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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,066

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Both Men Were Innocent But They Were From Mississippi

Photographer Isabelle Armand spent five years documenting the lives of two black men unfairly convicted of murder. Her images weld a horrible past to a painful present.
04.06.18 10:34 PM ET

- click for image -


The bodies of Christina Jackson and Courtney Smith were discovered in the waters around Noxubee County, Mississippi, in 1990 and 1992. It appeared that both three-year-olds had not only been kidnapped and murdered but also sexually assaulted while in captivity. The crimes were so horrific that life imprisonment and even execution could sound like just punishments. Indeed, those were the sentences passed down on Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, who were independently found guilty of each girl’s death. There was only one problem: Both men were innocent.

French photographer Isabelle Armand's forthcoming book, Levon and Kennedy: Mississippi Innocence Project, is ostensibly the story of Brooks and Brewer and their experiences with the U.S. criminal justice system. Each man served over a dozen years in prison before the Innocence Project was able to exonerate them by finding the real perpetrator who had committed both crimes.

It's a dramatic story of justice and injustice, but Armand's book examines much more. Her black-and-white photographs, taken over the last five years, focus on Brooks' and Brewer's lives since their release in 2008, their families, and, especially, their homes. Both men were born, raised, and still live in Noxubee County. The region has a history of oppressing African Americans, from slavery to vigilante white supremacist violence to segregation. That grim past is captured in the plantation buildings that still stand in Noxubee and, as Armand's photos seem to argue, in the trials of Brooks and Brewer.

I recently spoke with Armand about the relationship Brooks and Brewer have to their home in rural Mississippi, how the United States’ ugly history of slavery, segregation, and bigotry continues to inform its present tragedies, and how anti-racist movements still have far to go.


Scientists harvest 1st vegetables in Antarctic greenhouse

Source: Associated Press

Updated 3:37 pm, Thursday, April 5, 2018

BERLIN (AP) — Scientists in Antarctica have harvested their first crop of vegetables grown without earth, daylight or pesticides as part of a project designed to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets.

Researchers at Germany's Neumayer Station III say they've picked 3.6 kilograms (8 pounds) of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes grown inside a high-tech greenhouse as temperatures outside dropped below -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit).

The German Aerospace Center DLR, which coordinates the project, said Thursday that by May scientists hope to harvest 4-5 kilograms of fruit and vegetables a week.

While NASA has successfully grown greens on the International Space Station, DLR's Daniel Schubert says the Antarctic project aims to produce a wider range of vegetables that might one day be grown on Mars or the Moon.

Read more: https://www.chron.com/business/technology/article/Scientists-harvest-1st-vegetables-in-Antarctic-12807451.php

Exclusive: Massive Ancient Drawings Found in Peruvian Desert

Armed with satellites and drones, archaeologists discover new Nasca lines and dozens of other enigmatic geoglyphs carved into the earth.

By Michael Greshko

Etched into the high desert of southern Peru more than a millennium ago, the enigmatic Nasca lines continue to capture our imagination. More than a thousand of these geoglyphs (literally, 'ground drawings') sprawl across the sandy soil of Nasca province, the remains of little-understood ritual practices that may have been connected to life-giving rain.

Now, Peruvian archaeologists armed with drones have discovered more than 50 new examples of these mysterious desert monuments in adjacent Palpa province, traced onto the earth's surface in lines almost too fine to see with the human eye. In addition, archaeologists surveyed locally known geoglyphs with drones for the first time—mapping them in never-before-seen detail.

Some of the newfound lines belong to the Nasca culture, which held sway in the area from 200 to 700 A.D. However, archaeologists suspect that the earlier Paracas and Topará cultures carved many of the newfound images between 500 B.C. and 200 A.D.

Unlike the iconic Nasca lines—most of which are only visible from overhead—the older Paracas glyphs were laid down on hillsides, making them visible to villages below. The two cultures also pursued different artistic subjects: Nasca lines most often consist of lines or polygons, but many of the newfound Paracas figures depict humans.


