Sarin, allegedly used by the Syrian regime to kill more than 1,400 people on Aug. 21, is one of the most toxic and rapidly acting nerve agents. Developed in 1938 by Germany as a pesticide, sarin is, in its pure form, a clear, colourless, tasteless liquid that has no odour. Even at low concentrations, sarin can be fatal within one minute and those who survive will have permanent neurological damage.
Text and Image via National Post
Emerging from the shadows of their secret command outpost in the war-torn city of Aleppo, these members of an all-female fighting unit posed for portraits. Their testimony speaks of the wrenching violence of the now two-year-long Syrian uprising. Photographed by Sebastiano Tomada. Text via TIME. See More HERE
Hidden in the landscape of the fertile crescent of the Middle East, scientists say, lurk overlooked networks of small settlements that hold vital clues to ancient civilizations.
Beyond the impressive mounds of earth, known as tells in Arabic, that mark lost cities, researchers have found a way to give archaeologists a broader perspective of the ancient landscape. By combining spy-satellite photos obtained in the 1960s with modern multispectral images and digital maps of Earth’s surface, the researchers have created a new method for mapping large-scale patterns of human settlement. The approach, used to map some 14,000 settlement sites spanning eight millennia in 23,000 square kilometres of northeastern Syria, is published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Traditional archaeology goes straight to the biggest features — the palaces or cities — but we tend to ignore the settlements at the other end of the social spectrum,” says Jason Ur, an archaeologist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who is co-author of the study. “The people who migrated to cities came from somewhere; we have to put these people back on the map.”
Such comprehensive maps promise to uncover long-term trends in urban activity. “This kind of innovative large-scale application is what remote sensing has been promising archaeology for some years now; it will certainly help us to focus our attention on the big picture,” says Graham Philip, an archaeologist at Durham University, UK.
Excerpt of an article written by Virginia Gewin at Nature. Continue HERE
About the film: Half a world away from Cairo’s Tahrir Square, an aging American intellectual shuffles around his cluttered terrace house in a working-class Boston neighbourhood. His name is Gene Sharp. White-haired and now in his mid-eighties, he grows orchids, he has yet to master the internet and he hardly seems like a dangerous man. But for the world’s dictators his ideas can be the catalyst for the end of their regime.
Few people outside the world of academia have ever heard his name, but his writings on nonviolent revolution (most notably ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy’, a 93-page, 198-step guide to toppling dictators, available free for download in 40 languages) have inspired a new generation of protesters living under authoritarian regimes who yearn for democratic freedom.
His ideas have taken root in places as far apart as Burma, Thailand, Bosnia, Estonia, Iran, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and now in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East as old orders crumble amidst the protests of their disgruntled citizens.
Text from How to Start a Revolution