Monday, January 31, 2011

Italian Veggie Bake

Prep Time : 20 Minutes ...Total : 1 hour 20 minutes

I/3  cup Kraft House Italian dressing
I large  onion , chopped
1 large unpeeled eggplant  , cubed
1 medium zucchini , cubed
1 large red bell pepper , chopped
1 pkg (6 oz) sliced  mushrooms
1 can (14 1/2 oz)  Italian -style stewed tomatoes , drained , cut  up
1/3 cup Kraft Shedded Parmeasn Cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Heat  dressing in large skillet on mediun heat , add onion , cook 5 minutes  or until tender , add eggplant  ; cook and stir 5 minutes , add zucchini , red bellpeppers and mushrooms ; cook and stir 5 mintues.

Add tomatoes , bring to boil ,  reduce heat to low , simmer 15 minutes  or until vegetables are tinder  , stirring occasionally , pour mixture into casserole  dish  ; sprinkle with  cheese .

Preheat oven  to 350 *F . Bake 25 to 30 minutes  or until heated through . Sprinkle with parsley just before serving .

Makes 14 serving , 1/2 cup each .

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Riots in Egypt....Mubarak Sacks Cabinet & Defends His Position

President Hosni Mubarak has defended the role of Egypt's security forces in suppressing anti-government protests which have rocked the country. Mr Mubarak also dismissed his government and said a new cabinet would be announced on Saturday.  It was his first statement since the protests - in which at least 26 have died with hundreds injured - began.

Tens of thousands took part in protests in Cairo, Suez, Alexandria and other cities. Protesters set fire to the headquarters of the governing NDP party and besieged state TV and the foreign ministry. At least 13 people were killed in Suez on Friday, while in Cairo, five people died, according to medical sources.
That brings the death toll to at least 26 since the protests began on Tuesday.

"I have asked the government to present its resignation today," Mr Mubarak said, adding that he would appoint a new government on Saturday. He also said he understood the protesters' grievances but that a thin line divided liberty from chaos and he would not allow Egypt to be destabilised.
One protester said "We want Mubarak to go and instead he is digging in further."

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says there had clearly been a lot of discussion behind the scenes before Mr Mubarak spoke to the country. But his comments will probably just provoke further unrest. The people on the streets will be infuriated by his accusations that they are seeking to destabilise the country; they will also be inspired by the belief that, having wrung some concessions from him, they could yet oust him.

After Mr Mubarak spoke, a sustained volley was heard from central Cairo, which the correspondent said could have been either tear gas or live fire. The Reuters news agency later quoted witnesses as saying more than 20 military vehicles rolled in to central Tahrir Square shortly after midnight, scattering protesters into the sidestreets.  
After days of unrest, protests erupted again on Friday, as tens of thousands of protesters across the country turned out after Friday prayers shouting "Down, down with Mubarak" and, "The people want the regime to fall".
The authorities announced a curfew from 1800 to 0700 local time (1600-0500 GMT), but it was immediately and widely flouted.  At several locations, riot police responded by firing rubber bullets and tear gas, and by using water cannon.
The headquarters of the governing NDP party was set ablaze, while protesters also besieged the state broadcaster and the foreign ministry. The army secured the Egyptian Museum, next door to the NDP building and home to such treasures as the gold mask of King Tutankhamen, to protect it from looters.

Hosni Mubarak looked composed and determined to survive his worst crisis since coming to power 30 years ago.  There was both a carrot and a stick - he acknowledged that the demands of the protesters were legitimate, but accused them of resorting to violence to destabilize Egypt.  Such an accusation is likely to infuriate them, and possibly increase their determination to challenge him even more.

Mr Mubarak defended his record in government, the very thing that is in doubt in the eyes of the hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets in the past four days.  He promised to continue with democratic reforms, but as far as the opposition is concerned, they have heard it all before. He did make however one big concession: he sacked his entire cabinet. The question is whether this will be enough to calm the protesters or embolden them to ask for more.

President Obama said he had told Mr Mubarak to respect the rights of the Egyptian people and refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters - but he said the protesters also had a responsibility to express themselves peacefully. He urged the Egyptian leader to take "concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people" and deliver on the promises of reform in his address. "Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people. And suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away," he said. "Surely, there will be difficult days to come, but the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free and more hopeful."

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gorilla Prefers to Walk Like a Man

Amid news that our ancestors left Africa much earlier than we previously thought, another African primate's human behaviour is making waves online.
Meet Ambam, a 21-year-old Silverback Western Lowland gorilla at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in the English city of Kent, who has become an overnight viral video star.
The cause of his new-found celebrity? An upright walking style that's all too human. Check out the video below to see for yourself.

