Finally at madamsabiblog.com

Finally, friends..we have moved. We tried to export all our luggage and furnitures ( laughing) but it was an herculean task .So we thought of providing a link from this wordpress account to our http://www.madamsabiblog.com. The decision, I love it because am about to still read all the lovely blog posts on wordpress as I will no longer be deleting this blog! The idea came over the night and I was excited.

Yes, to everyone am following, I will still be looking over your shoulders reading and mingling! ( really excited).

We have created a link here and also all around this blog so you can move around at will..

Plenty love. Thanks for being there.

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A Tale Of Two Seas!

As you probably recall, the Dead Sea is really a Lake, not a sea. It’s so high in salt content that the human body can float easily.

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The salt in the Dead Sea is as high as 35% – almost 10 times the normal ocean water. And all that saltiness has meant that there is no life at all in the Dead Sea. No fish. No vegetation. No sea animals. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea.  And hence the name: Dead Sea.

The other Sea is the Sea of Galilee. It happen that the Sea of Galilee is just north of the Dead Sea.

Both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea receive their water from river Jordan. And yet, they are very, very different.

Unlike the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee is pretty, resplendent with rich, colourful marine life. There are lots of plants. And lots of fish too. In fact, the Sea of Galilee is home to over twenty different types of fishes.

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Same region, same source of water, and yet while one sea is full of life, the other is dead. How come?

Here’s apparently why. The River Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee and then flows out. The water simply passes through the Sea of Galilee in and then out – and that keeps the sea healthy and vibrant, teeming with marine life. 

But the Dead Sea is way below the mean sea level that it has no outlet. The water flows in from the river Jordan, but does not flow out. There are no outlet streams. It is estimated that over 7 million tons of water evaporate from the Dead Sea every day. Leaving it salty, too full of minerals and unfit for any marine life.

So the Dead Sea takes water from the River Jordan, and holds it. It does not give. The result? No life at all.

Mind you, the sea of Galilee does not discriminate. It’s gives off its water freely to the open sea this is what keeps it fresh and alive.
This is what our dying world needs most today.

Moral

Think about it. Life is not just about getting. It’s about giving. We all need to be a bit like the Sea of Galilee.

We are fortunate to have wealth, knowledge, love and respect. But if we don’t learn to give, we could all end up like the Dead Sea. The love and the respect, the wealth and the knowledge could all  evaporate like the water in the Dead Sea.

If we get the Dead Sea mentality of merely taking in more water, more money, more everything, the results can be disastrous. Nature communicates to us all the time and this is one perfect example !

In the sea of your own life, make outlets; many outlets. For love, peace, happiness, joy  and everything else you get in your life, make sure you don’t just get; give as well.

Open the taps and you’ll open the floodgates to happiness. Make it a habit to share and you will experience the richness of life.

Footprints in the Sand

One night, a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.

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Across the scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the and: one belonged to him and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only on set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My son, My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

12 Bird Facts You Didn’t Know

The Canary Islands were not named for a bird called a canary. They were named after a breed of large dogs. The Latin name was Canariae insulae – “Island of Dogs.”

“Eat like a bird?” Many birds eat twice their weight a day. To survive, every bird must eat at least half its own weight in food each day.

The common Black Ants and Wood Ants have no sting, but they can squirt a spray of formic acid. Some birds put ants in their feathers because the ants squirt formic acid which gets rid of the parasites.

The Kiwi, national bird of New Zealand, can’t fly and it is endangered. It is the only bird with nostrils at the tip of its beak. Whereas other birds hunt by sight or hearing, it uses its beaky nostrils to sniff out food at night. This is because they are blind. They live in a hole in the ground. The Kiwi is roughly the same size as a chicken yet it lays an egg which is ten times larger than a hen’s. They lay the largest eggs relative to their body size of any bird in the world. It lays only one egg each year. Despite this, it has survived for more than 70 million years.

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A Kiwi Bird

Just before Arctic terns begin their long journey, the entire colony of birds become silent – this is called a dread.

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A flock of Arctic Terns

The first bird domesticated by man was the goose.

The Antpitta avis canis Ridgley is a bird that looks like a stuffed duck on stilts and barks like a dog. The bird was discovered by ornithologist Robert S. Ridgley in the Andes in Ecuador in June 1998. Thirty of these long-legged, black-and-white barking birds were found. It apparently had gone undetected because it lives in remote parts and, of course, doesn’t sing. The size of a duck, it is one of the largest birds discovered in the last 50 years.

