Friday, February 28, 2014

Obama Delivers Statement on Ukraine....Russian Interference

Russian Military Move into Crimea (Ukraine)

Russian Forces patrol around the International airport near the Crimean Capital of Semforopol

Russian Forces patrol around the International airport near the Crimean Capital
Russian troops have moved into Crimea in what Moscow is calling a mission to “protect Black Sea Fleet’s positions” but which the Ukrainian government has denounced as an “armed intervention.”
The Russian foreign ministry said Friday that it had informed the Ukrainian government that armoured units from the Black Sea Fleet base near Sevastopol had entered Crimea in order to protect fleet positions.

Russian helicpoters move into Crimea

“The Ukrainian side was also passed a note regarding the movement of armoured vehicles of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, which is happening in full accordance with the Russian-Ukrainian agreement on the Black Sea Fleet,” the ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Friday afternoon. 
In the same note the Russian foreign ministry said it had declined a Ukrainian request for “bilateral consultations” on events in Crimea because they are “the result of recent internal political processes in Ukraine.”          
Unconfirmed reports emerged late on Friday that a convoy of armoured vehicles were moving up the Sevastopol highway toward Simferopol, the regional capital.  Earlier armed men in unmarked uniforms occupied key transportation hubs in the Crimea on Friday, in what the Ukrainian government denounced as an “armed intervention” by Russian troops. 
Men in unmarked camouflage uniforms occupied two airports and blocked the road between Simferopol and Sevastopol before dawn, while a Russian warship was reported to have blockaded the entrance to the bay at Balaklava, the home of the Ukrainian coast guard.  Several dozen men in camouflage uniforms and carrying AK-74 assault rifles and PK 7.62 mm machine guns occupied a restaurant and patrolled the car park and forecourt of Simferopol international airport early on Friday morning. 
The soldiers, who wore no identifying insignia, refused to answer questions from journalists as they strolled up and down outside the airport.  The troops made no apparent attempt to interfere with the running of the airport or take over key infrastructure, contenting themselves with strolling up and down the car park at a leisurely pace, apparently, deliberately for the benefit of television cameras. 
While those patrolling the car park carried assault rifles without magazines attached, belt ammunition could be seen loaded into two medium machine guns carried by sentries outside the occupied restaurant building. Some rifles carried telescopic sights and under-barrel grenade launchers.
They were backed by civilian volunteers wearing the orange and black St George’s ribbon, a symbol of Russian military prowess that has been adopted by pro-Russian activists in Crimea as an identifying mark.
“We are here for your safety,” said one man, who described himself as a member of the “people’s militia and ordered journalists away from the restaurant the troops had occupied. “If you don’t move away from this building maybe someone will throw a grenade at you,” he said. He denied he was threatening journalists, citing an incident yesterday when armed men in the regional parliament building reportedly answered shouted questions with a stun grenade.
“It is an unpredictable situation and we want to make sure everything remains calm. We are just people from this city who want to protect their families,” he said.  The man refused to give his name, but said he and his group arrived at the airport at 6 AM. He refused to say who controlled his "militia" or whether they accompanied or knew the identity of the mysterious soldiers.
Meanwhile, at least 20 men wearing the uniform of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet carrying automatic riffles were reported to have surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post in the port city of Sevastopol on Friday.  A serviceman who identified himself as a Black Sea Fleet officer said “we are here…so as not to have a repeat of the Maidan,” Reuters reported. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
When my husband  and I married, we said  our  vows  that included  "for  richer or poorer, in sickness  and in health, until death do us part." I am now  65  and my husband and I are both retired. We have money  but my husband does not want to give me any  for any reason, including  gas and groceries. I recieve Social Security benefits, but my monthly insurance  payments eat most of  it . My husband  also has accounts at different banks in his name only . If something  happens to him, I couldn't use these accounts  for our household bills . 
My husband is facing  major surgery  soon . Here's the real problem; He wants some distant lady  friend  to be at his surgery. I've never met her. He only contacted  her a couple of months ago  and refuses  to tell me her last name . I don't want this woman here  . She is a stranger to me  and I would be uncomfortable having her around . What should I do ? 
Very Upset Wife 

Dear Wife ,
It sounds  as if  your husband  met this  woman online  and wants a little romance . There is no reason for this woman to be present  during  your husband's surgery . But worse  than  a fling  is the fact that he is keeping income from  you, setting up different accounts  to which you have no access and denying  you money  for  groceries  and gas. Controlling  the money is a form of abuse. Please call Domestic Violence Hotline ( at (800) 799-7233  for information  and resources .

