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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,046

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Major New Study on "Sonic Attack" is Alarmingly Inaccurate

Report is badly flawed—how can they get it so wrong?
Posted Feb 16, 2018

The physicians treating the 21 or 24 patients involved in the so-called ‘sonic attack’ on staff at the US Embassy in Cuba have released their preliminary findings in one of the world’s top medical journals.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association and was published on February 15, 2018. While the authors claim that all 21 suffered concussion-like symptoms, their study is highly descriptive, remarkably vague, and makes claims that are not supported by the data. To their credit, the JAMA editors published an accompanying editorial by Neurologists Dr. Christopher Muth and Steven Lewis, and the separate commentary by medical reporter Rita Rubin. Both are very cautious and highlight serious criticisms of the study’s claims. The study is inconclusive at best; all of the symptoms have plausible alternative explanations.

Please do not write comments telling me I don’t know what I am talking about because "white matter tract" changes and "concussion-like symptoms" cannot cause "mass hysteria". Read the articles first (they are available online). For instance, claims of "white matter tract" changes and "concussion-like symptoms" are very much open to alternative interpretations. The evidence is far from clear-cut.

There are a host of problems with this study, not the least of which is their dismissal of the possibility of mass psychogenic illness. This is Psychological Medicine 101, and they got it badly wrong. The authors of the study demonstrate an alarming lack of understanding of this literature. For instance, they eliminate psychogenic illness, in part because the patients were keen to return to work, and hence were not malingering. This word comes from the French malinger, and refers to the feigning of illness or injury to avoid work or responsibility. It is not appropriate in this instance. They also eliminated this possibility because there was no rapid onset and recovery. Some types of mass psychogenic illness begin slowly and persist for months or years. Curiously enough, these tend to be characterized by neurological symptoms that often appear puzzling.


Ancient DNA sheds light on what happened to the Taino, the native Caribbeans

A new DNA study explores where the extinct Taino came from and where they went.
KIONA N. SMITH - 2/19/2018, 2:55 PM

Reconstruction of a Taino village in Cuba.

The Caribbean was one of the last parts of the Americas to be settled by humans, although scientists don’t agree on when the first settlers arrived or where they came from. Some argue that people probably arrived from the Amazon Basin, where today’s Arawakan languages developed, while others suggest that the first people to settle the islands came from even farther west, in the Colombian Andes.

“The differences in opinion illustrate the difficulty of tracing population movements based on a patchy archaeological record,” wrote archaeologist Hannes Schroeder of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and his colleagues. Schroeder’s research team has a new study on the genetics of the long-lost Taino people, which gives some clear indications of their origin and where they went after European colonization.

Complex social networks linked the islands
The Bahamas weren’t settled until 1,500 years ago. The people who settled there are known as the Lucayan Taino, and they and the other Taino communities of the Caribbean were the natives who met the first Spanish colonists in 1492. At the time, the Taino were thriving; Spanish priest Bartolomé de las Casas estimated that about 600,000 people each lived on Jamaica and Puerto Rico, with as many as a million on Hispaniola. That didn’t last long; by the mid-16th century, smallpox and slavery had driven the Taino to the brink of extinction.

But the story, it turns out, is more complicated than that. Archaeologists found three relatively complete skeletons in Preacher’s Cave, a site on the northern end of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Alongside the skeletons, they also found a single tooth, which didn’t clearly belong with any of the three skeletons. Schroeder and his colleagues got permission to sequence DNA from the tooth, which radiocarbon dating showed was more than 1,000 years old. That’s at least 500 years before European contact, meaning the tooth must have belonged to a Lucayan Taino woman who lived on the island between 776 and 992 CE.


Laser Mapping Shows Ancient City in Mexico Contained 40,000 Buildings

Researchers used LiDAR scanning to reveal the sprawling metropolis of Angamuco

Colorado State University archeologist Chris Fisher has used the laser mapping technique in Mexico and Honduras. (Colorado State University)

By Julissa Treviño
2 hours ago

Laser Mapping Shows Ancient City in Mexico Contained 40,000 Buildings
Researchers used LiDAR scanning to reveal the sprawling metropolis of Angamuco

When researchers first found Angamuco, an ancient city in western Mexico built by rivals of the Aztecs, back in 2007, they tried several methods to explore the site, including an on-the-ground approach.

