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Michelle Keegan has spoken about her experience of having a smear test, assuring women that they shouldn’t fear having the cervical cancer screening done.

Many young women avoid having cervical examinations due to body insecurities, according to recent research conducted by the charity Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

With approximately 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the UK every year, raising awareness about the importance and ease of having a smear test is essential.

Over the weekend, Our Girl actor Keegan decided to address her three million Instagram followers by detailing what it was like to have her cervical cancer screening done and revealing the embarrassment that she used to feel about the procedure.

“So smear’s been done. I was in the room for five minutes, on the bed for two, it was really quick, really easy,” she says in the video.

“It wasn’t painful at all, just a little bit uncomfortable.”

In the caption for the Instagram post, Keegan explains that she had previously ignored the letters that she’d received in the post reminding her to have her smear test.

“I know it can be daunting going for a smear, but these doctors and nurses do it every single day,” she says in the video.

“So ladies, I’m urging you to book in your smear, go and get it done and tell all your family and friends as well to do the same because it is so important and it’s so easy.”

Keegan also outlines in the caption how cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women under the age of 35, with some people experiencing no symptoms whatsoever.

Many people have been thanking the actor for her candid post and for spreading the word about cervical cancer and smear tests.

“Amazing that you are using your profile to raise awareness of such an important issue for women,” one person wrote on Instagram.

“Well done Michelle hopefully more girls get booked in after seeing your post,” another person commented.

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 14:05

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Prince Charles insists he will not ‘meddle’ in politics when he becomes king

Prince Charles has suggested he will not “meddle” in issues once he becomes king as he recognises the differences between being heir to the throne and head of state.

The Prince of Wales has been criticised in the past for airing his views on topics such as the environment and architecture. 

His outspoken opinions on such subjects has raised questions over whether he would be able to uphold the strict policy of political neutrality expected of British monarchs.

But, interviewed for a BBC documentary about his 70th birthday, the prince acknowledged he would not be “able to do the same things I've done as heir”.

Speaking in detail about his future role as head of state, Charles said: “You know, I've tried to make sure whatever I've done has been non-party political, and I think it's vital to remember there's only room for one sovereign at a time, not two.

“So, you can't be the same as the sovereign if you're the Prince of Wales or the heir.

“But the idea somehow that I'm going to go on in exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense because the two - the two situations - are completely different.“

Asked whether his public campaigning will go on, he added: “No, it won't. I'm not that stupid. I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign. So of course I understand entirely how that should operate.”

When questioned about what some have termed his “meddling”, Charles defended his actions, which include establishing the Prince's Trust in 1976 to help disadvantaged young people.

“But I always wonder what meddling is,” he said. “I mean I always thought it was motivating but I've always been intrigued, if it's meddling to worry about the inner cities as I did 40 years ago and what was happening or not happening there.

“The conditions in which people were living. If that's meddling I'm very proud of it.” 

The documentary captures the future king in private and public, from feeding vegetable scraps to his chickens and collecting their eggs at his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire, to visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef to highlight climate change.

In the film, Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, due to air on BBC One on Thursday evening, the royal says of his role as Prince of Wales that: ”You have to make of it what you feel is right.

“So, there's nothing laid down, that's what makes it so interesting, challenging and of course complicated,” he added.

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His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall described in the documentary how Charles was driven by the need to help others, saying: “He feels everything inside, that's why he gets things done.

“He's pretty impatient, he wants things done by yesterday as I think everybody who works for him will tell you. 

“But that's how he gets things done, he's driven by this, this passion inside him to really help. He would like to save the world.”

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 13:20

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Churchill's grandson hits out at 'pathetic' Trump for missing WWI event due to rain

THE GRANDSON of WWII leader Winston Churchill has blasted Donald Trump as a “pathetic inadequate” for missing a remembrance service due to poor weather.

The White House said yesterday the US president was pulling out of a visit to a war cemetery in France due to "scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather".

Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames, the grandson of the UK's wartime prime minister, hit back on Twitter, fuming: "They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate Donald Trump couldn't even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen."There is reportedly steady rain in France with low cloud which is thought to have prevented the presidential helicopter from taking off and flying to the site on Saturday afternoon, which is 55 miles east of Paris.

Former British Army soldier and Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, who was hailed a “hero” after battling to save victims of the Westminster terror attack, also criticised the president.

“As a duel national I’m sorry to read this,” he wrote on Twitter in response to the news Trump would not make it to the cemetery.

“Rain was a regular feature on the Western Front. Thankfully it did not prevent our brave heroes from doing their job,” he added.

Former speechwriter to US president George W. Bush David Frum added his voice to the criticism online.

PARIS: Trump is in France for various events linked to the WWI centenary (Pic: GETTY)

He wrote: “It's incredible that a president would travel to France for this significant anniversary – and then remain in his hotel room watching TV rather than pay in person his respects to the Americans who gave their lives in France for the victory gained 100 years ago tomorrow."

Ex-Obama aide Ben Rhodes also chimed in: “I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years. There is always a rain option. Always.”

Leaders from many nations – including France, Germany, and Canada – managed to travel to a number commemorations around France to mark 100 years since the end of the war that killed almost 10 million soldiers.

Mr Trump, however, is scheduled to visit a different US cemetery near Paris on Sunday and the trip has not been cancelled.

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 13:18

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Bloke on run for FIVE MONTHS taunts police with Facebook updates as he plans for CHRISTMAS

A FUGITIVE wanted for alleged drug and criminal damage offences has been taunting police with Facebook updates while on the run.

Daley Smith, 29, is regularly using the social media website to insult cops after he went on the run in July for breaching a court order.

Cheshire Police has been trying to capture him for a number of months but Smith has been goading them using a number of Facebook profiles.

Yesterday he posted his latest message to his 2,287 followers under the name Daley Palin. It read: "Daley Smiths official day 156 on the run since he ripped his curfew off and said f*** you to the corrupt ****** up Cheshire Police force & justice system...fuck the courts they ain't getting me in the dock, check the clock, tick tock, tick tock."Well not for 44 days anyway. Slight change of plan, (MY) official day 200 falls on Christmas Day, I'll do my best to get there and then I'm gna set the internet on fire with a big party and then another party for new year. Ya's ain't ready!!! 44 days come on Daley lad. I've got this!!!"

In another message yesterday, he wrote: "Put it in all of ya papers, I'm not afraid, you can read all about it, read all about it, read all about it. £44days2go"

On November 7, Smith asked his 2,500 Facebook friends to 'love' his post if they want him to remain at large or 'like' it if they think he should hand himself in.

Smith wrote: "Anyone that thinks I should hand myself and go to court 5 weeks before Christmas, the day of my trial on the 19th November, just like the post. This will be interesting and will put things into perspective. I don't need your advice, I know everything any of yas could possibly tell me. Just give me your reaction."

A total of 342 loved his post and only 50 liked it.

In another Facebook message last month he wrote: "Cheshire police have got more chance of finding Madeleine Mcann (sic), I may as well be in Japan, they've even been harassing my nan but everything hasn't gone to plan.

"They've f****d with the wrong man, I feel like Peter Pan. So far I don't know how far I've ran but it's been mad since this journey began."

PROVOCATIVE: Smith posts to Facebook (Pic: facebook)

(Pic: facebook)

A warrant for his arrest was issued by South Cheshire Magistrates Court said on July 24 for breaching a court order in relation to an appearance in court in May over criminal damage.

Smith was handed a three-month curfew requiring him to be at home between 7pm until 7am from May to August. Smith has also been charged with possession with intent to supply class B cannabis and concerned with the supply of cocaine, according to police.

Last month a Cheshire Police spokesman confirmed he was still at large and added, said: "We're appealing for help to trace Daley Smith who is wanted in relation to a breach of court order.

"We are aware of the Facebook page and are continuing to appeal for information in relation to his whereabouts."

Anyone with information is asked to call Cheshire Police on 101.

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 12:58

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Melbourne attack: Homeless man who rammed terrorist with shopping trolley hailed as hero

A homeless man who used a shopping trolley to fend off a knife-wielding terror attacker in Australia has been hailed a hero.

Michael Rogers, nicknamed “Trolley Man”, jumped into action as Hassan Khalif Shire Ali lunged at police in a busy shopping area in Melbourne. Footage posted to Twitter shows his valiant attempt to assist police in their capture as the attack unfolded during rush hour.

Donations totalling thousands of pounds have poured in for the 46-year-old rough sleeper after grateful members of the pubic started an online fundraiser for him.

"Our hero is humble as can be and had no idea about this fundraiser," the GoFundMe page reads. "He is amazing. We believe his efforts deserve a reward that can really help him out."

It adds: "He risked his own life that day for nothing in return and you can’t put a price on that."

The fundraiser, started by registered charity Melbourne Homeless Collective, has already raised more than A$125,000 (£69,000) for the brave bystander.

However, Mr Rogers insisted he was no hero but simply acted on instinct.

“I threw the trolley straight at him, and I got him. I didn't quite get him down, though. I'm no hero," he told Channel Seven

“I did that motion quite a number of times and it just was not getting him down. The guy was out of control so I just went into action mode and tried to swipe him with the trolley."

Mr Rogers also told Age newspaper he had been on the wrong side of the law and had a long history of drug use.

He revealed that he had been "in and out of jail" for some 20 years, which including a five-year stint in prison for aggravated burglary.

Khalif Shire Ali, 31, was shot after confronting officers on the street, authorities said. He had already stabbed three people, one fatally, in the attack.

The owner of Pellegrini’s cafe on Bourke Street, Sisto Malaspina,74, was identified as the person who died from his stab wounds.

Police believe Somali-born Khalif Shire Ali was radicalised and inspired by Isis. Although his passport was cancelled in 2015 after he made plans to travel to Syria, he was not being actively monitored before the attack.

While Mr Rogers won praise from the community, Victorian Police commissioner Graham Ashton said his intervention could have had “tragic” consequences.

“I don't like to criticize people in that situation, he's acting instinctively about what he's looking at in front of him," he said.

"But if a trolley had hit a police member and knocked him over and then this offender got on top of him, we could have had a tragic consequence.”


ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 12:52

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Doctor Who, episode 6 review – Demons of the Punjab: Electrifying and enlightening

The overlap between Doctor Who and the BBC’s public service remit has historically constituted the galaxy’s smallest Venn diagram. But under new showrunner Chris Chibnall and with agreeably zesty Jodie Whittaker in as the Doctor, the Time Lord’s latest adventures have set phasers to “educate and inform”.

This has occasionally tipped into a slightly stifling self-consciousness – such as on the admirable-but-not-quite-thrilling Rosa Parks episode, ”Rosa”. But, on his Doctor debut, playwright Vinay Patel comes much closer to a balance between electrifying and enlightening with “Demons of the Punjab”. 

Despite sounding more like a Black Sabbath b-side than post-teatime science fiction, the instalment is simultaneously an engaging time travel caper, a showcase for the BBC creature effects department and a moving meditation on the devastating impact of the 1947 partition of India. That it achieves all this without ever losing its family-friendly gloss is a credit to Patel – but even more so to the interstellar frothiness Whittaker continues to bring.

The Doctor and crew have pinged back in time to India just as the boundary between it and the new state of Pakistan is about to be savagely drawn. They are here to pay a call to Yaz’s grandmother and unravel the secret of the mysterious watch Nana Umbreen bestowed on her favourite granddaughter as an heirloom.

A multitude of shocks await. Firstly, the young Umbreen (Amita Suman) isn’t engaged to Yaz’s grandfather – a fellow Muslim – but to a Hindu neighbour, Prem (Shane Zaza, sounding, as with all of the week’s new characters, as if he’s just walked off the set of Hollyoaks). They are adorably in love, but if they tie the knot there are grounds for worrying that, as per Marty McFly in Back to the Future, Yaz (Mandip Gill) could theoretically cease to exist. 

Just as discombobulating, a duo of spiky-faced demons are hanging about in the woods and appear to have bumped off the local holy man – mere hours before he is to officiate at the nuptials between Umbreem and Prem. It is also revealed that, beneath his charming exterior, Prem is a war veteran, whose frequent flashbacks feature the aforementioned demons causing mischief on the Western Front. 

With so many plot threads, “Demons of the Punjab” could easily have tripped up. Instead, it movingly conveys the tragedy of Indian partition without taking sides or venturing beyond the realm of age-appropriate escapism. 

There is one clear villain amid the morass – Prem’s hardline brother Manish (Hamza Jeetooa). He is unable to countenance his family joining Muslims through matrimony and wants Umbreen vanquished to Pakistan. It was he who shot the holy man and openly welcomes the marauding outsiders who descend upon the village where Hindu and Muslim have lived side by side of generations. As the countryside erupts into conflict, Prem sacrifices himself so that Umbreen can flee to the safety of Lahore – though she will always have the memory of their time together and the watch he gave to her as a keepsake and which she will in turn pass to Yaz. 

But hang on – what about the evil aliens with the icky mandibles and Cthulhu-esque rows of eyes along their faces? It turns out that they aren’t quite so wicked after all. The real bugbear, it is revealed, is violent nationalism, with these interstellar assassins merely serving as witnesses to those whose deaths would otherwise pass unacknowledged (they embarked on their new career when their home planet was destroyed). 

Having pinged around the hotspots of the Second World War, they’ve now arrived on the new India-Pakistan border to honour Prem (one slight puzzle is why they didn’t just explain as much upfront to the Doctor rather than lurking scarily beyond the treeline). 

In the abstract it all sounds like important but slightly worthy television. But Whittaker is such a force of nature and the chemistry between the Doctor and her team of Yaz, Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) so cheerfully unforced that “Demons of the Punjab” has its cake and sends it rocketing across time and space. 

Patel has scripted both a compelling commemoration of a terrible event and also a whizz-bang piece of intergalactic derring-do. As a bonus, he has given us the most visually striking Doctor Who aliens of the new season to date. Who needs Daleks when you’ve got squidgy-faced monstrosities with a conscience?


ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 12:46

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London-bound flight grounded after pilot in charge of airline safety fails breathalyser test

A senior Air India pilot was grounded after he failed breathalyser tests shortly before a flight from New Delhi to London on Sunday.

Arvind Kathpalia, who is responsible for safety at the airline as operations director, denied drinking on the job and said he would contest the results of the alcohol checks.

“It was 1.30pm in the afternoon, only a bloody stark raving alcoholic is bloody drunk at 1.30pm in the afternoon,” Mr Kathpalia told Reuters. “I am going to contest this.” 

It is the second time Mr Kathpalia has been in trouble over breathalyser tests. He was suspended for three months in 2017 for allegedly refusing to be assessed.

A second Air India employee was also grounded on Sunday.

Flight AI 332 from New Delhi to Bangkok was ordered to return 30 minutes after taking off as the co-pilot was found to have missed his mandatory, pre-flight breathalyser test.

Passengers were then stuck on the tarmac for several hours before the airline replaced the flight crew, according to India Today.

The AI 111 flight to London was delayed by almost one hour after Mr Kathpalia failed two breathalyser tests and was declared unfit to pilot the plane.

The operations director – who is responsible for both the airline’s flight safety and training programme – blamed internal politics at the state-owned company for the results of his tests.

Mr Kathpalia said that at Air India “everyone is fighting with everyone”.

Despite being suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the senior pilot said the 2017 allegation “was a complete set-up”.

He claimed it was the result of a scheduling issue rather than his refusal to take tests.

Mr Kathpalia insisted he is under attack partly because he is an employee of the original Air India, prior to its 2007 merger with Indian Airlines. “There is a lot of animosity after the merger,” he said.

Air India declined to comment on the failed breathalyser tests.



ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 12:28

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X Factor suffers worst ratings in its history as sound problems overshadow performances

X Factor suffered the worst ratings in its 14-year history, as the talent show continues to be outstripped by Strictly Come Dancing in the battle for Saturday night viewing figures.

ITV said the music contest averaged 3.7 million viewers during its latest episode and peaked at 4.5 million, thought to be a record low since the series first aired in 2004.


The figures also include those who watched on ITV’s +1 catch-up channel, but do not count requests to stream through online on-demand services.

Concerns for producers over poor viewership numbers were confounded by technical issues, which led to Saturday night’s public elimination vote being cancelled.

Sound interference causing singers’ voices to be distorted began during the performance of Danny Tetley and also affected contestant Anthony Russell.

The show, which had been pre-recorded to allow judge Robbie Williams time to travel for a long-arranged gig in Chile, broadcast an on-screen apology message to viewers during the songs.

Producers later said voting would instead open during the Sunday night episode at 8.30pm.

Meanwhile, X Factor’s main rival, Strictly Come Dancing, continued to dominate the ratings, averaging 9.5 million viewers during its broadcast.

The BBC said its overnight figures showed the dancing series was the most-watched programme across all channels on Saturday, reaching a peak of 10.3 million viewers.

The show’s leader board is currently topped by former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts and partner Pasha Kovalev, who received a near-perfect score of 39 from judges for their foxtrot. 

Actor Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden however failed to impress with their quickstep, posting the worst score of the week with a 22.

BBC newsreader Kate Silverton tackled the series' first Argentine tango, despite an injury during which she said she had “stripped” the muscle on her rib earlier in the week.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood, who gave the performance a four, called it “stuck in the mud”.

Head judge Shirley Ballas said the performance looked a little “laboured”, and did not have enough chemistry.

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 12:18

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BREAKING: Brit dies after contracting RABIES from a cat bite while on holiday in Morocco

A BRITON has died after contracting rabies from a cat bite while on holiday in Morocco.

Public Health England has warned Brits to avoid coming into contact with animals when travelling to rabies-affected countries. Rabies is passed on through injuries such as bites and scratches from an infected animal. Rabies is common in other parts of the world, especially in Asia and Africa.

PHE warned all Brit holidaying in rabies-affected countries should avoid contact with dogs, cats and other animals wherever possible, and seek advice about the need for rabies vaccine prior to travel.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at PHE said: "This is an important reminder of the precautions people should take when travelling to countries where rabies is present.

"If you are bitten, scratched or licked by an animal you must wash the wound or site of exposure with plenty of soap and water and seek medical advice without delay.

"There is no risk to the wider public in relation to this case but, as a precautionary measure, health workers and close contacts are being assessed and offered vaccination when necessary."


Anyone who has been bitten, scratched, or licked by an animal in a country with rabies should take immediate action by washing the wound or site of exposure with plenty of soap and water.

Local medical advice should be sought immediately, even in those who have been previously vaccinated.

When given promptly after an exposure, a course of rabies vaccine is extremely effective at preventing the disease.

If such an exposure occurs abroad, the traveller should also consult their doctor on return, so that the course of rabies treatment can be completed.

If travellers have not sought medical advice abroad, they should contact their doctor promptly upon return for assessment.


Symptoms of rabies

Without treatment, the symptoms of rabies will usually develop after 3 to 12 weeks, although they can start sooner or much later than this.

The first symptoms can include:

  • A high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • A headache
  • Feeling anxious or generally unwell
  • In some cases, discomfort at the site of the bite

Other symptoms appear a few days later, such as:

  • Confusion or aggressive behaviour
  • Seeing or hearing things (hallucinations)
  • Producing lots of saliva or frothing at the mouth
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty swallowing and breathing
  • Inability to move (paralysis)

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 11:42

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How David Attenborough changed television by showing us the true face of nature

“National treasure” doesn’t even begin to do justice to David Attenborough. The natural history presenter is at once the country’s favourite beloved uncle, a lion of broadcasting and a voice in the wilderness warning that our addiction to plastics and other pollutants jeopardises the myriad of lifeforms with which we share the planet. 

At age 92, Attenborough continues to push boundaries. He returns to the airwaves on Sunday with a landmark new BBC series, Dynasties. Echoing past triumphs beginning with Life on Earth (1979) and leading up to last year’s Blue Planet II, the show is being hailed as a leap forward in natural history television, combining state of the art filmmaking with life-and-death drama straight out of Shakespeare. 

It undoubtedly promises to be a gripping watch. Having told the story of evolution and of nature’s ability to adapt to the most challenging environments, Attenborough now gives us a ground level view of life in the wild even as human population growth – and the attendant environmental destruction – hurtles towards a cataclysmic tipping point.  

And that’s just the start. In 2019, he reunites with the creators of Planet Earth and Blue Planet for the Netflix eight-parter Our Planet – a collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund that will see Attenborough once more taking advantage of his unique profile to caution that humanity’s devastating impact is reaching a point of no return.  

But first there is the small matter of Dynasties, a globe-trotting project four years in the making. Each episode tracks the day-to-day experiences of a different animal – beginning with chimpanzees and taking in emperor penguins, hunting dogs, tigers and, fascinatingly, a female lion who must assume control of her pride when it is abandoned by its adult males 

Dynasties is far from a one-person show (for Sunday’s first instalment, the camera crew trailed the chimp protagonist for up to 15 miles each day, often in 40 degree heat). Yet it simply wouldn’t work without Attenborough and his remarkable voiceovers – which convey the tooth-and-claw tumult of life in the wild, without anthropomorphising the animals or condescending to the viewer.

It is precisely this blend of drama and authority that has made Attenborough a singular presence in British broadcasting all the way back to the Fifties. From the beginning of his life before the camera, he has demonstrated a striking, almost uncanny, talent for communicating the awe-inducing majesty of nature, along with its visceral lack of sentimentality. 

The real secret ingredient, however, was the humanity – with trace elements of bone-dry humour – he brought. This shines through the grainy black and white footage of Zoo Quest, one of the first shows he worked on after joining the BBC in 1952.

The powers that be hadn’t been particularly keen on Attenborough, who’d given up a steady job editing children’s textbooks to take a punt at broadcasting. One manager went so far as to note the young man’s “large teeth” made him ill-suited to a career on TV. 

Indeed, the plan was for Attenborough to produce Zoo Quest with presenter duties carried out by London Zoo curator of reptiles, Jack Lester. It was only when Lester fell ill with malaria after the first episode that Attenborough was promoted – and only because part two had already been advertised in the Radio Times, meaning it was too late to bin the project. 

Yet with Zoo Quest, which ran from 1954 to 1963, he showed he could both educate the public about nature and also convey what a jolly time he was having. The premise was simple: he would join keepers from the London Zoo as they travelled to exotic locations and captured animals for their collection (this was the era when animal rights was a contradiction in terms). 

“Most zoos assumed that there was an unlimited supply of exhibits in the wild. No one seemed to suspect that a time might come when that supply might be in danger of exhaustion,” Attenborough wrote of Zoo Quest in his 2002 autobiography Life on Air. “So it was not uncommon for big zoos to send out expeditions to look for rare creatures that had seldom if ever been seen before in captivity.”

The BBC had been cautiously supportive rather than gung-ho, as was made clear when Attenborough was taken aside by the television unit’s head of departmental finances and told that, as a member of staff, he would receive no additional fee for stepping in as presenter. The first inkling Attenborough would have that the series was making waves came outside the corporation – when he was driving down Regent Street in London and a bus driver pulled alongside and loudly inquired as to what animals would feature the following week.

However, it was a charming encounter with an orangutang named Charlie which confirmed his natural affinity with all creatures furry and adorable. Having been rudely plucked from its home in the Borneo jungle and thrown in the cage, Charlie found a friend in Attenborough, whom he befriended to the point of allowing the eager young presenter to apply ointment to a minor injury .

Planet Earth II: The local project saving baby turtles

A glorious future would await both. Charlie would become the father of the first Orangutang born in London Zoo, while Attenborough was to utterly transform natural history programming. 

It was with 1979’s Life on Earth that he first demonstrated his ability to weave stunning footage and a deep knowledge of wildlife into a compelling overall narrative. The 20-plus year gap between Zoo Quest and Life on Earth is explained in part by an ongoing suspicion among senior figures at the BBC that nature was not a suitable subject for “serious” television, but even more so by a detour into management, which saw Attenborough become the first controller of BBC2.

In this capacity, Attenborough was, in 1969, instrumental in bringing to the screen one of the BBC’s most important ever documentaries, Kenneth Clarke’s Civilisation

“One of the things we developed was to take a really important subject and give it proper treatment,” he would recall. “It would be 13 parts because that was a quarter of the year. People were a bit suspicious about it. To everyone’s surprise….[the public] was delighted to make an appointment for 13 weeks.”

Encouraged by its success, he went on to commission Alistair Cook’s America: A Personal History of the United States (1972), and Jacob Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man (1973). The show he really dreamed of bringing to the screen, however, was a chronicling of the evolution of life on the planet, from single-cell organisms to human beings.

The problem was that, if such a series was to be made, he couldn’t reasonably commission it – and then expect to be the presenter too. So he took the dramatic step of stepping down from BBC2 so that he could do Life On Earth before anyone else had the notion. Natural history programming – and British broadcasting more broadly – would be very different had he stayed. 

“My worry was someone else would do it,” he recalled. “They would bring this idea to me what about telling the story of life on Earth in 13 parts. I managed to resign in order to do that series.”

Life on Earth was history-making in its scope and ambition – and brimming with moments that lingered with the viewer, especially if the viewer had been allowed stay up past bedtime on a Sunday to watch this show thrillingly swarming with bugs, lizards and African hunting dogs. There was that shot of Attenborough between the jaws of a huge extinct shark; those still gobsmacking images of frogs and flying squirrels soaring in achingly beautiful slow motion. 

