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VAST LAVA FLOWS CREATED THE BIGGEST LUNAR MARE

Monday, March 23, 2015

NASA scientists have made a sensational discovery: The biggest lunar mare is not an impact crater, as previously believed.

Astronomers must rewrite the history of the Moon after NASA scientists made a ground breaking discovery. So far, the dominant theory has claimed that the biggest lunar mare, Oceanus Procellarum, was created in a violent collision between the Moon and an asteroid in the chaotic early history of our Solar System.
Violent geological activity made the Moon’s crust crack, and lava flooded the surface, creating the famous lunar mare.
Data from two NASA space probes, Ebb and Flow, shows that the approximately 2,600-km-wide mare is surrounded by long cracks filled with lava and making up a huge square. If the mare had emerged as the result of a collision with an asteroid, its perimeter would have been oval or circular. Instead, astronomers now believe that the huge lunar mare was created in the wake of violent geological activity shortly after the formation of the Moon. Just like when the tectonic plates on Earth move, triggering earthquakes, violent geological powers affected the Moon’s crust, making it crack. Red-hot lava flowed out of the cracks and flooded the region of the Moon, which is now known as Oceanus Procellarum.

European invasion: DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans

DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans
Map depicting the two major hypotheses of the spread of Indo-European languages (white arrows) and geographic distribution of the archaeological cultures described in the text. Wolfgang Haak,Author provided
Europe is famously tesselated, with different cultural and language groups clustering in different regions. But how did they all get there? And how are they related?
One way of answering these questions comes from digging up relics of the past. Europe has a rich archaeological record, ranging from periods well before the famous metal ages (i.e. copper, bronze and iron) to the recent adventures of the Romans, Vandals, Huns and Vikings.
Distinctive types of pottery and cultural practices associated with burials and settlements have been used to group the ancient populations into individual “archaeological cultures”. However, it hasn’t been clear whether there is a genetic basis for these group boundaries or whether they’re just cultural.
Another line of evidence to illuminate how various groups are related comes from their languages. There is the well known Indo-European language tree – ranging from Hindi to Russian to Spanish. But it’s also quite unclear how the languages spread to their present regions.
Now we have another layer of information to help us reveal the history of European peoples: DNA sequencing.
Along with our colleagues, we have been using genome sequencing technology to analyse the vast array of ancient skeletons recovered from across Europe, ranging from the original hunter-gatherer inhabitants to the first farmers who appear around 8,000 years ago, and right up to the early Bronze Age 3,500 years ago.
The genetic results paint a fascinating picture, and were published in a recent series of papers in Nature and Science.

Third wave

What we have found is that, in addition to the original European hunter-gatherers and a heavy dose of Near Eastern farmers, we can now add a third major population: steppe pastoralists. These nomads appear to have “invaded” central Europe in a previously unknown wave during the early Bronze Age (about 4,500 years ago).
This event saw the introduction of two very significant new technologies to western Europe: domestic horses and the wheel. It also reveals the mysterious source for the Indo-European languages.
The genetic results have answered a number of contentious and long-standing questions in European history. The first big issue was whether the first farmers in Europe were hunter-gatherers who had learnt farming techniques from neighbours in southeast Europe, or did they instead come from the Near East, where farming was invented.
The genetic results are clear: farming was introduced widely across Europe in one or two rapid waves around 8,000 years ago by populations from the Near East -– effectively the very first skilled migrants.
At first the original hunter-gatherer populations appear to have retreated to the fringes of Europe: to Britain, Scandinavia and Finland. But the genetics show that within a few thousand years they had returned, and significant amounts of hunter-gatherer genomic DNA was mixed in with the farmers 7,000 to 5,000 years ago across many parts of Europe.
DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans
Perhaps not so far from their ancestors as they seem. Ard Hesselink/FlickrCC BY-NC

Wheeling across Europe

But there was still a major outstanding mystery. Apart from these two groups, the genomic signals clearly showed that a third -– previously unsuspected – large contribution had been made sometime before the Iron Age, around 2,000 years ago. But by whom?
We have finally been able to identify the mystery culprit, using a clever new system invented by our colleagues at Harvard University.
Instead of sequencing the entire genome from a very small number of well preserved skeletons, we analysed 400,000 small genetic markers right across the genome. This made it possible to rapidly survey large numbers of skeletons from all across Europe and Eurasia.
This process revealed the solution to the mystery. Our survey showed that skeletons of the Yamnaya culture from the Russian/Ukrainian grasslands north of the Black Sea, buried in large mounds known as kurgans, turned out to be the genetic source we were missing.
This group of pastoralists, with domestic horses and oxen-drawn wheeled carts, appear to be responsible for up to 75% of the genomic DNA seen in central European cultures 4,500 years ago, known as the Corded Ware Culture. This must have represented a major wave of people, along with all their cultural and technological baggage.

