The origin of Halloween is a far cry from modern tradition's vampires, trick-or-treating and candy corn. Dating back about 2,000 years, Halloween was originally called Samhain, and marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year.
Roughly translated from Irish Gaelic, Samhain means "summer's end," according to "Creating Circles & Ceremonies: Rituals for All Seasons And Reasons" (Career Press, 2006). In ancient times, the holiday marked the transition from the "light" part of the year to the "dark" portion, as daylight hours became shorter and the weather grew colder. For this reason, the holiday is also known as "harvest's end" and "winter's beginning."
The day was celebrated starting at sundown on October 31 and through the day on November 1. It was believed - and is still believed by Pagans and Wiccans - that Samhain is when the veil between this world and the spirit world is thinnest, and departed spirits can return to mingle with the living.
"In the European traditions, Samhain is the night when the old God dies, and the Crone Goddess mourns him deeply for the next six weeks," according to "The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways" (Llewellyn Worldwide, 1994). "The popular image of her as the old Halloween hag menacingly stirring her cauldron comes from the Celtic belief that all dead souls return to her cauldron of life, death and rebirth to await reincarnation."
All Saints Day began to take the place of the Celtic Samhain holiday when the Christian Church began to spread throughout Ireland, around 700 A.D., according to "Ireland" (Random House, Inc., 2007). The night before All Saints Day, October 31, came to be called All-Hallows Eve, Hallowmas, or Hallowe'en, according to "Creating Circles & Ceremonies."
"Like many other pagan festivals, the Christians adapted Samhain and made it a Christian event," said Joan HanniganVogt, a spokesperson for the Tara Circle, an Irish cultural organization in Yonkers, N.Y. "The Celtic people used to celebrate the event by wearing costumes, which represented various Celtic deities."
The ancient Celtics also lit bonfires to guide the souls of the deceased to "the other side," played funeral games and kept hearths burning all night for protection from evil spirits. The custom of handing out candy on Halloween stems from the Celtic tradition of giving food and money to costumed celebrants, just in case they were the physical incarnations of lost souls.
"The modern trick or treat is obviously a mimic of the custom of doing things to please the spirits or risk some evil," HanniganVogt told Life's Little Mysteries.
The jack-o'-lantern, a Halloween staple, also has its roots deep in Celtic soil. Based on a folklore tale about a forlorn ghost named Jack, jack-o'-lanterns were originally made using a hollowed-out turnip with a small candle inside, and were set out during Samhain to guide lost souls - and scare away evil ones.
When the Irish potato famine of 1846 forced Irish families to flee to North America, the jack-o'-lantern came with them. But turnips were hard to come by in the states, and pumpkins proved to be the perfect substitute, according to "Halloween and Commemorations of the Dead" (Infobase Publishing, 2009). Americans embraced Irish Halloween festivities, and the jack-o'-lantern tradition carries on to this day
PARIS -- Bugatti, Volkswagen's supercar brand, and Fiat's Ferrari have sold out of their most expensive models as demand for luxury vehicles roars back.
All five of Bugatti's $2.7 million World Record, the globe's fastest serial-production car, have been reserved. Chief Executive Officer Franz-Josef Paefgen showed the car, which has a top speed of 258 miles per hour, at the Paris Auto Show this week.
Bayerische Motoren Werke and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, the world's two biggest luxury-car makers, are both targeting 10 percent sales increases this year as the economic recovery sparks a return of flashy purchases. BMW shares have surged 59 percent, Volkswagen has gained 37 percent and Daimler has advanced 25 percent this year.
"The reports of luxury's death have been greatly exaggerated," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Lexington, Mass.. "People still want those luxury vehicles. Once you're in luxury, it's awfully hard to get out of it."
Buyers hoping to purchase the Ferrari Aperta are also out of luck. Ferrari isn't making any more of the 80 Apertas that it's already sold. The model costs 400,000 euros and was built to honor car designers Sergio and Andrea Pininfarina.
"We are sorry for many Ferrari collectors, but we cannot do more," Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said in an interview in Paris Thursday. Ferrari is predicting double- digit growth in earnings and may end 2010 with close to record profit, he said.
Maserati, also owned by Fiat, unveiled the GranTurismo MC Stradale in Paris, the fastest, lightest model ever from the Italian marquee. The car surges to 62 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 187 kilometers per hour.
"Customers are looking forward to buying the new Maserati," said Nicola Sculco, 64, a Milan lawyer who runs the Maserati Club in Italy and owns a 3200 GT Biturbo and several old Maseratis. "There's enthusiasm on this model where Maserati marries its philosophy of elegance and style with speed and a sportive character."
Maserati, whose deliveries through August are up 20 percent, is considering expanding into new segments and plans to add a new high-end sedan to boost sales, CEO Harald Wester said.