But most enduring of all was the visit Attenborough paid to a family of silverback gorillas in Rwanda. “There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than any other animal I know,” he said, as he snuggled between two huge apes who appeared quietly thrilled to be appearing in a BBC documentary. “We’re so similar. Their sight, their hearing, their sense of smell is so similar to ours. We see the world the same way as they do.”

Attenborough’s gorillas in his midst moment was to become one of the iconic images in British broadcasting – up there with Del Boy looking shifty behind a stall and Gazza bursting into tears. 

Life on Earth would take three years and two round the world trips to complete. It was an enormous hit and a showcase on the world stage for both the BBC’s fledgling Natural History Unit in Bristol and Attenborough personally. Still, there were hiccups. When the series was sold to PBS in America, it was suggested that Attenborough’s voiceover be removed, for fear he would not be comprehensible to Middle Americans, and that Robert Redford narrate instead. 

But PBS ultimately backed down and, both home and abroad, Life on Earth was soon on its way to blockbuster status. “Life on Earth was gratifyingly well received,” Attenborough would write. “Its ability to take the viewer in a fraction of a second from one continent to another, the systemic way and serious way in which we had surveyed the natural world, not taking short cuts and featuring groups of animals that that had been largely neglected – sea slugs, legless amphibians, naked mole rats and other creatures – made a great impression.”

Last year, Attenborough collaborated with the Queen on an ITV documentary

Anyone else might have looked on such an achievement as their legacy. Attenborough, however, was merely getting started. He followed with the 1984 sequel, The Living Planet, which examined a different environment every week. This culminated in the nightmare-fuelling episode in which Attenborough scrutinised creatures that had adapted to living amongst humanity, and which presented a shiver-inducing tableaux of bed bugs, creepy crawlies in the carpets, spiders in bedroom corners and so forth. 

Thus began an unparalleled streak of award-winning programming, including 1990’s The Trials of Life, with its famous/notorious footage of a killer whale springing on a sea lion colony in Patagonia and “playing” with its prey before devouring it. He also had the privilege of crawling inside a termite mound – a space so cramped he couldn’t turn around and so had to back in and out painstakingly between shots.

This was followed by Life in the Freezer (1993), a study of animals in arctic environments that featured a distressing sequence in which a leopard seal killed and dismembered a young penguin (Attenborough has always insisted that it would be wrong to step in and interfere, no matter how harrowing the events caught on camera). Then came The Private Life of Plants (1995) and the The Life of Birds (1998), the latter of which provided a flash of Attenborough’s underrated wit as he struggled to keep a straight face as an agitated bird-of-paradise constantly interrupted with its excited hoots.  

Technological advancements meant that the sophistication of the images Attenborough and the BBC could present increased over time. With 2001’s The Blue Planet, he stunned audiences with revolutionary aerial footage of migrating whales and dolphins.

And 2006’s Planet Earth set jaws agape with its images of giraffes sweeping across the Savannah. He also sat down with then US President Barack Obama in 2015 (with lifelong fan Obama interviewing Attenborough rather than the other way around), “narrated” an Adele video for BBC Radio 1’s Greg James and, last April, nattered with the Queen for an ITV documentary.

The ‘Dynasties’ trailer

But it was with the 2017 Blue Planet follow-up – the imaginatively titled Blue Planet II – that Attenborough confronted the lasting damage humanity was inflicting upon the environment. His warning about the threat posed by plastics had a genuine impact – with the subject raised in the House of Commons and the European Parliament voting to ban single use plastics such as straws. 

“It is now increasingly apparent,” cautioned Attenborough with uncommon severity, “that one species, our own, has developed the unique ability of so altering its surroundings it can destroy whole species, whole environments.”

The theme will be returned to in Dynasties, though Attenborough would seem to view it as his task to persuade rather than lecture the viewer. The series will reference the tension between humanity’s desire to raise itself up and the impact this is having on the natural world – though there is to be no preaching to the punter.

“It’s a very difficult thing to deal with – men, women and children need space too,” Attenborough commented recently.  “Look at tigers in India. Tigers eat human children, they hunt them, they do. So people living alongside tigers have got a very, very tough problem. They have to be very strongly convinced that tigers have a right to live. Our job is to raise people’s passion and belief and desire to recognise that animals have a right to some sort of space.”

It’s a testament to Attenborough’s authority that he can convey a stark message about the environment without coming across as superior or all-knowing. Perhaps that is because his journey from observer of nature to advocate on its behalf has been ongoing and intensely personal. 

“I was interested in the natural world, but it was nothing to do with saving the planet. There were people who thought the country had been desecrated in terms of putting up pylons and things like that. But the idea that you could actually destroy the Earth didn’t really occur….It was assumed the world was big enough. Maybe it was. But when I was a kid there were only a third of the people on the planet that there are today. It doesn’t seem big enough any more.”

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 11:30

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Rival fans TROLL tennis babe Wozniacki as she reveals support for Liverpool

CAROLINE Wozniacki revealed the football team she supports – and fans of rivals were not happy.

The 28-year-old visited Anfield to see her beloved Liverpool FC beat Fulham 2-0 on Saturday and filled her Instagram with pics. World number three Wozniacki wrote on Instagram to her 1.3 million followers: “Had the best time at Anfield today! Three points and top of the league for now.”

The snaps included her showing a thumbs up in the stadium and another selfie with her fiancee David Lee with her in a Reds-themed hat and scarf.

It was liked nearly 55,000 times but not everyone was loving the post.

One rival fan wrote: “I thought you were better than following the Red sh****.”

While another said: “Yuck why Liverpool?”

One Instagram follower simply said: “Boo.”

One gushed that she “had brains, beauty, athleticism and best taste in football”.

Wozniacki has shown her love for Liverpool before.

In 2011 she famously sported a signed Steven Gerrard shirt during her quarter-final victory in the Qatar Open.

While she attended a match at Anfield against West Bromwich Albion back in 2011 too.

LOVERS: Wozniacki was at the game with fiance and former basketball star David Lee (Pic: INSTAGRAM/@CAROWOZNIACKI)

HOTSHOT: Wozniacki is a top tennis player and has won a Grand Slam (Pic: GETTY)

The blonde was the first Dane to win a Grand Slam title after defeating Simona Halep in January this year in the Australian Open.

Fiance David Lee, a US former NBA star who stands at a huge 6ft 7ins, lived through every moment of the match with her from the stands.

And the 34-year-old featured heavily in the celebrations – he was spotted giving Wozniacki a snog in the locker room afterwards.

WINNER: Wozniacki and Lee pose with the Australian Open trophy earlier this year (Pic: GETTY)

FAN: Wozniacki visited Anfield to watch Liverpool play West Brom in 2011 

He said: “It was a very high-quality tennis match and to have her come out on top, those last couple of points just show her fighting spirit.

"I was more nervous than when I won a championship. Because there's nothing I can do.

“Just sitting there and knowing how hard she's worked and how much she wants it."

She announced on her social media account that they were dating on Valentine's Day in 2017.

FANATIC: Wozniacki even wore a Liverpool shirt during the Qatar Open in 2011 (Pic: GETTY)

BAGGY: The shirt didn't prove to be very convenient for tennis (Pic: GETTY)

The couple got engaged in November 2017 while on holiday in Bora Bora, a small South Pacific island in French Polynesia.

Lee won the NBA Championship in his final season with Golden State Warriors in 2015 and announced his retirement shortly after the pair got engaged.

Wozniacki was previously engaged to golf star Rory McIlroy in 2013 after a two-year relationship.

But it was famously called off in 2014 as the wedding invites were being sent out.

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 11:30

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Albanian gangsters 'flooding London with cheap cocaine' flaunt LUXURY lifestyle

AN ALBANIAN gang who are thought to be behind a flood of cheap drugs into the capital flaunt their luxurious lifestyle online — and claim they're "ready for war".

The gang post pictures regularly on Instagram, featuring guns, wads of cash and expensive cars. In brazen YouTube videos, members of the notorious Hellbanianz gang even rap about their life behind bars. Based in Barking, east London, the gang have links to the mafia in Albania who deal directly with South American drug cartels.Daily Express reports gangs like Hellbanianz have fuelled the capital's spike in cheap cocaine, as they can bring in purer supplies.

They have also used violence in turf wars with rival gangs, and have brought in so much of the drug that it has triggered the "county lines" phenomenon. County lines is a term for drug dealing networks set up, often in smaller towns and cities, but controlled by major gangs in big cities. A spokeswoman for the National Crime Agency (NCA) said: "Albanian crime groups have established a high profile and degree of influence within UK organised crime, and have considerable access to the UK drug trafficking market, particularly cocaine.

"They are also expanding and their prominence is increasing."

Many of the gang members are the Brit-born children of Albanians who came to the UK in the 90s escaping war and persecution. In shameless posts on their public Instagram page, the gang often don't bother to cover their faces. One picture shows a line of 38 £1,000 bundles of £20 notes. Other pictures show gang members posing inside expensive Bentleys.

BRAZEN: One suspected gang member is pictured living it up in jail (Pic: INSTAGRAM/HELLBANIANZ)

CAPITAL: The gang members are mostly based around Barking, east London (Pic: INSTAGRAM/HELLBANIANZ)

While another member posed on Facebook holding a shotgun.

Their motto is "God of the streets".

In a chilling YouTube video, the gang rap: "Hellbanianz is ready for violence, he asked this as proof, ask these or talk about facts, ask this if we shoot.

"London city control, f*** this team with crowns, f*** that b**** from tattoos, the gang has already taken over."

WARNING: The gang claim in threatening YouTube videos they are 'ready for war' (Pic: INSTAGRAM/HELLBANIANZ)

EPIDEMIC: Albanian drug gangs are blamed for the spread of cheap cocaine in the UK (Pic: GETTY)

While the gang also brag they are "ready for war".

Pictures apparently taken in a Brit prison show gang members laughing and taking drugs in jail.

Last year, 140 Albanian gangsters were arrested in the Midlands.

The NCA also believe the surplus of drugs in London is fuelling deadly turf wars across the capital, resulting in dozens of fatal shootings and stabbings in the city this year.

jmparker Posted on November 12, 2018 11:25

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This is how London's skyline would have looked if some ambitious projects had got the go ahead

Over the years, there have been many ambitious plans for the London skyline, which, if they'd gone ahead, would have resulted in a vastly different skyline. 

Move over Big Ben and The Shard, some of the capital's most ambitious building projects were never constructed. 

Bringing together some of the most incredible plans, from a Victorian-era glass and iron skyscaper, to an enormous pyramid on Trafalgar Square, we list some of the most incredible. 

1. Central London Monorail. 

In the late 1960s, bus use in London was declining, as people preferred to use their own cars instead, which caused serious congestion. As a result of this, the Central London Monorail was suggested, which would have seen four loops built above London, allowing carriages to zip above people's heads. 

The project was originally supported by the Conservatives, before being abandoned after a year, reports the Evening Standard


2. Westminster City Airport. 

In 1934, plans were drawn up for a central London airport above the River Thames to provide a closer business and tourism link. Designs published by Popular Science Monthly show that a runway would have stretched from Lambeth Bridge to the Houses of Parliament. 

According to the project specifications, the airport would have been tall enough to accommodate the 'tallest masts of ships' and have enough length to land a single propeller aircraft. 

3. Trafalgar Square Pyramid. 

In 1815, plans were drawn up for a 300ft pyramid to stand in the centre of Trafalgar Square to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of the Nile. It would have been taller than St Paul's cathedral. 

4. The Carlton Hotel. 

The Carlon Hotel was one of the world's most luxury establishments, but unfortunately during the Second World War the bombing it suffered was so severe, it was forced to close and its remains were eventually ripped down in 1957. 

The building that now stands in its place is the High Commission of New Zealand, an overseas post of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

5. The Victorian Skyscraper. 

At the end of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851, numerous plans were put forwards for what to do with its immense iron and glass structure. Charles Bruton suggested creating an enormous 1,000ft skyscraper with the remains, but investors opted to re-enact the original Crystal Palace in South London instead. 

If the skyscraper had gone ahead, it would have been nearly as tall as the Shard is today - which is London's tallest building, at 1,012 ft

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 10:33

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You can tell if your partner is cheating on you by listening to their voice, according to science

Picture Morgan Freeman, Donald Trump or Margaret Thatcher. Most likely you can hear their voices in your mind, and the characteristic inflections that they put on certain words, as well as their tone and pitch. Even without listening to the words, when you hear someone speak you can pick up important information about them from characteristics such as how loud or deep their voice is.

At the most basic level, voices convey biological characteristics such as whether someone is male or female, their body size and physical strengthage and sexual maturity. For example, Donald Trump’s voice can signal to you that he is a man, and that he has passed middle age. But did you know that voices can also signal a person’s attractiveness, fertility and even the likelihood of them being unfaithful?

A popular theory with evolutionary psychologists, known as “cads versus dads”, suggests that more masculine, dominant men are not as paternal and generally invest less in their children and grandchildren than less masculine men. Yet research shows women generally prefer deeper voiced, more masculine-sounding men, especially when these women are near ovulation.

This may be because partnering with deeper-voiced men could lead to genetically healthier children. Deeper voices have been linked to having more surviving children and grandchildrenhigher testosterone and lower stress hormones, and longer-term survival in men.

On the other hand, deeper-voiced men are also rated by women as more likely to cheat on a partner and as less trustworthy in general. Women who judge men with lower-pitched voices as more likely to cheat also prefer those men for short-term rather than long-term partners. Meanwhile, when women are breastfeeding and so currently taking care of a child, they are more likely to prefer men with higher-pitched voices than at other times.

This suggests women use something in men’s voices to try to assess how likely to cheat they are, as well as their general trustworthiness. This in turn can affect their attractiveness as a partner, depending on whether the women are drawn towards the paternal care of a potential long-term mate or just good genes.

Spotting a cheater

But can our voices really indicate whether we are likely to cheat? A recent study from researchers in the US suggests that they can. Participants were played recordings of people speaking and given no other background information about them, and successfully rated cheaters as “more likely to cheat” than non-cheaters. Interestingly, women were better at this task than men.

The recordings were taken from people with voices of similar pitch and attractiveness, who were of similar size and shape, and had similar sexual histories (aside from cheating). This means that none of these factors affected the results. So we currently don’t know what cues the participants used to judge whether the voices came from cheaters.

It is not only women who can pick up on men’s vocal cues of good genes and likelihood to cheat, and use it to their benefit. A woman’s voice changes during her menstrual cycle when she is not using contraceptive pills. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men find women’s voices most attractive when the women are near ovulation (most fertile), than at other times of the month. This information is important to pick up on, as women do not display very explicit signals that they are fertile (unlike baboon females whose bottoms turn red, or female deer who release scents to advertise their fertility).

Voices can also signal whether someone is interested in you. In one clever study, participants were asked to judge the voices of individuals who spoke in a different language to attractive or unattractive potential partners or competitors.

The researchers found that, when talking to attractive people, men’s voices tend to reach a deeper pitch, and both men and women increase how varied their pitch is so their voices sound more dynamic than monotonous. Practically speaking, picking up on these types of cues could allow someone to decide whether a person they are talking to might be attracted to them or not.

In these ways, the non-verbal characteristics of voices can play a significant role in signalling health, fertility, attraction and potential infidelity, to name a few. Picking up on these cues, alongside the many other cues we receive when talking to someone, can help us make more informed and well-rounded choices about who to spend time with and who to avoid. But the next time you find yourself listening to and judging someone’s voice for these subtle cues, remember that they are judging yours, too.

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 10:29

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Lord Sugar reveals reason he almost quit The Apprentice

While The Apprentice may have boosted Lord Alan Sugar's profile, there was a time when he once considered quitting the BBC series.

“I’ve always liked to be a bit humorous,” he told The Mirror. “But unfortunately previous editors of The Apprentice, under the BBC’s instructions, have been advised to make me look like a bloody ogre or whatever."

Rather than continue being portrayed as a villain, Sugar gave the producers an ultimatum: either stop playing up Sugar's monstrous outbursts or find someone else to host the series.

“Part and parcel of the agreement for me to continue doing the programme is for me to say that I am not going to be shown as that anymore," he continued.

“People get nervous because of this perceived stance of mine that they see on television. But for most people when we’re together in real life, it’s very straightforward, very business-like, and there’s no reason for people to be nervous. It’s as simple as that."

Sugar is currently hosting the 14th series of The Apprentice, which last week saw another candidate get booted off the series.

Earlier this year, Sugar caused controversy by likening the Senegal national football team to "these guys from the beach in Marbella." 

Addressing the Tweets, Sugar said: “You know, I’m 71 years old, I’ve lived through various periods of change of habits, change of laws. This is just another one, really, this current PC culture.

"One of the good things that came out of it was to grow a rhinoceros skin. And that skin is still that thick, so that doesn’t bother me at all. I think it’s a balance, really.

“Someone of my age, as you get older, you know what not to say. That’s the most important thing.”

The Apprentice airs every Wednesday on BBC One at 9pm.

ruby Posted on November 12, 2018 10:17

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Lies you learned in history class

History has a funny way of repeating itself, especially when the people repeating it aren't exactly telling the full story. Indeed, many of the clean, easy, wholesome "facts" you learned in history class would earn you a big fat F in the decades-long class that is Real Life. Here are a few historical lies that will make you rethink your entire education

Einstein failed math

For decades, teachers and parents have tried to inspire kids who didn't quite excel in school with a historical fun fact: "Even Einstein failed math as a kid." It's meant to encourage students to work harder or to imply that it's fine to be a late bloomer. It's a great message, but it isn't based in reality. Albert Einstein, the man who developed the theory of relativity and whose name also means "genius" (seriously, what are the odds?) didn't fail math. Why do people believe this? 

In 1984, a Princeton University team led by Dr. John Stachel prepared to publish Einstein's papers. The group found evidence that Einstein was a kid genius who had conquered college-level physics by age 11 and was fluent in Latin and Greek. Dr. Stachel also found what he thought was the source of the Einstein math-myth. Dr. Stachel told the New York Times that when Einstein was 16 and studying in Switzerland, he received grades of "1" in math on two straight report cards. On a scale of 1 to 6, "1" was the best. But then the school switched its system so that a "6" was the top grade given. At that point, Einstein got a "6," which made it look like he was suddenly flunking math. He wasn't — he was still getting the equivalent of an A.

Was Einstein actually bad at any subjects? Just French. French is hard.

George Washington chopped down that cherry tree

For decades, it seemed like every American classroom couldn't get through the Revolutionary War without teaching the story about how America's first president, George Washington, famously confessed to chopping down his father's cherry tree when he was just six years old. "I cannot tell a lie," allegedly said little G. W. Well, as it turns out, that story was itself a lie. Oh, the irony. The story has become such an infamous myth over the years that even the official website of the home of Washington, Mount Vernon, has squashed it once and for all, claiming the whole thing was made up by Washington biographer Mason Locke Weems in 1806. Among his alleged reasons for lying, according to the website: profits, the desire to look at Washington's private life, and the need to "present Washington as the perfect role model, especially for young Americans." Whatever the reason, the myth worked for centuries

Feminists burned lots of bras

When classrooms gloss through the Women's Liberation Movement, one of the topics that almost always gets brought up is the Movement's protest of the 1968 Miss America pageant, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. According to history, we were told that a bunch of protesters at the event took off their bras and immediately set fire to them. Well, according to Carol Hanisch, one of the organizers of the protest, that's not exactly what went down. Truth be told: the women did want to burn their bras; Hanisch admitted that much to NPR in an interview 30 years after the protest took place. But because police wouldn't let them do that on a boardwalk, they were forced to throw a bunch of "instruments of female torture" like bras, girdles and Playboy magazines into a garbage can. It was inside that garbage in which the fire was ultimately lit. "The media picked up on the bra part," Hanisch told NPR, dispelling the "bra-burning" myth once and for all. "I often say that if they had called us 'girdle burners,' every woman in America would have run to join us."

Pilgrims dressed in black and white

Learning about the Pilgrims and their role in the European colonization of America is a major part of any American's elementary school education. Also a part of school: school plays in which kids dress up like Pilgrims and re-enact the first Thanksgiving. Invariably, the costumes are ill-fitting black and white garments topped with big, black hats. It's reasonable to assume the Pilgrims dressed that way — simple, demure clothes for simple, demure people. However, according to Pilgrim expert Caleb Johnson, the Pilgrims wore clothes that were all kinds of styles and colors. The notion that Pilgrims dressed like they were colorblind came much later. Artists like Michael Felice Corne produced paintings about the Pilgrims in the early 1800s, according to the LA Times. Corne and others didn't really know what the Pilgrims would have worn, so they depicted them in clothing more modern and familiar — particularly all that black-and-white stuff.

Slavery was just in the South

Though school taught us something different, Southerners didn't get a patent on racism, and people of the North have a bad history of slavery.

The colonial North thrived on the slave trade in the 1700s. During the Revolution, George Washington told Northern and Southern colonists that we must fight the British so we don't become "as tame and abject slaves as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway." By 1804, slavery was abolished in the North, but not all at once. Some states left in provisions to slowly free slaves over time, and by 1840, Connecticut still had 17 slaves listed on the census.

In New York City, the situation was especially shameful. A fifth of the city's population was slaves in 1740, and New York had the second-highest rate of slave ownership in the country (42 percent of residents owned slaves, according to the New York Public Library) behind only Charleston, South Carolina. Slave labor built much of the city, and although they didn't have to work on plantations, "You are still considered property to be bought, sold, and used" isn't much consolation.

Even during the Civil War, New York City came close to joining the secession after South Carolina. Though the city wanted to side with the South mostly for economic reasons, they still weren't worried about the idea of siding with slaveholders. The New York Herald wrote, "If Lincoln is elected, you will have to compete with the labor of four million emancipated negroes." So, if a Yankee guy gets a little high and mighty around his Southern friends, just remind him of that quote and watch his liberal guilt consume him.

Napoleon was really short

One of the best—okay, funniest—parts about studying the French Revolution in social studies class was finding out that the famous French military leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, was actually super-short in height. Just how short, you ask? Well, according to teachers all over the country, Napoleon stood a measly 5'2". Granted, his alleged height didn't stop him from kicking ass during the war; however, it did become infamous enough to create the term the "Napoleon complex," used to describe people who make up for their short height by being totally strong and aggressive, socially. In any case, despite all of this, Napoleon's height has since been up for debate. According to the BBC, historians are now estimating that he was actually more along the lines of 5'6"—or, more to the point, one inch taller than former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. What happened? The BBC claims the height might have gotten lost in translation between French and British measurements. Which, if you really think about it, is a Napoleon complex in of itself.

Witches in Salem were burned at the stake

The Salem witch trials of 1692-93 remain one of the darkest chapters of American history. In the Massachusetts colony, more than 200 people were accused and tried for the difficult-to-prove "crime" of being witches. Twenty of the accused were found guilty and killed straightaway. However, none lost their lives by being burned at the stake like most people think. At least, none of the American witches did. In European witch trials — they were all the rage — guilty witches were executed with fire. In Salem, 19 of the 20 witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. The other witch, Giles Corey, was crushed to death with heavy rocks.

Paul Revere yelled, 'The British are coming!'

If your dusty old history books are to be believed, the build-up to the American Revolutionary War was pretty dramatic: a dude named Paul Revere rode through a bunch of towns on horseback screaming "The British are coming!" and everyone freaked out and got their guns and the war started the next day. As it turns out, that only sort of happened. Revere was indeed ordered to Lexington, Massachusetts, to tell Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming. But the actual quote has since been misconstrued. According to the website for The Paul Revere House, a sentry at the house where Adams and Hancock were staying got all mad at Revere when he arrived because he was making too much noise. To which Revere replied dramatically: "Noise! You'll have noise long enough before. The regulars are coming out!" Sure, that may sound less like a movie moment and more like a bad regional theater production, but hey, facts are facts. And speaking of: the website goes on to say that Revere was joined by two additional riders, all of whom were arrested and released on their way to Concord. No word on whether they, too, had a catch phrase.

An apple fell on Isaac Newton's head

When the history of Isaac Newton is taught, many teachers quote the old story that the physicist and mathematician actually came up with his theory for gravity after an apple fell from a tree he was sitting under and hit him smack on the head. You probably believed it in part because, duh, it's an old story and, duh, Newton was really smart. But, again, this story is only sort-of true. While Newton did actually put two and two together by watching an apple fall, The Royal Society in London concluded in 2010 that the incident took place in his mother's garden and that there is "there is no evidence to suggest that it hit him on the head." That's a bit of a bummer. But, hey, he still came up with the theory of gravity, which is more than anyone reading this article can probably say.

Bastille Day celebrates freed prisoners and the French Revolution

While you're busy relaxing on a beach somewhere or nursing a hangover from a really epic Fourth of July party, you might notice somebody'll post about France on July 14. That's Bastille Day, a day of French Independence to mark the famous storming of the Bastille to free the unjustly imprisoned and start the revolution. Or so you think.

