Friday, July 27, 2007
An interesting tidbit - I'll be doing some time traveling on the way. I'll arrive home about an hour before I leave Korea. Gotta love it.
Is fake big toe from ancient Egypt world's first known prosthetic?
July 26, 2007 - 2:32 pm By: SHERYL UBELACKER
TORONTO (CP) - British researchers are taking steps to prove whether an artificial big toe found attached to the foot of an ancient Egyptian mummy is actually the world's earliest known functional prosthetic body part.
Known as the "Cairo toe," the wooden and leather appendage was on the mummified body of a woman discovered in a tomb from ancient Thebes, now modern-day Luxor, Egypt. Tests suggested the woman was aged 50 to 60 at the time of her death and may have lost the big toe due to diabetes.
Items buried with the woman, the wife of a high priest, suggest she lived between 1069 and 664 BC.
Since being unearthed by archeologists in 2000, there has been hot debate as to the artificial toe's function: was it intended for cosmetic purposes only or did it actually serve to help its wearer to better "walk like an Egyptian?"
Jacky Finch, who is working on her PhD at the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester, wants to settle that question once and for all.
Finch, who examined the intricately crafted artifact at its home in the Cairo Museum in March, is planning to test replicas of the replacement digit on volunteers who are also missing their right big toe to see how the prosthetics function.
Copies of another ancient Egyptian fake appendage - named the Greville Chester Great Toe after the collector who acquired it for the British Museum in 1881 - will also be put through their paces by Finch and her team. That toe was made from linen, animal glue and plaster, but is not jointed like the Cairo toe.
"There is a long history with the ancient Egyptians that they actually restored body parts on death, so they went into the afterlife complete," Finch said Thursday from Manchester, England. "So both of these, or maybe one of them, may well be a post-mortem restoration."
She said Egyptologists have found restored hand-crafted body parts on mummies, including arms, legs, feet, noses - and even penises. ("It was important to be able to procreate in the afterlife.")
"But the (toe) in Cairo is a little bit more interesting, being in three pieces, and it may well have been worn in life . . . It's a very, very beautiful piece."
Finch said the device - which has a lifelike toenail carved into it - shows signs of wear, "although it could well be wear when it was handled by the embalmers or when it was placed into the tomb. So we can't assume that the wear is from daily activity, abrasion against the ground."
The earliest known practical prosthesis is the bronze and wood Roman Capua Leg from 300 BC, which was destroyed when the Royal College of Surgeons in London was bombed during the Second World War.
Still, Finch is crossing her fingers that the Cairo toe may pre-date the fake leg as the oldest known functional replacement part.
"The Cairo toe is perhaps the most encouraging of the two pieces," she said of the two ancient foot appendages.
"And it would be lovely to push back the dawn of prosthetic medicine by some 700 years and to credit the ancient Egyptians with having set foot on that path of prosthetic medicine first."
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Korean Missionary Work in Afghanistan in the Spotlight
A kindergarten in Kandahar, Afghanistan which a missionary group from the Saemmul church in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province planned to visit before they were kidnapped. Since its opening in 2005, the kindergarten has admitted about 100 war orphans and children from destitute families. Two classrooms and the teachers' room were burned down in an arson attack last year.
Christians Taking Unnecessary Risks AbroadSorry Confusion at the Foreign Ministry Taliban Demand Direct Talks With Korea Kidnappers Extend Deadline for Korean Hostages
The work of Korean evangelical churches in Afghanistan is in the spotlight again after 23 members of a church were kidnapped by Taliban insurgents on Thursday. Last August, Korean evangelical churches were prevented by the Korean and Afghan governments at the 11th hour from holding what they said was a “peace march” of some 2,000 born-again Christians.
Churches say some 100 Korean missionaries from a dozen organizations and churches are in Afghanistan. Most are focusing on volunteer activities rather than openly preaching the gospel. The Rev. Kwon Sung-chan, who worked in Afghanistan before the Taliban took power, said, "In the past, foreigners could enter Afghanistan only through Pakistan. But I understand there are more routes into the country these days and it’s much easier to get entry visas, so a lot of Korean Christians are working there."
According to Evangelicals who have been to Afghanistan, many go to Afghanistan despite the danger because there is so much to do. Choi Han-woo, the secretary general of the Institute of Asian Culture and Development who organized last year's rally, said, "The history of Afghanistan is reminiscent of Korea's modern history in that the country has been invaded by foreign forces many times and went through a civil war recently. There are many things we can do to help it in the postwar rehabilitation process." He said missionary work is challenging but rewarding at the same time.
Members of the Saemmul church in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province leave the church after morning worship on Sunday.
Since the end of the U.S.-led war in 2002, 400 to 500 Korean evangelicals have visited the country every year for medical volunteer work and to offer education for children and youths, advice on information technology, and advice on agriculture.