While this yielded a finding of impressive architectural features, they quickly realized it would take them a decade to survey the entire area, much of it rugged terrain. So they turned to a laser mapping technique kn
own as light detection and ranging or LiDAR scanning.

As Nicola Davis reports for the Guardian, using the scanning technology, the team, led by Chris Fisher, an archaeologist at Colorado State University, has now explored the full extent of the city, and found that Angamuco once had as many buildings as modern-day Manhattan.

Fisher presented his team’s latest findings last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference in Austin, Texas. He tells Smithsonian.com that the discovery underscores how much there is to learn about the area. “In the 21st century, everybody thinks we have everything figured out, and we still have so much to discover,” he says. “It’s a pretty well-traveled part of Mexico, and during 2007, we were able to find this city the was undocumented.”

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/laser-mapping-reveals-ancient-mexican-city-once-had-many-buildings-manhattan-180968202/#zYaOzru97SYq1od0.99


Google translation:

Angamuco, pre-Hispanic city that had as many buildings as Manhattan
It is a thousand-year-old city in Mexico with as many buildings as Manhattan.
by LaVerdad

February 16, 2018 · 4:14 pm

In Mexico it is not uncommon for constant discoveries to be made, especially of pre-Hispanic cultures, since they keep great secrets that are slowly coming to light, and recently a great discovery was made that has left everyone surprised as it reveals the existence of a great city that until now was unknown: Angamuco; They say I had as many buildings as Manhattan.

The pre-Hispanic city of Angamuco, is an old lost place located in the center of the country, just an hour's drive from Morelia, Michoacán to Mexico City, which is believed to be built by the Purépecha culture.

It was thanks to the help of LiDAR technology, light detection and ranging scanning that it was concluded that this metropolis could be twice as big as Tzintzuntzan, capital of the Purépecha empire, but not so populated with an estimated 100,000 inhabitants between the years 1,000 and 1,350 of our era.

. . .

"This city was abandoned for years before the arrival of the Spaniards and was occupied again afterwards by the Purépechas"

. . .

Image of the city seen through the Lidar technique


More images of this zone:


Medellin former security secretary reaches plea deal over mafia ties

by Adriaan Alsema February 12, 2018

Medellin‘s prosecution reportedly agreed to a 33-month prison sentence for the city’s former security secretary who was accused of ties to local crime syndicate La Oficina de Envigado.

Former Secretary Gustavo Villegas will only be charged of the crime of failing to report an extortion attempt on a family business, local newspaper El Colombiano reported Monday.

. . .

Villegas, a member of one of Medellin’s most powerful political dynasties, was arrested in September last year on claims he helped bosses of La Oficina, which has controlled Medellin’s underworld since the 1980s.

The arrest sent a shock wave through Medellin’s political and economic elite that has long been accused of having ties to drug traffickers, organized crime and paramilitary groups that continue controlling the city’s neighborhoods and, according to the prosecution, the very top of the city’s government.


On Island of the Colorblind, Paradise Has a Different Hue

An island in the Pacific has a unique genetic history that affects how it understands color.

By Daniel Stone
Photographs by Sanne De Wilde

Pingelap Atoll, the Micronesian island in the South Pacific, sometimes goes by its other name, The Island of the Colorblind. That's the moniker Oliver Sacks assigned the island in his 1996 book that explored the human brain. Pingelap piqued the interest of Sacks and many other scientists for its strange genetic circumstance. According to legend, a devastating typhoon in 1775 caused a population bottleneck. One of the survivors, the ruler, carried a rare gene for a extreme type of colorblindness. Eventually, he passed the gene to the island's future generations.

Today, roughly 10 percent of the island's people are still believed to hold the gene for the condition, known as complete achromatopsia, a rate significantly higher than the 1 in 30,000 occurrence elsewhere in the world. But 10 percent is also low enough that the concept of color—and who can see it—has acquired new meaning among people in Pingelap.


Tagging river dolphins for the first time: WWF and partners boost conservation efforts in the Amazon

December 12, 2017

For the first time ever, WWF and research partners are now tracking river dolphins in the Amazon using satellite technology—a tool that will provide new insight into the animals’ movements, behavior, and threats they face.