 Dear Maxy,
When my husband  and I recently  visited  his sister, her husband said something  very racist . He recounted  how he had interviewed  a black woman  for a job  for which she  was prefectly qualified, but had declined  to hire her because  he "didn't want to work with black people."
I was shocked  and disgusted by his racist
attitude. I didn't speak up  because I didn't want to be  confrontational, but the incident  has been on my mind  ever since . I wished I had  pointed out  that his attitude is not only racist but also illegal .
I love my sister-in-law, but I am reluctant  to bring my children  into a household  where such bigotry  is acceptable . How do I stand  up against racism without  damaging my relationship  with my sister-in-law?
Principles or Family
Dear Principles,
You don't have  to avoid  your sieter-in-law. You only need  to stand  up for  what's right  in a way that  doesn't alienate her . Should her husband  say  anything  racist  in your  presence, reply calmly "I strongly disagree with your position  and would appreciate it if  you didn't  say such things." Then change the subject . Later  when you have a private  moment with your children, express your views  on the subject and explain why you disagree with "uncle Bob." 
You canot  protect  your  children  from every reprehensible  thing they will see or hear . The best  inoculation  is to  teach them  your values  in a way  that makes sense to them  and will stick.

 Dear Maxy ,
I am a psychologist  and my husband  is a psychiatrist . You give  excellent advice, but there is one area where you could be more helpful .
When people  seek low-cost mental health services  you often print  a list of places  where they may get help . Unfortunately, that list  might not be helpful  in a smaller, more  rural  area. While we have  several  colleges, none have graduate departments  that offer counseling . The YWCA  and YMCA  closed  with the recession  and the local churches  offer pastoral counseling only to their  own congregants .
The main low-cost  mental  health  services  offered in our  community  are through  the  county . This includes individual and family counseling, psychiatry and crisis intervention . We also  have a 24-hour  phone hotline to access  emergency  services . They can  also direct  people  to an outpatient  clinic  at the local hospital .
In addition  , Mental Health America (formerly the Mental Health Association) offers  referrals, classes  and support  groups . If people  are seeking  low-cost  help, please  recommend that they connect  their  local  county  government .
K .J. Goodman , Ph.D.

Dear Dr.  Goodman ,
Consider it  done .
I appreciate  the information   and will  definitely add county services  to the  list .

Say What ???

confused gif photo: Say What!?! Yoku_saywhat.gif

Ever feel you are diagonally parked in a parallel universe ? I used to have a handle on life, but I think it broke.  And you can't fix that. I've always thought life would be much better if there was appropriate background music for everything. My husband said I was crazy. I replied, I'm not crazy; it's just that my reality is different  from everyone else's. I said he was jealous because the voices only talk to me. And they often have brilliant ideas.  The voices told me that Earth is the insane asylum for the universe and once they put you here, you never get out.  So remember,....It IS as bad as you think and they ARE out to get you.  In my own defense, I am not a complete nut job....some parts are missing.

When I'm feeling down, I like to whistle a happy tune. It makes the neighbor's dog run to the end of his chain and gag himself. A positive attitude like that may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
I have made many observations about my fellow inmates in this planetary asylum. People are seldom too busy to stop and tell you how busy they are.  And people who have no faults are aggravating; there is no way of taking advantage of them.  I can promise you, that if you tell your enemies you love them, it will piss them off so much they will never bother you again. I have also observed that deep down people are shallow.

When you go to work on Monday morning, you  should work as hard as you can because millions of people on welfare are depending on you. So go and enjoy your weekend while you can and remember, sex on television can't  hurt you unless you fall off.

I have a few questions that have been keeping me awake at night. Maybe you can help me out...for example:
If all the nations in the world are in debt ( And I am not kidding. They are all in debt ), where did all the money go? (weird, HUH??).
When dog food has a new and improved taste, how do they know?  Think about it.
If the flight recorder (black box) is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn't the whole airplane made out of that stuff? Why hasn't somebody thought of that by now?  I would think it was pretty obvious.
And further more, who copyrighted the copyright symbol?  Answer me that.
Why do people say, "they've been working like a dog" when dogs just lay around all day? My dog sleeps 20 hours out of 24. He wakes up to eat , go for a walk and take a dump.  When that expression was invented, somebody didn't hear it correctly. It was probably 'frog'.

Here is an interesting fact: Do you know where the expression "OK" came from and what it means? Well I'll tell you. It originated in WW I. It means zero kills. So when reporting to battalion  headquarters, if a soldier said everything was OK, he meant no one got killed. (I am here to educate you.)

A scientific question: If you were traveling at the speed of sound and you turned on your radio would you be able to hear it?  I bet you've never thought about these things.
If you're traveling at the speed of light and you turn your headlights on, what happens? (I tried but couldn't get up to speed)
How about this one: If a person owns a piece of land do they own it all the way down to the core of the earth?  I like to know my property rights.
Okay , I'm sure your mind is about to explode so we will move on.  I will answer an age old question for you, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg"? The egg would have to be fertilized, if 'egg' was the answer. So, the answer is neither. The question is rather, "which came first, the chicken or the rooster" ?  Oooor, If we go further back in time, dinosaur eggs were here long before chickens existed. I'm just saying.
Oh...I see I've confused you further.

