kariba are reporting a mysterious sighting on the River God.
State media is reporting that fishermen and residents of Mahombekombe, a suburb of Kariba town, saw Nyaminyami earlier this month.
“We were anchoring our boat near the District Development Fund harbour when we saw a large group of people rushing to the harbour. We quickly roped in our boat and rushed to where the group had gathered.
“I saw, with my own eyes, a monster snake that was almost two hundred metres long,” said fisherman Tapera Siyungungura. “Ask anyone who lives around this area and you will get confirmations of the story.”
“The truth of the matter is that Nyaminyami revealed itself to the people recently,” a second fisherman, Masenzi Dube Zimbabwe newspaper the Sunday Mail.
After the claims, the Mail sent a news crew on the long five-hour drive to Kariba to investigate the claims. The paper reported the beast took 45 minutes to ‘snake’ across the harbour in broad daylight – giving ample time to villagers to watch him and marvel. Eyewitnesses claimed Nyaminyami was so big that a truck would not have killed him if it had run him over.
Nyaminyami’s name is a corruption of a phrase in the local Tonga language that means “pieces of meat”. It’s a reference to Nyaminyami’s selfless character: apparently during times of drought Nyaminyami would let villagers cut pieces of his body to eat. And though you could take a bite out of him, no matter how many bites you took you’d never finish eating the creature up, say locals.
Nyaminyami was separated from his ‘wife’ during the construction of the Kariba dam wall by the colonial authorities during the 1950s, so the story goes. There is a belief that the beast is forever trying to get over the wall to be reunited with her – and those frenzied attempts are what cause the frequent earth tremors in the area.
But not everyone is buying the story that Nyaminyami caused a few houses to fall down in Kariba when he made his surprise appearance this month.
“I can confirm that [he] did not destroy any buildings...It is true that Nyaminyami was sighted here but some residents are just spicing up the story,” fisherman Lovemore Sibanda told the Sunday Mail.
The paper reported on Nyaminyami’s “reappearance” as if it were entirely credible. Some Zimbabweans believe in goblins and mermaids -- and the press regularly reports on their appearances too. Earlier this year Water Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo claimed that mermaids in two dams in eastern Zimbabwe were preventing the installation of water pumps there. Special rites had to be conducted to appease the mermaids.
Some have tried to offer evidence for Nyaminyami’s existence. One theory is that he may bea giant African catfish. Others are more sceptical.
“This is just a python,” says one local journalist, who has reported on the story for more than 15 years. - Scotsman
Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures
Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep
Mayan temple damaged by end-of-world tourists
Tourists who flocked to Guatemala for end-of-the-world parties have reportedly damaged an ancient Mayan stone temple.
UNESCO declared Tikal, the largest archaeological site and urban centre of the Mayan civilisation, a world heritage site in 1979.
"Sadly, many tourists climbed Temple II and caused damage," said Osvaldo Gomez, a technical adviser at the site, 550 kilometres north of Guatemala City.
"We are fine with the celebration, but (the tourists) should be more aware because this is a world heritage site."
Mr Gomez did not specify what was done, although he did say it was forbidden to climb the stairs at the site and indicated the damage was irreparable.
Temple II, which is about 38 metres high and faces the central Tikal plaza, is one of the site's best known structures.
Friday marked the end of an era that lasted 5,200 years, according to the Mayan long count calendar.
Some believed the date also marked the end of the world as foretold by Mayan hieroglyphs.
More than 7,000 people visited Tikal on Friday to see native Mayan priests hold a colourful ceremony and light fires as the Sun emerged to mark the new era.
Critics complained the event was really for tourists and had little to do with the Mayans.
About 42 per cent of Guatemala's 14.3 million residents are native Mayans and most live in poverty and endure discrimination.
The ancient Mayans reached their peak of power in central America between the years 250 and 900. - abc.net.au
Tikal: The Center of the Maya World (Wonders of the World Book)
Tikal: An Illustrated History of the Ancient Maya Capital
New MRSA superbug strain found in UK milk supply
A new strain of MRSA has been found in British milk, indicating that the superbug is spreading through the livestock population and poses a growing threat to human health.
The new strain, MRSA ST398, has been identified in seven samples of bulk milk from five different farms in England.
The discovery, from tests on 1,500 samples, indicates that antibiotic-resistant organisms are gaining an increasing hold in the dairy industry.
The disclosure comes amid growing concern over the use of modern antibiotics on British farms, driven by price pressure imposed by the big supermarket chains. Intensive farming with thousands of animals raised in cramped conditions means infections spread faster and the need for antibiotics is consequently greater.
Three classes of antibiotics rated as “critically important to human medicine” by the World Health Organisation – cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and macrolides – have increased in use in the animal population by eightfold in the last decade.
The more antibiotics are used, the greater the likelihood that antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, will evolve.
Experts say there is no risk of MRSA infection to consumers of milk or dairy products so long as the milk is pasteurised. The risk comes from farmworkers, vets and abattoir workers, who may become infected through contact with livestock and transmit the bug to others.
The discovery was made by scientists from Cambridge University who first identified MRSA in milk in 2011. They say the latest finding of a different strain is worrying.
