Weird News Thread

Here you can chat about anything that's not Warriors related.

Moderators: Mr. Crackerz, JREED, Guybrush, 32

All Star
Posts: 1210
» Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:32 pm
I gonna try to post some non main stream or just weird news here.
Last edited by mullin on Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

All Star
Posts: 1210
» Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:34 pm
Asylum-seekers in Sweden fear refugee shelter is haunted
Associated Press By KARL RITTER
December 30, 2015 8:17 AM

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Thirty-five asylum-seekers have asked to be relocated from a refugee housing facility in southern Sweden because they believe it's haunted by ghosts, officials said Wednesday.

The asylum-seekers were spooked by flickering lights and noise in the plumbing system at the facility in Grannaforsa, a small village in Smaland province, said Magnus Petersson, a local manager at the Swedish Migration Agency.

Petersson said 35 of the 58 people living in the shelter came to the agency's office in the nearby town of Alvesta on Tuesday, demanding to be relocated. They reluctantly returned to the shelter at the end of the day after being told there were no ghosts — and no alternative housing available — Petersson said.

"I know that in their faith there is a different view on spirituality," he said. "We were responsive to them but somewhere you have to use your common sense and believe in science."

Sweden has received a record 150,000 asylum-seekers this year, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The large influx has left the Swedish Migration Agency scrambling to find housing, including in remote villages surrounded by thick forest and roaming wildlife.

Hamid Alojaili, a Syrian resident of the Grannaforsa facility, told local newspaper Smalandsposten "we are sure" that the building is haunted.

"Doors are getting reopened by themselves," he said in English in a video clip posted on the paper's website. "And there is no one outside."

Many get the feeling they are not alone even in the bathroom, he said, adding that the residents would rather stay in tents than in Grannaforsa "because it's too dangerous to be there."

Stefan Johansson, a co-owner of the facility, said it was built in the 19th century and was long used as a home for disabled people. During World War II, it housed German deserters.

Johansson said there are natural explanations for all the things that frighten the asylum-seekers.

"It's an old house and the doors maybe are a bit crooked," he said. "Sometimes there are cracking noises in the pipes."

The flickering lights were caused by glitches in electrical switches, he said.

"We have explained all this to them. How much of it they took in I don't know," Johansson said.

All Star
Posts: 1210
» Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:40 pm
World's oldest living animal, Jonathan the Tortoise, gets a new lease of life

The world's oldest living animal has been given a new lease of life after a vet put him on a healthy diet - at the age of 183.

It was feared Jonathan the giant tortoise was on his last legs after his health seriously declined due to losing his eyesight and sense of smell.

The afflictions meant Jonathan, who lives on the British outpost of St Helena Island, was left grabbing at insubstantial twigs, leaves and dirt for food.

His plight was spotted by the island's vet, Dr Joe Hollins, who immediately put him on a high-calorie and nutritious diet of a bowl of apples, carrots, cucumber, bananas and guava.

Since the change Jonathan has gained weight, redeveloped his sharp-edged beak to help him eat grass and become more active.

The famous reptile can be seen happily plodding the grounds of Plantation House, the home of the governor of St Helena where he has lived since coming to the island in 1882.

Thanks to a healthy new diet, the famous resident on the British outpost of St Helena Island has found a new lease of life thanks to vet Dr Joe Hollins

Jonathan was approximately 50 years old when he arrived on the small island in the south Atlantic from the Seychelles in the 19th century.

Following the death of Harriet, a 175-year-old giant Galapagos Land tortoise, in 2005 in Australia, Jonathan has been recognised as the world's oldest living land animal.

And with his new diet experts say there is no reason why he can't go on to reach his double hundred and more.

Despite his improvement in health Jonathan is too old to be used for a breeding programme to help boost the numbers of the vulnerable Seychelles giant tortoise.

It is thought the stress of transporting him to the archipelago in the Indian Ocean would be too much for him let alone the rise in blood pressure from a lustful liaison with a female.

Jonathan had become almost completely blind due to cataracts and has lost his sense of smell but thanks to some tender loving care from Dr Hollins, he has regained a new lease of life in his later years.

Dr Hollins said: 'Jonathan has become almost completely blind due to cataracts and has lost his sense of smell. He was just grabbing at food and ended up chomping on twigs which blunted his beak.

