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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ten Things of Fire and Power

Sulphur reacts with all metals except gold and platinum/BBC
  1. Sulphur has many uses, from making acid to stiffening rubber, and has a long cultural association with Satan and the underworld. It's the ninth most abundant element in the universe.
  2. Flash storms have caused further disruption in parts of the United Kingdom after recent high temperatures and lightning strikes.
  3. England's traditional crafts such as clog makers, basket weavers and wood turners are in danger of disappearing, according to the few people still practising them.
  4. Alexandra of Denmark was the bride of the Prince of Wales, and a 19th Century fashion icon. The clothes she wore were copied, the chokers she wore to conceal a scar on her neck were copied, and when a bout of rheumatic fever left her with a pronounced limp that was copied, too.
  5. Tens of thousands of Jewish victims of the Nazis sought refuge in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s, but there are thought to be no more than 1,000 still living, most of them over eighty. A far smaller number of concentration camp survivors remain, and their children are taking on the task of preserving their memories. (Read more)
  6. An Israeli Bedouin father and a Palestinian family were among those killed as the casualty toll from Israel's ground campaign and rocket attacks from Gaza continue to rise as it expands its ground offensive, while pro-Palestinian protesters in France have clashed with police at a rally against Israel's action in Gaza. Thousands took part in the protest in Paris, despite it being banned. Some threw stones and bottles at riot police, who responded with tear gas. The ban was imposed after protesters attempted to storm two synagogues at a similar protest last week. (Read more)
  7. Among the ten British victims who were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which came down in eastern Ukraine killing 298 people, were two Newcastle football fans on their way to watch a match and two students. One of whom was maths and finance student Richard Mayne, who had raised more than £1,000 for a children's charity by climbing to Everest Base Camp, was travelling to Australia to begin a gap year. As crash investigations continue, the British prime minister has called for the European Union to "re-think its Russia relations". (Read more)
  8. The painful practice of binding the feet of girls in China may have been outlawed in 1911, but for some girls the ancient tradition continued illegally until the 1949 Communist revolution. Elsewhere on the plight of women, thousands of people have held a protest in India over a police investigation into the rape of a six-year-old girl by two staff members at a prominent school, which has been accused of refusing to take responsibility for the crime. Anger is growing in India over its latest rape case, raising more questions about the safety of India's schoolchildren and sexual violence against girls and women.
  9. Babar Ahmad, a British-Pakistani man from south London, has been sentenced to twelve-and-a-half years in prison in the United States after he admitted conspiracy and providing material support to the Taliban. Some have nicknamed him the godfather of the internet jihad. Meanwhile it's a deliberate mistranslation to use the word "jihad" to mean "holy war". Jihad is believed to refer to either an internal spiritual struggle or outer resistance against oppression, which generally should be non-violent. The Arabic term for a holy war is never mentioned in the Koran (the Islamic bible).
  10. Experiments have found that whether or not you can register a colour depends on whether or not you have a name for it in your language. You can see the colour, it just doesn't register in your mind, while the word "robot" was originally another word for "slave". It was invented in 1921 by Czech playwright Karel Capek, who wrote a play featuring artificial people built for the purpose of being slaves. He named these beings "robots" after the Czech word "robota," which means "forced labour".

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