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Google Search Adds 3D Monuments, Including the Parthenon

Google
A 3D model of the Parthenon is featured in Google’s new augmented reality search results. Credit: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 3.0

Google has added 3d monuments to its search results, including the Parthenon in Athens. The search engine has started incorporating augmented reality (AR) objects into its Google Search feature, which 3d results for space, science and athletes, animals, and now, popular world monuments.

Google’s view of the 3d monuments allows users to rotate the landmarks and zoom into their details. Users also have the option to overlay a monument into their space with their camera lens’ using the “View in 3D” option.

The feature allows you to take pictures and videos with the 3D rendered monuments. The Parthenon– one of Greece’s most culturally significant landmarks– is available as a 3D object. The Parthenon is an ancient temple located in the Athenian Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The site was meant to honor the goddess Athena and was once filled with sculptures that were famously removed from the site by Lord Elgin in the 19th century.

Here is a complete list of world monuments you can explore in 3D with Google’s new feature:

Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel Conservatory of Flowers Neuschwanstein Castle St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Alcatraz Island Eiffel Tower Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum St. Paul’s Cathedral
Alhambra Empire State Building One World Trade Center St. Peter’s Basilica
Amazon Theatre Ferry Building Palace of Versailles Statue of Liberty National Monument
Arasaka Imperia Residence Flatiron Building Palace of Westminster Stonehenge
Arc de Triomphe Giotto’s Bell Tower Palais Garnier The Angel of Independence
Aztec Stadium Golden Gate Bridge Palazzo Vecchio The British Museum
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe Japan National Stadium Pantheon The Centre Pompidou
Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence Kaminarimon Gate Panthéon The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Basilica of Santa Maria Novella Kensington Palace Parthenon The Painted Ladies
Big Ben La Sagrada Familia Piazza della Signoria The Palace of Fine Arts
Brooklyn Bridge Leaning Tower of Pisa Piazza Navona Tokyo National Museum
Buckingham Palace Les Invalides PIER 39 Tokyo Skytree
Campidogilo square London Eye Pitti Palace Tokyo Tower
Capela Curial de São Francisco de Assis Louvre Museum Placa de Catalunya Tower of London
Castel Sant’Angelo Magic Fountain of Montjuic Ponte Vecchio Trafalgar Square
Castle of Good Hope Meiji Jingu Rhodes Memorial Trevi Fountain
Cathedral of Barcelona Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral Rockefeller Center Union Buildings
Cathedral of Brasilia Monument of the Ninos Heroes Roman Forum Ushiku Building
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Monument to the Revolution Sacré-Cœur Voortrekker Monument
Cathedrale Norte-Dame de Paris Moses Mabhida Stadium San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge Westminster Abbey
Chapultepec Castle Mount Rushmore National Memorial São Paulo Cathedral Yoyogi National Stadium
Christ the Redeemer Musée d’Orsay Sensō-ji Zojoji
Coit Tower National Museum of Nature and Science = Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Columbus Monument National Palace Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple

 

The Parthenon’s design eccentricities are strengths

The Parthenon is one of the most iconic structures in the history of Western civilization. It stands in splendor on Acropolis Hill in Athens, and has stood like that for 2,500 years. Experts believe that the ingenuity of the Parthenon’s construction has allowed it to miraculously survive the ravages of time, nature and mankind.

For decades, engineers, architects and scientists have wondered exactly how this ingenious structure has successfully stood the test of time to continue to tower majestically over the Greek capital.

This architectural and engineering wonder, with its height, width and depth defining the very concept of perfect proportion, has kept its secrets for many centuries since its completion in the year 438 BC. That is, until engineers and architects recently revealed the Parthenon’s design and construction secrets.

Several studies have found that despite the fact that the temple of the Parthenon does not even have a foundation it has triple anti-seismic protection which is responsible for keeping it upright after the many earthquakes and upheavals of the past 25 centuries.

According to civil engineer Niki Timotheou, studies of its architectural and structural form have shown that the Ancients had already discovered what we today call “seismic insulation.”

The temple, according to Timotheou, successfully contradicts all theories of modern civil engineering because even though it has no foundation whatsoever, and stands right on bedrock, it has three means of insulating itself against earthquakes.

Biden Addresses Omicron Variant, Says it’s “Not a Cause for Panic”

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Omicron Biden
President Joe Biden addressed the nation about the new Omicron variant, emphasizing concern over “panic.” Credit: White House/Katie Ricks

President Joe Biden addressed the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus on Monday. Biden reassured the nation without downplaying the variant’s seriousness, saying that Omicron is “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

The President also said that his administration hopes to continue their fight against Covid-19 into the winter without relying on “shutdowns or lockdowns,” and instead focusing on vaccination.