Ambam has been walking like this for as long as his trainers can remember, according to the Toronto Star. He's following in his father's footsteps, who also walked upright. Ambam's two sisters have the gift too, though neither are as skilled at it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Five Up-and-Coming Canadian Cities

Gatineau Quebec
If major cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are giving you a headache and even underdogs like Calgary or Halifax don’t thrill you, you might consider relocating to one of the other metropolises blossoming in our great nation. Here are five Canadian cities on the up and up.
Gatineau, Q.C.
Topping best-of list after best-of-list Ottawa’s twin may be the greatest city the rest of the world’s never heard of, until now. Boasting the lush and central Lac Beauchamp Park and sheltered by the scenic southern tip of the Canadian Shield, Gatineau is one of the coziest cities Canada has to offer. With an expanding economy and prospering housing market, it looks like Gatineau’s becoming more than just a drinking excursion for Ottawa’s underage undergrads.
Okotoks, A.B.
If your conscience is as troubled as your carbon footprint is high, there may be salvation for you yet. Okotoks has one hell of an ambitious and green experiment underway. The Drake Landing Solar Community, is a project unlike any other in Canada, or North America for that matter. The unique endeavour takes full advantage of Okotok’s abundant exposure to the sun, reducing heating energy by 80 per cent through solar power alone. A good place for environmentalists and tanning buffs alike.
Yellowknife, N.W.T.
You’re Canadian. You’re already used to proudly proclaiming your northern nature, so why not truly boast those chops by relocating to the capital of one of Canada’s most northern locations. With its rising economy and its status as one of MoneySense’s top places to live, there’s little reason to give Yellowknife the cold shoulder. And speaking of the cold, if the heating bill has you nervous, fear not, as a new geothermal energy plan is expected to warm up thousands of homes in this far-north frontier.
Abbotsford, B.C.
With the third most diverse population in Canada behind Toronto and nearby Vancouver, Abbotsford is very close to rolling with Canada’s other famous metropolises. Enjoying the fruits of a healthy economy even during the worst of times, and still benefiting from the publicity of the last Winter Olympics, Abbotsford may soon find itself becoming as renowned as the rest of them.
Peterborough, O.N.
If you ask the multitudes of touring Canadian bands which urban hubs have surprised them the most along the road, Peterborough is likely to come up consistently. The city has in fact grown to become its own uncanny, modest basin of culture. Home to a folk festival, Trent University, a multitude of galleries and recent audio gem The Burning Hell, Peterborough would certainly make an easy, relaxing escape for those feeling stuffy on Toronto’s congested scene.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Common Weed Petty Spurge 'Could Treat' Skin Cancer

  The petty spurge is native and common throughout Britain
Sap from the common garden weed petty spurge appears to treat non-melanoma skin cancers, experts are reporting in the British Journal of Dermatology.  But they tell patients not to "try it at home" since the treatment is still experimental and can irritate the skin.

Their study involved 36 patients with non-melanoma skin cancer lesions. Although not the most serious form of skin cancer, non-melanoma lesions are very common. They include basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and usually occur in older people.  Most cases of non-melanoma skin cancer can be easily treated and cured with surgical removal or freezing, or using a special kind of light therapy that kills the cancer cells.

This is a very small test group so it will be interesting to see what larger studies and the development of the active ingredient in E. peplus sap will reveal” The study involved 36 of such patients who collectively had a total of 48 non-melanoma lesions. Each was treated with the sap of the petty spurge plant, or Euphorbia peplus, which was applied to the skin once a day for three days.

The plant sap has been used for centuries as a traditional medicine, and the researchers wanted to put it through its paces in a proper clinical trial. After a one month, 41 of the 48 cancers had shown a complete clinical response to the treatment, meaning no trace of the tumour could be found on clinical examination.

Patients who experienced only a partial response to the first round of treatment were then offered a second course.  The lesions which responded positively to one or two courses of treatment were then followed up further for between two and 31 months. After an average of 15 months following treatment, two thirds (68.5% or 30 of the 48) of the skin cancer lesions were still showing a complete response.

The researchers say large-scale studies are now needed to test the active ingredient in the weed's sap, a substance called Ingenol mebutate, as a potential new treatment option. Studies show that when Ingenol mebutate is applied to the skin it not only kills the cancerous cells but also recruits white blood cells known as neutrophils that appear to reduce the risk of relapse by destroying any residual malignant cells that could allow the tumour to re-grow.

Kimberley Carter of the British Association of Dermatologists said: "This is a very small test group so it will be interesting to see what larger studies and the development of the active ingredient in E. peplus sap will reveal. Any advances that could lead to new therapies for patients where surgery is not an option are definitely worth investigating."

US Banks 'Foreclosed on Record 1m Homes in 2010'

Banks repossessed a record one million US homes in 2010, and could surpass that number this year, figures show. Foreclosure tracker RealtyTrac said about five million homeowners were at least two months behind on their mortgage payments. Foreclosures are likely to remain numerous while unemployment remains stubbornly high, the group said.

Among the worst hit states were Nevada, Arizona, Florida and California, once at the heart of the housing boom. Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate for the fourth year in a row, with one in 11 housing units receiving a foreclosure notice, and RealtyTrac said more than half the nation's foreclosures occurred in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois and Michigan.

RealtyTrac said 2.9 million US households were subject to a foreclosure filing last year, up 1.67% from 2009. "2011 is going to be the peak," senior vice-president Rick Sharga told the Associated Press news agency. Foreclosures slowed toward the end of 2010 amid revelations that banks had based the proceedings on improper documentation, but the pace is likely to rebound in the first quarter of 2011, Mr Sharga said.