Mark Holmes, of the department of veterinary medicine, who led the study, published in Eurosurveillance, said: “This is definitely a worsening situation. In 2011 when we first found MRSA in farm animals, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [Defra] initially didn’t believe it. They said we don’t have MRSA in the dairy industry in this country.”
“Now we definitely have MRSA in livestock. What is curious is that it has turned up in dairy cows when in other countries on the Continent it is principally in pigs. Could it be in pigs or poultry in this country? We don’t know.”
The MRSA superbug can cause serious infections in humans which are difficult to treat, require stronger antibiotics, and take longer to resolve. Human cases of infection with the new strain have been found in Scotland and northern England according to Defra, but no details are available.
Dr Holmes said supermarket pressure on farmers to hold down prices was leading to the overuse of antibiotics to prevent cattle getting mastitis, an infection of the udder, that might interrupt the milk supply.
“If farmers were not screwed into the ground by the supermarkets and allowed to get a fair price for their milk they would be able to use fewer antibiotics,” he said.
“Common sense tells us that anything we can do to reduce use of antibiotics will reduce the growth of resistant bugs. We want to wean our farmers off antibiotics and the only way we can do that is with better regulation.”
Vets in Norway and Denmark had much more limited prescribing powers than in the UK, he added. - Independent
Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA
Surviving MRSA: Learn How to Protect Yourself
OUTBREAK! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior
Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior - This looks to be a very interesting title...definitely going to pick this one up!
From fads, crazes, and manias to collective delusions, scares, panics, and mass hysterias, history is replete with examples of remarkable social behavior. Many are fueled by fear and uncertainty; others are driven by hope and expectation. For others still, the causes are more obscure. This massive collection of extraordinary social behaviors spans more than two millennia, and attempts to place many of the episodes within their greater historical and cultural context.
Perhaps the most well-known example of unusual collective behavior occurred in 1938, when a million or more Americans were frightened or panicked after listening to a realistic radio drama about a Martian invasion of New Jersey, based on an adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel War of the Worlds. Less known but equally remarkable scares based on Wells’ book occurred in Chile in 1944 (when Army units were mobilized), in Ecuador in 1949 (when riots broke out, leaving more than a dozen dead), as well as in Buffalo in 1968, Rhode Island in 1974, and Europe in 1988 and 1998.
The modern civilized world is by no means immune to such peculiar episodes. In the late 20th century, scores of people in the U.S. and Europe were wrongly incarcerated following claims of Satanic ritual abuse by authorities untutored in False Memory Syndrome. This episode recalls the European witch terror of the late Middle Ages, when innocent people were tortured and executed for consorting with the Devil based on the flimsiest of evidence.
This Encyclopedia is an authoritative reference on a broad range of topics: collective behavior, deviance, social and perceptual psychology, sociology, history, folklore, religious studies, political science, social anthropology, gender studies, critical thinking, and mental health. Never before have so many sources been brought together on the mesmerizing topic of collective behavior. More information at Anomalist Books
Humans could contact aliens within 12 years, says UFO expert
Humans could make contact with alien life within 12 years, with the aid of the world's largest radio telescope, a leading UFO expert has claimed.
One of the key questions, whether extra-terrestrial life exists, could be answered by 2024 with the development of a supersized 1.3 billion pounds radio telescope, the Daily Express reported.
The development of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope will unleash "new and exciting possibilities", according to former UK ministry of defence UFO Project leader, Nick Pope.
"I will be controversial and give you an exact year of when I believe first confirmation of contact will be made - and that is 2024, the year in which if everything goes according to plan the Square Kilometre Array will be fully operational," Pope, who studied UFO sightings at the MoD for 21 years, said.
The SKA, to be started in 2016, is set to be the world's largest radio telescope and will answer some of the fundamental unanswered questions of our universe.
Made up of thousands of radio wave receptors covering 4,921 square km of the Earth's surface in the Australian outback, scientists have claimed it will provide alternative views of the universe than those seen with optical telescopes.
Scientists leading its development have suggested the SKA will be 50 times more sensitive, and will survey the sky 10,000 times faster, than any other telescope.
"It will give astronomers insight into the formation and evolution of the first stars and galaxies after the Big Bang, the role of cosmic magnetism, the nature of gravity and possibly even life beyond," a spokesman for the SKA said.
"If there is a civilisation within 100 lightyears this telescope could find it. We are now beginning to have the technology whether it's the SKA or maybe other telescopes that are being developed that will allow these possibilities. We are searching all the time for a shadow earth," Pope added.
Recent research suggested that nearly 10 per cent of the population has seen a UFO, equally more than 6 million people just in the UK.
"When I was investigating UFOs, I investigated 2-300 reports each year. 10 per cent is an absolutely astonishing figure," Pope added.
The UFO expert also speculated as to how the extra-terrestrial life could make contact.
"The old fashioned idea was that there would be this landing on the White House lawn. First contact might just happen via email, but more likely it will be through radio signals," Pope said. - Times of India
NOTE: It's interesting when these experts (including Nick Pope) make these type of statements when they know full well that contact has been made...Lon
A.D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth About Alien Contact
Extra-Planetary Experiences: Alien-Human Contact and the Expansion of Consciousness