Legends

They always tell us they’re just stories, and then they find proof they weren’t. This story’s 12 years old, but it’s still cool:

For centuries, Heracleion was believed to be a legend, much like the fabled city of Atlantis.
But 12 years ago, underwater archaeologist Dr Franck Goddio was searching the Egyptian coastline for French warships from the 18th century battle of the Nile, but instead stumbled across the treasures of the lost city.

After removing layers of sand and mud, divers discovered evidence of extraordinary wealth, painting a picture of what life was like in Heracleion, believed to have been at the centre of Mediterranean trade more than 1,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have found remains of more than 64 ships, buried in the seabed four miles off the coast of Egypt, the largest number of ancient ships ever to be found in one place.

As well as 700 anchors, the team have dug up gold coins and weights made from bronze and stone which would have been used in trade and to calculate taxation rates.

Men on top

nuns

Business as usual in Vatican City!

Pope Francis has reaffirmed Pope Benedict XVI’s rebuke of the main leadership group of U.S. Catholic sisters and approved a plan to place the group under the control of three U.S. bishops, according to the Vatican.

Reaffirmation of the move came in a meeting Monday between the leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to a statement from the Vatican.

During the meeting, the Vatican said, Müller told the LCWR leaders that he had “recently discussed” the issue with Pope Francis, “who reaffirmed the findings of the Assessment and the program of reform.”

The meeting was the first between LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of the United States’ approximately 57,000 sisters, and Müller, who became head of the doctrinal congregation in July.

LCWR confirmed that its leadership met with Vatican officials in a statement Monday and said the conversation was “open and frank.”

I hope the nuns tell them to fuck off, metaphorically speaking.

The next Elizabeth Warren

Is trying to get around the telecom industry:

Telecom regulators don’t usually have public followings, except perhaps among other telecom regulators. But as soon as rumors began circulating that Julius Genachowski planned to resign as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), petitions appeared on sites like BoingBoing, Reddit, and Daily Kos calling on President Barack Obama to appoint a 50-year-old law professor and former administration official named Susan Crawford as Genachowski’s successor. It’s not hard to see why she has acquired an enthusiastic fan base in these precincts of the Internet. With an appealing blend of earnestness and feistiness, Crawford is set on turning the sorry state of broadband and wireless services in the United States into the biggest populist outrage since Elizabeth Warren went after the banks.

Dropped calls, patchy Internet, and exorbitant bills are experiences many Americans are already angry about. But to Crawford, the telecom industry is a problem not just because of its dreadful service, but because it is undermining the future of the U.S. economy. Like Warren, she has a knack for making her case against the most powerful companies—she refers to them dismissively as “the incumbents”—in ways the average person can understand. At a public hearing in California, Crawford scoffed at a contention by AT&T and T-Mobile that local wireless markets were competitive: “This is like asserting that my former hometown of Washington, D.C., has several football teams: the Redskins, the Georgetown University team, and the Gonzaga High School team.” Discussing broadband with Bill Moyers, she observed, “The rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, and this means that we’re creating, yet again, two Americas.”

Oops

I wouldn’t be eating any West Coast sushi if I were you:

TOKYO — Two years after a triple meltdown that grew into the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is faced with a new crisis: a flood of highly radioactive wastewater that workers are struggling to contain.

Groundwater is pouring into the plant’s ravaged reactor buildings at a rate of almost 75 gallons a minute. It becomes highly contaminated there, before being pumped out to keep from swamping a critical cooling system. A small army of workers has struggled to contain the continuous flow of radioactive wastewater, relying on hulking gray and silver storage tanks sprawling over 42 acres of parking lots and lawns. The tanks hold the equivalent of 112 Olympic-size pools.

But even they are not enough to handle the tons of strontium-laced water at the plant — a reflection of the scale of the 2011 disaster and, in critics’ view, ad hoc decision making by the company that runs the plant and the regulators who oversee it. In a sign of the sheer size of the problem, the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, plans to chop down a small forest on its southern edge to make room for hundreds more tanks, a task that became more urgent when underground pits built to handle the overflow sprang leaks in recent weeks.

“The water keeps increasing every minute, no matter whether we eat, sleep or work,” said Masayuki Ono, a general manager with Tepco who acts as a company spokesman. “It feels like we are constantly being chased, but we are doing our best to stay a step in front.”

While the company has managed to stay ahead, the constant threat of running out of storage space has turned into what Tepco itself called an emergency, with the sheer volume of water raising fears of future leaks at the seaside plant that could reach the Pacific Ocean.

That quandary along with an embarrassing string of mishaps — including a 29-hour power failure affecting another, less vital cooling system — have underscored an alarming reality: two years after the meltdowns, the plant remains vulnerable to the same sort of large earthquake and tsunami that set the original calamity in motion.

There is no question that the Fukushima plant is less dangerous than it was during the desperate first months after the accident, mostly through the determined efforts of workers who have stabilized the melted reactor cores, which are cooler and less dangerous than they once were.

But many experts warn that safety systems and fixes at the plant remain makeshift and prone to accidents.

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