‘Vampire’ Remains Found in Bulgaria

Reported today via MSNBC:

Bulgarian archaeologists are showing off two centuries-old skeletons that they say were pinned down through their chests with iron rods to keep them from turning into vampires — a trend that was all the rage in medieval Europe.

The “vampire” skeletons were excavated recently near the Black Sea town of Sozopol, according to reports from The Associated Press and AFP. Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of Bulgaria’s National History Museum, was quoted as saying that corpses were regularly treated this way in some parts of the country until the beginning of the 20th century.

via ‘Vampire’ bones dug up in Bulgaria – Cosmic Log.

Evolution of Birds is Due to Drastic Change in How Dinosaurs Developed

Continuing on with my Evolution-themed posts over the past week or so, here is an interesting study which seems to confirm what many of us have long suspected:

Researchers from Harvard University, The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere have found evidence that the evolution of birds is the result of a drastic change in how dinosaurs developed. Scientists have long understood that modern birds descended from dinosaurs. Rather than take years to reach sexual maturity, as many dinosaurs did, birds sped up the clock — some species take as little as 12 weeks to mature — allowing them to retain the physical characteristics of baby dinosaurs.

The results of the study appeared May 27 in an online edition of the journal Nature. (Ed: read the paper here)

“What is interesting about this research is the way it illustrates evolution as a developmental phenomenon,” said Arkhat Abzhanov, associate professor at Harvard and study co-author. “By changing the developmental biology in early species, nature has produced the modern bird — an entirely new creature — and one that, with approximately 10,000 species, is today the most successful group of land vertebrates on the planet.”

via Evolution of birds is result of a drastic change in how dinosaurs developed.

This is nothing new.  Archeopteryx is quite solid enough to show this.  Also interesting is how Dino DNA is still within modern birds, how it can be tweaked, and how that can bring Dino’s ‘back to life’ (so to speak).  For example:

See also this article.

Jim West Asks ‘Who Will Win Euro 2012?’

Poor Jim.  Doesn’t he know?  It is between two teams in my opinion.  But unlike Jim who sticks to arbitrary choosing or the Ukrainians who are using animals, I have a sure-fire method of predicting to whom it will all boil down.

The two teams most likely to make it to the finals (and one of which will likely win) are Italy or Portugal.  Hands down, all other teams should just pack it up now.  You’re not going to make it.

Why?  First Portugal.  Many know I’ve lived in Portugal for short time.  But many might not know I was there for Euro 2004, when Portugal defied the odds and made it all the way into the Final against Greece.  Plus (and do I really need to say it?) they have one of the best soccer players in the world: Cristiano Ronaldo.   I know the strength of the teams convictions, they have a lot of heart, and I think that goes a long way.

Then there is Italy.  Okay, I have a bias here as an Italian.  And granted there was that whole new scandal that has reflected quite poorly upon the clubs.  But let’s face it, Italy is still a force with which to reckon.   And the players are amazing.  Most are taken from top Serie A clubs, like Juventus, AC Milan, AS Roma. and Palermo.   Many of these clubs have done well in the Champions League (if only AC Milan had beat Arsenal!) and I am confident they will do well in Euro 2012.

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