Speaking tongues

This discovery also answered another major archaeological conundrum: who or what was the source of the Indo-European language family, which is wide-spread across Eurasia and the world, and includes English, Spanish, French, Greek, Russian and Hindu?
Archaeologists had two major hypotheses: the language family came with either the invading Near East farming wave more than 8,000 years ago, or some form of steppe population sometime much later. Evidence in support of the first hypothesis was the large scale cultural turnover evident with farming.
The second hypothesis was supported by linguistic evidence of common words across Indo-European languages for things like wheeled vehicles and transport that would match the economy and toolkit of the steppe herders.
Our new genomic data finally provides a smoking gun – or a wheeled cart in this case – as the missing evidence of a major cultural contribution from the steppe in the early Bronze Age. While we can’t definitively prove that the Yamnaya were the first to introduce Indo-European language to Europe, the size of the genetic input suggests that it brought at least major parts, if not the whole thing.
So for those of us with European heritage, the next time you see an oxen-drawn cart, or a domestic horse, think “that’s my heritage”, along with a good chunk of hunter-gatherer and a firm base of early farmer.

11 Secret Documents Americans Deserve to See

Many documents produced by the U.S. government are confidential and not released to the public for legitimate reasons of national security.  Others, however, are kept secret for more questionable reasons.  The fact that presidents and other government officials have the power to deem materials classified provides them with an opportunity to use national security as an excuse to suppress documents and reports that would reveal embarrassing or illegal activities.
I’ve been collecting the stories of unreleased documents for several years. Now I have chosen 11 examples that were created—and buried—by both Democratic and Republican administrations and which cover assassinations, spying, torture, 50-year-old historical events, presidential directives with classified titles and…trade negotiations.
1. Obama Memo Allowing the Assassination of U.S. Citizens      
When the administration of George W. Bush was confronted with cases of Americans fighting against their own country, it responded in a variety of ways. John Walker Lindh, captured while fighting with the Taliban in December 2001, was indicted by a federal grand jury and sentenced to 20 years in prison. José Padilla was arrested in Chicago in May 2002 and held as an “enemy combatant” until 2006 when he was transferred to civilian authority and, in August 2007, sentenced to 17 years in prison for conspiring to support terrorism. Adam Gadahn, who has made propaganda videos for al-Qaeda, was indicted for treason in 2006 and remains at large.
After he took over the presidency, Barack Obama did away with such traditional legal niceties and decided to just kill some Americans who would previously have been accused of treason or terrorism. His victims have included three American citizens killed in Yemen in 2011 by missiles fired from drones: U.S.-born anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, an al-Qaeda propagandist from North Carolina, and Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.
Obama justified his breach of U.S. and international law with a 50-page memorandum prepared by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.  Attorney General Eric Holder argued that the killing of Awlaki was legal because he was a wartime enemy and he could not be captured, but the legal justification for this argument is impossible to confirm because the Obama administration has refused to release the memo.
2. The Obama Interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act
Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the FBI, in pursuit of spies and terrorists, to order any person or entity to turn over “any tangible things” without having to justify its demands by demonstrating probable cause. For example, a library can be forced to reveal who borrowed a book or visited a web site. According to Section 215, the library is prohibited from telling anyone what it has turned over to the FBI.
The Obama administration has created a secret interpretation of Section 215 that goes beyond the direct wording of the law to include other information that can be collected. Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was briefed about this secret interpretation, urged the president to make it public. “I want to deliver a warning this afternoon,” he said. “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.”
Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, also a Democrat, have implied that the Obama administration has expanded the use of Section 215 to activities other than espionage and terrorism. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Wyden and Udall wrote that “there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”
3. 30-page Summary of 9/11 Commission Interview with Bush and Cheney