Biden also remarked on his decision to restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries in Southern Africa, saying that “it gives us time,” and that Americans have to “understand that you have to get your vaccine, you have to get the shot, have to get the booster.”

“We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientist and we’re learning more every single day,” he added, saying that America “will fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable action and speed– not chaos and confusion.”

Biden also addressed speculation as to whether Omicron will be vaccine-resistant, and if pharmaceutical companies will need to develop boosters tailored to the variant:

“In the event, hopefully unlikely, that updated vaccinations or boosters are needed to respond to this new variant, we will accelerate their development and deployment with every available tool. We do not yet believe that additional measures will be needed.”

Omicron first diagnosed in South Africa; symptoms “very mild”

The existence of the new variant, later to be dubbed “Omicron,” was announced by South Africa’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) on Nov. 25.

South African physician Dr. Angelique Coetzee said that one of her patients had been “extremely fatigued” for two days, suffering from body aches and headaches. She explained “Symptoms at that stage were very much related to normal viral infection. And because we haven’t seen COVID-19 for the past eight to 10 weeks, we decided to test,” she said.

That patient was indeed positive for the coronavirus, as was his entire family.

However, that very day, Coetzee saw several other patients with similar symptoms, prompting her to wonder if there was “something else going on,” she recalls. Ever since that time, she personally has treated two to three patients every day who have these same symptoms.

“We have seen a lot of Delta patients during the third wave. And this doesn’t fit in the clinical picture,” she explained.

“Most of them are seeing very, very mild symptoms and none of them so far have admitted patients to (hospitals). We have been able to treat these patients conservatively at home,” she said.

Unusually, there has been no loss of taste or smell in patients suffering from the Omicron variant, unlike all the other coronavirus variants to date. Importantly, there has been no decrease in oxygen levels with these patients either, she states.

The Greek Origins of Marseille, France’s Oldest City

Marseille Greek origins
The Greek origins of Marseille. Credit: Christophe.Finot, CC BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia Commons

The huge port city of Marseille, in the south of France was founded by Greeks back in 600 BC, when the first immigrants arrived in the area and established a trading colony.

The Greeks are well known for their ancient tales of glory and tragedy, as well as their civilization’s innumerable contributions to the very foundations of our modern world.

However, what is lesser-known is that throughout the centuries, they founded scores of cities across the Mediterranean which not only exist today, but thrive and play a crucial role in their region’s affairs.

One of these cities is the huge port city of Marseille, the second-largest city in France and definitely among the oldest in Europe.

This was at a time when many Phocaeans left their homeland in today’s Turkey (then Greek-speaking Asia Minor), and reached the northern shores of the Western Mediterranean.

They found a locale which could easily accommodate a large port and in a few years’ time, a new Greek colony had been established. Its name was ”ΜΑΣΣΑΛΙΑ” (”Massalia”).

The Greek myth of Marseille

Greek Origins of Marseille
According to legend, Gyptis, the daughter of the king of the Segobriges, married a Greek man called Protis, who then received a site for the founding of the city of Massalia. Public Domain

The Greek philosopher Aristotle informs us about the myth concerning the foundation of Massalia.

According to this tale Protis, the son of Euxenous from Phocaea, married Gyptis, the daughter of a King of a Celt tribe named Segobriges or Segusiavi, who lived in Gaul, ancient France.

This marriage was the beginning of the story of Marseille.

When the Greek man married this rich and beautiful Celtic woman, the local King gave him the right to obtain a piece of land and build his town.

This small settlement was the foundation of what was to become the well-known city of Massalia.

The greater Mediterranean region, ca. 800-550 BC

However, this well-known legend may have been disproven, since according to archaeological evidence, the Phocaeans were not the first Greeks to arrive on the northern shores of the western Mediterranean Sea.

The entire coastal region comprised of the modern regions of Catalonia, Spain and France had seen the arrival of many Ionian Greeks before that time, during their expeditions to the West to find new places to live and people to trade with.

Nonetheless, the city of Massalia itself was indeed established by Phocaeans, as they were the first to settle permanently there.

These first Greek settlers of the port city very soon established a wide network of trade relationships with neighboring cities, not only along the coast but into the French mainland areas as well, where various Celt tribes once lived.

Other neighboring Greek colonies

The “Massaliotes,” as the Greeks of Marseille were known, first established good relations with other neighboring Greek colonies in the region beginning in the early stages of their colonization.

