Aug 11, 2010


Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Bulgarian archaeologists claim discovery of John the Baptist's bones?

An ancient alabaster reliquary, a box for relics, was found embedded in an altar at the ruins of a fifth-century monastery on the tiny Black Sea island of Sveti Ivan. On Sunday, the excavation's leader, Kazimir Popkonstantinov, carefully pried open the miniature casket at a ceremony attended by local government figures and an Eastern Orthodox bishop in the nearby coastal town of Sozopol.

Inside, researchers found parts of a cranium, tooth and arm bone, according to Bulgarian news agency Novinite. Further tests are now being carried out on the remains, and the country's culture minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, declared that people should wait for results before making "emotional statements" about the identity of the bones' original owner.

But Popkonstantinov is convinced that the fragments belong to Jesus' baptizer, largely because a Greek inscription on the 8-inch-long, 4-inch-high and 4-inch-wide reliquary mentions June 24, the date Orthodox and Catholic Christians celebrate John the Baptist's birth.

An international collaboration on what has long been thought to be impossible -- nuclear fusion:

It is one of mankind’s most daring experiments – a quest to produce virtually limitless clean energy that, if successful, would revolutionise life on Earth by harnessing the explosive power of the sun.

The energy problems that already beset our species, and look certain to dominate the future, would be wiped out at a stroke. The pollution of fossil fuels would be a thing of the past. The oil beneath the Gulf of Mexico could remain, safely unmolested.

Such is the appeal of the idea that the greatest powers of the world, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, America and the nations of the European Union, have united to pursue the same stellar objective. Their aim is commercially viable nuclear fusion – deriving energy from crushing together the nuclei in atoms rather than splitting them, as is done currently in nuclear fission reactors.

A universe in every black hole?

Using an adaptation of Einstein's general theory of relativity, Nikodem Poplawski, of Indiana University, Bloomington, analysed the theoretical motion of particles entering a black hole.

He concluded that it was possible for a whole new universe to exist inside every black hole, which could mean that our own universe could be inside a black hole as well.

"Maybe the huge black holes at the centre of the Milky Way and other galaxies are bridges to different universes," he told New Scientist.

"Everything tries to be round." (Black Elk) Even in the paleolithic era.

It is cramped, draughty and unlikely to win any design awards. But, according to archaeologists, this wooden hut is one of the most important buildings ever created in Britain.

The newly discovered circular structure – as shown in our artist’s impression – is the country’s oldest known home.

Built more than 6,000 years before Stonehenge, it provided shelter from the icy winds and storms that battered the nomadic hunters roaming Britain at the end of the last ice age.

And even neanderthal's tried to be cozy.

Anthropologists have unearthed the remains of an apparent Neanderthal cave sleeping chamber, complete with a hearth and nearby grass beds that might have once been covered with animal fur.

Neanderthals inhabited the cozy Late Pleistocene room, located within Esquilleu Cave in Cantabria, Spain, anywhere between 53,000 to 39,000 years ago, according to a Journal of Archaeological Science paper concerning the discovery.

Living the ultimate clean and literally green lifestyle, the Neanderthals appear to have constructed new beds out of grass every so often, using the old bedding material to help fuel the hearth.

Intriguing discovery off the coast of Africa:

The network of criss-cross lines is 620 miles off the coast of north west Africa near the Canary Islands on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

. . .

Last night Atlantis experts said that the unexplained grid is located at one of the possible sites of the legendary island, which was described by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.

According to his account, the city sank beneath the ocean after its residents made a failed effort to conquer Athens around 9000 BC.

"Let your women keep silence in the church: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." (1 Corinthians 14:34) All of the time? Some of the time?... Yup. Taking every word of the Bible literally is a little problematic.

The Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) has decided to permit women to serve on local church councils but has maintained its rule that they cannot be ordained as bishops.

. . .

"This has nothing to do with women not being smart enough or good enough or qualified enough," said Britt Peavy, senior pastor of West Ward Church of God in Douglas, Ga. "The issue is, did God know what he was talking about? And whether we like it or don't like it ... if our rules, our standard, is biblical text, then we have to be faithful to biblical text even in a contemporary society that sees it as bigoted or old-fashioned."

The debate mirrors a similar fight within the Church of England, where women have been ordained as priests since 1994, but traditionalists have threatened to leave if women are ordained as bishops, which could happen as early as 2014.

A major legal setback for attempts to make the Vatican accountable.

Three men who sought to hold the Vatican liable in an American court for sexual abuses by Roman Catholic priests in a Kentucky diocese are abandoning the case.

Lawyers looked to question Pope Benedict XVI under oath but had to leap the high legal hurdle of the Vatican's sovereign immunity status in the U.S. But plaintiffs filed a motion on Monday asking a federal judge in Louisville to dismiss their claims.

Their attorney, William McMurry, said he was seeking to end the case because of an earlier court ruling that recognized the Vatican's immunity and failure to turn up new plaintiffs to add to the lawsuit who haven't yet been involved in a Catholic clergy abuse case.

And legal technicalities frustrate critics of an Epsicopal diocese.

Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse have blasted the Episcopal Church for reinstating the bishop of Philadelphia who had been charged with not investigating sex abuse allegations about his brother.

A church appeals court ruled July 28 that Bishop Charles Bennison committed conduct inappropriate for a member of the clergy, but said charges against him had to be dismissed because the statute of limitations had run out.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), which has criticized the Roman Catholic Church for not disciplining bishops, picketed Tuesday (Aug. 10) outside the Philadelphia headquarters of the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

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