"Our order portfolio is increasing with each passing month," Wester said. "2010 is proving to be a very good year for Maserati."
VW's ultra-luxury division, Bentley, already sold "quite a few" of its new Continental GT coupe at a reception in Paris Thursday night, Paefgen said in an interview Friday. The 575- horsepower vehicle is priced at $213,000.
At Porsche SE, the limited-production 911 Speedster may sell out by the end of October as orders for the sports car grow "by the hour," Porsche's development chief Wolfgang Duerheimer said in an interview Thursday. The 408-horsepower vehicle, which will be limited to 356 cars, sells for $275,000.
"Since the middle of the year, we've been blessed with record order intakes on a monthly basis," Duerheimer said. "Market sentiment is improving, things are pointing up."
Owners of high-end cars such as Ferrari and Porsche are trying to skirt new-car jealousy by buying a new model equipped exactly like their current vehicle, Lindland said.
"That way the neighbors never really notice," she said.
Recovering economies have helped consumers regain confidence, spurring automobile purchases. On top of that, in the high-end segment the availability of new models acts as its own incentive.
"New product helps; that stimulates consumer behavior," Ian Robertson, BMW's sales chief, said in an interview.
With growing demand in China, Russia, Brazil, and other emerging markets, "we can look forward to a period where we continue to see those steps forward," he said
BMW introduced a revamped version of the X3 mid-sized sport-utility vehicle and presented a 6-Series coupe concept in Paris. Sloped-back coupes, which appeal to sportier drivers, were popular at the show, with Mercedes debuting an overhauled CLS and Audi premiering the new A7 as performance and sex appeal took precedence over the latest advances in electric cars and engine efficiency.
"The premium auto will remain what it always has been, a highly emotional product," said Thomas Weber, Mercedes' development chief.
Bugatti's World Record, which is part of the Veyron line, sold out 10 days after the super-car maker offered the five vehicles it plans to produce, spokeswoman Emanuela Wilm said.
By TOMMASO EBHARDT and ANDREAS CREMER
As the climax of its centenary celebration ceremonies, Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. presented customers and opinion-makers with the Bugatti Galibier Concept, intended to be the most exclusive, elegant, and powerful four door automobile in the world last weekend in Molsheim. At the historic site where Ettore Bugatti once laid the cornerstone of his company, Bugatti's current president, Dr. Ing. Franz-Josef Paefgen emphasised that the Bugatti Galibier 16C is one of several concept studies with which the company is considering for the future of the Bugatti marque.
Art - Forme - Technique: those are the brand values to which Ettore Bugatti and his son Jean oriented themselves in order to develop even more powerful engines and even more noble body designs for each new model, which were without equal in quality, handling, speed and elegance. In the process, they experimented again and again without compromise with new materials; thus was Bugatti one of the first manufacturers to use aluminium parts for bodies, engine blocks and wheels.
Art - Forme - Technique are also the brand values to which the design and engineering team of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. oriented themselves in the development of the Bugatti Galibier. With this new four-door concept car, Bugatti assumes anew a leading role in the use of new material combinations. Thus the body is constructed of handmade carbon fibre parts coloured dark blue so that, when illuminated, the woven structure shimmers through strikingly. Carbon fibre not only possesses unusually great rigidity but is also especially light. The wings and doors are out of polished aluminium.
The Bugatti Galibier's design masters the challenge of uniting sportiness with the comfort and elegance of a modern four-door saloon. The basic architecture picks up on the torpedo-like character of the Type 35, which was already revived in the Bugatti Veyron , and reinterprets it. With the typical Bugatti radiator grille, big round LED headlights and the clamshell running the length of the vehicle which became synonymous with the brand identity under Jean Bugatti in the Type 57, this car transports the Bugatti genes into the modern world.
Beneath the bonnet, which folds back from both sides, there resides a 16-cylinder, 8-litre engine with twostage supercharging. What makes this engine special is that it was developed as a flex-fuel engine and can optional be run on ethanol. Four-wheel drive, specially developed ceramic brakes and a new suspension design enable the agile, always-sure handling of a saloon of this size.
The interior reflects the elemental design of the exterior. The dash panel has been reduced to the essential; two centrally located main instruments keep even the rear passengers constantly informed of the actual speed and previous performance. Parmigiani, the Swiss maker of fine watches, created the removable Reverso Tourbillon clock for the Bugatti Galibier, which may be worn on the wrist thanks to a cleverly designed leather strap.
"Galibier" is not just the name of one of the most difficult alpine passes along the Tour de France but, in its time, was a version of the four door Type 57 unequalled in sportiness and elegance.
NAGOYA, Japan (AFP) – Spectacular species previously unknown to the outside world are being discovered in the Amazon rainforest at a rate of one every three days, environment group WWF said in a report published Tuesday.