You would have thought that, in the interests of the nation, the Bush administration would have demanded a thorough investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the deadliest assault ever on U.S. soil. Instead, they fought tooth and nail against an independent investigation. Public pressure finally forced President George W. Bush to appoint a bipartisan commission that came to be known as the 9/11 Commission.  It was eventually given a budget of $15 million…compared to the $39 million spent on the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton investigation. When the commission completed its work in August 2004, the commissioners turned over all their records to the National Archives with the stipulation that the material was to be released to the public starting on January 2, 2009. However, most of the material remains classified. Among the more tantalizing still-secret documents are daily briefings given to President Bush that reportedly described increasingly worried warnings of a possible attack by operatives of Osama bin Laden.
Another secret document that the American people deserve to see is the 30-page summary of the interview of President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney conducted by all ten commissioners on April 29, 2004.  Bush and Cheney refused to be interviewed unless they were together. They would not testify under oath and they refused to allow the interview to be recorded or transcribed.  Instead the commission was allowed to bring with them a note taker. It is the summary based on this person’s notes that remains sealed.
4. Memos from President George W. Bush to the CIA Authorizing Waterboarding and other Torture Techniques
Four days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush signed a “memorandum of notification” (still secret) that authorized the CIA to do what it needed to fight al-Qaeda.  However the memo did not address what interrogation and torture techniques could be used on captured suspects. By June 2003, Director George Tenet and others at the CIA were becoming worried that if their seemingly illegal tactics became known to the public, the White House would deny responsibility and hang the CIA out to dry.  After much discussion, Bush’s executive office handed over two memos, one in 2003 and another in 2004, confirming White House approval of the CIA interrogation methods, thus giving the CIA “top cover.” It is not known if President Bush himself signed the memos.
5. 1,171 CIA Documents Related to the Assassination of President Kennedy
It’s been 49 years since President John F. Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas, yet the National Archives and Records Administration(NARA) insists that more than one thousand documents relating to the case should not be released to the public until NARA is legally required to do so in 2017…unless the president at that time decides to extend the ban.  It would appear that some of the blocked material deals with the late CIA agent David Phillips, who is thought to have dealt with Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City six weeks before the assassination.
6. Volume 5 of the CIA’s History of the Bay of Pigs Fiasco
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, CIA historian Dr. Jack B. Pfeiffer compiled a multi-volume history of the failed US attempt to invade Cuba in April 1961.  In August 2005, the National Security Archive at George Washington University, citing the Freedom of Information Act, requested access to this history.  The CIA finally released the information almost six years later, in July 2011. However it refused to release Volume V, which is titled “CIA’s Internal Investigation of the Bay of Pigs Operations.”  Although more than 50 years have passed since the invasion, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Volume V is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act because it “is covered by the deliberative process privilege” which “covers documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated.”
7. National Security Decision Directives with Classified Titles
The day before he left the White House on January 20, 1993, President George H. W. Bush issued National Security Directive (NSD) #79, a document so secret that even its title remains classified almost 20 years later. The same goes for National Security Directive #77, issued a few days earlier, as well as four others issued in 1989 (#11, 13a, 19a and 25a). If the “a”s are any indication of the subjects, it is worth noting that NSD 13 dealt with countering cocaine trafficking in Peru; NSD 19 dealt with Libya and NSD 25 with an election in Nicaragua.
President Ronald Reagan also issued six NSDs with classified titles, and President Bill Clinton issued 29.  President George W. Bush issuedtwo such NSDs, presumably shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. President Barack Obama has issued at least seven Presidential Policy Directives with classified titles.
8. Major General Douglas Stone’s 700-Page Report on Prisoners Held in Afghanistan