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Antpitta avis canis Ridgley

Hummingbirds are the smallest birds. So tiny that one of their enemies is an insect, the praying mantis. Their brain is 4.2 percent of its body weight and it is proportionately the largest among birds. Among birds, they lay the smallest eggs. They are the only birds that can fly sideways and backwards.

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Air sacs may make up 1/5 of the body volume of a bird.

Roadrunners are large (about two feet long) crested birds that prefer to run rather than fly. They eat Rattlesnakes whole, and they can sprint at a speed of 15 miles per hour.

There’s a misconception that birds’ knees bend in the wrong direction but it’s just the same as with any other animal. Birds’ legs look like they’re backwards because we’re actually looking at their ankles. Birds’ knees are right by their bodies and normally covered by feathers, and their ankles are well off the ground. Their knees bend exactly like ours do.

The optimum depth of water in a birdbath is two and a half inches. Less water makes it difficult for birds to take a bath; more makes them afraid.

The Fall of Rome

The Roman empire was one of the “greatest” to rule the world. For hundreds of years the Romans dominated the Mediterranean, building magnificent cities, roads that remain today and imposing their “peace” upon those they conquered. At the time of Jesus and in the centuries after the power of Rome seemed unassailable.

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By the fifth century after Christ the citizens of Rome had enjoyed eight centuries as a superpower. Regaled with tales of victory by their armies in far off places and convinced of their superiority to the barbarian hordes they were convinced their city could never fall. Then in the first decade of the fifth century they awoke to find Alaric, king of the Visigoths, standing at their gates with his army.

What a preposterous man he was thinking Rome would fall to his power! Envoys were sent out to conduct negotiations to have him move away. They began with threats: an attack on Rome would be met by the almighty strength of her innumerable warriors.

Alaric’s reply was simple: “The thicker the grass the more easily scythed.”

The envoys realised Alaric could not be fooled by their empty threats. What then would be the price of his departure. Alaric explained that his soldiers would move through the city taking all the gold, silver and anything else of value that could be moved. They would also take with them every barbarian who had been enslaved.

The envoys became hysterical. “But what would that leave us?” the demanded.

“Your lives” Alaric replied.

And with that Rome’s centuries as an apparently unbeatable superpower came to an end.

Source: Story of Rome’s fall found in T. Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilisation (Hodder, 1995)

The Mysterious Boiling River In The Amazon

For centuries, Peruvian locals have talked about a river in the Amazon that burns so hot it can kill. According to legend, Spanish conquistadors foolishly ventured into the rainforest in search of gold, and the few men that returned told stories of poisoned water, man-eating snakes, and a river that boiled from below.

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For Peruvian geoscientist, Andrés Ruzo, the myth had fascinated him since childhood. But it wasn’t until he was completing his PhD project on geothermal energy potential in Peru that he began to question whether the river could actually be real.

According to the experts he spoke to, the answer was a unanimous “no” – after all, hot rivers do exist, but they’re generally associated with volcanoes, and there are no volcanoes in that part of the country.

But when Ruzo went home over the holidays and asked his family where the myth had come from, his mother told him that the river didn’t just exist, she and his aunt had actually swum in it before.

It sounded pretty ridiculous, but in 2011, Ruzo took a chance and hiked into the Amazon rainforest with his aunt, and saw the famed river with his own eyes.

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Much to his disbelief, it was steaming hot. “When I saw this, I immediately grabbed for my thermometer,” said Ruzo in a TED talk back in 2014. “The average temperature in the river was 86 degrees Celsius, not quite boiling but definitely close enough … It’s not a legend.”

The most puzzling part was the sheer size of it. Hot springs aren’t uncommon, and thermal pools get to these temperatures in other parts of the world, but nothing even comes close to the scope of the river – it’s up to 25 metres wide and six metres deep, and runs burning hot for an incredible 6.24 km.

Add that to the fact that the river is 700 km from the closest volcanic system, and the temperature just didn’t make any sense. In fact, it’s the only river of its kind anywhere in the world.

With the permission of the Shaman, Ruzo has spent the past five years studying the river, its surrounding ecosystem, and its water in the lab, in the hopes of figuring out what’s going on.

