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For those who seek divine guidance in troubled times, the book of Enoch has a special significance, not merely by virtue of its pertinent and powerful message, but also because of the circumstances under which it was received. As the History of the Church records:. Much conjecture and conversation frequently occurred among the Saints, concerning the books mentioned, and referred to, in various places in the Old and New Testaments, which were now nowhere to be found.
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To the joy of the little flock, which in all … numbered about seventy members, did the Lord reveal the following doings of olden times, from the prophecy of Enoch. And we have been told that if we stop seeking we shall not only find no more but lose the treasures we already have. That is why it is not only advisable but urgent that we begin at last to pay attention to that astonishing outpouring of ancient writings which is the peculiar blessing of our generation. Among these writings the first and most important is the book of Enoch.
Jude, and as Scripture by St. Barnabas … With the earlier Fathers and Apologists it had all the weight of a canonical book.
Jellinek began his zealous search for surviving traces of a Hebrew book of Enoch, he declared that the Enoch literature was the work of the Essenes. How could a book of such long-standing influence, authority, and veneration possibly have become lost? Very simple: it ran afoul of ideas held by the doctors of the Jews and Christians alike after those worthies had fallen under the influence of the University of Alexandria, whose modern descendants resumed their censure of it after it was discovered and have continued to condemn it to this day.
The answer is perfectly clear: it was the learned rabbis and doctors of the fourth century who were offended by it. In his recent study of Hellenistic Judaism, H. Thus, until recently, the only surviving fragments of Enoch have come from Christian copyists, and not a single Jewish text of the Twelve Patriarchs, which draws heavily on Enoch, survives; moreover, not a single picture of Enoch has ever been identified in either Jewish or old Christian art.
The transition is represented by the great Origen, another product of Alexandria, who lived a century before them: he quotes Enoch, but with reservation, finding that he cannot agree with the teachings of the book, no matter how the first Christians may have venerated it.
At the present time, sensational new manuscript discoveries are forcing both the Jewish and the Christian doctors to view Enoch with a new respect. Jude quoted these words from the so-called apocryphal Book of Henoch: but, since they do not fit into its context [Ethiopic], it is more reasonable to suppose that they were interpolated into the apocryphal book from the text of St.
The Apostle must have borrowed the words from Jewish tradition.
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This, however, was a mere excerpt of less than a page in length; the writings themselves had by that time long since vanished. With the first dawn of the Reformation, rumors of the existence of a real book of Enoch began to stir. About the time that Columbus set sail Johann Reuchlin was excited by the report that the famous Pico della Mirandola d. He had heard, he states, of one such book for sale, which he assumes to be a late forgery based on Josephus.
That monk told Peiresc, the famous scholar and manuscript collector of Pisa, about a monastery possessing 8, volumes, in which he had seen a book of Enoch. By this Peiresc was so excited and so on fire to buy it at any price, that he spared no means to make it his own. At Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, there is an unusual institution. The Center for PostNatural History is a small museum with an eclectic and bizarre mix of specimens: you will find a rib-less mouse embryo, sterile male screwworm, a sample of E.
Visitors are encouraged to consider that each specimen has a natural, evolutionary history, as well as a post-natural, cultural one. So, if humanity continues to flourish far into the future, how will nature change? And how might this genetic manipulation affect our own biology and evolutionary trajectory? View image of Center for PostNatural History. However, there remains very little of nature that does not bear the sticky fingerprints of humanity in some way. Since our ancestors spread out of Africa some , years ago, snacking on all the megafauna on the way and thereby radically changing the landscape, our species has been shaping and transforming nature.
Around 10, years ago, we began selectively breeding organisms we found the most desirable, thereby altering the genetic composition of species. Today, technology has only accelerated this practice. The sperm from a prize bull can be collected and thousands of cows impregnated from that one male , a feat impossible for even the most determined bovine Casanova. View image of Cow. Over millennia, our influence on many taxonomic groups has been profound. Meanwhile, human hunting, competition and habitat destruction has killed off so many large fauna that the average size of mammals has shrunk, according to the paleo-biologist Felisa Smith at the University of New Mexico.
There have already been irreversible losses of biodiversity and species. Yet our impact on nature so far may only be the beginning. New genetic tools promise a step change in our ability to manipulate organisms. We are moving into future where selecting positive traits in crops or animals arising from natural variation, still a laborious and time-consuming process, is no longer necessary.
With ever more precise genomic editing techniques, such as Crispr-Cas9, we can move suites of genes between species, drive certain genes preferentially through natural populations — and even create wholly synthetic organisms. As such, bioengineering represents a new form of genetic information transfer , creation, and inheritance. View image of Chickens.
The modification of organisms also extends to irreversibly exterminating certain species.
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For example, since coral in the Great Barrier Reef is in terminal decline, research is ongoing into how to release heat-resistant zooxanthellae , the photosynthesising symbiote of coral polyps, into the ocean. Walmart has patented mechanical pollinator drones , seemingly looking to future-proof its operations. And the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Darpa has also recently awarded grants to develop genetically engineered insects that carry viruses for the gene-editing of plants, ostensibly for altering crops in the field, but such technologies could conceivably be extended to ecosystems.
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View image of Bees Credit: Getty Images. If we extend our lens to the far future, how will these technologies change our relationship with the rest of life on Earth?
Various trajectories lay in front of us, from the holistic to the truly strange. Firstly, it is possible that we may decide to scale back our manipulation of nature and the wild. In this potential future trajectory, humans might collectively decide to re-wild nature, and make space for the non-human to exist on a well-functioning planet, recognising that the biosphere although already heavily influenced by humans , still represents a relatively whole and billion-year stress-tested form of adaptive complexity.
Doctor Strange by Mark Waid Vol. 2: Remittance
This would probably be the most effective way to protect ecosystems and ensure human survival on planet Earth for the long-term. We could re-wild a significant proportion of the planet, and concentrate food production into multi-story inner city locations.
It would be an action I would argue, that respects all the forms — deer, wolves, bluebells, giraffes, even humans — that life takes presently, in the knowledge that things will slowly evolve and eventually change without explicit interference. At the same time we are becoming ever more separated from other organisms and ecosystems. In such a severed state it is easier to conceive of radically altering the fabric of nature to wholly support human interests.
Artists have speculated about what this might look like, such as Vincent Fournier , who has imagined some of the chimeric organisms we might create: some designed to promote rainfall, others to respond to pollution. View image of White Fennec Zerdas hypnoticus.
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View image of Rain Bird Aucellus pluvia. In the film Blade Runner, the screenwriters portrayed a world with manufactured humanoids and animals, owned by the corporations that created them. This dystopian future may have some truth to it, given that even in the present day engineered organisms — such as the BioSteel goat on display in the Center for PostNatural History — are owned via the intellectual property rights of their augmentations.