'He lost weight because of his nutritional deficiencies.

'I changed his diet and started to give him a mixed bowl of fruit and vegetables like apples, carrots, lettuce, guavas and bananas which are very high in calories.

'Since then his life has been transformed. He has put on weight and is a lot more active and is walking more than he used to.

'He has more fat cover which will help him in the winter and has good nail growth.

'The life expectancy of a giant tortoise is 150 but there is no reason why Jonathan won't still be here after we have all gone.'

The sprightly tortoise is now flourishing and has become more active, with more 'fat cover' to help him throughout the winter and good nail growth

Jonathan was a gift to the governor of St Helena from the Seychelles in the late 19th century but he wasn't given the name until the 1930s by governor Sir Spencer Davis.

In his time on St Helena he has seen 28 British governors come and go. Eight British monarchs from George IV to Elizabeth II have been crowned during his lifetime and 51 British Prime Ministers have served at 10 Downing Street.

He currently shares his enclosure with four other giant tortoises; David, Emma, Frederika and Myrtle.

Dr Hollins, 58, said in his five years on St Helena he has never seen Jonathan get amorous with the three females, preferring to leave that to David who is many years his junior.

St Helena, in the south Atlantic, was chosen as the place of Emperor Napoleon's second exile and the French dictator died there in 1821.

All Star
Posts: 1210
» Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:07 am
Tracy Morgan’s coma included a talk with God.

Tracy Morgan’s coma may have been tragic, but now the comedian is claiming that he had a talk with God during his Near Death Experience (NDE). While others have reported similar cases, including out of body experiences, it turns out that science may actually support the idea of these type of events.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, Tracy Morgan’s accident happened back in June of 2014. The comedian’s limo was smashed by a Walmart tractor trailer, killing several fellow comedians. Ardie Fuqua and Jeffrey Millea were also seriously injured, but Morgan went into a coma due to brain trauma, and he also suffered a broken leg and ribs.

When Morgan spoke about the accident recently, he told Complex magazine that he was returning to being a comedian, but he would never be the same person again

“Well, you’re never going to be normal after you go through something like that. You don’t die for a few weeks and then come back to normal, trust me. Something’s going to be missing, something’s going to be gained—you just got to live your life after that. But after surviving something like that, I’m probably never going to feel normal,” Morgan explained.

But what has caught the world’s attention is that Tracy Morgan’s coma included a talk with God.

“I went to the other side. This is not something I’m making up. Do you know what God said to me? He said, ‘Your room ain’t ready. I still got something for you to do.’ And here I am, doing an interview with you.”

Other celebrities have made similar statements in 2015. For example, Brazilian model Andressa Urach was practically infamous for her extensive plastic surgery, but after Urach briefly died on the operating room table, she said God told her to turn her life around.

“I arrived in an empty place, like a desert, completely silent,” said Urach. “That’s when I knew that God exists. I felt his presence. I knew I was at the judgement. My life flashed before me like a film. I felt ashamed and knew I wasn’t worthy to enter heaven. I asked for forgiveness and begged for another chance, promised to make amends.”

According to TNH1, Urach is currently advertising her new book, called I Died To Live, which explains how her obsession with vanity has transformed into a quest for personal redemption.

“I’ll never forget it. Coming face to face with death, I realized that nothing else mattered,” Urach said. “Everything I had battled for, my beauty, my bags, my clothes, my car — I’d left all that behind. It was the moment I realized I was nothing, that we are only here on this world to save our souls.”

What Does Science Say About Tracy Morgan’s Coma Experience?

Some may be quick to dismiss Morgan’s claims out of hand simply because he said he talked with God. It turns out that science gives us good reason to seriously consider such claims.

Dr. Sam Parnia of the University of Southampton studied 2,600 patients whose brain functions were supposed to have stopped before they were revived. Out of the people declared medically dead, 46 percent recall real events that occurred in the operating room, with two percent reporting visual, out-of-body experiences. Another nine percent reported a Near Death Experience.

“This is significant, since it has often been assumed that experiences in relation to death are likely hallucinations or illusions, occurring either before the heart stops or after the heart has been successfully restarted, but not an experience corresponding with ‘real’ events when the heart isn’t beating,” Dr. Parnia said.