These colonies included the cities of Agde (Agathe Tyche, meaning ”Good Fortune”), in France; Antibes; Emporiae (the modern city of Empuries in Catalonia); Rhoda (the modern Roses in Catalonia); and of course the well-known cities of Nice (Nikaia) and Monaco, the modern-day cosmopolitan Principality.

Prosperous Traders

The outward-looking and trade-friendly attitude the Greeks of Marseille developed, offered  their city the opportunity to expand economically, and as a consequence, to thrive and prosper.

Shipments of Greek produce constantly arrived at the region’s ports, and ancient Gaul was able to form a consistent, well-established network of communications and relations with the metropolitan areas of Greece via their colonies, especially Marseille.

During the following centuries, the people of Marseille continued to traded with the entire Mediterranean region, and the port grew in importance and size.

Consequently, a great deal of pottery, artwork, coins and other objects from that period have been discovered all over France, from the southern to the very northern extremes of the country.

The Massaliotes as Masters of Trade

This active engagement with the entire region of Gaul made the Massaliotes the unchallenged masters of trade of the time.

Greek coinage was freely circulating across France, local Celtic tribes were using Greek themes to make their own coins, and the whole region was heavily influenced by the Greek settlers’ ”soft power” of commerce and trade.

Their influence even reached the shores of Britain, where local coins discovered in Kent and Surrey have depictions of Apollo. These coins are believed to have been influenced by the designs used in Marseille.

Of course, as  the centuries went by, the Romans arrived, other peoples and tribes made it to the shores of southern France, and history moved on.

However, the distinctive Greek origins of Marseille have somehow managed to remain intact in the city’s psyche to this very day.

This is why Marseille is a city that, many centuries after its founding, still remains proud of its ancient roots which connect its people with the Greeks, the first original Marseillais.

How Boxing Became a Popular Sport in Ancient Greece

Boxing ancient Greece
ancient Greek depiction of Boxing on a Panathenaic amphora in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen /Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.5

Boxing, or Πυγμαχία, meaning “fighting with the fists,” in ancient Greece originated as a very tough sport, much harder than professional boxing as we know it today.

There are archeological discoveries showing that the ancient Greeks held boxing matches as early as in the Minoan and Mycenaean periods. There are numerous legends about the origins of boxing in Greece.

One of the most bizarre stories holds that the heroic ruler Theseus invented a form of boxing in which two men sat face to face and beat each other with their fists until one of them was killed. With time, however, boxers began to fight in a standing position, as we so often see them pictured on Ancient Greek pottery.

The boxing rules in the early days were draconian. No Marquess of Queensberry rules applied in those days.

There were no weight categories, no rounds with intermediate breaks, no points, no victory or defeat on points, no interruption when the fighters began to bleed; nor of course, were there any gloves, and judges enforced the rules by hitting the offenders with a switch or whip (as seen above).

The winner was simply the boxer who knocked out his opponent or forced him to leave the match. In case of a match of especially long duration, with no clear winner, the brutal  “scale” rule applied, with the agreement of both opponents.

Boxing ancient Greece
The “Boxer,” a Hellenistic Greek bronze sculpture. Credit: Livioandronico2013/Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 4.0

The “scale” was in a way similar to the modern penalty shootout in soccer. Each of the two opponents remained completely still and received a punch to the face, without making any move whatsoever to avoid it.

The order of these blows was determined by lot and the winner was the one who would remain standing up. There have been cases in which boxers were killed during the “scale” after receiving a lethal punch.

Also, there were no gloves for protection. The boxers wrapped their fingers and wrists to make their joints more stable — not to reduce the force of the blows on the opponent.

Through the years, though, boxing became more civilized and more of a sport. In fact, it became an Olympic Games sport as early as 688 BC. Onomastos Smyrnaios is the first winner in Olympic boxing.

At the time, the god Apollo was regarded as the inventor and guardian of the sport of boxing.

Boxers in Ancient Greece who went down in history

It is obvious that winning in such a sport required huge reserves of physical — and even mental — strength. Therefore, the few great boxers whose names have gone down in history were revered as superheroes.

The Spartan Ipposthenes was most likely the top boxer in ancient days in Greece, winning first place in five consecutive Olympic Games. This means that for 16 consecutive years he was boxing at the very highest level of this hard sport.

Boxing ancient Greece
August Vinchon, “Diagoras Carried by his Sons After Olympic Victory,” 1814. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Public Domain

Diagoras of Rhodes, a one-time Olympic winner, four-time winner in Isthmia and two in Nemea, was over two meters (6 feet 6 inches) tall and boxed without twisting aside or ducking, making no effort to avoid his opponent.

