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August 24, 2013 archive
Aug 24 2013
Aug 24 2013
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
August 24 is the 236th day of the year (237th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 129 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted burying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in nearly thirty feet of ash and pumice. The toxic gases killed at least 2200 people who remained in Pompeii after the evacuation.
After centuries of dormancy, Mount Vesuvius erupts in southern Italy, devastating the prosperous Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing thousands. The cities, buried under a thick layer of volcanic material and mud, were never rebuilt and largely forgotten in the course of history. In the 18th century, Pompeii and Herculaneum were rediscovered and excavated, providing an unprecedented archaeological record of the everyday life of an ancient civilization, startlingly preserved in sudden death.
At noon on August 24, 79 A.D., this pleasure and prosperity came to an end when the peak of Mount Vesuvius exploded, propelling a 10-mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice into the stratosphere. For the next 12 hours, volcanic ash and a hail of pumice stones up to 3 inches in diameter showered Pompeii, forcing the city’s occupants to flee in terror. Some 2,000 people stayed in Pompeii, holed up in cellars or stone structures, hoping to wait out the eruption.
A westerly wind protected Herculaneum from the initial stage of the eruption, but then a giant cloud of hot ash and gas surged down the western flank of Vesuvius, engulfing the city and burning or asphyxiating all who remained. This lethal cloud was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock, burying the city.
The people who remained in Pompeii were killed on the morning of August 25 when a cloud of toxic gas poured into the city, suffocating all that remained. A flow of rock and ash followed, collapsing roofs and walls and burying the dead.
Those that did not flee the city of Pompeii in August of 79 AD were doomed. Buried for 1700 years under 30 feet of mud and ash and reduced by the centuries to skeletons, they remained entombed until excavations in the early 1800s.
As excavators continued to uncovered human remains, they noticed that the skeletons were surrounded by voids in the compacted ash. By carefully pouring plaster of Paris into the spaces, the final poses, clothing, and faces of the last residents of Pompeii came to life.
n the only known eye witness account to the eruption, Pliny the Younger reported on his uncle’s ill-fated foray into the thick of the ash from Misenum, on the north end of the bay:
“. . .the buildings were now shaking with violent shocks, and seemed to be swaying to and fro as if they were torn from their foundations. Outside, on the other hand, there was the danger of failing pumice stones, even though these were light and porous; however, after comparing the risks they chose the latter. In my uncle’s case one reason outweighed the other, but for the others it was a choice of fears. As a protection against falling objects they put pillows on their heads tied down with cloths. ”
“You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore.”
Aug 24 2013
Warning: the images shown in the video are graphic and may not be appropriate for some viewers or viewing at the work place.
There is little explanation for the cause of all the deaths in the rebel held suburbs of Damascus, other than the use of chemical weapons. The major question is who used it. The natural answer would be the Assad government. But one needs to remember that many military facilities are now in the hands of the rebels and no one is precisely certain who they are. While the western mind would like to reject this kind of mass murder in the name of a cause, it has happened. Extremist are not only willing to sacrifice their lives but others as well in the name of their cause.
Obama Officials Weigh Response to Syria Assaul
by Mark Landler, Mark Mazzetti and Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times
The day after a deadly assault in Syria that bore many of the hallmarks of a chemical weapons attack, a sharply divided Obama administration on Thursday began weighing potential military responses to President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Senior officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and the intelligence agencies met for three and a half hours at the White House on Thursday to deliberate over options, which officials say could range from a cruise missile strike to a more sustained air campaign against Syria.
The meeting broke up without any decision, according to senior officials, amid signs of a deepening division between those who advocate sending Mr. Assad a harsh message and those who argue that military action now would be reckless and ill timed.
In an interview with CNN broadcast on Friday, Mr. Obama said the United States is “gathering information” about the chemical weapon reports, but he suggested that it is already clear that the incident will demand “America’s attention.”
“America’s attention,” there are several interpretations of that statement but it sounds like some kind of military intervention and Assad is fast losing friends.
Syria: Russia joins international pressure on Assad over chemical attack
by Julian Borger and Dan Roberts, The Guardian
Intervention from regime’s staunch ally comes as UK directly blames Damascus for attack and Obama hints that US cannot afford to stand by
Russia has added to the mounting pressure on the Syrian government over Wednesday’s apparent gas attack by calling for UN inspectors to be granted immediate access to the site in eastern Damascus.
The Russian foreign ministry declared that Moscow and Washington had a “mutual interest” in pushing for an immediate investigation by UN investigators who are already in Damascus.
A ministry statement, issued after a conversation between the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart, John Kerry, said the “Russian side called on the Syrian government to co-operate with the UN chemical experts”.
Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman was joined by Razan Zaitouneh, lawyer and human rights activist, who works with the Human Rights Violation Documentation Center and Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent in London to discuss the attack.
The Syrian government is facing growing pressure to allow an international probe of an alleged chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus. The Syrian opposition says government forces fired poisonous gas into rebel-held neighborhoods of Ghouta, killing hundreds of people. Video posted on YouTube this week shows frantic scenes of overwhelmed hospitals, dead children and countless bodies. If confirmed, it would stand to be the most violent incident in Syria since the rebel uprising began two years ago and one of the worst toxic attacks in decades. The alleged attack occurred just days after U.N. inspectors arrived in the country to investigate previous attacks.
Transcript can be read here
Aug 24 2013
Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.
Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.
You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.
Some people just don’t get hungry during a heat wave, but I’m not one of them. During the last run of hot weather I craved cold Asian noodles; I loved the way they were both cooling and filling, and the way they served as a vehicle for refreshing vegetables like cucumbers and crisp shredded cabbage. Asian noodles don’t need to be cooked al dente the way Italian pasta does, so they won’t suffer from being cooked ahead, tossed with a little sesame oil or dressing and refrigerated for a day or two. This is really helpful when the weather’s hot and you’re hungry. You reach into the refrigerator and grab a bowl of noodle salad that is no worse for wear from having been there for a day.
~Martha Rose Shulman~
I love the contrast of the savory/spicy and fruity/sweet here.
Both udon and soba noodles work in this mildly spicy salad.
A refreshing Thai noodle salad.
Inspired by a signature Korean noodle dish, there are a variety of ways to make this recipe, depending on your preferences.
A substantial salad that makes for a delicious summer meal.
Aug 24 2013
Mansfield Frazier says he is a former convict. He served his detention in a federal prison, according to him. He has written an opinion essay about what life will be like for Chelsea Manning in prison, which the Daily Beast has published, adding the following disclaimer:
This article is an opinion piece written by a former convict and based on his perceptions of life in federal prison. In its original version, it suggested that prison rape is rare. In fact, according to the advocacy group Just Detention International, 200,000 adults and children are sexually abused in American detention facilities every year. This trauma can carry serious emotional and physical consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and the risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections.
I’m going to respond to Mr. Frazier, not form the point of view of a prisoner in a federal facility, but from the point of view I personally have. I’m a transgender woman who formerly worked at the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, the facility that Manning will probably get to call home for the next substantial number of years.