The researcher explained the motivation behind the study was to “go beyond the emotionally charged yet poorly defined term of NDEs to explore objectively what happens when we die.” Earlier in 2015, Parnia claimed the result “merits further genuine investigation without prejudice,” but he also says more research is needed in order to “absolutely prove the reality or meaning of patients’ experiences and claims of awareness.” ... e-is-real/

All Star
Posts: 1210
» Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:12 am

All Star
Posts: 1210
» Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:51 pm
Mutant Mountain Lion With Horns Deformed By Idaho’s Nuclear Weapons Testing Fallout?

A photo of a mutant mountain lion with horns has gone viral on social media after officials from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) posted it online. The cougar’s head has a fairly hideous looking growth sprouting from the back of its skull, so many on social media thought it might be a hoax. It’s not, but experts are still not 100 percent sure why the mutated cougar developed the teeth-like horns. While the official theories do make sense, some on social media wonder if it’s possible that Idaho’s fallout from Nevada nuclear weapons testing is somehow linked to the bizarre creature.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, a hunter in Preston, Idaho, was the person who tracked down the mountain lion after the cat reportedly attacked a dog. The hunter killed the mountain lion on December 30, and based upon state law, the hunter brought the mountain cat to a IDFG station to be checked (the state tracks the ages of mountain lions killed by hunting).

“A hunter brought it in, and there was something extra,” said IDFG spokesperson Jennifer Jackson. “We haven’t seen anything like this in our region. In the process of harvesting the animal we had an officer check it, and we determined something really interesting was going on.”
Deformed Mountain Lion With Horns Cougar
(Image via Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

The hunter was allow to take the prize home, but IDFG officials sent photos of the deformed mountain lion out to various vetenerians and biologists in order to figure out how it happened.

“It has all of us scratching our heads. It’s a bizarre situation and a bizarre photo,” said biologist Zach Lockyer.

The biologist explains that there are multiple theories which can explained the cougar with horns. The first is that the deformity is an oddly healed injury of the jawline, but this seems unlikely based upon the available photos. The second going theory is that the teeth-like horns are the remnants of a conjoined twin absorbed by the surviving cougar in the womb. The third explanation is that the growth is a teratoma, a tumor which can grow notable features like hair and teeth.

Officials or experts have not raised the possibility of this particular idea, but some on social media believe it’s possible that Idaho’s nuclear weapons testing history may be involved. During the 1950s, researchers working for the U.S. Federal government exploded 90 bombs above a desert about 500 miles to the south in Nevada. The radioactive fallout from these nuclear explosions fell downwind into Idaho, Utah, Montana, New York, and other states.

Many years later, Idahoans said they were never warned that the white dust which drifted into the state was radioactive.

“It looked like frost. Nobody ever told us there was any danger,” said Don Garmer, a dairy farmer who developed liver cancer.

According to the Spokesman Review, a 1997 National Cancer Institute study showed that Idaho caught some of the worst of the nuclear fallout because the “U.S. Atomic Energy Commission deliberately sent north to avoid exposing Los Angeles and other big cities.” Don’s wife, Sheri, apparently was exposed to an estimated 75 rads of radiation, the equivalent of 10,000 chest X-rays.

To put these reports into perspective, Challis, Idaho, was impacted the greatest, and it’s about 220 miles north west of Preston. According to the New York Times, the main fear was that the radioactive fallout would increase cancer rates in humans, but the statistics were “confusing.”

“Studies of these counties show fatal cancers at or below the state average, but when considering fatal and nonfatal cancers together, they are higher than the state average. Statewide, Idaho’s death toll from all cancers is lower than the national rate. And scientists caution that because of Idaho’s small population, such statistics are easily distorted.”

Presuming that the radioactive fallout did impact the environment where the cougar lived, could a nuclear bomb explain the photo of the mountain lion with horns? Experts plan on investigating to determine the exact cause, but a 2010 study by a researcher of the University of South Alabama concluded the “rates of conjoined twins and teratomas also seem to be elevated” in humans from the Chernobyl fallout. Considering those medical conditions happen to be the two leading explanations for the deformed mountain lion photo, it will be interesting to see what the experts discover. ... gar-photo/

All Star
Posts: 1210
» Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:22 am
Monster Star Explosion Breaks All Records
By Andrew Fazekas
PUBLISHED January 25, 2016

Stunned astronomers have spotted a record-shattering blast from across the universe. The explosion, called a supernova, is so bright that it outshines our sun by 570 billion times.