U.S. Court Finds Former Bolivian President Responsible for Civilian Deaths

U.S. Court Finds Former Bolivian President Responsible for Civilian Deaths

Bolivia's former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada leaves a federal courtroom in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on
March 20, 2018. Noah Friedman Rudovsky—Reuters

By CURT ANDERSON / AP April 4, 2018

(MIAMI) — A U.S. jury on Tuesday found a former president of Bolivia and his defense minister responsible for killings by security forces during 2003 unrest in the South American nation, awarding $10 million in damages in a lawsuit filed by Bolivians whose relatives were among the slain.

The jury verdict came Tuesday after a nearly three-week trial of the civil suit in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The jury found against former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, and his former defense minister, Jose Carlos Sanchez Berzain. Both have been living in the U.S. after fleeing Bolivia in 2003.

Lawyers for the two former officials vowed to seek to have the verdict overturned.

In the lawsuit originally filed in 2007, relatives of eight Bolivians who died claimed the two officials planned to kill thousands of civilians to crush political opposition during a time of civil unrest known as the “Gas War.” The lawsuit was filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act, which authorizes suits in the U.S. for extrajudicial killings.


Has been living well in the US all this time until Bolivians found a way to sue his US-raised and educated @$$.

How a Legendary Storm Chaser Changed the Face of Tornado Science

In 2013, Tim Samaras died in one of the epic storms he’d spent decades chasing. A new book chronicles his harrowing last days

The tornado that touched down near El Reno, Oklahoma plowed through the region. The violent winds and subsequent floods injured 155 and killed 20 people, including the first known storm chasers to die in the twister’s swirling path. (Media Drum World / Alamy)

By Maya Wei-Haas
April 4, 2018 3:36PM

May 31, 2013 seemed like just another rainy spring day in El Reno, Oklahoma. The afternoon was hot, the air heavy with moisture. On the darkening horizon, thick clouds billowed in a promise of rain.

But around 4 p.m. local time, the winds shifted slightly and the afternoon shower turned deadly. Two hours later, the tornado that touched down defied weather experts’ predictions, rapidly changing speed and direction and swelling to record-breaking sizes. At its peak, researchers estimate that the twister spanned 2.6 miles across.

Over the course of its 40-minute rampage, the twister caused millions of dollars of damage, 115 injuries and 20 deaths. Each of those deaths was significant, but three were particularly unusual: the first storm chasers ever known to be killed in a tornado. The violent winds enveloped Tim Samaras, 55, his son Paul Samaras, 24, and his colleague Carl Young, 45, toppling their car like a toy in a breeze.

Their deaths may not seem surprising; storm chasing, as you might expect, has its risks. But Samaras was a seasoned chaser who pursued tornadoes for over two decades. As journalist Brantley Hargrove writes in his new book The Man Who Caught the Storm, Samaras worked to change the face of tornado science, helping researchers better understand how changes in pressure, humidity, winds and air temperature conspire to produce a phenomenon so powerful it can snap trees, flip cars or even derail a multi-ton train.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-storm-chaser-changed-face-tornado-science-180968688/#i3583DfU43gIk2AC.99

Understanding the causes of Colombias conflict: land ownership

by Jarrod Demir April 3, 2018

At the very heart of violence and armed conflict in Colombia is land. This has been the case since before Colombia was a republic and continues to divide the country.

Colombia’s land ownership is extremely disproportionate and one of the most highly concentrated in the world. The causes of this can be traced back to the Spanish conquest of South America.

Spain’s siege on the south

If you compare the colonization of Colombia to the United States, you can see how Spain’s takeover of the south was vastly different to that of Britain’s conquest of the north.

The British began a devolution program that would see new settlers be granted land and a vote after an initial period of free labor. This combination of land ownership and political representation would be the bedrock for American prosperity and democracy.


Wild Elephants salutes the men who rescued their baby elephant from a ditch

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