Thursday, June 12, 2008

Items of Interest

There have been a lot of interesting things this week! Here are some more.

Reuters: Headless pyramid attributed to early Egyptian ruler---

SAKKARA, Egypt (Reuters) - Egypt's chief archaeologist said on Thursday he had identified a badly eroded pyramid south of Cairo as that of the Fifth Dynasty Pharaoh Menkauhor, who ruled Egypt in the 24th century BC.
LiveScience: DNA Retrieved from 1,000-year-old Vikings---

Jorgen Dissing of the University of Copenhagen and colleagues say they retrieved the genetic material from the freshly sampled teeth of skeletons dating back to around A.D. 1000 and found at a non-Christian burial site called Galgedil on the Danish island of Funen.

Wearing protective suits, the researchers removed the teeth from the jaw at the moment the skeletons were unearthed, where they had lain untouched for 1,000 years. Subsequent laboratory procedures were carefully controlled to avoid contamination with modern human DNA.
AP: Single-horned 'Unicorn' deer found in Italy---

ROME - A deer with a single horn in the center of its head — much like the fabled, mythical unicorn — has been spotted in a nature preserve in Italy, park officials said Wednesday.

The 1-year-old Roe Deer — nicknamed "Unicorn" — was born in captivity in the research center's park in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence, Tozzi said.

He is believed to have been born with a genetic flaw; his twin has two horns.

Calling it the first time he has seen such a case, Tozzi said such anomalies among deer may have inspired the myth of the unicorn.

The unicorn, a horse-like creature with magical healing powers, has appeared in legends and stories throughout history, from ancient and medieval texts to the adventures of Harry Potter.
Yay, a Harry Potter mention!

Reuters: Russia and Ukraine clash over 350-year-old battle---

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A 350-year-old cavalry battle has become the latest irritant between Russia and its neighbor Ukraine after Russia's foreign ministry on Tuesday accused Kiev of using the clash to foment anti-Russian feeling.

The ministry said the 1659 battle of Konotop, in which a Russian invasion was repelled, was being distorted to fit the political agenda of Ukraine's leaders, who have angered Moscow by seeking NATO membership.

In the battle, a Russian force was defeated when it tried to stop a Ukrainian leader from entering into an entente with Poland and Lithuania -- with whom Russia had waged wars.

One English-language reference book, "Ukraine: A History," says the "Tsar's troops suffered one of their worst defeats ever," in the Konotop battle.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has ordered officials to mark the Battle of Konotop's 350th anniversary in 2009 with a series of events starting this year.

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