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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,816

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What Doomed a Sprawling City Near St. Louis 1,000 Years Ago?

Excavations at Cahokia, famous for its pre-Columbian mounds, challenge the idea that residents destroyed the city through wood clearing.

Cahokia, across the Mississippi from present-day St. Louis, was a city of roughly 20,000 people at its peak in the 1100s, but was largely abandoned by 1350.Credit...Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

By Asher Elbein
Published April 24, 2021
Updated April 26, 2021

A thousand years ago, a city rose on the banks of the Mississippi River, near what eventually became the city of St. Louis. Sprawling over miles of rich farms, public plazas and earthen mounds, the city — known today as Cahokia — was a thriving hub of immigrants, lavish feasting and religious ceremony. At its peak in the 1100s, Cahokia housed 20,000 people, greater than contemporaneous Paris.

By 1350, Cahokia had largely been abandoned, and why people left the city is one of the greatest mysteries of North American archaeology.

Now, some scientists are arguing that one popular explanation — Cahokia had committed ecocide by destroying its environment, and thus destroyed itself — can be rejected out of hand. Recent excavations at Cahokia led by Caitlin Rankin, an archaeologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, show that there is no evidence at the site of human-caused erosion or flooding in the city.

Her team’s research, published in the May/June issue of Geoarcheology suggests that stories of great civilizations seemingly laid low by ecological hubris may say more about our current anxieties and assumptions than the archaeological record.

. . .

A mural at the Cahokia Mounds Museum and Interpretive Center shows the city during its heyday, circa 1100.Credit...L.K. Townsend/Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site


'Descent into hell': Kidnapping explosion terrorizes Haiti

April 26, 2021
5:43 AM CDT

Sarah Marsh

7 minutes read

A wave of kidnappings is sweeping Haiti. But even in a country growing inured to horrific abductions, the case of five-year-old Olslina Janneus sparked outrage.

Olslina was snatched off the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince in late January as she was playing. The child's corpse, bearing signs of strangulation, turned up a week later, according to her mother, Nadege Saint Hilaire, a peanut vendor who said she couldn't pay the $4,000 ransom. Saint Hilaire's cries filled the airwaves as she spoke to a few local radio stations seeking help raising funds to cover funeral costs.

Saint Hilaire is now in hiding after receiving death threats, she said, from the same gang that killed her daughter. "I wasn't supposed to go to the radio to denounce what had happened," she told Reuters.

. . .

Rights activists say politics also play a role. They allege Moise’s government has harnessed criminal groups to terrorize neighborhoods known as opposition strongholds and to quell public dissent amid street protests that have rocked the country the past three years.

The report released April 22 by the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School alleges “high-level government involvement in the planning, execution and cover-up” of three gang-led attacks on poor neighborhoods between 2018 and 2020 that left at least 240 civilians dead. The report relied on investigations of the attacks by Haitian and international human rights experts. It alleges the government provided gangs with money, weapons and vehicles and shielded them from prosecution.


Brazil's Class C Sinks by The Millions and Falls into Poverty

More than 30 million leave classification; outlook for 2021 is more income loss in classes D and E

Apr.26.2021 2:03PM

Brazil's so-called class C is being pushed quickly back to classes D and E. This is the biggest novelty of the Brazilian economic landscape at the beginning of this century.

People in class C find themselves headed to poverty due to the consequences of Covid-19 and the disorganization of the Jair Bolsonaro government's (no party) pandemic mitigation policies.

Research from different agencies reveals not only that tens of millions of Brazilians are going back to more precarious situations since last year but that their lives may continue to get worse in 2021.

While the more privileged classes are beginning to stabilize income or make gains, classes D and E are likely to experience another drop of almost 15% in their income this year.


How a former guerrilla is becoming unbeatable in Colombia's election race

by Adriaan Alsema April 26, 2021

Colombia’s security forces have been fighting guerrillas for more than 60 years, but may want to prepare for the possibility that a former guerrilla will become their commander-in-chief.

The latest poll did not just confirm others that put opposition Senator Gustavo Petro in the lead of the 2022 election race, but indicated that the former member of the M-19 rebel group may be unbeatable.

According to pollster Invamer, the progressive candidate has taken such a lead that if elections were held tomorrow, no candidate would stand a chance against Petro.

Ahead of the first round, the progressive candidate would enjoy more than twice the support of the runner up, “extreme centrist” Sergio Fajardo.


Colombia's most wanted accountant Part 1: Process #34986

by Adriaan Alsema
April 21, 2021

Colombia’s prosecution arrested the former accountant of paramilitary organization AUC on charges unrelated to the ledgers that revealed ties between the mafia and Medellin‘s elite.

Leading former AUC member Jacinto Alberto Soto, a.k.a. “Lucas,” was arrested last week in Barbosa, just miles from the Medellin prison he walked out of months after his 1998 arrest.

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, a transitional justice court ordered the arrest of the AUC’s former finance chief for his alleged involvement in the assassination of three prosecution investigators.

. . .

The prosecutors coincidentally found evidence that the AUC accountant had ties to Medellin crime lord “Don Berna,” former governor Alvaro Uribe, the Medellin Police Department, the National Army’s 7th Division and dozens of companies from Antioquia.