Another Question:
Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?
More questions:
If tarter is the stuff on your teeth. What is tartar sauce made of ?
If a man with a multiple personality disorder is about to commit suicide, is it considered a hostage situation?
Enough Questions. I am going to bed....Weeell......just a couple more.....Do you think vegetarians should eat animal crackers? Would the ocean be deeper without sponges? Never mind....G'night.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Lies Beneath ?

Scientists are uncovering a hidden history lying beneath the prison of Alcatraz


It was America's most notorious prison. Perched on a rocky outcrop in the middle of San Francisco
Bay, from the 1930s to the 1960s the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was reserved for the "worst of the worst". A who's who of the criminal underworld were incarcerated there: George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Mickey Cohen and Al Capone all spent time locked up in the tiny cells. Today, the "escape-proof" jail is a much more accessible place: more than a million tourists visit each year. But scientists say there's much more to "the Rock" than crime and punishment, and they have come to Alcatraz to investigate the hidden history that lies beneath the prison walls.

Prisoners were confined to their tiny cells for much of their time on Alcatraz

A team from Texas A&M University has gathered in the prison's recreation yard, where inmates would have spent as little as an hour a week away from the confines of the main block. The researchers are slowly dragging a bright yellow cart along the ground, pulling it up and down in straight lines.

"That's ground-penetrating radar," says Prof Mark Everett.

"The cart has a transmitter and a receiver - it sends an electromagnetic wave into the ground that then reflects off all the different structures underneath.

"Much like medical imaging would make a scan of the body, we are making a scan of the ground under the rec yard."

Using this technique, the team has made a remarkable discovery: they have found the remains of a military fortress, which was thought to have been destroyed.  Standing in the middle of the yard,
which is still enclosed by 6m-high (20ft) walls, Prof Everett points to a spot where he has found evidence of a subterranean tunnel system.

"(The tunnels) would have been used for the fortifications. There would have been movement of man and ammunition; it would have been bomb proof and covered with earth so it would have been protected," he explains.

"We get signatures that indicate there is not only a tunnel, but magazine buildings too."

Alcatraz military fort

  This image, taken in 1868, shows one of the many cannons that formed part of the garrison

Soldiers on Alcatraz
The fortress saw little action, and in 1903 it was turned into a military prison


Many traces of the fortress vanished, but some are now being rediscovered using ground-penetrating radar
These structures can be traced back to the 19th Century, at a pivotal moment in US history.

"I think most people know that in 1848 gold was discovered in California, and before that time San Francisco was really a very small town," explains Jason Hagen, the historical architect for the National Park Service, which looks after the island.
"But once gold was discovered here, San Francisco became a very important port for the country and for the west coast, and so protecting it really was the point of building the fortress of Alcatraz."

The island's strategic value became even more important with the outbreak of the American civil war in 1861. Alcatraz was transformed into a military installation, complete with barracks and gun batteries. But while much of America was embroiled in bloody battle, the garrison remained quiet and no shots were fired offensively. At the start of the 20th Century another use was found: Alcatraz was turned into an army prison, paving the way for the federal penitentiary. The fortress was mainly destroyed or built over, with most traces of it vanishing - until now.

Alcatraz rec yard

Prisoners were allowed to play baseball in the recreation yard


Scientists have found evidence of parts of the fortress lying under the yard
"The main prison building was built in about 1915, and we have photographs showing how the rec yard was constructed," says Prof Everett.

"But what we don't really know is what exactly became of the fortifications, what state they are in and what is left of the cultural resources. And although it is not always desirable to excavate, with geophysics we can help people to know what is below the surface without actually disrupting it."

Ground penetrating radar
Ground-penetrating radar helps the team to see what lies under the ground without the need to excavate

Joining the team is California State University Chico's Dr Tanya Wattenburg Komas, who is also director of the Concrete Preservation Institute. Lying beneath the recreation yard is some of the oldest concrete she has ever seen in the US.

"Originally, the fortifications were earthen - they are constructed of dirt - but parts of them had concrete over them to reinforce them. The interesting thing is we weren't even making cement in the US at that time," she explains.

"That probably came as cement in barrels from Europe. To find it on the top of a mid-19th Century battery is very exciting."
She says it's a surprise that it has lasted this long: the conditions on Alcatraz are notoriously tough.

"We are looking at how to preserve this in such an aggressive environment," she says.

"As soon as you are in this misty, wet environment with the salt air, the salt gets in with the water and the oxygen and causes corrosion. And then that produces cracks on the concrete. And once that begins, the deterioration happens very quickly."