Dubbed “the Assassin” (a catchier version of its official name, ASASSN-15lh), this stellar explosion is also the most powerful one ever discovered—estimated to be 200 times more energetic than a typical supernova and twice as bright as the previous record-holder.

Luckily for us, the titanic detonation occurred some 3.8 billion light-years away and has no effect on Earth, but scientists are left scratching their heads to come up with an explanation for its massive energy output. It is believed to be part of a very elite, recently discovered, class of explosive stars called appropriately “superluminous supernovae,” as described January 15 in the journal Science.

"ASASSN-15lh is the most powerful supernova discovered in human history," said Subo Dong, an astronomer at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University said in a press statement.

The Assassin was first glimpsed in June 2015 by twin telescopes in Cerro Tololo, Chile, during the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae, which scans the skies for sudden outbursts of light.

So far, the leading theory for its size is that it was born of an extremely massive star—more massive than what had been thought possible. And upon its violent death, what is left behind is a highly magnetized, rapidly spinning neutron star. These tiny dead corpses of very massive stars are, incredibly, no bigger than 10 miles across.

Despite its diminutive size, so much energy rushed out from this supernova that it would take 90 billion years for the sun to equal its output.

See For Yourself

While the Assassin is too far away to see with backyard telescopes, there is another supernova remnant in the constellation Taurus that you can easily find at this time of year with binoculars and telescopes.

Taurus, the bull, now rides high in the evening southern sky for observers in temperate northern latitudes. The constellation is home to perhaps the most-studied object outside our solar system: the Crab nebula, or Messier 1. Sitting 6000 lights-years from the sun, the Crab marks the torn remains of a supernova that blew itself apart nearly a millennium ago.

In July of 1054 A.D., when light from the stellar explosion reached Earth, people around the world witnessed a wondrous new star that outshone all others, including the brilliant moon. Visible for nearly two years, the mysterious star was even seen in broad daylight for weeks. Chinese and Native American astronomers documented the guest star’s position.

Today resembling a ghostly crab shape, all that remains is an expanding gas cloud of magnitude 9.0—meaning it’s barely visible as a fuzzy spot in binoculars, and only under a moonless sky far from city lights. Observers can locate it just north of the bottom star marking one of the points of the bull’s horns.

Point a moderately sized telescope at the crab, and it will begin to unveil some of its delicate expanding, gaseous structure.

Clear skies!

All Star
Posts: 1210
» Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:13 am
Could You Stomach the Horrors of 'Halftime' in Ancient Rome?
by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz | February 04, 2016 02:53pm ET

The enormous arena was empty, save for the seesaws and the dozens of condemned criminals who sat naked upon them, hands tied behind their backs. Unfamiliar with the recently invented contraptions known as petaurua, the men tested the seesaws uneasily. One criminal would push off the ground and suddenly find himself 15 feet in the air while his partner on the other side of the seesaw descended swiftly to the ground. How strange.

In the stands, tens of thousands of Roman citizens waited with half-bored curiosity to see what would happen next and whether it would be interesting enough to keep them in their seats until the next part of the "big show" began.

With a flourish, trapdoors in the floor of the arena were opened, and lions, bears, wild boars and leopards rushed into the arena. The starved animals bounded toward the terrified criminals, who attempted to leap away from the beasts' snapping jaws. But as one helpless man flung himself upward and out of harm's way, his partner on the other side of the seesaw was sent crashing down into the seething mass of claws, teeth and fur.

The crowd of Romans began to laugh at the dark antics before them. Soon, they were clapping and yelling, placing bets on which criminal would die first, which one would last longest and which one would ultimately be chosen by the largest lion, who was still prowling the outskirts of the arena's pure white sand. [See Photos of the Combat Sports Played in Ancient Rome]

And with that, another "halftime show" of damnatio ad bestias succeeded in serving its purpose: to keep the jaded Roman population glued to their seats, to the delight of the event's scheming organizer.