Sooo, about that economic recovery.  And how about providing shelter for all the new homeless people in America.

Mystery Piano

Liberate Iran by Dropping Nintendos and Big Macs From the Air....Rushdie

Question: How should we talk about Islam and terrorism?

Salman Rushdie: The hard truth is that in the name of Islam very, very bad things are being done right now by a group that you could call a small minority of all Muslims, but it’s also wrong not... to say that they’re not Muslims. They are Muslims. And I think the more interesting way of looking at this is to look at it as a battle inside Islam, not between Islam and the West.

Right now I think there is a colossal battle taking place inside the Muslim world. The most obviously of course is the old Sunni/Shia battle. If you look at what is happening in Iraq right now for instance most of the deaths are not Americans. Most of the deaths are not foreigners. 99% of the deaths are either Sunni Muslims being killed by Shias or Shia Muslims being killed by Sunnis. If you look at what has been happening in Pakistan recently you see mosques being blown up by other Muslims. I mean, extraordinary. If an American were to blow up a mosque, there would be horror. But in Pakistan there are Muslims blowing up mosques all the time because they disapprove of the other Muslims who go to that mosque. So this is what I'm saying. There is a terrible conflict raging inside Islam which is not only Sunni/Shia because the other thing, the other nature of the conflict is between, if you like, modernity and ancient tradition; the people who want the world never to change, who believe that the values of the Arab Peninsula and the seventh century should represent the moral code for the present day, and people who feel that ideas need to modernize and progress and that you can adhere to your faith, but that faith needs to march in line with the rest of the world and needs to find a way of expressing itself in the modern world.

Now that conflict it seems to me is happening everywhere in the Muslim world. If you look at the opponents of the Iranian regime, the green movement in Iran, that clearly represents a young, liberal, modernizing spirit that exists in that country. And in every Muslim country you will see that. You will see particularly young people. They don’t want to live according to the rules that the old gray-beard mullahs set for them, so I think if we want to look at the Muslim world you have to look at it in those ways. You have to look at it as a world in conflict. And what we need to do is to support, I think, that modernizing positive way of being a Muslim, which involves living in the world as it is. Support that and encourage that, and be extremely critical as we should be, of that other tyrannical, despotic, medievalist Islam, which unfortunately is in power in a lot of places.

I often think that the best way to liberate Iran is just to drop Nintendo consoles from the air. And Big Macs.

Recorded November 12, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller

Why Cryogenics is Bogus

 Dr. Kaku addresses a question posed by Sassan K. Darian: What are the practical applications of cryogenics today, and what potential improvements can we expect 20 to 30 years down the line?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Let Me Introduce You To The Compound Sisters After The Holidays

On the lighter side of things feeling a little down after all the bad things happening in the world , my sisters and I decided  to do a little sun bathing and share it with you.
I will put their names here , see if you can match the picture with the  names.
Joanna.....Emily....Susan...and of course Witchy,that's me.[giggles]

Monday, January 24, 2011

Carnage After Bombing at Russia's Domodedovo Airport

A bomb attack at Moscow's Domodedovo airport has killed at least 35 people and injured more than 100 - many of them critically, officials say. Investigators say the explosion, which happened in the arrivals hall, was caused by a suicide bomber.

President Dmitry Medvedev vowed that those behind the attack would be tracked down and punished.
He ordered increased security across Russia's capital, its airports and other transport hubs. Mr Medvedev also called an emergency meeting with officials and also postponed his planned departure for this week's World Economic Forum at Davos.

Airport spokeswoman Yelena Galanova told Interfax news agency that the explosion occurred in the international arrivals hall in a public area "to which people who are not passengers have free access".The hall was packed as several international flights - including one from the UK - had just landed. The device is thought to have contained the equivalent of 7kg (15lb) of TNT.

According to eyewitnesses quoted by Russian TV's Vesti news programme, before detonating the explosives the bomber shouted: "I'll kill you all!"
Briton Mark Green, who was on a British Airways flight that landed at the airport before the explosion, said there were thousands of people in the baggage collection area, baggage hall and queue for immigration at the time of the blast. "We were walking out through the exit of the arrivals hall towards the car, and there was this almighty explosion, a huge bang... my colleague and I looked at each other and said 'Christ that sounds like a car bomb or something', because the noise was, literally, it shook you," Mr Green said. He described scenes of panic and how he gave a drink of water to a bloodied Russian man whose face was blackened with soot.

A spokesman for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that no government could protect all of its citizens from attack all the time. "(The) government is taking all (the) necessary measures," said Dmitri Peskov. "But the nature of terror is that none of us, none of the countries in this world, are free from this threat. None of us could ensure 100% security level."

Police are hunting for three suspects in connection with the bombing, Russian media report.  All flights from Domodedovo have been suspended since the blast, while incoming flights are being diverted to Moscow's Sheremetevo airport.

