Daily Archives: April 1, 2015

Today’s flying stingrays: Amazing sketch from my SketchGuru


I’ve been using SketchGuru and I think you might like it. Check out from your Android phone:


Sent from my Android.

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From BBC news : China building ‘great wall of sand’

China building ‘great wall of sand’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-32126840

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From BBC news : Saving girls from the ‘cutting season’

Saving girls from the ‘cutting season’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31604025

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From BBC news : 24 hours in a fuel tank

24 hours in a fuel tank http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32152670

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From BBC news : Facebook attacks data use criticisms

Facebook attacks data use criticisms http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32131760

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From BBC news : Evidence links China to GitHub attack

Evidence links China to GitHub attack http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32138088

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From BBC news : Tech sites lead on April Fools gags

Tech sites lead on April Fools gags http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32145885

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From BBC news : China cracks down on explicit anime

China cracks down on explicit anime http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32149754

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From BBC news : Google reveals computer-on-a-stick

Google reveals computer-on-a-stick http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-32143923

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From BBC news : Kraft accused of wheat price fixing

Kraft accused of wheat price fixing http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32156558

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From BBC news : Mediterranean ‘accumulating plastic’

Mediterranean ‘accumulating plastic’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-32145976

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Antonín Dvořák – Bagatelles, Op. 47

Antonín Dvořák – Bagatelles, Op. 47

Rimsky-Korsakov – Hymn to the Sun, from The Golden Cockerel

Rimsky-Korsakov – Hymn to the Sun, from The Golden Cockerel

Sergei Rachmaninoff : Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op.13 , great compositions/performances

Sergei Rachmaninoff : Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op.13

Today In History. What Happened This Day In History

Today In History. What Happened This Day In History

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.

April 2

1792   The United States authorizes the minting of the $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle & 2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins as well as the silver dollar, dollar, quarter, dime & half-dime.
1796   Haitian revolt leader Toussaint L’Ouverture takes command of French forces at Santo Domingo.
1801   The British navy defeats the Danish at the Battle of Copenhagen.
1865   Confederate President Jefferson Davis flees Richmond, Virginia as Grant breaks Lee’s line at Petersburg.
1910   Karl Harris perfects the process for the artificial synthesis of rubber.
1914   The U.S. Federal Reserve Board announces plans to divide the country into 12 districts.
1917   President Woodrow Wilson presents a declaration of war against Germany to Congress.
1917   Jeannette Pickering Rankin is sworn in as the first woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1931   Virne “Jackie” Mitchell becomes the first woman to play for an all-male pro baseball team. In an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, she strikes out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
1932   Charles Lindbergh pays over $50,000 ransom for his kidnapped son.
1944   Soviet forces enter Romania, one of Germany’s allied countries.
1958   The National Advisory Council on Aeronautics is renamed NASA.
1963   Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King begins the first non-violent campaign in Birmingham, Alabama.
1982   Argentina invades the British-owned Falkland Islands.
Born on April 2
742   Charlemagne, first Holy Roman Emperor.
1725   Giovanni Casanova, Italian adventurer.
1805   Hans Christian Andersen, Danish author of fairy tales.
1834   Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, sculptor.
1840   Emile Zola, French novelist and activist.
1875   Walter P. Chrysler, founder of Chrysler Automobile Company.
1891   Max Ernst, German painter, sculptor and founder of surrealism.
1905   Kurt Adler, American conductor.
1905   Serge Lifar, dancer and opera director.
1914   Alec Guinness, British actor.
1948   Emmylou Harris, American singer.