Welcome to the show:

The Roman Games were the Super Bowl Sundays of their time. They gave their ever-changing sponsors and organizers (known as editors) an enormously powerful platform to promote their views and philosophies to the widest spectrum of Romans. All of Rome came to the Games: rich and poor, men and women, children and the noble elite alike. They were all eager to witness the unique spectacles each new game promised its audience.

To the editors, the Games represented power, money and opportunity. Politicians and aspiring noblemen spent unthinkable sums on the Games they sponsored in the hopes of swaying public opinion in their favor, courting votes, and/or disposing of any person or warring faction they wanted out of the way.

The more extreme and fantastic the spectacles, the more popular the Games with the general public, and the more popular the Games, the more influence the editor could have. Because the Games could make or break the reputation of their organizers, editors planned every last detail meticulously.

Thanks to films like "Ben-Hur" and "Gladiator," the two most popular elements of the Roman Games are well known even to this day: the chariot races and the gladiator fights. Other elements of the Roman Games have also translated into modern times without much change: theatrical plays put on by costumed actors, concerts with trained musicians, and parades of much-cared-for exotic animals from the city's private zoos.

But much less discussed, and indeed largely forgotten, is the spectacle that kept the Roman audiences in their seats through the sweltering midafternoon heat: the blood-spattered halftime show known as damnatio ad bestias — literally "condemnation by beasts" — orchestrated by men known as the bestiarii.

Super Bowl 242 B.C: How the Games Became So Brutal

The cultural juggernaut known as the Roman Games began in 242 B.C., when two sons decided to celebrate their father's life by ordering slaves to battle each other to the death at his funeral. This new variation of ancient munera (a tribute to the dead) struck a chord within the developing republic. Soon, other members of the wealthy classes began to incorporate this type of slave fighting into their own munera. The practice evolved over time — with new formats, rules, specialized weapons, etc. — until the Roman Games as we now know them were born.

In 189 B.C., a consul named M. Fulvius Nobilior decided to do something different. In addition to the gladiator duels that had become common, he introduced an animal act that would see humans fight both lions and panthers to the death. Big-game hunting was not a part of Roman culture; Romans only attacked large animals to protect themselves, their families or their crops. Nobilior realized that the spectacle of animals fighting humans would add a cheap and unique flourish to this fantastic new pastime. Nobilior aimed to make an impression, and he succeeded. [Photos: Gladiators of the Roman Empire]

With the birth of the first "animal program," an uneasy milestone was achieved in the evolution of the Roman Games: the point at which a human being faced a snarling pack of starved beasts, and every laughing spectator in the crowd chanted for the big cats to win, the point at which the republic's obligation to make a man's death a fair or honorable one began to be outweighed by the entertainment value of watching him die.

Twenty-two years later, in 167 B.C., Aemlilus Paullus would give Rome its first damnatio ad bestias when he rounded up army deserters and had them crushed, one by one, under the heavy feet of elephants. "The act was done publicly," historian Alison Futrell noted in her book "Blood in the Arena," "a harsh object lesson for those challenging Roman authority."

The "satisfaction and relief" Romans would feel watching someone considered lower than themselves be thrown to the beasts would become, as historian Garrett G. Fagan noted in his book "The Lure of the Arena," a "central … facet of the experience [of the Roman Games. … a feeling of shared empowerment and validation … " In those moments, Rome began the transition into the self-indulgent decadence that would come to define all that we associate with the great society's demise.

The Role of Julius Caesar:

General Julius Caesar proved to be the first true maestro of the Games. He understood how these events could be manipulated to inspire fear, loyalty and patriotism, and began to stage the Games in new and ingenious ways. For example, Caesar was the first to arrange fights between recently captured armies, gaining firsthand knowledge of the fighting techniques used by these conquered people and providing him with powerful insights to aid future Roman conquests, all the while demonstrating the republic's own superiority to the roaring crowd of Romans. After all, what other city was powerful enough to command foreign armies to fight each other to the death, solely for their viewing pleasure?

Caesar used exotic animals from newly conquered territories to educate Romans about the empire's expansion. In one of his games, "Animals for Show and Pleasure in Ancient Rome" author George Jennison notes that Caesar orchestrated "a hunt of four hundred lions, fights between elephants and infantry … [and] bull fighting by mounted Thessalians." Later, the first-ever giraffes seen in Rome arrived — a gift to Caesar himself from a love-struck Cleopatra.