Over the last decade, Russia has suffered a string of terror attacks - many in the Russian capital itself. Tonight police sources have hinted that the Domodedovo airport bombing, too, may be linked to Russia's most volatile region. President Dmitry Medvedev has admitted that poverty, corruption and conflict in the North Caucasus is Russia's biggest internal problem. But he, like Vladimir Putin before him, appears unable to find a solution that would bring stability to that region and peace to Russia.

The airport - the busiest serving Russia's capital - is 40km (25 miles) south-east of the city centre. Russian investigators said two Britons were among the dead. Footage from mobile phones showed the arrivals area filled with smoke, with bodies strewn across the floor, shortly after the attack around 1630 (1330 GMT).BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said immediate suspicion about Monday's attack would fall on militants from the Caucasus region. Militant groups fighting in the Caucasus know how important the perception that the president and prime minister provide a secure society is, and to undermine that is a key aspect of their aims.

Last March the Russian capital's underground system was rocked by two female suicide bombers from Russia's volatile Dagestan region, who detonated their explosives on the busy metro system during rush hour, killing 40 people and injuring more than 80.

US President Barack Obama condemned what he called an "outrageous act of terrorism", while Nato sent a message of solidarity to Russia's government.  EU President Herman Van Rompuy called for those behind the attack to be punished, and British Prime Minister David Cameron telephoned Russian President Medvedev to offer his condolences and support. "We should never allow the terrorists to win," said Mr Cameron.

Strange But True Facts About The Earth

                                The Moon and Star on Earth....Beautiful
1)  In 1783 an Icelandic eruption threw up enough dust  to temporarily block out the sun over Europe.
2)  About 20 to 30 volcanoes erupt each year , mostly under the sea.
3)  A huge underground river runs underneath the Nile , with six times more water than the river above.
4)  Lake Bossumtwi in Ghana formed in a hollow made by a meteorite.
5)  Beaver Lake n Yellowstone Park ,USA, was artificially created by beaver damming.
6)  Off the coast of florida there is an underwater hotel. Guests  have to dive  to  the entrance.
7)  Venice in Italy is built on 118 sea inlets joined by 400 bridges . It is gradually sinking into the water.
8)  The ancient Egyptians worshipped a sky goddness called Nut.
9)  The world's  windiest place is Commonwealth  Bay ,Antartica.
10)  In 1934  , a gust of wind reached 371 km/h  on Mount Washington  in New Hampshire ,USA.
11)   American  Roy Sullivan   has been struck by lighting a record seven times .
12)  The desert baobab tree can store up to 1000   liters of water in its trunk.
13)   The oldest  living tree is a California  bristlecone pine name  'Methuselah'. It is about 4600 years old. The largest  tree in the world is a giant seguola growing in California. It is 84 meters tall  and measures 29 meters round the trunk. The fastest growing tree is the eucalyptus . It can grow 10 meters a  year.
14)The Antartic  notothenia fish has a protein in its blood that acts like antifreeze  and stops the fish from freezing in the icy sea.
15)  The USA uses 29% of the worlds petrol and 33%   of the worlds electricity .
16)  The industrial complex of Cubatao in Brazil  is known as the  Valley of Death  because its pollution has destroyed the trees and rivers nearby.
17)   Tibet is the highest country in the world . Its average height above sea level is 4500  meters.
18)  Some of the oldest mountains in the world are the Highlands in Scotland . They are estimated to be about 400 million years old.
19)  Fresh water from the  River Amazon can be found up to 180 km out to sea.
20)   The  White Sea , in Russia , has the lowest temperature , only  2 degrees centigrade . The  Persian  Gulf is the warmest sea . In the summer its temperatures  reaches  35.6 centigrade  .
21)  There is no land at all at  the North Pole , only ice on top of the sea. The  Arctic  Ocean   has about 12 million sq km of floating ice and has the coldest winter temperature of -34 degrees centigrade.
22)  The Antarcti ice sheet is 3-4 km thick , covers 13 million  sq      km and has temperatures as low as   -70  degrees centigrade.
23)  Over  4 million  cars in Brazil are now running  on gasohol instead of petrol . Gasohol is a fuel made from  sugar cane .

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Monk Nabbed At Airport Trying To Smuggle Dead Nun's Skeleton Out Of Greece

Cyprus Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II   above , said a Cypriot  monk who tried to smuggle a nun' skeleton out  of Athens was a "charlatan" and called his actions was sacriligious.
The Nun's skull above was found wrapped in a cloth and stashed in the  monk's bags below along with pieces  of her skeleton.
A  monk and two accomplices were busted  Sunday trying to board a plane in  Athens with the skull and bones of a dead nun in their luggage.

When question about why he had a skull and skeletal remains in his suitcase , the 42 -year-old monk who is from Cyprus , told police that he was transferring the remains from Greece to a monastery in Cyprus because the nun was a saint.

The Cypriot Orthodox church , though , showed little faith in the monk's story  , saying the attempted smuggling was sacrilegious.

'It appears to be the work of charlatans with a finanical interest , that is what I suspect," Cyprus ' Archbishop Chysostomos II told Reuters.

The trio ,  which included a man in his 50s   and a woman in her 60s were  charged with theft and desecrating human remains .