After King Louis XVI dragged the nation into poverty then tried to drastically raise taxes to cover his behind, the people of France weren't thrilled with his leadership. On July 14, 1789, the French had had enough and went on a quest to find guns and ammo to start fighting back. The Bastille was once full of political prisoners, but by 1789, the place was nearly empty with just a handful of prisoners left inside. When revolutionaries came to the Bastille doors, they weren't there to free prisoners. They showed up to get more gunpowder.

Since the freedom fighters were all riled up, their powder raid turned violent, and they killed and beheaded the prison officers while freeing the remaining jailmates. So, the raid of the Bastille was really just a looting gone wrong. But it scared the crap out of the king, who agreed to compromise with the rebellion and end feudalism. Since the Bastille raid came at the right time, it turned from a tale about stealing gunpowder and going beheading happy into a tale of a fight against tyranny. So, when you're celebrating Bastille Day with your traditional baguette and inflated sense of superiority to honor France, remember you're really honoring a bunch of jerks who cut off some heads for pretty much no reason.

Gandhi was nearly a saint

Picking on Gandhi seems like a pretty low blow or a decent name for an emo band. So, awful, either way.

The idea that the mind behind the non-violent fight for India's independence could be anything less than pure seems almost heretical. In fact, Pulitzer prize–winning journalist Joseph Lelyveld's realistic biography of Gandhi has been banned in Gandhi's home state of Gujarat for blasphemy. But that doesn't make Lelyveld's words any less true.

Most of us don't know that Gandhi abandoned his wife to live with a rich male body builder before he got involved in British-Indian relations. Now, if Gandhi was gay, who cares? But Gandhi tried to get all references to homosexual traditions erased from Indian temples in an act he called "sexual cleansing." And to test his resistance to sexual temptation, he'd sleep in bed naked with his teenage grand-nieces. But worse than his sexual hypocrisy was his terrible racism.

Gandhi may have wanted India freed from British rule, but he was perfectly happy with the rigid caste system of the nation. Gandhi wrote of a time when he and his followers were led to a lower caste jail for protesting. "We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs [the South African equivalent of the N-word] are as a rule uncivilized—the convicts even more so. They're troublesome, very dirty and live like animals." When asked about Indian views on race versus white South Africans, he wrote "We believe as much in the purity of races as we think they do." Though Gandhi did bring some good to the world and was tragically assassinated, we also need to learn that he was only human—and a human with some truly abhorrent ideas.

The U.S. declared independence on the Fourth of July

Fireworks, flag cakes, and barbecues — your Fourth of July activities to celebrate American independence from Mother England are a lie. The Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776, and the next day — July 2 — representatives from the 13 colonies overwhelmingly approved a motion to declare independence. The assembly spent two days revising a statement primarily written by Virginia delegate Thomas Jefferson — the Declaration of Independence — and ratified it on July 4, ingraining "the Fourth of July" into the brains of freedom-loving Americans forever. "Fine, it was ratified on July 4, big deal," you're saying. Wait a minute! The members of the Second Continental Congress still had to actually sign the Declaration of Independence, and they didn't start leaving their Herbie Hancocks until August 2, 1776. Because news traveled a lot slower in 1776, it took a while for King George III of England to hear about the Declaration. He made his first public remarks on the matter in October 1776.

President Kennedy brought about Civil Rights Legislation

Without Kennedy, we may never have had civil rights legislation, or so we've been taught. But Kennedy had little to do with civil rights laws. When he heard about the planned March on Washington, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech, Kennedy tried to stop it. He even sent vice president Lyndon B. Johnson to Norway during the march because he didn't like LBJ's pro–civil rights policies.

Kennedy was forced to act on civil rights after the Freedom Riders and the assassination of Medgar Evers, but he thought the legislation would never get through and would hurt his chances of passing the bills he really cared about. But after Kennedy was shot, LBJ put all his efforts as president behind the Civil Rights Act. Capitalizing on the fresh memory of the young president slain, LBJ used the people's grief and frustration to get Congress to act. And in the end, JFK got all the credit.

Until feminism, women stayed home and men worked

The minimal women's history you learn in school usually revolves around the idea that ladies always had to stay at home, then had to go to work in the factories during World War II, but went back home after the war until feminism came along. But this is far from the full picture. Yes, lots of women were housewives or mothers and not allowed or not encouraged to work after getting married. But that ignores the many other women who didn't have the privilege of not working. Plus, it hides decades of history where men and women worked equally.

Before the Industrial Revolution, work was an extension of the household, and tasks were split evenly between men and women. Even by the turn of the century, women held a quarter of industrial jobs and half of agrarian jobs. Factory work at the time was incredibly dangerous, and gendered labor laws reinforced the growing idea that men should earn the money and women should stay at home. Still, women of color didn't get that luxury. Even after marriage, many continued to work since their husbands were paid less and had poorer jobs. When white women started to see progress, women of color were usually left out of the conversation.

Even in the '50s, women workers weren't so rare. Look magazine often profiled female workers, and radio programs talked to "career girls" who felt women should be able to find meaning and purpose outside the home. Sure, the males on the panel thought she wasn't serious about having a career because she occasionally thought of falling in love, but we're not here to debunk the idea that '50s white guys had issues.

But the working girls got erased, making women seem like frail, put upon creatures of history till they finally burned their bras and sang Helen Reddy songs.

Abner Doubleday invented baseball

In 1903, Baseball Guide editor Henry Chadwick wrote about how baseball had evolved from the British games of cricket and rounders. The magazine's publisher, sporting goods kingpin Albert Spalding objected — baseball was American and simply had to have American origins, he said. He set out to prove it, forming a commission that asked the public for information about the game's early days. The commission's report, issued in 1907, was based mainly on a letter from a man named Abner Graves. He claimed to have been in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839 when future Civil War general Abner Doubleday outlined a diamond in the dirt and wrote up rules for a game called "Base Ball." Spalding took that for fact. To do so, he ignored two actual facts: that commission member A.G. Mills (who was close friends with Doubleday) couldn't remember Doubleday ever mentioning baseball and that in 1839 Doubleday was a cadet at West Point, not in Cooperstown. 

In the mid-1930s, Major League Baseball made plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Doubleday's invention in 1839. That's when baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis got a letter from a man named Bruce Cartwright. He claimed his grandfather, Alexander Cartwright, invented baseball and that he could prove it with the original written rules, a field diagram, and a scorecard from the first game, played in Hoboken in 1845. The Hall of Fame honored Cartwright for his contributions, but Doubleday stayed in the public consciousness as baseball's creator.

Columbus needed to prove the world was round

While few still think Columbus discovered America, many believe the explorer's voyage was important because it proved the world was round. According to historian Jeffrey Burton Russell, the idea that Columbus had to prove a planet full of flat-Earthers wrong didn't take hold until the 1830s or so. French writer Antoine-Jean Letronne was so anti-religion that in books like On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers, he argued that Catholic Church leaders of the past foolishly believed the world was flat. Letronne's contemporary, Washington Irving, best known for "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," published A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1828. Irving primarily wrote fiction, and he used his storytelling skills to embellish his Columbus biography. In other words, he made stuff up, such as the passage in which Columbus tries to convince a council of 1490s religious clerics that he won't sail off the edge of the Earth.

People knew the Earth was round at least as far back as ancient Greece. Science historian Stephen Jay Gould wrote that the concept of a round earth was "central" to Aristotle's fourth century B.C. writings on cosmology, as well as to Eratosthenes' calculating the Earth's circumference in the third century B.C. Few people in Columbus' time were dumb enough to think the Earth was flat, but people in our time are dumb or snobby enough to think everyone else is dumb.

The 'War of the Worlds' broadcast caused mass hysteria

The textbook definition of "mass hysteria" is probably the October 1938 chaos that resulted from Orson Welles' radio adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air radio program presented the terrifying story of a New Jersey alien invasion as breaking news, with on-the-scene reports so convincing that hordes fled their homes in terror. We know that happened because the newspapers of the day said so! Unfortunately, the creative license hadn't ended with the radio program. According to History, newspaper publishers took what reports there were of panic — supposedly, 2,000 people called the Trenton, New Jersey, police department looking for information; New Jersey-based National Guard members tried to report for duty — and built it up to create a story of far-reaching mania over War of the Worlds and to make radio look bad. Gotta watch out for those emerging technologies. 

In fact, relatively few people were "fooled" by The War of the Worlds. Just in case anybody tuned in late, CBS Radio aired multiple disclaimers reassuring listeners that the broadcast was fictional. Also, there couldn't have been widespread panic because not very many people were even listening in the first place. Ratings reports from the time found that only 2 percent of respondents tuned in to The War of the Worlds – it aired opposite NBC's popular Chase and Sanborn Hour. That show featured ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Sure, 1930s Americans didn't believe aliens were landing, but they thought a ventriloquist they couldn't see was the height of entertainment.

America was enthusiastic to join World War II

Even the people who marched with "No blood for oil" signs and are currently protesting drone strikes tend to still have a little fondness for World War II. Who doesn't want to defeat a bunch of Nazis and get the chance to make fun of Germans? World War II was just too good to resist.

But Americans at the time weren't so enthusiastic. President Franklin Roosevelt was the most vocal supporter of the war, while oddly enough, aviator Charles Lindbergh was one of the biggest opponents. Lindbergh's strong isolationism got him labeled as a Nazi sympathizer. It's not exactly true, since he mostly admired Germany for their technology and economic revitalization. But he also thought white people were superior to everyone else, so honestly he was about as close to a Nazi sympathizer as you could be without donning a swastika. Lindbergh said he didn't approve of Hitler's treatment of Jews, but he seemed cool with everything else.

Other Americans wanted to stay out and weren't motivated by racism. Europe seemed like another world, and we had no place in their fight. Plus, the war meant the draft was coming back, and most people weren't interested in having a repeat of the Civil War or World War I.

College students were one of the largest contingents against the war. They figured they'd be the first to die if we headed overseas, so students at Yale formed a large isolationist group called "America First." Members of the group included Gerald Ford, Supreme Court Justice Potter "I know it when I see it" Stewart, Gore Vidal, and John F. Kennedy. It seems like young people always fought every war. If we could go back to the college campuses during the American Revolution, we'd probably see a lot of people with "No blood for tea" signs.

Edison was a great inventor

In school, we learn that Thomas Edison was a great inventor who gave America the gift of light in bulb form. You can't deny that Edison was a bright mind who developed several things that made life easier for everybody. But you should also learn that Edison was a monopolizing, thieving jerk.

Firstly, he didn't really invent the lightbulb. He built upon several other inventions, and some say he stole several innovations that led him to creating and taking credit for the bulb we know today. Edison gets sole credit because he was great at telling people he invented the lightbulb and getting publicity. And the bulb is just one of the questionable inventions of Edison's career.

Edison had a team of workers at his Menlo Park, New Jersey, facility, and in 1892, they invented the kinescope. It was the beginning of moving pictures, where you could pay a nickel to see grainy footage of a girl dancing for six seconds. It may not sound entertaining now, but the idea of moving pictures was pretty ingenious. Plus you saw a girl move her hips back, and if you paid another nickel, forth! Edison's assistants tried to get him to invest more time into inventing a projection device for this new technology, but Edison thought there was no money in moving pictures.

After kinescopes became incredibly popular, Edison did a 180 and started working on a projecting device. Or rather, Edison asked other people who made innovations on projector technology to file the patent in his name, while he gave them a decent one-time fee. People thought that was a morally questionable move, and Edison replied, "Everyone steals in industry and commerce. I've stolen a lot myself. The thing is to know how to steal." Later, Edison tried to monopolize the film industry and forced filmmakers to move to California to avoid his many lawsuits, giving birth to Hollywood.

Lastly, Edison killed an elephant to prove that his crappy electricity was the best. Edison was a proponent of direct current (DC) electricity, while Nikola Tesla touted alternating current (AC) as the best option. AC enabled long-distance power transmission and is now used exclusively in every home (though some technology like computers use both). But Edison didn't have the patents for AC, so he went on a major campaign to prove the dangers of alternating current. His biggest stunt was electrocuting Topsy the elephant to prove that AC currents were so dangerous, it could kill the giant creature. Then, to be even more of a jerk, Edison filmed the event and released Electrocuting an Elephant to theaters. The video is available on YouTube, but we won't link to it here. We're not as gross as Edison.

Americans were always the good guys in World War II

World War II is often hailed as the last war where there were clear lines between the good guys and bad guys. The Axis Powers wanted to take over the world. The Allies wanted to stop them. It was black and white, heroes against villains … but nothing is ever that simple. Human beings can be complicated or straight-up evil, regardless of the uniforms they wear, and American GIs were responsible for war crimes on par with the acts committed by their Japanese and German enemies. (And we're not even talking about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.)

For example, in 1943, U.S. soldiers invaded the island of Siciliy and — inspired by an intentionally ambiguous speech from General George S. Patton — murdered at least 77 POWs in what's known as the Biscari Massacre. Even though they were fighting for freedom, these troops threw the Geneva Convention right out the window. It was even worse for European women. GIs were responsible for approximately 14,000 rapes in England, Germany, and France from 1942 to 1945.

However, things took a truly barbaric turn in the Pacific Theater, where U.S. soldiers forgot they were living in the 20th century and reverted to Stone Age savagery. Even though it was illegal, American troops made a habit of taking trophies from dead Japanese soldiers, and not fumbling through their pockets or taking their weapons. GIs actually lopped off ears, pulled out teeth, and took bones as mementos to send their parents, wives, and girlfriends. Life magazine featured a photo of a woman writing a letter to her Navy boyfriend, thanking him for the Japanese skull sitting on her desk.

This barbarous behavior went all the way to the White House. In 1944, a congressman gave President Roosevelt a letter opener made from a Japanese arm, and the president responded with, "This is the sort of gift I like to get." If the soldiers of World War II were indeed America's "greatest generation," that says a whole lot about every generation afterward.

America was only attacked once during World War II

Everybody knows the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The sneak attack left 2,403 Americans dead, and it forced the U.S. into World War II. But despite what many people think, this wouldn't be the last time the Japanese military dropped bombs on U.S. soil.

In February 1942, a Japanese sub fired a couple shells at an oil field near Santa Barbara. Then in June, another sub lobbed some explosives at a fort on the Columbia River. That same year, a pilot named Nobuo Fujita dropped four incendiary bombs into the forests of southern Oregon, hoping to spark massive fires. Thankfully, the woods were just too wet, but tragically, the Japanese had more success with their "fugos," fire balloons that floated across the Pacific Ocean and landed on U.S. soil. While only one of around 6,000 balloons actually killed anyone, that "fugo" claimed the lives of a pregnant woman and five children in Oregon.

Crazier still, the Japanese straight-up invaded the Aleutian Islands and set up bases in the Alaskan Territory, prompting an island-hopping campaign that lasted from June 1942 to August 1943. Of course, the Japanese weren't the only ones trying to bring down the U.S. The Nazis were involved, too, only instead of dropping bombs, they were dropping saboteurs. In 1942, U-boats deposited eight saboteurs in both Florida and New York. These agents planned on destroying as many railroads, bridges, hydroelectric plants, and factories as possible. They even wanted to shut down the Big Apple's water supply. Fortunately, two of the Nazis got cold feet and sold their buddies out to the FBI before any damage was done.

A cow started the Great Chicago Fire

One of the worst disasters in American history, the Great Chicago Fire raged for two days in October 1871. By the time it died down, 300 people were dead and around 100,000 were homeless. The fire had ripped through 2,000 acres, leaving $200 million worth of property in ashes. Naturally, when something this horrible happens, people want a scapegoat, and unfortunately, the survivors turned on Catherine O'Leary, an Irish immigrant who made her living selling milk. Newspapers claimed O'Leary had been milking one of her cows on October 8 when either she or the animal knocked over a lantern that started the blaze. Needless to say, these stories didn't do much for O'Leary's popularity.

In response, O'Leary said she'd been asleep when the fire started and that she never milked cows in the evening. Shortly after the fire, an official inquiry stated there was no way to prove who or what started the fire, but that didn't stop people from blaming Mrs. O'Leary and her kicking scapecow. When she finally died in 1895, people said it was of a broken heart. (There's no word on how the cow felt about all this.) Even to this day, it's widely believed that O'Leary's bovine started the blaze.

However, several reporters who first leveled the accusation admitted they'd either made up the story or heard the tale from super-unreliable witnesses. Couple that with the findings of the 1871 investigation, and it's beginning to look like there was no cow-spiracy on the part of Catherine O'Leary, even though the fire did start somewhere in her area. In fact, some have recently come to suspect her neighbor, Daniel Sullivan, who first reported the fire, as many parts of his story don't stand up under scrutiny. Regardless of who or what was at fault, the Chicago City Council realized there was no good reason to blame O'Leary, so in 1997, they cleared both Catherine and her infamous cow.

Only whites owned slaves

According to historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., by 1860, there were 4.4 million black people in the United States, and and 3.9 million of them were slaves. It is definitely true that the vast majority were bought, owned, and brutalized by white people. However, even though they were in the minority, there were a surprising number of slave owners who actually weren't white.

For example, wanting to fit in with white society, wealthy members of the Cherokee nation owned around 4,600 black slaves. And in an ironic twist of fate, when they were forced down the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee forced 2,000 black people to go with them. According to Vocativ, the tribe even sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War because they didn't want to lose their slaves.

Stranger still, in 1830, about 3,700 black freedmen owned slaves. In fairness, many bought their own family members to protect them, but that wasn't always the case. Take William Ellison, for example. One of the wealthiest men in South Carolina, Ellison was a black man who used his 63 slaves to work his 900 acres of property. And he wasn't at all concerned with keeping friends and family members safe. This guy just wanted free labor to keep that cash coming in.

And before Ellison was even born, there was Anthony Johnson, a black man who won a court decision in 1654 to keep a black indentured servant as a slave. As historian R. Halliburton Jr. points out, this was "one of the first known legal sanctions of slavery," helping to set a terrible precedent that would only end with the deadliest war in U.S. history.

Slaves never fought back

If slavery in America lasted around 250 years, why weren't there more slave revolts? Sure, there was Nat Turner's rebellion and the Amistad mutiny, but other than those two super-famous incidents, why didn't more slaves fight back against their captors? Well, they totally did. Some historians estimate there were over 300 revolts and conspiracies, and while most of those were put down violently, a few were surprisingly successful.

For example, there was the Stono Rebellion of 1739, where around 100 slaves overthrew their white masters and fled for Spanish Florida, where slavery was illegal. Tragically, these heroes were cut down by the English, but the group made history with the biggest slave rebellion in the 13 colonies. Then there was the German Coast Uprising of 1811, where slaves attacked a militia warehouse, armed themselves to the teeth, and tried to capture New Orleans. They were defeated after two days, and around 100 black prisoners had their heads cut off and placed on poles along the side of a road.

There was the time when 300 slaves teamed up with 20 Native Americans to seize a Florida fort, and there was the 1800 incident where Gabriel Prosser assembled an army of 1,000 slaves but was undermined by a traitor and bad weather. In 1842, blacks turned on their Cherokee and Creek masters and made a brave but futile run for the Mexican border. On a happier note, in 1841, slaves aboard the ship Creole staged a mutiny and sailed to freedom in the Bahamas. And if you want to look outside the U.S., in 1791, Toussaint L'Ouverture sparked a massive slave rebellion in Haiti, leading to the country's independence.

On a smaller scale, there are an untold number of incidents where individual slaves stood up to their cruel masters. Before escaping to freedom, abolitionist Frederick Douglass actually went hand-to-hand with an overseer named Edward Covey. When Covey pulled out a whip, Douglass started throwing punches, and the two actually fought to a tie, proving that badass slaves weren't just something Quentin Tarantino dreamed up for Django Unchained.

The guillotine was named after its inventor

First used in 1792, the guillotine hacked off around 15,000 heads during the French Revolution, but even after Robespierre and his posse were put down, the French government kept this razor-bladed invention around, using it to behead bad guys until its final kill in 1977, the same years Star Wars hit theaters.

But how did this horrific device gets its unusual name? It got its moniker from Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, but despite what some think, he didn't actually invent the machine. In fact, he didn't even like the idea of capital punishment. But in the early days of the French Revolution, Guillotin hoped to make the death penalty less painful by proposing a machine that could cleanly chop off someone's head in mere seconds. As a member of the French National Assembly, he pitched his idea in 1789, but the job of actually inventing the device fell to Dr. Antoine Louis, a surgeon and secretary at the prestigious Academy of Medicine.

After Louis designed the device — probably inspired by earlier machines like the Halifax Gibbet and the Scottish Maiden — it was assembled by a German guy named Tobias Schmidt. The completed product was labeled the "Louisette" or the "Louison" after its inventor, and it was tested on human bodies before claiming its first victim in 1792. However, because Guillotin was the man who originally proposed the idea, and thanks to a popular songs incorrectly asserting he was the creator, people soon started calling the device "le guillotine."

Naturally, Guillotin wasn't a fan, but what could the man do? "Guillotine" was way catchier than "Louisette." After he died a natural death at 75, his family begged the French government to rename the machine. But when the government said no, the Guillotins changed their own name, hoping to distance themselves from those 15,000 decapitated corpses.

Deep Throat was the man who brought down Nixon

The Watergate cover-up is possibly the most notorious political scandal in U.S. history, one that brought down a president and completely changed the way Americans viewed their government. And when people recall the incredible events that led to Richard Nixon's resignation, they often picture a mysterious man lurking in the shadows of a parking garage, a secret informant who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover a real-life conspiracy.

For years, this undercover agent was known solely as "Deep Throat" (both a nod to his role as "deep background" and to an adult film of the same name), and thanks to both the book and movie adaptation of All the President's Men, this enigmatic figure became a permanent part of the American consciousness. (For proof, just watch The X-Files.) Eventually, his true identity was revealed in 2005 as Mark Felt, the second highest-ranking member of the FBI during the 1970s. But even if Felt had never come forward, Deep Throat would have always been remembered as "the man who brought down the White House."

Only that's not exactly how it happened.

While Deep Throat was an important player in the Watergate story, his role in Nixon's downfall has been massively overblown. As it turns out, Deep Throat mostly didn't provide Woodward and Bernstein with information they didn't already know. Instead, as Bernstein explained, "Deep Throat largely confirmed information we had already gotten from other sources." Both reporters also made it clear they had "several dozen" sources pointing them in the right direction, not just Felt, and Woodward even went so far as to tell the Associated Press that "this portrait of [Deep Throat] as 'the man who brought down the White House' just isn't accurate."

Martin Luther King Jr. was always against violence

Martin Luther King Jr.'s name is synonymous with noble ideas like "civil disobedience" and "nonviolent resistance." Along with Mahatma Gandhi, King wrote the playbook on how to peacefully resist a totalitarian government, as demonstrated by his campaigns in Birmingham and Selma. During these marches, King and his followers never fought back, even when they were arrested, blasted with fire hoses, and beset by dogs. But everyone's opinions evolve over time, and while he eventually became America's most famous pacifist, Dr. King wasn't always so eager to turn the other cheek.

King first became a national figure thanks to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. After Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, King organized the resistance movement that forced the city of Montgomery to integrate its bus systems. Needless to say, the boycott didn't win King any fans in the racist community, and as a result, someone bombed the reverend's house in February 1956. But instead of letting things slide, King decided he would be ready the next time someone came for him or his family.

After the attack, armed guards kept a vigilant eye on King, and he applied for a concealed carry permit. As you might expect, his application was denied, but that didn't stop King from stockpiling guns. The man's house was full of firearms (according to Professor Adam Winkler, one of King's advisers described the place as "an arsenal"), and once a journalist visiting the King home almost sat on the pastor's loaded pistol. Eventually, King would change his mind on the matter and get rid of his weapons, but for a brief moment, one of the most peaceful men on the planet was packing a whole lot of heat.

Europeans introduced scalping to Native Americans

When Europeans arrived in North America, they didn't exactly hit it off with their new new neighbors. Some historians believe 20 million Native Americans were murdered by Old World weapons and European illnesses, but there was savagery on both sides, especially when it came to the subject of scalping. However, many believe Native Americans learned the awful art of taking scalps from their European enemies. In fact, there's a common belief that before white settlers showed up, Native Americans never even considered the idea of lifting somebody's scalp.

In reality, certain Native American tribes were taking scalps long before white people showed up, but Europeans also had their own bloody history when it came to skinning enemies. As pointed out by Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope, whites were scalping people "from the Stone Age till as late as 1036 in England." On the flip side, in North America, archaeologists have found scalped skulls dating back to 1325 A.D., long before Columbus and company arrived. Historians have even discovered evidence that scalping occurred before the Vikings sailed across the Atlantic. And as historian James Axtell writes, when Europeans first showed up, they found certain tribes like the Delaware, Mohawks, and Algonquins already had scalping down to an art.

However once the Europeans moved in, everybody stepped up their scalping game. When white settlers arrived in the New World, they put out bounties for the hair of their Native American enemies, encouraging tribes that had never practiced scalping before to take up a new bloody hobby. (Plus, there were plenty of white people who paid their bills by scalping Native victims.) And with white people handing out cash for human trophies, scalping became widespread across North America, resulting in a whole lot of people on both sides winding up with incredibly close haircuts.