An anaconda as long as a limousine, a giant catfish that eats monkeys, a blue fanged spider and poisoned dart frogs are among the 1,220 animals and plants to have been found from 1999 to 2009, according to the study.
The report was released on the sidelines of a United Nations summit in Japan that is being held to try to stem the mass extinction of species around the world, and the WWF said it highlighted why protecting the Amazon was so vital.
"This report clearly shows the incredible, amazing diversity of life in the Amazon," Francisco Ruiz, head of WWF's Living Amazon Initiative, told reporters at the launch.
"(But) this incredible region is under pressure because of the human presence. The landscape is being very quickly transformed."
Logging and clearing for agriculture uses such as cattle farming and palm oil plantations have led to 17 percent of the Amazon -- an area twice the size of Spain -- being destroyed over the past 50 years, according to the WWF.
The WWF compiled the findings reported by scientists over the 10-year period to highlight the extent of biodiversity loss that may be occurring without humans even knowing while the Amazon is being cleared.
"It serves as a reminder of how much we still have to learn about this unique region, and what we could lose if we don't change the way we think about development," Ruiz said.
One of the most amazing discoveries was a four-metre (13-foot) anaconda in the flood plains of Bolivia's Pando province in 2002.
It was the first new anaconda species identified since 1936, and became only the fourth known type of that reptile, according to the WWF.
There were a total of 55 reptile species discovered, with others including two members of Elapidae -- the most venomous snake family in the world that includes cobras and taipans.
A kaleidoscope of different coloured frogs were also found, including 24 of the famed poison dart variety and one that was translucent.
Among the 257 types of fish discovered in the rivers and lakes of the Amazon was a "goliath" catfish.
One of them found in Venezuela measured nearly 1.5 metres long and weighed 32 kilogrammes (over 70 pounds).
Although the "goliath" catfish normally exists on a diet of other fish, some of them have been caught with parts of monkeys in their stomachs, according to the WWF.
Another extraordinary species of catfish that was discovered in the Brazilian state of Rondonia was extremely small, blind and red.
Villagers found the fish when they accidentally trapped them in buckets after hauling up water from a well.
At least 500 spiders were also discovered, including one that was completely brown except for a pair of almost fluorescent blue fangs.
Thirty-nine new mammals were also found, including a pink river dolphin, seven types of monkey and two porcupines.
Among the 637 new plant species discovered were sunflowers, ivy, lilies, a variety of pineapple and a custard apple.
The Amazon is home to at least 40,000 plant species, and the WWF described the scale of diversity in some areas as "mind boggling".
It said 1,000 plant species were documented in one hectare (2.5 acres) of lowland rainforest in Ecuador, while 3,000 were found in a 24-hectare region of the Colombian section of the Amazon.
As part of efforts to save the Amazon, the Brazilian government has worked with the WWF, the World Bank and other groups to establish protected areas of rainforest covering 32 million hectares over the past six years.
The WWF said the protection efforts, in which foreign governments and organisations provide some of the finance to help run the projects, should serve as a model for the world in how to save rainforests.
by Karl Malakunas
By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer
HANGZHOU, China :
China rolled out its fastest train yet on Tuesday and announced that the Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric project, is now generating electricity at maximum capacity — engineering triumphs that signal the nation's growing ambitions as its economy booms.
The successes demonstrate how, after decades of acquiring technology from the west, Beijing has begun to push the limits of its new capabilities, setting the bar higher on mega-projects as it seeks to promote the image of a powerful, modern China. But many of these initiatives have come at great human and environmental cost, and some have questioned whether the country fosters a sufficiently innovative spirit to compete on the next level.
Still in the works: more nuclear power plants, a gargantuan project to pump river water from the fertile south to the arid north, and a $32.5 billion, 820-mile (1,300-kilometer) Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed railway that is scheduled to open in 2012.
"We are now much faster," Railway Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said at Tuesday's inauguration of the super-fast line from Shanghai's western suburb of Hongqiao to the resort city of Hangzhou. "Now other countries are hoping to cooperate with us."
The train will cruise at a top speed of 220 mph (350 kph), making the 125-mile (200-kilometer) trip in 45 minutes.
China already has the world's longest high-speed rail network and aims to more than double its length to 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.
And despite the obvious benefits high-speed railways bring, the replacement of slower lines with more expensive high-speed trains has prompted complaints from passengers reluctant to pay higher fares, especially on shorter routes.
If there is any sadness I make a strong
effort to be free of it quickly,
otherwise it grows like a vine in the
by midday I will be confused, by evening
a whole jungle of weak, wasteful and
negative attitudes will have taken deep
roots in my mind.
The result equals chaos.
Sometimes I reach a stage where the
"So what if I feel the blues today?
It is my life, no one else will be affected".
Firstly, the more I allow myself to
experience sorrow, the less time I have
available to be happy and contented.