During the vacations, many go on short-term missions. Local missionaries help each church or organization locate the targets. The kidnapped members of the Saemmul church in Bundang, Gyeonggi Province were apparently on such a short-term mission. In an interview with the Arabic satellite TV channel Al Jazeera on Saturday, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a purported spokesman for the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, said that the detained Koreans were carrying out "missionary activities." He added, "Afghanistan is an Islamic republic where conversion from Islam or attempting to convert Muslims is regarded as a serious crime in several areas." Islam experts say this is not based on hostility to Christianity itself but because Islam condemns apostasy. Choi Jin-young, secretary general of the Korea Middle East Association, said, "Due to this rule, Islamic countries ban missionary work although they do not make an issue of faith, be it Christianity or Islam." Lee Hee-soo, a professor at Hanyang University, said, "The Taliban regard missionary work itself as a crime that threatens the foundation of their country and society."
Some Muslim countries even curb Islamic proselytizing beyond certain boundaries, citing a verse in the Koran that says, “There is no compulsion in religion." Last November, the Kazakh government punished an Islamic missionary organization for lecturing at a Mosque without government permission. Even in Turkey, a secular country, open missionary work by other religions is often held in check.
S. Korea ponders evangelical zeal
Jul 23, 2007 Reuters
The kidnapping of 23 Korean church volunteers in Afghanistan has raised questions in South Korea over whether the country's evangelical Christian groups may be too zealous in sending missionaries overseas. There are an estimated 17,000 South Korean Christian missionaries abroad, the largest contingent after those from the United States, with many of them in volatile regions. Several major dailies questioned why the church that sent the volunteers to Afghanistan ignored government warnings of the risk of conflict with the Islamic militarist Taliban. "Religious groups should realise once and for all that dangerous missionary and volunteer activities in Islamic countries including Afghanistan not only harm Korea's national objectives, but also put other Koreans under a tremendous amount of duress," the right-leaning Chosun Ilbo newspaper said in an editorial. The Saemmul Church from which the kidnapped Koreans were dispatched is relatively moderate and its missions abroad have focused on volunteer medical and humanitarian work, people in the Christian community say. But for many increasingly wealthy evangelical churches in South Korea, dispatching missionaries and Christian volunteers abroad has become a competition, with larger numbers widely considered a gauge of the strength of their beliefs. "I have never seen this kind of zeal elsewhere," said Song Jae-ryong of Kyunghee University, in Seoul, who specialises in religious sociology. Critics say that while the churches do a lot of good abroad, they can at times have a shallow view of the world. "South Korean evangelism has a strong tendency to push for what they believe in, often in disregard of the peculiarities of the places they are trying to work in," Song said. South Korea has one of the largest percentages of Christians in Asia, at around 30% of the population.
The religion grew in post-war South Korea, with many seeing it as a way to a better education and social standing. In some cases, dozens or even hundreds of South Korean evangelicals can be found in a single small city, with some even fighting one another over the voluntary work to be done, the left-leaning daily Hankyoreh reported. A few evangelical church leaders boast about getting around South Korean government warnings and bans other countries place on missionary visas by unofficially dispatching missionaries. This practise has drawn criticism among other South Korean churches, because it makes it difficult for locals to distinguish between Christian volunteers doing humanitarian work and those whose primary mission is to seek converts overseas. Last August, Afghanistan deported hundreds of visiting South Korean Christians who wanted to parade through Kabul over security fears after Islamic clerics demanded their expulsion, accusing them of trying to proselytise.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it.
Touching words from the mouth of babes.What does Love mean?A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?"
The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
Rebecca- age 8
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
Billy - age 4"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."
Karl - age 5
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
Chrissy - age 6
"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
Terri - age 4
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
Danny - age 7
"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"
Emily - age 8
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
Bobby - age 7
(Wow!)"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,"
Nikka - age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
Noelle - age 7
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
Tommy - age 6
"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."
Cindy - age 8"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
Clare - age 6"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."
Elaine-age 5"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
Chris - age 7"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day." Mary Ann - age 4"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."
Lauren - age 4"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
(what an image)
Karen - age 7"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross." Mark - age 6"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Jessica - age 8And the final one
Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said,
"Nothing, I just helped him cry"
"True" Friendship None of that Sissy Crap
Are you tired of those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality?
Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.
You will see no cutesy little smiley faces on this card - Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.
1. When you are sad -- I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile -- I will know you finally got laid.
4. When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.
5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
6. When you are confused -- I will use little words.
7. When you are sick -- Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall -- I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.
9. This is my oath.... I pledge it to the end. "Why?" you may ask; "because you are my friend".
Friendship is like peeing your pants,
everyone can see it,
but only you can feel the true warmth.
Sometimes in life, you find a special friend;
Someone who changes your life just by being part of it.
Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop;
Someone who makes you believe that there really is good in the world.
Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door just waiting for you to open it.
This is Forever Friendship.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Egypt will retest royal mummies
By Reuters July 16, 2007
All of Egypt's royal mummies will get identity checks after scientists found one was wrongly identified as a pharaoh, Egypt's chief archeologist said last week.
Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said he would use computed tomography scanning and DNA to test more than 40 royal mummies at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
In June, the mummy long thought to have been King Tuthmosis I was found to be a young man who died from an arrow wound, Hawass said. History showed Tuthmosis I died in his 60s.
"I am now questioning all the mummies," he said in an interview. "We have to check them all again."
Many royal mummies were taken from their tombs and hidden elsewhere to protect them from desecration and looting hundreds of years after their deaths.
Hawass said the ancient mummy of Tuthmosis I's daughter, Queen Hatshepsut, had been identified and it was found she had been a fat woman in her 50s, with diabetes and rotten teeth, who died of bone cancer. Her DNA had also been matched to Ahmose Nefertari, who Hawass described as Hatshepsut's grandmother.
Egypt identifies mummy of pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut
By KATARINA KRATOVAC Associated Press June 28th Chron.com
CAIRO, Egypt — A tooth found in a relic box led archaeologists to identify a long-overlooked mummy as that of Egypt's most powerful female pharoah — possibly the most significant find since King Tutankhamun's tomb was uncovered in 1922, experts said Wednesday.
The mummy was identified as Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled for 20 years in the 15th century B.C., dressing like a man and wearing a fake beard. A monumental builder, she wielded more power than two other famous ancient Egyptian women, Cleopatra and Nefertiti, who unlike her never took the title of pharaoh.
But when she died, all traces of her mysteriously disappeared, including her mummy.
In 1903, a mummy was found lying on the ground next to the sarcophagus holding the mummy of the queen's wet nurse in a tomb in the Valley of Kings burial ground in Luxor. For decades, that mummy was left unidentified and remained in the tomb because it was thought to be insignificant.
A year ago, Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass began a search for Hatshepsut's mummy. At the same time, the Discovery Channel, which is to broadcast a documentary on the find in July, gave Egypt $5 million to set up a DNA lab to test mummies. The lab was established in the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Two months ago, the unidentified mummy was brought from Luxor to the museum for DNA testing. Hawass said his first clue that it could be the lost queen was the position of the left hand on her chest — a traditional sign of royalty in ancient Egypt.
Experts then made a stunning match. A tooth that had been found in a relic box displaying Hatshepsut's insignia and containing embalmed organs fit a gap in the mummy's jaw. Still uncompleted DNA testing also has shown similarities between the mummy and the mummy of Hatshepsut's grandmother, which was identified previously.
"We are 100 percent certain" the mummy belongs to Hatshepsut, Hawass told The Associated Press.
On Wednesday, Hawass unveiled both mummies — Hatshepsut's and that of her wet nurse, which initially was investigated as possibly being the queen.
The strikingly different mummies were displayed inside long glass cases draped with Egyptian flags. Hatshepsut's linen-wrapped mummy was bald and much larger than the slim, child-size mummy of the wet nurse, Sitr-In, which had rust-colored locks of hair.
Hawass said the queen's mummy suggested the woman was obese, probably suffered from diabetes, had liver cancer and died in her 50s.
Hatshepsut is believed to have stolen the throne from her young stepson, Thutmose III, who scratched her name from stone records in revenge after her death.
Her two-decade rule was the longest among ancient Egyptian queens, at a time of the New Kingdom's "golden age." She is said to have amassed enormous wealth, channeling it into building projects, and launched military campaigns as far away as the Euphrates River in present-day Iraq, and Nubia in what is now Sudan.
Ahead of Wednesday's announcement, molecular biologist Scott Woodward, director of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation in Salt Lake City, Utah, was cautious.
"It's a very difficult process to obtain DNA from a mummy," said Woodward, who has done DNA research on mummies. "To make a claim as to a relationship, you need other individuals from which you have obtained DNA, to make a comparison between the DNA sequences."
Such DNA material would typically come from parents or grandparents. With female mummies, the most common type of DNA to look for is the mitochondrial DNA that reveals maternal lineage, said Woodward.
Egyptian molecular geneticist Yehia Zakaria Gad, who is on Hawass' team, said DNA bone samples were obtained from the mummy's hip bone and femur.
Scientists then extracted mitochondrial DNA and are now comparing them with samples from the mummy of Hatshepsut's grandmother, Ahmose Nefretari, he said. The preliminary results were "very encouraging," Gad said.
Molecular biologist Paul Evans, of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, said the discovery would be remarkable if DNA testing fully proves the mummy is Hatshepsut.
"It's clear that this is on the right track. Once the DNA is done and published, then we will know better," Evans told The Associated Press. "Hatshepsut is an individual who has a unique place in Egypt's history. To have her identified is on the same magnitude as King Tut's discovery."