The Alamo was Mexican villains vs. American heroes

The battle at the Alamo is usually taught as a bunch of heroic white Americans fighting for freedom against the dastardly Mexicans. You picture John Wayne standing stoically, a perfect American hero brave enough to fight to the death. Sadly, that barely resembles what happened.

When Mexico gained independence in 1821, they weren't sure what to do with Texas. Eventually, they offered the land to Americans to live cheaply and tax-free for seven years as long as they swore allegiance to Mexico and became Catholic. So, pick up a rosary and get a big Texas ranch? A lot of Americans took them up on the offer.

Mexico was so eager to settle Texas, they even let landowners keep slaves. Slavery had been abolished in Mexico for years, but they were willing to bend the rules for slave-loving white guys. By 1830, Americans outnumbered Mexicans in the Texas area five to one. President Santa Anna issued a stop on immigration from the US, but those pesky American illegal immigrants kept pouring in. By 1834, Mexico started getting rid of illegal aliens. Since it seemed heartless and rude to remove peaceful immigrants who simply wanted a better life in Mexico, Texas got ready to fight for independence.

At one point, David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Travis got to the Alamo, a decaying fortress the Texans had seized from Mexico, to join the fight for freedom. Here's where things divert from history class. These three men weren't ideal heroes. Bowie was a slave smuggler and con man, though he got along well with the Tejano community of the state. Travis was a lawyer who didn't care for the Mexican people who lived in the Mexican territory. Crockett was the closest to his fictional counterpart. A very popular military man who served in Congress, Crockett was a charming celebrity of the age. Still, it's unlikely he killed him a "bar" when he was only three.

When the battle of the Alamo commenced, it was far from a war of white versus brown. Tejanos, Americans, native Mexican Indians who spoke no Spanish, and slaves all fought for the side of Texas. Santa Anna was brutal, and in the end, most of the American soldiers fought to their death. Santa Anna burned their bodies in a heap in front of the destroyed mission as a lesson to future rebels.

Texans spread the word of the Alamo and greatly exaggerated the tale. When the rebels and Santa Anna's men fought again, the Texan soldiers killed any Mexicans they could find, whether they were soldiers or not. The Smithsonian Magazine wrote that a young Mexican drummer boy asked for his life and died for the request. The slaughter in the name of the Alamo was just as bad as the battle of the Alamo itself, if not much worse. And the efforts of all the brave Tejanos, slaves, Indians, and all the other non-white people were completely erased from history.


majsdesaint Posted on November 09, 2018 17:02

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Man Utd news: Paulo Dybala teases Paul Pogba to Juventus transfer

MANCHESTER UNITED Paul Pogba continues to be linked with a return to Juventus - and former team-mate Paulo Dybala wants the move to happen.

The close friends reunited in Turin this week as Jose Mourinho's side snatched three points from the Italian outfit late on. Pogba didn't enjoy the best of games at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday but Dybala was still keen to talk about the Frenchman at full-time. "It was great to see to see Paul again because we're good friends," he told reporters.

"The first game [at Old Trafford] was amazing for me, and the second for him.

"But it was just nice to play against him.

"We have remained in touch since he left [Juventus].

"We're still very close and who knows, maybe in the future we can play together again on the same team..."

Man Utd news: Paul Pogba and Paulo Dybala have remained good friends (Pic: Getty)

Man Utd news: Paul Pogba and Paulo Dybala won numerous trophies at Juventus (Pic: Getty)

However, not everyone believes Pogba will end up at Juventus for a second time.

Speaking after the European clash this week, Tony Cascarino insisted players at the Italian outfit will have been unimpressed by Pogba's display.

“When this game finished last night, and the Juventus players were talking to each other in the dressing room, they would all have said the same thing: 'This is the not the same Paul Pogba who used to play here'," he wrote in the Times.

“He is nowhere near the player we used to know.

Man Utd news: Paul Pogba could leave next summer (Pic: Getty)

”It was not as though Pogba was disastrously bad last night, constantly losing the ball.

“It was more that he was simply playing within himself, happier to do a trick every now and again than to have an effect on the game.

“He was second best in almost every moment he was involved — though he made a nuisance of himself for the winner.”

And the Juventus striker teased a possible transfer for Pogba, saying he hopes to one day play on the same team as the 25-year-old again.

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 13:27

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Rare 50p coin sells for nearly £300 on eBay

A RARE 50p coin has sold for a whopping £290 on eBay – and Royal Mint has just released a new batch.

Millions of Brits collect coins and often rare ones can sell for hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds. The rarer the coin the more sought after and valuable it becomes. The coin in question, is a 50p piece which was produced in 2003 and features treasured Christmas character The Snowman. The commemorative coin was launched on the Isle of Man and only 10,000 were ever minted.  It was released as a limited-edition coin to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the much-loved classic The Snowman by children's author and illustrator Raymond Briggs.

The highest price the festive coin has fetched on eBay recently is £292 after 29 people bid for it at the end of October. And it rarely sells for less than £200 when one of the rare coins makes its way onto the auction website. The 50p coin – which is technically only worth its face value of 50p – was produced by the Pobjoy Mint in Surrey, which used to make all of the Isle of Man's coins and banknotes until last year.

**Rare coins: How to find out if your UK coins are worth THOUSANDS**

SOUGHT AFTER: The coin is sold for hundreds on eBay despite being worth 50p (Pic: eBay)

NEW: The colourful coins were released by the Royal Mint today (Pic: Royal Mint)

The coin was re-released in 2008 with the same design but it never entered general circulation.

And this week three new Snowman 50p coins were released by Royal Mint – and two of them sold out within hours.

They won't enter general circulation though so there's little chance of one of these valuable coins ending up in your spare change.

The Snowman coins aren't the only valuable 50ps around.

BUSINESS: Selling coins and notes has become popular in the past couple of years (Pic: Getty)

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 12:54

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Pyramid in Trafalgar Square and airport over Thames: The London landmarks that NEVER WERE

A HUGE pyramid in Trafalgar Square and an airport over the River Thames next to the Houses of Parliament are among the bizarre landmarks which were planned for London but never built.

Some of the capital's most ambitious construction projects which never saw the light of day but would have transformed the city's skyline have been revealed. In a series of pictures created by property development company Barratt Homes, it is possible to see what the city would look like if those plans had been realised. Among the most astonishing designs for London was a 300ft pyramid to be built in the middle of Trafalgar Square.

Designed in the 1820s, the pyramid would have commemorated Britain's victories in the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of the Nile. With 22 steps, the building was to pay tribute to each year of the two Anglo-French wars. Back in 1934, plans were drawn up for an airport built over the River Thames right next to the Houses of Parliament. The huge landing field would have stretched 700m (0.4 miles) from Westminster Bridge to Lambeth Bridge.

Lifts were to be built into the huge pillars to take passengers from the ground to the runway, while the airport would have been high enough above the Thames to allow ships to pass underneath.

Crystal Palace Park in Sydenham, southeast London was once home to a huge glass and iron structure built in 1851 for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.

The mammoth structure — which became known as Crystal Palace — stood until 1936 when it was destroyed by a catastrophic fire.

But before the building was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham, plans were made as to what to do with it.

One unbelievable idea put forward was to create a 1,000ft skyscraper with a lift in the middle to carry visitors.

Once at the top, visitors would have been treated to an incredible view across the city, taller than the Shard is today.

But unfortunately, the structure was never built, and modern architects believe it would most likely have collapsed under its own weight.

Traffic in the heavily-congested city was a problem for Londoners in the past just as it is today.

FUTURISTIC: The designs for the Westminster Airport were originally set out in a magazine (Pic: POPULAR SCIENCE)

And in the 1960s, one scheme was for a Central London Monorail to carry passengers above the city's streets.

The Carlton Hotel was one of the capital's most luxurious establishments until it was badly damaged by bombing during World War 2.

Built in 1899, the elegant site on the corner of the Haymarket and Pall Mall was closed in 1940 and finally demolished in 1957 when it was replaced by the High Commission of New Zealand.

But in another new image, we can see what London would look like if the beautiful hotel still stood.

Barratt Homes described the designs as: "Five of the most jaw-dropping designs that would have completely changed the landscape of London."

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 12:48

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Crazy things women couldn't do 50 years ago

The year 2017 has not been without its challenges when it comes to women's rights. Federal defunding of Planned Parenthood and government mandates threatening birth control coverage benefits have spurred women's marches all over the country. And while these demonstrations have certainly been enough to prompt concern about women's equality in our country, it's also important to remember just how far we've come.

It's hard to believe that in the 1960s, which doesn't even seem that long ago, women weren't allowed many things that we take for granted today. Here are some crazy things women were unable to do just 50 years ago. 

Get their own credit card

With the current number of banks out there, you don't have to look far these days to find somebody who is willing to give you a credit card, even if your credit score is less than perfect. But ask a woman trying to get a credit card in the 1960s and she'll probably have a very different story to tell. 

According to an article in Smithsonian, just 40 years ago women applying for credit cards could be inundated with a slew of personal questions, including if she was married or single and whether or not she planned on having children. Many banks also required women to have a man co-sign their credit card applications. 

Even Hillary Clinton recalls once being denied a credit card. "I got a letter back saying that I could not apply for my own credit card, I would have to use my husband's. And so this is not like ancient history," she said in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "And I was making more money than he was and I actually was ready to have my own credit card."

Serve on a jury

According to the Library of Congress, a female juror was practically fiction. Even after the passage of the 19th amendment, which qualified women as "electors," it took some time before states passed legislature to have them included in jury selection. Until that happened in 1957, women were only called to serve on very rare occasions, typically involving female defendants. It wasn't until 1973 that women were finally allowed to serve in juries across all 50 states. 

Get birth control

The FDA approved birth control as a contraceptive in 1960 but, according to Planned Parenthood, many states, including Connecticut, didn't actually allow doctors to prescribe it. It was then that Estelle Griswold, an activist for birth control access and then-executive director for Connecticut's Planned Parenthood, opened a health center that provided birth control, which resulted in her immediate arrest. Her case went to the Supreme Court and in 1965, birth control became legal for married women. Griswold v. Connecticut set the momentum for other cases, including Roe v. Wade, which protects the private medical decisions of women, including the right to abortion. 

Access the morning-after pill

Like birth control, emergency contraceptives, also known as the morning after pill, had their fair share of setbacks. According to CNN, the FDA approved the first emergency contraceptive kit in 1998. Since then, as many as 5.8 million women have reported using the morning after pill at least once to prevent pregnancy, according to USA Today.

Join the Ivy League

If you had the privilege of attending a school like Harvard or Yale, count your blessings because, unfortunately, women in the 1960s (and before that) weren't quite as lucky. In fact, Yale didn't become coeducational until the fall of 1969. Other institutions took even longer. Columbia University, for instance, recently celebrated 25 years of coeducation. According to Columbia's community newspaper The Record, the university was an all-male institution until 1983. 

And while Radcliffe College at Harvard was founded in 1879 "to furnish instruction and the opportunities of collegiate life to women and to promote their higher education," women and men were still taught separately until most classes became coed in 1946 and then finally, in the 1960s, Harvard degrees were given to Radcliffe women (signed by both Harvard and Radcliffe presidents). Still, it wasn't until 1999 that Radcliffe officially merged with Harvard. 

Attend military academy

In the 1960s, getting into military academy was equally as impossible as attending an Ivy League university for women. The United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, probably the most well-known military training academy in the country, first welcomed women cadets in 1976 — that's just 40 years ago! 

"Of the 119 women entering that day, I suspect all of us, along with the men, can say those days were life-changing," retired Col. Debra M. Lewis, said in an interview with the U.S. Army. 

Keep their jobs while pregnant

Maternity leave policies in the U.S. are far from perfect, but can you believe that 50 years ago, you could actually be denied a job if you were pregnant? Even worse, a company could fire you for becoming pregnant. It wasn't until the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 that pregnancy discrimination became illegal. Since then, companies have been forbidden by law to discriminate based on pregnancy when it comes to employment — including hiring, firing, pay, etc. 

Complain about sexual harassment at work

The workplace was far from friendly for women 50 years ago. In addition worrying about losing your job if you became pregnant, you would have also had zero protection against sexual harassment in the office. According to Time, the term "sexual harassment" was first coined in 1975 by a group of women at Cornell University when Carmita Wood, a former employee at the university, filed a claim for unemployment benefits. Wood had quit her job after her unwelcome touching from her supervisor. By 1977, multiple courts ruled that it was legal for a woman to sue her employer on the basis of harassment. 

Deny sex to their husbands

As if the possibility of being harassed without consequence isn't scary enough, women weren't always protected from being raped either. In fact, marital rape was not recognized as a crime until the 1970s. According to Time, the first spousal rape conviction is believed to have happened in Salem, Massachusetts, when a drunk bartender showed up at the home he once shared with his estranged wife and raped her. 

Practice law

Famous female lawyers like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor, and Sandra Day O'Connor make it easy to forget that 50 years ago, having a law career was virtually impossible for a woman. According to a report published by Cornell University, in the 1960s, NYU reported that 90 percent of the law firms contacting its placement office refused even to interview women. 

Box in the Olympics

In the past 50 years, women have continued to shatter glass ceilings across all industries and sports is no exception. In 2012, the Olympics made history when they officially added women's boxing to its roster of competitions. "I am delighted that London 2012 will take its place in the Olympic tradition of advancing women in sport," Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organizing Committee, said in an interview with The New York Times. 

We are delighted too, but just a little sad that it took until 2012.

Still a long way to go

Despite the many challenges women still face in the world today, there's no doubt that we've made significant strides toward equality in the last 50 years. Every day, strong women continue to fight for equal pay, fair maternity leave policies, and the freedom to make decisions about our own bodies. As long as we continue to work together toward progress, we will reach our goals. If there's one thing that history has taught us, it's that a determined woman can change history.


majsdesaint Posted on November 09, 2018 12:24

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Surprising things men found attractive 50 years ago

Fifty years doesn't seem like a very long time in the vast scheme of things, but it's enough time for things to have drastically changed. The differences between the late 1960s and today go beyond the obvious, such as the astonishing technological advances that have been made since then. Beauty standards were also shockingly different, reflecting the turbulence of the era. Here are some of the most surprising things that men found attractive 50 years ago.

Light skin

Racism was rampant in the 1960s, although the Civil Rights Movement helped to create significant change by the end of the decade. Anti-miscegenation laws, which had prevented people in several states from marrying those of another race, were struck down in 1967. In spite of the reforms made in the 1960s, racial prejudice was still prevalent. By the 1960s, the Miss America Pageant still didn't allow African-American contestants. In 1968, a Miss Black America Pageant was held on the same day as the Miss America Pageant in response to the organization's discrimination. It would be another two years before an African-American woman, Cheryl Browne, won a state title in the Miss America Pageant competition.

Even within the African-American community, a preference for lighter skin was apparent, although this slowly began to change in the 1960s with people embracing their skin color. Things are a little better today, but there is still discrimination against those with darker skin. A 2016 Time article said even in modern times "dark skin is demonized and light skin wins the prize" because of the "deeply entrenched racism" of the United States.

Rail-thin bodies

For a time, it looked like fuller figures would be, if not the dominant ideal of beauty, at least an accepted standard. In the 1950s and early 1960s, voluptuous women like Marilyn Monroe were cultural icons. Still, "there was also a significant move toward slimness," wrote Sarah Grogan in Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children. As the decade progressed, the slim trend became more pronounced, becoming "particularly acute… when the fashion Model Twiggy became the role model for a generation of young women." As time went on, "models became thinner and thinner," wrote Grogan.

Flat chests

As models became thinner, curves became less desirable. It was in the late 1960s when the obsession with eliminating cellulite began. Linda Przybyszewski wrote in The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish that at this time "curvaceous women were passed over in favor of underweight teenagers."

The desire to be thin led to a preoccupation with weight, especially among younger girls. "Before the 1920s, teenagers worried about becoming better people," wrote Przybyszewski. By the 1960s, however, "weight loss became the primary obsession."

Flat butts

The desire for flatter chests correlated with an obsession for smaller butts. Przybyszewski wrote that the fear of cellulite caused women to do anything they could to eliminate "what they identified as water, wastes, and fat trapped inside women's hips and thighs." One woman who was written about in Vogue magazine in the late 1960s "managed to reduced her 39-inch hips down to 34 inches through exercise, 'standing correctly,' and using 'a special rolling pin.'" Such regimens were typical in the late 1960s. "If you didn't want to rub your butt yourself," wrote Przybyszewski, "you hired a masseuse to do it for you."

The desire for more boyish figures was not entirely to please men or to conform to fashion. Battleground: The Media, edited by Robin Andersen and Jonathan Alan Gray, noted that "the changing shape of women's bodies has in many ways served to reflect larger cultural values." Throughout history, "a thin, straight figure was prized" at times "when women were striving to demonstrate their equality."

Exposed legs

In Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century, Akiko Fukai wrote that "the young found that displaying their physique was the most effective means of setting themselves apart from the older generation." The miniskirt came into vogue as "bare legs… developed through various conceptual stages in the 1960s."

As hemlines rose, more attention was paid to the length and shape of a woman's legs. In Women of the 1960s: More Than Mini Skirts, Pills and Pop Music, author Sheila Hardy wrote that many women felt they "did not have the legs for a miniskirt." The emphasis 1960s fashion placed on women's legs also influenced shoe styles. Tall, pointed boots came into fashion, off-setting the short skirts of the era.


Coinciding with the preference for more boyish figures was the rise of unisex clothing and androgynous styles. This echoed a similar trend from the 1920s, when "androgyny [began to be] associated with the search for greater independence for women," wrote Rebecca Arnold in Fashion, Desire and Anxiety: Image and Morality in the 20th Century. Arnold wrote that the rise of androgyny in the 1960s helped to "denote freedoms gained and the rejection of a preceding claustrophobic femininity."

Perhaps even more interesting is that this inclination towards androgyny was also adopted by men. PBS noted that "for a brief time, mostly in 1968, unisex was everywhere, and with it came a fair amount of confusion in the media." The piece went on to quote Everett Mattlin, who, in 1968 wrote in the Chicago Tribune that "the whole male-female relationship is confused." Traditional gender roles were beginning to evolve at this time, which Mattlin believed could lead to a "healthier climate."

The Lolita look

The suppression of women's curves led to the popularity of what Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960's and 70's, edited by Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle, called a "prepubescent look." Lithe, young-looking Lolita types like Twiggy dominated the fashion world. This "look of exaggerated youthfulness expressed the associated sensibility that maturity, in dress or behavior, was a dirty word, a sign of premature death, and therefore something to be warded off as long as possible."

According to The Mancunion, the 1960s have today "become a symbol for the social conflict between the old and the new." The "Lolita look" embodied the spirit of the era, representing youth and vigor.

Going braless

The rebellion against traditional gender norms was also evidenced in women's undergarments. By the late 1960s, many women were going braless as "a political, protest move symbolizing freedom and rejection of traditional views of femininity," wrote The Lala.

Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent contributed to making going braless not just a form of protest but also a fashion trend. His sheer designs were always modeled by women who wore no undergarments beneath them. This, too, was a political statement. Dazed wrote that "the decision was less about pleasing the onlooker, and more about asserting equality between the sexes."

Long, straight hair

The time period was noted for a departure from formality and tradition. In Fresh Lipstick: Redressing Fashion and Feminism, Linda M. Scott wrote that there was a "preference for long, straight hair" in the late 1960s. Many men also wore their hair long at this time. The changing hairstyles weren't just about following fashion. For many, they were also "acts of rebellion against the highly constructed female hairdos and very short male haircuts of the previous generation."


The 1960s might have been a time of change, but ads from the era show that women were still expected to be homemakers and sex objects. In spite of the great strides made towards gender and racial equality, women still did not have the same rights as men. Even by the end of the decade, it was legal for a bank to deny an unmarried woman a credit card — married women were often required to have their husbands co-sign. Some states still banned women from serving on juries. 

When it came to higher education, attending an Ivy League school was incredibly rare for women in this decade. The University of Pennsylvania and Cornell both allowed women to attend as of the 1870s, but only in special circumstances. Yale and Princeton didn't start accepting women until 1969, while Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth held out until the 1970s. Columbia didn't offer admission to women until 1981.

In The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, Betty Friedan summed up the frustration of the generation, writing, "A woman today has been made to feel freakish and alone and guilty if, simply, she wants to be more than her husband's wife."


A lot of people envision the 1960s as a decade long booze-fest where day drinking (especially at work) was the norm. While this is partially true, it was far more acceptable for men to indulge in multiple alcoholic beverages each day than women. More and more women were moving away from conventional gender stereotypes, but women who drank frequently were seen as decidedly unfeminine. A glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail on the weekend was acceptable, but getting drunk was not. 

Warning women not to drink too much was not just a societal pressure, but one that was backed up by public service announcements of the day as well as the mainstream media. "People think of the woman drunk as an old hag," warned the Saturday Evening Post in 1962. "Among men, heavy drinking is often taken as a sign of virility, and the phrase, 'Drunk as a lord,' is a tribute. No one ever said approvingly, 'She was drunk as a lady.'" That sentiment still remained true by the end of the decade.


Drinking in excess may have been taboo for women looking to attract a man, but smoking was considered attractive. While a link between smoking and lung cancer had been established years before, the practice was still widespread. In 1964, the surgeon general warned that "Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action."

In spite of such warnings, smoking was largely considered to be glamorous and sophisticated. The tobacco industry targeted women in the 1960s, taking advantage of the growing feminist movement by portraying smoking as the pinnacle of gender equality. Virginia Slims were launched as a women's cigarette in 1968, with the slogan "You've come a long way baby!" Other cigarette ads from the late 1960s show young, attractive women partaking in what is shown as an elegant pastime, conveying the message that women who smoked were refined and sexy.


By the late 1960s, more women were working than ever. While they were making great economic strides, working women faced a certain stigma. It was far more acceptable for single women to work than married women, as a woman's primary duty was still expected to be to her family. In 1967, just 44 percent of married American couples lived in dual income households, compared to more than half of married couples today. Working wives and mothers were thought to destabilize home life and their families. 

History professor Stephanie Coontz told the Harvard Business Review that middle-class women were the most stigmatized, and that if they did choose to enter the workforce they were expected to wait until their children had grown. "And these women — it is hard for modern people to understand just how insecure, how depressed, how a low the self-esteem was of these stay-at-home moms in those days," she said.

By the late 1960s, more women were working than ever. While they were making great economic strides, working women faced a certain stigma. It was far more acceptable for single women to work than married women, as a woman's primary duty was still expected to be to her family. In 1967, just 44 percent of married American couples lived in dual income households, compared to more than half of married couples today. Working wives and mothers were thought to destabilize home life and their families. 

History professor Stephanie Coontz told the Harvard Business Review that middle-class women were the most stigmatized, and that if they did choose to enter the workforce they were expected to wait until their children had grown. "And these women — it is hard for modern people to understand just how insecure, how depressed, how a low the self-esteem was of these stay-at-home moms in those days," she said.

Leg makeup

The rise of the miniskirt meant that women felt the pressure to put their best leg forward. By the mid 1960s, a new trend was emerging: leg makeup. Makeup had been used on legs before, perhaps most notably during World War II when a shortage of stockings propelled women to draw on stocking seams with eyeliner to make it look like their legs weren't bare. The leg makeup of the 1960s, however, was primarily used to cover up flaws that were now exposed thanks to the shorter hemlines of the era. Women would carefully apply makeup to their legs to cover up blemishes before putting on hosiery. Bruises, scars, and other imperfections were covered up with cosmetics, and then further concealed with stockings.

The use of leg makeup shows just how conflicted women in this era were. The women's liberation movement was empowering females, and women were beginning to embrace their bodies, but many of them still felt the pressure to conform to society's beauty standards.

Athletic skills

Athletic women were "in" at the end of the 1960s, but not for the reason that you might think. Athletics were viewed as a way for women to maintain "attractive" figures. Women became more active in sports in the 1960s, especially in high schools and colleges, although women's sports were not considered to be on par with men's sports.

A woman with an athletic physique was considered attractive, but female athletes had a long way to go to be accepted in society. It wasn't until 1972 that the U.S. Congress passed Title IX, which helped secure funding for women's sports. The first female athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, didn't do so until 1987. While female athletes today are considered strong and capable role models, the female athletes of the 1960s were largely viewed as hobbyists whose pastimes were only indulged in order to help them remain slim.


majsdesaint Posted on November 09, 2018 12:08

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All of the photos from behind the scenes at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

  • The 2018 Victoria's Secret show took place in New York on November 8.
  • 60 models walked the runway, all looking impeccably groomed.
  • This meant that there was a lot of getting ready to do.
  • See all the backstage pictures here.

The annual Victoria's Secret show is glamorous, exciting — and controversial. While some argue the parading of unbelievably taut, toned women in glamorous underwear sends a damaging message regarding body image, others believe we should be admiring the models for their impressive dedication to their physiques.