It sounds ridiculously obvious, but
am I aware of the value of happiness?
It is an extremely rare commodity,
and the cost goes sky high.
Secondly, is it my life?
Yes, I am living it, but am I not a member
of a family or a co-worker with others,
and am I not part of society?
If so, then every movement affects and
is affected by those around me.
From: ~Zubia Kiran~
It is very easy to fall into bad habits when using a computer for hours on end. You care about what you are doing, so can sometimes push yourself too far, or over-strain yourself. The human body isn't built to sit in one position for endless hours, gripping a mouse or typing on the keyboard. Dejal Time Out is here to help. It will gently remind you to take a break on a regular basis.
Time Out has two kinds of breaks: a "Normal" break, typically for 10 minutes after 50 minutes of work, so you can move about and relax, plus a "Micro" break: a very brief pause of typically 10 seconds every 10 minutes, so you can remember not to tense up too much for long periods. You can disable either kind of break if desired, and the breaks are automatically paused when you go away from your computer, and can be reset when you come back.
You can configure how long each kind of break lasts, and how long between breaks. Each Time Out is announced via the screen slowly dimming, with related graphics materializing, and when the break is complete, it fades out again. You can change the time these transitions take... and you can even change the color and the level of transparency during the break. So if you like, you can make it mostly transparent so you can continue reading while on your break... though it's better for you if you give your eyes a rest during the Time Out.
While in a break, a progress bar shows how long till it is over, and buttons are available to postpone or skip the break if you can't be interrupted right then. Starting with version 1.5, you can change the number of minutes for the postpone buttons, or even hide them and/or the skip button, if you want to encourage yourself to take the breaks.
What's more, you can optionally play a sound and even run an Automator workflow, AppleScript, Python script, or application at the start and/or end of each break. So you can have it pause iTunes and play a short soothing piece of music at the start of a break, then a buzzer and resume iTunes when the break is over. Some useful scripts are provided built-in, plus updates and user-submitted ones available on the Time Out Extras page.
Rebuild Your Vision
While on a break, you can simply close your eyes or change your focus to rest your eyes. But another option is to try an exercise program to actively improve your eyesight. One such set of exercises offered by a third-party company is called Rebuild Your Vision. It includes exercises, guidance, and more to help train your eye muscles. Read more about it if this sounds interesting.
Try It Now!
Download and try Time Out for free! Version 1.5.6 is currently the latest release. Read the Time Out 1.5.6 release notes to see what has changed in this version, or read the User Guide to find out more about it.
Coming Soon: Time Out 2
Time Out is a great product, but stay tuned for Time Out version 2, coming for Snow Leopard in 2011.
Time Out 2 will be released in two editions: Time Out Lite, which will be completely free, plus Time Out Pro, which will be available for a reasonable price. Everyone who makes a donation for Time Out now will be automatically eligible for Time Out Pro at no additional cost — so you can set your own price for it now! This offer expires when version 2 is released.
The Lite edition will be similar to the current release, though with some improvements, while the Pro edition will have many much-requested new features.
Read the Dejal Blog or subscribe to the blog RSS feed for more information. If you have any suggestions for things you'd like to see in version 2 and beyond, let us know!
Clinical and Experimental Research, which is based on 20-year study of 1,824 adults, has once again confirmed this counterintuitive conclusion.
It isn't entirely surprising that moderate drinkers outlive teetotalers, as some alcohol -- in particular, red wine -- is good for the heart.
However, researchers are still searching for the reason heavy drinkers live longer than those who abstain altogether.
One theory is that alcohol, the ultimate social lubricant, makes it easier for a person to maintain relationships.
And stronger personal relationships have been linked to better mental and physical health, which results in a longer life expectancy.
Or it could be that serious drunks are just too belligerent to die.
If you are used to see those calendars with nude photos then this one will be huge surprise for you.
This calendar features women bodies, indeed, but some wouldn’t be so happy when they see that all photos on this calendar are actually x-ray photos.
This calendar was made by EIZO company which is manufacturing equipment related to medical examination.
That is pretty unique way to advertise the company for sure and it seems that they found models with perfect bones and skeleton structure for this calendar.
NEW RICHMOND, Wis. – Guinness World Records has confirmed that a massive pumpkin grown in Wisconsin is officially the world's heaviest.
The gourd grown this year by Chris Stevens of New Richmond tips the scales at 1,810.5 pounds. That's 85 pounds heavier than the previous record, a 1,725-pound pumpkin grown last year in Ohio.
Stevens' pumpkin has a circumference of 186.5 inches, or more than 15 feet. When turned on its side, the pumpkin is more than waist-high to an average-size person.
Stevens unveiled his pumpkin earlier this month at the Stillwater Harvest Fest in Minnesota. He said at the time his secret is a precise mixture of sunshine, rain, cow manure, fish emulsion and seaweed