On the contrary, he went straight at his unfortunate competitors. Everyone admired this giant of a man who was known to have combined power with great personal virtue.

Melagomas, from Karia in Asia Minor, followed the completely opposite tactic, however. But as we can see today, his name has also gone down in history as one of the great ancient pugilists.

He was so flexible and nimble that he could easily avoid being hit by his opponent. The latter usually left the match exhausted, without throwing a single punch — but also without receiving any, as “noble” Melagomas was only interested in avoiding the blows, and not throwing any!

The most courageous boxer, in all of history perhaps, was Evrydamas from Kyrini. In one match, his opponent broke Evrydamas’ teeth, but he swallowed them so that the other would not realize that fact and feel that he had an advantage.

Then, with a series of overwhelming blows, Evrydamas simply knocked his opponent out cold.

Roman-Era Iron Mask Found in Ancient City of Hadrianopouli

Iron Mask
A Roman-era mask made of iron was found today in an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Hadrianopoulis. Credit: Facebook/The Archaeologist

An 1,800-year-old iron mask from the ancient city of Hadrianopouli, Greece was discovered by archaeologists working a dig there this past Summer.

Announced on Monday, the discovery of the iron mask was a revelation to the archaeologists, who have been excavating the site since 2003.

The ancient City of Hadrianaupolis, which is located in what is now Karabük, Turkey, is estimated to have been inhabited from the 1st century BC to the 8th century AD.
It was named after the Roman emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. The city also once was called Caesarea or Kaisareia (Καισάρεια) and Proseilemmene.

Hadrianopolis was at the very edge of the Roman Empire

Hadrianopolis was inhabited during the late Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine periods.

When Emperor Theodosius I (347–395) made parts of Paphlagonia and Bithynia into a new province called Honorias, Hadrianopolis became known as “Hadrianopolis in Honoriade.”

The archaeological dig there is still ongoing, all year round, under the direction of Karabük University Archeology Department’s Ersin Çelikbaş.

This year’s efforts have focused on a square structure whose function is currently unknown, although the researchers believe that, considering its fortifications, it may have served as a military building.

The iron mask dating back to approximately the year 200 AD was found in this structure.

Dr. Çelikbaş told reporters definitively that “This mask belongs to a Roman soldier,” clarifying that it was “a Roman cavalry face mask, a piece of the helmet” that a soldier once wore.

Adding that the long history of the inner Western Black Sea Region has not been fully clarified yet, the head of the excavation stated that “We continue to illuminate the history of the region with our works. During our excavations, we found important data showing the existence of the Roman Empire in the region.”

Iron mask closeup
The iron mask unearthed after 1,800 years in the city of Hadrianopouli, Greece this week by archaeologists. Credit: The Archaeologist.org

Iron masks may have been worn in battle

Stating that there could have been a Roman garrison and military base in Hadrianopolis, Çelikbaş said, “Rome has planned to make its defense at the far end (of the Empire) by building bases against all kinds of dangers that may come from the Black Sea Region to its own geography.

“We think that one of these defensive military cities was Hadrianopolis. The mask fragment is from the imperial period. It most likely belongs to the 3rd century when we look at similar examples and stratification history.”

The mask is through to have had a browband to secure it around the wearer’s head, as well as pieces that would have protected the ears.

Once thought to have been purely ceremonial, such masks, which have extremely lifelike depictions of facial features, were said to have been used in sports-related contests and possibly military parades.

But now, with the recent discoveries in Germany of similar masks, historians believe that they may actually have been worn in battle by “highly accomplished and decorated warriors,” the university says.

An iron ring that also dates back 1,800 years was found inside rock-cut tombs in the ancient city during excavations carried out in the southern necropolis last October. Incredibly, an image of the god Pan, the god of shepherds in Greek mythology, was carved into the agate stone of the ring.

The movable findings discovered in the ancient city were transported to museums in the surrounding provinces of Turkey, while immovables are being preserved in place.

So far, two baths, two churches, a villa, a theater and other religious structures have also been unearthed at the site.

 

Unraveling the Mystery of Longevity on Ikaria, Greece

Ikaria elderly resident on longevity
An elderly Ikaria resident at the village of Nas. Credit: Anastasios Papapostolou / Greek Reporter

Ikaria, a beautiful island located in the eastern Aegean, may look similar to any number of other Greek islands, but there is one vital difference: people there live much longer than the population on the mainland — or even on other Greek islands.

In fact, people there live on average ten years longer than those in the rest of Europe and America. Approximately one in three Ikarians lives into their nineties.

And they not only live longer, but better as well, at least where it concerns their health.