The monk was also suspended from his monastery for three months , according to the  Cyprus   Mail.

The graverobbers allegedly stole the remains of the nun , Eleni                   Vathiadou    , after a memorial service held by her family at a cemetery to mark the four-year anniversary of her death,  the Cyprus Mail reported.

Valhiadou had once served as a  nun in Cyprus but had been living in Greece when   she died.

She was never officially  declared a saint by the church.

However , it is common for sects within the Orthodox   tradition to worship their own saints and revere their remains which are often placed on display along with donation boxes , Reuters reported  .

Salvia Hallucinogenic Herb....Dangerous?

What Will Happen to Earth When the Sun Dies?

The sun is 93 million miles (149.6 million km) away from Earth. Credit: NASA

The sun is dying, and when it finally kicks, it will take Earth with it. We probably won’t be around to see it, though: The sun’s death throes will have taken out life here well before it swallows the planet.

A panel of scientists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science described the situation in 2000, and it still holds true. Astronomers generally agree that the sun will burn up its hydrogen fuel supply sometime in the next 5 billion to 7 billion years. As it does, gravity will force the sun to collapse into its core, which will ratchet up the heat on the remaining hydrogen and cause the sun to expand into a red giant. At this point, the sun will swallow the Earth. "Earth will end up in the sun, vaporizing and blending its material with that of the sun," said Iowa State University's Lee Anne Willson. "That part of the sun then blows away into space, so one might say Earth is cremated and the ashes are scattered into interstellar space."

By then, the sun will be hot enough to burn all its stored helium and the sun will fluctuate in size. The sun isn’t quite massive enough to explode in an awesome supernova, so it will merely collapse into a relatively cool white dwarf.
Perhaps a moot point, though, because we’ll most likely be long dead before this occurs. As the sun revs up to its red giant phase, it’s getting about 10 percent brighter every billion years. At that rate, scientists estimate that all the water on the planet will evaWhat Will Happen to Earth When the Sun Dies?porate in the next billion years.

So , We've got some time to waste, but it doesn't hurt that astronomers have spent the last year or so looking for an earthlike, rocky exoplanet. We will not have the means to travel to it so that will have to be our next project. Even if it is only a couple of light years away, that would be about 11.76 trillion miles from here. Where is Warp Drive when you need it?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"The Pearl Project"

Findings Released in the Murder of Daniel Pearl

Details of the savage beheading in Pakistan 9 years ago.

Mansion Sealed For a Hundred Years...Opened By Descendent

A late 19th Century town-house in central France that was sealed up for more than 100 years has finally been opened to the public in accordance with its owner's last wishes. Louis Mantin was an aesthete and gentleman of leisure who bequeathed his opulent home to the town of Moulins on condition that a century later it be a museum.
After he died in 1905, the mansion was closed up and fell into dilapidation. Now thanks to a 3.5m euro ($4.7m; £2.9m) refit funded by local authorities, it has been returned to its original pristine state.
The result is a remarkable time-capsule, combining rich fin-de-siecle furnishings, archaeological curios, skulls and other Masonic paraphernalia, a collection of stuffed birds, as well as the latest domestic gadgets such as electricity and a flushing loo.

Born in Moulins in 1851, Mantin had an undistinguished career as a civil servant, but at the age of 42, he inherited a fortune from his father and thenceforth dedicated his life to pleasure, science and the arts.
First of all he had his mansion constructed in the centre of Moulins on the site of a former palace of the dukes of Bourbon, the local rulers who were heirs to the French and Spanish royal houses. Then he decorated the house with imported tapestries, paintings and porcelain.

He commissioned sculptures and wood-carvings, and on the top floor installed his personal museum of Egyptian relics, Neolithic oil-lamps, prehistoric flints and medieval locks and keys.
The house was gradually forgotten by the world, but not by locals Mantin only had a few years to indulge his aesthetic fantasies. Knowing that his death was approaching, he made a will in which he made sure his treasured house would be saved.
"In the will, he says that he wants the people of Moulins in 100 years time to be able to see what was the life of a cultured gentleman of his day," said assistant curator Maud Leyoudec.
"A bachelor with no children, he was obsessed with death and the passage of time. It was his way of becoming eternal."
Some confusion surrounds the exact terms of the will. According to local people, Mantin specifically said that the house should be locked up for a century and then opened up to the public.
In fact, Mantin stipulated simply that in 100 years time the mansion should be a museum. He said nothing about what should happen in between.

The fact that the house was totally abandoned was thus not a predetermined condition - it was just what actually took place.
"The house was gradually forgotten by the world. But not by the people of Moulins," said Mantin's great-niece Isabelle de Chavagnac.
As well as electricity, the house had modern bathrooms "Here everybody was waiting for the day when a 100 years would have passed and the house would be opened once again. It is odd how the collective memory of a place never dies."  Curiously it was Isabelle de Chavagnac - as one of Mantin's last known descendants - who played a key role in getting the house re-opened.