Scientists successfully attached small transmitters to 11 dolphins—including both Amazon and Bolivian river dolphins—in Brazil, Colombia, and Bolivia. The information gathered from the tags will help us create stronger conservation plans, better advocate for the protection of river dolphins and their habitats, and prove these animals depend on connected river systems for survival.

Despite the iconic status of river dolphins, little is known about their populations and habitats. Data from the tags will help us to better study what dolphins eat and how far they migrate, among other crucial information.

“Satellite tracking will help us better understand the lives of this iconic Amazonian species more than ever before, helping to transform our approach to protecting them and the entire ecosystem,” said Marcelo Oliveira, a WWF conservation specialist who led the expedition in Brazil. “Tracking these dolphins is the start of a new era for our work because we will finally be able to map where they go when they disappear from sight.”




An increasing number of migrants have died at the border between the U.S. and Mexico during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, even as arrests have dropped.

The United Nations agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded 412 migrant deaths in 2017, a 3 percent increase from the 398 recorded the previous year, according to figures compiled by the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project released Tuesday.

The U.S. Border Patrol, however, reported a sharp decrease in detentions at the southwest border. According to IOM figures, authorities caught 341,084 migrants over the 2017 calendar year, compared with 611,689 apprehensions in 2016. These figures show an even higher drop than that declared by the U.S. Custom and Border Protection agency last month, which used the fiscal year 2017 as its time frame.

“The increase in deaths is especially concerning, as the available data indicate that far fewer migrants entered the U.S. via its border with Mexico in the last year,” said Frank Laczko, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre Director.


Americas Last Slave Ship, and Slaverys Stain

Editorial Observer


Cudjo Lewis, the last survivor of the Clotilda,
with great-granddaughters Mary and Martha,
circa 1927. Credit The McCall Library,
University of South Alabama

The crime of importing enslaved people into the United States had been a federal offense for more than 50 years and was punishable by death when, on the eve of the Civil War, the Alabama businessman Timothy Meaher bragged that he could sail “a shipful of niggers right into Mobile Bay under the officers’ noses.”

This threat reflected the Southern aristocracy’s fervent belief that it had a divine right to enslaved African labor. Meaher made good on his word in July 1860, when the schooner Clotilda — widely thought to be the last ship to bring human cargo into this country — stole into the bay after dark carrying 110 captive Africans in its filthy, disease-ridden hold.

The men, women and children were removed from the ship and concealed until many of them could be sold. But even empty, the pestilent, waste-fouled enclosure where the Africans had spent the Atlantic crossing offered clear evidence that the Clotilda had been used in a capital offense — the crime of slave trading.

Meaher planned to expunge this guilty evidence by giving the schooner a new name and refitting it. When that plan fell through, he and his confederates settled for burning the Clotilda in the waters of the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, a few miles north of Mobile.


Colombia assisting in extermination of community leaders: Inspector General

written by Adriaan Alsema February 1, 2018

Colombia’s ombudsman urged the government on Monday to prioritize the protection of community leaders, claiming they face “extermination.”

Inspector General Fernando Carrillo said the government was ordered to protect social leaders and human rights defenders by the Constitutional Court.

“We keep assisting in the extermination of the social leaders in this country without, apparently, anyone caring,” said the inspector general in a statement.

Carrillo called the ongoing wave of killings “barbaric.”


Exclusive: Laser Scans Reveal Maya "Megalopolis" Below Guatemalan Jungle

A vast, interconnected network of ancient cities was home to millions more people than previously thought.

Laser technology known as LiDAR digitally removes the forest canopy to reveal
ancient ruins below, showing that Maya cities such as Tikal were much larger
than ground-based research had suggested.

By Tom Clynes

In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Laser scans revealed more than 60,000 previously unknown Maya structures
that were part of a vast network of cities, fortifications, farms, and highways.

Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.

“The LiDAR images make it clear that this entire region was a settlement system whose scale and population density had been grossly underestimated,” said Thomas Garrison, an Ithaca College archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who specializes in using digital technology for archaeological research.

Garrison is part of a consortium of researchers who are participating in the project, which was spearheaded by the PACUNAM Foundation, a Guatemalan nonprofit that fosters scientific research, sustainable development, and cultural heritage preservation.

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