Hatshepsut's most famous accomplishment is her funerary temple in ancient Thebes, on the west bank of the Nile in today's Luxor. The collonaded sandstone temple was built to serve as tribute to her power. Surrounding it are the Valley of Kings and the Valley of the Queens, the burial places of Egypt's pharaohs and their wives.
She was one of the most prolific builders among the pharaohs, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper and Lower Egypt. Almost every major museum in the world has a collection of Hatshepsut statuary.
British archaeologist Howard Carter had worked on excavating Hatshepsut's tomb before discovering the tomb of the boy-king, Tutankhamun, whose treasure of gold has become a symbol of ancient Egypt's splendor.
Monday, July 16, 2007
It was an expensive weekend but well worth it. All of the trains to the place were almost completely sold out a week before and many of the hotels as well. Getting a hotel was a bit of a job. Many of the places just hung up on me - "No English". I ended up having a Korean friend phone for me.The mud festival is all about the mud, of course. Basically, you play in the mud, let it dry, then go for a swim, then play in the mud some more, let it dry, go for a swim, etc. There were a lot of mud related activities set up all over the place:mud prison,"SUVIVAL FIGHTING" mud wrestling, mud slides, mud baths (such as the pool that Kate and her boyfriend are in below), mud massages,mud treatment self painting, etc.(ummmm... i don't think i am THAT skinny)Playing in the sand. It was decided that I should be buried alive.
The mud is a special mud from the hills near Boryeong. They also sold several mud products - facial masks, cleansers and creams, shampoo and conditioner, soaps, etc.
We went down and bumped into several of my friends here and there.I saw my friend Kate for the first time in almost 2 years. She was one of my classmates at TEFL International in Alexandria, Egypt. She was teaching in Korea a while ago, but was quite far away from Seoul, and then left early. She is back with her boyfriend again, and they are now closer to where I am. No excuses this time for not getting together.
For dinner Saturday night, we had a bit of a hard time figuring out what to eat. All of the restaurants were seafood restaurants, mostly raw fish, seafood soup or shellfish - and incase you don't know, I can't stand seafood. There were a few meat restaurants, but being with a Muslim sort of cut all of those out of our options. Revo wanted to try the shellfish so in we went.He didn't particularly like it. I ate a few little clams drenched in a spicy sauce. It was definitely not worth the price (NOT cheap). I think if he had realized the price, he would have eaten a lot more - it was sort of an all-you-can-eat/free-refills sort of thing. Oh well. The Korean pancake that came with the shellfish was good.
Later on, we went back to the beach and to enjoy the music.(the light in the distance at 10 times optical zoom) There was a big concert going on. We couldn't see the performance, but the music was good. We ended up missing the fireworks, though. They weren't on until around 11:30 or so - I thought they were supposed to be much earlier, and for some reason, figured we had missed them. I heard them from my hotel room. :( They lasted so long and from what I heard, were beautiful.
The next day we decided to spend relaxing. Since we had to check out of the hotel by 12, we decided not to play in the mud and left most of our things at the hotel until we had to leave. It was nice being able to just sit around and enjoy the nice weather. I was sort of wishing that we could play in the mud again. Sunday they came out with different colored mud. It would have been nice to have been blue. ;)While we were wandering around, there were several little booths/shops doing spray on tattoos. Revo got a cool spider tattoo on his arm (ugh... spiders).Walking along the beach.
Waiting for the train:outside the station
Monday, July 09, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Double pepperoni, mushrooms, extra cheese and ... porn?
OTTAWA (AFP) - A new pizza restaurant in western Canada that delivers pornography with every pie has once again proven the adage: sex sells.
Porno Pizza in Winnipeg has been doing brisk business since opening last week, titillating the hungry with racy pictures at the bottom of every pizza box.
"They range from softly-lit, lube-on-the-lens pictures like in Playboy, to raunchy, hardcore photos that would make Larry Flint blush," pizzeria owner Corey Wildeman told AFP. "The image is revealed as you eat the pizza."
The "ultra erotic" marketing gimmick has attracted "scowls" from some observers, "hooting and hollering" from others and at least one "drive-by flashing" of breasts, he said.
"We live in a society that is so steeped in porn that people have it delivered to the dinner table," Roz Prober of child advocacy group Beyond Borders lamented in the Winnipeg Free Press.
Indeed, Wildeman, 30, is already in talks with potential partners to open franchises across Canada after selling hundreds of pizzas in one week.
"You'll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator," he explained. "Everyone knows: sex sells."
Wildeman said he came up with the idea for the naughty pizzeria while talking with friends about classic porn flicks in which "pizza delivery guys meet lonely ladies and deliver more than just pizza."
Unexpectedly, more than 75 percent of his customers turned out to be women, he noted.