To execute his very specific visions, Caesar relied heavily on the bestiarii — men who were paid to house, manage, breed, train and sometimes fight the bizarre menagerie of animals collected for the Games.

Managing and training this ever-changing influx of beasts was not an easy task for the bestiarii. Wild animals are born with a natural hesitancy, and without training, they would usually cower and hide when forced into the arena's center. For example, it is not a natural instinct for a lion to attack and eat a human being, let alone to do so in front of a crowd of 100,000 screaming Roman men, women and children! And yet, in Rome's ever-more-violent culture, disappointing an editor would spell certain death for the low-ranking bestiarii.

To avoid being executed themselves, bestiarii met the challenge. They developed detailed training regimens to ensure their animals would act as requested, feeding arena-born animals a diet compromised solely of human flesh, breeding their best animals, and allowing their weaker and smaller stock to be killed in the arena. Bestiarii even went so far as to instruct condemned men and women on how to behave in the ring to guarantee a quick death for themselves — and a better show. The bestiarii could leave nothing to chance.

As their reputations grew, bestiarii were given the power to independently devise new and even more audacious spectacles for the ludi meridiani (midday executions). And by the time the Roman Games had grown popular enough to fill 250,000-seat arenas, the work of the bestiarii had become a twisted art form.

As the Roman Empire grew, so did the ambition and arrogance of its leaders. And the more arrogant, egotistic and unhinged the leader in power, the more spectacular the Games would become. Who better than the bestiarii to aid these despots in taking their version of the Roman Games to new, ever-more grotesque heights?

Caligula Amplified the Cruelty:

Animal spectacles became bigger, more elaborate, and more flamboyantly cruel. Damnatio ad bestias became the preferred method of executing criminals and enemies alike. So important where the bestiarii's contribution, that when butcher meat became prohibitively expensive, Emperor Caligula ordered that all of Rome's prisoners "be devoured" by the bestiarii's packs of starving animals. In his masterwork De Vita Caesarum, Roman historian Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (b. 69 A.D.) tells of how Caligula sentenced the men to death "without examining the charges" to see if death was a fitting punishment, but rather by "merely taking his place in the middle of a colonnade, he bade them be led away 'from baldhead to baldhead,'"(It should also be noted that Caligula used the funds originally earmarked for feeding the animals and the prisoners to construct temples he was building in his own honor!)

To meet this ever-growing pressure to keep the Roman crowds happy and engaged by bloodshed, bestiarii were forced to consistently invent new ways to kill. They devised elaborate contraptions and platforms to give prisoners the illusion they could save themselves — only to have the structures collapse at the worst possible moments, dropping the condemned into a waiting pack of starved animals. Prisoners were tied to boxes, lashed to stakes, wheeled out on dollies and nailed to crosses, and then, prior to the animals' release, the action was paused so that bets could be made in the crowd about which of the helpless men would be devoured first.

Perhaps most popular — as well as the most difficult to pull off — were the re-creations of death scenes from famous myths and legends. A single bestiarius might spend months training an eagle in the art of removing a thrashing man's organs (a la the myth of Prometheus).

The halftime show of damnatio ad bestias became so notorious that it was common for prisoners to attempt suicide to avoid facing the horrors they knew awaited them. Roman philosopher and statesmen Seneca recorded a story of a German prisoner who, rather than be killed in a bestiarius' show, killed himself by forcing a communally used prison lavatory sponge down his throat. One prisoner who refused to walk into the arena was placed on a cart and wheeled in; the prisoner thrust his own head between the spokes of its wheels, preferring to break his own neck than to face whatever horrors the bestiarius had planned for him.

It is in this era that Rome saw the rise of its most famous bestiarius, Carpophorus, "The King of the Beasts."

The Rise of a Beast Master:

Carpophorus was celebrated not only for training the animals that were set upon the enemies, criminals and Christians of Rome, but also for famously taking to the center of the arena to battle the most fearsome creatures himself.

He triumphed in one match that pitted him against a bear, a lion and a leopard, all of which were released to attack him at once. Another time, he killed 20 separate animals in one battle, using only his bare hands as weapons. His power over animals was so unmatched that the poet Martial wrote odes to Carpophorus.