Alcatraz parade ground

Today, the parade ground shows no visible signs of the fortress buildings


Radar tests on the parade ground may show the location of the remains of a large building called a caponier
The biggest potential discovery so far is at the south of the island, lying beneath the prison's parade ground.

"This is an area that is of most historical significance to the park service. It is a very important part of the fortifications," says Prof Everett.

"It is called a caponier, and it is a large structure that juts out into the bay and provides defensive cover. We have seen it in the old photographs but it has completely disappeared form present view."

Using ground-penetrating radar, the team has seen a very large signal, which suggests a large proportion of the building may be buried beneath the ground. If the team is right, archaeologists will soon start excavations.

"We have a cultural landscape report that proposes to do an excavation on the parade ground," says Mr Hagan. "It's our hope that in the future we can open up the trail and have an archaeological site that people can visit."
He is keen that the rock's military past is brought out into the open.

"The fortification is something that is really important to the historical significance of the island itself," he says.

"In that sense, it is really important to give people a sense of the early part of the island's history."

Keppler Space Telescope Bags Huge Haul of Exo-Planets

The habitable zone is the region around a star where water can keep a liquid state

The science team sifting data from the US space agency's (Nasa) Kepler telescope says it has identified 715 new planets beyond our Solar System. This is a huge new haul. In the nearly two decades since the first so-called exoplanet was discovered, researchers had claimed the detection of just over 1,000 new worlds.

Kepler's latest bounty orbit only 305 stars, meaning they are all in multi-planet systems. The vast majority, 95%, are smaller than our Neptune, which is four times the radius of the Earth. Four of the new planets are less than 2.5 times the radius of Earth, and they orbit their host suns in the "habitable zone" - the region around a star where water can keep a liquid state. Whether that is the case on these planets cannot be known for sure - Kepler's targets are hundreds of light-years in the distance, and this is too far away for very detailed investigation.

The Kepler space telescope was launched in 2009 on a $600m (£360m) mission to assess the likely population of Earth-sized planets in our Milky Way Galaxy. Faulty pointing mechanisms eventually blunted its abilities last year, but not before it had identified thousands of possible,"candidate",worlds in a patch of sky in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra. It did this by looking for transits - the periodic dips in light that occur when planets move across the faces of stars.

Before Wednesday, the Kepler spacecraft had confirmed the existence of 246 exoplanets. It has now pushed this number up to 961. That is more than half of all the discoveries made in the field over the past 20 years.

"This is the largest windfall of planets that's ever been announced at one time," said Douglas Hudgins from Nasa's astrophysics division.

"Second, these results establish that planetary systems with multiple planets around one star, like our own Solar System, are in fact common.

"Third, we know that small planets - planets ranging from the size of Neptune down to the size of the Earth - make up the majority of planets in our galaxy."

When Kepler first started its work, the number of confirmed planets came at a trickle. Scientists had to be sure that the variations in brightness being observed were indeed caused by transiting planets and not by a couple of stars orbiting and eclipsing each other. The follow-up work required to make this distinction - between candidate and confirmation - was laborious. But the sudden dump of new planets announced on Wednesday has exploited a new statistical approach referred to as "verification by multiplicity".  This rests on the recognition that if a star displays multiple dips in light, it must be planets that are responsible because it is very difficult for several stars to orbit each other in a similar way and maintain a stable configuration.

"This technique that we've introduced for wholesale planet validation will be productive in the future. These results are based on the first two years of Kepler observations and with each additional year, we'll be able to bring in a few hundred more planets," explained Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist at Nasa's Ames Research Center.

Sara Seager is a professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is not involved in the Kepler mission.
She commented: "With hundreds of new validated planets, Kepler reinforces its major finding that small planets are extremely common in our galaxy. And I'm super-excited about this, being one of the people working on the next generation of space telescopes - we hope to put up direct imaging missions, and we need to be reassured that small planets are common."

An illustration of Kepler
Launched in 2009, the Kepler space telescope sought to find Earth-like worlds orbiting distant stars in the Constellation Lyra

It used the so-called transit technique - looking for the periodic dips in light as exoplanets pass in front of their host stars

Last year, astronomers used Kepler's data to estimate that one in five stars like the Sun hosts an Earth-sized world

The Hunt for a New Earth Continues....More Possibilities

This handout artist conception provided by NASA depicts multiple-transiting planet systems, which are stars with more than one planet. The planets eclipse or transit their host star from the vantage point of the observer. This angle is called edge-on. Our galaxy is looking far more crowded as NASA Wednesday confirmed a bonanza of 715 newly discovered planets circling stars other than our sun. Four of those new planets are in the habitable zones where it is not too hot or not cold. NASA’s Kepler planet-hunting telescope nearly doubled the number of planets scientists have discovered in the galaxy, pushing the figure to about 1,700. Twenty years ago, astronomers had not found any planets outside our solar system. (AP Photo/NASA)
This handout artist conception provided by NASA depicts multiple-transiting planet systems, which are stars with more than one planet