According to scientific studies, the island dwellers also have much lower rates of cancer and heart disease, suffer significantly less depression and dementia, maintain their sex lives into old age and remain physically active well into their nineties.

Ikaria, which is named after Icarus, the young man in Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun and plunged into the sea, is one of the five so-called “Blue Zones,” a name given to five regions in the world where people routinely surpass average global life expectancies.

The other areas are Sardinia, Okinawa, Japan, Nicoya, in Costa Rica, and Loma Linda, in California, in the US.

Longevity and diet on Ikaria Island

There are secrets to the longevity of the islanders that scientists have tried to discover over the last several years. One factor which all researchers seem to agree on is their diet, characterized by simplicity and natural ingredients, following what is generally known as the Mediterranean Diet.

Ikaria, Greece
Ikaria island. Credit: Stelios Kiousis, CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikipedia

The diet includes olive oil, the most common source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which is also rich in antioxidants. The oil has been proven to have cardioprotective properties and to contribute significantly to the increase of “good” HDL cholesterol.

Vegetables are also prominent in the Mediterranean diet. Rich in water, which hydrates the body, they are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, which are needed to boost the immune system.

Garlic is known to protect both cardiac and brain cells. Ubiquitous in this diet, and traditionally known as an elixir of youth, garlic actually detoxifies and strengthens the immune system. Eaten regularly, it can lower cholesterol and blood pressure and deter the formation of blood clots.

Omega-3 fatty acids and fish are perhaps the ace in the hole of the Mediterranean diet. Sardines, salmon, herring, and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are cardioprotective.

They are known to help lower triglyceride levels in the blood and are essential to the operation and development of the nervous system. They are even believed to deter the development of degenerative dementia.

Nuts, including almonds and walnuts, are common in the diet of these areas. All tree nuts are rich in gamma-tocopherol and vitamin E, which help regulate the levels of lipids, lowering levels of LDL cholesterol to prevent clogging of the arteries by plaque formation.

Whole grains are better in general than processed cereals because they retain more of their nutritional value.

Wholegrain breads, pasta and rice can easily be added to any diet, and they can have a protective effect against various types of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Diet is an important, but not the sole, factor, affecting the lifespan of Ikarians in particular. Research has shown that there are other factors which lead to their longevity.

  • Good physical condition, due to daily exercise as a result of manual labor and rural living. The walking which Ikarians do on a daily basis, combined with the mountainous topography of the island, enhances good physical condition.
  • The Mediterranean midday rest, even including a short nap, has been proven to protect and improve cardiac function.
  • Emotional attachments to others, including the strong family and social ties between Ikarian people, have been proven to increase the lifespan of older people.
  • The relaxed pace of daily life, without anxiety and stress, and living lives full of optimism, has also been known to add to longevity.

In a recent interview with the BBC, retired doctor Christodoulos Xenakis spoke about how Ikarians avoid unnecessary anxiety in their lives.

“No one really sets appointments here,” one island resident stated. The concept of time is an important part of life on Ikaria, Xenakis explained, but not in the way most people think.

“It’s more like ‘See you in the morning, afternoon or evening,'” the doctor explains. “We don’t stress.”

Watch a documentary on the Ikaria phenomenon below:

 

DNA Shows Native Americans Have Origin in Western Eurasia

Native Americans
the eastern shores of Lake Baikal in Siberia. DNA analysis of the bones of a boy found along the lake show that one third of his genes were those of Western Eurasians. This prompts scientists to believe that some of the ancestors of Native Americans were of Western Eurasian descent. Credit: de:Benutzer:Sansculotte /CC BY-SA 2.0 de

New DNA research on the bones of a boy who lived along the shores of Lake Baikal in Siberia shows that one-third of his genome was that of Western Eurasians, prompting scientists to say that Native Americans share much of their genetic material with Middle Easterners and Europeans.

Rather than deriving entirely from East Asians, as had once been thought, it now appears that Native Americans may be the result of a mixing of peoples from Western Eurasia and Asians.

Published in the November 20 edition of the journal Nature, the study of the newly-sequenced genome of the boy, who lived 24,000 years ago, shows that fully one-third of his DNA was from west Eurasian people who are linked to the Middle East and Europe.

Native Americans may have ancestors from far further west than previously thought

Using material from the boy’s arm bone, the DNA research could be the basis of a new understanding of how America’s indigenous peoples came to be.

The study’s authors say that their work could help clear up some long-standing mysteries regarding the ancestors of Native Americans, whose genome includes some genetic singularities.

Co-author and ancient DNA specialist Eske Willerslev, of the University of Copenhagen, states “These results were a great surprise to us.