"If the ages of old, Caesar, in which a barbarous earth brought forth wild monsters, had produced Carpophorus," he wrote in his best known work, Epigrams. "Marathon would not have feared her bull, nor leafy Nemea her lion, nor Arcadians the boar of Maenalus. When he armed his hands, the Hydra would have met a single death; one stroke of his would have sufficed for the entire Chimaera. He could yoke the fire-bearing bulls without the Colchian; he could conquer both the beasts of Pasiphae. If the ancient tale of the sea monster were recalled, he would release Hesione and Andromeda single-handed. Let the glory of Hercules' achievement be numbered: it is more to have subdued twice ten wild beasts at one time."

To have his work compared so fawningly to battles with some of Rome’s most notorious mythological beast sheds some light on the astounding work Carpophorus was doing within the arena, but he gained fame as well for his animal work behind the scenes. Perhaps most shockingly, it was said that he was among the few bestiarii who could command animals to rape human beings, including bulls, zebras, stallions, wild boars and giraffes, among others. This crowd-pleasing trick allowed his editors to create ludi meridiani that could not only combine sex and death but also claim to be honoring the god Zeus. After all, in Roman mythology, Zeus took many animal forms to have his way with human women.

Historians still debate how common of an occurrence public bestiality was at the Roman Games — and especially whether forced bestiality was used as a form of execution — but poets and artists of the time wrote and painted about the spectacle with a shocked awe.

"Believe that Pasiphae coupled with the Dictaean bull!" Martial wrote. "We've seen it! The Ancient Myth has been confirmed! Hoary antiquity, Caesar, should not marvel at itself: whatever Fame sings of, the arena presents to you."

The 'Gladiator' Commodus:

The Roman Games and the work of the bestiarii may have reached their apex during the reign of Emperor Commodus, which began in 180 AD. By that time, the relationship between the emperors and the Senate had disintegrated to a point of near-complete dysfunction. The wealthy, powerful and spoiled emperors began acting out in such debauched and deluded ways that even the working class "plebs" of Rome were unnerved. But even in this heightened environment, Commodus served as an extreme.

Having little interest in running the empire, he left most of the day-to-day decisions to a prefect, while Commodus himself indulged in living a very public life of debauchery. His harem contained 300 girls and 300 boys (some of whom it was said had so bewitched the emperor as he passed them on the street that he felt compelled to order their kidnapping). But if there was one thing that commanded Commodus' obsession above all else, it was the Roman Games. He didn't just want to put on the greatest Games in the history of Rome; he wanted to be the star of them, too.

Commodus began to fight as a gladiator. Sometimes, he arrived dressed in lion pelts, to evoke Roman hero Hercules; other times, he entered the ring absolutely naked to fight his opponents. To ensure a victory, Commodus only fought amputees and wounded soldiers (all of whom were given only flimsy wooden weapons to defend themselves). In one dramatic case recorded in Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Commodus ordered that all people missing their feet be gathered from the Roman streets and be brought to the arena, where he commanded that they be tethered together in the rough shape of a human body. Commodus then entered the arena's center ring, and clubbed the entire group to death, before announcing proudly that he had killed a giant.

But being a gladiator wasn't enough for him. Commodus wanted to rule the halftime show as well, so he set about creating a spectacle that would feature him as a great bestiarius. He not only killed numerous animals — including lions, elephants, ostriches and giraffes, among others, all of which had to be tethered or injured to ensure the emperor's success — but also killed bestiarii whom he felt were rivals (including Julius Alexander, a bestiarius who had grown beloved in Rome for his ability to kill an untethered lion with a javelin from horseback). Commodus once made all of Rome sit and watch in the blazing midday sun as he killed 100 bears in a row — and then made the city pay him 1 millions esterces (ancient Roman coins) for the (unsolicited) favor.

By the time Commodus demanded the city of Rome be renamed Colonia Commodiana ("City of Commodus") — Scriptores Historiae Augustae, noted that not only did the Senate "pass this resolution, but … at the same time [gave] Commodus the name Hercules, and [called] him a god" — a conspiracy was already afoot to kill the mad leader. A motley crew of assassins — including his court chamberlain, Commodus' favorite concubine, and "an athlete called Narcissus, who was employed as Commodus' wrestling partner" — joined forces to kill him and end his unhinged reign. His death was supposed to restore balance and rationality to Rome — but it didn't. By then, Rome was broken — bloody, chaotic and unable to stop its death spiral.