The Earth's galaxy is looking far more crowded. NASA has confirmed a bonanza of 715 newly discovered planets outside the solar system. Scientists using the planet-hunting Kepler telescope have nearly doubled the number of planets discovered in the galaxy. The figure is now about 1,700. Twenty years ago, astronomers had not found any planets circling stars other than the sun.
Astronomers used a new confirmation technique to come up with the largest batch of planets announced at one time. NASA made the announcement Wednesday. All the new planets are in systems like ours where multiple planets circle a star. Four of those new planets are in habitable zones where it is not too hot and not too cold.

 As awesome and wonderful as these discoveries are, we still have no means of getting there and may not invent a means of  travelling across light years for centuries. So don't pack your bags and cancel your newspaper just yet.  However, I find it reassuring that this is not the only planet that may support life. Have you ever contemplated life existing out there? Does that frighten you?

Canada Sends Delegation to Kiev to Support and Assist

 Canada is encouraging Ukrainians to reject "the past" as they form a new government after weeks of turmoil and deadly violence, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In a clear indication of where his Conservative government's support lies in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis, Harper  reached out to Ukraine’s yet-to-be formed transitional government, announcing that a high-level delegation would meet with the new leadership in Kiev. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird departed Wednesday with a group of parliamentarians and Ukrainian Canadians bound for the capital, the epicentre of political unrest that has rocked Ukraine for months. The prime minister met with representatives of Canada's Ukrainian community Tuesday, where he encouraged Ukrainians to pursue closer ties with the West.
"I think we really have to credit the Ukrainian people themselves with resisting the attempt to overturn their democracy and to lead their country back into the past," Harper said, flanked by Conservative MPs Ted Opitz and James Bezan and Sen. Raynell Andreychuk.
"They have rejected that and we want to encourage them on that path."
Harper says Baird would offer Canada's support for efforts to restore democracy in Ukraine, although it was unclear whom he would be meeting. Lawmakers within the Ukrainian parliament have delayed the formation of a new government until Thursday, just one sign of the political tensions and economic challenges faced by the country after Russian-leaning President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital and went into hiding.
News of the Canadian mission came after Russia's ambassador to Canada dismissed as nonsense the possibility of Russian troops invading Ukraine. Georgiy Mamedov said categorically that a Russian invasion was not in the cards, despite recent events in Kiev that have pushed Ukraine away from renewed ties with Moscow.
"It's very simple. We are no NATO, it's not Libya, you won't see any Russian troops in Ukraine," he said.
"Whoever discusses rumours about Russian military intervention in Ukraine is committing an insult to the intellect of the Canadian public, full stop."
Harper and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron talked on the phone earlier today about the situation in the troubled country, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office. They agreed that "every possible option" must be considered to support Ukraine through its "delicate" transition, including what possible role the International Monetary Fund might play.
As late as Monday, a Baird spokesman and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander were raising questions of possible sanctions against Moscow should it intervene in the Ukrainian crisis.
Baird, who has met with the prime minister several times since the crisis began last fall, had gone into Tuesday's meeting with Harper hoping for a high-level delegation to meet with the transitional government in Kiev. Parliament was also expected to hold a non-binding take-note debate Wednesday evening over the crisis in Ukraine, where Bezan hoped the government would outline its support of next steps toward democratic elections.
 At least Harper is supporting something positive and beneficial to citizens of this planet. Maybe it will take his mind off the damn pipeline for five minutes.

California Couple Finds Fortune in Gold

This image provided by the Saddle Ridge Hoard discoverers via Kagin's, Inc., shows one of the six decaying metal canisters filled with 1800s-era U.S. gold coins unearthed in California by two people who want to remain anonymous

