Two Sentenced to Death for Throwing Children off a Rooftop in Alexandria, Egypt


Given the months of unrest in Egypt, it is indeed hopeful to learn that the persons responsible for this act have been punished. I remember seeing the original video last year and being horrified. The video was taken by a person in a neighbouring building, as I remember. It is graphic.

Originally posted on Egyptian Streets:

The Alexandria Criminal Court has sentenced Mahmoud Hassan Ramadan and Mohamed Al-Ahmady to death for throwing three teenagers off the roof of an apartment block. The papers for the approval of the capital punishment have been sent to the Mufti.

The court has also ruled that 61 others arrested at the time of the incident will remain in detention until the next court hearing which will be held on May 19, 2014.

Two of the boys thrown off the roof in the incident that ocurred in July 2013 during pro-Morsi demonstrations suffered serious injuries. A third boy, who had just turned 19, was announced dead three hours later while in hospital.

The boys were attacked by the group of men, including a bearded man waving the black Al-Qaeda flag, for ‘celebrating the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.’ Dozens of Muslim Brotherhood supporters had gathered in Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber to call…

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The Roman Tower of Centum Cellas, Belmonte (Portugal)


This is an amazing Roman site in Portugal, built by a Roman tin trader. As the author of the blog says -

The IPPAR‘s excavations at the Centum Cellas Tower, undertaken between 1993 and 1998, revealed that it was not a single isolated building but part of a larger and more complex group of structures, including rooms, corridors, staircases, cellars and courtyards.

The tower appears to be the best-preserved part of what was the villa of Lucius Caecilius (according to a dedicatory altar found on the site), a wealthy Roman citizen and tin trader who built his villa here at the beginning of the first century AD, under the supervision of a qualified architect who knew Vitruvius‘ building techniques…

Originally posted on FOLLOWING HADRIAN:

The Tower of Centum Cellas (also known as the “Tower of St. Cornelius”), located in the municipality of Belmonte in Portugal, is one of the most enigmatic monuments from the Roman period to be found in the country. These majestic ruins were part of a large Roman villa from the first century AD, situated on the road that linked Augusta Emerita (Mérida) to  Bracara Augusta (Braga).
Roman tower of Centum Cellas, Belmonte, Portugal © Carole Raddato

Roman tower of Centum Cellas, Belmonte, Portugal
© Carole Raddato

This rectangular building, made of pink granite blocks, appears to have had three levels with openings of various dimensions. It was thought that it was once a temple, a prison with a hundred cells (hence the name), or possibly a praetorium (the headquarters of a Roman camp), and a building part of Roman villa.

Roman tower of Centum Cellas, Belmonte, Portugal © Carole Raddato

Roman tower of Centum Cellas, Belmonte, Portugal
© Carole Raddato

The IPPAR‘s excavations at the Centum Cellas Tower, undertaken between 1993…

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The girl with the Christian tattoo: Religious-magical practices in late antique Egypt


Very interesting blog.

- This reminded me how much a ritual, bodily practice Christianity was in antiquity, and how biased is the general, common view of it as all centred on spiritual and intellectual activities. In fact, religion in practice is well attested by some of my favourite pieces in our papyrus collection and others: written amulets from Egypt, dating from the pharaonic to the late antique period…

Originally posted on Faces&Voices:

Images of the tattoo. The British Museum Trustees via The Telegraph

Images of the tattoo. © The British Museum Trustees via The Telegraph

The British Museum will host soon an exhibition of Egyptian mummies, Ancient lives, new discoveries, that is destined to become a blockbuster. Press releases have revealed some details: the exhibition will be a new look at mummies covering a long time span, from the pharaonic to the late antique period, and will show to the public what scan imaging and other technologies can reveal about the mummified person’s terrestrial life. I am usually not so attracted by mummies, the study of diseases and human physical features because it is so depressing to see how boring we are in these matters: we loose teeth, get cancer, eat badly and inexorably die, and have been doing so for millennia now. Besides this, ancient human facial reconstructions remind me of Madame Tussauds’ wax horrors of the kind that I hope…

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Structurally Reinforced Meatloaf and WMD Spaghetti, from Simon Bao

Last night I was thinking about my old e.friend Simon Bao and his hilarious posts celebrating Vietnamese/American cuisine mixups.