Under the will, the house would have reverted to her had it not been turned into a museum once the century had passed. She had no desire to take the possession of the house. Quite the contrary, she wanted Mantin's wishes to be fulfilled.  But by threatening to exercise her right in law to take back the mansion, she forced the local authorities to act. They found the money to renovate, and the house opened at the end of 2010.
Five years late, but no-one is counting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Researchers Aim to Resurrect Mammoth in Five Years

Japanese researchers will launch a project this year to resurrect the long-extinct mammoth by using cloning technology to bring the ancient pachyderm back to life in around five years time, a report said.
The researchers will try to revive the species by obtaining tissue this summer from the carcass of a mammoth preserved in a Russian research laboratory, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
"Preparations to realise this goal have been made," Akira Iritani, leader of the team and a professor emeritus of Kyoto University, told the mass-circulation daily.

Under the plan, the nuclei of mammoth cells will be inserted into an elephant's egg cells from which the nuclei have been removed to create an embryo containing mammoth genes, it said.
The embryo will then be inserted into an elephant's womb in the hope that the animal will eventually give birth to a baby mammoth. Researchers hope to achieve their aim within five to six years, the Yomiuri said.

The team, which has invited a Russian mammoth researcher and two US elephant experts into the project, has already established a technique to extract DNA from frozen cells. The researchers had once given up similar plans after nuclei in the cells of mammoth skin and muscle tissue were damaged by ice crystals and proved unusable.

However, another Japanese researcher, Teruhiko Wakayama of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, succeeded in cloning a mouse from the cells of another that had been kept in deep-freeze for 16 years. Based on Wakayama's techniques, Iritani's team devised a method to extract the nuclei of mammoth eggs without damaging them.

"If a cloned embryo can be created, we need to discuss, before transplanting it into the womb, how to breed (the mammoth) and whether to display it to the public," Iritani said. "After the mammoth is born, we will examine its ecology and genes to study why the species became extinct and other factors."

More than 80 percent of all mammoth finds have been dug up in the permafrost of the vast Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia. The most perfectly preserved remains of the Ice Age mammals still have hair and internal organs. Theoretically  it works. Who knows what problems may arise or what long extinct, micro organisms, released into the atmosphere, may cause. The world awaits with bated breath.

Qianlong Chinese Porcelain Vase Sold For £43m/$66m ...Found in British Bungalow

A vase found in a house clearance in London has been sold for £43m /$66m, thought to be a record for any Chinese artwork. The 18th Century Qianlong porcelain piece, found in an inherited bungalow in Pinner( England)  had been estimated to fetch up to £1.2m for the brother and sister who inherited it. Ivan Macquisten, editor of Antiques Trade Gazette, said the vase would have been made for the Qianlong emperor. The 16in high vase is yellow and sky blue in colour with a fish motif on the front and a perforated outer wall.
The private buyer - who is thought to have come from the Chinese mainland - paid £43m, with an additional premium of £8.6m to go to the auctioneer. The auctioneers found the vase in the bungalow which the brother and sister inherited from an uncle.  Mr Macquisten said there was a "queue of dealers and collectors" to see the vase. He said: "It dates to between mid to late 18th Century and it would have been made for the Qianlong emperor.  "He was the emperor in China when China was at its zenith, effectively creating the empire you see today. And this is one of the great works made for one of his palaces." Mr Bainbridge said they were more used to selling cookers and fridges.

 Peter Bainbridge, from Bainbridge's auctioneers, based in Ruislip, said the value of the vase was realised when items were being unpacked to be catalogued for sale. "When it was on the shelves ready to be catalogued our consultant valuer paused at it and said 'I have a feeling this is quite interesting'. He said the atmosphere at the auction was "electric.
"The Chinese contingent had been in very smart sale rooms all week and I think found it rather curious to come out here, and mix amongst buyers who we were selling fridges and cookers to, and the like. Then the silence wrapped itself around the sale room as we progressed through this very exciting bidding."

Describing the reaction of the brother and sister duo Helen Porter, from the auction house, said: "They were hopeful but they didn't dare believe until the hammer went down."When it did, the sister had to go out of the room and have a breath of fresh air. The ceramic vase was made during the reign of the fourth emperor in the Qing dynasty who ruled the empire from 1735 to 1796. It is thought the vase left China in about 1860 and was acquired by an English family during the 1930s but how it made its way to the bungalow in Pinner is a mystery, the auctioneer said. A posting on the auctioneer's blog said: "It is a masterpiece. If only it could talk."

There is a growing hunger for Chinese art and artifacts. The vase that sold for 43 million pounds or $66m was just one example.The sale price was 40 times the pre-sale estimate. In Hong Kong a local buyer pays nearly $17m for a pair of 5ft-high enamel cranes - believed to be a gift from an 18th Century Chinese emperor to his son. Another Hong Kong-based collector pays $32m for an 18th Century Chinese floral vase.
This year, the hugely inflated sums of money being paid for Chinese art and artifacts have been making headlines regularly. But what has been pushing prices so high? Trade insiders say the recovery from the world economic crisis brought an influx of new, wealthy bidders into the auction houses.