Marine Corps General Douglas Stone earned positive reviews for his revamping of detention operations in Iraq, where he determined that most of the prisoners held by the United States were not actually militants and could be taught trades and rehabilitated. Based on his success in Iraq, Stone was given the task of making an evaluation of detainee facilities in Afghanistan. His findings, conclusions and recommendations were included in a 700-page report that he submitted to the U.S. Central Command in August 2009. According to some accounts of the report, Stone determined that two-thirds of the Afghan prisoners were not a threat and should be released. However, three years after he completed it, Stone’s report remains classified.
9. Detainee Assessment Briefs for Abdullah Tabarak and Abdurahman Khadr
In 2011, WikiLeaks released U.S. military files known as Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs), which describe the cases of 765 prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay. However, there were actually 779 prisoners. So what happened to the files for the other fourteen? Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, has noted that two of the fourteen missing stories are especially suspicious: those of Abdullah Tabarak and Abdurahman Khadr.
Tabarak, a Moroccan, was allegedly one of Osama bin Laden’s long-time bodyguards, and took over bin Laden’s satellite phone in order to draw U.S. fire to himself instead of to bin Laden when U.S. forces were chasing the al-Qaeda leader in the Tora Bora mountains in December 2001.  Captured and sent to Guantánamo, Tabarak was mysteriously released, sent back to Morocco in July 2003, and set free shortly thereafter.
Abdurahman Khadr, the self-described “black sheep” of a militant family from Canada, was 20 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan and turned over to American forces. He has said that he was recruited by the CIA to become an informant at Guantánamo and then in Bosnia. When the CIA tried to send him to Iraq, he refused and returned to Canada. His younger brother, Omar, was 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan and accused of killing an American soldier, Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, during a firefight.  He was incarcerated at Guantánamo for almost ten years until he was finally released to Canadian custody on September 29, 2012.
10. FBI Guidelines for Using GPS Devices to Track Suspects
On January 23, 2012, in the case of United States v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that attaching a GPS device to a car to track its movements constitutes a “search” and is thus covered by the Fourth Amendment protecting Americans against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”  But it did not address the question of whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies must obtain a warrant to attach a GPS device or whether it is enough for an agent to believe that such a search would turn up evidence of wrongdoing.
A month later, at a symposium at the University of San Francisco, FBI lawyer Andrew Weissman announced that the FBI was issuing two memoranda to its agents to clarify how the agency would interpret the Supreme Court decision. One memo dealt with the use of GPS devices, including whether they could be attached to boats and airplanes and used at international borders. The second addressed how the ruling applied to non-GPS techniques used by the FBI.
The ACLU, citing the Freedom of Information Act, has requested publication of the two memos because they “will shape not only the conduct of its own agents but also the policies, practices and procedures of other law enforcement agencies—and, consequently, the privacy rights of Americans.”
11. U.S. Paper on Negotiating Position on the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas
The subject of international trade negotiations is one that makes most people’s eyes glaze over. So why is the Obama administration fighting so hard to keep secret a one-page document that relates to early negotiations regarding the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), an accord that was proposed 18 years ago and about which public negotiations ended in 2005? All we know is that the document “sets forth the United States’ initial proposed position on the meaning of the phrase ‘in like circumstances.’” This phrase “helps clarify when a country must treat foreign investors as favorably as local or other foreign investors.”
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The Center for International Environmental Law, DC District Judge Richard W. Roberts ordered the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to release the document, but the Obama administration has refused, claiming that disclosure “reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security” because all the nations involved in the failed negotiations agreed to keep all documents secret until December 31, 2013…“unless a country were to object to the release of one of its own documents at that time.” Judge Roberts ruled that the USTR has failed to present any evidence that release of the document would damage national security.
Most likely, the Obama administration is afraid that release of the document would set a precedent that could impede another secret trade negotiation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), also known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, which seeks to establish a free trade zone among the U.S., New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia and possibly Canada, Mexico and Japan.