Maker of Sinema's viral 'f--- off' ring donating profits to group fighting to raise minimum wage

Source: The Hill

Aris Folley 5 hrs ago

A business that has come out as the maker of the "F--- Off" ring Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) was recently seen sporting in a viral photo said it will be donating all profits from sales of the accessory to a group fighting to raise minimum wage.

In pair of messages posted to Instagram this week, Yellow Owl Workshop said it appreciated the recent attention the senator brought to the ring and said it wanted to put its money "towards an organization that is fighting to protect workers and build systemic change."

"At Yellow Owl we create fun stuff to express yourself but we are dead serious about social justice. We fully support at least a $15 minimum wage because EQUITY and DIGNITY LOOK GOOD on EVERYONE," the business wrote in the posts.

As a result, the business said it will be donating all profits from sales of the ring "for the rest of the month" to National Employment Law Project, which fights to raise the federal minimum wage.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/maker-of-sinemas-viral-f-off-ring-donating-profits-to-group-fighting-to-raise-minimum-wage/ar-BB1fTO5O?li=BBnb7Kz

Utah governor defends support for NBA minority scholarship

April 21, 2021
Updated: April 21, 2021 11:31 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The governor of Utah has defended his position to support a minority scholarship program sponsored by the Utah Jazz despite criticism from some who have called the program racist.

Republican Gov. Spencer Cox was asked last week on a radio show about an initiative started under new Jazz owner Ryan Smith for the team to offer a four-year scholarship to an underrepresented or minority student for each of the team's wins this season, FOX13 reported Monday.

FOX13 reported that the unidentified caller asked Cox what he would do to stop the team from acting “in this racist manner?”

Cox told the caller that he did not think the program was racist and later reinforced his comments in a Twitter post saying, “if you’re outraged by a private individual trying to help disadvantaged minority kids go to college, then I’m definitely not your guy.”


McCloskeys want grand jury to take a new look at their case

Associated Press
April 21, 2021
Updated: April 21, 2021 2:30 p.m.

A St. Louis husband and wife facing criminal charges for waving guns at racial injustice protesters last summer have told a judge they are concerned about Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s handling of their case and asked that it be sent back to the grand jury.

“Due to the bias of Kim Gardner’s office, we believe the grand jury process was tainted and should be reviewed and revisited,” Joel Schwartz, the attorney for Mark and Patricia McCloskey, said in an email to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

A hearing on the motion to remand is scheduled for April 30. A message left with Gardner’s office wasn’t immediately returned.

Demonstrators were marching to the home of then-Mayor Lyda Krewson on June 28, amid nationwide protests that followed George Floyd ’s death in Minneapolis. They ventured onto the private street that includes the McCloskey mansion. The couple said protesters broke down an iron gate and ignored a “No Trespassing” sign. They said they felt threatened.


Tyrannosaurs may have hunted in packs like wolves, new research has found

Paleontologists say a mass grave in Utah shows the dinosaurs may not have always been solitary predators as previously thought

Associated Press
Mon 19 Apr 2021 18.45 EDT

Tyrannosaur dinosaurs may not have been solitary predators as long envisioned but more like social carnivores such as wolves, new research announced on Monday has found.

Paleontologists developed the theory while studying a mass tyrannosaur death site found seven years ago in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, one of two monuments that the Biden administration is considering restoring to their full size after former president Donald Trump shrank them.

Using geochemical analysis of the bones and rock, a team of researchers from the University of Arkansas determined that the dinosaurs died and were buried in the same place and were not the result of fossils washing in from multiple areas.

Kristi Curry Rogers, a biology professor at Macalester College, said this research is a “good start” but more evidence would be needed before determining that the tyrannosaurs were living in a social group.


One of Earth's nearest stars may be a dark matter factory

By Adam Mann - Live Science Contributor 16 hours ago

A hunt for hypothetical axions streaming from Betelgeuse turns up empty but helps physicists set constraints on their properties.

A visual illustration of Betelgeuse's mysterious dimming. A new study suggests it could be a good candidate for finding axions. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Wheatley (STScI))

Deep in its searing hot belly, the giant red star Betelgeuse could be producing tons of hypothetical dark matter particles called axions that, if they exist, would give off a telltale signal. A recent search for such a tantalizing emission has turned up empty, but helps physicists place new limits on the putative axion’s properties.

Appearing as a bright red dot in the constellation Orion, Betelgeuse is a well-studied star. It is cosmologically close, being only 520 light-years from Earth, and made headlines last year when it started mysteriously dimming, leading some researchers to believe it could be preparing to explode as a supernova.

Because it is such a large and hot star, Betelgeuse might also be a perfect place to find axions, scientists say. These conjectured particles could have perhaps a millionth or even a billionth the mass of an electron and are ideal candidates to make up dark matter, the mysterious substance vastly outweighing ordinary matter in the universe but whose nature is still largely undetermined.

As dark matter, axions shouldn’t interact much with luminous particles, but according to some theories, there is a small probability that photons, or light particles, could convert back and forth into axions in the presence of a strong magnetic field, Mengjiao Xiao, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, told Live Science.

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