Zhang Lifan, a historian, is the son of Zhang Naiqi, China's first Minister of Food and one of the most respected collectors of Chinese artefacts in his time.His father's collection was confiscated by the government during the Cultural Revolution. Mr Zhang believes many of the bidders at the moment for Chinese artefacts in Hong Kong, London and elsewhere are investors, not collectors. "Some are the new rich, trying to buy artefacts to show off how wealthy they are," he says.
Auctions of artefacts in China only really began 15 years ago. In the last five years they have taken off, but it is not a large market. There are not nearly as many artefacts from China as there are from the West, partly because so many were lost or broken in the turmoil of the country's troubled past. There is still a big price gap between iconic Western art and iconic Asian pieces, and although it is closing, there is still room for prices to rise further.

Jonathan Stone, the Hong Kong-based Asia Managing Director of Christie's, says the proportion of buyers there for Asian art this season from mainland China rose from 40% in 2009 to 51% in 2010. But the whole market's value increased significantly, so the value of the sales by customers from the mainland was 250% higher than the year before.
"I think there is a genuine passion and enthusiasm in China for buying back their own culture, which has been dispersed through the world for hundreds of years," he says. "But it's not just Chinese people, people in greater China or people of Chinese heritage. At the very top level, there is very great enthusiasm indeed in the West for great Chinese works of art as well."

Qin Jie, a collector of ancient books, has a few favourites he would like to see back on Chinese soil. "One item I'd like to see returned is one of China's first copies of the Buddhist book, The Diamond Sutra," he says. It sits in the British Museum in London. Most of those artefacts that do find their way back into China go into private collections, not museums. "When Asian people get rich, they start to care about their history," says Qin Jie. "They want to enrich their lives with historical art." He believes 30,000 artefacts will have come back to China in the last 12 months.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quebec Ice Palace 'OMG'

In the Grand Hall  --an ice scupture bear provides a seat.
The Absolut Ice Bar is a feature every year . It specializes in serving Absolut Vodka in glasses sculped of pure ice . Don't worry parents , hot chocolate is also available .
The Bar's unique ice glasses are pictured  above --- Vodka , it seems , is the only liquid that won't freeze in such a glass  before it meets your  lips. There's also live entertainment  for those who love music and dancing .
Another view of the Ice Bar , and kids in a "booth."

Believe it or not : The Ice Hotel preforms quite a few wedding , the Chapel gets built a-new each year .
This hall is your change to imagine an overnight stay -- you can check out the bed and sleeping bags .
*Note the arched shaped of this room : the entire Ice Hotel  is constructed in arches .
The Ice Hotel has heated washrooms  and an outdoor area with a sauna and hot tubs .
Each sleeping room at the Ice Hotel is a   unique creation .
See you at the Ice Hotel in Quebec............

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fancy Fruit Pizza

This is not your average pizza fare. For a truly different spin on a favorite family dish, turn traditional pizza into a sweet dessert dish with this quick and easy recipe. Fancy Fruit Dessert Pizza is a colorful treat that is extra-special. This party pizza includes a variety of tasty layers of sweet and fruity goodness. A scrumptious sugar-cookie crust starts off the pizza, followed by a layer of luscious cream cheese “sauce”. A colorful array of fresh fruit toppings creates the next layer. A fruity glaze and optional chocolate drizzle completes the pizza. (Fresh fruit is preferable to canned or frozen.) Depending on the season, use whatever fresh fruit is in stock.

Fancy Fruit Dessert Pizza - Ingredients:
1 20-ounce package store-bought sugar cookie dough, refrigerated
Fancy Fruit Dessert Pizza “Sauce”:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Fancy Fruit Dessert Pizza "Topping":
Fresh or canned peach slices, drained
Whole strawberries, cut in half
Fresh or frozen blueberries, drained
Kiwi fruit, peeled
Grapes, no seeds
Pineapple chunks or rings, drained
Apples, washed, peeled and cored
Mandarin oranges, drained
Fancy Fruit Dessert Pizza Glaze:
1/4 cup orange marmalade (can also use apricot, strawberry or raspberry)
1 Tbsp water

Optional Drizzle:
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted

Pre-Heat oven to 375F
Slice cookie dough as directed on package
Arrange cookie dough in single layer in bottom of a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. (A large pizza pan will also work).
Using floured fingers, press dough evenly onto pan to form crust
Bake at 375F for 16-20 minutes or until golden brown
Cool crust completely
While crust is cooling, in a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until fluffy
Spread mixture over cooled cookie crust
Refrigerate several hours
Arrange fruit in attractive layers or designs over cream cheese "sauce" layer
Combine marmalade and water into a glaze and carefully brush glaze over fruit
Drizzle warm chocolate chip mixture for additional sweet topping . You can also use spray-can whipped cream to make a fluffy border around the edge.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving
Cut into slices or squares and serve immediately
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator

Cherry Cobbler...Cream and Chocolate Raspberry Tart

1/2 cup butter
 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1 cup milk
2 cups pitted sour cherries
 3/4 cup white sugar 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the butter in a 9x13 inch baking dish, and place in the oven to melt while the oven is preheating. Remove as soon as butter has melted, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and baking powder. Mix in the milk until well blended, then pour the batter into the pan over the butter. Do not stir.
Rinse out the bowl from the batter, and dry. Place cherries into the bowl, and toss with the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour. Distribute the cherry mixture evenly over the batter. Do not stir.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the cobber should come out clean. Serve warm ; nice with ice-cream.