Couple finds $10 million coin

LOS ANGELES -- A California couple out walking their dog, stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10 million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree in six rusty cans. Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, which recently authenticated them. Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1 million apiece.
"I don't like to say once-in-a-lifetime for anything, but you don't get an opportunity to handle this kind of material, a treasure like this, ever," said veteran numismatist Don Kagin, who is representing the finders. "It's like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
Kagin, whose family has been in the rare-coin business for 81 years, would say little about the couple other than that they are husband and wife, are middle-aged and have lived for several years on the rural property where the coins were found. They have no idea who put them there, he said.
The pair are choosing to remain anonymous, Kagin said, in part to avoid a renewed gold rush to their property by modern-day prospectors armed with metal detectors.
They also don't want to be treated any differently, said David McCarthy, chief numismatist for Kagin Inc. of Tiburon.
"Their concern was this would change the way everyone else would look at them, and they're pretty happy with the lifestyle they have today," he said.
They plan to put most of the coins up for sale through Amazon while holding onto a few keepsakes. They'll use the money to pay off bills and quietly donate to local charities, Kagin said. Before they sell them, they are loaning some to the American Numismatic Association for its National Money Show, which opens Thursday in Atlanta.
What makes their find particularly valuable, McCarthy said, is that almost all of the coins are in near-perfect condition. That means that whoever put them into the ground likely socked them away as soon as they were put into circulation. Because paper money was illegal in California until the 1870s, he added, it's extremely rare to find any coins from before that of such high quality.
"It wasn't really until the 1880s that you start seeing coins struck in California that were kept in real high grades of preservation," he said.
The coins, in $5, $10 and $20 denominations, were stored more or less in chronological order, McCarthy said, with the 1840s and 1850s pieces going into one canister until it was filed, then new coins going into the next one and the next one after that. The dates and the method indicated that whoever put them there was using the ground as their personal bank and that they weren't swooped up all at once in a robbery.
Although most of the coins were minted in San Francisco, one $5 gold piece came from as far away as Georgia. Kagin and McCarthy would say little about the couple's property or its ownership history, other than it's in a sprawling hilly area of Gold Country, as the region that was the site of the 1849 Gold Rush is known. The coins were found along a path the couple had walked for years. On the day they found them last spring, the woman had bent over to examine an old rusty can that erosion had caused to pop slightly out of the ground.
"Don't be above bending over to check on a rusty can," he said she told him.
They are located on a section of the property the couple nicknamed Saddle Ridge, and Kagin is calling the find the Saddle Ridge Hoard. He believes it could be the largest such discovery in U.S. history.
One of the largest previous finds of gold coins was $1 million worth uncovered by construction workers in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1985. More than 400,000 silver dollars were found in the home of a Reno, Nevada, man who died in 1974 and were later sold intact for $7.3 million.
Gold coins and ingots said to be worth as much as $130 million were recovered in the 1980s from the wreck of the SS Central America. But historians knew roughly where that gold was because the ship went down off the coast of North Carolina during a hurricane in 1857.
Many people dream of finding a treasure but few get to live out the fantasy. I hope these folks find much joy in sharing their new found bounty.

Amazing Plane Landing in Severe Turbulence

The weather is so insane around the world right now that even planes are struggling. This scary footage shows a Boeing 767 landing amid turbulence at Birmingham Airport in England. It was uploaded on Sunday to YouTube. The video shows the plane struggling as it nears the runway to make a relatively straight landing, but failing to do so because of tumultuous winds. Kudos to the pilots who safely landed the plane in the turbulence that nearly takes out its landing gear.
This video is not a young fledgling's first attempt at flight — it's actually a veteran pilot attempting to control a 767 with winds gusting at 65 km/h as the jet touched down.
The plane, seems to have trouble stabilizing itself as it approaches and looks as if it might be in for a crash landing, when it miraculously lowers itself safely onto the ground .

The landing gear, however, is definitely in worse condition than the passengers, as one of the wheels looks as if it almost blew out completely. You’ve got to hand it to the pilot; it could not have been easy to land this giant aircraft safely in those conditions. Just imagine what the passengers are feeling as the weight of the plane shifts precariously from left to right, and with the possibility of mass panic on board, this pilot deserves a real pat on the back. I think the crew deserves a raise!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Russia Speaks Out Against New Ukraine Interim Goverment

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: "Result of an armed mutiny"

Russia has stepped up its rhetoric against the Ukraine's new Western-leaning leadership as tensions rise over the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych. Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev said interim authorities in Kiev had conducted an "armed mutiny". And the Russian foreign ministry said dissenters in mainly Russian-speaking regions faced suppression.
The Ukraine's interim interior minister said an arrest warrant had been issued for Mr Yanukovych. MPs voted to remove Mr Yanukovych on Saturday. His whereabouts are unknown but he was reported to have been in the Crimean peninsula on Sunday. Russia has already recalled its ambassador to Ukraine for consultation. Unrest in the Ukraine began in November when Mr Yanukovych rejected a landmark association and trade deal with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia.

Mr Medvedev, quoted by Russian news agencies, suggested that Western countries that accepted Ukraine's new authorities were mistaken. "The legitimacy of a whole number of organs of power that function there raises great doubts," he said. "Some of our foreign, Western partners think otherwise. This is some kind of aberration of perception when people call legitimate what is essentially the result of an armed mutiny. "He added: "We do not understand what is going on there. There is a real threat to our interests and to the lives of our citizens."

Ukraine's foreign ministry quickly responded to Mr Medvedev's comments on Russian citizens in the Ukraine, saying his concerns were "unfounded". However, Russia's foreign ministry also issued a strongly worded statement saying a "forced change of power" was taking place in Ukraine and accused interim leaders of passing new laws "aimed at infringing the humanitarian rights of Russians and other ethnic minorities".

