Thursday, July 31, 2008

Researchers open secret cave under Mexican pyramid

I actually  visited Teotihuacan about five years ago. The Sun Pyramid is one of the ones I climbed. Amazing.

By Miguel Angel Gutierrez Thu Jul 3, 12:22 PM ET
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Archeologists are opening a cave sealed for more than 30 years deep beneath a Mexican pyramid to look for clues about the mysterious collapse of one of ancient civilization's largest cities.

The soaring Teotihuacan stone pyramids, now a major tourist site about an hour outside Mexico City, were discovered by the ancient Aztecs around 1500 AD, not long before the arrival of Spanish explorers to Mexico.

But little is known about the civilization that built the immense city, with its ceremonial architecture and geometric temples, and then torched and abandoned it around 700 AD.

Archeologists are now revisiting a cave system that is buried 20 feet beneath the towering Pyramid of the Sun and extends into a tunnel stretching for some 295 feet (90 meters) with a height of 8 feet.

They say new excavations begun this month could be the key to unlocking information about the sacred rituals of the people who inhabited the city, later dubbed "The Place Where Men Become Gods" by the Aztecs who believed it was a divine site.

"We think it had a ritual purpose. Offerings were placed at the very end of the tunnel as part of the pyramid's construction process," Mexican archeologist Alejandro Sarabia told Reuters.

"We want to find out why the Teotihuacan people sealed it and when," he said.

Sarabia said the tunnel was first discovered in the early 1970s but it was closed soon afterward, and most of the information about it was lost when the archeologist who found it died.

Teotihuacan is Mexico's oldest major archeological site and during its heyday in 500 AD, the city was home to some 200,000 people, rivaling the size of ancient Rome at that time, according to archeologists.

Today, it is surrounded by encroaching slums spilling over from the outskirts of Mexico City, but swarms of tourists still visit the giant 212-foot (65-meter) sun pyramid each year to celebrate the spring equinox festival marking the sun's return to the northern hemisphere.
  (Writing by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Eric Beech)


Monday, July 28, 2008

Surf's Up (Movie Review)

Well, I haven't done a movie review in awhile. Now that summer is almost over I thought I should do some in case you are wondering what to see before the summer is gone. What better place to start than with a surfing movie?

I almost didn't watch Surf's Up because I thought it be lame, ho-hum, and just another penguin movie...kindof along the lines of Happy Feet (which this movies does reference, much to my amusement).

Surf's Up was funny, entertaining, had good graphics, and I actually like the story/moral for the most part. Not that I can say all of the movie was entirely appropriate, and there were some parts they could have cut out, but it was certainly worth seeing. They also got the right people to do the voices (which is, naturally, a big asset). Part of what made the movie was the filming technique used to get the "documentary" feel, and the way they recorded the dialogue.

Oh, and I don't care what their little disclaimer said about none of the events or people bearing similarity to real life unless it be coincidental. I mean, two of the characters were playing "themselves." But that aside there were obvious references to real events that took place as recorded in the surfing documentary Riding Giants. And since I'd seen the documentary it made the movie that much more enjoyable.

2 out of 5 stars.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Poll: Voters Don't Know Barack Obama Pro-Abortion, John McCain Pro-Life

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 14
, 2008

Washington, DC ( -- A new poll finds half of voters don't know that presidential candidate John McCain is pro-life on abortion or that Barack Obama is pro-abortion. The survey shows that, when pro-life voters know that information, they support McCain by a three-to-one margin.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds voters are more interested in the 2008 election than they were the 2004 election, but they are less informed on where the candidates stand.

Pew finds that just 52 percent of voters rightly identify Obama as pro-abortion ("pro-choice" in the poll's terminology") and only 45 percent know John McCain is pro-life on abortion.

A stunning 38 percent of voters don't know where either Obama or McCain stand on the issue of abortion. Some ten percent wrongly identify Obama as pro-life and 17 percent think McCain supports abortion.

This information gap is important and a subsequent question shows whichever side of the abortion debate can frame the candidates first will likely help one of them win the election.

Among pro-life voters who know where the two candidates stand, McCain trounces Obama by a whopping 70-24 percentage point margin. Surprisingly, Obama has a one percent lead (43-42 percent) among pro-life voters who are uninformed about their abortion positions.

On the other side, pro-abortion groups will be working overtime to educate their supporters as well.

That's because Obama leads 71-24 percent among pro-abortion voters who know where the two candidates stand and he has a much smaller 48-40 percent lead among pro-abortion voters who don't.

The Pew poll also found that Democrats and Obama supporters are much more energized about Obama than Republicans and McCain backers are about McCain.

Compared with previous election cycles, voter engagement is up among all demographic groups, but has increased more among voters under age 50 than among older voters.

Uncharacteristically, the youngest voters -- those under age 30 -- are at least as knowledgeable, and in some cases more knowledgeable, about candidates' positions on abortion than are older voters.

The Pew poll found younger voters are more likely to know where the candidates stand on abortion than older voters, evangelicals were more likely than Catholics, and white voters were more likely than black voters to know -- especially concerning McCain.

One pattern that differs from previous surveys of political knowledge is that younger voters are significantly more knowledgeable about the candidates’ positions than are older voters. For example, 60% of voters 18-29 correctly say that Obama is pro-abortion, compared with just 51% of those ages 50-64 and just 41% of those ages 65 and older.