Thoughts from Boston
I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE it's been almost a year since I posted on this blog, but there you are. One of the new endeavors in my life has been my further involvement with music, specifically percussion, toning, the didgeridoo, and crystal sound bowls, to the point where we (Josh) formed an ensemble about a year ago, which we call SoundScapers. We perform at many different venues, from Senior Citizen Centers to Yoga Studios, and our music can be anything from wildly uplifting and joyous to entrancing and deeply meditative.
Urban beekeeper Mike Graney tends to his bees in Mattapan.
PROVINCETOWN (CBS) – Dozens of endangered whales are taking up residence in Cape Cod Bay.
Officials are planning an aerial survey in the next few days to get a more accurate number.
Right whales typically show up every spring in the waters off of Cape Cod to feed.
The state has issued a warning for boaters in the area to use extreme caution.
It’s against the law for boaters to approach within 500 yards of a right whale.
The Right Whale is the most endangered in the North Atlantic.
Only about 450 remain in the entire ocean.
LAWRENCE — Anthony Nuñez was tired of the words he kept seeing in headlines about his hometown: drugs, arson, insurance fraud; ailing, underfunded, understaffed, unemployed.
The 24-year-old mechanical engineer knew there was little he could do on his own to fix all that. But he figured he might be able to do something else to clean up the city’s image: Get its residents to clean up its streets.
On Saturday, Nuñez expects hundreds of volunteers to help him attack the layers of rubbish that line city parks; the empty bottles that clutter playgrounds; the rusted mufflers, leaking oil cans, and jagged scrap metal that clog empty lots. He is calling on residents to step outside and clean their sidewalks and blocks.
Spiffing up an entire city would be a challenging enough task, but this Don Quixote of detritus has set an even more daunting agenda. He hopes that the sight of people tidying up their neighborhoods will inspire others to join in. He wants the idea to go viral, interrupt the drumbeat of bad news, and improve the mood of a city.
“Maybe we can change Lawrence’s negative image,’’ Nuñez said. “Maybe we can change the mind-set of the people. I hope we can boost morale, maybe change the outlook people have.’’
Nuñez is the first to acknowledge that he may be jousting at wastebins, that his idea could fail to catch on. He has no experience organizing mass cleanups — he is just a citizen who was angry when he saw a reader’s comment on a local paper’s website that suggested “they should build a wall around Lawrence and let them all kill each other off.’’
Rather than respond to the post, he said, “I figured actions speak louder than words,’’ and Clean the Trash Out of Lawrence Day was born. A Facebook site Nuñez has dedicated to the event has attracted more than 400 people, many of whom have said they will heed his call to grab some work gloves and pitch in. Nuñez said public-works officials have promised to help by providing a garbage bin in a central park for the bags of trash collected by the volunteers.
Gilda Duran, the city’s neighborhood planner, said she welcomed Nuñez’s initiative.
“Though it is a small city, there’s a lot of ground to cover,’’ she said. “Sometimes it takes someone to take the lead.’’
The city does try to maintain its streets, but its workers do not get to all of the trash. On a recent Thursday, Nuñez pointed out garbage trucks rumbling through Lawrence neighborhoods. Workers tossed bags from barrels lining residential streets, but they did not pick up litter. “Not our job,’’ said a man in a neon-yellow vest as he worked on Poplar Street. A few other workers, who said they had been hired by the city, were plucking pieces of litter from a small city park. Sweeper trucks worked the larger roads, but missed objects like crushed bottles wedged against curbs.
Lawrence is not the only dirty city, but the pervasiveness of waste is striking. Nuñez stood on a particularly blighted section of Erving Avenue along the Spicket River, amid discarded rags, vodka nips, hand purifier bottles, Planters Peanuts wrappers, Tropicana orange juice jugs, and a plastic container oozing a mysterious, milky liquid. More distressing than this riot of flotsam and jetsam was the empty trash container in the middle of the block: In tossing their refuse, no one bothered to walk the few feet to the receptacle.
“It doesn’t mean there is no point in trying,’’ Nuñez said. “But it is definitely possible that this might not work and people are going to stay the same.’’
Some posters on the Facebook site expressed their doubts more colorfully.
“HAHAHA GOOD LUCK!!! YOUR BETTER OFF PACKING UP AND MOVING LOL.’’
“You pick it up, it’s clean for five minutes, and then they trash it so why bother??????’’
The last poster has a point. City cleanups tend to be negated pretty quickly by litterbugs. And Lawrence is dirty despite the efforts of other volunteer groups. One of them, Groundwork Lawrence, is holding a spring cleaning in collaboration with Comcast on April 30.
“The more the merrier,’’ Nuñez said when he was informed of this event. “Usually when these things happen it’s like 50 or 60 people in one place. What I hope is that if people go out in their neighborhoods, other people will say ‘Oh, my neighbor is cleaning, I will, too.’ ’’
Other Lawrence residents think the idea might catch on. Ana Avellan, 36, an administrative assistant who has lived in Lawrence since 1989, said she has taught her teenage sons and baseball teams she coaches to clean up after themselves. But she has watched with dismay the accumulation of “all the trash that’s in each crevice and corner.’’
When she received an invitation on Facebook to the cleanup, she said, “I thought, ‘this is a really good idea.’ ’’
“It’s been like that so long you feel that nothing is going to change,’’ she said. “But if we all pitch in, little by little it is going to change.’’
The male body – said to date back to between 2900-2500BC – was discovered buried in a way normally reserved only for women of the Corded Ware culture in the Copper Age.
The skeleton was found in a Prague suburb in the Czech Republic with its head pointing eastwards and surrounded by domestic jugs, rituals only previously seen in female graves.
"From history and ethnology, we know that people from this period took funeral rites very seriously so it is highly unlikely that this positioning was a mistake," said lead archaeologist Kamila Remisova Vesinova.
"Far more likely is that he was a man with a different sexual orientation, homosexual or transsexual," she added.
According to Corded Ware culture which began in the late Stone Age and culminated in the Bronze Age, men were traditionally buried lying on their right side with their heads pointing towards the west, and women on their left sides with their heads pointing towards the east. Both sexes would be put into a crouching position.
The men would be buried alongside weapons, hammers and flint knives as well as several portions of food and drink to accompany them to the other side.
Women would be buried with necklaces made from teeth, pets, and copper earrings, as well as jugs and an egg-shaped pot placed near the feet.
"What we see here doesn't add up to traditional Corded Ware cultural norms. The grave in Terronska Street in Prague 6 is interred on its left side with the head facing the West. An oval, egg-shaped container usually associated with female burials was also found at the feet of the skeleton. None of the objects that usually accompany male burials Â such as weapons, stone battle axes and flint knives Â were found in the grave.
"We believe this is one of the earliest cases of what could be described as a 'transsexual' or 'third gender grave' in the Czech Republic," archaeologist Katerina Semradova told a press conference on Tuesday.
She said that archeologists had uncovered an earlier case dating from the Mesolithic period where a female warrior was buried as a man.
She added that Siberian shamans, or latter-day witch doctors, were also buried in this way but with richer funeral accessories to appropriate to their elevated position in society.
"But this later discovery was neither of those, leading us to believe the man was probably homosexual or transsexual," Semeradova said.
The Corded Ware culture takes its name from the frequent use of decorative cord impressions found its pots and covered much of North, Central and Eastern Europe.
It is also known as a single-grave and battleaxe culture due to separate burials and the Mena s habit of being buried with stone axes.
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Ed Miliband talks to Patrick Hennessy about his wedding, his brother - and what he means by the squeezed middle.