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Thursday, February 25, 2010

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

King Tut

By Katie Drummond:
(Feb. 16) -- The most famous of all pharaohs was a frail and sickly king who walked with a cane and suffered from a painful bone disease and a club foot. But it may have been a severe case of malaria that finally killed him, according to groundbreaking new genetic analysis.

A team of researchers from Egypt, Germany and Italy also developed a definitive family tree for King Tutankhamun, including the identity of his father and grandparents and the two still-born fetuses found in his tomb. The genealogy also confirms that Tut's family was largely the product of in-breeding.

Tutankhamun was only 19 when he died, circa 1324 BC, after a nine-year reign over Egypt's New Kingdom. His death marked the end of his family's 200-year rule, which was then replaced by a military regime.

More than 3,000 years later, Tut and 10 other royal mummies have undergone a two-year examination by the research team. The work has been ongoing at a $5 million, custom-designed DNA lab in Cairo, paid for by the Discovery Channel, which will broadcast two films about the project.

"It's incredibly difficult to obtain the kind of access to the mummies we did, and this has been years in the making," Dr. Carsten Pusch, lead study author from the University of Tübingen, said in an interview with AOL News. "The Egyptians are very proud of their history; they don't want foreign people invading that."

The DNA tests determined that King Tut had a clubbed left foot and no use of his right foot, because he suffered from a lack of blood flow that leads to collapsed bones (avascular necrosis). Those ailments explain why 130 wooden sticks and staffs were found in his tomb.

The conditions would have weakened his body and immune system, but they wouldn't have been enough to kill him. Rather, the team suspects that Tut sustained a fall -- which explains the head trauma and broken leg discovered in a 1968 X-ray -- and succumbed to a serious malarial infection.

Tut and four other mummies tested positive for malaria tropica, the most severe form of the illness.

The Nile region where Tut lived was marshy and humid -- the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which carry the malaria parasite. DNA evidence is likely the strongest possible evidence available in investigating such an ancient mystery, but Pusch admits that a definitive cause of death is impossible.

"Announcing a sure cause of death, 3,000 years afterward, is too much," he said. "What we do know is that King Tut suffered from many illnesses that may have combined to lead to such a premature death.

"Everybody knows the golden mask, but his was not an easy, glamorous life."

Until the latest tests were performed, the king's lineage also was widely disputed. These tests confirm that his father was Akhenaten, a revolutionary pharaoh known for introducing monotheistic religion. Tut's mother, whom many speculate was Queen Nefertiti, remains unidentified -- still known as Mummy KV35YL.

DNA analysis has yet to identify KV35YL but did conclude that the unnamed mummy is the sister of Akhenaten, as well as his mating partner.

Some also speculated that Queen Tiye, a wife of Akhenaten whose body was also embalmed alongside Tut's, was the young pharaoh's mother. In fact, the tests revealed, she was his grandmother.

The two still-born bodies in Tut's tomb, once thought to have been his half-siblings, have been identified as his children.

Pusch suspects that a long history of in-breeding might be responsible for the premature deaths of Tut's offspring.

"In-breeding in successive generations reduces genetic fitness," he said. "This would also explain many of Tut's own physical ailments, which might be caused by the sibling relationship between his mother and father."

Researchers have only scratched the surface of readily available DNA from ancient Egyptian mummies. Work at Cairo's DNA laboratory will continue, and Pusch hopes to find secrets from other famous dynasties. King Tut and Co. offered readily available DNA samples, but Pusch cautions that other bodies might not be so well-preserved.

"If it were a question of being overly invasive, then we'd stop the testing," he said. "Save those secrets for future generations, when they can use new advancements to cause less damage."

Knowing the secrets of King Tut's life, lineage and death lends a new perspective to royal life in Ancient Egypt, if you ask Pusch. "At first, he was a specimen in a museum, but now he's become a person I know intimately," he said. "His was a painful life and one of suffering.

"Not very royal, is it?"

John Wall Dance



Marvin Harrison

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart

from popeater:
'Daily Show' host Jon Stewart and FOX's kingpin Bill O'Reilly exchanged some good-natured shots last Wednesday during Stewart's appearance on a network he relishes mocking - but it looks like the audience only saw the tip of the iceberg. Sites like Gawker allege that edits made to create the aired version of the interview were strategically executed to cast Stewart in a bad light.
FOX posted an unedited video of the entire interview online, and O'Reilly insists, "Some of these idiots in the press who hate us, [saying] 'O'Reilly cut the interview to make Stewart look' - OK, all of that is bull. It's a fair cut. And then when you watch the cut and watch the whole interview you'll see it." But were Stewart's most persuasive points scrubbed out of the televised segment?
Some have argued that Stewart's appearance was stripped down to contain only his weaker jokes and incomplete arguments. One of the pieces missing, Gawker complains, is a "cogent analysis" of FOXNews' news gathering techniques. In the full interview, Stewart accused the network of introducing GOP talking points during 'Fox and Friends' - then reintroducing them later as viral hot topics during more hard-hitting news segments.
One of Stewart's more cutting lines was also edited out of the aired version. The comedian told O'Reilly that he disagrees with FOXNews host Neil Cavuto's practice of suggesting that President Obama is a Stalinist: "I know what this is. I come from Jersey - it's the same thing: 'I'm not saying your mother's a whore. I'm just saying she has sex for money. With people.' FOXNews used to be all about, you don't criticize a president during wartime. It's unacceptable, it's treasonous, it gives aid and comfort to the enemy. All of a sudden, for some reason you can run out there and say, 'Barack Obama is destroying the fabric of this country.'"
In the full interview, Stewart and O'Reilly actually discuss the practice of editing discourse, with O'Reilly accusing the 'Daily Show' host of "taking a clip, cutting it up, and making someone look like an idiot." He says that Stewart used a clip of O'Reilly "criticizing the Bush protesters, but you didn't use the whole clip." O'Reilly's edit, Gawker suggests, didn't "unfairly present Stewart - it just deliberately removed his most effective arguments."
Stewart and O'Reilly have made appearances on each other's shows before; this was Stewart's first time visiting O'Reilly since 2004. O'Reilly has appeared three times on 'The Daily Show,' most recently in November 2008. O'Reilly once made enemies at Comedy Central by calling Stewart's audience primarily "stoned slackers" - on Wednesday, the FOXNews host amended it to "stoned slackers who love Obama."
The much-hyped - and relatively cordial - war of words was aired on FOX in two parts. In the first aired segment, Stewart landed a zinger, telling O'Reilly that the "no spin zone" ringleader had become the voice of sanity on his network - although, Stewart added, "that's like being the thinnest kid at fat camp."







Basically what this boils down to is people like O'Reilly have had it up to the fill line from guys who have been mocking him for years, like Jon Stewart. So instead of just having him on and getting bullied by a much funnier guy, O'Reilly and the people who make his show struck back. They struck back by employing a tactic long used by the comedy central news shows. Oddly enough the tactic that comedy central uses came about due to the fact that reputable news programs were using the same tactic to distort the news. Now that O'Reilly is outed as a guy who allows edited information to appear on his program I wonder how much longer people will be able to take him seriously. Then again, it probably won't affect anything.

Saturday, February 6, 2010