Whatever you think of the concept, however, most of us can't deny a fascination with what goes into creating the spectacle, which is an annual highlight for many. This year, the show took place in New York City on November 8, and it will be broadcast on December 2.

Some of the hottest names in the modelling world today took to the runway, including Adriana Lima, Kendall Jenner, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Candice Swanepoel, Winnie Harlow, Stella Maxwell, and Leomie Anderson. Scroll through the below for a taste of all the secrets, sparkle and selfies from backstage.

Charlotte Tilbury was the official makeup sponsor of the show.

Charlotte Tilbury

The look she'd designed was, appropriately, all about angelic beauty.

Charlotte Tilbury

"It’s an angelic filter to enhance what nature naturally gave you and make you feel like a beautiful, celestial angel… A look that lights up the runway and casts a magic makeup spell on the world!" Tilbury said.

Charlotte Tilbury

Hair stylist Anthony Turner was in charge of creating the famous Victoria's Secret goddess-style curls for the show.

Stella Maxwell

Kris Jenner popped in.

Kris Jenner, Charlotte Tilbury and Kendall Jenner

It was all hands on deck getting everyone ready.

Frida Aasen

There was lots of pampering to be done.

Leomie Anderson

But there was plenty of time for selfies...

Lorena Rae

...and posing.

Alexina Graham, Barbara Palvin, Yasmin Wijnaldum, Mary Katrantzou, Alanna Arrington, Subah Koj, Willow Hand, Mayowa Nicholas, and Leomie Anderson.

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 12:04

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10 creepy photos of 'ghosts' that will make you question everything

Spooky apparitions, spectral children, and wraithlike women in white have long been the subjects of traditional ghost loretold around the hearth — but we all know those are just fables. Right? They say the truth is stranger than fiction, and these 10 creepy photos will have you second-guessing whether they're real or not. Check them out below.

Sybell Corbet's 1891 photo of the Combermere Abbey Library in Cheshire, England, seems to depict the ghost of the late Lord Combermere, sitting in his chair.

The alleged ghost of Lord Combermere in 1891. Amateur photographer Corbet allegedly set up her camera and took this hour-long exposure while the funeral of her brother-in-law, Lord Combermere, was taking place four miles from the home. Interestingly, the apparition that appears to be sitting in the deceased Lord's chair is suggested to be Lord Combermere himself.

This group portrait, taken in 1919, is of Sir Victor Goddard's Royal Air Force squadron, and seems to feature the face of a mechanic who died two days earlier.

Sir Victor Goddard's RAF squadron. This group portrait of Goddard's squadron, which had served in World War I at the HMS Daedalus training facility, is said to feature the ghostly face of Freddy Jackson, a mechanic who had been accidentally killed by an airplane propeller two days earlier. His face is said to be visible behind the airman in the top row, fourth from the left.The photo was allegedly taken on the day of Jackson's funeral.

The photo on the right was said to show the spirit of a deceased terrier reuniting with his canine best friend.

The spirit of the terrier can allegedly be seen in the photograph on the right. According to a 1939 print of LIFE Magazine, the terrier in the left photograph was the beloved playmate of the big dog, pictured right. After the terrier died, the dog on the right was heartbroken. The above right photo was snapped by a psychic photographer of the big dog with its owner, and allegedly shows the spirit of the small terrier hovering directly over the big dog's backside.

This picture of the supposed ghost of Abraham Lincoln with his widow, Mary Lincoln, was taken circa 1870. It is considered one of the first examples of spirit photography.

The ghost of Abraham Lincoln with Mary Lincoln. William Mumler was originally an engraver in Boston who treated photography as a side-hobby. After developing a self-portrait and discovering a surprise "girl made of light" in the final print, he became one of the first spirit photographers— someone whose principal goal is to capture ghosts and spirits in photographs. The title earned him both acclaim and scorn from the spiritualist community. Though many accused him of fraud, no one was able to debunk his methods. The above photo purportedly depicts a shadowy late Abraham Lincoln hovering behind his mourning wife, Mary Lincoln.

William Hope, a premiere pioneer of spirit photography, took this photo of a couple and an alleged female spirit around 1920.

A couple with a young female spirit. Hope was hugely in demand as a medium: families wanting to get in touch with their deceased loved ones sat for his photographs.

As a member of the "Crewe Circle" — a group of spiritualists from Crewe, England — Hope claimed to be able to photograph spirits.

The alleged spirit of Major Leverson. Taken in 1931 by Hope, this picture purportedly depicts the spirit of Mrs. Hortense Leverson's deceased husband hovering behind her head.

Paranormal investigators sought to expose Hope as a fraud in 1922, but his believers never doubted him.

The alleged spirit of William Barrett. Hope was later exposed as a fraud in February 1922; paranormal investigator Harry Price went so far as to write in a report that: "William Hope has been found guilty of deliberately substituting his own [photographic] plates for those of a sitter... It implies that the medium brings to the sitting a duplicate slide and faked plates for fraudulent purposes." In other words, Hope used multiple exposure techniques to add ghostly spirits to photos. Hope's followers and fanbase remained loyal, and even claimed to spot the controversial photographer's ghost in photos after his death.

Originally taken in 1936 by Captain Hubert C. Provand, this photo allegedly shows a ghost that haunts Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England.

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall. According to legend, the identity of the ghost in the photograph — the "Brown Lady of Raynham Hall" — is none other than Lady Dorothy Walpole, the sister of the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, Robert Walpole.

According to lore, Walpole — the second wife of Charles Townshend — had an affair with Lord Wharton. When Townshend found out he locked her up in Raynham Hall, where she stayed until her death in 1726. London-based photographer Captain Hubert C. Provand snapped the photo in 1936, where it ran in Country Life magazine later the same year.This photo, taken in 1963, is of a supposed ghost named the "Specter of Newby Church."

Also named the "Newby Monk."

Reverend K. F. Lord/Wikimedia Commons/Fair Use When Reverend K.F. Lord took this photo in 1963 inside the Newby Church in North Yorkshire, England, it was met with skepticism: many believed the apparition was merely the result of a well-done double exposure. Lord maintained that the spectre in the photo wasn't doctored.

Richard Boursnell, a spirit medium and photographer, captured this photo of spiritualist William Thomas Stead and a purported phantom who was identified as Piet Botha, a Boer commandant killed in the South African War.

Richard Boursnell's 1902-photo.

A man named F. C. Barnes visited Boursnell in 1908 and attempted to expose the photographer as a fraud, claiming that he recognized the "phantom" in the photo as an image Boursnell had taken from a book of the late-Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 11:52

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Jealous girlfriend

A JEALOUS girlfriend drove her boyfriend's ex-lover to attempt suicide after posting sexual pictures of her on Instragram.

Businesswoman Rachel Dale, 28, posted the pictures of the unnamed victim during an "impulsive" bout of jealousy. The clothing boss found the graphic images on Alex Montgomery's phone on her birthday – before sharing them with her 2,000 followers and warning the victim they would be "all over the internet tomorrow".  Dale, who lives in a converted corn mill in Stalybridge, deleted them after eight minutes but by then they had circulated on forums.The victim was so devastated she tried to kill herself and required hospital treatment. 

At Tameside Magistrates Court, Greater Manchester, Dale wept as she admitted an offence of disclosing a private sexual photograph with intent to cause distress under ''Revenge Porn laws.'' But as recruitment boss Mr Montgomery watched from the public gallery, she walked free with a suspended jail term after she claimed the offence occurred after she had been redundant from another clothing firm where she had been a retail buyer. 

According to Instagram their business social media site now has 27,400 followers. The court heard Mr Montgomery, 28, had a brief affair with the woman several years ago before he met Dale and she sent various explicit pictures of herself to him.

SELFIE: Dale's post was on Instagram for '8-9 minutes' before she deleted it (Pic: CAVENDISH)

The woman had asked Mr Montgomery to delete the images just a day after she sent them but the court heard the explicit pictures remained on his phone.

Prosecutor Ashley Seetal told JPs: ''In October this year the defendant was in a relationship with Mr Montgomery and she finds these pictures of the victim on his phone before uploading them to Instagram, a popular social media site.

“The Instagram account which the images were uploaded on was a joint Instagram account used by the defendant and Mr Montgomery. This had been set up and was used to promote the defendant and Mr Montgomery’s business which they worked together on. 

“The account had 2,000 followers. These pictures were uploaded and made public, this means that the images can be seen by all 2,000 followers.

"Prior to uploading the images to Instagram, the defendant sent the victim a message and in that message she alluded to posting the pictures online and in one message she said: “they will be all over the internet tomorrow”.

“The images being uploaded of a graphic and intimate area, were shared to a number of group chats and social media chats.  The pictures were up for ten minutes, taken down, then immediately re-uploaded the following afternoon.

POSTED: Dale with boyfriend Alex Montgomery, who received the pictures to his phone (Pic: CAVENDISH)

“The victim did attempt to take her own life, this was a serious attempt and she was taken to hospital and received treatment. 

"The images when posted onto instagram the popular social media site, were viewable to a number of followers and the wider public. There is evidence of serious distress and serious significant psychological harm.” In mitigation, Dale's defence lawyer Gavin Clarke said: “This is a lady who on October 1 this year was in a relationship with her partner for two-and-a-half years.

“They have a shared account due to their business with the purposes of their business together. At 7.29am she has been awoken by a number of images sent from a third party, from the victim, sent to her partner at the time.

RAP: Dale was spared jail at Tameside Magistrates Court (Pic: CAVENDISH)

“She sees these images, graphic and explicit images and various and she is devastated, she is mortified. She then texts the victim and pre warns her. Yes, she does upload those to an Instagram profile. They are up there for 8-9 minutes. They are not up there for eight months, they are not put on a streaming site. 

“They are uploaded to an Instagram account with between 1,500 to 1,600 followers. It was posted for between 8 and 9 minutes at 7.30 in the morning. In terms of how many people who have viewed those, the numbers are going to be extremely limited.

''The person who followed the account would have to be on that account at that time. They would have to be looking at that particular account.

"There is no preplanning, this is a spur of the moment. This young lady, as soon as she calmed down, she realised the error of her way and took it down, that’s the end of the story." Dale was sentenced to 12 weeks jail suspended for a year and was ordered to pay £200 in costs and surcharges. She did not comment after the hearing. 

jmparker Posted on November 09, 2018 10:54

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A Russian troll farm set an elaborate social media trap for the midterms — and no one bit

Nov. 8, 2018 / 12:06 AM GMT

By Ben Collins

A website claiming to be run by an infamous Russian disinformation group announced on Tuesday that it had executed another influence campaign before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections — only its reach appeared to be far smaller than similar efforts before the 2016 election.

The website, claiming to be a part of Russia’s Internet Research Agency, or IRA, revealed dozens of Instagram accounts on a website called shortly before polls began to close on Tuesday. The website also claimed it knew the results of the election, despite having obvious errors such as predicting a win by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who did not run for re-election.

The website drew little attention despite efforts to tip journalists to its presence, and a survey by NBC News of social media accounts associated with the website showed that the campaign appeared to have had far less reach than the 2016 campaign that garnered millions of social media interactions and even tricked mainstream news outlets.

The campaign’s relatively low impact left some experts wondering if Russia’s ability to manipulate social media campaigns is diminishing — or if the country’s multimillion-dollar influence campaign was bluffing after what appeared to be a failed disinformation operation.

Clint Watts, a former FBI agent who is an NBC News contributor, said the website along with the Twitter accounts and YouTube videos associated with it appeared to be the final part of a weekslong strategy aimed at baiting American media outlets into amplifying talking points about Russia’s election hacking threat.

Watts said inflating the impact of operations is “as old as any Soviet disinformation strategy.”

“When they’re overt and sloppy, they’re trying to convince you of something they didn’t actually do,” Watts said. “When they’re covert and they’re found out later, they’re trying to convince you of something they’re actually trying to do.”

“They’re also trying to show, ‘A-ha, these social media companies can’t stop us.’”

55 Savushkina street in Saint Petersburg, Russia, a location used by the Internet Research Agency .Google Street View

The IRA emerged in the aftermath of the 2016 election as the primary source of Russia’s election meddling efforts. Thirteen IRA employees based in St. Petersburg were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in February for meddling in the 2016 election, and another employee of the Kremlin-funded group was indicted last month for meddling in the midterms.

On Monday, Facebook announced it had taken down dozens of accounts on Instagram after a tip from law enforcement. NBC News flagged the IRA website to Facebook when it posted the names of the accounts on Tuesday.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to NBC News that some of the accounts listed on were the same ones pulled from Instagram. Other accounts listed on the site, which had evaded detection, were pulled off of Instagram late Tuesday night by Facebook. Facebook cited U.S. government intelligence that had identified some of the accounts in its determination that the accounts were created by the IRA.

On Tuesday night, the Department of Homeland Security said foreign influence campaigns remained active around the election.

The troll accounts ran the political gamut from fake liberal fan pages that supported CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert to accounts purporting to be run by far-right Infowars fans. Apolitical accounts trying to cast a wide net — like one called Fit Black Queens, which mostly posted women in workout clothes and had more than 1 million interactions — and far-right conspiracy accounts appeared to gain the most traction. Many of the new IRA accounts trafficked in the same tropes from the 2016 election, but have had less reach.


On Election Day, the website flaunted a massive influence campaign it claims went undetected, but did not provide much evidence as to its effectiveness.

"Whether you vote or not, there is no difference as we control the voting and counting systems. Remember, your vote has zero value," read text on the website. "Facebook and intelligence agencies tried to stop us but they only managed to uncover 1/25 of the whole picture."

Alex Stamos, a former Facebook chief security officer and now an MSNBC contributor, said that the midterms influence operation “looks like an effort by the Russian troll factory to try to turn lemons into lemonade,” and drum up fear in the American electorate.


“Most of the posts we observed looked to be aimed at building audiences to be manipulated later, which would be consistent with past Russian Internet Research Agency operations,” Stamos said.

Before polls closed, the IRA site also posted a spreadsheet claiming to know the results of every Senate contest in advance.

“The list of projected winners was laughably incorrect,” Stamos said.

The people behind the website also appeared to try to stir up media coverage for the influence campaign. An NBC News reporter was sent a link to the website in a Twitter direct message on Sunday night. ThinkProgress disinformation reporter Casey Michel also received a message.

“Do you still worry about Russians controlling your selection? That is true. We’re still doing it and no one, including Mueller, can stop us,” the direct message read. The Twitter account associated with the direct message was suspended on Monday.

Last week, a Russian troll, who had appeared in several anti-Hillary Clinton videos before the 2016 election, resurfaced in a new YouTube video that was quickly pulled down by the company. In the video, the man said that his name was “Williams” and that he was trying to flee Russia but wasn’t allowed to defect and feared for his future in the country. A Twitter account claiming to be from “Williams” sent the video to several disinformation reporters last week before it was suspended by Twitter.

Independent disinformation researcher Josh Russell, who first identified hundreds of IRA accounts on Twitter and Reddit and who also received a message from “Williams” last week, said he was grateful that mainstream media didn’t bite on what he considered to be an obvious disinformation trap.

He also said the fact that foreign agents were able to create dozens of fake Instagram accounts without detection from the company shows that social media platforms are still far too susceptible to foreign disinformation campaigns.

“When you take a step back and look at what they were trying to accomplish in the midterms, it wasn’t to really directly sway anyone within these groups,” Russell said. “It was to build a set of accounts they could throw out to the public after the election and say, ‘Hey, we’ve been here the whole time.’”

Ben Collins

Ben Collins covers disinformation, extremism and the internet for NBC News.

Luke Posted on November 08, 2018 15:37

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Mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California

Nov. 8, 2018 / 8:39 AM GMT / Updated 3:18 PM GMT

By Alexander Smith, Pete Williams, Andrew Blankstein and Alastair Jamieson

Twelve people including a police officer were killed by a veteran of the Marines at a crowded bar in Thousand Oaks, California, late Wednesday, officials said.

Several hundred people were inside the venue, which was hosting a "college country night" for students, police said.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described the incident at the Borderline Bar and Grill as a "tragic, tragic situation."

'I'm scared:' Eyewitness describes seeing shooter inside Borderline Bar

Nov. 8, 201801:49

The shooter was found dead at the scene from a gunshot wound. Dean named the suspect as Ian Long, 28, who is a veteran of the Marines. Several law enforcement officials had earlier said he was aged 29.

Long has a history of run-ins with the police as recently as April this year, when deputies were called to his house after reports of a disturbance, Dean said.

Long was "somewhat irate," and "acting a little irrationally," according to the sheriff, but he was assessed by a mental health specialist who cleared him and didn't feel further action could be taken.

Other than that, police have had "several contacts" with Long over the years, described by Dean as "minor events" such as a traffic collision and he was a victim of a battery at a local bar in 2015.

Police were at his house Thursday morning and seeking a search warrant as part of the investigation.

The weapon Long used for Wednesday night's shooting was a Glock 21 handgun with an extended magazine, Dean said.

Law enforcement officials had earlier described him as a heavily tattooed white male. He was armed with a single handgun, was apparently not carrying a driver's license or any other form of ID, Dean said on "Today."

President Donald Trump sent two tweets paying tributes to the authorities and victims. He praised the "great bravery shown by police" and said "God bless all of the victims and families of the victims."

The police officer killed was named as Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year police veteran with a wife and son who was looking to retire in the next year.

"He was hard-working, he was totally committed, he gave his all and, tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero," an emotional Dean said. "He gave his life to save other people."


Helus, 54, arrived at the scene alongside a colleague from the California Highway Patrol within three minutes of reports of shots being fired at around 11:20 p.m. (2:20 a.m. ET Thursday), according to Dean.

After hearing more gunfire, Helus and the Highway Patrol officer entered the building and Helus "was struck multiple times with gunfire," according to Dean.

Sergeant killed in Thousand Oaks shooting was 'hero,' sheriff says

Nov. 8, 201804:55

The other officer went back into the building and dragged Helus out of the line of fire, but he died in the hospital hours later, the sheriff said.

A SWAT team, FBI and others officers arrived soon after. When they entered the building they found 11 people dead.

"They found people hiding in restrooms, people hiding in attics," Dean said. Other witnesses described people using bar stools to break windows and escape. "It's a horrific scene in there, there's blood everywhere."

Several witnesses reported seeing what they described as smoke bombs going off inside the venue, although police said they could not confirm that.

A single shooter was also found killed by a gunshot wound, Dean said, adding that it was unclear exactly who had killed the suspect. "We don't know who shot anybody at this point," he said.

People comfort each other near the scene of Wednesday's mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California.Mark J. Terrill / AP

Between 10 and 12 people suffered injuries of varying severity, others with more minor wounds escaping and taking themselves to the hospital, Dean added.

Pepperdine University, in nearby Malibu, said it believed some of its students were at the bar. It said it was working "to identify and provide support to those students."

Located around 40 miles west of Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks was recently ranked as one of the country's safest cities.

"I've been a cop for 41 years," Dean said. "But I've learned it doesn't matter what community you're in, it doesn’t matter how safe your community is, it can happen anywhere."

John Hedge told NBC News he and his stepdad were in the bar and were forced to take cover when the shooting started.

"I was actually about to leave when you start hearing pop, pop, pop. It sounded like fireworks or something," he said. "My stepdad dove and took cover and yelled at me, 'John, hit the deck! Hide!' So I get down. And the gunman started opening fire on the cashiers, the people working the cash register on the front desk."

Thousand Oaks bar shooting suspect not yet identified

Nov. 8, 201801:40

Kayla Simmons said she was inside the bar when shots were fired directly behind her. Bullets continued as she managed to escape outside into the parking lot.

"I saw the shots go off, although I didn’t really see the guy," she said. "I knew something was wrong straight away. I just wanted to get down as soon as I heard the first shot go off."

Hours after the shooting stopped, friends and family members gathered at the nearby Goebel Senior Center and waited anxiously for news.

Among them was Ken Dunham, whose son Jake, 21, was in the bar and remains missing.

"I keep calling it but there’s no answer," he told NBC Los Angeles. "It just keeps ringing out. And he always answers his phone."


He said he was alerted to the shooting by his son’s friends who raced to the house and banged on his door.

One college student who said he was a regular at the Borderline told the channel he had at least 10 friends inside.

"No one's gotten back to me," he said on camera without giving his name. "I'd like to hope for the best, but I have no idea."

The venue opened in 1993 and describes itself as a "haven for country line dancing folks of all ages." It says it's hosted many famous acts including The Beach Boys.

Thousand Oaks was ranked the third-safest city in the United States this year, according to the data analysis website Niche.

It is the 307th mass shooting in the United States this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Alexander Smith

Alexander Smith is a senior reporter for NBC News, based in London.


Pete Williams

Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent who covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court, based in Washington.

Andrew Blankstein

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western United States, specializing in crime, courts and homeland security. 

Alastair Jamieson

Alastair Jamieson is a London-based reporter, editor and homepage producer for NBC News.

Kurt Chirbas, Caitlin Fichtel and Saphora Smith contributed.

Luke Posted on November 08, 2018 15:25

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Warship SINKING after being rammed by tanker bound for Britain

A WARSHIP is sinking after it was rammed by a tanker bound for Britain while docked in a harbour in Norway.

Norwegian navy frigate KNM Helge Instad was crashed into by the other vessel and is rapidly taking on water. Eight people were injured in the crash and the warship’s crew of 127 have been evacuated from the listing vessel. Pictures show the 5,290 ton, 440 foot frigate lying low in the water as it sinks beneath the waves. Tugs can be seen rushing to help the ship as they desperately try to save it. The Maltese flagged tanker, Sola TS, was undamaged and its 23-man crew unhurt. 

Norway’s emergency services have confirmed the Helge Instad is sinking as there is “no control over the leak”. 

Sola TS was loaded with crude oil and was heading to Britain.

It was being towed out of the harbour when it somehow managed to ram the frigate. 

Norway’s Accident Investigation Board are trying to establish what exactly happened to trigger the crash.

SINKING: KNM Helge Instad lists badly as water readies to spill onto the deck (Pic: AFP)

Eirik Walle, of Norway's rescue centre, told Norwegian news agency NTB the collision smashed a hole in the side of the warship. He said: “It is taking in more water than they can pump out. There is no control over the leak and the stern is heavily in the sea."Firefighters have also confirmed the frigate is listing as it takes on water. A small oil slick has surrounded the ship following the collision.

RESCUE: Tugs attempt to rescue the £500 million KNM Helge Instad warship from the fjord (Pic: REUTERS)

The 62,000-tonne tanker sustained only slight damage and is waiting to be towed to a nearby oil terminal.

"The armed forces is now reviewing all the means available in the region to assist the KNM Helge Ingstad," Lieutenant Colonel Ivar Moen said.

Pictures show water has also overwhelmed the frigate’s helicopter platform on its stern.

"It took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it sinks where it is," an official for the rescue centre added.

CRASH: KNM Helge Instad was docked in the harbour when it was rammed by the tanker (Pic: REUTERS)

The £500 million Helge Instad was launched in 2007 and is one of five Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates operated by Norway. It is armed with ship-to-ship missiles, torpedoes and machine guns. Helge Instad had been taking part in NATO drill Trident Juncture. The ship had previously been part of an escort convoy which seized chemical weapons from Syria back in 2013.

jmparker Posted on November 08, 2018 13:46

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Jose Mourinho: A history of the Man Utd boss' most provocative celebrations

JOSE MOURINHO earned high praise from Manchester United and football fans around the world last night when he gestured towards Juventus fans at the Allianz Stadium - but when else has the controversial coach pushed the opposition's buttons?

Juventus part I and II

After receiving a torrent of abuse in Turin on Wednesday evening, and last time out when Juventustravelled to Old Trafford, Mourinho revelled in the fact his side produced a late comeback to win 2-1 last night. Cupping his hand to his ear, the embattled Manchester United boss gestured that he couldn't hear Juventus fans' abuse at the final whistle. Last month, when Paulo Dybala's goal separated the two sides in England, Mourinho raised three fingers to travelling Old Lady fans to symbolise the treble he won while manager of Inter Milan back in 2010. Juventus supporters hurled expletives at the United boss over the two legs, taking aim at him, his treble win and even his mother.

Jose Mourinho gestured towards Juventus fans last night (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho stuck three fingers up to Juventus fans last month (Pic: Twitter/ArenaSports)

Stamford Bridge return

Despite being arguably the club's best ever manager, Mourinho has lost the support of many Chelsea fans after his acrimonious 2015 exit.

The 55-year-old won the Premier League title during his second Stamford Bridge stint - but a dismal start to the following season saw him relieved of his duties in the December. Since, a number of Chelsea supporters have labelled him Judas, which Mourinho has not taken well. Last month, after Ross Barkley netted a 96th-minute equaliser to deny Manchester United all three points, the Red Devils coach again stuck three fingers up to the home supporters - this time in relation to his three Premier League crowns as Blues boss.