25 traits of mentally strong people

Monday, March 16, 2015

We live in a fast-paced world. There are fewer guarantees and more uncertainties these days. Thankfully this also means that there are plenty of opportunities, too. People who learn to welcome them as they come are the ones who are keeping up and making progress in the turbulent times we live in today. Usually these people are mentally strong and manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in ways that set them up for success in life. If you are wondering whether you are a mentally strong person, here are 25 signs that show you have nerves of steel:
1. You avoid conflicts
The true mark of maturity is when somebody hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back. Holding grudges has never been a solution to problems, nor has anyone achieved anything out of it.Instead of spending your time hating people who hurt you, you choose to let go of the pain and learn from the incident. Even in the harshest stress factors, you choose to stay calm and you try to handle situations smoothly. You think that raising your voice is a sign of weakness.
2. You don’t judge or envy
You’ve hardly ever made assumptions without first being fully aware of the situation. You avoid believing in the negative stuff that you’ve been told and you don’t resent other people’s success. You celebrate other people’s success and don’t grow jealous when somebody is better than you in a particular area. You know that success comes with hard work and you are willing to work hard for your achievements.
3. You are open to receive the help of others
You are not trapped by your ego. You are not afraid of asking for help if you are in need. You are confident to admit that you don’t know everything and you are open to ask for help in order to learn.
4. You apologize when necessary
You are not worrying about losing face when you apologize when you’ve said or done something wrong. You don’t fear admitting your own mistakes and are ready to suffer the consequences from them. That makes you a responsible and honest human being.
5. You are open to other people’s opinions
You handle different opinions easily- you don’t reject them because you believe that the opposite of what you know may be true for someone else. You embrace diversity and are ready to listen to what everybody has to say.
6. You are selfless
You love helping others and you don’t expect anything in return when you do something good for a friend. You know that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
7. You know you can’t always please everyone
Although you are a kind and genuine being, you are aware that you can’t always make everyone happy. You know that spending time on yourself is as important as containing a good relationship with the people around you but are willing to say “no” when somebody tries to steal from your time for yourself.
8. You know that the world does not owe you anything
You don’t feel entitled to things in life. You are willing to work hard for achieving your goals and you know that your world is what you make it. You don’t take anything for granted and are thankful for what you have.
9. You embrace change
You don’t try to avoid change and understand that it is inevitable. You welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible because you believe in your abilities to adapt.
10. You follow your heart
You believe that you can’t go wrong by following your heart and instincts. You understand that by doing that, you’re helping your soul grow and you are never sorry for following your heart.
11. You forgive yourself
You know that being angry at yourself is not going to take you far. Instead, you are willing to forgive yourself and by doing that you are able to learn. Leaving the past where it belongs instead of dwelling on it is the key of moving on and making progress.
12. You are financially responsible
You are a responsible human being and know that by spending your money foolishly you are harming your future self.
13. You believe that persistence pays off
You have goals and nothing can distract you from working towards them. Although you may have failed several times, you don’t view failure as a reason to give up. On the contrary- you use failure as an opportunity to grow stronger and improve. You find ways around any obstacle. Giving up just isn’t your thing, but looking for alternatives is.
14. Self-improvement is a way of life
You know that life is about learning new things and you live your life by always trying to improve yourself- whether it is for your job, health or any other area of your life. You agree that if a person stops learning, he is dead.
15. You are taking care of your mind and body
You can’t have a healthy mind without a healthy body. You know that by maintaining a balanced life, you are able to grow stronger and be the best version of yourself. Your body is your mind.
16. You are willing to step away of your comfort zone
You believe that the comfort zone isn’t a good place to be stuck because nothing grows there, so you try to challenge yourself on a daily basis and take calculated risks.
17. You don’t waste energy on things you can’t control
You know that sometimes the only thing you can control is your attitude towards the events in your life. Wasting your energy on things you can’t control is something that doesn’t suit you and know that blaming something that’s beyond your control is useless and silly.
18. You use your time wisely
You value your time and believe that by killing time, it actually is killing you. You fight procrastination and choose to spend your time productively.
19. You handle crisis calmly
You remain calm and clear of thought during a crisis. Good result of anything comes out when it’s done with a peaceful and a calm mind.
20. You are not co-dependent
You don’t rely on others to do your work and by doing so, you maintain a healthy relationship both personally and professionally.
21. You know you are responsible for how your life unfolds
You believe your own happiness and success is a byproduct of your own thinking, beliefs, attitudes, character and behavior.
22. You know that gratitude is the best attitude adjustment
The more goodness you see, the more you create, and the more good things you have to smile about. Happiness doesn’t start when “this, that or the other thing” is resolved. Happiness is what happens now when you appreciate what you have.
23. You know that you don’t have to be perfect
You believe that when you spend too much time concentrating on everyone else’s perception of you, or who everyone else wants you to be, you eventually forget who you really are. So you don’t fear other people’s judgments because you know in your heart who you really are and are not ashamed to show your real face to the world.
24. You know who you are
You are at peace with yourself and you aware of what you want to achieve. You have certain limits that you’ve established for yourself and you’ve embraced them because you know well that that is who you are.
25. You expect less and learn more
Although things don’t always go as you’ve planned, you’ve realized that this is what life is about. You don’t always get what you’ve wanted and that’s a good thing because you learn from this experience and keep going.

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