To be clear, Ruzo obviously wasn’t the first to discover the river, and as suggested by its indigenous name – Shanay-timpishka, which means “boiled with the heat of the Sun” – he also wasn’t the first to wonder what made it so hot.

But his research – backed in part by a National Geographic Young Explorers grant – is finally revealing some of its secrets. It turns out, it’s not the Sun that boils the water, but fault-fed hot springs.

Imagine Earth like a human body, with fault lines and cracks running through it like arteries. These ‘Earth arteries’ are filled with hot water, and when they come to the surface, we see geothermal manifestations – like the boiling river.

Chemical analysis has revealed that the water in the river originally fell as rain. Ruzo now hypothesises that this happens far upstream – perhaps as far away as in the Andes – and along its journey seeps down into the ground, where it’s heated up by Earth’s geothermal energy. It eventually emerges in the Amazon, at the boiling river.

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This means the system is part of an enormous hydrothermal system, the likes of which haven’t been seen anywhere else on the planet.

Even more exciting, Ruzo has worked with biologists Spencer Wells and Jonathan Eisen to sequence the genomes of the microbes living in and around the river, and discovered brand new species that are able to survive the heat.

Of course, as fascinating as the river is, it can also be deadly. The water gets so hot that Ruzo has regularly seen animals fall in and slowly start boil to death. “The first thing to go are the eyes,” he explained in his TED talk.

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Eventually, the animals can no longer swim, and water fills their mouths and lungs, causing them to be cooked from the inside out. Gruesome.

Still, people do actually swim in the river, as his mother claimed, but only after heavy rainfalls when it’s diluted with cold water. More often, the water is used to make tea and for cooking.

Ruzo will now continue to study the river and its source. But his main focus now is how to protect the river and its surrounding land – while his results are ready for publication, he’s refusing to release many of them until the Peruvian government will guarantee they’ll put appropriate conservation measures in place.

“In the middle of my PhD, I realised, this river is a natural wonder,” Ruzo told Maddie Stone over at Gizmodo. “And it’s not going to be around unless we do something about it.”

He’s just released a book called The Boiling River on his adventures, and is hoping that by spreading the news about the unique system, people might take on the cause themselves and decide that the site significant enough to save from loggers and developers.

“I don’t like the concept of one person leading this charge  – I think it’s about building a community on an international scale,” said Ruzo. “The planet’s gotten small, and natural wonders like this are few and far between.”

Culled from Science Alert

Why Does A Waterfall In The Antarctica Run Blood-red?

Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valley is one of the world’s most extreme deserts, and also one of the strangest. Featuring a row of snow-free valleys and the longest river on the continent, the Onyx River, it’s also home to a five-storey-tall waterfall that runs bright red down the side of an enormous glacier.

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To discover the reason behind the waterfall’s eerie hue, we have to trace its history back 5 million years, when sea levels rose and flooded East Antarctica. At the same time, a salty lake formed. Over millions of years, ice settled on the salty lake and formed huge glaciers, which cut the lake off from the rest of Antarctica and kept it 400 metres underground. Over time, the subglacial lake became even saltier – three times saltier than seawater, in fact – which means it was impossible to freeze.

Cut off from its physical surroundings, the incredibly salty water that feeds Antarctic’s Blood Falls has not once been exposed to sunlight in several million years and is completely devoid of oxygen. “It’s also extremely rich in iron, which was churned into the water by glaciers scraping the bedrock below the lake,” says Natasha Geiling at Smithsonian Magazine. “When water from the subglacial lake seeps through a fissure in the glacier, the salty water cascades down the Taylor Glacier into Lake Bonney below. When the iron-rich water comes into contact with the air, it rusts – depositing blood red stains on the ice as it falls.”

Not only is the blood-red, super-salty water severely lacking in oxygen and any exposure to light, it also happens to be home to some extremely odd wildlife. When the lake was forming million of years ago, tiny microbes moved in, and found themselves trapped when the glaciers grew and set on top. The microbes have been thriving in the lake ever since, sourcing the energy they need by breaking down sulphates – naturally occurring substances that contain sulphur and oxygen.

“After that, something eerily magical happens with the by-products,” says Geiling at Smithsonian Magazine, “the iron in the water interacts with them to restore the sulphates, basically recycling the sulphates for the microbes to break down into oxygen over and over again.”

Source: Smithsonian Magazine