“I hadn’t expected anything like this. A genome related to present-day western Eurasian populations and modern Native Americans as well was really puzzling in the beginning. How could this happen?”

Incredibly, the bone material from the boy provided what researchers believe is the oldest genome of modern humans to ever be sequenced.

His DNA contains genes that are found today in western Eurasians who live in the Middle East and Europe, as well as in Native Americans; most surprisingly, however, it shows no evidence of any relation to East Asians who are living now.

The scientists had enough genetic material dating back to 17,000 years ago to create an entire second individual genome; that also revealed a similar genetic structure to that of the boy.

Society thrived through frigid Last Glacial Maximum period

Interestingly, the find also showed that modern humans were able to live and thrive in this part of Siberia throughout the frigid period that occurred as part of the Last Glacial Maximum, which ended approximately 13,000 years ago.

The boy at the center of the research was about 3-4 years old at the time he died; he had brown eyes, dark hair and freckles. He was buried wearing an ivory crown and beaded necklace with a carved pendant in the shah of a bird.

He and his kinsmen lived in family units in dwellings that had been partially dug into the ground, topped with a canopy of animal bones, antlers and skins to protect them from the freezing climate.

Most scientists now had accepted the theory that the ancestors of Native Americans were a group of East Asians who crossed the Bering Sea between what are now Siberia and Alaska via a land bridge that formed around 16,500 years ago due to a large amount of the world’s water being taken up in enormous glaciers.

“This study changes this idea, because it shows that a significant minority of Native American ancestry actually derives not from East Asia but from a people related to present-day western Eurasians,” Willerslev explained.

“It’s approximately one-third of the genome, and that is a lot,” he noted, adding “So in that regard I think it’s changing quite a bit of the history.”

No one disputes that a land bridge indeed was created between Siberia and Alaska and that people must have at some point used it to get to the Americas.

Some scientists have always believed that there was a much earlier arrival of humans in the New World, back to perhaps 20,000 years before the present.

Native Americans appear to be mixture of peoples

However, what is so groundbreaking about the DNA study is that Native Americans appear to have been a mixed group, having ancestors directly from Western Eurasia as well as the forebears of those who are now living in Eastern Asia.

“The meeting of those two groups is what formed Native Americans as we know them,” Willerslev declared.

Although some see the research as startling, it actually backs up observations that have been long known to scientists.

“Although we know that North Americans are related to East Asians, it’s striking that no contemporary East Asian populations really resemble Native Americans,” Willerslev explained..

“It’s not like you can say that they are really closely related to Japanese, Chinese, or Koreans, so there seems to be something missing. But this result makes a lot of sense regarding why they don’t fit so well genetically with contemporary East Asians — because one-third of their genome is derived from another population.”

The new DNA analysis surely also paves the way toward taking another look at Kennewick Man, the skeleton discovered in what is now the state of Washington. The skeleton bears little resemblance to either modern Native Americans or East Asians.

“Maybe, if he looks like something else, it’s because a third of his ancestry isn’t coming from East Asia but from something like the western Eurasians,” Willerslev speculates.

Of course, much more data needs to be assembled regarding just where and when the great mixing of these peoples occurred: “It could have been somewhere in Siberia or potentially in the New World,” Willerslev notes.

Boy buried with Venus fertility/rebirth figurines

“I think it’s much more likely that it occurred in the Old World,” he says, before adding “But the only way to address that question would be to sequence more ancient skeletons of Native Americans — and also Siberians.”

Perhaps most intriguing of all, especially to anthropologists, is the fact that the boy was buried with objects indicating an origin that was far to the West of where he lived. Some of the items that were part of his burial include Venus figurines — the ubiquitous European figurines from the Paleolithic era that have been found as far West as France. Thought to be either a fertility symbol or one having to do with rebirth, the figures show an exaggerated female form.

The people to which the boy who lived along Lake Baikal belonged were part of an Upper Paleolithic society called the Mal’ta.

Willerslev concludes by saying “So now we know that the individual represented with this culture is a western Eurasian, even though he was found very far east. It’s an interesting question how closely related this individual might have been to the individuals carving these figurines at the same time in Europe and elsewhere.

Woman Known as “The Afghan Girl” Finds Refuge in Italy

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Sharbat Gula
Sharbat Gula, once known only as “The Afghan Girl” after her portrait was taken by a National Geographic photographer, has escaped Afghanistan and is now in Italy. Credit: Steve McCurry/Fair use

The woman once known around the world as “The Afghan Girl,” who was on the cover of  National Geographic Magazine back in 1985, has now reached Italy and is staying there in safety after fearing for her life after the Taliban takeover of her country.