Jose Mourinho sticks three fingers up to Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho was involved in an altercation with Chelsea staff (Pic: Getty)

Gerrard slip

Liverpool fans could be forgiven for thinking they were set to win their first Premier League title back in 2014, whilst under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers. That was, until Mourinho's Chelsea turned up at Anfield in April to spoil the party. Steven Gerrard's infamous slip allowed Demba Ba to score the Blues' first, before a late Willian goal sealed all three points. Cue a passionate Mourinho storming down the Anfield touchline, pounding his chest and screaming into the camera. The Portuguese's long-running feud with the Merseyside outfit dates back to his first tenure as Chelsea boss.

Jose Mourinho marched down the Anfield touchline back in 2014 (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho and Victor Valdes clashed at the Camp Nou (Pic: Getty)

Inter's Champions League glory

During the aforementioned treble-winning season at Inter Milan, Mourinho's side defied the odds to make it all the way to the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. In the semi-final, they faced Barcelona - and had to play the remaining hour of the second leg with 10 men after Thiago Motta's red card. Mourinho's men held out to win the tie 3-2 on aggregate, which saw the coach sprint onto the Nou Camp pitch at full-time to celebrate with his fans. Victor Valdes confronted a jubilant Mourinho, demanding that he left the field.And ever since, Barcelona fans have made their feelings clear about the ex-Real Madrid boss.

Jose Mourinho celebrates Inter Milan's Champions League win with Massimo Moratti (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho's side knock Manchester United out after a late Costinha goal (Pic: Getty)

Jose Mourinho sprints down the Old Trafford touchline as Porto manager (Pic: UEFA/Youtube)

The Special One

Back before he burst onto the scene as 'The Special One', Mourinho won the Champions League with underdogs Porto. During their run to the final, Manchester United fans got their first taste of a man who would one day be managing at Old Trafford himself. As Costinha netted an agonising late rebound from a free-kick to send Sir Alex Ferguson's men out of the competition, Mourinho made the long run down from the away dugout to celebrate with his players at the corner flag. Just a few months later, he would back at Old Trafford, this time managing rivals Chelsea.

jmparker Posted on November 08, 2018 12:10

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Superbugs to kill 2.4MILLION people in 'modern plague' as urgent warnings issued

SUPERBUGS could kill 2.4million people worldwide as they become more resistant to antibiotics, experts warn.

More than 90,000 Brits could be among the victims of treatment-resistant superbugs in Europe and North America. In total, there will 1.3 million deaths across Europe over the next 30 years, according to a report by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The over-use of antibiotics is making the drugs designed to stop bacteria useless.Currently, there are 44,000 deaths from sepsis every year in the UK — many of which are due to antibiotic-resistant infections.

This modern “plague” could make routine operations such as c-sections lethal in just a decade.

One of the most deadly known superbugs is MRSA. A staggering one in 30 people carry MRSA on their skin, which is why hospitals now routinely take skin swab tests before people undergo surgery. Strains of E. coli and Salmonella, which live in the human gut, have also become resistant to first-line antibiotics.

FEARS: We have inadvertently made bacteria stronger (Pic: GETTY STOCK)

There are fears even third-line emergency antibiotics, saved for the most resistant life-threatening infections, will no longer work. The authors said hand-washing and reducing the amount of antibiotics prescribed by doctors for minor ailments could curb the death toll. Three out of four deaths could be avoided with a spend of £1.50 per person a year, the OECD calculated. The short-term investment would save money in the long run, the authors added.

DEADLY CULTURE: A blood petri dish showing MRSA (Pic: GETTY)

Antimicrobial resistance complications could cost up to £2.6 billion each year on average across the 33 countries included in the analysis. The report warned southern Europe risks being particularly affected, with Italy, Greece and Portugal forecast to top the mortality rates.

The report comes after health officials in England launched a campaign to persuade people with minor ailments not to ask for the drugs. Public Health England said antibiotics are essential for treating serious bacterial infections, but the drugs are frequently used to treat coughs, sore throats and ear aches.

RISK: Routine operations could become impossible (Pic: GETTY STOCK)

The health body's latest campaign reminds people that if they are feeling unwell, "antibiotics aren't always needed". Tim Jinks, head of the Wellcome Trust's Drug-Resistant Infections Priority Programme, said: "This new OECD report offers important insight into how simple, cost-effective surveillance, prevention and control methods could save lives globally."Drug-resistant superbugs are on the rise worldwide and represent a fundamental threat to global health and development.“This report provides yet further evidence that investing to tackle the problem now will save lives and deliver big pay-offs in the future."

jmparker Posted on November 08, 2018 11:58

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Four stabbed in London in just 24 hours as bloodbath continues

FOUR people have been stabbed in London today in the latest knife attacks to hit the capital.

The Met Police confirmed seperate stabbings took place within hours of each other in Hackney, White City and Leyton. And last night, a terrifying attack was reported in West Hampstead. The incidents come amid growing alarm about a spate of fatal stabbings in London.Cops have vowed to flood the streets with extra officers – while mayor Sadiq Khan warned Londoners not to expect much change overnight, saying it could take a generation. 

EVIDENCE: Cop dogs investigate (Pic: LNP)

Officers were called just after midday on Wednesday to reports of a stabbing in White City, west London.  The victim, a boy believed to be in his teens, was found at the scene with life-threatening stab wounds and taken to hospital by ambulance. Within two hours, at 1.53pm, police were called to a separate incident in Hackney, east London. A man, who was found at the scene with stab wounds, was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

BLOODBATH: A man was found in Hackney, east London shortly before 2pm today (Pic: Twitter)

MAPPED: The stabbings are the latest in London, which has seen a massive crime wave this year (Pic: DS)

Nearby residents reported seeing the helicopter land and a heavy police presence.  One image appeared to show a man with injuries to his hands and wrists. Hours later at 4.30pm, a man in his 30s was stabbed repeatedly on Grove Green Road in Leytonstone. No arrests have yet been made over any of the incidents as inquiries continue.

CORDON: Cops blocked Leabank Square in Hackney Wick this afternoon (Pic: Twitter)

On Monday night, a 16-year-old boy, named locally as John, died in front of his parents in Tulse Hill in the fifth fatal stabbing in London in six days. It was the 119th violent death in London so far this year. The other stabbing victims in the past week were Rocky Djelal, 38, Jay Hughes, 15, and Malcolm Mide-Madariola, 17. An unnamed 22-year-old man was also attacked.

jmparker Posted on November 08, 2018 11:50

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Should you worry if your nipples point inward? Source: womenshealthmag Date: 07-11-2018 Time: 02:11:51:pm

Some things in life are absolutely certain: The sky is blue, Chris Evans is the best Hollywood Chris, and nipples always point outward...right?

Yes, definitely, to the first two—but as for the nipples thing? Maybe not. You see, while most nipples point outward (hello, headlights), it's totally possible for some types to, uh, retreat back into the breast.

Sometimes, it's totally NBD (you were born that way, baby); but other times, your nips might be trying to tell you something big is up—and you'd better listen.

Hold on, what exactly are inverted nipples?

Basically, they're nipples that appear to be retracted into the breast, instead of pointing outward.

Fewer than 5 percent of people are born with inverted nipples, says Stephanie Downs-Canner, M.D., an assistant professor of oncological breast surgery at the University of North Carolina.

This can happen when the lactiferous ducts in your nipples—which are responsible for delivering milk to the surface—are shortened or not fully developed, ultimately pulling back on the nipple. In these cases, the direction of the nipples is not necessarily indicative of anything, says Downs-Canner.

However, if your nipples have always pointed out, and now they've suddenly become inverted, that might be a red flag.

Well, what causes inverted nipples, and should I worry about them?

Again, if your nipples have always been inverted, take a seat, you’re good.

As for everyone else, one of the first things Downs-Canner checks up on when she encounters a newly inverted nipple is the possibility of an underlying cancer. For this reason, she stresses seeing a physician the moment you notice your nipple’s retracted in order to increase your chances of early detection.

But, while a sudden change in your nipples is something to definitely get checked out, your mind shouldn't go straight to a cancer diagnosis: “Other women can have inverted or retracted nipples if they’ve had a lot of infections of their breast,” says Downs-Canner.

Mastitis—inflammation of the breast tissue, primarily caused by breastfeeding—is an example of one of those infections that can cause retracted nipples, says Downs-Canner.

Another benign cause of nipple inversion: ectasia, or a clogged milk duct. “It happens when the ducts of the breast become frequently blocked or clogged," says Downs-Canner. FYI: You can get a clogged milk duct even if you're not breastfeeding. “It can happen to anyone,” at any time, says Downs-Canner.

Well, is there anything I can do about inverted nipples?

Depending on the cause, your nipple might eventually pop out again. After treatment for a breast infection, for example, there's a good chance your nipples will return to their original proud stances, says Downs-Canner.


For those born with inverted nipples, plastic surgery can help make them stick out, says Downs-Canner, though, not a ton of people opt to do this (and it's also not medically necessary): "Most people who are born with inverted nipples typically don’t seek cosmetic surgery," she says.

One more thing: When it comes to breastfeeding with inverted nipples, that's totally doable too, says Downs-Canner—it just might take a little more patience (and the help of a lactation consultant).


Luke Posted on November 07, 2018 17:13

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Ronaldinho has passport seized as court finds just £5 in his bank account

A court in Brazil has seized the passports of Ronaldinho and his brother over their failure to pay a fine for building on an environmental protection area.

The former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star and his brother, Roberto, were convicted of illegal construction in February 2015 and ordered to pay 8.5 million Brazilian Real (£1.7m).

Along with company Reno Constructions and Incorporations Ltd., they were found to have built a sugar mill with a fishing platform and a pier in a permanent preservation area on Lake Guaíba without permission.

Having so far defaulted on the payments and proving difficult to track down, the 38-year-old and his brother were taken to court again, and the public prosecutor said that an investigation into their bank accounts revealed a balance of just 24.63 Brazilian Real (£5). 

"There is no other measure than the retention of the passports as a coercive measure in the face of repeated unfair, abusive and total disrespect, disobedience and non-compliance with the legal system," the prosecutor argued.

The court in Rio Grande do Sul, the 2005 Ballon d'Or winner's home state, has now ruled that the footballing icon must submit his passport when he returns to Brazil from his current travels.

statement from Judge Newton Fabrício read: "The subjects responsible for the depletion of the environment have long been evading compliance with their legal obligations, even though they have the means to settle it and are public figures with high purchasing power able to compensate for the environmental damages that remain fully defaulted."

He continued: "Although photographed routinely in different parts of the world, corroborated by the gathering of Certificates of Migratory Movements, the defendants, curiously, in their country of origin, have an uncertain and/or unknown whereabouts.


"I determine the immediate seizure of the passports of the defendants by the authorities, with the additional order to include restriction on issuing a new passport until the fulfillment of the obligation determined in the sentence."

Ronaldinho officially retired from football earlier this year, having not played professionally since leaving Brazilian side Fluminense in 2015. 

He was capped 97 times by Brazil, scoring 33 goals – including two en route to World Cup glory in Japan and South Korea in 2002.

He joined Paris Saint-Germain from Gremio to begin his European career, which flourished spectacularly at Barcelona between 2003 and 2008.

Ronaldinho inspired back-to-back La Liga triumphs in 2004-05 and 2005-06, also winning the Champions League in the latter season.

He was at the peak of his powers as he claimed the Ballon d'Or in 2005; less so during a three-year stay with AC Milan, although he did feature in all-star line-ups alongside the likes of Paolo Maldini, Kaka and David Beckham.

Ronaldinho left San Siro midway through the Serie A title-winning 2010-11 season and returned to his homeland with Flamengo. He also experienced stints at Atletico Mineiro and in Mexico with Queretaro.

Luke Posted on November 07, 2018 17:02

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Pakistan reports card-skimming, but says no mass bank data breach

Pakistan's central bank rushed on Tuesday to reassure investors and consumers that its banking system had not been hacked after a mass skimming operation hit customers' credit and debit cards.

The skimming took details of nearly 20,000 debit and credit cards from 22 Pakistani banks, according to the Pakistan Computer Emergency Response Team (PakCERT), a monitoring group.

It was not immediately clear how much money was stolen using the cards, beyond an initial report of about $20,000.


The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on Tuesday it had already instructed all banks to increase their scrutiny after one lender reported the problem last week, but stressed that the banks themselves were not hacked.

"It has been noted with concern news items reporting that the data of most banks has been hacked. SBP categorically rejects such reports," a statement from the central bank said.

Earlier, Mohammad Shoaib, head of the Federal Investigation Agency's cyber-crime unit, told two television stations that "almost all" banks had been hit by hacking and a "large amount of money" had been stolen, though he gave few details.

PakCERT said in a threat report that BankIslami first noticed unusual transactions of 2.6 million rupees (about $20,000) on October 27 and temporarily shut down its international payments system.

"Subsequently, several other banks issued security alerts and either completely blocked customers' debit and credit cards or blocked their online and international use," PakCert said in its report.

BankIslami, in a statement, confirmed that it had shut down its international and online payments systems and notified the central bank. It said the initial illicitly withdrawn 2.6 million rupees had been returned to customers' accounts.

PakCERT said that details of the cards were posted on the dark net, an area of the Internet only accessible via special web browsers that ensure anonymity.

Dark net users could then access the cards to make online purchases but it was not clear how much money in total had actually been stolen.

Luke Posted on November 07, 2018 16:24

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Takeaway bosses JAILED after girl, 15, killed by kebab from filthy curry house

TWO takeaway bosses have been jailed over the manslaughter of a 15-year-old girl who suffered an allergic reaction to a kebab served up from a filthy curry house.

Nut allergy sufferer Megan Lee died from an asthma attack after she ate food ordered on Just Eat from the Royal Spice takeaway in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire. The teenager and her friend ordered online via the Just Eat website and wrote "prawns, nuts" in the comments and notes section.

However the delivered meal, which included an onion bhaji, a seekh kebab and a Peshwari naan, was later found to have the "widespread presence" of peanut protein. Last month a jury at Manchester Crown Court found takeaway owner Mohammed Abdul Kuddus, 40, and manager Harun Rashid, 38, guilty of unlawfully killing Megan, from Oswaldtwistle, by reason of gross negligence. The two-week trial heard there was a "litany of failings" in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept. Five days after Megan's death on January 1, 2017, the restaurant was immediately closed down following an inspection by Trading Standards and environmental hygiene officers.

Rashid, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, who had claimed he was merely a delivery driver at the restaurant at the time, was also found guilty of failing to discharge a general duty of employers, contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act, and another count of failing to put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures in contravention of European Union food safety regulations. Kuddus, of Belper Street, Blackburn, admitted those charges on behalf of himself and on behalf of Royal Spice Takeaway Ltd, trading as Royal Spice Takeaway. Rashid was handed thee years in jail, while Kuddus will serve a sentence of two years. 

TRAGIC: Megan Lee died after eating the contaminated kebab (Pic: PA)

Lee, who was diagnosed with a peanut allergy aged eight, endured an asthma attack a few hours after she and a friend ordered food online on from the takeaway in her home town of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, via the Just Eat website.

Her friend wrote "prawns, nuts" in the comments and notes section of the online order form for food which did not ordinarily contain either ingredient, Manchester Crown Court was told. They served a meal including an onion bhaji, a Peshwari naan and a seekh kebab which tests later showed had the "widespread presence" of peanut protein.Trading standards found the takeaway was filthy – littered with mouse droppings – and there were "no procedures" in place to protect allergy sufferers and no written records of their recipes. 

ROYAL SPICE: The two takeaway bosses face two and three years in prison (Pic: PA)

Mrs Justice Yip said Megan's parents Adam and Gemma had shown "dignity and courage" throughout the court process. She said: "They do not seek retribution but want their story to serve as a warning to others in the food industry so that other families will not be forced to experience the indescribable loss that they have suffered. "She (Megan) had made her family proud throughout her short life and would have continued to do so. She had everything to live for. No sentence I impose can begin to reflect the loss of Megan's life."She accepted that the defendants - both fathers - had expressed genuine remorse and that neither meant to kill the teenager.

She told them: "Neither of you actually foresaw the death of anyone. It never occurred to you that you would be responsible for the death of a young girl. Quite simply, you never gave the risk of a customer dying because of an allergy a moment's thought.

"You must now live with the guilt of what you have done and the suffering you have caused Megan's family and to your own families. All of this is a tragedy that could so easily have been avoided had you exercised the proper care to be expected of those who serve food to the public."

The judge added: "It is hoped that the message is heard that those who fail to take proper care in the supply of food to the public will face significant custodial sentences if a death results.

"Like Mr and Mrs Lee, I hope that this tragic case adds to the growing awareness in the food industry of what can happen if allergies are not taken seriously. "Those who fail to heed the warnings and who continue to flout food safety regulations may find the courts taking a harsher view in the future."

TRIBUTE: Megan Lee's family paid tribute to the tragic teen (Pic: CAVENDISH)

Samples of foodstuffs prepared on the premises were tested and detected the "widespread presence of peanut protein of levels that were unsafe for people allergic to peanuts", the court heard.

Peanuts were found to be present in the Peshwari naan, the onion bhaji and the seekh kebab. Trading Standards and environmental hygiene officers closed down the business on January 6, which is now under new management. Police said it was "only a matter of time" before someone was killed by the takeaway's substandard hygenie and procedures. 

KEBAB: Royal Spice was found to be filthy by Trading Standards (Pic: GOOGLE)

In a statement read outside court, Megan’s parents said: "Our lives will never be the same. The loss of our beautiful daughter has completely devastated us.

"Megan's positive presence and infectious smile will forever be missed. "It breaks our hearts that Megan didn't get the chance to sit her GCSE exams, something she had worked so incredibly hard for, to celebrate her 16th birthday or go to the school prom with her friends. "Megan didn't get the opportunity to fulfil her ambition of working in musical theatre, to explore the world, fall in love or have children of her own. "It's these thoughts that cause great sadness, because nobody deserved it more than Megan."

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 14:29

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Man Utd team to play Juventus: Jose Mourinho's likely line-up for Champions League clash

MANCHESTER UNITED face Juventus tonight with Jose Mourinho’s side in need of a result after recording just one Champions League victory this term.

United beat Swiss team Young Boys in their first match of the tournament but drew with Valencia and lost 1-0 to Juve in their next two games at Old Trafford. Mourinho’s men will have their work cut out in Turin tonight for a tie their manager says isn’t a must-win. He rejected the notion that the upcoming double-header against Juve and rivals Manchester City on Sunday could be season-defining, pinpointing the home match against Young Boys and trip to Valencia as key to their Champions League hopes. United will have to do without Romelu Lukaku tonight.

The Belgian striker and defender Diogo Dalot missed training yesterday, but captain Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini returned.

Lukaku has been out of form, having failed to score for his club since mid-September, and was dropped to the bench for United's 2-1 home victory against Everton on October 28.

The Belgian, who has scored only four Premier League goals so far this season, missed the trip to Bournemouth last Saturday due to injury, and is a doubt for Sundays’s Manchester Derby too.

Right-back Dalot, Fellaini and Valencia have all been absent due to injury but the latter two were part of the main group in Jose Mourinho's training session at Carrington before the travelling squad flew to Turin.

Man Utd boss Mourinho knows his side are in for a tough night (Pic: EPA)

Serie A leaders Juventus are top of Group H on nine points, with United second on four. The Italians won the clash at Old Trafford 1-0 last month. Here’s how Starsport expect Manchester United to line-up in Turin tonight.

Man Utd team: David de Gea - Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw - Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera - Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez

Juventus team to play Manchester United (predicted) 

Juventus team: Wojciech Szczesny - Joao Cancelo, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro - Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi, Rodrigo Bentancur - Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo

Man Utd come up against former star Cristiano Ronaldo again tonight (Pic: REUTERS)

United have been plagued by inconsistency this season and must put together a complete 90-minute performance to get anything from their Champions League game at Juventus later on Wednesday, Ryan Giggs has said. United were comprehensively outplayed in a 1-0 defeat to the Italian champions at Old Trafford last month and while they have beaten Everton and Bournemouth in their two matches since, Giggs said they are still blowing hot and cold.

"I've been really impressed with United in the last four or five games, especially second half," Giggs, who won two Champions League titles at United, told British media. "But I don't know what it is. As a United fan you are scratching your head. They have proven they can give anyone a game, but if you don't turn up for 45 minutes you will not win."You have to turn up for 90 minutes and United have the players," added Wales coach Giggs. "They were second best the other week, but I think it will be closer on Wednesday."

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 12:44

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Princess Diana at her best: Heartfelt letter to woman with low self-esteem UNEARTHED

A LETTER penned by Princess Diana to a woman suffering with low self-esteem more than 20 years ago has been unearthed.

The woman, named as Erika, had written to the late Princess opening up about her struggle. The Princess of Wales, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997, responded with heartwarming empathy.She wrote: "Dearest Erika, I have received your letter and of course read it with concern and a wish to support you in any way I can."There is a great deal of pain inside you, hence the block as you call it – that is a natural response for someone who has been through the traumas you've experienced."Reading between the lines of your letter I feel a very special lady is struggling with a low self-esteem because of all the bruises you had to deal with, mentally and physically."I do know that it takes great courage to write as you did and with that honesty and clarity the light will appear in your tunnel.

"I am thinking of you so much, hang on in there Erika. Lots of love from Diana x." The letter was dated November 29, 1995. It came days after her famous Martin Bashir BBC interview, which delved into her past marriage struggles with Prince Charles.

HEARTFELT: The start of Princess Diana's letter (Pic: ULIENSAUCTIONS/BNPS)

Now the letter is on sale from Julien's Auctions, with a reportedestimate of £4,000. Martin Nolan, from the company, said: "Our understanding is that Erika was a member of the public who was experiencing a troubled time and she wrote to Diana for advice and support as she herself had experienced a difficult time with the break up of her marriage. "Diana is very gracious and compassionate, and she offers great encouragement to Erika that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. "It seems as if she is speaking from her own personal experience when she writes this.

INSIGHTFUL: Princess Diana is interviewed by Martin Bashir (Pic: JULIENSAUCTIONS/BNPS)

SIGNED: The end of Princess Diana's letter (Pic: JULIENSAUCTIONS/BNPS)

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 11:21

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Brit man nearly CRUSHED to death by ice boulder 'dropped from PLANE’

A SHOCKED Brit says he is lucky to be alive after an “ice boulder” smashed through the roof of his home.

Jamie Shean, from Bristol, was watching tv with pal Rob Jarvis when they heard an “explosion”. The pair assumed a rogue firework has smashed through the window — but rushed up the stairs to a scene of destruction. An enormous hole had been torn through the roof and there were football-sized chunks of ice strewn around. Jamie, of Lockleaze, told Bristol Post: "It was a hell of a crash.

“I realised I would've been dead if I had been in bed at the time.”Jamie said it was between 10.15pm and 10.20pm when he heard the “almighty boom” which “sounded like an explosion”.

He said: ”I fully expected to find that someone had fired a firework through the window and it had gone off in the room.

"But the window was still there so I thought there had been a boiler exploded in the loft or something.

LUCK ESCAPE: Jamie and the hole ripped through his ceiling (Pic: SWNS)

"Then we looked around and saw all this ice, huge pieces of it, everywhere.”

The pair tried to save the ice — but some chunks were so huge they didn’t even fit in the freezer.

And when Jamie went outside to assess the damage and work out what had happened, all he could see was a large hole in the corner of his roof, just above his bed.

He said: "It's really hard to work out exactly how big the block of ice would've been.

MASSIVE: Some chunks couldn't even fit in the freezer (Pic: SWNS)

“It must have been the size of a sink or something.

"It smashed through tiles, a wooden joist and the bedroom ceiling and shattered into pieces."

Jamie’s landlord Ronnie Arathoon, who is contacting his insurance company and sending roofers for repairs, described the situation as “absolutely mad”.

"It's pretty crazy this could happen,” he said.

“It was like a boulder had crashed through, a boulder of ice.

BAGGED: Jamie kept some samples (Pic: SWNS)

“It's absolutely mad, what are the chances? "We've put it down to a plane, it's the only thing we can think has happened. I'm just glad Jamie is okay," he added. A spokesman for Britain's biggest airport, Heathrow, said there are around 25 reports of ice damaging British buildings a year. A spokesman for Heathrow said: "Whilst ice falls from aircraft are rare, ice can form on the outside of an aircraft when it is cruising at high altitude.

"As it descends into warmer air, these chunks may break away and fall to the ground.The spokesman also quashed rumours that ice blocks are from flushed plane loos. He added: ”Despite popular beliefs, modern aircraft do not have the facility to eject toilet waste whilst they are airborne."Waste collection happens when the aircraft lands at an airport and is disposed of responsibly.” Large ice chunks are spooky phenomena, known as megacryometeors. Scientists can’t agree what causes them, but they have been recorded since before planes were flying.

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 11:08

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WWE legend Shawn Michaels' manager dies aged 83

WWE legend Shawn Michaels' manager and trainer Jose Lothario has died aged 83 sparking a flood of tributes from across the wrestling world.