– See more at: http://www.historynet.com/today-in-history#sthash.gWssDyuK.dpuf

picture of the day: APRIL 1

On March 22, 1622, the Powhatan Indians of Virginia massacred 350 white colonists in and around Jamestown. Tired of the relentless assaults perpetrated by English settlers and worried about the colony’s growth, Powhatan chief Opechancanough hoped that killing one quarter of Virginia’s colonists would put an end to the European threat. The result of the massacre was just the opposite. English survivors regrouped and pushed the Powhatans far into the interior, setting the pattern for white-Indian relations for the next 250 years. – See more at: http://www.historynet.com/picture-of-the-day?podMonth=4&podDay=1&pod=GO#sthash.jYWOBdQc.dpuf

Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 1st, 2015: St. Hugh of Grenoble

Image of St. Hugh of Grenoble

St. Hugh of Grenoble

Benedictine bishop of Grenoble, France, patron of St. Bruno. He was born in the Dauphine region and became a canon of the cathedral in Valence. In 1080, while attending a synod in Avignon, Hugh was … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

April Fools’ Day

April Fools’ Day

There are many names for this day, just as there are many practical jokes to play on the unsuspecting. The simplest pranks usually involve children who, for example, tell each other that their shoelaces are undone and then cry “April Fool!” when the victims glance at their feet. Sometimes the media broadcast fictitious news items. British television, for example, once showed Italian farmers “harvesting” spaghetti from trees. The French call it Fooling the April Fish Day (the fool being the poisson d’avril) and try to pin a paper fish on someone’s back without getting caught. More… Discuss

quotation: And come he slow, or come he fast, It is but death who comes at last. Sir Walter Scott

And come he slow, or come he fast,

It is but death who comes at last.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) Discuss

today’s birthday: Otto von Bismarck (1815)

Otto von Bismarck (1815)

Bismarck was a 19th-century Prussian and German statesman. Under his leadership, Prussia defeated Austria and France, and Germany was united. He was appointed premier in 1862 and became chancellor of the North German Confederation in 1867. When the new German Empire formed in 1871, he became its first chancellor, gaining almost complete control of foreign and domestic affairs and eventually earning the nickname “Iron Chancellor.” What was the Kulturkampf, and why did he encourage it? More… Discuss

Netherlands Becomes First Country to Allow Same-Sex Marriage (2001)

Netherlands Becomes First Country to Allow Same-Sex Marriage (2001)

In 1997, a Dutch parliamentary commission tasked with investigating the advisability of same-sex unions concluded that same-sex couples should be given the right to enter into civil marriages. Legislation was finalized in late 2000, and at the stroke of midnight on April 1, 2001, four same-sex couples were married by the mayor of Amsterdam, making the Netherlands the first nation to legally recognize same-sex marriages. How many same-sex couples took advantage of the new law in that first year? More… Discuss

Article: Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima is the title given to the Virgin Mary by those who believe that she appeared to three shepherd children at Fátima, Portugal, in 1917, at a time when many young men, including relatives of the children, were fighting in WWI. She reportedly exhorted the children to do penance, and they wore tight cords around their waists and abstained from water on hot days. She also reportedly confided to them three secrets. One of these was a vision of Hell. What were the others? More… Discuss