Sharbat Gula, whose arresting image taken when she was only ten years of age rocked the world three decades ago, served as the tragic face of her embattled country for many years.

At the time not even feeling free enough to give her first name to the man who took her picture, Gula was known only as “The Afghan Girl” for decades, until photographer Steve McCurry searched for her, miraculously finding her in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2002.

Afghan woman
Sharbat Gula, who was the face behind the iconic 1985 National Geographic photo. has now found safe refuge in Italy. Credit: Steve McCurry/Fair use

“The Afghan Girl” survived decades as refugee in Pakistan

With a tradition of females being strictly forbidden to smile for cameras lest it be seen as an invitation to men, Gula’s stony face and expression wordlessly told the story of the tragedy of her country, in which women once — and now again — had to cover themselves and mask their emotions out of fear.

Now a mother of several children, Gula was only eight when she was made a refugee, and was only ten when the NG photographer took her picture in a refugee camp in Pakistan; her piercing, thousand-yard-long stare soon was seen around the world, and everyone wanted to not only know who she was but to help the young woman and her family in their plight.

After living as a refugee in Pakistan for years, Gula was invited back to her native country by the Afghan government in 2016 after she was accused of having falsified her identity papers — a common necessity in Pakistan for Afghan refugees. She was given an apartment by the government and lived there in peace for years as she raised her family.

Now, fearing what might happen to her under the new rule of the Taliban, Gula fled to Rome and is now there, according to Italian authorities.

Sharbat Gul at risk as a prominent Afghan woman

As soon as the US pulled its troops out of Afghanistan in August of this year, organizations and individuals working for Afghan women appealed for help in getting her out of the country, according to a statement released by the Italian government.

Italy has by now evacuated more than 5,000 people from Kabul, the government stated, while the US has resettled more than 22,500 Afghan refugees — including an astounding 3,500 in one week in October alone, according to the New York Times. Approximately 42,500 more Afghans are still living in temporary housing on eight military bases around the country while they await permanent housing.

“The prime minister’s office has brought about and organized her transfer to Italy,” the statement announced. It is not known at this time if Gula intends on staying in Italy or exactly what she intends to do in the future. She is currently in her late 40s.

The 2002 National Geographic article on the rediscovery of Gula stated: “The geometry of her jaw has softened. The eyes still glare; that has not softened.”

Gula’s protectors singled her out for help since she had served in many ways as the face of Afghan women for the rest of the world for decades. Despite their statements to the contrary, the Taliban are now going door-to-door in some neighborhoods looking for anyone who supported the US, and women have demonstrated in the streets, fearing their lives and freedoms are once again in danger, just as they had been during the first rule of the Islamic group.

Heather Barr, who works as the associate director for women’s rights for the organization Human Rights Watch, told the Times that it is now an extremely dangerous time to be a well-known woman in Afghanistan.

She stated there have already been cases of prominent women being threatened or intimidated; some, including former television presenters, remain in hiding and change their locations constantly as they endeavor to escape the attention of the Islamic regime.

Barr told interviewers “The Taliban don’t want women to be visible, and she’s an extremely visible Afghan woman.”

Over 18,000 Coronavirus-Related Deaths in Greece Since Start of Pandemic

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Credit: Greek Reporter

Greece recorded a total of 6,677 cases of the coronavirus on Monday.

The record for the highest number of coronavirus cases recorded in one day in Greece was broken on November 9, when 8,623 cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed.

In the past day, a total of 96,315 coronavirus tests have been administered, including both PCR and rapid tests, bringing the positivity rate in Greece to 6.93%.

A total of 104 people with the virus passed away in the country on Monday alone.

Just 11 of Monday’s cases were identified during routine Covid-19 testing of tourists at the country’s borders.

Currently, there are 657 patients with the coronavirus on ventilators in Greece.

Omicron variant

The World Health Organization (WHO), unsettled by the presence of the new variant and its detection all over the world, announced on Monday that Omicron has shown that it spreads more easily and may lead to further surges in infection rates, saying that such spikes could lead to “severe consequences” in some places.

As of now, there have been no deaths linked to the Omicron mutation, but research must be undertaken to determine if the vaccines currently in use will work against it and if those who have antibodies to other strains will also have that natural protection against the new variant.

The WHO therefore urged all of its 194 member nations to accelerate vaccinations in their high-priority groups.

“Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said in a statement, adding “The overall global risk …is assessed as very high.”

The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that the Omicron variant demonstrates how “perilous and precarious” the situation was worldwide as vaccination rates in some countries remains low, either due to a lack of availability or resistance to the inoculation.