In an ultimate irony, reformers who stood up to oppose the culture's violent and debauched disorder were often punished by death at the hands of the bestiarii, their deaths cheered on by the very same Romans whom they were trying to protect and save from destruction.

The Death of the Games and the Rise of Christianity:

As the Roman Empire declined, so did the size, scope and brutality of its Games. However, it seems fitting that one of the most powerful seeds of the empire's downfall could be found within its ultimate sign of contempt and power — the halftime show of damnatio ad bestias.

Early Christians were among the most popular victims in ludi meridiani. The emperors who condemned these men, women and children to public death by beasts did so with the obvious hope that the spectacle would be so horrifying and humiliating that it would discourage any other Romans from converting to Christianity.

Little did they realize that the tales of brave Christians facing certain death with grace, power and humility made them some of the earliest martyr stories. Nor could they have imagined that these oft-repeated narratives would then serve as invaluable tools to drive more people toward the Christian faith for centuries to come.

In the end, who could have ever imagined that these near-forgotten "halftime shows" might prove to have a more lasting impact on the world than the gladiators and chariot races that had overshadowed the bestiarii for their entire existence?
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» Sun Feb 14, 2016 1:53 pm
I really liked the article about the supernova - it's crazy to think that just a thousand years ago people saw a supernova brighter than our moon.

In future posts, for reference (and possibly legal or rights reasons), can we get links to the original articles when posted?

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» Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:12 am
An Asteroid Will Come Close to Earth—But How Close? ... astronomy/
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Posts: 4059
» Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:31 am
mullin17 wrote:An Asteroid Will Come Close to Earth—But How Close? ... astronomy/

I liked the articles being posted themselves, but i was just suggesting a link to the original article too. Now i gotta click and stuff to get my weird news...

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» Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:51 am
The news here is all relevant nothing weird lol

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» Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:08 am
Last edited by mullin on Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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» Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:10 am
Mumbai Creates No-Selfie Zones to Prevent Further Deaths

Police in one of India's biggest cities are clamping down on people dying for a selfie, following a spate of deadly incidents.

The move was prompted by the recent death of a college student who was swept into the sea while attempting to take a self-portrait with her cellphone at a popular tourist attraction. A man trying to save her also drowned.

"After the unfortunate incident we have decided to identify 16 spots where taking selfies can be dangerous, but we may add more," Deputy Commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni told the Guardian. "We have written to the municipal corporation to put some warning signs up at such points. We want them to deploy some lifeguards also."

The "no-selfie" zones include popular festival sites, beaches, and tourist attractions, in addition to a bumped-up police presence.

On a global scale, India has the highest number of selfie-related deaths, with 19 since 2014. Mumbai's new regulations are in line with steps taken by other countries to deter dangerous photo-taking. Japan outlawed selfie sticks at train stations in an effort to stop people from falling onto the tracks.

Officials Pamplona, Spain banned selfies at the city's annual Running of the Bulls festival. During last year's violent storms, a British safety organization warned, "We understand the temptation to view powerful tides and weather conditions, however, if you get caught up or swept out to sea in these events your life will be at risk very quickly." ... hs-n526446

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» Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:21 am
Large space rock burns up over Atlantic
By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website

The biggest fireball since the Chelyabinsk explosion has plunged through the atmosphere over the Atlantic Ocean.

The event, which has only just come to light, occurred off the coast of Brazil at 13:55 GMT on 6 February.

As it burned up, the space rock released the equivalent of 13,000 tonnes of TNT.

This makes it the most powerful event of its kind since an object exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013.

That blast was much bigger, releasing the equivalent of 500,000 tonnes of TNT.

More than 1,000 people were injured in that incident on 15 February three years ago, most from flying glass from shattered windows.

But the fireball over the Atlantic probably went unnoticed; it burnt up about 30km above the ocean surface, 1,000km off the Brazilian coast.

Nasa listed the event on its Fireball and Bolide Reports web page.

Measurements suggest that about 30 small asteroids (between 1m and 20m in size) burn up in the Earth's atmosphere every year.

Because most of the Earth's surface is covered by water, most of these fall over the ocean and do not affect populated areas.

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