Fatima, Our Lady of the Rosary

Published on Mar 23, 2012

“At Fatima, the Divine has revealed Himself through the maternal face of Mary, who has conveyed a message from God to humanity of the 20th century, a message that in itself is a prophetic word.”It is May 13, 1917, and the principle protagonists are three children: Lucia de Jesus – who then enter religious life at the Carmel of St. Theresa in Coimbra – and Francesco and Jacinta Marto. Three young shepherds are grazing their flock in Cova da Iria, now part of the Diocese of Leiria-Fatima. Around noon, the three children see a great light, and thinking it is a flash of lightening, decide to go .. but soon after another light comes and illuminates the area around them. Here, where there is only a small oak (where later the little chapel of the apparitions will stand) appears a “Lady brighter than the sun”, holding in her hands a white rosary.The Lady told the three shepherd children that they must pray much and asks them to return to the Cova da Iria for six consecutive months, at the same time on the13th of each month.  “These apparitions were preceded by those of the Angel of peace, as Sister Lucia said, to prepare the children to penetrate the divine mystery and to understand that God would entrust a message to them.” At Her last appearance, October 13, nearly 70,000 people are on the scene, and the Lady reveals her name: “Our Lady of the Rosary.” The Virgin requested that, on the very place where She appeared,  a chapel be built in her honor. After the appearance, all present witness the miracle promised earlier to the three children: the sun, like a silver disc that could be observed without any difficulty, begins to turn on itself like a ball of fire and seems to rush to the ground.  “This message takes on various aspects, which Sister Lucia has summarized in what is known as the ‘secret of Fatima’.” As Bishop Marto explains, the message of Fatima reveals three distinct things: the vision of hell as a warning to shake the conscience of humanity, devotion to the sacred heart of Mary, and a reference to suffering, persecution and martyrdom in the Church. This message is a message of hope and perseverance amid the difficulties of the world. According to official document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Sister Lucia was aware that “the purpose of all these apparitions was to grow in faith, hope and charity” and that “all the rest was not what mattered. ” On October 3, 1930, the Bishop of Leiria, agreed that the appearances were authentic and authorized devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. However, the early construction of the small Chapel of the Apparitions dates back to April 28, 1919. The shrine now attracts also followers of other religions. In the Islamic world, for example, Fatima is the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. He said to her: “You are the noblest woman of Paradise, after Mary.” According to some interpretations Mary chose to be known as Our Lady of Fatima to give hope to the Muslim people who, over the centuries, had occupied parts of Portugal.  May 13, 1981 is also linked to the assassination attempt against John Paul II in Rome by Mehmet Ali Ağca. Later, the Pope had the bullet that struck him placed in the crown of the statue of the Virgin as a gesture of thanksgiving for having saved his life. The beatification of the two seers of Fatima, Francesco and Jacinta Marto, took place in Fatima on May 13, 2000. Pope Benedict XVI has given his approval to anticipate the opening of the canonical process for the beatification of Lucia de Jesus, who took the name Sister Maria Lucia of the Immaculate Heart.”Oh Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, Queen of the Rosary, gentle Virgin of Fatima, I consecrate myself to your Immaculate Heart to be fully offered and consecrated to the Lord.Please take me under your maternal protection; defend me against dangers, help me to overcome temptations and avoid sins and- I beg you– watch over  the purity of my body and my soul. May your Immaculate Heart be my refuge and the path that leads me to God.Grant me the grace to pray and to sacrifice myself for love of Jesus, for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against your Immaculate Heart.Entrusting myself to you, and united to the Heart of your Divine Son, I want to live for the Holy Trinity, whom I believe, adore, hope and love. Amen.”   http://www.mariedenazareth.com/http:/…

word: diaphanous


Definition: (adjective) Of such fine texture as to be transparent or translucent.
Synonyms: filmy, gauzy, sheer, vaporous
Usage: She wore a hat with a diaphanous veil that did not obscure her features. Discuss.

From France 24 : Iran deadline extended

Iran deadline extended as nuclear talks hit weeklong mark


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From CNN : California’s historic drought

California’s historic drought

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From BBC news : US senator charged with corruption

US senator charged with corruption http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-32156569

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this pressed: History, truth, and politics: Researcher seeks to clear the record on Junipero Serra :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

By Kevin Jones

Los Angeles, Calif., Mar 29, 2015 / 04:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- California missionary Father Junipero Serra’s canonization is “long overdue,” says a university professor concerned that the priest’s history has been politicized and misrepresented.

“When he died, many native peoples came to the mission for his burial. They openly wept. Others of his colleagues and even colonists, believed that he would be made a saint, because of the way he had lived his life, a self-effacing life of a martyr,” said archaeology professor Reuben Mendoza of California State University, Monterrey Bay.

“Because of what he had achieved in his life, even then they had talked about his impending canonization,” Mendoza told CNA March 26.

Fr. Serra was born in 1713 on the Spanish island of Majorca in the Mediterranean. He left his position as a university professor to become a missionary to the New World, helping to convert many native Californians to Christianity and teaching them new and vital technologies. The Franciscan priest founded several of the missions that would go on to become the centers of major California cities.

The priest’s mission work often took place despite a painful ulcerated leg Mendoza said was caused by a spider bite soon after his arrival in Mexico. He died in 1784 at Mission San Carlos Borroméo del Carmelo in what is now the state of California.