1,679 coronavirus cases in Attica, 1,135 in Thessaloniki

Of the 6,677 new coronavirus cases recorded in Greece in the past 24 hours, 1,679 were located in Attica, home to the Greek capital city of Athens.

A total of 469 cases of Covid-19 were identified in central Athens on Monday.

In Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece, 1,135 cases of the virus were identified today.

Over 900,000 cases of the coronavirus recorded in Greece

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 931,183 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the country, including all those who have recovered from the virus.

Of the 657 patients intubated currently, 80.8% are over the age of 70 or suffer from preexisting conditions. Their average age is 64.

The majority of those who are on ventilators in Greece, or 80.06%, are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Additionally, a total of 3,504 patients have been discharged from ICUs around the country since the beginning of the pandemic.

The 104 new deaths recorded on Monday bring the total number of coronavirus-related fatalities in the country to 18,067.

106-Year-Old Greek Yiayia Prays For the Whole World Every Day

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Greek yiayia Anthi Katsoulis prays for the entire world every single day. Credit: Dimitris Katsoulis

At 106 years of age, a Greek yiayia, or grandmother, named Anthi Katsouli stands in her yard every single day and prays for the entire world.

Born in the village of Katarraktis in the region of Arta in Epirus, Northwestern Greece, Katsouli has never left her beloved hometown, which is situated near the stunning Tzoumerka Mountains.

Tzoumerka, the mountain range found in northwestern Greece, features stunning limestone peaks rising into the sky east of the Acheloos River. It is surrounded by the main range of the Pindus mountains as well.

Greek yiayia prays for her fellow man each and every day

The Greek yiayia, who feels moved every morning by the beauty of her surroundings to pray for her fellow man, stands in her yard (which has an incredible view of the two waterfalls on the mountain) each day to do just that.

The former farmer and mother of three prays not only for her own children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but for the whole world as well.

Yet recently, in a moment captured by her grandson Dimitris, and posted on his social media accounts, Anthi decided to pray indoors.

It was raining and the temperature had dropped significantly. Life in the village, which is located quite high on the mountain slopes, is quite difficult under these weather conditions.

Rather than stepping out into the cold, Anthi stood in her kitchen and opened a window to look out on the stunning mountain range before her.

When Dimitris asked his grandmother why she opened the window, she answered:

“So I can see God.”

As her grandson wrote, she has “all of the beauty of Greece in a body and soul that is 106 years old.”

Her grandson, Dimitris, spoke to Greek Reporter recently about his grandmother‘s strong faith and loving, generous nature.

Anthi, who lived through nearly all of the most important moments of the 20th century, is believed to have born in 1915, but she may actually be even older, as many people living in rural communities often did not record the birth of children immediately in those days.

The Greek yiayia lived through one of the most traumatic moments in Greece’s recent history, when the Germans invaded and occupied the country during the Second World War.

Nazi forces invaded and burned down her village — including her own house — and Anthi and many residents of the village of Katarraktis were forced to flee their beloved homes. Many of them sought shelter in homes and other buildings along the slopes of the Tzoumerka mountains, high above the village, where they secreted themselves from the enemy.

Although many people went back to their ancestral village shortly after, Anthi decided to remain up in the mountains for an extended period of time, as she was not sure whether the German troops had really left or not. She later returned to her beloved village, where she still lives today.

Yiayia’s wisdom: “Live a moderate life”

Her strong faith, which has always been a fundamental light through her life, has guided her through the most difficult moments.

After God, the most important things in life to the Greek yiayia are her family and her village, which her grandson says “she loves” and has never even thought of leaving.

“When anyone asks her if she will ever leave, she always replies ‘I was born here, and I will die here,'” he states.

Anthi is extremely independent, and highly active for her age. She still cooks and cleans for herself, but always has a helping hand from her children and other relatives who live nearby.

She loves reading, particularly religious books, and has become a bookworm throughout the years. Despite her age, Anthi is still sharp as ever, and remembers everything — from songs, to poems, to anecdotes and stories from her youth.

She is quick to impart her wisdom and faith to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

When asked what her advice to her grandson is, Dimitris states that she always hopes that he and his siblings have a “moderate life.”

“She doesn’t mean ‘moderate’ in terms of its quality, rather that we think of everything, measure everything, and don’t do anything superfluous or unnecessary,” he explains to Greek Reporter.

The Greek yiayia does not spend any time thinking about her age. Rather, she has trusted her life in God, and whenever she is asked how long she would like to live, she answers “For as long as God gives me.”