Lothario was a wrestling legend – winning 46 titles – and will be remembered by WWE fans for being the corner of the Heartbreak Kid throughout 1996. He was there when Michaels won the WWE Championship for the first time at WrestleMania 12 in an iconic 60-minute Ironman match against Bret Hart.  The NWA Hall of Famer had trained Michaels – regarded by his peers as one of the greatest of all time – during the 80s before he joined WWE. Former NWA president Bruce Tharpe announced Lothario's death on Twitter – with the wrestler being a mainstay of the brand for decades. He wrote: "So thankful that I had the opportunity to induct him into the NWA Hall of Fame while I served as President. "He was so happy and it was my pleasure to induct him. God bless you Jose Lothario and may you Rest In Peace."

Wrestling legend Kevin Von Erich said: "Jose Lothario was one of the most knowledgeable wrestlers to ever train me. He knew so much, and remembered everything.

"What a good, considerate, generous man. May God rest his Soul, and comfort those who loved him."

Fabulous Freebirds star Michael PS Hayes said: "So sorry to hear about the passing of Jose Lothario. What a Legend, especially in Texas.

"I am proud to say I stole my left from Jose, after eating quite a few of them. Love and condolences."

LEGEND: Jose Lothario trained Shawn Michaels and was an iconic wrestler (Pic: WWE)

In a statement, WWE said: "WWE is saddened to learn that Jose Lothario has reportedly passed away at age 83."Despite never winning a WWE-sanctioned championship or competing at WrestleMania, Jose Lothario –  born Guadalupe Robledo on Dec. 12, 1934 – made a lasting mark on the WWE Universe by simply agreeing to train a cocky teenager from San Antonio, Texas."A cocky teenager that grew up to become WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels."WWE extends its condolences to Robledo’s family, friends and fans."

WRESTLEMANIA: Shawn Michaels' mentor Jose Lothario was in his corner against Bret Hart (Pic: WWE)

Michaels has yet to comment on Lothario's death – with the pair appearing as a duo during his "boyhood dream" period from 1996 to 1997.

Lothario would regularly be at ringside to see his star student grapple, and even returned to the ring himself at the Mind Games show. He wrestled fellow manager Jim Cornette, beating him in swift fashion, while Michaels went on that night to have an acclaimed match against Mankind.

The duo would split at the Royal Rumble in 1997 – which was held in HBK's home city of San Antonio. 

LEGEND: Jose Lothario taught Shawn Michaels everything he knew (Pic: WWE)

Fans have also paid tribute to the legendary Lothario hailing him as a "great" and "one of the best". Others said "thank you for the great memories" and "without him we wouldn't have Shawn Michaels". Wrestling columnist Mike Mooneyham: "Pro wrestling lost another great one today with the passing of Jose Lothario.

"Jose was one of the legends we invited to our Charleston reunion back in 1998, and he was gracious and a consummate professional.

"Still remember the fun times he had here with Johnny Valentine."

jmparker Posted on November 07, 2018 10:49

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Migrants weigh whether to stay in Mexico, resume trek to US

MEXICO CITY – Thousands of Central American migrants will take at least a couple of days to rest in a Mexico City stadium as they debate whether to accept offers to stay in Mexico or continue their trek to the U.S. border.

Humanitarian aid stepped up Tuesday for the roughly 4,500 Central American migrants gathered at the Jesus Martinez stadium after an arduous journey that has taken them through three countries in three weeks. Mexico City officials said they are bracing as many as 5,500 migrants at the sports complex as more trickle in.

Members of the caravans of migrants, which President Donald Trump made a central issue in U.S. midterm elections, declined to take an immediate decision Tuesday night on whether to definitively stay in Mexico or continue north, opting to remain in the capital at least a couple more days.

"Nobody is in more of a hurry than me to get going (to the U.S. border), but we have to go all together," said Sara Rodriguez of Colon, Honduras. Rodriguez, 34, fled her country with her 16-year-old daughter Emily, after the girl began to draw unwanted attention from a drug trafficker.

Mexico is offering refugee, asylum or work visas to the migrants. The government said 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them while they waited for the 45-day application process for a more permanent status.

Rina Valenzuela, who is from El Salvdor, listened attentively to aid workers from the nonprofit Institute for Women in Migration as they explained the difficulties of applying for and securing asylum in the U.S. Valenzuela decided she would better off applying for refuge in Mexico.

"Why go fight there, with as much effort and as much suffering as we have gone through, just for them to turn me back? Well, no," she said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of city employees and even more volunteers were on hand Tuesday to sort donations and direct migrants toward food, water, diapers and other basics. Migrants searched through piles of donated clothes, grabbed boxes of milk for children and lined up to make quick calls home at a stand set up by the Red Cross.

Employees from the capital's human rights commission registered new arrivals with biographical data— such as age and country of origin— and placed yellow bracelets on wrists to keep count.

The atmosphere at the stadium in Mexico City was more institutional and organized than what migrants encountered on the road, where townspeople pushed bags of drinking water, tacos and fruit into their hands as they passed through tiny hamlets in southern Mexico.

But there were signs that the stadium was already nearing its capacity to hold 6,000 people.

Maria Yesenia Perez, 41, said there was no space in the stadium when she and her 8-year-old daughter arrived during the night, so the two from Honduras slept on the grass outside. Migrants pitched tents in the parking lot and constructed makeshift shelters from plywood covered with blankets and tarps. Forty portable toilets were scattered across the grass.

The stadium's enclosed space and government intervention makes it difficult for aid workers to reach the migrants, said Nancy Rojas, an Oxfam charity worker who has accompanied the migrants for weeks.

Four big tents have been set up for women and children to sleep under with thin mattresses and blankets, while men were relegated Monday night to concrete bleachers. Temperatures dropped below 52 degrees Fahrenheit (11 Celsius) during the night in a city some 7,300 feet (2,240 meters) above sea level and still hundreds of miles from the U.S. border.

Several smaller groups were trailing hundreds of miles to the south. Mexico City Mayor Ramon Amieva said the city needs to "reinforce" to meet the needs of the migrants, especially vulnerable children and pregnant women.

Mexico City's central market supplied 3.5 tons of bananas and guavas to refuel the crowd, plus 600 bottles of water. The human rights commission said it planned to set up more tents and eating areas.

Many of the migrants sought treatment for blistered and aching feet, respiratory infections, diarrhea and other maladies.

Luke Posted on November 07, 2018 06:55

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Chilling photos of Antarctica expeditions, past and present Francesca Street, CNN • Published 6th November 2018

CNN) — Henry Worsley is in the middle of nowhere. At every direction there is merely glistening whiteness, low glaring sun as far as the eye can see, reflecting off the blinding white snow.

In the frozen landscape at his feet, he carves out a haunting phrase: "I am the Antarctic."


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He snaps a photograph of the scene.

Now this evocative image forms one of the most memorable photographs in David Grann's new book "The White Darkness" -- a thrilling work of nonfiction charting the polar expeditions of a latter-day British explorer, Henry Worsley, and the adventures of his predecessor -- and idol -- Ernest Shackleton, in the early 1900s.

"All you see in this image is nothing but this white, icy scape and then this strange graffiti that he had written," says Grann, who is a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of acclaimed book "The Lost City of Z."

"The White Darkness" is published by Doubleday -- a division of Penguin Random House -- but started life as an enthralling long-read in The New Yorker in February 2018. Its title is taken from one of Worsley's audio dispatches:

"Anyway, I'm back on track and now happy I can part a straight line, even through another day of the white darkness."

Explorer Henry Worsley carved this chilling message into the Antarctic while trekking the polar region, alone.

Courtesy Lou Rudd

Both Worsley and Shackleton's stories, interwoven by Grann in his book, are tales of endurance, questioning the meaning of heroism and why some of us are driven to push ourselves to the extreme.

"I think there is always kind of a mystery at the heart of what drives humans to test themselves," says Grann. "They can never be easily or in any kind of simple psychological way explained."

If Worsley and Shackleton are Grann's heroes, the Antarctic is the enigmatic anti-hero, the brutal-but-beautiful, not-quite-villain who has an irrevocable hold over both men.

"I think one of the great challenges was not just understanding Henry but was also trying to understand that environment [...] . Antarctica is really a place unto itself. It's more like contemplating Mars than it is contemplating a part of Earth," says Grann.


Ernest Shackleton's story began on South Georgia Island, a glacier-covered island about eleven hundred miles eastwards of Cape Horn, Chile, which Shackleton called "the Gateway to the Antarctic."

Courtesy Royal Geographical Society

Shackleton is best remembered for two of history's most successful failures.

In 1907, aged just 33, he led an expedition to Antarctica with three other men -- determined to reach the South Pole.

By late 1908, only 97 nautical miles from the Pole, he calculated that it wasn't safe to continue and his men turned around. At the time, it was still the southernmost point reached by humans.

Flash forward to 1914 and Shackleton had a new goal -- to complete the first land crossing of Antarctica. But not long after setting out on this odyssey, a band of fellow explorers in tow, Shackleton's ship "Endurance" became encased in ice. Over an unforgiving, testing icy winter, the Endurance was slowly crushed and sunk into the freezing waters below.

Incredibly, Shackleton's leadership ensured his entire crew survived in brutal conditions throughout the testing months that followed. In "The White Darkness" Grann writes that Shackleton "almost insisted" that they remain cheerful.

Expedition photographer Frank Hurley documented the incredible trek through the brutal, but beautiful, landscape.

Courtesy Royal Geographical Society

After the ship was lost, Shackleton and his crew dragged the salvaged lifeboats across the ice, surviving for 17 months in pop-up camps in crazy conditions.

"He always rescued his people from certain death and he emerged as one of history's greatest leaders," Grann says.

Now Shackleton's the subject of self-help books and business manuals, inspiring everyone from astronauts to Wall Street brokers. But in Shackleton's own lifetime, his exploits were soon eclipsed by more successful polar expeditions.

That's because our definition of heroism, Grann says, changes with the era.

"I do think heroes are in many ways a reflection of our times, because they reflect who society chooses to elevate among so many people who are doing various deeds," the writer muses.

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Following in Shackleton's footsteps

Henry Worsley, pictured, was a British army veteran inspired to follow in Shackleton's footsteps.

Courtesy Sebastian Copeland

Shackleton's leadership, his ability to inspire loyalty and morale and his Antarctic quests made him a natural icon for adventurous British Army veteran Henry Worsley.

Worsley poured over Antarctic books as a boy, thrilled to discover he was a distant relative of one of Shackleton's crew members. No one who knew him was surprised when he decided, in 2008, to embark on a centenary Antarctic South Pole expedition with Will Gow, a descendent of Shackleton and Henry Adams, the great-grandson of another crew-member.

This atmospheric photo was taken on Worsley, Gow and Adams' centenary expedition.

Courtesy William Gow

"Henry wasn't a religious person, but I think he always felt this deep spirituality about the Antarctic -- and of course he liked the idea that he would be in a place that had been untrodden," says Grann.

Worsley, Gow and Adams were pushed to extremes in their Antarctic trek, exposed to impossibilities they couldn't have fathomed before they arrived in the ice blue, empty far South landscape.

But Worsley, inspired by Shackleton and driven by his own thirst for adventure and exploration, helped his men remain committed to their goal.

"He was an officer and he served tours with the SAS and he was always repeating this -- their motto: "A little further a little further." And he always repeated the line from Shackleton's family motto: "By endurance we conquer," says Grann.

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Incredible images

After they lose the Endurance, Shackleton's crew dragged lifeboats across the ice.

Courtesy Getty

When Shackleton's ship, Endurance, became enveloped by the Antarctic's deadly ice, his expedition photographer Frank Hurley continued to document events that followed. He salvaged the camera equipment and trekked through the Antarctic with it in tow.

His resulting photographs are cinematic in their scope -- especially those of the imposing, iconic ship, forever to remain in the frost. Then there's the men exploring the ethereal dreamscape of the Antarctic. Lit by flares, the images take on a striking effect, chilling and captivating all at once.

On Worsley's 2008 expedition, his colleague Gow took his own vibrant photographs of the impossible landscape. Worsley, too, documented his adventures with photography.

"These photos are just really quite remarkable and they get to some of the things that we've talked about -- which are just trying to wrap your mind around this landscape, trying to wrap your mind around these people setting off in this immense landscape," says Grann.

Sastrugi is the term for these hard ridges on the snow and ice, sculpted by strong winds.

Courtesy Joanna Worsley

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There are pictures of the sastrugi, the hard ridges on the snow and ice, sculpted by strong winds and almost impossible to circumvent. In many images, the outlook is almost a total white-out, with the red of the tent the only color visible.

When, in 2008, Worsley and his fellow explorers reached 88°23'S, the southernmost point reached by their forebears 100 years previously, they recreated the iconic image of Shackleton and his team, wrapped in furs, Union Jack flag blowing in the wind.

The iconic image of Shackleton and his team in 1908 at 88°23'S.

But, as Grann notes, reaching this famous point was by definition anticlimactic.

"They get to this spot that has kind of fueled their dreams and almost lured them to their demise and they look around and there is nothing there, but barren windswept ice. This place, their grail, was really no more than a geographical data point," he says.

Worsley and his crew recreated the famous image.

Courtesy William Gow

Adams, one of Worsley's companions, "What is Antarctica other than a blank canvas on which you seek to impose yourself?

This quote stuck with Grann -- it seemed to get to the heart of polar exploration.

"The discovery is not a scientific breakthrough or or some ancient civilization or ruins, it is this geographical data point in the middle of empty barren ice," he says.

Polar explorers past and present seem to be driven by an internal desire to succeed, to push further, to achieve a feat that forever seems just out of reach.

Related content

Antarctica: A great trip or a guilt trip?

The return

Worsley decided to attempt his own solo trek across the Antarctic, unaided.

Courtesy William Gow

Worsley returned to Antarctica in 2011, leading a six-strong team retracing Roald Amundsen's journey to the South Pole.

But even when he was back with his close-knit family -- his wife Joanna and children Alicia and Max -- he still found himself dreaming of the Antarctic wilderness.

Worsley's family are very much at the heart of the story Grann has woven in "The White Darkness."

"One of the things that really drew me to the story was this remarkable love story at the heart of it between Henry and his wife Joanna," says Grann.

He wanted to achieve a never-before-attained feat.

Courtesy William Gow

Joanna, Alicia and Max gave Grann access to Worsley's photographs and diary entries, and spoke to Grann about Worlsey's experiences -- and their own.

Henry's only "mistress", Joanna used to joke, was Antarctica.

"I think everybody is different," says Grann. "I think some people make a journey like that and they do get it out of their system. But for Henry, Antarctica has been inside him since he was young."

Worsley was raising money for the Endeavour Fund, a charity that helps wounded army veterans in the UK.

Courtesy Joanna Worsley

"It kind of consumed his imagination, he'd become a leading authority on the Golden Age of Antarctic Exploration and on Shackleton."

Grann's story depicts the duality of a man who was deeply committed to his family, but also had this urge to challenge himself, to push himself to endurance and extremes:

"This man who was [...] a very devoted father and family man and yet had this other obsession that drew him to the most treacherous place, a place that could take life at any moment," says Gann.

Related content

The most remote places on Earth

Next step

Worsley sent regular updates back home and wrote about his experiences in his diary.

Courtesy William Gow

Back in the UK, Worsley began planning his next feat of endurance -- the first solo trek, unaided, across the Antarctic.

"He was always setting the compass farther and of course in his final expedition, where he sets out to walk across Antarctica alone and unsupported and unaided was something that nobody had ever dared to do," says Grann.

In "The White Darkness", Grann constructs both Worsley and Shackleton's stories like thrillers, edge-of-your-seat tales about finding the unconquerable, flirting constantly with living and dying, the juxtaposition between the "real" world and the one of their ambitions.

The Weddell Sea, home to Berkner Island, pictured here, is where Worsley began his solitary journey.

"I tried to tell the story from the perspective of people who are going on adventures and they don't know what's going to happen at any moment and death always lurks with every step," says Grann. "So I think in telling it from that perspective it hopefully lets the reader feel both the enormous excitement and the momentary terrors that the people on these expeditions are feeling."

In Grann's book, when Worsley begins his solo trek, the reader feels a sense of foreboding. The explorer was back in this challenging place, alone.

The picture to the left depicts a man being pulled from a crevasse during explorer Robert Falcon Scott's first Antarctic expedition. On the right, a crevasse is dodged by Worsley's group on the 2008 expedition.

Grann writes how Worsley sent daily audio broadcasts back home and wrote about the treacherous experiences in his diary. Worsley was constantly testing his abilities as a leader, but in his final journey he had what Grann calls "the most difficult challenge" -- commanding himself.

But he was determined to complete his challenging task. In crossing Antarctica unaided, he would raise money for the Endeavour Fund, a charity that helps wounded army veterans in the UK. Britain was behind him -- including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. He was heralded as a hero, a Shackleton for the 21st century.

But what does it really mean, to be a Shackleton?

On his final journey, Worsley had what Gann calls "the most difficult challenge" -- commanding himself.

Courtesy Getty

"I think to some degree there is a misunderstanding of what made Shackleton great and I think in our societies, we tend to want to always think we could conquer by endurance -- there's this idea that somehow anything can be triumphed and I think people gravitate to Shackleton because of that," says Grann.

"But I think one of the central lessons of Shackleton -- I think one of the central lessons that Worsley grappled with on his last expedition -- is really failure and the fact that we can't conquer everything and the fact that we have human limitations. And I think that's a more profound and difficult lesson to accept."

Related content

The most extreme adventures on Earth

Hopeful future

Worsley's wife Joanna and children Max and Alicia made a pilgrimage to South Georgia Island in 2017.

Courtesy Joanna Worsley

Tragically, Worsley's solo trip was his last. He fell victim to a serious infection after being rescued just 30 miles from his goal.

But his story isn't one lacking in hope. His life continues to inspire; his friend Louis Rudd is about to begin his own solo expedition to honor his friend.

Meanwhile, Worsley's wife and children visited South Georgia Island in 2017 on a pilgrimage commemorating Worsley. His life and adventures have now been immortalized in Grann's book.

There are also plans, Grann confirms, to bring Worsley's adventures to the big screen in the form of a movie. The story has been optioned by Imperative Entertainment, the company currently working on an adaptation of one of Grann's other books "Killers of the Flower Moon: An American Crime and the Birth of the FBI."

"Henry's family is really quite remarkable," says Grann.

He adds that while many might look upon Henry as the hero who is battling Antarctica, "I also look upon the family and upon his wife Joanna who are [...] dealing with his loss and that grief and, in many ways, face their own Antarctica and I have great admiration for the way they do that."

Luke Posted on November 06, 2018 16:25

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79 students kidnapped from boarding school in Cameroon, official says By Stephanie Halasz and Bukola Adebayo, CNN Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT) November 5, 2018 A photo take in June 2017 shows the city of Bamenda, in Northwest Cameroon.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Armed men kidnapped 79 children from a boarding school in Cameroon's Northwest region, a local government official told CNN Monday.

Louis Marie Begne, spokesman for Cameroon's Northwest government, said the men entered the Presbyterian Secondary School in Bamenda, overwhelmed the guard and forced him to take them to the sleeping children.

The men took 79 boys and girls and tried to drive away with the school's minibus. The driver pretended there was a fault with the vehicle so the men took off with the children on foot.

Begne said a crisis meeting was held Monday morning, and the Cameroonian army, police and military police are looking for the children.


The BIR---the Rapid Intervention Battalion, an elite military unit -- is also involved, and helicopters are in the air looking for the youngsters.

It is likely the children have been split into groups, Begne said.

Begne added that the principal of the school had been kidnapped --and let go—only three days ago and had been told not to return to the school.

Benge was not able to say who the kidnappers were, and did not rule out secessionists.

Anglophone separatist fighters calling for independence from Cameroon's largely Francophone government have been accused of kidnapping students in Cameroon's north and southwest region.

Amnesty International says 400 killed in 'escalating violence' in Cameroon's Anglophone regions this year

In September, seven students and a head teacher were kidnapped by armed separatists from their school in the town of Bafut, in the northwest of the country, according to Amnesty International.

The hostages were "tortured and seriously injured" by their kidnappers before their release, the human rights group alleged.

Separatist fighters also unleashed attacks on a group of soldiers in the city of Buea, in southwest Cameroon, in the same month, the rights group said.

Cameroon security forces torturing English speakers, Amnesty says

Violence often erupts in Cameroon's volatile Anglophone provinces, whose residents make up 20% of the country's population. People in those provinces complain the mostly French-speaking government has marginalized them.

But tension flared last year after protests in the regions turned violent, with armed separatists calling for a country of their own.

The growing secessionist movement has also worsened security in the West African nation this year.

"We heard gunshots all through the day," says Cameroon voter

President Paul Biya, who has ruled the country for 36 years, has been accused of using the military to launch attacks on armed separatists and kill English speakers.

The fighters have been accused of killing members of the country's security forces.

However, the 85-year-old leader, now elected for seventh term, has condemned "acts of violence" regardless of their sources.

Luke Posted on November 06, 2018 15:54

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Black women vote. Now it's time to vote for black women. Even as the Mothers of the Movement are speaking truth to power, they are ready to be in power.

Mothers of the Movement, from left, Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Annette Nance-Holt, mother of Blair Holt; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; and Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; Lezley McSpadden, mother of Mike Brown and Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant; and Lezley McSpadden, mother of Mike Brown stand on stage prior to delivering remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

Nov. 6, 2018 / 2:31 PM GMT

By Ben Crump

After her son Michael Brown was tragically gunned down by police in Ferguson, Mo., Lesley McSpadden could have crumbled. Instead she refused to let that devastating personal tragedy — and a national flashpoint on racial violence — destroy her.

Emboldened and unbowed, McSpadden is making her voice heard by running for the Ferguson City Council in 2019. In doing so, McSpadden joins other black mothers striving to make a big impact on racial justice by taking matters into their own hands, politically and spiritually.

She is joined in her political aspirations by, among others, Lucia “Lucy” McBath, whose son was fatally shot in 2012; she was moved to run after her teenage son Jordan Davis, who is black, was shot and killed in Jacksonville, Florida, by a white man who said the teen’s music was too loud.. She handily won the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s 6th congressional district in July and is now neck-and-neck with Rep. Karen Hendel, who only took the seat after the most expensive House race in history (against Jon Ossoff) in June 2017. The district is considered 14.7 percent more Republican than the national average.

And, though she is not runnings for office, Sybrina Fulton — whose son, Trayvon Martin, was confronted, shot and killed while walking home — has dedicated her life to social change after her son became a powerful symbol for the Black Lives Matter movement. Her work includes advocacy for gun control and a retreat for other mothers whose lives have been touched by the violent deaths of their children.

At the Million Hoodie March on March 21, 2012, in New York City, I held the microphone up to Sybrina as she spoke from the heart, as only a mother can. “Our son was not committing any crime. Our son is your son. I want you guys to stand up for justice and stand up for what’s right,’’ she told the crowd.

Being a black woman in America means realizing that doing everything right may not be enough

Women like Sybrina, Lucy and Lesley endured with dignity and poise, despite being thrust into the glare of a national spotlight while grieving for their devastating losses. They are truly the unsung heroes in the struggle against racial violence and police brutality. They are determined to make sure no other black mothers and children suffer the same sorrowful fate.

And even as they are speaking truth to power, they are also ready to be in power. They want to change the dynamics of government by taking their rightful seats at the table where laws are hammered out and critical decisions affecting their underrepresented communities are debated.

If Lesley wins a seat on the Ferguson City Council, she will become another recent member of color on a formerly majority-white council, helping to oversee the police department responsible for her son’s death four years ago this month.


A win for either would be a real, and not just a symbolic, win for all black members of their communities, giving them hope that their voices are heard and their lives do matter. What could be more effective, more gut-wrenchingly honest, than the wise, experienced thoughts of a City Council member whose young son died at the hands of the law? What could be more symbolic than a woman whose son was killed by a racist taking a seat in a newly-Democratic House to provide a strong, passionate voice for gun control on Capitol Hill and a leader on racial equity issues?

I’ve stood with McSpadden and Fulton — as well as too many other moms and grandmothers — as they told the world what it was like to have their young sons shot dead. I’ve seen both Lesley and Sybrina behind closed doors in their personal anguish.

Luke Posted on November 06, 2018 15:37

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New virus could help destroy cancer

A new study examines the behavior of a cancer-killing virus that fits tumor cells perfectly and leaves healthy cells intact.

Can we tame viruses to use them as a treatment for cancer?

Cancer is a chronic disease that kills millions of people worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and is likely to be responsible for more than 9 million deaths in 2018.

Globally, medical professionals will diagnose cancer in around 18 million people in 2018, and the number of new cases per year will reach more than 23 million by 2030.

The most common cancers globally are lung cancerbreast cancer, and colorectal cancer.

Virotherapy in cancer

Researchers around the world have been working tirelessly to find new cancer therapies. In recent years, virotherapy has captured the interest of scientists.

Virotherapy is a treatment that uses biotechnology to transform certain viruses into anti-disease agents. These viruses include oncolytic viruses, which infect and destroy cancer cells.

Oncolytic viruses possess unique qualities that make them different than any other cancer treatment. The advantages of virotherapy include a lack of cross-resistance with other therapies and the ability to destroy the tumor using a variety of mechanisms.

Scientists have been focusing their attention on oncolytic viruses with the aim of finding a new way to kill cancer cells selectively.