Barricade in Kiev. 24 Feb 2014

Activists are still manning barricades in Kiev

Interim President Olexander Turchynov meets EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Kiev. 24 Feb 2014

Interim President Olexander Turchynov met EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Kiev

Pro-Russian activists in Sevastapol, Crimea. 24 Feb 2014

Tensions between pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators are high in Sevastopol, Crimea

Flowers and candles in Independence Square, Kiev. 24 Feb 2014 
Flowers and candles have turned Kiev's Independence Square into a shrine for those killed

"A course has been set towards suppressing dissenters in various regions of Ukraine by dictatorial, and sometimes even terrorist, means," a statement said.
Mr Medvedev's statement should not come as a surprise. It fits well with the Kremlin's policy of playing on Russians' nostalgia over the Soviet past and treating the West as bent on undermining the new, successful and powerful Russia.
With Ukraine out of the zone of Moscow's influence, President Putin's idea of a customs union which would bring the former Soviet republics under Russia's leadership, becomes a distant and doubtful dream.
"Defending the rights of Russians in Ukraine" is another political concept used by Moscow to promote its geo-strategic interests. The new authorities in Kiev will have to make sure that Ukraine's Russians do not feel excluded from the political process.
The concept had been used as a pretext in 2008 during the armed conflict with Georgia. Russia is now in control of its two breakaway provinces - South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Could the same happen in Crimea? Russia could support separatist sentiments in the region. However, most experts believe that Ukraine's territorial integrity is not in danger.

On Sunday, Ukraine's parliament reduced the official status of the Russian language by cancelling a law brought in by Mr Yanukovych. Meanwhile, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has been in Kiev to discuss financial and political support for Ukraine's new leaders.  Ukraine is facing bankruptcy and a promised loan from Russia is looking increasingly unlikely. She visited Independence Square - the scene of deadly clashes between protesters and police - and held talks with Interim President Olexander Turchynov.
Also on Monday, French President Francois Hollande called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to urge a peaceful transition in Ukraine. A statement from Mr Hollande's office said he also emphasized "the importance of ensuring the unity and territorial integrity of the country". President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have also delivered similar messages to Mr Putin in recent days. On Monday, the US said it was ready to give financial support to Ukraine to complement any future loan from the International Monetary Fund .
Interim Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Facebook that a criminal case had been opened against Mr Yanukovych and other officials over "mass murder of peaceful citizens".  He said Mr Yanukovych was last seen in Balaklava on the Crimean peninsula on Sunday. The peninsula is an autonomous region where the majority of the population is ethnically Russian. Crimea and some pro-Russian areas in the east have seen protests against the overthrow of Mr Yanukovych, sparking fears that Ukraine could be split apart by separatist movements.

Ukraine's political leaders aim to form a new unity government by Tuesday. Former PM Yulia Tymoshenko, who was released from jail on Saturday, has ruled out becoming prime minister. Her Fatherland party says she has accepted an offer of medical treatment in Germany. Ukraine's health ministry says 88 people, mostly anti-Yanukovych protesters but also police, are now known to have been killed in last week's clashes.
Thousands of people remain in Kiev's Independence Square, the Maidan.

Who is running Ukraine?
  • Olexandr Turchynov - deputy leader of the Fatherland party and a long-time opponent of Mr Yanukovych; appointed interim president
  • Arsen Avakov - also a key Fatherland MP, now interim interior minister
  • Arseniy Yatsenyuk - parliamentary leader of Fatherland and the main negotiator during Maidan protests; tipped as a possible future prime minister
  • Vitali Klitschko - boxer turned politician who was a leading figure in the Maidan; heads Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms (Udar); expected to run for presidency
  • Oleh Tyahnybok - leader of far-right Svoboda (Freedom) party; key Maidan protest leader
  • Yulia Tymoshenko - former prime minister and opponent of Mr Yanukovych; released from jail as opposition took control of parliament; has ruled out running for PM

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ukraine's new interim President Oleksandr Turchynov...Focus on Ties With EU (European Union)

Oleksandr Turchinov: "This fight gave us  the unity and strength of a modern political nation"