Waiting for lunch at the Hotel Club du Lac, Lake Tanganyika Burundi

Waiting for lunch at the Hotel Club du Lac, Lake Tanganyika Burundi

While I have lost the original tale, this morning I did find a reposting of one of Simon/s tales! Although this one is not about Structurally Reinforced Meatloaf and WMD Spaghetti; but about thanksgiving misunderstandings. Simon-s turkey tale can be found on  Viet World Kitchen, and I hope you can take the time to read it.  Very hilarious. Here is the beginning -

Some VietnAmerican Thanksgivings

by Simon Bao (aka ‘Baowow’)

I thought I’d share a few anecdotes about Thanksgiving in VietnAmerican households.  It may turn out to be a long read, so save it for when you’ve got time.

I’ll have to use dates and go through events chronologically, so you have a sense of how things progressed.

The first of these involves the family of Diep, the intimidating big-boned woman who invented the Structurally Reinforced Meatloaf and the WMD Spaghetti.  They all involve my godbrother.  He uses the American name “Pete” and for many years we destroyed and misprounced that, and called him things like “Anh Peach” and “Anh Bitch.”  I will use his polite name and call him Anh Phero.

THANKSGIVING 1989 / continued here.

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How to Spend Your Weekend – With Nematodes

An amusing add directed to American livestock farmers that has appeared in several agriculture and livestock magazines -


Advice from Steer Wrestler Matt Reeves, a DECTOMAX user.  Source – DECTOMAX

m-and-f-nematodes-non-parasitic-and-a-close-up-of-a-nematode-mouth-right  Source -

Male and female nematodes – and a close-up of a nematode mouth, right.  Source –

Nematodes are one of the biggest problems not only in the States, but globally.  The increasing over-use and inappropriate use of anthelmintics , however, is  leading to serious resistance and thus to uselessness or greatly diminished efficacy of the products.

See this link for a short video of the Anthelmintic effect of papain on Heligmosomoides bakeri (the parasite shown in the picture, below). This is a Wikipedia page, you will need to scroll down and on the right side you will see the black and picture shown below, which you will then open to view the short video.–Anthelmintic_effect_of_papain_on_Heligmosomoides_bakeri.ogv.jpg

A still from the video.  Source - anthelmintic_effect_of_papain_on_heligmosomoides_bakeri-ogv

A still from the video. See below for explanation.  Source – anthelmintic_effect_of_papain_on_heligmosomoides_bakeri-ogv

A single adult female living specimen of Heligmosomoides bakeri was mounted on a microscope slide in Hanks’s saline and sandwiched beneath a glass coverslip supported on petroleum jelly. The worm was imaged using a Zeiss Axiovert 135TV inverted microscope and photographed using a Scion CFW 1310 M digital camera. A solution of 25 μM papain was introduced below the coverslip and images were captured on a PC using Streampix III time-lapse software at a frame rate of approximately 1 image every 3 seconds for 30 minutes. The video file was edited and exported as an mpeg running at 10 times the original speed. The file is titled “H. bakeri female papain.mpg” and initially shows the worm freely moving in the papain solution. After the animal forms a helical coil, a lesion appears on the left of the worm. This is followed by rupture of the worm and loss of the viscera through the rupture leading to the death of the parasite

Source - Behnke, J. M.; Buttle, D. J.; Stepek, G.; Lowe, A.; Duce, I. R. (2008). “Developing novel anthelmintics from plant cysteine proteinases”. Parasites & Vectors 1: 29.doi:10.1186/1756-3305-1-29.

Celegans Goldstein, Laboratory at University of North Carolina. Source - Wikipedia

A healthy helminth, or roundworm, Celegans Goldstein, Laboratory at University of North Carolina. Source – Wikipedia

source -

Wild Types of nematode.  Source –

Here are a couple of online resources that are pretty good -

The Worm Breeder’s Gazette

Some recent articles -
Nematode news in brief
Decrepitus W. PickerPre-approval of strains donated to the CGC
Aric Daul and Ann RougvieEndogenous locus modification by genome engineering: proposed nomenclature
Tim Schedl and Jonathan HodgkinAn online OrthoList tool to query worm-human gene homology
Daniel Shaye, Woojin Kim, James Chen and Iva GreenwaldProtein extraction from C. elegans using sea sand
Shamol Saha, Julien Dusonchet and Benjamin WolozinUsing magnetism to move C. elegans
Peter Wawrzusin, Yicong Wu, Peter Winter and Hari ShroffLive worm respiration in 24-well format
Beverley M. Dancy, Ernst-Bernhard Kayser, Margaret M. Sedensky and Philip G. Morgan… etc.

The WormBook

A comprehensive, open-access collection of original, peer-reviewed chapters covering topics related to the biology of Caenorhabditis elegans and other nematodes.Wormbook also contains: WormMethods, a collection of protocols for nematode researchers; WormHistory, personal perspectives on C. elegans research; and the Worm Breeder’s Gazette, an informal, non-refereed, biannual newsletter for the interchange of ideas and information related to C. elegans and other nematodes.