St. John Paul II beatified Fr. Serra in 1988. In January, Pope Francis praised the missionary as “the evangelizer of the West” and announced his intention to canonize the Franciscan missionary during his scheduled 2015 visit to the U.S.

Mendoza learned from other researchers that Serra was “a very humble man and a man who had a great sense of humor.”

He said the “self-effacing” priest would sometimes insist on doing the work of young Indian boys who cleaned the Convent of San Fernando in Mexico City.

“He would sweep the halls and pick up the trash and maintain his spiritual stance through work and action.”

The priest’s sacrifices and “spiritual evangelization” led to the establishment of the missions that were “fundamental” to California’s history.

Mendoza lamented that “politics” had delayed the canonization.

“There has been a significant politicization of his canonization,” he said, pointing to opposition from those who feel that “the Church should not canonize a man who ultimately brought the missions to California and changed the lifestyles of native peoples.”

Mendoza rejected the possibility that native Californians could have avoided cultural change.

“As an anthropologist, I can tell you that all people change. There was already contact between other groups in the southwest and northern Mexico that had already initiated that process of change, and interaction and even conflict.”

via History, truth, and politics: Researcher seeks to clear the record on Junipero Serra :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

this pressed: V-Nova streaming tech produces 4K compression ‘worth watching’ – BBC News

V-Nova streaming tech produces 4K compression ‘worth watching’

A new method of data compression could see ultra-high definition video – also known as 4K – being streamed to TVs and other devices using around 50% of the bandwidth currently needed.

V-Nova has gathered 20 large telecoms, broadcast and IT companies including Sky, Intel, and the European Broadcasting Union to back its new Perseus technology.

It could see the average home broadband speed in the UK – around 22 megabits per second (Mbps) – support three 4K streams simultaneously instead of just one.

The technique makes use of the multiple cores within processors found in today’s mobile devices and smart TVs to process the picture more efficiently.

Movie streaming firm Netflix currently requests users of its 4K Ultra High Def service to have a steady 25Mbps broadband connection, with analysis of their video stream showing between 12 and 16Mbps is actually required.

V-Nova says it can deliver the same quality picture using just 7-8Mbps.

Developing world

Media expert Ian Maude, from Enders Analysis, said: “This is cutting-edge technology that will be welcomed by pay TV companies, and TV manufacturers because it will help drive 4k sales.

“But there are still limiting factors to the take-up of 4K including whether networks are capable of meeting demand, having a device able to display an ultra-high definition picture, and the amount of content currently being shot in 4K.

via V-Nova streaming tech produces 4K compression ‘worth watching’ – BBC News.

this pressed for your right to know: Is democracy threatened if companies can sue countries? – BBC News

Protesters in London demonstrating against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed new EU-US trade treaty

Barack Obama, David Cameron and Angela Merkel discussed the TTIP at the G20 summit in November

Those protesting against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the proposed new trade treaty between the European Union and the United States, are part of a growing international opposition to pacts that allow multinational companies to sue governments whose policies damage their interests.

Opponents claim this right, known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), poses a threat to democracy.

But what is ISDS and why does it provoke such controversy?

What is an investor-state dispute settlement?

Investor-state dispute settlements were devised by industrialised nations in the 1960s as a way to protect their companies’ overseas investments against threats such as nationalisation by the country they invested in.

Supporters of ISDS say it offers a fair and impartial forum for the settlement of disputes between investors and states and, if appropriate, for deciding the amount of compensation an investor should get.

They claim that ISDS encourages companies to invest in a country they might otherwise shun through fear that, in a dispute with that nation, they would be unable to get a fair hearing in its domestic courts.

How does ISDS work?

For an investment to be covered by ISDS, both the country where it is located and the investor’s home nation must have agreed to its use. This is normally done through countries signing investment treaties with ISDS provisions.

There are now about 3,200 investment treaties globally. Most of these empower investors to launch ISDS actions.

So far, approximately 600 actions have been launched – though not all are reported. The number of cases has risen significantly in recent years.

via Is democracy threatened if companies can sue countries? – BBC News.