Seneca Valley virus

Seneca Valley virus (SVV) is an oncolytic virus that could be the next breakthrough cancer therapy. Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in Japan and the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, described the behavior of this virus in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study explains how SVV interacts with tumors while sparing healthy cells.

To examine the behavior of the virus, scientists used cryo-electron microscopy to capture images of thousands of particles and view their structure in high resolution. Understanding the structure of these particles is key to creating an effective cancer-killing virus that scientists can use to develop new drugs and therapies.

SVV is unusual because it targets a specific receptor in tumor cells. This receptor is called anthrax toxin receptor 1 (ANTXR1), and it is only present in tumors. The cousin of this receptor, called ANTXR2, only appears on healthy tissues.

SVV binds to the receptor in tumors but not the one in healthy cells. The behavior of this virus could potentially make it a suitable therapy for many types of cancer, as the ANTXR1 receptor is present on the tumor cells of over 60 percent of human cancers.

"The differences between the two receptors are subtle, but, nonetheless, these subtle differences make one bind the virus with high affinity while the other doesn't," says co-senior study author Prof. Matthias Wolf, principal investigator of the Molecular Cryo-Electron Microscopy Unit at OIST.

"The components must fit together like a key in a lock — this is a highly evolved system where everything fits perfectly."


A virus that evades the immune system

Researchers have used SVV in early-phase clinical trials in pediatric solid tumors and small-cell lung cancer, and the virus demonstrated cancer-fighting qualities in both types of the disease. However, the immune system is programmed to fight viruses, and it destroys the perceived threat within 3 weeks.

Researchers believe that analyzing the structure of SVV can help them find ways to outsmart the immune system, allowing the virus to replicate and kill cancer cells.

"[...] [W]e can learn what part of the virus is essential for binding to the receptor and which is not. [...] we can try to change the nonessential parts in order to escape the action of the immune system while leaving the essential part intact," says co-senior study author Prof. Mihnea Bostina, the academic director of the Otago Centre for Electron Microscopy at the University of Otago.

Although scientists are still looking for an effective way to evade the immune system, Prof. Wolf's team believe that it could be possible to modify SVV so that it can recognize different receptors. This would turn the virus into an excellent weapon to use against different types of cancer.

First study author Nadishka Jayawardena, a graduate student at the University of Otago, believes that this research will one day result in effective and powerful cancer treatments,

sarah Posted on November 06, 2018 08:50

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Melanoma: More evidence that antioxidants speed up tumor spread

New research evidence backs up previous findings that taking antioxidant supplements can speed up the spread of the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Antioxidants either have no effect or hasten the spread of melanoma tumors, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have added new data to a study of the effects of antioxidants on malignant tumordevelopment.

In earlier work with human cancer tissue and mouse models, the researchers demonstrated that antioxidants could hasten the development of lung cancer and accelerate the spread of malignant melanoma, an uncommon but invasive form of skin cancer.

Now, after investigating certain antioxidants that bind to mitochondria, the team has produced further evidence that the substances either do not affect tumor growth or speed it up. Mitochondria are tiny power plants inside cells that provide them with energy.

Many people believe that because antioxidants neutralize a class of compounds called free radicals that can harm cells, they can protect against cancer. This study, however, further indicates that this might not be the case.

Antioxidants protect cancer cells

Although it may be true that antioxidants protect healthy cells, a growing body of research shows that they also protect cancer cells.

"This is not the way to treat cancer," says Dr. Kristell Le Gal Beneroso, of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, whose recently published doctoral thesis includes a detailed account of the new findings.

"In the best case, the treatment makes no difference, but it can also exacerbate the disease," she adds.

Of the cancers that start in the skin, melanoma is the "most dangerous." It is one of the least common types of skin cancer, but it accounts for the most deaths. Official estimates for the United States suggest that 91,270 people will discover that they have melanoma in 2018 and 9,320 will die of the disease.

Mitochondria-targeting antioxidants

In nearly all cases where doctors diagnose melanoma in the early stages, surgery can cure the disease.

      The outlook is not so positive, however, once the cancer is metastatic. This means it has become invasive and spread to other parts of the body.The most common destinations of metastatic melanoma are the brain, lungs, bones, and liver.

     In their previous work, the researchers had found that the addition of some types of antioxidants sped up metastasis in lung cancer and malignant melanoma. This process leads to more secondary tumors, or metastases, in new sites elsewhere in the body.

The recent work took this research a step further and looked at how adding specific antioxidant compounds that bind to mitochondria affected the two cancers.

Mitochondria are the primary source of free radicals in cells. Free radicals can harm cells by damaging their DNA. This kind of damage can give rise to cancer.

As before, the investigation used human cancer cells and mouse models.

'Tumors grew significantly faster'

Dr. Le Gal Beneroso explains that they wanted to test the theory that reducing free radical production in cells by binding antioxidants to their mitochondria might protect against cancer.

The results, however, did not support the theory. On the contrary, the antioxidants "either had no effect or they made the situation worse," Dr. Le Gal Beneroso notes.

In mice with malignant melanoma, she continues, "tumors grew significantly faster than in the control animals that received no treatment."

The researchers conclude that their findings "show that dietary antioxidant supplementation increases metastasis in malignant melanoma," and that "mitochondria-targeted antioxidants do not inhibit cancer progression."

The team reaffirms the previous recommendation that people with cancer or who have a high risk of developing it "should avoid the use of antioxidant supplements."

'Not always healthful'

They suggest that further research into the mechanisms through which antioxidants influence tumor growth and spread is required.

One avenue that they think needs exploring is the idea that low levels of free radicals might spur the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors.

This could clarify, for instance, whether the "accelerated growth kinetics" that they observed in the treated mice was a result of "better vascularization" of the new tumor tissue rather than a consequence of "tumor cell proliferation."

In the meantime, Dr. Le Gal Beneroso urges people not to assume that taking antioxidant supplements is "always healthy for the body."

"Hypothetically, you might be helping your healthy cells, but there is no strong evidence that this is the case," she adds.

sarah Posted on November 06, 2018 08:47

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Bitcoin news: How bitcoin mining makes global warming WORSE - temperatures to rise by 2C

BITCOIN could push global temperatures up by 2C as soon as 2033, according to new analysis.

The farms of computers used to mine bitcoin produces the same amount of carbon dioxide as every car in the UK combined.

Purchasing with bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies requires large amounts of electricity, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Its environmental impact has not been addressed by miners, researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa warned.

Lead author of the paper associate professor Camila Mora said: “We cannot predict the future of Bitcoin, but if implemented at a rate even close to the slowest pace at which other technologies have been incorporated, it will spell very bad news for climate change and the people and species impacted by it.

“With the ever-growing devastation created by hazardous climate conditions, humanity is coming to terms with the fact that climate change is as real and personal as it can be.

“Clearly, any further development of cryptocurrencies should critically aim to reduce electricity demand, if the potentially devastating consequences of global warming are to be avoided.”

Researches estimated the use of Bitcoins in the year 2017 emitted 69 million metric tonnes of CO2.

The team found the cumulative emissions from bitcoin would be enough to push global warming beyond 2C in 22 years.

Bitcoin news: The research paper claims Bitcoin mining could push temperatures up by 2C (Image: Getty )

If the average rate of technology uptake is used instead, this number is closer to 16 years.

Creating bitcoins require huge computer power and energy, with heavy hardware requirements, but the nature of the process means that determining its carbon footprint can prove complicated.

The researchers analysed information such as the power efficiency of computers used by bitcoin mining, the geographic location of the miners who likely computed the bitcoin, and the CO2 emissions of producing electricity in those countries.

They also studied how other technologies have been adopted by society, and created scenarios to estimate the cumulative emissions of Bitcoin should it grow at the rate that other technologies have been incorporated.

Bitcoin news: The mines produce the same amount of carbon dioxide as every car in the UK combined (Image: Getty )

If Bitcoin is incorporated, even at the slowest rate at which other technologies have been incorporated, its cumulative emissions will be enough to warm the planet above 2C in just 22 years.

Co-author master’s student Katie Taladay said: “Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change.

“This research illustrates that Bitcoin should be added to this list.”

Bitcoin purchases create transactions that are recorded and processed by a group of individuals referred to as miners.

Bitcoin news: Bitcoins emitted 69 million metric tonnes of CO2 in 2017 (Image: Getty)

They group every Bitcoin transaction made during a specific timeframe into a block. Blocks are then added to the chain, which is the public ledger.

The verification process by miners, who compete to decipher a computationally demanding proof-of-work in exchange forbitcoins, requires large amounts of electricity.

Read more from link below

Prynx Posted on November 06, 2018 00:39

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Mysterious interstellar object could be 'lightsail' sent from another civilization

By Chris Ciaccia | Fox News

NASA may have ruled that Oumuamua, the first interstellar object ever spotted in our system is a "metallic or rocky object" approximately 400 meters (1,312 feet) in length and 40 meters (131 feet) wide, but a new study from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics says it could be something much more exciting – it could be "a lightsail of artificial origin" sent from another civilization.

The study, which was posted online earlier this month, suggests that Oumuamua's strange "excess acceleration" could be artificial in nature, as it has been implied that it is not an active comet.

"Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that ‘Oumuamua is a lightsail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment," researchers wrote in the paper.


The paper continues: "Lightsails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative. The lightsail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargos between planets or between stars."

They even theorized that Oumuamua "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization," though that scenario was called "exotic."

The paper was written by postdoctoral researcher Shmuel Bialy and professor Abraham Loeb, the director at the CfA's Institute for Theory and Computation.

Other studies have suggested that other "Oumuamua-like objects" will potentially enter our solar system, with some potentially carrying life.

"The likelihood of Galactic panspermia is strongly dependent upon the survival lifetime of the putative organisms as well as the velocity of the transporter," according to a paper published in The Astronomical Journal by Manasvi Lingam and the aforementioned Loeb.

They added: "Velocities between 10−100 km s−1 result in the highest probabilities. However, given large enough survival lifetimes, even hypervelocity objects traveling at over 1000 km s−1 have a significant chance of capture, thereby increasing the likelihood of panspermia."


Panspermia is the hypothesis that life on Earth originated from microorganisms in outer space that were carried here unintentionally by objects such as space dust, meteoroids and asteroids, according to an article on NASA's website.

Oumuamua, which is the Hawaiian name for "pathfinder" or "scout," was discovered in October 2017 by the PanSTARRS1 telescope after it spotted a new spot of light coming from a strange direction at an unusually fast speed.

Since its discovery, researchers have debated whether it is a comet or an asteroid, though it was eventually determined to be a comet.

Oumuamua is traveling away from the Sun at a rate of approximately 70,000 mph, towards the outer part of the solar system. In approximately four years, it will whiz past Neptune's orbit, on its way to interstellar space.

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:24

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High school students find 6,000-year-old stone ax at Mount Vernon

By James Rogers | Fox News

High school students on an archaeology field trip helped discover a 6,000-year-old stone ax head at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

Roughly 7 inches long and 3 inches wide, the ax would have been an important part of the Native American tool kit in the fourth millennia B.C, according to experts. Famous as the home of one of America’s founding fathers, the Virginia estate also offers a fascinating glimpse into the nation’s earlier history.

“The ax provides a window onto the lives of individuals who lived here nearly 6,000 years ago,” said Sean Devlin, Mount Vernon’s curator of archaeological collections, in a statement. “Artifacts, such as this, are a vital resource for helping us learn about the diverse communities who shaped this landscape throughout its long history.”


The ax head was found by Dominic Anderson and Jared Phillips, seniors at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio. The teens were helping map out the dimensions of what's believed to be a cemetery for slaves and their descendants.

The discovery was made on Oct. 12., alongside the ridgeline where Mount Vernon’s African American cemetery is located. According to historians, the area was used by communities of Virginia Indians up to 8,000 years ago. “While the site appears to have been continually occupied over this period, it was not necessarily a ‘village’ site,” said the estate, in its statement. “Rather, the location was probably one of many temporary stopping over points for a community as they traveled along the river or exploited the resources of the area.”

Some 50,000 artifacts have been cataloged from the Mount Vernon site.


In a separate project, new research has revealed the secrets of an ancient Native American village in Louisiana. The study of ancient mound builders who lived in the Mississippi River Delta near present-day New Orleans offers fresh insight into how the settlements emerged and why they were abandoned.

Experts studied a site known as Grand Caillou, one of the hundreds of ancient mounds in coastal Louisiana that were built near waterways. Radiocarbon dating, carbon-isotope analysis and sediment analysis were used to date the site, along with ceramics found at Grand Caillou.


In recent years, experts have been unearthing new details of centuries-old sites in the U.S. In another project, for example, archaeologists discovered incredible evidence of a huge Wichita Indian town in Kansas that was once home to 20,000 people.

In another recent project, archaeologists discovered an “unprecedented” 7,000-year-old Native American burial site beneath the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

The ancient people of North America started building mounds as early as 4,500 B.C., Mehta explained.

In 2016, researchers at the Cahokia Mounds near Collinsville, Ill., released a study that sheds new light on the ancient city’s power structure.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Travis Fedschun contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:18

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Don’t get ripped off, check your internet speed

We know what “slow” internet is like: videos buffer, downloads lag, and a single page can take forever to appear in its entirety. We wonder whether it’s our browser, our device, or the website we’re visiting.

You may suspect your Wi-Fi signal. Wireless networks are notorious for connection problems. Tap or click here for a way to diagnose and fix troublesome Wi-Fi.

How can you pinpoint the issue? Your first step is to check your connection speed. Afterward, compare the results of the test to the speed advertised by your internet provider.

Note: Make sure no one in your home network is doing bandwidth-hogging tasks like file downloads, file sharing, video streaming, video chats, etc. You don’t want any activity within your control to be skewing results.

Measuring internet speed

Internet speed typically is measured in “megabytes per second,” or Mbps. t know what this number means, or even that this measurement exists. Every provider promises different tiers of internet speed rates; usually the pricier the plan, the faster your internet should be.

1 - 3 Mbps - Good enough for web surfing, email, social, casual online gaming (if you don’t mind some latency) and email. However, this is not ideal for video streaming.

3-4 Mbps - This is the minimum speed for standard video streaming from services like Netflix. This speed may be enough for a one-computer household, but with all the HD content that’s available on the web right now, this will lead to constant video buffering.

5-10 Mbps - Netflix recommends at least 5 Mbps for a single HD stream, and you’ll double that for two simultaneous HD streams. Although this is the baseline speed that is required for HD content, it could still lead to buffering especially if you have multiple connected gadgets at home.

10 - 20 Mbps - This is the minimum speed for a consistent and reliable internet experience. If you continuously download files from the web and cloud storage services, get a plan with this advertised speed at the very least.

20 Mbps and higher - Now we’re talking. Households with multiple computers and gadgets, video streaming services, smart appliances, and simultaneous users should aim for at least a 20 Mbps plan.

Services that test internet speed

Now that you have an idea what internet speed is required for certain activities, test your actual bandwidth and compare it to your provider’s advertised speed. Here is a list of the most popular sites to use. It’s a good idea to conduct the test at more than one site. Your mileage may vary.

Ookla Speedtest

One of the most well-known internet speed test services available is Ookla Speedtest. This service can measure your connection’s ping response, download and upload speeds from a remote server.

As for download and upload speeds, measurements are given in bits per second. Higher numbers are better. Download speeds will typically be much faster than upload speeds.

You can also compare these numbers against the speeds that your internet service provider promises you. Be sure to run multiple tests over several days at different times. This will give you an overall picture of your connection speed. You also might find specific periods when it’s slow, depending on your area’s network congestion.

Tap or click here to try Ookla Speedtest now.

Interestingly, Netflix has its internet speed test called is entirely browser-based, so you don’t have to download an app or program. Just point your web-based or mobile browser to and the test will automatically run and show your download speed when it’s done.

For more details about your connection, tap or click the “Show more info” box. This will show your latency, upload speeds and the servers used for the test.


Another excellent web-based speed test is SpeedOf.Me. What’s great about this tool is the real-time graph that tracks the fluctuations in the speeds while the test is running. It can also provide you with a graphical history of all the tests you’ve run for comparison. Click here to try SpeedOf.Me now.

Other tests you can try

Other alternative speed tests can be accessed straight on the search engine of your choice. For example, search for the keywords “speed test” on Google and the first hit will show Google’s very own speed test tool.

The same service is available from Bing. Just search for “speed test” via Bing and the first result is a handy speedometer-style internet speed tool that measures ping response plus download and upload speeds.

Tips for more accurate results

Whenever available, always use a wired connection for more accurate and consistent results. Why? The culprit of your slower speeds may lie on your Wi-Fi connection and not on your ISP connection itself.

Do multiple tests and if the average of the results is only about 5-10 Mbps off, then that should be tolerable. Factors like congestion during peak times and your distance from the relay hardware will contribute to slight variations on your speed. (For more accuracy, you could turn your Wi-Fi radios off during the wired tests.)

If your wired results are way lower than advertised, a consistent 20 to 30 Mbps difference, perhaps, then there might be something else going on.

Check your hardware first and see if it’s compatible with your provider’s recommendations. For example, older DOCSIS 2.0 modems can’t go beyond 38 Mbps. If you have a rate plan of 50 Mbps and above, better upgrade your modem to DOCSIS 3.0.

What if you already have newer hardware and you’re still seeing less-than-advertised speeds? Then check your network for unauthorized devices that may be stealing your bandwidth.

If you do find Wi-Fi thieves, better kick them off then change your network password quick! Click here to make sure that no one’s stealing your Wi-Fi.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my national radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 16:09

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Model asked for God's help getting a spot on the Victoria Secret Fashion Show

By Christian Gollayan | New York Post

Model Kelsey Meritt said she asked God to help her get a spot on the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. (Getty Images)

When Kelsey Merritt moved to New York City from the Philippines in 2017 to pursue modeling, she had big dreams. But she exceeded them by booking the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show out of the gate.

“I can’t believe I’m making my runway debut there!” Merritt, now 21, said during her photo shoot for The Post. “I feel like I won a beauty pageant.”


She will strut her stuff on the catwalk alongside runway legends such as Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo and Taylor Hill at the annual Victoria’s Secret show this Sunday in Manhattan. (The event will air Dec. 2 on ABC.)

Merritt has come along way from her humble beginnings. Born and raised in Pampanga, a province northwest of Manila, she grew up in a tightly-knit household with three siblings. Her father works in real estate, while her mother is a housewife. Merritt’s first job was working at a local coffee shop when she was 15. Around that time, she saw some of her friends going to open casting calls for models and decided to give it a shot.

“I wasn’t even with a signed agency, I’d just go to open calls and I’d book runway jobs, then I started doing editorials and it just grew from there,” she said. “At 15 [years old], that was a pretty big deal.”

But modeling didn’t stop her from pursuing her education. Merritt studied advertising at Ateneo University, one of the most prestigious schools in the Philippines. Because her first language was Filipino, she was nervous about speaking English with her classmates.

“I was insecure because [my classmates] were so posh,” Merritt said. “I was never comfortable. Whenever I spoke Filipino, they’d talk back to me in English . . . I was a little embarrassed about my English because of my accent, but [now I know] there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

In 2015 she was scouted via Instagram by a Wilhelmina executive who asked her to fly out to New York for four months. She ended up booking gigs like Vera Wang and was photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, all while also juggling her studies.

“I had no idea how big of a deal [Demarchelier] was” at first, she admitted of the then-regular Vogue contributor. (Earlier this year, publisher Condé Nast said it would no longer work with the photographer after he was accused by several models of sexual misconduct.)

But once she found out, “that put it in perspective,” she said — essentially, that’s when she realized she could make a full-time career out of modeling.


Upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2017, Merritt moved to New York full time. Soon, she caught the eye of Victoria’s Secret, where she was cast for two catalog shoots and asked to audition for the big fashion show.

Merritt admitted she was all nerves after the tryout — but she left it up to a higher power.

“I went to church and prayed,” she recalled. “I said, ‘This is all in your hands now.’ ”

When the model got word that she made the cut, she was over the moon. “Victoria’s Secret is such a big deal in the Philippines,” she said. “So I feel like this was something I could give back to [Filipinos].”

And Merritt, who now lives in Chelsea, also found love in the States. She’s currently dating two-time Olympic swimmer Conor Dwyer, 29. While she is coy about sharing too many details of their relationship, the stunner said she is “happy.”

Right now, she’s busy preparing for the show. For the past two months, Merritt has cut sugar from her diet and works out seven days a week, often twice a day.

“Every single model will tell you it’s their dream job,” she said of the Victoria’s Secret show. “The roster of girls is just the best of the best, and to be part of that is just — you feel like you made it.”

Luke Posted on November 05, 2018 15:51

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Builders on Wall Street: Bitcoin Devs Host Lightning Hack Day

It was described as "not a normal conference."

Sure, speakers took to the podium to present their futuristic ideas – a staple at the cryptocurrency space's many, many conferences. But the Lightning Hackday, which took place in the heart of Wall Street on October 27th and 28th, was all-in-all more of a community-led endeavor with a heavy coding twist.

Throughout the two-day event, a hackathon whirred in the background. Tiny computers called Raspberry Pis dotted the tables and developers murmured amongst themselves about how to tweak the rules of the system while also not disrupting the incentive schemes.

This eclectic setup is maybe to be expected from a group of hackers building what they hope is the future of money.


Bitcoin's lightning network is still in its early stages, but many hope it will fix bitcoin's biggest underlying problems – that it's simply too slow and clunky, and so doesn't scale well for a future of mass adoption – at least, that is, without the help of a second layer.

"For those of you who don't know, blockchains suck," Chris Stewart, an engineer at blockchain data provider SuredBits, said when kicking off his talk.

That said, he and other developers hope the lightning network will change that.

Passions were so high, in fact, that it was hard to keep track of all the different projects on the floor. But one thing tied them all together – the interest in building for the technology's potential as a payment mechanism for everyday purchases.

Indeed, Lightning Labs engineer Alex Bosworth admitted that lightning's "killer app" – what takes it mainstream – might be as simple as that.

"I don't know what the killer app is, maybe buying a cupcake is," Bosworth told attendees during his talk.

Ideas, man

Bosworth, though suspects that the best ideas for using lightning haven't even been created yet.

For comparison, he argued that the early developers behind Linux, the popular open-source operating system, could never have guessed how far the code would go.

"Were they thinking 'Oh this will be deployed in a billion phones?" he said, implying that they probably didn't – and couldn't – have that kind of foresight when it was first deployed.

As such, Bosworth told the developers to not keep their big ideas a secret. And he took his own advice, sharing his many ideas for how lightning could be used in unique ways. For instance, he believes lightning could be used as a "monetized data layer," with some retouching of the underlying software.

Right now, lightning works by passing around "little proofs" that are essentially "meaningless, random data," Bosworth said. "But we could turn it into meaningful data," added.

One idea: use lightning for passing around little pieces of a file, so that when they're brought together they recreate the full file.

Bosworth also argued that lightning could be used to pay for enhanced payment privacy and to fuel a wave of "self-organizing" games, although, as Bosworth rattled off idea after idea, it was hard to keep up with just how these features would work in practice.

Still, he was only one developer sharing ideas at the event.

Hailing from Japan, Nayuta CEO Kenichi Kurimoto presented a lightning implementation that's optimized for the "internet of things," or the vast array of devices – from cars to TVs – that have enhanced capabilities thanks to being connected to the internet.

He sees great potential in this use case, arguing these connected machines might one day send payments between each other. And with that, he envisions that a "money owned by nobody" (i.e. bitcoin) will play a key role, since payments can be so cheap and various devices can execute them without the need for a third party.

Back to the basics

But with all of the futuristic, look-past-the-horizon ideas aside, another key focus of the Lightning Hackday was simply making lightning easier to use.

"There's a lot going on, but there's also not," bitcoin enthusiast Toby Algya said, laughing about how difficult lightning is to set up. "I'm just trying to get lightning working. That's my personal challenge for the day."

In this regard, developers are still thinking about the bottom layer, which might someday help with these kinds of problems. For example, a tool called "lightning autopilot" could make things easier by automating the step where users have to set up a "channel" to use the network.

For one, Rene Pickhardt, a lightning developer and data science consultant, is working in this area and argues that these kinds of design questions are important to answer early.

"Why is it important to think about it early? If we grow lightning for a couple of years, we might find out topology is not that great," he contended.

While Pickhardt offered some ideas at the Lightning Hackday, he noted that no solution is perfect since there's a "tradeoff between privacy and the quality of recommendations."

On a related note, a few key lightning developers are meeting in Australia next week to discuss the future of the project's specifications. Pickhardt noted that the future of autopilot, including his implementation, is something high on their list to discuss.

Bosworth echoed that sentiment, saying that these kinds of technical tweaks are so vital that he's going to hit pause on his big ideas – for now, at least – to focus on them. Case in point: he recently joined Lightning Labs on a full-time basis in order to work on the nuts-and-bolts aspect of the software.

"There are so many cool things that can be built on lightning, it's important for the underlying protocol to work well," he said, concluding:…ghtning-hack-day/ 

Dominic Solomon Posted on November 05, 2018 14:04

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