½ pkg (1 crust) Pillsbury* Refrigerated Pie Crusts, softened as directed on box
2 tbsp (25 mL) orange juice
1 tsp unflavoured gelatin
1 ½ cups (375 mL) whipping cream
6 squares (1 oz/28 g each) white chocolate baking bars, chopped
1 pkg (300 g) frozen whole raspberries, thawed, juice reserved
1 tbsp (15 mL) cornstarch
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar
1 cup (250 mL) fresh raspberries
2 squares (1 oz/28 g each) semisweet baking chocolate, cut into pieces
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter or margarine

Heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using ungreased 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom or 10-inch springform pan, and pressing 1 inch up side of pan. Cool on cooling rack 15 minutes.
Place orange juice in 2-quart saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin on juice; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Stir in 3/4 cup of the whipping cream; heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in white chocolate until melted and smooth. Transfer to medium bowl; refrigerate about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cool but not set.
In blender or food processor, place thawed raspberries and any juice. Cover; blend until pureed. Set strainer over 2-cup measuring cup. Press puree with back of spoon through strainer to remove seeds. If necessary, add water to raspberry puree to measure 1/2 cup. In 1-quart saucepan, mix cornstarch and sugar. Gradually add raspberry puree. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Fold in fresh raspberries; spread over crust. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in chilled large bowl, beat remaining 3/4 cup whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Spoon and spread over raspberry layer. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until filling is set.
In 1-quart saucepan, melt semisweet chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring frequently; carefully pour and spread over white chocolate layer. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until set. To serve, let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes to soften chocolate layers. Cover and refrigerate any remaining tart. Garnish each slice with fresh raspberries and white chocolate curls, if desired.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Real-Life Hero ..Boy Gives up His Life For His Brother...Queensland

Jordan Rice, a 13-year-old Australian boy, has emerged as a tragic-heroic figure in news accounts of the disastrous Australian floods, after he asked a rescuer to save his little brother, Blake, before himself. Jordan Rice and his mother, Donna, were swept away by floodwaters and drowned before rescuer Warren McErlean could return for them.

Jordan's father, John Tyson, told the Toowoomba Chronicle Jordan could not swim and was terrified of water. "I can only imagine what was going on inside to give up his life to save his brother, even though he was petrified of water," he said. "He is our little hero." Tyson told the paper his longtime partner, Donna Rice, was driving with two of her young sons in tire-level water when her engine stopped. She called for help and the three of them got on the roof of the car as the floodwaters rose quickly. Bystanders were not offering help until McErlean tied a rope around himself and went after them.

A wave of water was coming fast when McErlean reached them with the rope.
"Save my brother first," Jordan said, according to McErlean. Jordan and his mother were swept away and only 10 year old Blake survived . At least nineteen people have died in the Queensland floods. You can see Mcerlean talk about the rescue attempt in the video below.

Toowoomba Flash Flood... Queensland

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brazil Mudslides Kill at Least 335 , Destroys Towns - Death Toll Still Climbing

Rio de Janeiro  -- Driving rains sent tons of rusty red earth sliding into mountain towns , killing over 400 people and leaving dozens more missing , Brazilian media reported Thursday .

Hillsides and river banks in the picturesque Serrana region north of Rio  de Janeiro buckled under about 10 inches of rain -- the equivalent of a month's rainfall in 24 hours  --  destroying houses and killing many people early Wednesday , rescue officials said .

Television footage showed many houses buried in mud as desperate residents and rescue workers searched for survivers . "There was no way of telling which house would fall . Rich and poor ... everything was destroyed ," resident Fernanda Carvalho was quoted as saying by the Clobo network's  website .

"I saw 6 bodies on my street ," said Antonio Venancio , whose house was inundated  with mud but remained standing . "We just don't know what to do in the face of something so horrible . At least 34 people were killed in neighboring Petropolis and 155 in the town of Nove Friburgo , Globo reported

Before resue attempts were called off because of darkness , searches used heavy machinery , shovels and bare hands trying to find survivors . In one town , firefighters resued a 25-year-old man who held his 6-month son for 15 hours until they were both pulled out alive . 'The man's  wife and mother-in-law were feared dead .

Flood waters  continued to gush down the mountains for hours after rainstorms ended Wednesday . "There are so many disappeared ...and so many that will probably never be found ," said Angela Marina de Carvalho Silva , a resident of Tereopolis  who feared she may have lost 15 relatives , including five nieces and nephews . "There was nothing we could do . It was hell," she said in a telephone interview "It's over . There's nothing . The water came  and swept everything away ," said her husband , Sidney Silva.

 Rio state Governor  Sergio Cabral called on navy to lend helicopters to firefighters working as resuers . "We mourn the lost of lives in this tragedy caused by the rain ," Cabral said in a statement .