Ukraine's new interim President Oleksandr Turchynov has said the country will focus on closer integration with the EU. Mr Turchynov was appointed following the dismissal of President Viktor Yanukovych by MPs on Saturday. Mr Yanukovych's rejection of an EU-Ukraine trade pact triggered the protests that toppled him. Russia, which had backed Mr Yanukovych, has recalled its ambassador to Ukraine for consultations.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the opposition "had in effect seized power in Kiev, refused to disarm and continued to place its bets on violence".
The US has said parliament's actions were legitimate and has warned Russia against military intervention. Mr Turchynov, a close ally of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, gave a televised address late on Sunday, hours after his appointment as interim president. He vowed to set up a "government of the people", and said: "We have to return to the family of European countries."
He added: "We are ready for a dialogue with Russia... on a new, fair, equal and neighbourly basis,
acknowledging and taking into account Ukraine's European choice."
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has announced she is visiting Kiev on
Monday to discuss EU support "for a lasting solution to the political crisis and measures to stabilize
the economic situation". Mr Turchynov said MPs had until Tuesday to form a new unity government.
Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov
Born in Dnipropetrovsk, eastern Ukraine, March 1964
Trained as metallurgist and economist
1980s - Local communist Komsomol youth leader
1993 - Economic adviser to ex-President Leonid Kuchma
1998-2007 - Elected to parliament
1999 - Deputy leader of Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland party
2004 - Campaigner in Orange Revolution
2005 - Head of Ukraine Security Service (SBU)
2007-2010 - Deputy PM
February 2014 - Parliament speaker, then acting president

Thousands of opposition supporters remain in Kiev's Independence Square, heeding opposition calls
not to disperse.

Anti-government demonstrators guard government building near Independence Square

Anti-Yanukovych protesters say they want Ukraine to move closer towards the EU

People light candles at a memorial for anti-government protesters killed in clashes with police in Independence Square on February 23, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine.

People have been lighting candles in memory of protesters killed in clashes with police

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko (C) meets with US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt (L) and head of the EU delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski in Kiev, on 23 February 2014.

Tymoshenko met the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and EU envoy Jan Tombinski on Sunday

The health ministry says 88 people, mostly anti-Yanukovych protesters, are now known to have been killed in clashes that took place earlier this week. In an address on Saturday, Mr Yanukovych refused to stand down. He is last thought to have been in the eastern city of Kharkiv after travelling there late on Friday night. Media reports have quoted Ukrainian officials as saying he was stopped by border police while attempting to flee to Russia. MPs from Mr Yanukovych's Party of Regions now appear to be disowning him, having issued a statement criticizing him to Interfax-Ukraine.
Ukrainians in Kiev appear broadly optimistic about the future. Meanwhile Ms Tymoshenko, who was freed from detention on Saturday, has ruled out becoming prime minister again. Her release was one of the conditions of the EU-Ukraine trade pact that Mr Yanukovych rejected last year. Former world champion boxer Vitaly Klitschko suggested that he may make a bid for the presidency in elections scheduled for 25 May.
"I want to make Ukraine a modern European country," he said. "If I can do that through the
president's position, I will do my best."

Unverified: CCTV appeared to show Viktor Yanukovych fleeing Kiev and he was reported headed for Russia

In other decisions on Sunday:

  • Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara and Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk were dismissed
  • Arrest warrants were issued for former Incomes Minister Oleksandr Klimenko and former Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka
  • Parliament lowered the official status of the Russian language by cancelling a law brought in by Mr Yanukovych
  • Parliament also voted to seize Mr Yanukovych's luxury estate near Kiev, which protesters entered on Saturday
  • Ukraine's new government may have a short time to win public support.
Many on Independence Square are sceptical of Ukraine's entire political class, Ms Tymoshenko included, and may start searching soon for an entirely new set of leaders.
Donetsk is Mr Yanukovych's home region and his support base, close to the border with Russia. It's Ukraine's industrial heartland, a mining centre and almost unanimously Russian-speaking. A few hundred pro-Yanukovych protesters gathered on the main square here. They called the anti-government demonstrators "fascists" and chanted pro-Russian slogans. A group surged towards the other side of the square, where a handful of anti-Yanukovych demonstrators were gathered. Police intervened. If this one city is so divided, just imagine the splits across the entire country.
Also on Sunday, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned Russia it would be a "grave mistake" to intervene militarily. Russia and the US have been on opposite sides during the Ukraine crisis, with the US, along with the EU, backing the opposition.
Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was reported to have called Ms Tymoshenko and urged her to work for unity. Mrs Merkel also called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday to discuss the crisis; both agreed that the country's "territorial integrity must be safeguarded", her spokesman said.
There has been a fear that the crisis may exacerbate divisions between the Russian-leaning east of the country and the more pro-EU west. Germany is trying to act as a broker in the conflict and to assuage Russian fears that it will be threatened if Ukraine moves closer to the European Union. Some German government MPs have called for swift financial aid to Ukraine, possibly involving the International Monetary Fund.

Moscow recently agreed to provide $15bn (11bn euros) to support the Ukrainian government. If Russia withdrew that offer, the debate in Berlin is whether the European Union could replace the Russian money and how that might affect relations with Moscow.

Earlier, a US official said US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had discussed Ukraine with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Sydney.  Mr Siluanov reportedly left open the question of whether Russia will pay the next instalment of financial help for Ukraine, worth $2bn.

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