The Woprm Breeders Gazette /

The Worm Breeders Gazette /

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Pallas Cat – A Central Asian Mystery

The Pallas Cat, a small resident of Central Asia and surrounding areas, has become a favorite of mine in the wild felid kingdom.  Here is a rare video of a wild Pallas, from Russia

The following black and white pictures are from World Wildlife Fund, and are described below the pictures -

Pallas_Cat_05-IMG_0070.JPG worldwildlife org

Pallas_Cat_14-IMG_0478.JPG worldwildlife org

Pallas_Cat-_27-IMG_0720.JPG worldwildlife org

Camera traps have captured the first-ever photographic evidence of the Pallas’s cat in Bhutan’s Wangchuck Centennial Park (WCP). Also known as manul, this cat is a primitive species, defined by a strikingly flat head with high-set eyes and low-set ears that enable it to peer over rocky ledges in search of prey. The images of this cat, classified as near threatened on the IUCN Red List, were discovered as part of a snow leopard survey conducted by WWF and the Department of Forests and Park Services.

Source -WWF-Pallas’s Cat Photographed for First Time in Bhutan

  • More information about Pallas Cat, by conservation biologist Dr Steve Ross , can be found HERE .
  • Conservation efforts  of the Royal Zoological Society are summarized HERE.
  • Recent discoveries of the breed in Nepal – where they were not thought to be resident – and an associated camera trap photo (shown below) are detailed HERE.


An apparent aspect of the breed seems to be its calm demeanor.  This is quite unlike our felids here in Africa, where facial expressions are commonly used by cats to display their moods.  Not so much with the Pallas Cat, it seems.  See these photos -



Photoshopped, perhaps.  Source - pallas-cat-shopped-8150

Photoshopped, perhaps. Source – pallas-cat-shopped-8150

As seen in the following video, even the kittens seem devoid of facial expressions -

The breed has a low head and low-set ears whereby members of this cat family are able to better peek over the top of promontories in order gaze at potential game, as seen in several of the pictures above and below -

Source - Source - Macdonald-Biology and Concervation of Wild Felids

Source – Source – Macdonald-Biology and Concervation of Wild Felids

Source -

This fellow appears angry.  However, if you place your fingers over the eyebrow-marks, he is just about as expressionless as others shown on the blog.  Source – 
Source -

Flat ears and flat head, to better peek over ledges. Source –

More information from The Pallas Cat Working Group can be found HERE.

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Power, partnership and participation: Nile Basin Development Challenge in summary


ILRI has made great strides since the 1980s, when the organization was first led by Dr Hank Fitzhugh, who previously had been my supervisor at Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development. At that time, improvements were driven from the top with really very little involvement with local producers – an approach that was common in agricultural research and development activities.

About the same time (and a few years later, in Kenya) I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Robert Chambers, Dr. Gordon Conway and other colleagues who came to the Sudan on consultation. I was then field manager of an agroforestry and natural resource management project which was wholly  driven by a technology package approach, having initially developed the project, which was managed by Winrock International.

Now, ILRI (as well as other members of the CG system) are far more inclusive – a topic I do want to revisit in the near future. Over the past decade I have received a couple of year-long grants from ILRI to support and better understand our work in the livestock and natural resource management sectors here in Burundi, a topic also to be revisited.

Here are a few quotes from the referenced ILRI piece.

Key messages – one integrated ‘paradigm shift’

In late 2013, the NBDC team identified eight key messages emerging from the project that will help tackle poverty and degradation of natural resources as ‘business NOT as usual’. These were: …

Originally posted on ILRI Clippings:

Practical training to farmers about forage management at Kolugelan, Jeldu (Photo credit: ILRI / Aberra Adie)

Farmers getting trained on forage management at Kolugelan, Jeldu (Photo credit: ILRI / Aberra Adie)

The Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) was one of six challenges comprising the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF).

In the second phase of the program (2010-2013), research in the Nile basin (mainly Ethiopia) focused on sustainable land and water management to “enable poor small holder farmers to sustainably and equitably improve their food security, livelihoods and incomes while conserving the natural resource base”.

The NBDC was led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

The complexity of land and water management in Ethiopia meant that the NBDC adopted a landscape approach “based on the recognition that people living in complex agro-ecosystems have multiple objectives and priorities.” Further a participatory learning-oriented systems approach was used to identify, test and scale up interventions.

Key messages – one integrated ‘paradigm shift’

In late 2013, the NBDC…

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